Being dentally fit: A must for orthodontic treatment

Your dental fitness is essential if you are considering orthodontic treatment, but what does this mean? Being dentally fit means having a healthy mouth by ensuring that your teeth, gums and bone structure are all strong enough to withstand the pressure and tension of orthodontic treatment. This also means that you need to have strong levels of oral health and a regular and robust hygiene regime. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding sugary food and drinks, will ensure that your entire mouth is in the best possible condition to begin orthodontic treatment – something which needs to be maintained.

Your orthodontist will assess your dental fitness and discuss your tailored treatment plan with you, but we think it’s important for you to understand what is happening to your teeth and mouth during your treatment, and know why your dental fitness is so key to your treatment options.

Why it’s important to be dentally fit for your orthodontist

Traditional braces are made up of three components - brackets, arch wires and elastics. These components work together to put a controlled, yet constant pressure on your teeth, thus gradually moving your teeth over the course of your treatment process.  

Your braces slightly loosen your teeth, new bone then grows to support the tooth to help it become stronger to withstand the pressure of the brace. There isn’t a large amount of force applied to your teeth, but it’s a force which isn’t usually present. It is therefore important to be dentally fit to be able to manage the force applied.


Your dental fitness will be assessed before any treatment type, not just traditional braces. Different treatments offer different levels of tension, which is why your orthodontist will take the time to find and recommend the most appropriate solution for you. It’s important to remember that if you undertake orthodontic treatment without being dentally fit or without the supervision of a trained clinician, then you run the risk of needing additional corrective treatment – or in extreme circumstances, cause irreversible damage.

Dental fitness also needs to be maintained throughout your orthodontic treatment your orthodontist will closely monitor the condition of your teeth. If you do not keep them clean, you may risk ending up with permanent marks on your teeth, or swollen gums causing lasting damage. This may lead to you needing further care and can even delay the completion of your orthodontic treatment.

How to manage your dental fitness

Regularly brush your teeth and gums

Although this may seem obvious, it is essential to prevent the build-up of plaque by staying on top of your oral hygiene routine. Take extra care when brushing your teeth to ensure you clean the entirety of your teeth, gums and any braces if they are fixed.

We still recommend you do this for at least two minutes in the morning and again at bedtime with a fluoride toothpaste. This will help to maintain a strong level of oral health, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, which can cause complications with orthodontic treatment.

Maintain a good relationship with your dentist and hygienist

It is important that you regularly visit your dentist before and throughout your orthodontic treatment so that your teeth and mouth can be checked to ensure your teeth are still able to withstand the pressure of orthodontics.

Regular visits to your hygienist put you in the best position for detecting any oral health problems before they become symptomatic, require treatment or cause any complications in your orthodontic journey.

Eat a balanced, healthy diet and cut down on fizzy or acidic drinks

A careful diet is essential when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment as braces and wires are fragile, so the wrong foods can break or damage your braces, or even worse, your teeth. Choose softer foods, or foods which require less chewing. Broken or loose braces can lengthen your treatment as your teeth will not move correctly with a broken brace.

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Staying dentally fit will ensure that any orthodontic treatment you are receiving goes smoothly, giving your teeth the best chance to straighten safely and without damaging your mouth. Regular communication with your clinician will ensure that your orthodontic treatment achieves the best possible results. Our team at Peterborough Orthodontic Centre will be able to offer you individual advice on your dental fitness.

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