Getting braces as a teenager or even as an adult can be a seemingly scary process. While you are caging your crooked teeth and jaw to get them in proper form, sometimes, this process is met with resistance and pain.
One such cause of pain is gums growing over your braces. Though it may sound alarming, it usually follows an easy treatment process. It can also be prevented from happening (because prevention is always better than cure).
The effectiveness of braces, along with the continued health of the oral cavity, increases with the ability of the patient to follow strict instructions.
Why Do People Get Braces?
While braces are used by people of all ages, they are more common as an orthodontic treatment among children and teenagers. Orthodontics focuses on the use of different appliances to straighten teeth and correct a misaligned jaw.
Braces take longer to work on adult teeth and jaw since the bone and tissue are fully developed. They show better and quicker results with growing children as it is easier to mold and realign their facial structure. However, with advancements in knowledge and technology, more adults are getting braces today compared to decades ago.
The purpose behind the realignment of teeth is more than to get the ‘ideal’ look. Some people have a crooked smile and wish to get the perfect toothpaste-ad smile, while others want to shift their teeth and correct any spaces between them.
Besides correcting insecurities, braces also help in getting rid of pain related to various dental issues. Malpositioned teeth may cause breathing problems in some individuals. This can further evolve into snoring or sleep apnea. Braces would help restructure the teeth so as to improve breathing. They also help improve overbites.
In some people, skewed teeth or a misaligned jaw is the cause of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. This aggravating syndrome causes jaw pain and headaches. Realignment of the teeth and jaw with the help of braces is part of TMJ therapy. It provides relief from a lifetime of pain.
While braces correct insecurities and provide pain relief through the realignment of crooked and crowded teeth, these devices can sometimes also be the cause of pain. The road leading to perfect teeth is not perfect and can be painful.
Why Are My Gums Growing Over the Braces?
Braces can come with their own set of problems. Patients with braces may suffer from pain, swelling, and irritation around the gum. The risk factor for gum disease, cavities, teeth staining, bad breath, etc., also increases with the introduction of braces and lack of proper oral care.
Besides causing your gums to swell, braces also contribute to the pain by irritating the gums so much so that they start to grow over them! You read that right. Sometimes, gums grow over braces. It is known as gingival hypertrophy or hyperplasia.
One of the reasons for gums growing over braces is simply a painful reaction of the tissue against the presence of the braces. This overgrowth of tissue is triggered by improper oral hygiene.
The new addition of braces makes it harder for individuals to practice proper dental hygiene. The inability to clean the teeth properly leads to remnants of food getting stuck in the crooks and crannies of the braces. It also leads to a buildup of plaque.
Plaque is a sticky biofilm composed of bacteria that keeps your teeth constant company. These bacteria feed off the food you consume and multiply. If remnants of food are not properly brushed away, it provides a playground for the bacteria to grow and contributes to the buildup of plaque.
Plaque plays a role in gum diseases, cavity formation, and inflammation such as gingivitis. This is what contributes to the swelling and overgrowth of gums over the braces.
What Are the Possible Treatments?
There is no reason to panic. The overgrowth is reversible, and the swelling can be reduced. Since poor oral care is the cause of the problem, stringent effort must be made to improve your routine.
Braces hinder your ability to clean your teeth properly. However, once your gums swell or overgrow, it doubles the difficulty level. To break the cycle of poor hygiene and pain, make sure you are extra attentive and halt the growth at its earliest.
Consult your dental hygienist. You will be provided with special cleaning supplies such as an interproximal brush to get around the tricky spots of your braces. Water flossers or water irrigators will help you deal with the plaque hidden between the wires of the braces and your teeth.
If not shown, ask the hygienist to demonstrate the proper technique for the use of the cleaning supplies.
Additionally, make use of non-alcohol-based mouthwashes to rinse after meals and avoid eating sticky, hard, chewy food—anything that has the potential of getting wedged well into the wires of your braces.
Lastly, do not skip out on your doctor’s appointments. Make sure you increase the frequency of visiting your dentist’s chair and get regular cleanings for the entire duration of your orthodontic treatment.
The overgrowth and pain should resolve with proper treatment and care. In case the symptoms do not ease, notify a professional. In certain cases, the growth subdues only after the removal of the braces. Let your dentist decide the best course of action.
Brace Yourself—You Are Getting the Smile of Your Dreams!
Nowadays, braces are for everyone looking to soothe their insecurities, get that perfect Hollywood smile, and ease their pain. They come in different materials and are used for different treatments.
However, sometimes, you need to brace yourself for the pain that they bring. In the new world of braces, where pressure is being applied to correct shape and align teeth, your gums could react negatively.
As scary as it sounds, gums growing over braces is treatable and reversible. It mostly involves maintaining a strict oral hygiene routine and fighting the bacteria from setting up shop. Once you conquer the teeth demons, you will be well on your way to a perfect smile!