Brushing with Braces

Jan 12, 2012 Comments Off on Brushing with Braces by

Brushing with braces is extremely important if a person who is undergoing orthodontics is avoid marks forming on the teeth and the gums swelling during orthodontic treatment. If brushing is accomplished properly during the treatment period there is no need to worry that anything bad will happen during the time that orthodontics is being completed.

Brushing with braces is definitely different that brushing without braces. The most common mistake is that people feel that all they have to do is to move the brush back and forth and that is all there is to it. By simply moving the toothbrush back and forth all that is actually accomplished is that the braces are polished by the bristles of the brush. Braces are polished in the factory so it does no good to repolish them.

Proper brushing is all about getting past the metal work and actually getting to the teeth and the gum tissues. Now how is this best accomplished? The best technique, in the opinion of the author of this article, is to divide brushing with braces into two separate steps. Such an approach can aptly be described as thePush and Wiggletechnique.

The Push and Wiggle technique of brushing with braces consists of holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle. In the case of the upper teeth, the bristles of the brush are angled upward toward the nose and the bristles are then pushed past the braces until the bristles make light contact with the gum tissue. Only upon achieving the actual contact of the bristles and the gum tissue is any movement of the brush initiated. That is where the “ wiggle” now comes in. What is meant by a wiggle is that the bristles are just jiggled from side to side. When the bristles are pushed up as described, the brush typically covers a span or two or three teeth in one placement of the brush in this manner. The brush is then retracted out of its position and placed in a new location covering the next two or three teeth and the process is repeated until all the teeth and associated gum tissue is cleaned and stimulated by this technique in the upper dental arch. After this is completed with the bristles angulated in an upward direction in brushing the upper teeth, the bristles are now angulated downward with the bristles of the brush now angled toward the patient’s chin and the brush is placed at the gum line at a 45 degree angle and are pushed downward past the metal work of the braces. This is done repeatedly until the all the teeth are brushed in the upper arch in this manner.

The Push and Wiggle techniques is then used in the same manner in the lower dental arch. That is, of course, accomplished by angulating the bristles of the brush at a 45 degree angle in exactly the same manner as described above only this time the lower teeth and gums are cleaned and exercised.

The critical distinction, again, with this Push and Wiggle technique is that the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned and the gum tissue is exercised because the bristles are directed in such a manner that they can actually reach their intended targets of the teeth and the gums by beginningno motion whatsoever until they have arrived at the correct position.

After the Push and Wiggle technique has been used to brush the areas of the teeth associated with the braces, then the rest of the teeth surfaces of the teeth not associated with the braces (the chewing surfaces and the tongue sides of the teeth)  can be brushed in the usual way that most people instinctively use in brushing their teeth.

If one concentrates, the entire process of brushing with braces should only take 1 ½ minutes.

Blog, News

About the author

Dr. Heinrich has decades of experience in the clinical practice of orthodontics. He received his dental degree (D.D.S.) from Temple University, served two years in the U.S. Air force as a dentist and then received his master’s degree (M.S.D.) in orthodontics from Saint Louis University, which is very well known for its strong clinical program in orthodontics.
Comments are closed.