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FAQ:  Braces


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Question:
Nickle allergies and braces: My 13 year old son seems to have a nickle allergy from his braces.

He has 6 months to go with the braces on. Are there any long term effects from wearing braces that we should be concerned about? Are there any systemic effects?

His gums are always red and swollen even to the point of covering the top of his teeth. ...Visitor from PA

Answer:
Good question and always a main concern among parents.

The main reason for red and inflammed gingival tissure is poor brushing and flossing.

If he is brushing and flossing well and his gums don't bleed, another cause good be mouthbreathing.

As far as nickel is concerned, allergy issues in orthodontic treatment is rare today. The orthodontic manufacturers are aware of this and produce a bracket that is made with high grade 316 stainless steel to avoid this sensitivity.

There are some companies however that produce inexpensive brackets for those who are perhaps overly price-sensitive and have a higher content of nickel. So it does depend on the company manufacturing the bracket that your son is wearing.

In my 17 years of experience I have yet read any literature of any long term systemic issues due to nickel exposure, but this doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.

There is nickel in most everything we touch including coins and metal tabs on our jeans, so don't be overly concerned. I will assure you of one thing, that the gum tissue will return to its normal state very shortly afer the braces are removed.

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