Side Effects Of orthodontic Braces

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Reasons to have a braces consultation for fitting

Braces treatment is getting more and more popular in London lately, with adults who want to have beautiful straight teeth. A number of our orthodontic braces patients in London Waterloo are adults patients above the age of 30. If you want to create beautiful straight teeth, our orthodontists at Whites Dental can help. We provide a range of braces treatments from two clinics in London, including Damon Fast braces, Ceramic braces, Invisalign braces, clear braces and also hidden lingual braces. Why not book a consult with our dentists to start your journey to a new smile.

There is no doubt orthodontic treatment boosts your self-confidence and gives you the perfect smile. The process, however, may have some side effects. Be sure to discuss your worries with your orthodontist before starting your treatment. Braces can achieve amazing results in helping you straighten your teeth and correct misalignment or poor bites, but there are many factors you should consider before undergoing treatment. Mild discomfort is normal and anticipated after orthodontic treatment. The braces are working to shift your teeth into proper alignment and this results in mouth pain and sometimes headaches.

In this article, we will be talking about some of the most common side effects and problems that patients are known to experience during treatment.

Discomfort after tightening

When you’re wearing a brace, the wires must generally be tightened every four to six weeks in order to gradually move the teeth into their correct position. These adjustments apply pressure to the teeth which can cause some discomfort or pain. Some patients experience soreness in their teeth or jaw for a few days after the adjustment, and the pressure on your teeth can cause your gums to be tender. Luckily, this pain is usually short-lived and can be easily managed with painkillers.

Oral hygiene issues

You may have heard stories of people having braces developing tooth decay or gum disease as a result but this is not true. Wearing braces does not have a harmful effect on your oral health; it simply requires more attention to maintain. When you are wearing a brace, it’s very important to brush and floss your teeth after eating in order to keep the area clean and free of bacteria, but there is no reason the braces themselves should affect your oral health.

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Injuries from your appliance

It is highly unlikely that your brace itself will cause you any injuries but it is possible for this to happen on occasion. Loose or broken wires and brackets can scratch or irritate the cheeks, gums or lips, so it’s important to get breaks fixed as soon as they occur. You can reduce the likelihood of harming your appliance by avoiding hard and crunchy foods as these can catch in the wires or brackets.

Mouth ulcers or canker sores

When your brace is first fitted, you may observe ulcers or sores inside your mouth caused by the appliance rubbing against your cheeks and lips. Over time, the inside of your mouth will become resilient to this contact and the sores will disappear. Until then, if you find your brace causing continued discomfort to the soft tissue of your mouth, you can try using orthodontic wax strips which will help form a protective barrier between your brace and cheeks.

Damaged Tooth Root

Each tooth comes in 2 different parts- the ‘crown’ portion that is visible as the white part in the mouth and is used to chew and bite. And the ‘root’ part that is found below the crown and anchors the tooth into the socket inside the bone. This bone part is covered by gums. When your orthodontist tightens your braces, they apply forces on your teeth to bring about their movement. It is the root portion of the tooth that is moving, as your bone changes shape to make room for it. This movement of the tooth leads to erosion of the roots and is a normal sequel of orthodontic treatment. However, when forces in excess of what a tooth can tolerate are applied to it, this root erosion increases. In many cases, root erosion causes tooth damage and can even cause the death of the tooth.


About 70-95% of orthodontic patients experience pain at least once, during their brace’s treatment. Whenever your doctor tightens the wires in braces to apply forces on your teeth, it leads to some discomfort in your teeth, which may be interpreted in the range of pressure to pain.  When excessive forces are applied, it can cause severe pain. In fact, in some cases, the pain is so much that the patients are unable to tolerate it and it causes them to discontinue their treatment midway.

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While it may be a limiting factor to some patients, many orthodontists advise them to take pain killers to relieve the pain.

Tooth Death

Orthodontic tooth alignment using braces can lead to tooth damage. It can also cause the death of a tooth. Each tooth contains a layer called the pulp. The pulp is made up of blood vessels and nerves that keeps the tooth alive. When fixed braces are tightened, they apply forces to your teeth, causing mild inflammation that arises in this pulp layer. This reaction diminishes when the forces on the tooth have reduced in due course of time. This is one of the major side effects of bracesIn a lot of cases, there may be excessive forces applied on a tooth or a few teeth that results in chronic inflammation of the pulp layer. This chronic inflammation can damage the pulp and result in a dead tooth.

Damaged Gums and Bone

So, we have established that the teeth move within the bone they are lodged in. This bone is covered by pink gums. While oral hygiene needs to be maintained in individuals without braces, the need for oral hygiene maintenance needs to increase in individuals with braces. This is because braces tend to accumulate more food particle and plaque on them. Not cleaning them in time or not doing so properly will result in gum disease known as gingivitis. If gingivitis is not treated in time, it can spread to the underlying bone tissues, which is responsible for keeping the tooth strongly anchored. If this situation occurs this will lead to the loosening of the tooth/teeth involved, infection, and pus discharge, etc., all of which can delay or hamper orthodontic treatment.

Top 4 Factors leading to Damaged Gums

The extent of damage to the gums and underlying bone depends on several factors such as:

  • Patient’s oral hygiene
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Habits such as smoking or tobacco chewing
  • Food routine of the patient.

Increased Cavities

Just like orthodontic treatment leads to side effects on the gums and bone, it also results in an increased risk of dental cavities. Poor oral hygiene is common in orthodontic patient which in turn leads to accumulation of food debris and plaque that contain bacteria on the teeth. These bacteria produce white demineralised spots which eventually lead to dental cavities if not spotted on time.

TMJ or the Jaw joint problems

TMJ or the Jaw joint is the joint that is responsible for biting, chewing, talking movements and that moves the lower jaw. One of the main causes of this jaw problem is the incorrect bite or alignment of the teeth inside the mouth. Though orthodontic treatment is responsible for the patient’s new teeth position, if the treatment is not done properly, it can aggravate the existing jaw problem or cause the TMJ to develop a new problem. TMJ problems can result in pain in the jaw or associated muscles, discomfort, difficulty in opening the mouth, difficulty in chewing, and much more.

If you are looking for additional reading material on brace’s treatments in London, you can visit our braces page .

Why don’t you come see us at Whites Dental for a consultation to discuss your options further? At Whites Dental we have some of the leading orthodontic dentists in London Bridge, who provide fixed braces, Damon braces, Six month smiles and Invisalign braces to patients near us in Elephant and Castle, London Bridge, Central London, Southwark and London Waterloo. Our webpage provides information on how to find a good orthodontist in London.

We are conveniently based in London Waterloo, adjacent to Waterloo mainline train station and across the road from Southwark Tube station. We are also a 10 minutes’ walking distance from London Bridge, Elephant and Castle tube station and Borough Market and 5 minutes’ walking distance from Blackfriars and Southbank stations.

Steps to take to be prepared for braces

1. Spend extra time cleaning your teeth

It is important to be aware that you will need to spend additional time brushing and flossing your teeth. Braces can trap food and if you fail to clean that food and the surrounding area may result in plaque build-up and bacteria.

2. Limit your intake of certain foods

To avoid the headache of diligently cleaning your teeth after eating sticky and hard to clean foods, you may begin to limit your consumption. Popcorn, gum, taffy should be avoided, depending on the type of braces you choose.

3. Maintaining your retainer

Some orthodontic treatments include removable appliances such as retainers or Invisalign. You need to spend time daily to thoroughly clean such appliances as to avoid bacteria growth.

4. Make time for dental appointments

How often you see your orthodontist will depend on the type of braces you choose. You should be aware of the investment on your time. Remember, however, that this is only temporary.

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5. Make some lifestyle changes

Braces may interfere with your lifestyle. Wearing braces with oral jewellery, such as a tongue piercings, can cause damage to the gums and teeth. Some oral instruments, such as the flute and saxophone can be very difficult to play while wearing braces. Such musicians may choose Invisalign as their best option since it can be removed for short periods of time as necessary.

6. Costs

The cost of fixed braces varies on a number of factors. These factors include the severity of the problem. The more severe the issue, the longer it will take to correct and therefore the greater the cost will be. The type of braces you choose will vary the cost. The type of orthodontic treatment you choose, however, may also be a factor of how quickly results occur.

If you are looking for additional reading material on braces treatments in London, you can visit our braces page via the link below –

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