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Orthodontic Treatment: One Phase Or Two?

March 12th, 2019

AS A CULTURE, we tend to think of braces as a teenage experience, so it can be surprising to learn that the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children have an initial orthodontic consultation by age seven. If a child is starting to develop complicated orthodontic problems, this early checkup allows the orthodontist to head them off with Phase 1 treatment.
What Is Two-Phase Orthodontics?

In traditional orthodontic treatment, the patient (typically an adolescent or adult) is fitted for their appliance, which they wear until their teeth are properly aligned. In some cases, extractions or surgery may be necessary. This treatment all happens in a single phase, followed by wearing retainers to keep the teeth from shifting back.

Two-phase orthodontic treatment means that part of the orthodontic work is done when the patient still has most of their baby teeth, with the goal of minimizing developing problems so that treatment in their teens will be faster and simpler.

Who Benefits From Two Phases?

Certain types of orthodontic problems respond well to two-phase orthodontic treatment.

  • Early correction for a cross-bite, anterior or posterior, can be easier and help stop jaw problems from getting worse.
  • In cases of extreme crowding, phase 1 treatment can create more room, reducing the need for future tooth extraction.
  • Protrusive front teeth (teeth that stick out) are at higher risk of being damaged, particularly for very active children, and moving them back could prevent an injury.

When One Phase Is Best

The idea of two-phase treatment may appeal to some parents who prefer to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to their children’s oral health, but two-phase orthodontic treatment is not for every patient.

For many patients, the final results after a single treatment period will be the same as at the end of two-phase treatment. Even in some cases where it would make sense, the child may not be able to follow the orthodontist’s instructions very effectively because they are so young.

Trust Your Orthodontist

Whether your child will benefit most from one phase of treatment or two, you can trust the orthodontist to find the best treatment plan for them so that they will be able to have the straight, healthy smile they deserve. If your child is old enough for that initial consultation, give us a call to schedule one!

We love to see our patients smile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions

Top image by Flickr user Roberto Ferrari used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Straight Teeth: Not Just About Looks

February 26th, 2019

The most obvious impact of orthodontic treatment is a straighter, more attractive smile. While it is true that we tend to perceive people with properly aligned teeth as happier and more successful, the benefits aren’t just superficial.

Clearer Speech

Do you remember the lisp you had between losing your two front teeth and the adult ones growing in? Based on that, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that our teeth are a crucial component to our ability to speak and enunciate clearly.

In order to make the right sounds, our lips and tongues have to maneuver around our teeth. When teeth are properly aligned, this is simple, but crooked teeth can result in a lisp, slurring, or difficulty making certain sounds that require tongue-to-tooth contact, such as the “t,” “s,” and “ch” sounds. Orthodontic treatment can solve these problems by moving the teeth into their proper positions.

Healthier Digestion

We don’t give our teeth enough credit for the role they play in good digestion. Chewing is a very important part of the process. It doesn’t just chop the food into small enough pieces to fit down the esophagus, it mixes the food with saliva, which begins the chemical digestion process.

When we wolf down our food without much chewing — or when we chew with misaligned teeth that don’t do the job effectively — it forces our stomachs to work harder than they should. If you already have straight teeth, put them to good use by chewing each mouthful for longer. If you don’t, your digestive system will thank you for getting orthodontic treatment.

Better Breathing

Having poorly aligned teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to comfortably close your jaws when you aren’t moving them, which can lead to habitual mouth breathing. Mouth breathing has a number of negative effects, including dry mouth, bad breath, snoring, chronic fatigue, and brain fog. The effects are an even bigger problem for kids, sometimes going as far as changing the development of their facial bone structure.

Easier Cleaning

Properly aligned teeth have the additional benefit of being easier to clean and maintain! It can be difficult to adequately navigate your toothbrush and floss around very crooked or misplaced teeth. When your teeth are in their appropriate positions, your job of keeping them clean becomes much easier. Plus, if you are able to keep things healthier, there should be less cavities for your to worry about!

Straight Teeth For A Better Life

Not only do straight teeth make it easier to speak, eat, and breathe properly, they’re also easier to clean! Maybe you’ve been avoiding orthodontic treatment because you’re happy with the way your smile looks, but the many benefits of straight teeth are worth considering.

Straight teeth lead to better oral health and better overall health!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Halloween Candy And Your Braces

October 17th, 2018

WE ALL LOVE EATING our favorite candy from time to time, especially around Halloween. But those treats can get tricky for orthodontic patients, because many of the standard goodies are harmful to braces. So how can you safely enjoy your spooky night of fun and sweets? Just follow our guidelines of what to aim for and what to avoid in the trick-or-treat bowls around your neighborhood.

Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

The good news is that chocolate is safe! Any type of soft chocolate, from a bar to a peanut butter cup, is perfectly fine to eat with braces. But soft is the keyword there. Hard or large pieces of chocolate could still pose a danger to orthodontic equipment, and you should avoid chocolate with hard pieces of toffee embedded in it.

Cookies and brownies are another safe option for braces-wearers, so make sure you pay a visit to the house that always hands out baked goods this year! Again, softness is key. If someone gives you a hard cookie, give it a good long soak in cold milk before biting into it.

While whole caramel apples are firmly on the banned list, you can take that caramel apple home and chop it into small pieces. After that, it won’t pose a threat to your braces. Even better, apples are much healthier for your teeth than all that candy, so you can enjoy something both delicious and good for you!

Treats To Trade To Your No-Braces Friends

No matter how much you love them, there are some treats and candies that are definitely off-limits if you have braces. Anything hard, gummy, chewy, or sticky can put brackets and wires at risk. That means no taffy, gummies, caramels, toffee, popcorn, jelly beans, Tootsie Rolls, or Starbursts, and absolutely no gum. Any of these can pop or pull a bracket right off a tooth. It’s also important to avoid candies like M&Ms or Skittles, because their small size makes it easy for them to get into the wrong place and pop a bracket loose.

If you do end up with a bag full of banned treats, just trade those away to a friend or sibling without braces until your Halloween haul is all orthodontist-approved!

Don’t Forget To Clean Your Teeth!

The most important thing to remember after your night of fun and tasty treats is to take care of your teeth and your braces, because many of the treats that are safe to eat can still lead to tooth decay without proper attention to dental hygiene. So make sure to brush and floss away all traces of that sugary deliciousness. We’ll be checking the next time we see you that you’ve been keeping up with your braces cleaning routine!

Keep making wise choices to keep your braces safe!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

What Makes Our Smiles Unique

May 29th, 2018

EVERY PERSON IS BORN with their own unique smile. Some smile with all of their teeth, some only show the top row, and some don’t show their teeth at all, and a smile can come in all shapes and sizes and still be genuine. We can also end up with smiles that look a lot like our family members’ smiles even if we have very different faces. How does this happen? What gives our smiles their shapes and makes them shine?

The Structure Of A Smile

Part of the way we smile is of course based on our personalities. Some people laugh easily, while others maintain an unbreakable poker face. Some people’s smiles light up their whole faces, spreading from ear to ear and changing the shape of their eyes. Others are less dramatic, even if their smiles are sincere.

Another component is our genes. We inherit facial features and even some of the shapes of our facial muscles (which control our expressions) from our parents. We also all have unique teeth, which is why people can be identified by their dental records. Nobody else has teeth shaped and aligned exactly the way yours are!

The Role Of Oral Health

Essentially, our individual smiles are one part personality, one part genetics, and one part oral health and hygiene. The color of our teeth plays a big role in the impression our smiles make, as does the health of our gums.

When we know our teeth and gums look good, it makes it easier to unleash our full smiles because we aren’t worried about how people will react. Taking good care of your teeth and gums by maintaining good oral health habits like brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will ensure that your smile always looks its best! Straightening misaligned teeth with braces or Invisalign can also help to improve your hygiene and to smile with confidence!

Gummy And Toothy Smiles

In some cases, smiles are either very “gummy” or very “toothy.” This can happen because of the way our lips pull back over our teeth and gums, which is perfectly normal. However, some gummy smiles are the result of abnormal eruption of the teeth, leaving an undesirable tooth/gum ratio. Some are also the result of disproportionate growth and positioning of the upper jaw bone, both of which an orthodontist can help you to address!

Likewise, some toothy smiles are the result of gum recession, where the jaw bone wears away and the gum tissue draws back, exposing the roots of the teeth. There are many options for patients with gummy or toothy smiles, including same-day laser treatments, surgical lip repositioning, braces, Invisalign, surgical sculpting of the gum tissues, and gum grafting.

What Can We Do For Your Smile?

If your teeth are stopping you from sharing your smile as much as you want to, come see us. No matter the issue, together we can make a plan to get your smile to what you’ve always wanted it to be!

Make someone’s day by sharing your smile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Preparing Your Smile For The Big Day

November 8th, 2017

YOU’VE DREAMED OF THIS day your whole life. You have the ring and the fiancé, the planning is going well, and you’re down to the last few details. Bridals are coming up, and then the wedding itself. You realize there’s something you need to do before you have hundreds of pictures taken of you: perfect your smile!
Whitening: Home Versus Professional

When it comes to teeth whitening, strips, toothpastes, and rinses are the most cost-effective options. They’re cheap and you can do them yourself, but the results won’t be as good as with professional whitening. It’s critical to start the whitening strips at least one to two weeks in advance, and at least a month in advance if you go with toothpastes and rinses.

Another option is take-home custom whitening trays. These trays do cost more, but they result in better whitening as long as you follow the instructions carefully. We recommend starting whitening trays about one month before the wedding or any important photoshoots.

The highest quality, safest, and fastest route you could choose is professional whitening. Whitening sessions will take place at the dental office and can be pricier than take-home options, but the great results are worth it!

Straightening That Smile

Whitening alone will make a beautiful difference to any smile, but sometimes there are other issues to take care of before the big day, such as orthodontics. Orthodontic appliances can produce results which are life-changing. Having straight teeth and a healthy bite are a huge confidence-booster, in addition to providing health benefits and looking great.

Unlike whitening, which can be done in the last couple of months leading up to the wedding, braces or invisible aligners generally require one to two years, depending on the severity of need, so don’t wait too long to schedule a consultation if you hear wedding bells in your future!

Repairs For Chips And Cavities

One of the factors that determines our oral health is genetics. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes, even the most diligent brushing, flossing, and avoidance of sugary treats aren’t enough to keep cavities at bay. And even when we’re being careful, accidents happen, and a tooth might end up chipped.

If you find yourself facing one of these setbacks before your wedding, veneers and bonding are both great options to consider. Veneers are color-matched to blend in with your natural teeth, resulting in a beautiful, natural-looking smile.

Tooth bonding is a process that covers damaged or discolored teeth with plastic resin. These don’t last as long as veneers, but they can be applied in just one visit. On the other hand, it takes one or two weeks after taking the impression of your teeth to receive your custom veneers.

We’re Here To Help Make Your Special Day Perfect!

We know how hectic it can be to plan a wedding, so we want to make things easier for you by helping you prepare your smile. Whether that means recommending a cosmetic dentist or making a plan for orthodontic treatment, you can count on our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Your Child’s Initial Orthodontic Evaluation

August 15th, 2017

PARENTING CAN SOMETIMES FEEL like a time warp: one minute, you’re holding your new baby, the next, they’re getting a driver’s license. Because the time goes by so fast, we tend to want to hold onto our kids’ childhoods. However, that’s no reason not to plan ahead, particularly when it comes to orthodontic treatment.

Don’t Wait For An Initial Orthodontic Evaluation

Everyone’s teeth develop differently, so the right age to bring your child in for an initial orthodontic screening can vary. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that parents bring their children in not long after their first pair of adult teeth come in. That usually means somewhere around age seven. But why is it so important to have that initial screening so early, when kids’ mouths typically aren’t ready for orthodontic treatment until sometime between ages nine and fourteen?

The Value Of Early Evaluation

By the time kids get their bottom incisors, the rest of their adult teeth will have begun to form in the gums. At this point, we can get a good idea of how things are going to develop. We can also determine if there are any bad habits contributing to future crowding or jaw alignment problems, such as thumb-sucking and mouth-breathing. If these habits stop early enough, the damage can be minimized or avoided, shortening the amount of time your child will spend in braces later on.

An initial consultation isn’t about fitting braces, it’s about seeing how things are progressing and making plans for the future. These appointments typically involve:

  • A review of your child’s dental and medical history
  • An oral exam, complete with X-Rays if necessary, to determine what orthodontic treatment (if any) will be needed later
  • Coming up with a game plan for helping your child achieve a straight, healthy smile

Involve An Orthodontist Early On

Age seven might seem young to take a child in for an orthodontic screening, so some parents might prefer to discuss their child’s orthodontic future with a regular dentist. However, while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontists go through years of additional, specialized training after completing dental school. This training is what makes us uniquely qualified to straighten teeth and align your child’s bite. As crucial as it is to take your children (and yourself) to the dentist for regular cleanings, it is also crucial to see an orthodontist when it comes to making sure teeth fit together the way they should.

Invest Early In Your Child’s Healthy Smile

Our practice is dedicated to making sure that our patients get the healthy, straight teeth they deserve, and early evaluations make that process easier for everyone involved. We hope to see you soon so that we can begin planning the future of your child’s beautiful smile!

Our patients are our first priority!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.


Can Pregnancy Affect Orthodontic Treatment?

March 14th, 2017

PREGNANCY AFFECTS NEARLY every aspect of your life–your lifestyle, your diet, your health, and much more! Your mouth is no exception to the changes your body may experience during pregnancy. But will pregnancy affect your orthodontic treatment?

Be Aware Of These Things During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, make sure to notify your orthodontist so we can plan your care accordingly. The good news is that having or getting braces usually won’t affect your pregnancy in any way, or vice versa. With that being said, you should be aware of certain dental issues that do have the potential to impact your orthodontic treatment while pregnant.

One of these conditions is pregnancy gingivitis. Around 40 percent of pregnant women have some form of gum disease–gingivitis being the first stage. Because of raised hormone levels during pregnancy, you may be more sensitive to dental plaque than before, causing your gums to swell and bleed.

Good oral hygiene can prevent or minimize the effects of pregnancy gingivitis. As traditional braces can make it even harder to keep your teeth clean, you’ll need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you are pregnant and undergoing orthodontic treatment. You’ll also want to get frequent cleanings at your general dentist’s office.

As you know, orthodontic treatment can cause some pain after an adjustment. During pregnancy, increased blood flow may make your gums sensitive, swollen and tender to the touch, adding to the discomfort. Since you can’t rely on over-the-counter pain medications while you’re pregnant, an ice pack and eating soft foods should help with post-adjustment soreness.

We are also very aware of how strong those pregnancy cravings are! We know you’re eating for two, but don’t forget to stay away from foods that can damage your braces like popcorn, nuts, ice, and sticky candies such as taffy or bubblegum. Choose nutritious snacks to keep your teeth healthy, as well as your growing baby’s!

Mothers, We Are Here For You!

Pregnancy can bring with it a lot of change and responsibility, but we want our patients to know that we are here for you. We want to make sure that your smile is taken care of so you can focus on preparing for your little one to come into the world. If you have any more questions, call us or leave us a message on our Facebook page!

Our patients mean the world to us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user M Sundstrom used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Simple Steps To Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment On Track

January 31st, 2017

THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT is dependent on a number factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces. It’s important to remember however that a lot of it actually depends on YOU! So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time and finally get those braces off?

#1. Keep Your Appointments

We know it can be hard to have such frequent appointments when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. But the better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be! Postponing or cancelling appointments can significantly prolong treatment time. We also ask that you come on time to your appointments. Having enough time to perform planned procedures is essential to your smile’s progress.

#2. Avoid Damage To Your Braces

Damage to your braces will also delay the completion of treatment. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending any wires, be sure to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. In addition, avoid these foods while wearing braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sticky candy, such as taffy and caramel
  • Ice
  • Hard candy, cookies, or crackers

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, pizza crust and other hard breads and corn on the cob.

#3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

If your unique case calls for orthodontic appliances other than braces, it’s crucial to wear them as prescribed. We most often see patients neglecting to wear their elastics, or rubber bands. In general, you’ll only need to take them off when eating a meal, brushing your teeth or wearing a mouthguard. Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot! So be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

#4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Healthy teeth are an essential prerequisite for orthodontic treatment. And having healthy teeth during treatment is just as important! Braces can make it harder to keep your teeth clean, so you need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible, brush, floss and visit your dentist every six months!

It Will All Be Worth It!

Going through orthodontic treatment isn’t an easy process, but it is well worth it. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted! If you have any more questions, call us today. We’re always here for our amazing patients!

Thank you for letting us be a part of your smile journey!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Kamilla Oliveira used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Baby Teeth Myths — Busted!

December 13th, 2016

YOU MIGHT THINK that baby teeth don’t matter because “they’re just going to fall out anyway,” but think again!

There are a lot of myths about baby teeth out there, so we’re going to set the record straight! here’s a list of the top four baby teeth myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are extremely important to a child’s developing oral health. Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in straight (preventing crowding and crooked teeth), they also help the face structure develop properly and ensure that young children can eat and receive plenty of nutrition.

Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

You might have heard that babies can’t get cavities at all, or that if they do have them, it’s not a big deal. Both rumors are untrue; not only are cavities painful, they can cause swelling and even infection. In addition, children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. If you think your child may be developing a cavity, marked by discoloration or a small crack, call us right away!

TIP: Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle! Juice and milk are full of bacteria-feeding sugars which cause cavities.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth

You should begin “brushing” your children’s teeth even before their first tooth grows in! Just use a soft, wet cloth or bit of gauze to rub their gums to help reduce bacteria and prevent future cavities. Once teeth come in, help get your children in the habit of brushing twice daily with a smear of toothpaste and flossing regularly.

Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist

There is a common misconception that children shouldn’t visit the dentist before the age of three, or before they have their full set of 20 primary teeth. The ADA states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one.Early check-ups can identify cavities and help prevent and assess other problems.

Need Any More Myths Debunked? We Can Help!

If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, give us a call! We love any opportunity to help you, our wonderful patients!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Diabetes And Your Oral Health

December 6th, 2016

DIABETES IS ONE OF THE MOST prevalent chronic diseases today. In fact, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and millions more living with the condition don’t even know they have it.

You may know that diabetes can result in other health complications such as vision loss, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. But many are surprised to learn of the impact diabetes can have on your mouth.

Diabetes Is Linked To Oral Infection And Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes. What’s more, one in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. These statistics can be distressing, but a proper understanding of the association between these two diseases is the first step in preventing complications.

So, first and foremost, why does diabetes affect oral health?

We have billions of bacteria living in our mouths. If that bacteria is allowed to build up, it can lead to gum disease–swollen, bleeding gums as well as bone and tooth loss. Because people with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria, they are more susceptible to gum disease. Poor blood glucose control also increases the likelihood of gum problems.

The relationship between diabetes and gum disease, however, is two-way. Because infected gums are an easy access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Beyond gum disease, there are other oral infections and problems associated with diabetes including thrush, dry mouth, cavities and ulcers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to8uSqrDMMU

Keep Your Dental Team Involved

Keeping us involved is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease and other oral complications linked to diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or if there are changes in your condition, let us know. Keep us informed of your medications and your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Come in to see us regularly and be sure to regularly visit your dentist as well–every six months or more if deemed necessary.

Other things you can do to manage your oral health and diabetes include:

  • Develop good oral hygiene habits
  • Quit smoking
  • Control your blood sugar

Your Health Matters To Us

Every aspect of your health is important to us, not just your the health of your mouth. If you have questions about how your dentist can help you manage your diabetes, contact us. We are your partners in ensuring both your oral and overall health.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Brett Monroe used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

3 Orthodontic Tips For Cold And Flu Season

November 29th, 2016

WHEN THE COLD AND FLU SEASON STRIKES, your teeth and braces are probably the last things you’re thinking about as you reach for another tissue! But there ARE some things related to that cold or flu that can affect your oral health.

Since tooth decay and gum disease can be especially risky during orthodontic treatment, we want you to be conscious of these three things:

Tip 1: Avoid Dry Mouth By Staying Hydrated

Dry mouth increases cavity risk. Most colds come with a giant side order of stuffy nose. We respond by breathing through our mouths! Doing so, combined with decreased saliva production during sleep, makes our mouths more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

Tip 2: Keep The Bad Stuff Off Your Teeth

  • Are you sucking on cough drops all day? Most are loaded with sugar. Opt for sugar-free cough drops if possible AND be sure not to bite down on those super-hard drops.
  • Cough syrup is loaded with sugar too. If you take cough syrup, rinse your mouth out before going back to bed.
  • Stomach acid is hard on teeth. Sorry to bring this up, but if you are throwing up, keep your teeth rinsed and clean.

Tip 3: No Matter How Tired…

We know it’s tough when you’re sick, but don’t skip your normal brushing/flossing routine just because you’re feeling really tired. Your oral health while you’re in braces is just too important to neglect.

A Few More Practical Tips For Staying Healthy

Stay healthy this flu season! Remember to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands often to keep viruses from spreading. If you have any more questions about measures you should take for your orthodontic treatment during cold and flu season, let us know! We want to ensure your treatment stays on track, even if the flu pays a visit to your home this year.

If you’re sick, get feeling better soon! And thanks for your trust in our orthodontic practice.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Everyday Habits Affect Your Teeth

July 26th, 2016

TOOTH ENAMEL HAS the pretty cool reputation of being the hardest substance in the human body. So it may come as a surprise to know that while enamel is super tough, it can also break quite easily! The truth is that our teeth are not invincible, and a lot of everyday habits can put our oral health at risk.

Watch Out For These Tooth-Damaging Habits

Many of these habits seem harmless, but over time they can do a lot of damage to that beautiful smile of yours!

Nail Biting

We may refer to closely-matched sports games as “nail-biters,” but that doesn’t mean we should actually be biting our nails! Nail biting can cause teeth to chip or break as well as lead to enamel damage. The front teeth are often the first to suffer wear and tear from nail biting.

For the sake of teeth everywhere, let’s keep the term “nail-biter” as a manner of expression rather than a label for ourselves!

Using Your Teeth As A Tool

That darn packet of ketchup just won’t open! While your teeth may seem to be the perfect solution, using them as a tool will cause more harm than good. As strong as your teeth may be, they are not meant to be used as pliers or any other sort of tool. Doing so can lead to fractured or broken teeth and even tooth loss. As a side note, tooth damage puts you at greater risk of decay and cavities!

Gnawing On Pens And Pencils

You may be solving a difficult problem or simply thinking. Before you know it, the end of your pen or pencil is in your mouth. This oftentimes unconscious habit is an important one to be aware of. We don’t realize how much pressure we’re placing on our teeth when we bite down on something that isn’t food.

Chewing on your pen or pencil puts you at risk for broken teeth and even damage to existing dental work. Constant chewing on hard objects can compromise dental restorations such as fillings or crowns. Constant function outside of normal eating and speaking can also lead to jaw pain! When it comes to this bad habit, we say stay away!

Chewing Ice

Are you an ice chewer? Chewing on ice is another huge culprit behind chipped, cracked and fractured teeth. The cold can weaken teeth even further, leaving them more susceptible to breakage.Chewing ice cubes doesn’t just chip teeth, it chips away tooth enamel as well, causing serious damage over time. Even your blender needs special blades to crush ice! So next time you’re tempted, just remember your teeth aren’t equipped to crush ice cubes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aYKJHa0ptM

Do Your Chompers A Favor

Your teeth are made to chew food and nothing more. If you’ve got one of these bad habits, do your chompers a favor and work on quitting. If you have successfully broken one of these habits, tell us how in the comments below!

Our patients rock!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Calcium Isn't Just Good for Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

June 28th, 2016

WE'VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from our team.

Calcium and Vitamin D Play a Key Role in Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

Need a Good Source of Calcium? Dairy Isn't the Only Option!

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.

Here Are 10 Calcium Rich Options For Your Diet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw6H3Jov70c?rel=0

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And, as always, thank you for being our valued patient!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Brush Up On Some Toothbrush History

June 14th, 2016

WITH ALL THE AMAZING technology we see today, it's easy to overlook the small wonders of the world—like the toothbrush! This small, but remarkable invention is the staple of our oral hygiene and health. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the way the toothbrush has changed across the ages!

Ancient Civilizations Used Sticks to Clean Their Teeth

Today, we understand the importance oral hygiene plays in our overall health. But even over 5,000 years ago people recognized the need for some type of oral care. Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations around 3500-3000 B.C. made “toothbrushes” by fraying the end of sticks and chewing on them!

Later, the Chinese made similar chewing sticks from aromatic tree twigs that were meant to freshen breath. People didn’t just use sticks, however. Bird feathers, animal bones and even porcupine quills were used to pick at food debris in the teeth.

The First Toothbrushes Were Made with Pig Hair

The first mention of an actual brush to clean teeth appears in Chinese writings around the 13th century. Bamboo or animal bone was used as the handle of the toothbrush and pig hair formed the bristles. Toothbrushes weren’t widely used or produced, however, until a couple hundred years later.

Around the year 1780, an Englishman named William Addis was sitting in his prison cell thinking of better ways to clean our teeth than rubbing them with a rag full of soot and salt (yuck!). He carved a handle out of animal bone, made some holes at the top and tied swine bristles to it. When he got out of prison, he turned toothbrush production into a business and made a fortune!

The Modern Toothbrush Continues to Evolve Today

As appetizing as pig hair sounds, aren’t you glad toothbrushes nowadays are made with nylon bristles? Nylon was invented in 1938 and by the 1950's, toothbrushes began to look and feel more like they do today. More technological advances made it possible to develop toothbrushes even further, and the electric toothbrush made its way to the United States in 1960.

People are still looking to drive toothbrush technology forward. New apps are being created all the time to make toothbrushing easier and more enjoyable. It even looks like built-in cameras may be in the future of toothbrushes!

The Toothbrush: One of Man's Greatest Inventions?

The idea of the toothbrush was simple, but there’s no doubt it has greatly contributed to our oral and overall health. In fact, when a group of people were asked which invention they could not live withoutthe toothbrush beat out the car, computer, cell phone and microwave!

So, don’t take your toothbrush for granted. Use it at least twice daily for a full two minutes! Your pearly whites will thank you.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image by Flickr user William Warby used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Extra Floss? Try These Tricks!

May 25th, 2016

WE KNOW, WE KNOW… We ask you about flossing every time you come visit us! It is an integral part of your oral hygiene routine and essential for healthy gums and teeth. But did you know there’s more to floss than cleaning between your teeth? Dental floss can actually be used for a lot of other things!

Eight Useful Dental Floss Hacks

Have some extra floss lying around? Don’t have the right equipment and need to get a job done in a pinch? Try these cool dental floss hacks.

  1. Use floss for perfectly sliced cake. Ever slice a cake and the knife comes up with half of the cake on it? Use flavorless dental floss to make the perfect slice by stretching it taut and gently pressing through the cake. Pull it out when you reach the bottom and voila!
  2. Don’t have any kitchen twine? Floss will do. Some foods like meat and bacon need to be bound when cooked. Usually kitchen twine takes care of this but what if you run out? Floss (again, flavorless) has got you covered!
  3. Floss can help you start a campfire. Believe it or not, waxed dental floss burns well! Wrap dental floss around a match or a dry piece of wood to increase burn time.
  4. Floss can clean out those hard-to-reach spots in your furniture. You know those small cracks and crevices in your wooden furniture that you can never manage to clean? Well, dental floss is meant to get into nooks and crannies! Try it on your wooden furniture. You’ll thank us later.
  5. Floss is great for sewing. Whether you’re out of thread or in need of something more durable, floss works well for sewing on buttons and patching up holes on the fly.
  6. Are your freshly-baked cookies stuck to the baking sheet? Floss ‘em! Dental floss can unstick your cookies without leaving anything behind.
  7. Dental floss can even help in the garden. If you’re training a vine to grow a certain direction, floss can help! Use it to attach the vine loosely to the structure you want the vine to climb.
  8. Floss makes for an easy DIY clothesline. If you’re camping, in a hotel, or simply don’t have room in the dryer, floss can be used to create your own clothesline. Yes, it’s that strong!

Let’s Be Honest, Floss Is Awesome

Whether you’re using floss to patch something up or slice your birthday cake, always remember to use it for what it was made for, to clean in between your teeth! Daily flossing protects your beautiful smile from periodontal disease and tooth loss, so yeah, we’d say it’s pretty awesome!

Know some more flossing hacks? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you!

We have the best patients in the world!

Image by Flickr user brett jordan used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

May 17th, 2016

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.

Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make two to four pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.

First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYudf5iSJ_M?rel=0


Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva

Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
  • Suck on sugarless candy
  • Drink plenty of water

Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay and dental disease. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thank you to our wonderful patients and friends!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

May 3rd, 2016

DID YOU KNOW THAT STRESS can have an effect on your oral health? As if you needed any more on your plate! Knowing how stress and oral health are connected can help you combat any problems that might arise.

Stress May Contribute to Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the technical term for habitual teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For some people, clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration. Teeth grinding, however, usually occurs during sleep, meaning that people are often unaware of the problem. Flatter tips of the teeth, headaches and a sore jaw are common signs of bruxism.

Stress Can Worsen Symptoms of TMD

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the jaw joint and associated muscles used in moving the jaw and neck. Similar to bruxism, stress is thought to be a contributing factor in TMD, causing jaw clenching, joint pain, headaches and even popping and clicking of the jaw.

Your Immune System Is Weakened During Times of Stress

Stress can actually compromise your immune system, increasing your risk of oral infections. Some people experience dry mouth, putting them at a higher risk of developing cavities. Others contract canker sores when stressed. Stress can even increase your chances of experiencing gum disease.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene and Health, Even During Difficult Times

Keeping your oral health routine in tip-top shape, especially when you are stressed, is essential! Continue to practice good oral hygiene and you will protect your mouth from infection and decay.

For most people, it’s difficult to see the effects of stress on their bodies until something happens. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly, as he or she can detect the telltale signs of stress in your mouth and help you to remedy any problems.

We Want To Make Life Easier For You

When you’re under a lot of pressure or life gets tough, the last thing you think about is your oral health. We want to make things easier for you by helping you to avoid any oral health issues not only when you’re stressed out, but all the time!

Learning to deal with the inevitable stresses of life in a positive way will boost your oral and overall health. However, if you do feel you are experiencing any symptoms of bruxism, TMD or other oral health problems, call us and schedule an appointment. We have solutions for you!

Keeping our patients happy and healthy is our priority!

Image by Flickr user web4camguy used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Are Sports and Energy Drinks Damaging Your Teeth?

April 26th, 2016

DRINKING ENERGY AND SPORTS DRINKS on a regular basis is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. But did you know that these drinks can be extremely damaging to your teeth?

Sports and Energy Drinks Are Highly Acidic

It’s important to remember the purposes of each of these drinks so as not to consume them more often than you should. Energy drinks may provide a pick-me-up during a long day at work, but drinking one or more energy drinks everyday can damage your teeth in the long run.

Sports drinks were made to keep your body hydrated and energized during bouts of intense exercise. While they may be beneficial during a good workout, these drinks should never take the place of water and should not be consumed casually or on a daily basis.

The reason for this is that both energy and sports drinks are highly acidic. Regularly consuming food or drink with high acidity levels wears away your tooth enamel. This makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, tooth discoloration, and sensitivity.

The Combination of Sugar and Acid Packs a Mean Punch

Energy and sports drinks launch a twofold attack on your teeth: while acid weakens the enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Not a good combo! While sugar-free options are available, the majority of these types of drinks are chock full of sugar. Unfortunately, even the sugar-free versions are still as acidic as their sweet counterparts.

Consume Acidic And Sugary Beverages Wisely

Here are some tips to protect your teeth if you are drinking energy and sports drinks:

  1. Don't make it a daily habit. Drink sports drinks only during high intensity workouts, not on a regular basis, and minimize the amount of energy drinks you consume.
  2. Drink it all at once instead of sipping throughout the day.
  3. Rinse out your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum afterward. This will help increase saliva production and counteract acidity.

Know The Facts, Protect Your Smile

Believe it or not, the adverse effects these drinks have on teeth isn’t widely known. With 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it’s important that people understand how damaging they can be to teeth.

If you have more questions about sports or energy drinks, call us or send us a Facebook message!

We’re always happy to hear from our patients.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image by Flickr user Keith Allison used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Why Is Fluoride So Good For Our Teeth?

April 5th, 2016

WE ORTHODONTISTS MAKE a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth. Truly, fluoride is the best cavity fighter out there, helping our teeth stay healthy and strong! But how exactly does fluoride do such an awesome job at keeping our mouths cavity-free?

Fluoride Prevents And Repairs Tooth Decay

Bacteria that are in plaque produce acids that seep into tooth enamel and break it down. This process of breaking down enamel is what causes cavities over time.Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up!

Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water, protects teeth from cavity-causing bacteria by making tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria’s acid attacks.

In our office, we utilize a fluoride varnish the day the braces are placed to help in preventing white spots from forming on the teeth. This extra fluoride, in combination with excellent oral hygiene will keep the teeth healthy during treatment.

Fluoride also helps repair tooth decay in its early stages by building up the tooth in a process called remineralization. This cavity-fighting mineral even reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid in the first place!

VIDEO: Why Is Fluoride Good For Teeth?

Fluoride Is Available In A Variety Of Forms

Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. In fact, toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960.

Dental offices also offer fluoride application to teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. Getting a fluoride treatment periodically is important because it contains a higher concentration of fluoride.

Fluoride Intake Is Important At All Ages

Exposure to fluoride can be especially beneficial for infants and children. Between the ages of six months and 16 years, fluoride becomes incorporated into the developing permanent teeth, protecting them from cavity-causing bacteria.

However, adults and children alike need to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Just as important as strengthening developing teeth is fighting tooth decay, which fluoride will help you do even after your permanent teeth have come in.

Increased exposure to fluoride can be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. For example, if you have dry mouth, gum disease or a history of frequent cavities, your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments or supplements.Ask us if you could benefit from additional fluoride.

Tooth Decay Is Preventable

The take home message is this: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you have any questions about fluoride, call us or come in! We would love to hear from you!

We love our patients and their smiles!

Image by Flickr user bradfordst219 used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.