Dental Education Lecture: How Do Braces Affect Our Oral Hygiene?
Jason is a nice boy at the age of thirteen. He is not afraid of pain and is willing to have braces because his teeth are not straight (Fig.1). What he does not know is that he does not brush very well. At high magnification, we can see a thin layer of plaque on the surface of almost every tooth in the view. The gum tissue between two front teeth on the top is quite reddish (arrowhead in Fig.1).
Eight months of wearing braces, the doctor is struggling to get his teeth aligned. Jason has even harder time to keep his teeth clean (Fig.2). Plaque is thicker than before braces. But we keep reminding him of good oral hygiene every month he is visiting our office.
Miraculously, another ten months into treatment, his oral hygiene improves tremendously (Fig.3) once his teeth are aligned pretty well.
Being lazy is human nature. Without constant persuasion or seeing his teeth getting straight with braces, Jason would not try hard to clean his teeth. Anyway, braces improves not only our physical appearance, but also mental health.
Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 09/06/2010, last revision 09/07/2010