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Braces

Discoloration of teeth

02/19/2006

Question:

Hi Doctor, My son just had his top braces removed on Monday after wearing them for a little over 2 years. I was shocked to see that where the braces were looked like the normal color of teeth but above the brace line, it looks like bright white build up of some kind. Can you tell me what happened, what may have caused this and how to correct it? Thank you.

Answer:

Without seeing a picture of the actual area I can only comment in a general way.

This is probably mild decalcification of the enamel from the area adjacent to the bracket. It can occur if the person is somewhat forgetful about brushing on a regular basis. Orthodontists stress brushing frequency in their written instructions and in their comments with each visit. I rather imagine that it was discussed with your son, about the need for frequent brushing, avoiding carbonated drinks with high sugar content, or the risks of just leaving plaque around the braces, among some of the causes.

Some patients are more susceptible than others. If he was having regular check ups with your general dentist and had regular cleanings by the hygienist, information should have transpired there. Now as to what can be done is dependent on the severity. Certainly this should be discussed with your orthodontist and general dentist. Sometimes switching to a different fluoride- containing dentifrice will help with the re-mineralization of the area. Sometimes polishing the areas helps. Often the enamel re-mineralization takes several months. All this can vary from patient to patient.

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University