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Preventing Stains During Orthodontic Treatment

June 16th, 2021

Unless you're changing the color of your wooden furniture, stains typically aren’t good news, and they’re especially unwelcome on our teeth. Not much will ruin the excitement of Braces Off Day like stains around where the brackets used to be. What causes stains on our teeth and how can we avoid it during orthodontic treatment?

How Do Teeth Become Stained?

It’s important to know that post-braces stains are not inevitable, and that it isn’t the braces themselves that stain the teeth. The reason braces stains are fairly common is that they make it harder to brush away plaque. There are so many little extra nooks and crannies where food particles and bacteria can hide that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.

If plaque isn’t cleaned away, it can leave decalcified patches around the brackets. That means when the braces come off, the tooth surface where the brackets were is still the same color as before but it’s now surrounded by tooth surface with a bleached appearance. Plaque buildup also increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay during orthodontic treatment.

Keeping Your Teeth Free of Stains

A good oral hygiene routine is the best defense against white spots and other stains. That means brushing thoroughly after every meal, flossing at least once a day, rinsing or brushing after drinking sugary or acidic drinks, and keeping up with regular dental appointments. The hygienist will be able to clean away plaque and tartar that you couldn’t reach.

It also helps to avoid foods and drinks notorious for leaving stains, such as highly acidic drinks (like soda), coffee, dark teas, sugary treats like cookies and candy, and starchy snacks like chips. Each of these can either stain the teeth directly with the compounds they contain or they can stick to the teeth and contribute to the buildup of plaque.

Tobacco and alcohol are also big stain culprits that are worse for braces-wearers because the areas with brackets won’t be affected. We recommend steering clear, especially while the braces are on.

What Can Be Done About Stains?

It’s better to avoid post-braces stains if possible, but in case there is some discoloration, there are ways of treating it. We may not recommend immediate whitening treatments simply because some stains grow less prominent over time on their own. If they are still visible after a few months, over-the-counter whitening products or professional whitening sessions with a cosmetic dentist can produce a more uniform smile. In some cases, though, when the stains are very pronounced, the dentist needs to get involved by placing small fillings in the areas of the stains. Save yourself a dental bill and be sure to maintain great hygiene during orthodontic treatment!

Bring Us Your Stain Concerns!

If you still have any questions about preventing stains during or removing stains after orthodontic treatment, we’d be happy to answer them. We want all of our patients to have the stain-free straight-smile outcome they’re hoping for!

We love 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.

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

Let’s Bust Some Myths About Braces!

May 7th, 2021

Even people who have never had braces before have probably still heard a lot of things about what they’re like. That’s why we’re here to bust a few popular braces myths.

Myth #1: Braces rust.

While braces are often made of metal, they do not rust. The metals in braces are stainless steel and titanium, so you never need to worry about them rusting during treatment.

Myth #2: It’s impossible to play an instrument with braces.

It certainly takes some adjusting to play brass or woodwind instruments with braces, but it’s still entirely doable! Don’t feel like there has to be a choice between playing a beloved instrument and getting a properly aligned smile. Orthodontic patients can have both!

Myth #3: It’s impossible to play sports with braces.

Athletes who play sports (especially contact sports) might have heard that they shouldn’t keep playing during orthodontic treatment, but that’s not true! A properly fitted mouthguard will provide great protection during practices and games.

Myth #4: Braces cause white spots on your teeth.

While it is true that patients can get white spots during treatment, the braces are NOT the cause! White spots form when food and plaque are left behind on the teeth. Good hygiene is the key to ensuring that your teeth stay white and healthy during orthodontic treatment.

Myth #5: Braces are only for teens.

While some things are best treated during the teenage years, there isn’t a time limit for getting braces. Adults of any age can get them too. Whether you're 6 or 86, there is an orthodontic option for you!

Trust the experts, not the myths!

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.

Making Room For Your Gorgeous New Smile

January 7th, 2020

Teeth Crowding

One of the most common issues orthodontic treatment addresses is crowding—when there is not enough space for all the teeth to fit normally, causing them to twist and turn.

Often, braces are enough to rearrange teeth into a healthy dental arch, but in some cases, extra space needs to be gained to properly align everything.

Slenderizing Teeth

When a minimal amount of space is needed, your orthodontist can actually slenderize some of your teeth to help create a little extra space. This is called "interproximal reduction", which is really just a fancy term for sanding in between your teeth. But don't worry! Your teeth won't get noticeably smaller - only 0.25 to 0.75 millimeters of enamel is removed from either side of any tooth as we need to make sure to leave plenty of healthy enamel behind!

Jaw Expansion/Arch Expansion

In some cases, the upper jaw bone itself is too small to fit the top teeth and to fit around the lower jaw. An expander is required in those cases, and will actually make the upper jaw bone larger. This is a treatment that can typically only be performed in growing children/adolescents, however.

Another type of expansion can be done with just the brackets and wires. By reshaping the dental arch and widening it, we can gain a few millimeters of space, which helps us to fit in more of your teeth! While this is an awesome option, there is a limit, as we cannot push the teeth beyond where the gum and bone are to support them.

Some Teeth Just Don’t Fit

 In cases of extreme dental crowding, extractions are often the best option for beginning to align your teeth. Removing teeth can also be key in solving underbite, overbite, and problems with protrusive teeth. Every person is unique when it comes to extractions - some people need one tooth removed, others need two, or even four!

When performed by an experienced specialist, removing a tooth is simple and pain free. If you have any questions about the process, please talk to us!

Making Room For Your Perfect Smile

We understand that the decision to extract a tooth is not one to be taken lightly. We carefully examine dental models, x-rays, photos, and jaw structure to determine the best way to create your beautiful new smile. By considering all treatment options, we find the one that will most efficiently give you the best results in the safest and healthiest way possible.

We treasure the trust you have placed in us as your orthodontic specialists. Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!

(Image by Flickr user Ben Tesch used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.)

Defeating Your Braces Anxiety

July 17th, 2018

AS IMPORTANT AS IT is to have straight teeth for better oral health and a more beautiful smile, many people are nervous at the prospect of getting them straightened with orthodontic treatment because they think it will be unpleasant or that people will make fun of them. For some, braces anxiety can even be a serious phobia. We’re here today to help ease those fears.

Don’t Let Pop Culture Give You The Wrong Idea About Braces

Whenever braces appear in movies and TV, they usually involve bulky headgear, or the character wearing them is portrayed as a socially awkward outcast. These are outdated stereotypes. Modern braces are very low-profile, come in clear ceramic options or even invisible aligners. Your braces and your social life will get along great, so don’t let concern for your peers’ reactions stop you from getting the smile you deserve!

Tips For Overcoming Braces Anxiety

1) Breathe! Braces are never placed at our first appointment - that's simply a day to get to know each other and discuss what options are best for you!

2) Write your questions down. We LOVE to talk through your concerns and educate our patients on the entire process!

3) Ask your friends to see their before and after photos and if they thought it was worth it. To see the smile changes in people you know can be very motivating.

4) Talk to us about your specific concerns as they relate to your anxiety. Is it the fear of the unknown? The sounds associated with a dental office? Whatever it is, we'd be happy to talk through with you! After more than 30 years in practice, our doctors have come across many types of anxieties and are more than qualified to help you manage yours!

How Our Practice Can Help

At Fehrman Orthodontics, we treat our patients like family. We never rush into treatment, and enjoy spending as much time as is needed to make our patients feel safe and comfortable! We are always smiling, and hope to help you to do the same!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enbOugtcW4w

Get To Know Our Team!

If you or someone you care about needs orthodontic treatment but hasn’t sought it because of braces anxiety, feel free to schedule a time to come to our practice, meet our team members, and get used to the facility. We want you to feel safe and comfortable when you’re with us, and we’ll answer any questions you may have!

We look forward to seeing you!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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 Is An Impacted Tooth?

April 3rd, 2018

FOR MOST PEOPLE, baby teeth become loose and adult teeth erupt in their place. For many, those adult teeth don’t come in entirely straight, so orthodontic treatment is necessary to shift them into the ideal position. For some, one or more of these teeth never emerge on their own, even though they developed in the jaw bone. These are impacted teeth.
Why Does Tooth Impaction Happen?

Tooth impaction is often the result of a crowding problem. If the new tooth doesn’t have room to come in, it may remain stuck beneath the gums. A full impaction is when the tooth fails to erupt at all, whereas a partial impaction is when the tooth breaches the gumline but doesn’t grow in completely.

Teeth Lost In The Gums

The most common teeth to become impacted are wisdom teeth. They might be impacted because there isn’t room for them in the jaw, they may be crooked, or they could even be completely sideways, threatening the roots of second molars.

The other teeth that are commonly impacted are the upper canine teeth. Research shows that if there’s a history of impacted upper canines in your family, you are more likely to have them as well. Most often, only one canine will be impacted, but sometimes both are. Why the upper canines? Normally, they come in after the incisors and the premolars. When those don’t leave enough room between them, the canines have nowhere to go.

Symptoms And Complications Of Impacted Teeth

Some people with an impacted tooth show no symptoms except that the tooth doesn’t erupt. If it’s a canine, the baby tooth may not even loosen on its own! But even without symptoms, canine teeth are critical to a great smile because they provide essential structure and support. They also take on much of the chewing pressure thanks to their longer roots, which protects the surrounding teeth.

Impacted teeth often cause complications and symptoms besides a lopsided smile. Impacted teeth can push into neighboring teeth beneath the gums and cause loss of tooth root structure, cavities, infections, gum disease, or nerve damage. Symptoms might include bad breath, pain, tenderness around the jawline, a prolonged headache or jaw ache, swollen gums, swollen lymph nodes, bad taste in mouth, and visible gaps.

Treatment: A Place For Every Tooth

Impaction of a tooth can’t always be prevented, but there are steps that can be taken when patients are younger to help guide the teeth into their correct positions! However, if a tooth remains impacted, there are still options. The tooth can be removed (in the case of wisdom teeth) or moved into its proper position (in the case of canines) with oral surgery and orthodontic treatment. An impacted tooth is usually discovered through dental x-rays, and then the orthodontist can determine the best course of action to take.

Help Us Help You

If you think you might have an impacted canine or wisdom tooth causing you trouble, schedule a consultation with us! We’d be happy to take a look and come up with the best plan to either get that tooth out of the way or into its proper place.

Thanks for being such amazing patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.

Creating Smiles, Not Just Straightening Them

October 11th, 2017

OUR PRACTICE MIGHT focus on straightening teeth, but that’s not the only thing we do. We’re also deeply invested in improving the overall oral health and happiness of our patients and ensuring that their orthodontic treatment and their experience in our office is as comfortable as possible.
Why People Choose Our Practice

In a world where corporate health care is fast reigning supreme, Fehrman Orthodontics remains a private, family-owned and operated practice where patient care is our first priority!

We take great pride in getting to know our patients, and are there to support and guide them through every step of their treatment. Each individual has a unique reason for seeking orthodontic treatment. It is always our intention to respect and support the decision you have made to transform your smile. Whether you are looking to make an aesthetic change or a functional change, we are here to design the best treatment plan for your particular situation.

Our doctors take a profoundly hands-on approach; you won't come across a Treatment Coordinator here! All examinations and treatments are completed by either Dr. Jen or Dr. Fehrman. While we are confident that we have the most talented staff around, we still feel it is the responsibility of the doctor to discuss and explain treatment needs - and they happily do so!

During new patient examinations, our doctors set aside uninterrupted time so as to give you their complete and undivided attention. It is our hope that this allows us ample time to get to know you, determine your treatment needs, and to uncover what has motivated you to seek treatment. We are family here, and want you to feel as if you are a part of it!

We proudly offer a variety of treatment options (metal brackets, clear ceramic brackets, Invisalign, etc.) for children, adolescents and adults in a modern, relaxed and cheerful environment. Each member of our team is truly passionate about creating smiles, and we can't wait to help you with yours!

We treat people first, teeth second, and measure our success in smiles!

An orthodontist is only as good as their patients, and we have the best patients around! If there’s anything you think we can do to make your braces experience even better, let us know!

Looking forward to seeing 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.

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

4 Ways Smiling Improves Our Health!

August 5th, 2017

WE’VE ALL HEARD the old cliché that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, so you should smile to conserve energy! That’s actually false. It takes a minimum of ten muscles to smile but only a minimum of six to frown, so the expression should really be “smile to burn calories!” But smiling will do much more for your health than just giving your face a workout.

Here’s four ways smiling benefits our health!

#1: Reduces Pain

Smiling releases endorphins, which are our bodies’ feel-good hormones. They serve as natural painkillers with no side-effects. What’s particularly interesting about this is that it’s the smile itself that releases the endorphins, not the attitude behind it.

Our brains are so hard-wired to associate smiling with joy that even a fake smile will get you the chemical benefits. So whenever you get injured, it really is a good idea to grin and bear it!

#2: Relieves Stress

Another thing the endorphins released by smiling do for you is help relieve stress. A study in 2012 tested how quickly subjects’ heart rates could go back to normal after performing a stressful task. One group was instructed to hold a pencil between their teeth (which forces a smile) and the other was instructed to hold the pencil between their lips (which forces a neutral expression). The subjects with the biggest smiles recovered the fastest.

This goes back to the way our brains react to smiles. We don’t just smile when we’re happy; smiling can actually make us happy, which means you really can “fake it till you make it” when it comes to smiling!

#3: Boosts Our Immune System

Relieving tension and stress by smiling can have a profound cumulative impact on your health. It can make you more resilient against illness and it can even reduce your chances of getting cancer by lowering the number of stress-induced mutations your cells go through.

#4: Increases Longevity

Smiling doesn’t just make you look younger and more attractive; it can also add years to your lifespan. Taking advantage of every opportunity to smile (and then some) could make you live up to seven years longer!

Let Those Smiles Shine!

As adults, we average a paltry 20 smiles per day, while children will light up with a smile 400 times in that same day! Imagine the health benefits we could rack up if we could start smiling like we did when we were kids? Some people keep their smiles to themselves because they aren’t happy with the way their teeth look, but we can help you get and keep a smile you’ll be proud to show off.

Our biggest reason to smile? 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.

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.

What Parents Need To Know About Thumb Sucking

October 20th, 2016

THUMB SUCKING IS NORMAL for infants, but many parents wonder about its effect on their child’s future dental health. As a parent, you may have questions such as, “When should I be worried about thumb sucking?” or, “What will happen if my child continues to suck their thumb?”

Because thumb sucking is so widespread–it’s estimated that about 75 to 95 percent of infants suck their thumb or fingers at some point–we want to help parents understand why it happens and how you can help your child break the habit if necessary.

Thumb Sucking Is Normal–Up To A Certain Point

If your infant develops a thumb sucking habit, remember, it is completely normal. Some children even begin sucking their thumb in the womb! It’s a natural reflex for babies and provides them with a sense of security and comfort.

In most cases, as babies grow and begin to explore the world around them, thumb sucking will gradually decrease and disappear on its own, usually between the ages of two and four. Past age four, however, thumb sucking should be discouraged.

The reason for this is that prolonged sucking can negatively impact your child’s developing teeth. Depending on the frequency and intensity of sucking, teeth and the upper and lower jaws can be pushed out of alignment and the formation of the roof of the mouth can be changed. It can even affect speech development.

What To Do If The Habit Persists

If your child’s thumb sucking habit persists, recognize when it occurs. Is it an absentminded habit or do they suck when they are anxious, stressed or nervous? The method you use to help break your child’s sucking habit may depend on the reason behind it. For some children, a discussion and goal setting is enough. For more difficult cases, you may need to enlist the help of your dentist.

Here are some general tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Explain. If your child is old enough, help them understand the consequences of thumb sucking and why they need to stop.
  • Make your child an active participant. Help your child come up with their own goals and prevention strategies. They will be more likely to keep their own goals.
  • Take note. Observe times they are more prone to sucking, if any, and try to create diversions.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Offer encouragement and support instead of punishments.
  • Make a progress chart. Help your child see their progress and reward them with a prize at the end of each week and/or month. Have your child be the one to place stickers on the chart and choose the prize.

Involve Your Dentist

Whatever the methods you choose to help your child break their thumb sucking habit, we are here for you! We can provide advice, support, and if necessary, further treatment options to help your child stop sucking their thumb or finger.

Talk to us about thumb sucking today–we’d love to address your concerns, answer questions and help come up with the best solution for your child.

Thank you for your continued trust in 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 by Flickr user Raoul Snyman used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

What Is An Orthodontic Expander?

August 11th, 2016

WHEN YOU THINK of orthodontic treatment, the first things that come to mind are braces and retainers. But there’s more to orthodontics than that! Depending on your child’s unique case, we may use other orthodontic appliances to help them achieve a beautiful smile. One of these appliances is an orthodontic, or palatal expander.

An Expander Helps Widen Narrow Mouths

A palatal expander is a specially made appliance used to widen the palate or roof of the mouth. This appliance is usually used for younger patients whose jaw may be too narrow to accommodate incoming permanent teeth. When the jaw is too narrow for the adult set of teeth, crowding and bite misalignment may develop.

If a narrow upper jaw is left untreated and crowding and bite problems occur, a person may have difficulty with chewing, speech and other functions. It may also cause a need for more dental work as an adult. Put simply, an expander is used to widen a narrow palate early, helping big teeth fit into little mouths!

Help Your Child Adjust To Their Expander

The first couple of days with an expander may be an adjustment for your child. They may report some discomfort such as a feeling of pressure in the mouth or behind their nose. This pressure fades quickly on its own but over-the-counter pain relievers can also help.

In addition, your child may speak differently for the first few days or slurp more than usual due to an increase in saliva production. All of this is normal and will go away as they get used to the expander in their mouths.

Since your child’s mouth may be a bit sore, eating fun foods that require minimal chewing like yogurt, ice cream, jello, mashed potatoes, pudding, etc. may help them adapt. Normal eating should resume within a few days.

Keep Up An Oral Hygiene Routine

As with any orthodontic appliance, it’s important for your child to keep their expander clean. They should brush twice a day as well as continue daily flossing. Since food may be more prone to get caught under your child’s expander, we recommend a water jet or syringe after meals and before bedtime to flush out any remaining debris.

Every Smile Is Unique

Everyone is unique and may require a different combination of treatment modalities to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. Our goal is to cater to your child’s individual needs to bring about the best results. Do you have any questions about palatal expanders? Give us a call or leave it in the comments below! We always love to hear from you.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user David Amsler 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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