Keeping gingivitis at bay:First, patients undergoing orthodontic treatment experience changes in the way they take care of their teeth and, for this reason, we recommend that patients receive more frequent dental cleanings during orthodontic treatment to help prevent gingivitis. It is important to keep teeth clean during orthodontic treatment so the gums respond in a healthy, natural way. When teeth are clean, the orthodontic experience is more comfortable for the patient, and the results are nicer. And after the teeth are aligned, it is easier for patients to keep gingivitis at bay in the long term since aligned teeth are easier to clean.
Preventing gum recession:A second way in which orthodontics can affect gum health is gum recession. One of the causes of gum recession is a tooth not being centered in the jaw bone. The opportunity to treat growing patients allows the orthodontist to direct the teeth to come in more centered in the bone; this results in better gum quality around those teeth in the long run.
Sometimes, gum recession issues completely resolve due to orthodontic treatment. Other times, patients with pre-existing gum recession may need grafting to resolve it, either before or after orthodontics, and the patient is referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) for treatment. Generally, the gums of growing patients are more resilient and therefore can regenerate more easily than the gums of adults.