Here's Why Minor Surgery Can Be Needed When Your Dental Braces Are Removed

If it's time for your braces to come off, it means you've successfully moved your teeth into the correct alignment. But for some patients, the removal of their braces is marked by the need for oral surgery.

A Fiberotomy  

Braces are attached to the outward surfaces of your teeth, so it might seem strange that surgery has become part of the process. The surgical procedure is called a fiberotomy, and is intended to keep your teeth in their new position.

Rubber Bands

Think of the ligaments and tissues supporting your teeth as being like rubber bands. If twisted, a rubber band will begin to untwist itself, returning it to its original configuration. The same can occur, in varying degrees, when your braces are removed. Teeth can slowly begin to return to their original (crooked) position, negating the results of your orthodontic work. 

A Minor Procedure

Not all patients will need a fiberotomy, and it may not have been discussed while your orthodontics were being planned. Your own need for the procedure may not have become evident until your treatment was well underway. Yes, a fiberotomy is considered to be surgery, but you won't be unconscious on an operating table while a team of surgeons diligently and delicately work on the tissues inside your mouth. It's a very minor procedure.

How It Works

During a fiberotomy, key gingival fibres around your teeth will be severed. A scalpel is used to penetrate the narrow space between a tooth and the gingival tissues that surround it, cutting the supracrestal fibres in this area. This removes the tension accumulated during the course of your treatment, preventing these fibres from eliminating tension by reverting back to their original configuration (and taking your teeth with them). The procedure will not weaken your teeth or gums.

What Happens During a Fiberotomy

A fiberotomy is performed under local anaesthetic. The necessary incisions are made, the targeted fibres are detached, and the risk of your teeth rotating back to their former position has been addressed. Most patients won't need stitches, since the incisions are that small. Recovery is quick, but there can be some mild stinging in your mouth, similar to what might be experienced if you have a cut on your gums or tongue. It won't last long, but you must be careful with what you eat, avoiding spicy or acidic foods which can irritate your gums as they heal.

Nobody should be concerned if they're told they need a fiberotomy. It's a common finishing touch for those who need dental braces and serves a vital purpose. 

If you have any questions, make an appointment with an orthodontic clinic.