White Spots and Braces

A common problem among patients who wear braces is the formation of white spots on teeth that occur during orthodontic treatment. These spots can cause your teeth to appear chalky, even after your braces are removed, making your orthodontic treatment more disappointing than successful.

Why does this happen?

Although many people believe that braces are the cause of these white spots, the truth is that the white spots are a result of plaque build-up, just like any other form of tooth decay. Even though braces are not directly responsible for the white spots, they can complicate the process of plaque removal. The white patches appear when acid –created by plaque – removes the minerals from the tooth surface. This process is called dental decalcification. Decalcification commonly affects the area between the gums and the brackets where plaque is hard to remove.

How can you prevent this from happening?

The easiest way to prevent white spots from appearing on your teeth during or after orthodontic treatment, is by brushing your teeth regularly, and keeping plaque to a minimum. When brushing your teeth, be sure to focus on areas that are obstructed by your wires and brackets. Using an oral irrigator or air-flosser is an effective way of reaching in between the brackets. You may also want to avoid sodas and other food that contain a high level of sugar or acid, as these cause plaque to build-up faster. Cleaning visits to the oral hygienist every 3 months is also very effective in reducing the formation of white lesions

How can you make the spots disappear once you already have it?

The first step in reversing the effects of white spots, is to improve your oral hygiene and meticulously brush your teeth to allow the tooth enamel to re-mineralize the tooth surfaces. Fortunately, with a good oral hygiene routine, all white spots will improve over time, and minor spots may disappear altogether.

If you find that the white spots are taking too long to disappear, contact a dentist in Cape Town today, for a low concentration of fluoride rinses and remineralization pastes that will improve the appearance of white spots, fast.