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Can You Put Braces on Root Canals?

Root canals and braces are not mutually exclusive

When we talk about orthodontics, we also talk about the treatment plan that an orthodontist follows in an orderly manner before installing orthodontic braces or removable appliances.

Indeed, before starting orthodontic treatment, the specialist follows a protocol that includes X-ray examinations and an evaluation of the state of the teeth, gums, and bone tissues.

All these complementary tests make sense when it comes to dental health. For example, if an orthodontist skips a step from the protocol, a patient may develop a problem that could produce adverse effects like weakening a tooth.

Orthodontic braces exert pressure on the teeth that we know as orthodontic forces. If a tooth is weak, a patient seeking a solution to align their teeth might end up losing a dental piece (tooth loss), which is a big problem.

In this article, we discuss one of the bad boys of dental medicine, root canal treatment or endodontics, and how it affects orthodontic treatment. In short, is endodontics really as bad as we think? Let’s check this out.

What Is a Root Canal?

When a cavity is very deep, it can affect the nerve and cause an infection in the roots of a tooth. The dental treatment to follow is endodontic treatment (kill the nerve).

To do this, an endodontist removes all the infectious material from the tooth. Next, the specialist uses a series of files of different lengths and widths, carefully inserting them inside the canal to remove all the infected material from the roots.

Then, he rinses the tooth’s inner part with a disinfectant liquid and proceeds to dry it. Finally, the endodontist seals the roots and the tooth’s interior. After finishing the procedure, the infection will gradually reabsorb until it disappears.

There are cases in which the destruction of the tooth is so significant that after the root canal, the tooth weakens, so it is necessary to make a crown. So, the specialist carves the tooth and takes molds to create the crown, and cements it to the tooth.

In general, endodontics is a dental procedure that consists of cleaning and sealing a tooth to prevent an infectious episode. It is usually the last opportunity before extraction and sometimes requires several visits.

The procedure is complex because accessing the inner filaments is difficult, and the instruments used to perform this work require extensive manipulation knowledge and concentration.

What Happens After a Root Canal?

After a root canal, it is normal to experience the following:

1.- Discomfort when chewing and inflammation of the area due to the mechanical manipulation of the surrounding tissues;

2.- Slight discomfort in the jaw joints (jaw pain) and;

3.- Difficulty opening the mouth.

If you feel persistent pain that increases after the root canal, schedule a consultation visit for an immediate check-up. Keep in mind that a small percentage of cases fail, even after excellent root canal work (endodontics). So, neglecting it can lead to losing a tooth.

Once the tooth is root canalized, you might need to have extra care with your tooth. There are some necessary dental care steps to follow:

1.- Maintain exhaustive dental hygiene. Endodontics (root canal) does not prevent caries or periodontal disease, and there is a high risk of relapse;

2.- If during the endodontics, the endodontist reconstructs the tooth, avoid overloading it when chewing;

3.- Follow the plan indicated by your dentist even if you do not feel pain and;

4.- Your tooth may change color over time, losing transparency and becoming darker, so you might want to get an internal whitening.

Can You Get a Root Canal Treatment Even With Braces?

Everyone can get cavities at any time and at any age. But why do cavities form? Cavities form when we don’t correctly remove bacterial plaque. Bacteria and food debris produce acids in the teeth.

The acids demineralize the dental tissue forming cavities. Cavities form holes that fill up with more bacteria and bacterial plaque. At this point, the question is whether to remove the cavities and do the root canal therapy or wait before the orthodontic treatment. The answer is that you need to remove caries and might eventually get a root canal immediately, even if you have orthodontic treatment in the course.

We know it isn’t easy to practice good oral hygiene with orthodontic treatment. However, if plaque accumulates, this will cause tooth decay, and a cavity might reach the nerve, which might cause tooth loss. 

In this case, the orthodontist could remove the archwires and brackets so that an endodontist can perform a root canal treatment.

Do Root Canals Affect Braces?

Root canal procedure does not significantly affect the tooth. When cleaning the canals, the endodontist removes the nerves, and the tooth can maintain vitality thanks to the periodontal tissue surrounding it that has tiny blood vessels. Therefore, the periodontal ligaments move with the teeth when braces exert pressure over the teeth.

However, at the end of the endodontics, it is essential to take into account some considerations. At the end of endodontics (root canal), the endodontist covers the tooth with a temporary filling that he replaces days later with a definitive filling, a reconstruction, or a cover.

This phase is as crucial as endodontics since a non-reconstructed endodontic tooth is prone to fractures. Fortunately, in very few cases, a root canal treated tooth fracture. However, fractures can occur due to restoration loss, caries, or predisposing factors such as bruxism.

For this reason, the endodontist must properly reconstruct the tooth to keep the tooth alive. Second, the patient must practice good oral hygiene habits to avoid the second occurrence of caries in the same tooth. Finally, it is necessary to adequately identify factors such as bruxism so that endodontics does not affect orthodontic treatment with brackets.

How Does a Root Canal Affect Invisalign Treatment?

Let’s twist the answer to the question a little bit. If a patient can undergo orthodontic treatment with braces, which is a little more invasive, then wearing Invisalign should be less problematic.

In fact, sometimes affixing brackets to a tooth with a crown or veneer is not the best option. Consequently, an orthodontist might see an alternative in Invisalign orthodontic appliances for treating your orthodontic condition when you previously had a root canal.

Furthermore, because Invisalign orthodontic appliances require no bracket bonding, the orthodontist might control the strain level in the tooth with a root canal by applying sustained less pressure over the tooth.

Oral Health Check-up Before, During, and After an Orthodontic Treatment

To start with Dr. Pavlo and Dr. Arrigo, you can fill out the Complimentary Exam Form. At Pavlo Orthodontics, we will ensure you are 100% ok with your oral health before entering an orthodontic treatment.

We assess our patients throughout the entire orthodontic procedure, from getting x-rays to cleaning a cavity before and during your treatment. So visit Pavlo Orthodontics at Peabody or schedule an appointment to start having a healthy and beautiful smile.