Braces and Bleeding Gums: What Does it Mean?
By Kellyn Hodges on March 13, 2014
We all know that the end results of good orthodontic work make braces well worth the effort - but while you’re wearing them, they can be frustrating. Between periodic check-ups and tightening, you may experience new complications like tender, swollen, and even bleeding gums. But by understanding the causes of bleeding gums and braces, you can keep these symptoms to a minimum. From her Philadelphia offices, Dr. Kellyn Hodges gives patients with braces the tools to fight bleeding gums and maintain a healthier smile.
What Causes Bleeding Gums with Braces?
Across the board, the most common cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis or gum disease. But why does this seem to occur more often among patients with braces?
In most cases, the answer may be as simple as the fact that teeth with traditional braces can be harder to clean. It takes a lot of effort to properly brush and floss under wires and between the folds of rubber bands, and it’s in these spaces that bacteria can grow unchecked. That’s a situation that can quickly lead to gingivitis and even advanced gum disease, not to mention cavities and tooth discoloration. Extra attention must be paid to your dental hygiene routine while you have braces, in order to keep bacteria and plaque buildup at bay and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
With that said, gum infections are not always the cause. Bleeding gums accompanied by sharp pain can be a sign that the wires of your braces have not been cut correctly, and could be digging into your gums. It could also be a sign that you have sensitive skin that is being injured by the brackets or wires of braces. These problems can cause real long-lasting damage, making your mouth vulnerable to the potential for infection. If bleeding and pain are significant, talk to your orthodontist about other options.
What Can I Do to Stop Bleeding Gums?
The best defense against gingivitis and periodontitis is good dental hygiene. Tools like an electric toothbrush, a water pik flossing alternative, or even simple plastic floss threaders can all go a long way toward helping you obtain a better level of dental care during your journey with braces.
Another tactic your orthodontist may recommend is a change of the type of braces that you are using. Orthodontic systems such as Invisalign® utilize a series of clear plastic aligner trays that can be removed for activities like eating and brushing your teeth, making it much easier to control your dental hygiene routine and keep food particles from getting stuck and causing trouble. Dr. Hodges and her team of orthodontists offer a range of orthodontic alternatives, from Invisalign® to “retainers only” treatments, all of which can help you maintain your dental health while working toward a straighter set of teeth.
Contact an Experienced Orthodontist Today
With the right orthodontist and treatment plan, braces do not have to be a painful experience. Contact the orthodontic office of Dr. Kellyn Hodges to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options for traditional and alternative braces today.