Healthy oral cavities are free from disease. Disease-free gingival tissue appears flat, pink, and stippled. Healthy enamel appears free of cavitation with no white spot lesions (WSL). A quick assessment of these areas provides the dental professional with the foresight to formulate home care recommendations as preventive treatment is being performed.
Before one can try to prevent disease from occurring, they must have an understanding of what is the cause of a particular disease. The biggest concerns for disease with an orthodontic patient are decalcifications, dental caries and periodontal disease. These are caused from the lack of comprehensive plaque removal. Over 700 microbial species of bacteria have been identified in dental plaque with some specific to dental disease.3
Within Dr. Esther Wilkins' dental hygiene textbook “Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist” there are four pages of information regarding care of dental appliances pertaining to orthodontic appliances. Quite frankly, this is a great overview, but in order to really help the orthodontic patient the dental practitioner needs to learn how to clean around these appliances hands-on. It is no secret the key to good oral health revolves around the reduction of harmful bacteria present within the mouth. This bacteria is contained within plaque and can cause destruction of the tooth enamel or the periodontium depending on the type of bacteria present. The prevention of dental disease is not just about brushing and flossing to remove plaque, but also through understanding the disease process and the products available to assist in arrestment of the progression.
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