Orthodontic treatment can provide you with your most attractive and even smile. The orthodontics procedure differs slightly for each patient, depending on his or her oral health, specific concerns, and chosen orthodontic method.
To achieve the best results with braces, your orthodontist may recommend that you have a few other procedures done first. In this blog, we list four dental procedures that sometimes must be performed before braces can be applied.
The position and health of your gums can factor into how successful your orthodontic treatment is. Before placing your braces, your orthodontist may ask you to have a frenectomy.
A frenectomy is a short procedure during which a periodontist or oral surgeon removes or modifies a gingival frenum. You’ll find frenula between each of your lips and your gums, known as gingival frenula, as well as under your tongue, called a lingual frenum. Each frenum consists of a thin piece of connective tissue.
Gingival frenula can affect the thickness and position of your gums. If a frenum appears to be pulling your gums too far away from your teeth or if a frenum appears too short, your orthodontist may recommend removing the tissue. A frenectomy allows your teeth to move as part of an orthodontic regimens without the danger of tooth loss that can come from too little gum support.
- Gum Treatment
Mild gum disease, also called gingivitis, is extremely common. However, it’s unwise to begin orthodontic treatment while suffering from gingivitis. Because braces complicate your oral routine, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to resolve gum health problems on your own while caring for your braces.
If you have inflamed or bleeding gums, your orthodontist may ask that you complete gum disease treatment before starting braces. This treatment may include scaling to remove the bacteria and planing to alter the surface of the teeth and reduce the risk of future infections. Generally, this treatment can be completed at your dentist’s office.
- Gum Grafts
Gum tissue that sits low on your teeth or that has pulled away from the surface of your teeth often does not provide enough support for orthodontia. While a frenectomy or gum treatment may help, some patients still have inadequate support after these procedures.
In this situation, your orthodontist may refer you to a periodontist for gum grafts. To place a gum graft, your periodontist removes a small amount of tissue from another part of your mouth and connects it to the gum tissue in question. The graft itself often comes from the roof of your mouth.
The periodontist uses oral stitches to place the graft. These stitches dissolve over time so you will most likely not have to return to have them removed. The grafts may take one to two weeks to heal, after which you’ll have higher and tauter gums that can better handle braces.
- Tooth Extraction
Orthodontia can involve several different techniques to produce the desired result. If you have teeth that are crowded, severely discolored, or abnormally sized, your orthodontist may have one tooth or more removed.
In crowded mouths, tooth extraction can provide enough room for braces to create a more uniform smile. In other situations, your orthodontist may recommend removing a tooth initially and replacing it with an implant or bridge so that the tooth in question better matches your new smile.
Want to know how you can best prepare for your braces? Consult with your orthodontist. In addition to recommending procedures that simplify the braces process, your orthodontist may also suggest changing your oral hygiene routine or diet to make the transition easier.