Getting Dental Work Done with Braces - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Getting Dental Work Done with Braces

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Patient with braces receiving dental help

During your time with braces, you will see an orthodontist regularly. However, even though an orthodontist is a specialist with your oral health, they do not take the place of dentists. Having braces is a time when many children, teens and even adults get tooth decay easier or they start to develop gum disease. You need a dentist for problems such as these. Find out how to care for your braces, why dental appointments are so important during this time, and what to do if you need dental work done with braces.


Orthodontists Vs. Dentists

Did you know that all orthodontists are technically dentists as well? Dentists and orthodontists alike must receive 4 years of undergraduate education, and they must attend dental school for 4 years. The difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is that an orthodontist received an extra 2-3 years or training in orthodontics after dental school was over. They may even have done a fellowship where they trained in additional orthodontic procedures. Not everyone will need an orthodontist. People only have an orthodontist if they want to straighten their teeth or fix their bite and alignment. However, everyone needs dental work from time to time to keep their dental health in check.


Girl with braces smiling

Dental Work and Braces: How Does It Work?

Do you have to keep seeing a dentist if you are already seeing an orthodontist? The answer is yes! You definitely need to receive dental work or routine services during your orthodontic treatment. Even though orthodontists are trained in dentistry, they generally only perform orthodontic procedures on patients. In some cases, a person can become licensed to perform both dental work and orthodontics, but they both require so much certification and work that it’s better to focus on one area.


Dental work includes services such as:

  • Comprehensive exams and dental cleanings
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Tooth extractions and wisdom teeth removal
  • Laser dentistry and laser tissue treatments
  • Gum disease treatments, plus scaling and root planing
  • Dental sealants
  • Sleep apnea therapy devices
  • Dental implants, bridges and dentures
  • Porcelain veneers and crowns
  • Dental botox
  • Root canal treatments
  • Teeth whitening treatments
  • Cavity fillings and cosmetic bonding


Orthodontists provide services such as:

  • Metal braces for straightening
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces, their design and their fitting
  • Invisalign treatment
  • Bite and alignment fix
  • Surgical orthodontics
  • Temporary anchorage devices
  • Retainers
  • Child orthodontics and dental appliances to keep the teeth straight


Some dentists do provide services such as Invisalign or Invisalign Teen to help straighten the teeth. Both dentists and orthodontists can do surgical procedures to remove teeth or help fix them, but it depends on their individual training and licensing. It’s best to always stick to a dentist for dental issues and an orthodontist for straightening, bite and alignment procedures. Staying with the professional that is specialized and licensed in that area will provide you will the best results. When it comes to dental work during your time with braces, dentists will have to work with an orthodontist to fix dental problems and vice versa.


Girl with braces having a dental or orthodontic examination

Getting a Cavity Fixed with Braces

If you find that you are starting to have tooth pain or swelling in an area of your mouth, definitely schedule an appointment with a dentist right away. You should also call our office to see if your dental symptoms are a normal side-effect of your orthodontic treatment. There is always some soreness after you get your braces tightened if you have lingual, metal or ceramic braces. However, your pain will be a bit different if the problem is a toothache. You will feel pain in your actually tooth instead of your jawline as a whole. If the problem is decay, a broken or cracked tooth, or some other injury, that pain won’t simply just go away.


Generally, aches and pains caused by tooth decay tend to get worse. A toothache on Monday may be unbearable by Wednesday or Thursday. If you notice something is off with a tooth, call us just to be safe. At your appointment, we can take x-rays of your teeth to see if there is a cavity causing your symptoms. If there is a cavity present, we can approach it in a few ways:

  1. We can treat a surface cavity as we would normally, if it is not covered by a bracket or wire. Cavities often happen on the tops of the teeth where there are cracks and places where food and plaque get stuck. These are easy cavity fillings we can perform.
  2. Your orthodontist can remove your archwire for a few hours, and even up to a few days in order for you to have a cavity treated. This can happen for cavities on the surface that are blocked by the wire.
  3. If decay is severe and there isn’t a good way to get to it with your braces on, we can wait until after your orthodontic treatment IF you are not having pain and symptoms. That only happens in certain situations, especially if you are close to being done with your orthodontic treatment.


Your Dental Health

When you have braces on your teeth, you have to go the extra mile with cleaning your teeth to avoid tooth decay. That means brushing your teeth just about after every meal and flossing more than once a day. You also want to not only be seeing an orthodontist, but a dentist as well. The best option for cavities and treating them is to do it before you get braces. Schedule an appointment about 2 weeks or so before your braces get put on so we can find cavities and treat them without any hassle.


Keep seeing your dentist every 6 months during your time with braces, even when you are seeing us every 4-6 weeks. Doing both will ensure that you don’t have decay, erosion and more on your beautiful teeth when those braces come off. To ask us dental questions during your orthodontic treatment, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!