DR. S.V. SINGH, OMBUDSPERSON - E-mail ID: ombudsperson@santosh.ac.in

As with any treatment modality, there are risks and complications frequently encountered in orthodontic treatment. There are habits and techniques that can be utilized to minimize such risks and complications in the course of orthodontic treatment. Dental decay usually occurs on smooth surfaces and is a common complication in orthodontics.
Increased risk of dental decay during treatment is due to several factors, AND it could be anything from low Ph to increased bacterial flora to improper oral hygiene methods to anything.

Oral hygiene instructions is essential in all cases of orthodontic treatment, and the use of adjuncts such as power or electric toothbrushes, interproximal brushes, chlorhexidine mouthwashes, fluoride mouthwashes, and regular professional cleaning must be reinforced. However, patient motivation and dexterity are vital in the success of oral hygiene. Experience shows those who are unable to maintain a healthy oral environment in the absence of fixed orthodontics, will fail enormously with brackets and wires in place. In such patients, benefits may therefore significantly outweigh the risks of treatment.

Most patients are able to prevent these problems with a combination of proper diet, optimal self care such as tooth brushing and interdental cleaning, and regular checkups. Brushing teeth immediately after eating, using the proper techniques for brushing with braces, and even rinsing vigorously with water is helpful to prevent decay. Excellent oral hygiene and plaque removal are critical, as is avoidance or minimizing consumption of sugar, carbonated beverages and energy drinks, and between meal snacks.

Oral hygiene devices for making the process of cleaning orthodontics appliances are available. Rubber-tipped and end-tuft or single-tuft brushes, oral irrigators like the Waterpik, and antibacterial and fluoride rinses are a few. Cleaning removable appliance like aligners and retainers is important as well. While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a beginning to assist us in helping those undergoing orthodontic treatments to achieve optimal self care. Motivational interviewing is a technique that may help promote compliance with professionals’ recommendations.