Addressing the oral care challenges posed by braces
By Katie Melko, RDH, MSDH
Braces, braces, braces—I don’t know about you, but I used to cringe when I got these patients in my chair. I knew that my appointment was going to be filled with poor oral hygiene and floss threaders galore. Now I welcome the changeup and don’t mind treating these patients, because I have finally found great resources and tools for both the patient and myself. As you know, orthodontics is an expensive process and it’s important for us to be able to educate parents and patients on all its aspects, from oral hygiene to nutrition.
Here’s a short overview of my recommendations: Always use an ultrasonic scaler; recommend the GumChucks flossing tool (OralWise, Inc.), a water flosser, and an electric toothbrush; provide education on a floss threader and Super Floss; and fluoride varnish at a recall appointment.
My must-have products for these appointments (with a little overlap with the suggestions I just mentioned) are: GumChucks, the Cavitron (Dentsply), 2pro disposable prophy angles (Premier Dental), Vera Advanced Bright prophy paste (Young Dental), and the Varnish Pen (Young Dental). These products help make appointments painless for the patient and provider.
If you use GumChucks during your appointments, not only are you introducing them to the parent and child during the visit by using it to floss, but you can also use it for oral health instruction and recommend this product for use at home. The company makes autoclavable handles for hygienists to use chairside; the consumer packages come with plastic handles.