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Braces-Wearers: Follow These Daily Tips!

September 22nd, 2022

 

Considering how important our oral health is, we should all be happy to spend just four total minutes a day brushing and a few more flossing. For braces-wearers, it can take a little extra work thanks to all those added nooks and crannies where bacteria, plaque, and food particles can hide. Nobody wants to have the thrill of "Braces Removal Day" tainted by tooth decay and stained teeth. That’s why we’re here to offer our orthodontic patients a few dental hygiene tips!

1. Increase Brushing to After Every Meal and Before Bed

It is extremely easy for food to get stuck in braces brackets, and not only is that very distracting as you fruitlessly try to clean it out with your tongue, it can also contribute to tooth decay. A simple solution for both problems is to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste along to lunch, and maybe even pack a few interdental brushes for those extra tight spots. Don’t let bits of stuck food ruin your afternoon!

One tricky part about brushing at lunchtime is toothbrush storage. Avoid the temptation of sticking it in a baggie for the rest of the day, as that will lead to funky smells and lots of bacteria growing on the bristles. If you can, find a place to store your toothbrush where it can dry out after using it. You could install a toothbrush holder in your locker or make room for a toothbrush cup on your desk. At the very least, try to dry it out after using it.

2. Don’t Neglect Flossing, Even if It’s Tricky

There’s no doubt that braces make it harder to floss, but we urge our patients to persevere. Maybe you’ve figured out how to make regular floss work, but there are also floss threaders or water flossers to make the process easier so that you can keep your teeth and braces clean. Daily flossing is absolutely worth the effort. It’s essential if you want to avoid post-braces stains.

3. Avoid Whitening Products Until the Braces Come Off

Whitening products are often an excellent way to get the pearly white smiles we want — but not at the same time as orthodontic treatment. Using bleaching agents while the braces are on can result in discolored patches where the brackets were, and that is a tricky problem to fix later. Skip the whitening toothpaste and mouthwash and avoid whitening strips until "Braces Removal Day". We’re happy to offer recommendations for good whitening products after that!

You’re Not Alone in the Fight for Dental Health!

We want all of our patients to feel comfortable coming to us with questions about braces care and maintenance, especially questions about their dental health during treatment. You may give us a call or bring your questions with you to the next adjustment appointment. Meeting your smile goals is about more than just the position of your teeth, but also their overall health.

Together we can achieve the smile of your dreams!

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 Dave Parker used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

How Do Braces Intersect With Wisdom Teeth?

May 24th, 2022

A major rite of passage for many young adults is getting their wisdom teeth out. It’s not the case for everyone; plenty of people have room for their third molars and a surprising number don’t grow some or all of their wisdom teeth to begin with. Why do so many people end up needing these teeth removed?

What’s the Deal With Wisdom Teeth?

The leading theory about why we grow an extra set of molars that often doesn’t fit is the Soft Foods Theory. Basically, the modern diet of cooked and processed foods doesn’t stimulate as much jaw growth as what our prehistoric ancestors had to eat, so the jaw often doesn’t grow large enough for those teeth. The trade-off is that our teeth don’t wear out so fast from eating extra tough food all the time.

Wisdom Teeth and Orthodontic Treatment

Wisdom teeth usually aren’t a problem for orthodontic patients. They typically aren't a factor in dental crowding, so we generally don’t remove them for the sake of the straightness of the other teeth. If the wisdom teeth do need to be removed due to being impacted or not erupting properly, that can be done while the braces are still on or after the braces have been removed. Post-braces smiles won’t become crooked again because of wisdom teeth - but they will if the patient neglects their retainers!

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.

Daily Dental Hygiene Tips for Braces Wearers

September 21st, 2021

Every orthodontic patient dreams of Braces Off Day, but tooth decay and unsightly stains can make that dream smile harder to achieve if we aren’t careful about daily dental hygiene while the braces are on. Here are a few crucial tips to follow to get the best results:

#1: Brush after each meal.

Yes, including lunch. Food particles can remain stuck in the braces for hours after lunch, so bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to work or school. A few interdental brushes for extra security wouldn’t hurt either. Just be careful to store the toothbrush somewhere it can dry out between uses because it won’t take long for it to develop some funky smells if it stays damp.

#2: Floss daily.

This may be even more important than brushing, whether it involves traditional floss and floss threaders, floss picks, or a water flosser. Trust us, flossing is worth the effort, even if braces can make it a little trickier to do.

#3: Avoid sugary/acidic foods and drinks.

Did you know that every liquid (other than water) contains some sort of sugar or acid that can damage your teeth? Be sure to limit your sugar and acid intake to keep those teeth nice and healthy.

We’re looking forward to a great Braces Off Day for you!

Top image by Flickr user Ian Hughes 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.

What Do the Different Parts of Braces Do?

August 24th, 2021

Every orthodontic patient has probably wondered what all the different parts are for in their braces. Some patients will have special appliances to correct a difficult problem, but the basics in traditional braces are the brackets and archwires, all held together with colored ligatures (also called bands or a-ties).

The Anchors: Brackets

When we look closely at a new patient’s braces, the brackets aren’t all in a straight line. They might even make the teeth look more obviously crooked. This is because the orthodontist places them in a specific position so that they will be pushed in the right direction when the archwire is added.

The Leverage: Archwires

The archwire runs through all of the brackets on an arch, and it varies in thickness and material depending on what the orthodontist needs it to do for the patient’s treatment plan. Archwires provide steady, gradual pressure to guide the teeth towards the correct position, and the colorful (or clear) ligatures hold everything together.

Bonus Features: Elastics and More

If a treatment plan involves more pieces than these, the most common addition is elastics. These are used to correct bad bites (malocclusions) by bringing the teeth and jaws into proper alignment. However, the only way they can do their job is if the patient follows the orthodontist’s instructions for how many to wear and how often. Too many are just as unhelpful as too few, so don’t try to speed things up by wearing double the recommended amount!

Always follow the orthodontist’s instructions!

Top image by Flickr user Hector Landaeta 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.

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