Ortho and Quality of Life

Impact on quality of life

Smiling Girl with Braces

Smiling is known to help reduce stress,1 so having the confidence to smile often could go some way to making every day life better for an individual. There is also a study postulating a correlation between genuine smiles and laughter and an elevated pain-threshold.2 Where a patient is self-conscious about their anterior teeth, they will often hide their mouths when eating or speaking and, in serious cases, this might lead to avoidance of social situations altogether.

An increasingly common issue

According to a recent survey by the British Orthodontic Society (BOS), the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK is on the rise.3 Orthodontic treatment is therefore not just about improving appearance, but may also have an impact on self-esteem, wellbeing and quality of life. There has been significant growth in the options available in recent years, leading to thedevelopment of highly discreet and aesthetic solutions, increased awareness of dentistry among the general population and enhanced marketing campaigns by dental practices.

Impact on oral health

Braces Mouth

Studies have suggested that fixed appliances increase the risk of plaque accumulation on the tooth surface, both around the attachment and between it and the gingival margin due to the increased difficulty of cleaning.4 The build up of supragingival plaque is the main aetiological factor in periodontal disease and if left untreated it can lead to attachment loss.5 Research also demonstrates a significant increase in the prevalence and severity of demineralisation following orthodontic treatment. The most commonly affected teeth are the molars, maxillary lateral incisors, mandibular canines and premolars, with overall prevalence amongst orthodontic patients ranging from 2 to 97%.6,7,8

A 2016 study that compared 13 orthodontic patients being treated for Class I malocclusion to 12 dental students without orthodontic appliances found some other interesting results.9 Plaque levels remained stable among those surveyed with orthodontic appliances, and yet their gingivitis and probing depths increased. No attachment loss was identified so the pocketing was thought to be related to gingival inflammation. In addition, the study group reported increases in oral malodour until the seventh month, compared to the control group that had stable oral health and oral malodour scores throughout the study time frame.

This again could cause patients to hid their mouths when speaking and, in serious cases, this might lead to avoidance of social situations altogether.

Optimising maintenance

Smiling Girl with Braces

We all know that oral health can be compromised when a patient undergoes orthodontic treatment. Cleaning around and between fixed brackets and wires can be challenging, so it’s important that patients receive tailored advice and adjunctive products they need to improve their home care routines.

It is clearly important to help patients maintain a high level of oral health while they are undergoing orthodontic treatment and beyond, particularly if their treatment involves fixed appliances. The Waterpik® Water Flosser offers an easy-to-use solution that enables patients to access even the hard to reach areas of the mouth for enhanced cleaning interdentally and between brackets. The Complete Care system combines a high-end Sonic Toothbrush with a Waterpik® Water Flosser for maximum convenience and superior dental cleaning. The Water Flosser is also available with a specially designed Orthodontic Tip, which features a tapered head that generates a gentle water flow to effectively remove plaque around orthodontic brackets and wires. In addition, it has even been clinically proven to deliver better results that string floss when used by patients with orthodontic appliances.10

Does water flossing hurt?


The short answer, is no. In fact, water flossing is much kinder to the gums than string flossing, making it more comfortable to use. The pulsating water has a soothing effect on the gums, which could be particularly useful for teenagers and adults undergoing orthodontic treatment.

For more information, check out our patient informational leaflets.

Sources

  1. Kraft TL, Pressman SD. Grin and bear it: The influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychological science. 2012 Nov; 23 (11): 1372-8.
  2. Dunbar, Robin IM, et al. "Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences (2011): rspb20111373.
  3. British Orthodontic Society. News. New BOS survey reveals the rising number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK. Pub. 25 July 2016. Link: http://www.bos.org.uk/News-and-Events/News [Accessed October 2016].
  4. Chang, H. S., Walsh, L. J., & Freer, T. J. (1997). Enamel demineralization during orthodontic treatment. Aetiology and prevention. Australian Dental Journal, 42 (5), 322-327.
  5. Sharma, N. C., Lyle, D. M., Qaqish, J. G., & Schuller, R. (2012). Comparison of two power interdental cleaning devices on plaque removal. The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, XXIII (1), 17-21.
  6. Chang, H. S., Walsh, L. J., & Freer, T. J. (1997). Enamel demineralization during orthodontic treatment. Aetiology and prevention. Australian Dental Journal, 42 (5), 322-327.
  7. Sharma, N. C., Lyle, D. M., Qaqish, J. G., & Schuller, R. (2012). Comparison of two power interdental cleaning devices on plaque removal. The Journal of Clinical Dentistry, XXIII (1), 17-21.
  8. Migliorati, M., Isaia, L., Cassaro, A., et al. (2014). Efficacy of professional hygiene and prophylaxis on preventing plaque increase in orthodontic patients with multibracket appliances: a systematic review. European Journal of Orthodontics, 1-11.
  9. Sökücü O, Akpinar A, Özdemir Hakan, Birlik M, Çalişir. The effect of fixed appliances on oral malodour from beginning of treatment till 1 year. Sökücü et al. BMC Oral Health (2016) 16:14 DOI 10.1186/s12903-016-0174-3
  10. Sharma NC, Lyle DM, Qaqish JG, Galustians J, Schuller R. Effect of a dental water jet with orthodontic tip on plaque and bleeding in adolescent patients with fixed orthodontic appliances. Am J Ortho Dentofacial Orthop 2008; 133(4):565-571.