The scenarios found in today’s dental care have forced many people to either get the dental care they need now or potentially pay for the unforeseen costs later. According to the ADA, about 35 percent of low-income adults feel embarrassed about the state of their teeth, and about 28 percent of young adults feel like their smile’s appearance affects their ability to get an interview for a job. Prevention is the key to reducing the costs of poor oral health; patients in situations where their oral health is heavily influenced by factors outside of their control, such as genetic predispositions or environmental factors, will often have to decide on what areas of dental treatment they need and can afford to improve the function and look of their teeth.
Many patients in these cases are often recommended to choose orthodontics as their source of care, but often not. These treatments lack the finesse to handle the aesthetic concerns of their patients. Improving appearance and health are two aspects of care that need to both be met, and through the right resources, restorative dentistry may be able to meet those demands more thoroughly than orthodontics.
Why Should Restorative Care Be Recommended First?
In cases where both orthodontic and restorative care is needed, it’s often left to the patient and their cooperation with their dental team to decide which treatments to go with first. While their dental teams need to cooperate on the logistics and plan side for their patients, patients themselves often need to make choices regarding what problems need to be treated first and in what fashion. Most would recommend orthodontic care due to the focus on alignment and jaw positioning, as those two factors greatly influence the effects of tooth and gum health. But for patients already facing complex issues such as root canal infections, severe tooth decay, and tooth sensitivity, orthodontic care may not be appropriate in those circumstances, as they don’t normally work to treat the immediate problems at hand.
What Problems Should Be Treated Before Getting Braces?
Some problems faced by people today can easily be more addressed through a restorative approach because there can be some corner cases where restorative treatment isn’t just recommended but necessary for them to progress. Some examples of this include:
- Broken or Fractured Teeth: Broken and fractured teeth need to be addressed before signs of malocclusion can be treated. In these cases, the fractured teeth need to be restored through bonding materials, crowns, and other restoration, leaving room for the orthodontist to perform their treatments.
- Impacted Teeth/Wisdom Teeth: Teeth that are impacted in the jawbone or undealt with wisdom teeth would need to be extracted before orthodontic alignment to avoid the issue of crossbites, overbites, and other signs of crowded teeth. However, in these cases, the extractions and restoration of the affected areas would need to be prepped beforehand to avoid further complications during the alignment process.
- Chronic Tooth Decay: Signs of severe tooth decay along the anterior and posterior teeth would also need to be corrected beforehand through enamel abrasions, crown placement, and other restorative treatments, as chronically decaying teeth can interfere with bracket placement and anchorage support.
While restorative dentistry is more often recommended, some cases need orthodontic treatment first to improve aesthetic outcomes. For better treatment planning outcomes, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist to learn more.