U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 18-year-old male asked:

One of my friends is really interested in orthodontics but it seems she has cavities and bleeding gums, will they still apply the braces?

15 doctor answers29 doctors weighed in
Dr. Cary Ganz
Prosthodontics 50 years experience
No.: It is always preferable to have all cavities and other dental issues taken care of prior to placing any kind of braces. Once the braces are placed it is far more difficult to take care of these basic issues.
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 55 years experience
They shouldn't!: Any good orthodontist will want to make sure that all your other dental needs are taken care of first. It is harder to both see cavities and to treat them with braces on. Furthermore, it is also harder to clean your teeth and keep your gums healthy once you have braces on. If you start off with cavities and gum problems, things may spin out of control and will lead to even bigger problems.
Dr. Gabriel Malouf
Specializes in Dentistry
After treatment: Coordinate treatment between your general dentist & your orthodontist. Keeping your teeth clean can be a lot more challenging with braces. Plan to correct any cavities or gingivitis, then keep your teeth super-clean while wearing the braces. Set your goal for a great smile, not just straight teeth with or without cavities.
Dr. Bryan Downing
Dentistry 35 years experience
No: The cavities need to be filled before braces are applyed. It is dificult or impossible to fill some cavities with braces on. Bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease and wearing braces makes is harder to clean your teeth so the gum disease needs to be under control before braces are placed.
Dr. Stephen Gordon
44 years experience
They Should not: For a patient who has bleeding gums and cavities, it does not make sense to place brackets and wires on teeth, thereby making them even harder to clean. Those problems need to be addressed first, and they need to be on a perfect oral hygiene program so that when the braces are placed, they will be able to keep them clean. They may end up with straight, but broken teeth and periodontal disease.
Dr. Stephen Carter
Orthodontics 45 years experience
NO: Braces should only be placed on healthy teeth. Cavities and unhealthy gums need to be resolved before placing braces because the braces with make cleaning of the teeth and gums even more difficult which can then lead to even more and/or larger cavities and worse gum problems.
Dr. Kenneth Zipkin
Dentistry 49 years experience
Best to be healthy : Cavities and periodontal problems should be addressed first. Moving teeth ininflamed surroundings will cause bone loss and comprimise the final result.
Dr. Robert Stoner
Dentistry - orthodontics 39 years experience
NO: Never start orthodontics until all cavities and gum disease is treated. It should also not be instituted unless oral hygiene is acceptable.
Dr. Stuart Hoffman
31 years experience
Hopefully No: Prior to commencing with orthodontic treatment, a potiential patient should be caries free (all cavities taken care of) and have their periodontal status cleared. Chronic bleeding gums (severe gingivitis) needs to be taken care of prior to beginning orthodontic treatment too.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
No: No qualified orthodontic specialist would place braces until all infection (cavities, gum disease) was under control. The orthodontist will work with the family dentist and a periodontist to assure good oral health before beginning resolution of your friend's malocclusion. Guide your friend to their dentist asap to begin the infection control process.
Dr. Stuart Hoffman
undefined 31 years experience
Until the cavities are restored and until the gums are healthy, it is contra indicated to begin placing orthodontic appliances (braces). Moving teeth in an inflamed gum enviroment could exacerbate and existing gingivitis issue.
Jan 25, 2014
Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctoranswered
39 years experience
Not if ethical: It is unethical or even malpractice to initiate orthodontics for a patient that presents with active dental disease (other than a malocclusion). It is just that simple.
Dr. I. Jay Freedman
Dentistry 44 years experience
After corrections!: Your friend can still get their orthodontic treatment, but it will need to be after her cavities are fixed and her gum are treated to the point of health. Healthy teeth move best and there is no point to even move diseased teeth. So encourage your friend to move forward, but get her teeth and gums healthy first!
Dr. Michael Stepovich
42 years experience
Bleeding gums/ortho: Before ortho treatment a good program of brushing needs to be in place. Braces can be dangerous to your teeth. When you have gums that bleed there is a lack of cleaning. With braces requires more cleaning. White spots and cavities result around the braces because poor brushing. Your friend should get a dentist to help correct the cavities instruct proper home care before seeing an orthodontist.
Dr. Donna Galante
Orthodontics 38 years experience
A thorough exam: and consultation with an orthodontic specialist will help your friend get the needed treatment for her gums, teeth and bite. She may need to have her cavities fixed first and a few appointment for a good dental cleaning before the braces are placed on her teeth.
Dr. Brent Mcfarland
Orthodontics 49 years experience
Probably not: it would certainly be better to have both situations under control before commencing treatment.
Last updated Jan 27, 2020


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.