Function

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.

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.

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.

Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

March 5th, 2021

STRAIGHT TEETH AREN’T just about looking good. People with straight teeth are perceived as being wealthier, happier, and more attractive than people with crooked teeth, and it can definitely be a nice confidence boost. What we want to focus on, though, are the very real health benefits that come with having straight teeth.

Straight Teeth Help With Clear Speech

Crooked or crowded teeth or a bad bite (such as a severe overbite or an underbite) can make it harder to enunciate clearly when speaking. We need our tongues, teeth, and lips in the right places to make the correct sounds, and if our teeth aren’t where they should be, then we have to try to compensate for it, which isn’t always very effective. Orthodontic treatment can help with that. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to figure out how to speak clearly around braces or a retainer. That will all be worth it at the end of treatment!

Straight Teeth Help With…Digestion?

It might sound strange, but yes, having straight teeth does help improve digestion. Chewing is a crucial step in the digestive process, and not just because it breaks food into small enough pieces to swallow. As our teeth grind up the food, digestive enzymes in our saliva begin to break it down chemically.

Poorly aligned teeth make it hard to get the most out of this step in the process, which puts a heavier burden on the rest of the digestive system and leads to gastrointestinal issues. It can even make it more difficult to lose weight!

It’s Easier to Breathe With Straight Teeth

First speaking, then eating, but breathing? What does breathing have to do with a straight smile? It’s about the way our teeth fit together. If you aren’t able to comfortably close your jaws when resting, then odds are you’ll end up breathing through your mouth more often. Mouth breathing is linked with many negative health effects, from dry mouth (which makes gum disease and tooth decay more likely) to bad breath to lower energy levels and difficulty focusing.

Straight Teeth Are Easier on the Jaws

A bad bite makes problems with the jaw joint (such as temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD) much more likely. Symptoms of a jaw problem include clicking sounds when moving the jaw, jaw pain, and even frequent headaches.

It’s Easier to Clean Straight Teeth

Teeth that overlap each other and are crowded together can be harder to effectively clean. There are more tight spaces that are hard to reach and easy to miss, leaving them more at risk of decay. It’s much easier to clean all the surfaces of straight teeth and keep that plaque at bay!

Let’s Get Started on a Straighter Smile!

Even if the aesthetics of a crooked smile have never bothered you, you could still be missing out on the health and function benefits of having a properly aligned smile. Just about everything we need teeth for works better when our teeth are straight. If you have any questions about the advantages of a straight smile, just give us a call!

We love helping patients achieve their smile goals!

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.

Lip and Tongue Ties

January 28th, 2021

DID YOU KNOW that it is possible to be tongue-tied in a medical sense? That’s right, it’s not just an expression. Lip ties and tongue ties are what we call it when the thin pieces of tissue that connect the upper lip to the gums and the tongue to the floor of the mouth are thicker and tighter than usual. These pieces of tissue are called frenula (frenum singular).

What’s Normal for a Frenum?

A normal frenum is supposed to be thin and highly elastic. This allows free mobility of the lips and tongue, which we need in order to chew, swallow, and talk normally. When the frenum under the tongue is too restrictive, it makes it harder to pronounce words correctly or chew effectively. Some people with tongue ties can’t even touch their tongues to the roofs of their mouths! They also can’t use their tongues to clean pieces of stuck food away.

A lip tie affects the frenum between the upper lip and the gums. Infants with lip ties may not be able to effectively latch when breastfeeding, and it can cause a large gap between the front teeth when they grow in as well as increasing the risk of gum recession.

Frenectomies: Untying Lips and Tongues

Fortunately, lip and tongue ties are easy to correct, thanks to a simple surgery called frenectomy. A frenectomy removes or reduces the abnormal frenum. It can be done quickly and there isn’t a long recovery period afterward. The doctor simply numbs the area and makes a small incision in the frenulum to release the lip or tongue. One technique to make recovery time even shorter and further reduce the risk of complications is to use laser surgery.

This procedure is one worth learning more about if you believe you or your child might have a lip tie or a tongue tie, particularly if it’s causing pain or discomfort, in addition to the complications mentioned above. After the surgery, make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully so that recovery will be as quick and smooth as possible!

Who Can Diagnose a Tongue or Lip Tie?

Most of us are fortunate enough to have thin, stretchy frenula that don’t get in the way of the movement of our lips and tongue, but if you or your child are having difficulties, a dentist or orthodontist is a great place to start! They can then determine whether a frenectomy would be a good solution.

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.

How COVID-19 Created the Perfect Time to Get Braces

December 11th, 2020

It seems counterintuitive to say that the pandemic has created the perfect opportunity for patients to seek orthodontic treatment, but it’s true! If you have always wanted to transform your smile, but were hesitant about actually wearing braces, this really may be the right time for you.

Over the past few months, we have noticed a substantial increase in the number of people – especially adults - starting treatment with our office! When asked what lead them to seek out treatment, the most common response we get is that this is the perfect time for braces, because so much of the transformation will be completed behind a mask.

Having Braces During COVID-19

Here are a few things to ease your mind about starting your smile transformation and visiting our office during this time:

  1. If you considered the esthetics of braces to be a barrier, you can now rest easy knowing that much of your smile transformation can happen behind your mask!
  2. Working from home? This allows you to accomplish much of your treatment and get accustomed to your braces from the comfort of your home!
  3. We have always upheld the highest level of sterilization and disinfection in our office. This past year, we have implemented even more ways of keeping our patients, staff, and doctors safe so that we can continue to create beautiful smiles in a safe and healthy environment.

When the Mask Comes Off…

This year has turned into one of self-improvement for many, both mentally and physically. Why not extend that to your smile, too? Straighter teeth not only make for fabulous, confident smiles, but they are also much healthier, easier to clean, and function properly! If you’ve been thinking about straightening your smile, simply give our office a call. We would love to meet you to discuss your unique treatment goals.

You could be well on your way to the smile of your dreams when the mask comes off! What are you waiting for?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock free images.
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

Why Do We Get Crooked Teeth?

August 18th, 2020

 

IT’S NOT ALWAYS fair or logical, but we get judged on our appearance all the time, and having crooked or straight teeth is a big factor in that. Studies show that people with straight teeth are perceived to be more successful, smarter, and more likely to get dates than those with crooked teeth. But why do crooked teeth happen in the first place?

The Impact of Diet on Dental Alignment

It still isn’t entirely clear what causes teeth to grow in crooked, but one of the current leading theories is called the Soft Foods Theory. The basic idea is that we eat much softer foods than our hunter-gatherer ancestors did, so we aren’t stimulating as much bone growth in our jaws when we chew our food, which leaves our teeth with insufficient space to grow in straight. We also might be getting fewer of the vitamins and minerals that help teeth and bones grow.

That doesn’t mean you should change to a hunter-gatherer diet; the downside of having to chew so much more is that the teeth are subject to a significant amount of additional wear and tear. Personally, we think needing a little orthodontic treatment is a much better deal than an increased risk of wearing out our teeth.

The Impact of Genes

Another contributing cause of crooked teeth is our genes. If you inherit a small jaw from your mother and large teeth from your father, they probably won’t fit together very neatly. Children of parents who had braces are also more likely to need them, but that could be at least partly because parents who had braces know the benefits of having straight teeth better than other parents who didn’t!

Daily Habits Have a Real Impact on Teeth

We can’t control what genes we get and a hunter-gatherer diet doesn’t sound very fun, but there’s another factor that absolutely impacts dental alignment, and that’s daily habits. The good news is that this is one factor we can control. Some of the habits that can seriously affect a dental arch are thumb sucking or pacifier use beyond age four, habitual mouth breathing, a tongue-thrust reflex, and even simply resting your chin on your hand a lot!

Teeth Continue to Shift as We Get Older

Even someone who had straight teeth as a kid or who got them thanks to orthodontic treatment can still have their teeth shift as they age. This is called mesial drift. Over decades of chewing and talking, our teeth rub against each other countless times, which can gradually wear away at the sides of each tooth, making them a tiny bit narrower. When this happens, they can scoot closer together and gradually push towards the front of the mouth, which is why older adults sometimes need braces too! This can be prevented by following your orthodontist's instructions and always wearing your retainer - it's a lifelong commitment!

Bring Any Alignment Issues to the Orthodontist!

Whether you have crowding issues because of genes, habits, or a lifetime of eating processed foods, the orthodontist can help you get the smile you deserve. Give us a call to set up a consultation so we can start developing your unique treatment plan!

We can’t wait to see your braces before and after pictures!

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.

How Braces Move Teeth

July 14th, 2020

 

FORMER AND CURRENT braces-wearers know firsthand how much of an effect a few pieces of metal can have on a smile with the help of a skilled orthodontist. It’s pretty incredible, but how does this process actually work? What do the different parts of the appliance do, and how do the tissues of the mouth respond?

The Anatomy of Braces

Let’s quickly go through a list of the basic parts of a typical orthodontic appliance: the archwires, the brackets, and the bands (sometimes called a-ties or ligatures). Depending on what the patient needs, they may have additional pieces to help with their treatment plan. A common addition is rubber bands, which help with correcting a bad bite. If your treatment includes rubber bands, make sure to follow the orthodontist’s instructions exactly! Don’t forget them or double them up, because either will result in your treatment taking longer!

The Brackets

Brackets are the metal, gold or ceramic pieces that are cemented onto each tooth. When the orthodontist places the brackets, the position has to be just right so that the pressure applied by the braces will be in the right direction and move the teeth where they’re supposed to be. That’s why a new orthodontic patient might look like their braces have a lot of zig-zags in their shape!

The Archwires

Once the brackets are in place, the archwires can go in. These are the strips of flexible metal that will attach to the brackets and be held in place by the colorful bands. The thickness of the archwire and the material it’s made of are important considerations in a patient’s treatment. Over time, archwires provide steady, gradual pressure to guide teeth into their correct positions.

The Biology of Moving Teeth

Now we know what the different parts of braces are for, but none of that would matter if the human body wasn’t as amazing as it is. Two critical types of bone cells are involved in reshaping a smile: osteoclasts and osteoblasts. When steady pressure is applied around a tooth, osteoclasts break down the bone tissue in the way to make room for the tooth to move. On the other side, osteoblasts build new bone tissue to keep the tooth’s root snugly encased within the jaw.

Just think about that. Our jaws are capable of literally reshaping themselves in response to the pressure from braces! It’s important to note that it takes more time for the new bone tissue to grow behind the teeth than it does for it to be broken down. That’s one reason why it’s so important to wear retainers after the braces come off. The new bone tissue needs time to finish growing so the teeth don’t shift back to a crooked position!

Bring Us Your Braces Questions!

Braces are our passion, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have about how they do what they do. So whether you’re thinking of getting them or you’re a current patient who wants to learn more, just give us a call!

No one has better smiles than 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 used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Impacted Teeth and Orthodontic Treatment

June 9th, 2020

NO TWO SMILES ARE the same, and the teeth that make them don’t always come in at the same rates. Some people get their adult teeth ahead of schedule, others get them late, and a few are left wondering if a tooth got lost on its way out. These are the impacted teeth. Most of the time, wisdom teeth are the ones that end up impacted, but not always.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If there isn’t enough room for an adult tooth to come in, it might remain partially or fully beneath the gums, or even headed in the wrong direction entirely. This happens to a lot of wisdom teeth, and that can mean trouble for the roots of the neighboring molars if they aren’t extracted in time.

Other Impacted Teeth

After the wisdom teeth, the most likely teeth to be impacted are the upper canines. This issue can even be genetic. In most cases, only one of the canines will be impacted, but sometimes they both are. Why the upper canines in particular? These are the teeth affected because they come in last after the incisors and premolars that neighbor them, and there isn’t always enough room left for them.

Tooth Impaction Complications

When teeth can’t erupt like they’re supposed to, there can be complications like infections, gum disease, nerve damage, and cavities. Symptoms include bad breath or a persistent bad taste, tenderness and pain around the jaw, jaw and headaches, and swollen gums or lymph nodes. They also leave visible gaps between teeth where the impacted tooth should be.

These symptoms don’t affect everyone with an impacted tooth. If it’s the upper canine, the baby tooth might not ever become loose because the adult tooth isn’t in the right place to push on it. The canine teeth form the “corners” of the smile, in a sense, so this can have a big affect on appearance and the esthetics of the smile.

Pulling Impacted Teeth Into Place

This is where we can help! Impacted wisdom teeth can be extracted and impacted canines can often be moved into place with a combination of oral surgery and orthodontic treatment. Dental radiographs will identify the impacted tooth, and then the orthodontist will make a plan for how to go forward.

Don’t Leave a Gap in That Smile!

If you have an impacted canine tooth and haven’t begun orthodontic treatment, we recommend scheduling a consultation. If correction is recommended rather than extraction, people with an impacted canine can expect their treatment to take a little longer than it would otherwise, but they’ll have a complete, straight smile in the end!

Our goal is getting our patients the straight, healthy smiles of their dreams!

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.

Types of Bad Bites and Their Treatments

January 14th, 2020

WHAT IS A BAD BITE? A bad bite, also called a malocclusion, is when the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together the way they should. Depending on the type of malocclusion, this can cause a variety of problems, from impacting speech to making digestion less efficient to worsening TMD troubles, and they can even increase the risk of breaking a tooth!

What Makes a Bite Go Bad?

Malocclusions happen for different reasons. Some are caused by genetics. If a child inherits large teeth from Dad and a small jaw from Mom, there’s a good chance their teeth won’t be able to fit together well. Other causes include injuries and bad oral habits in the developmental years, including thumbsucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, nail biting, mouth breathing, and teeth clenching.

By discouraging these kinds of bad habits, parents can help their children grow up with healthier bites. If one of these habits does cause a malocclusion, it’s still important to break the habit so that bite problems don’t come back after orthodontic treatment. Luckily, we can help with that.

Different Types of Malocclusions

When the teeth and jaws are aligned correctly, the upper teeth rest slightly over the lower teeth while the jaw is closed, and the points of the upper molars fit nicely into the grooves of the lower molars. Here are the five most common ways a bite can differ from this healthy ideal:

  • Open Bite. The front upper teeth flare out, creating a gap between them and the lower front teeth even when biting down. (Can be caused by thumbsucking beyond toddler years or a tongue thrust.)
  • Underbite. When biting down, the lower teeth overlap or partially cover the upper teeth.
  • Crossbite. Some upper teeth bite down on the inside of the lower teeth while others bite down on the outside.
  • Excessive Overjet. The upper teeth flare forward or overjet  the lower teeth beyond what we want to see in a healthy bite, preventing the front teeth from working together properly.
  • Deep Bite. An overbite so severe that, when biting down, the upper front teeth completely overlap the lower front teeth, which sometimes drive into the gums behind the upper teeth, risking gum injury, tooth injury and other problems.

Fixing Malocclusions with Orthodontic Treatment

Each of these types of malocclusions, and others, can be corrected through orthodontic treatment. Now, before you start picturing bulky headgear, remember that the field of orthodontics has come a long way. Surgery and headgear are still sometimes necessary for extreme cases, but we can typically correct a bad bite in very low profile and hassle-free ways.

Have You Scheduled an Initial Consultation Yet?

If you have concerns about the way your teeth bite down, schedule an initial consultation so we can see if a bad bite or some other alignment problem is the source of your troubles. Don’t wait to start working towards a healthier, more functional, and more confident smile!

We appreciate every member of our practice family!

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 Fake Plastic Alice used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 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.)

Teeth and Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

October 29th, 2019

HALLOWEEN IS A TON OF fun every year, and it’s right around the corner! We love the costumes, the decorations, and the local events, but we’re a little wary of all that candy. Sugar isn’t just tasty to us; the harmful bacteria in our mouths love it. If you want to make Halloween a little healthier for your teeth (and safer for your braces), here’s a handy breakdown of how different types of treats and candies rank in terms of promoting good dental health.

Types of Halloween Candy to Avoid

Anything hard, sticky, or sour is going to be bad for your teeth. Hard candy takes a while to dissolve, which means your teeth are exposed to sugar for a long time, and it can easily break a bracket loose. Even the nuts in soft candy bars pose a risk.

Sticky candy is a problem because it adheres to the teeth and braces, pushing the sugar right up against the enamel and gum tissue. That’s like breakfast in bed for bacteria! Sour candy might not pose the same dangers to your brackets, but it contains acid as well as sugar, so it’s doubly bad for teeth.

Candy That’s Good for Teeth?

Not all candy is awful for oral health or dangerous for braces-wearers. Chocolate is on the good end of the oral health spectrum, and the darker, the better. Chocolate contains flavanoids and polyphenols — compounds that limit oral bacteria, fight bad breath, and slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate has more of these compounds and their benefits are less offset by sugar than in sweeter milk chocolate.

Other candies that are safe to eat with braces and not terrible for your teeth include mint patties, peanut butter cups, and nut-free chocolate bars. These are soft and not too sticky, so you can safely bite into them without risking a bracket.

Fight Back Against the Effects of Sugar

Aside from avoiding the more harmful candies in favor of chocolate, there are other ways we can combat the effects sugar has on our teeth:

  • Don’t give harmful oral bacteria an all-day buffet! If you’re planning on eating a lot of candy, it’s better to eat it all in one sitting than spreading it out across an entire day. This way, your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the acids and wash away leftover sugar.
  • Drink water after enjoying some candy. It will help rinse out the sugar sticking to your teeth.
  • Wait half an hour after eating candy, then brush your teeth! Good brushing and flossing habits are essential to protecting your teeth from the effects of sugary candy.

Another Great Resource Is the Orthodontist!

Being careful about which candy you eat and when, rinsing with water, and maintaining good daily brushing and flossing habits are all great, but don’t forget about the best resource you have: the orthodontist! If you’d like to learn more about which treats are healthiest for your teeth and safest for your braces, all you have to do is ask!

Have a happy, healthy Halloween!

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 Causes Crooked Teeth?

September 24th, 2019

WHY DO ADULT TEETH come in crooked so often even though baby teeth always seem to be straight? It turns out that a number of different factors can contribute to bad bites and poor alignment in adult teeth, from age to genetics to the daily habits we don’t even think about.

The Soft Foods Theory And Dental Alignment

Experts are still debating the causes of crooked teeth, but archeologists have supplied one of the leading theories: the Soft Foods Theory. Essentially, the idea here is that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate foods that were much tougher than what we eat now, which stimulated bone growth in their jaws, giving their teeth a solid foundation to come in straight.

This theory suggests that modern people have crooked teeth more often because our soft, processed food doesn’t encourage as much jaw bone growth and because we’re missing some of the vitamins and minerals that help bones and teeth grow. (Don’t feel too jealous of those strong jaws, though, because the trade off was that their teeth wore out much faster.)

Genetic Ties That Bind

Aside from the theorized effects of soft foods on dental alignment, our teeth are also affected by our genes. A child who inherits a small jaw from Mom and big teeth from Dad is going to have a problem with crowding, and children whose parents wore braces will likely also need them.

Daily Habits Versus Dental Alignment

It would be pretty hard to stick to a hunter-gatherer diet these days and we have no control over our own genes, but there is one factor we can control when it comes to how straight or crooked our teeth are, and that’s daily habits. Thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and even the simple action of resting your chin on your hand all contribute to shifting teeth.

Tongue thrusting, if you aren’t familiar, is the way babies swallow — pressing the tongue against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth. It’s perfectly normal for them, but we’re supposed to grow out of it. People who continue to tongue thrust after babyhood put a lot of pressure on their front teeth, causing them to shift. Special orthodontic appliances can help break the habit.

Mesial Drift: Dental Alignment Changing As We Age

Our teeth come into contact with each other countless times over decades of chewing and talking, and this can wear away at the sides of each tooth where it touches its neighbors. Teeth end up taking up less space from side to side, and then they scoot closer together, gradually pushing towards the front. This is mesial drift, which happens to most of us as we age, whether or not we’ve had braces in the past!

A Job For The Orthodontist

No matter what’s causing problems with bite or crowding, orthodontic treatment is the solution. If you’re worried about your dental alignment or that of a family member, contact us to set up a consultation so that we can take a look. Having straight teeth isn’t just about appearances; it’s about having healthier teeth that can do their job properly!

We love giving our patients the perfectly aligned smiles they deserve!

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

How Braces Work

July 18th, 2019

WE ALL KNOW THAT braces shift misaligned teeth into their proper position over time, but have you ever wondered exactly how that process works? Today, we’re going to walk you through it, because it’s actually really neat!

The Pieces Of The Braces Puzzle

The different parts of your braces all contribute to the orthodontic treatment process in specific ways. You might have additional appliances tailored to your specific treatment plan, but everyone with traditional braces has brackets and archwires, tied together with a-ties (also called bands or ligatures).

Brackets

If you look carefully at braces brackets, you may notice that they aren’t all placed in a straight line. At first, the braces may even seem to emphasize the crookedness of the teeth. The way the orthodontist positions the brackets is what allows braces to shift teeth into their proper place. By the end of the treatment, the brackets — and, more importantly, the teeth — will be straight!

Archwire

The archwires run through the brackets on each row of teeth. The orthodontist chooses the thickness and material of the archwire carefully based on your treatment plan. As they try to straighten back into their original shape, archwires provide steady, gentle,  and gradual pressure in the right direction so that your teeth will shift towards their proper position. The colorful a-ties are what keep the archwires in place in the brackets.

Rubber Bands

The most common addition to braces beyond the basics of brackets, archwires, and a-ties are rubber bands. If you have a malocclusion (bad bite) or misaligned jaw, rubber bands apply pressure to bring your jaws into proper alignment. In order for them to do their job, however, it is essential to exactly follow the orthodontist’s instructions. Wearing too many or too few rubber bands will interfere with your treatment and make it take longer.

The Biology Of Shifting Dental Alignment

So what’s actually happening on the cellular level during orthodontic treatment? Specialized cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts respond to the pressure around the periodontal membrane (the pocket of gum tissue connecting the tooth’s root to the jaw bone). Osteoclasts break down the bone tissue so that the tooth can move, while osteoblasts gradually form new bone tissue behind it. So it’s not just your teeth moving into position; your jaw bones are reshaping themselves too!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78RBpWSOl08

What About Retainers?

Your teeth still remember where they used to be after the braces come off (muscle memory!), which is why it’s so important for you to remember to wear your retainers as directed. Retainers will help your teeth get used to their new position, and they’ll prevent unrelated shifting that happens to most people naturally over the course of time.

Want To Learn More About Your Orthodontic Treatment?

If you have any questions about how your braces are working to give you that properly aligned, more functional smile you’ve always wanted, just give us a call, or ask us about it at your next appointment. We want all of our patients to have the information they need to feel confident in their treatment!

We love seeing our patients’ smiles!

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.

How Braces Can Improve Speech Problems

June 18th, 2019

THE ABILITY TO SPEAK and enunciate clearly is based on a variety of factors. A speech disorder could be the result of hearing difficulties, genetics, or a cleft palate, but did you know that the position of the teeth can be part of the problem or even the cause? This is where orthodontic treatment and speech pathology overlap.

A Bad Bite Versus Your Speech

A major cause of lisps or whistling while talking is an overbite, which is when the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth by too much. These problems can also be the result of gaps in the teeth, which allow air to escape when pressing the tongue against the teeth while talking, creating a whistling sound. Orthodontic treatment corrects overbites and closes the gaps between teeth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4DTIxBU7-E

Your Tongue Needs Room To Maneuver

Our tongues need space and freedom to move in order for us to correctly form words and control how fast we talk. Sometimes jaw structure or dental crowding restricts the tongue’s movement, increasing the chances of a stutter or slurred speech. Braces will align the teeth and make room for the tongue to do its job properly.

To Make The Right Sounds, Teeth Should Be In The Right Place

In English, there are several sounds that we need our teeth in the right place in order to articulate: F as in “feet,” V as in “van,” S as in “soup,” Z as in “zoom,” CH as in “chair,” SH as in “shape,” J as in “jump,” ZH as in “treasure,” voiceless TH as in “think,” and voiced TH as in “the.” Orthodontic treatment places teeth where they need to be for better pronunciation.

How Can Orthodontic Treatment Help You?

Not all speech disorders can be cured by braces, but for people whose poor dental alignment or bad bites are getting in the way of their pronunciation, orthodontic treatment can be life-changing. And clearer speech isn’t the only benefit! Straight teeth are also easier to keep healthy, they improve your digestion, and they make your smile more beautiful.

Invest In Your Confidence And Health With Orthodontic Treatment

There’s no reason to allow orthodontic-related speech difficulties to limit your personal and business relationships or keep you from being your most confident, well-spoken self. If you have a friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker who would like to learn more about how an orthodontic treatment plan can lead to a happier, healthier life, share this blog post with them or give us a call.

Thanks for being part of our practice family.

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.

Too Few Or Too Many Adult Teeth?

June 11th, 2019

DEPENDING ON HOW MANY wisdom teeth come in and whether or not they have to be removed, most adults have 28-32 adult teeth. There are a few outliers in either direction, however. Some people have fewer teeth than they should (called hypodontia or congenitally missing teeth), while others have one or more extra (called hyperdontia or supernumerary teeth). How does this happen and what do we do about it?

Congenitally Missing Teeth

Between 2-4 percent of the population has at least one tooth missing from the adult set. The most common teeth affected by this condition are wisdom teeth, lower second premolars, and upper lateral incisors. It’s not really an issue to be missing wisdom teeth, but missing incisors and premolars can cause difficulties with chewing, the surrounding teeth may shift, and the decreased jaw support can lead to additional tooth loss.

The reason for congenitally missing teeth is nearly always genetics,which is why you tend to see it run in families. Sometimes it happens in conjunction with a larger genetic disorder like Down syndrome or ectodermal dysplasia.

Supernumerary Teeth

At the other end of the dental spectrum is hyperdontia, where extra teeth develop in the jaw. It happens more often with adult teeth than baby teeth. We don’t fully understand what causes this condition, but one leading theory is that it could be the result of a tooth bud dividing abnormally, producing two teeth instead of one.

Supernumerary teeth aren’t always shaped like normal teeth. They can also be peg-shaped, have multiple cusps, or simply be a mass of dental tissue. However they develop, they often don’t have room to erupt, so they remain impacted in the gums, causing crowding and alignment problems for the normal teeth.

The typical treatment for extra teeth is to extract them if there isn’t room for them, but dealing with a congenitally missing tooth can be more complicated. Depending on the age of the patient and how long the tooth has been missing, different options may be better. The first step is usually orthodontic treatment so that the gap will be wide enough to fit a replacement tooth. These come in a few forms:

  • Removable partial dentures are a simple solution. They can be attached to a retainer or anchored in place by the surrounding teeth.
  • Dental bridges “bridge” the gaps by anchoring to the neighboring teeth, but unlike dentures, they’re cemented in place.
  • The most permanent solution is a dental implant, which functions like a normal tooth. An implant consists of a post fixed in the jaw bone with a crown on top that matches the natural teeth. Implants can also provide support for bridges when multiple teeth are missing.

Let’s Take A Look At Those Teeth

With regular dental appointments, we can catch cases of hypodontia and hyperdontia early on and make a plan for how to address it. Keep up with your daily dental hygiene routine, keep scheduling those regular appointments, and give us a call if you have any questions about these rare conditions!

Keep on smiling!

Top image by Flickr user Héctor Arango 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.

Tooth Impaction: Teeth Trapped In The Gums

May 14th, 2019

EVERYONE’S TEETH ARE DIFFERENT. Some people’s adult teeth come in early, some come in late. In rare cases, not all of the adult teeth will come in on their own, which could be because they’re trapped beneath the gums.

Impacted Teeth

Overcrowding is a fairly common issue for adult teeth, but sometimes when there isn’t room for a new tooth to come in, it stays partially or fully under the gums instead. This happens most often with wisdom teeth, which can actually endanger the roots of neighboring molars when they are crooked or sideways in the jaw.

After wisdom teeth, the most likely teeth to be impacted are the upper canines. Research has shown that these tend to pop up more frequently in families. Usually only one of the canines is impacted, but sometimes they both are. The reason this happens to the upper canines is that they come in after the incisors and premolars next to them, which doesn't always leave them enough room.

The Problems When Teeth Can’t Come In

Typical complications of impacted teeth include cavities, infections, gum disease, nerve damage, root damage to adjacent teeth with symptoms like bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, pain and tenderness around the jaw, headaches and jaw aches, swollen gums or lymph nodes, and visible gaps between teeth.

Not everyone with an impacted tooth will experience these symptoms, however. With an impacted canine, the baby tooth might not even loosen because nothing’s pushing at it. This can have a significant impact on a person’s face and smile, because canine teeth have the longest roots and form the “corners” of the smile, as well as providing protection and support for the teeth around them.

Putting An Impacted Tooth In Its Place

There isn’t usually a way to prevent a tooth from becoming impacted, but an impacted wisdom tooth can be removed, and an impacted canine can be moved into its proper place with the assistance of oral surgery and orthodontic treatment. After the impacted tooth is discovered in dental X-rays, the orthodontist can decide how best to proceed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r1Zl2rI_8o

Think You Might Have An Impacted Tooth?

Do you or someone you know have an impacted canine tooth? Schedule a consultation with us so that we can take a look and come up with a plan to move that tooth out of the gums where it’s hiding and into the place it belongs!

We’re here to help you get 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 ilaria used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Breaking Down Eight Braces Myths

April 16th, 2019

EVEN IF YOU’VE NEVER had braces before, you’ve probably still heard a lot of things about what they’re like. Well, don’t believe everything you hear, because there is some bad information out there. That’s why today we’re going to bust eight of the most common braces myths.

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 don’t have to worry about them rusting in your mouth.

2. You Can’t 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 you have to choose between proper dental alignment and the instrument you love, because you can have both!

3. You Can’t Play Sports With Braces

If you play a sport, particularly a contact sport, you may have heard that you won’t be able to keep playing while you have braces, but this isn’t the case! As long as you wear a properly fitted mouthguard, your mouth and your braces will be protected while you play.

4. Braces Are Only For Teens

It is true that it is easier to undergo orthodontic treatment as a teenager, but there isn’t a time limit for getting braces. Adults of any age can get them too. We've treated patients from age 8 to 80!

5. My General Dentist Can Give Me Braces

To become an orthodontist, a dentist must gain years of additional training after completing dental school. Your general dentist has not completed this training to understand the best ways to safely and effectively correct misaligned teeth and jaws.

6. Rubber Bands Aren’t Important

Failing to wear rubber bands as instructed by the orthodontist is one of the biggest causes for prolonged orthodontic treatment. Wear your rubber bands!

7. Double Rubber Bands Equal Double The Movement

While some patients forget their rubber bands or don’t want to bother with them because they are uncomfortable, other patients think they can reduce their treatment time by wearing even more rubber bands than recommended. Do not do this! Too many rubber bands will cause unnecessary discomfort and they won’t move your teeth the way they are meant to move. It can actually cause damage to the roots and bone due to excessive force! You will probably end up needing to wear your braces longer than planned as a result. Stick to the instructions.

8. Your Teeth Will Be Straight Forever After Braces

The periodontal ligaments that hold our teeth in place within our jaws tend to be stubborn, and have muscle memory like all other muscles in our body. They remember where the teeth used to be before braces, and they want to go back. To keep your teeth in their aligned, post-braces condition, make sure you wear your retainers as recommended.

Trust The Experts, Not The Myths!

Whatever you’ve heard about orthodontic treatment, make sure you bring all your questions to us. We can tell you what braces are really like at your initial consultation, as well as what you can expect from your treatment, how long it will likely take, and what you will experience.

We can’t wait to help you get the smile of your dreams!

Top image by Flickr user Gordon 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.

Temporomandibular Disorders

April 10th, 2019

OUR JAWS DO A LOT of work throughout the day, opening and closing over and over so that we can do ordinary things like talk, eat, and yawn. Ideally, all of the anatomy involved functions as it should and we can perform these tasks without trouble, but many people struggle with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders because something has gone wrong.

The Anatomy Of The Temporomandibular Joints

The joints on both sides of our jaw, located between the ear and the cheekbone, consists of three parts: the socket (part of the temporal bone), the ball (the top part of the jawbone), and a small, fibrous disk that acts as a cushion between the two. The ball and socket are covered in cartilage to help keep movement smooth and comfortable.

If the disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment, if the cartilage on the bone is worn away by arthritis, or if there is a traumatic injury to the joint, a TMJ disorder may be the result.

Symptoms Of TMJ Disorders

Common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:

  • Clicking or popping sounds in the joint when chewing, or a grating sensation
  • Pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Difficult or painful chewing
  • Aching pain around the face
  • Aching pain in and around the ear
  • Difficulty opening or closing the jaw due to locking of the joint

Tips For Relieving TMJ Pain

If you’re dealing with TMJ pain, there are a few things you can do to reduce it on your own:

  • Keep yawning and chewing to a minimum.
  • When possible, avoid extreme jaw movements like from singing or yelling.
  • If you have to yawn, control it by pressing a fist beneath your chin.
  • When resting, hold your teeth slightly apart rather than fully closed. This is the natural resting position for the jaw, even when the lips are closed.
  • Eat soft foods that require little to no chewing.

Treatment For TMJ Disorders

In most cases, TMJ pain is temporary and goes away on its own after a week or two, but not always. If it doesn’t, and especially if it gets worse, then it likely needs treatment, which varies depending on the cause.

These treatments include ice packs, exercise, and moist heat, medication, and splints, but if none of them are enough, then measures like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound treatment, or trigger-point injections may be necessary. If all else fails, orthodontics and/or jaw surgery may be recommended to ensure that the entire system is fitting and functioning in the most stable and well-supported manner.

Talk To Us About Your Jaw Pain

If you’ve been experiencing persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw or difficulty opening and closing it completely, give us a call or stop by so that we can look for the cause and get you on the path to being pain-free.

Together, we can defeat TMJ pain!

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.

Adult Braces: Not A Myth

March 19th, 2019

IF YOU’RE OUT OF your teens, you might think you missed your chance for straight teeth, but that’s not true! Modern orthodontic treatment is for adults as well as teens. And even if you had braces before, your teeth might still shift over time, which is another reason to consider treatment as an adult.
How Teeth Shift As We Age

Our teeth naturally move and shift throughout our lives — including in ways we’d prefer they didn’t. In a process called mesial drift, our teeth slowly move towards the front of our mouths as we age. Other factors, including enamel loss, teeth grinding, and tooth loss, can move our teeth out of alignment too. The result is an increasingly crooked, overcrowded smile that is harder to keep healthy. If you previously had orthodontic treatment, but stopped wearing your retainers or had them removed, your teeth are free to shift wherever they please! Retainers are a lifelong commitment!

 

It’s Never Too Late For Orthodontic Treatment

Stopping bad habits and maintaining good ones is important, but it won’t reverse dental shifting that has already taken place, and that’s where adult orthodontic treatment comes in. While it’s true that our teeth can be guided into place more easily when we are younger, they will still respond to orthodontic appliances.

One advantage adult orthodontic patients have over teenagers is that they have the self-discipline to carefully follow the orthodontist’s instruction, which ensures better, timelier results!

Go Low-Profile With Modern Orthodontics

Maybe you already knew that adults could get braces, and what’s really stopping you is the idea of spending a year or so as a “brace-face.” Don’t be discouraged! There are several ways to get orthodontic treatment without everyone noticing your appliance, such as invisible aligners or clear, ceramic braces. No one needs to know that you’re on your way to a straighter smile if you don’t want them to!

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Everyone’s teeth are different, and so is their orthodontic treatment. We’re sure you still have many questions about what your treatment would involve, how long it would take, and, of course, the cost. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about adult braces, so just give us a call or stop by!

Everyone deserves to have the smile of their 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 tiarescott used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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.

What To Ask At An Orthodontic Consultation

January 15th, 2019

THE INITIAL ORTHODONTIC consultation is a critical step in your orthodontic treatment process. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to think about the kinds of questions you want to ask the orthodontist. Here are just a few to get you started.

How Long Will My Treatment Take?

Every patient has their own specific orthodontic needs, which means their treatment will be unique. Make sure to ask the orthodontist for an estimate on long your own treatment will take and what factors influence that timeline. The length and complexity of your treatment will also determine how much it costs.

How Do I Brush And Floss Around My Braces?

We sometimes take brushing and flossing our teeth for granted when we don’t have braces. It’s a fairly simple process to clean all of our teeth’s surfaces and get in between with a string of floss. With braces, it can be trickier, because there are many more places for pieces of food to get stuck, which also happen to be harder to reach with braces in the way. That’s why it’s important to ask the orthodontist for advice on how to keep your teeth clean with the braces on!

What Foods Should I Avoid?

You may have heard of the banned foods list orthodontic patients have to follow, and there’s a good reason for that. Having braces can make it difficult or impossible to eat certain types of food comfortably, and some foods can actually put the appliance in danger of breaking. Make sure you leave your consultation knowing which foods you should leave off your grocery list during your orthodontic treatment.

What Do I Do If Something Breaks?

Accidents happen to everyone, including orthodontic patients. A bracket may come loose or break, an archwire may snap, or any number of other complications could come up. It’s a good idea to get some early advice from the ortho on what to do in those kinds of situations so that you’ll be ready for them.

What Options Do I Have For My Treatment?

Because everyone’s teeth and situations are different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in orthodontic treatment. Ask the orthodontist if traditional braces are the most effective option for you, or if you might do better with a different approach, such as invisible aligners.

How Can I Help My Teeth Move Into Place On Schedule?

Many factors besides the starting position of the teeth can impact the speed of orthodontic treatment, including the actions of the patient! Depending on what you do, your treatment can either finish on time or become delayed, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you need to do to stay on track!

 

Come See Us With These And All Your Other Questions!

Here at our practice, we can’t wait to start working with you on helping you reach your healthy, straight smile goals, and the first step is making sure all your questions are answered. If you haven’t already scheduled your initial consultation, give us a call today!

We love giving our patients more reasons to 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.

What’s Stopping You From Getting Braces?

December 18th, 2018

MANY ADULTS MISTAKENLY believe that they missed their chance to get braces because they didn’t have them as teenagers. However, the number of adult orthodontic patients has risen dramatically over the last few decades, and today we’re going to debunk all of your excuses for not getting braces and show you why orthodontic treatment is still a wonderful option for adults with dental alignment issues.

“It’s Too Late; My Teeth Won’t Move”

It may be preferable to start young for orthodontic treatment, but there is no age limit to getting a straighter smile. We currently have multiple patients in their 70's in orthodontic treatment - and they are so happy to be doing it! We can help determine the best treatment for your circumstances. One advantage adult orthodontic patients have over teens is the self-discipline that comes with maturity; adults will often be better at following instructions for their treatment, which means it will go much smoother.

Check out how much this woman’s teeth moved in one year with adult braces!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3E6wGQAfZc

“I’ll Be Fine If I Keep My Crooked Teeth”

If you’ve been living with crooked teeth your whole life, you might think there’s no point in getting orthodontic treatment. But having straight teeth isn’t just about appearances — it’s also about improved oral and overall health. Straight teeth are easier to clean and make it easier to speak, chew, and even breathe effectively, whereas crooked teeth cause difficulties in all of these areas and can grow more crooked over time.

“Having Braces Will Make Me Look Unprofessional”

Some adults who would like straighter teeth may still hesitate to seek orthodontic treatment because they worry that spending a year or longer in braces could impact their personal lives or careers by making them look immature or unprofessional. Luckily, there are several low-profile orthodontic treatment options for patients who don’t want to broadcast their treatment to the world, such as invisible aligners, clear ceramic braces, and lingual (tongue-side) braces. With these, you can straighten your teeth without anyone noticing your hardware!

“Orthodontic Treatment Is Expensive”

Orthodontic treatment can certainly cost more than a regular dental appointment, but it’s also an investment in your future, saving you from the expenses of problems that come with crooked teeth or a bad bite. If you aren’t sure you can fit braces into your budget, schedule a FREE consultation with us. Together, we can find the best and most affordable option for you with flexible payment plans.

Leave Your Braces Excuses In 2018

This year is nearly over, and what better way to welcome the next one than by leaving your braces excuses behind and getting on the path to a healthier, straighter smile? We can’t wait to help you get the smile you deserve!

Don’t let excuses keep you from your dream 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.

Interceptive Orthodontics: The Basics

November 13th, 2018

WHEN WE PICTURE SOMEONE with braces, we usually picture a teenager with a mouthful of colorful brackets. What we don’t typically picture is orthodontic appliances on younger children. However, interceptive orthodontics can reduce the need for tooth extraction and jaw surgery, correct certain problems as they appear, encourage better facial development, shorten the length of orthodontic treatment needed later on, and leave patients with a better overall result in the end.

Interceptive Orthodontics Heads Off Problems Early

Conventional wisdom argues that orthodontic treatment shouldn’t start until all the adult teeth have grown in, but some issues with bite, alignment, and facial development can show up long before those teeth do. That’s where interceptive or “Phase 1” orthodontics comes in. An orthodontist can help your child’s jaw bones grow properly to have more room for the adult teeth and provide the structure for a healthier bite. Correcting problems like malocclusions (bad bites) as they appear makes future orthodontic treatment much faster and easier — and, in some cases, unnecessary!

Causes Of Malocclusions In Children

Interceptive orthodontics seeks to correct problems with jaw growth and damage from harmful habits such as thumb sucking, nail biting, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing. Each of these habits contributes to bite problems such as a narrow upper arch, an underdeveloped lower jaw, a deep bite, and an open bite, as well as dental crowding, which in turn can make it difficult to chew and swallow effectively and speak clearly. The purpose of Phase 1 treatment is to stop those habits if they persist or repair the damage so that the adult teeth can grow in where they should.

Common Phase 1 Treatments

One of the most noticeable differences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 orthodontics is that Phase 1 is less focused on actual braces. Those typically come later, if they are still needed. Some of the treatments commonly used in Phase 1 include:

  • Upper jaw expansion to eliminate a crossbite
  • Expansion of one or both jaws to create more room for adult teeth
  • Early extraction of specific baby teeth to help adult teeth come in properly
  • Keeping space open for permanent teeth after premature loss of a baby tooth
  • Reduction of upper front teeth protrusion to protect from trauma

Is Your Child A Candidate For Interceptive Orthodontics?

Phase 1 orthodontics works better for correcting some problems than others. The best way you can find out if it can help your child get the healthy, properly aligned smile they deserve is to bring them in for an orthodontic consultation around age 7 — especially if you’ve noticed any obvious bite problems or if they have one or more of those harmful oral health habits. In the meantime, keep encouraging them to do their brushing and flossing!

Our top priority is helping patients achieve healthy smiles for life!

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

How Dental Implants and Orthodontic Treatment Fit Together

October 9th, 2018

IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED TOOTH LOSS, you are not alone. In fact, more than 35 million Americans are missing all of their teeth, while 178 million are missing at least one tooth. Here’s the good news: there are solutions for you.

There Are Many Benefits to Choosing Implants

Here are five major benefits to consider when deciding between dental implants and other tooth restoration options:

#1: Dental implants are convenient and long-lasting.

Unlike dentures, you don’t need to take them out to eat or clean and there’s no need to reapply them with adhesive. Implants also provide a permanent solution to tooth loss–they are built to last a lifetime if they are well taken care of.

#2: Get the look, feel and function of your natural teeth.

Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth so you can look and feel your best. They also function like real teeth, meaning you can bite naturally and eat the foods you love without hesitation. Implants also don’t interfere with speech like some other replacement options.

#3: Oral hygiene isn’t complicated by implants.

You can take care of your teeth as usual, flossing once a day and brushing twice daily. With implants, it’s easy to maintain that bright, beautiful smile!

#4: Implants prevent bone deterioration and loss.

When you lose teeth the jawbone deteriorates, causing your face to appear sunken over time. Implants act as an artificial tooth root, stimulating the jawbone and promoting bone growth. This helps maintain the natural shape of your face and jaw.

#5: Leave your natural teeth unaltered.

Some treatment options, like a dental bridge, require grinding down other healthy teeth to support the bridge. Implants replace lost teeth but do not require any alteration of your existing healthy teeth.

Where Does Orthodontic Treatment Come In?

Some patients may need to undergo orthodontic treatment to create space in their mouths for dental implants to be placed in the proper location. Other patients may have implants placed first to serve as an anchor for orthodontic appliances, so the remaining natural teeth can be straightened.

Whatever tooth restoration option you choose, it is important that you replace your missing teeth. When teeth are missing, other remaining teeth will shift into the empty space resulting in bite misalignment and crooked teeth. If left untreated, gums will begin to deteriorate, bone structure will weaken and there is a higher risk of additional tooth loss.

Don’t Let Tooth Loss Keep You From Smiling

You should never let tooth loss keep you from a healthy, beautiful smile. If you have experienced tooth loss, come and talk with us today. We work together with your other dental care providers to see what tooth restoration options will be best for you, your lifestyle and health.

Our patients' smiles make it all worthwhile!

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 Gordon used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 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.

Congenitally Missing Teeth

March 1st, 2018

IT’S ONE THING TO lose a tooth, whether through poor oral hygiene, accident, or oral surgery. A tooth not growing in where it should is something else. Between 2-4 percent of the population will have at least one tooth missing from their adult set. This condition is called congenitally missing teeth or hypodontia. In the much rarer event that the full set of teeth is missing, it’s called anodontia.
It’s All About Genes

The most common teeth to be affected by this condition are wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and lower second premolars. Since wisdom teeth are often removed anyway, not having them in the first place can save you a lot of hassle, but those incisors and premolars are more important!

Genetics are almost always the culprit behind hypodontia, which is why it tends to run in families. Missing teeth could be the only issue, or they could be the result of a broader genetic disorder, such as ectodermal dysplasia or Down syndrome. Whatever the cause, there are many treatment options available for hypodontia.

Filling In The Gaps

Having these missing teeth can cause a few problems, such as difficulty chewing, the existing teeth shifting, and poor jaw support that could lead to the loss of additional teeth. This is why it’s important to get the issue taken care of as soon as possible. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different options will be preferable depending on the age and sex of the patient and the length of time the tooth has been missing.

In most cases, orthodontic treatment will be the first step. Because missing teeth can cause the existing teeth to shift, braces are typically necessary to correct the problem and open the gap wide enough to fit a replacement tooth. Replacements can come in a few different forms:

  • Removable partial dentures. These are the simplest solution in many cases. They use the surrounding teeth to anchor them in place, or might be attached to a retainer.
  • Dental bridges. As the name implies, a dental bridge “bridges” gaps by anchoring to the neighboring teeth. Unlike dentures, bridges are cemented in place.
  • Dental implants. These will function like normal teeth, with a post fixed in the jaw bone and a crown on top that matches the natural teeth. If multiple teeth are missing, implants can be used as support for bridges.

In other instances, it is possible to use orthodontics to close the space, and camouflage the way the teeth fit together, preventing our patients from needing a replacement tooth. Again, each situation is unique, so while one person may be better treated by creating space to replace a missing tooth, another may be better served by closing the space.

What Treatment Is Right For You?

Having congenitally missing teeth can be a struggle, but our practice is here for you. We can answer any questions you have and help you find the ideal treatment option so that your smile can be complete!

Keep being the wonderful patients that you are!

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.

Why Straight Teeth?

February 6th, 2018

TO SOME, IT MIGHT seem like the benefits of having straight teeth are purely cosmetic. And those benefits certainly do exist. Studies have shown that people tend to perceive someone with straight teeth as wealthier, happier, and more dateable than someone with crooked teeth. But there are plenty of other important health and lifestyle benefits as well.

Consequences Of Crooked Teeth

There are many different ways crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth can negatively impact a person’s health and quality of life. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones.

Difficult To Clean

When teeth overlap each other in ways they aren’t meant to, they can be much harder to clean with brushing and flossing than straight teeth. If teeth aren’t getting cleaned as effectively, then they become more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Impede Clear Speech

Underbites, severe overbites, and other alignment problems can interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly, leading to lisps and other distortions in articulation.

Interfere With Healthy Digestion

Chewing is a critical part of the digestion process. Our saliva begins to break food down on a chemical level while our teeth break it apart into more manageable pieces. Crooked teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to chew food enough, which forces the rest of the digestive system to pick up the slack. This can lead to a number of unpleasant GI consequences, and it can even make it harder to lose weight!

Can Interfere With Healthy Breathing

If your teeth don’t fit comfortably together, you might keep them apart instead of closing your jaws when resting. This can lead to mouth breathing, which has many negative health effects. The two most connected to oral health concerns are chronic bad breath and dry mouth.

Can Cause Jaw Problems

If there’s something wrong with your bite, that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndromeSymptoms include a clicking jaw joint, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.

Do Your Teeth Need Straightening?

Having straight teeth eliminates or greatly reduces all of these problems. This, paired with the cosmetic advantages and the boost in confidence, makes orthodontic treatment a very worthwhile investment. If you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, schedule an initial consultation with us so that we can find out what will be best for your smile. In the meantime, keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling your regular dental appointments!

You deserve the best for your teeth!

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 Malocclusions Bite The Dust

January 23rd, 2018

A MALOCCLUSION OCCURS when the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly, which can lead to a variety of problems. These bad bites can impact our speech, our digestion (by making it difficult to chew our food), contribute to TMJ syndrome, and even put our teeth in danger of breaking.
Causes Of Malocclusions

Malocclusions are often genetic. You might inherit different sized jaws that don’t fit together easily, or you might inherit teeth that are the wrong size for your jaws. Malocclusions can also be caused by injuries or bad oral habits during developmental years. These include thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, lip-sucking, mouth-breathing, nail-biting, and teeth-clenching.

Parents can help their children have healthier bites as they grow up by discouraging these habits. If the malocclusion is the result of one of the above mentioned bad habits, breaking that habit will be a crucial part of ensuring the malocclusion doesn’t return (but don’t worry; we can help with that).

Common Malocclusion Types

In a correct bite, the upper front teeth come slightly over the lower front teeth, and the points of each molar fit in the grooves of their counterparts in the upper or lower jaw. There are quite a few ways a person’s teeth can veer away from this healthy ideal, but we’ll just cover five of them here.

  • Excessive protrusion: the upper teeth stick forward, or overjet the lower teeth horizontally more than in a healthy bite
  • Underbite: the lower teeth overlap or partially cover the upper teeth
  • Crossbite: some of the upper teeth bite down on the inside of the lower teeth
  • Deep bite: an overbite so severe that the upper front teeth completely overlap the lower front teeth, sometimes driving the lower teeth into the gums behind the upper teeth when biting down
  • Open bite: the front upper and lower teeth do not make any contact with each other when biting down

Orthodontics And Bite Correction

These and other types of malocclusions can be corrected with orthodontics. That sentence might conjure up mental images of bulky headgear or extensive oral surgery, but don’t worry. While surgery and headgear may still be necessary in severe cases, bite correction is typically much more low profile and hassle-free today than it was in decades past. And, of course, the result of orthodontic treatment is a healthy and beautiful aligned smile!

Let’s Take A Look At Those Teeth!

Schedule a consultation with us today so that we can make sure everything looks good with your bite and make a plan to correct any alignment problems. We look forward to giving you the healthy bite you deserve!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

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.

Why Do We Get Crooked Teeth?

December 20th, 2017

IF BABY TEETH almost always grow in straight, then why are adult teeth so often crooked? What is it, if not just bad luck? There are competing theories, but adult teeth can come in crooked for a variety of reasons, from genetics to diet to daily habits.

Shifts In Society’s Diet…And Its Teeth?

One popular theory that comes from archeological studies is the Soft Foods Theory. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate much tougher foods than we do now, and this promoted more bone growth in the jaws and better-aligned teeth as a result. The theory suggests two possible reasons why modern people more often have crooked teeth:

  1. Modern food is processed and soft, so it doesn’t stimulate as much jaw bone growth.
  2. Modern food lacks many of the vitamins and minerals a hunter/gatherer diet would have been rich in, so the teeth and jaws can’t develop as much.

For more details on the Soft Foods Theory, check out this short video:

Braces Run In The Family

Even if you managed to eat tough foods for long enough to grow the jaw bones of a hunter/gatherer, you still wouldn’t be able to control what genes you inherited from your parents. If your parents didn’t need braces but you got Mom’s small jaw and Dad’s large teeth, you’ll end up with a crowding problem. Many children whose parents needed braces will also need braces.

Daily Habits Can Shift Your Teeth

While we have no say in our genes and would probably have a difficult time successfully sticking to a hunter/gatherer diet, the one cause of crooked teeth we might be able to control is our everyday habits. Something as simple as resting your chin on your hands can cause your teeth to shift over time, but these are the main offenders:

Thumb-sucking, when it continues past toddlerhood, can cause the upper teeth to flare out and shift the lower teeth inward, creating a badly misaligned bite, changing the shape of the jaw, and even affecting speech. If you’re looking for ways to discourage your child’s thumb-sucking habit, check out this resource.

Mouth-breathing, particularly during developmental years, can lead to dental crowding over time. Normally, when the mouth is closed, the tongue exerts pressure against the sides of the jaw, helping it develop in a healthy, wide shape. If the mouth is always open for breathing, this pressure isn’t there, and the jaw narrows, crowding the teeth.

Tongue-thrusting is the name of an incorrect or immature way of swallowing in which the tongue presses against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth. Babies naturally start out with this reflex, but it doesn’t always go away when it should, leading to dental alignment problems. This can be a difficult reflex to unlearn as a teen or adult, but there are special orthodontic appliances designed to encourage better swallowing habits.

Whatever The Cause, We’re The Solution!

Whether teeth teeth are crooked due to genetics, a modern diet, or these kinds of unhealthy habits during childhood, the solution is the same: orthodontic treatment. If you haven’t already, schedule a consultation with us so that we can make a plan for getting you the perfectly aligned smile you deserve!

Thank you for trusting us with your teeth! We love helping you look your best!

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.

Five Quick Braces-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

November 28th, 2017

WHEN YOU HAVE BRACES, it can sometimes be tricky to find good food to eat that won’t put all those crucial brackets and wires at risk. Finding the right food is even trickier if you’ve just had your braces adjusted and things are still a little tender. That’s why we’re dedicating an entire blog post to giving you great braces-friendly breakfast ideas to satisfy your stomach while being gentle on your teeth!
1. Puréed Fruit

One of the biggest items on the banned foods list for braces is apples, because biting into such a hard fruit can easily pop brackets off. When your teeth are sore after an adjustment, you probably wouldn’t want to eat apples or other hard fruits even if you could, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your daily servings of fruit—in purée form! Whether it’s a fruit smoothie with no sugar added or homemade applesauce, you can’t go wrong with fruit purée.

2. Greek Yogurt

Another great option when you don’t want to do much chewing is yogurt, whether it be Greek or regular, cool or frozen, plain or flavored. You can add some fruit, cinnamon, honey—whatever you love. The creamy smoothness isn’t the only thing that makes Greek yogurt perfect for your sore mouth; it also has a ton of health benefits such as protein to build strong muscles, probiotics to improve digestion and strengthen your immune system, and calcium for healthy teeth and bones!

3. Scrambled Or Soft-Boiled Eggs

If fruit and yogurt don’t sound very filling to you, then how about eggs? Cooked right, scrambled eggs are wonderfully soft and fluffy, so you can go easy on your teeth and braces while still eating a hearty meal. The same goes for soft-boiled, hard-boiled, and poached eggs. They’re quite soft to bite into and are delicious, healthy ways to start your day!

For another great egg breakfast idea, check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuR_-4fne24


4. Oatmeal Or Overnight Oats

If you’re looking for other hearty breakfast options, oatmeal and overnight oats are perfect, and they’re so soft and creamy! Oatmeal itself is already such a creamy meal in instant form, but when you make it into overnight oats, you’re in a whole new ballpark. You can add whatever toppings you’d like, such as fruit, honey, cinnamon, or vanilla. You’ll get a meal full of flavor with no pressure on your teeth!

5. Milk Toast

If you’ve never heard of this one before, it might be time to try something new! Normally, toast is too crunchy to eat with sore teeth, but toast soaked in milk and flavored with cinnamon and sugar won’t give you any trouble. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s delicious, and your teeth will love it.

Enjoy Your Breakfast!

We know braces take some getting used to, and that’s why we’re always here to help! If you need more ideas for braces-friendly foods, just let us know, and call us or come in if you have any other questions about your braces!

We’re here to make sure you have a great braces experience!

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.


Overcoming Braces Anxiety

July 25th, 2017

MANY OF US, even though we know how important it is to have straight teeth, don’t find it particularly fun to lie flat on our backs while someone attaches brackets and wires to them. For some, though, the very thought of visiting the dentist or the orthodontist fills them with anxiety, and it could even be a full-blown phobia. That’s why we’d like to put our focus on helping our patients overcome their dental anxieties and fears so that they don’t interfere with orthodontic treatment.

Dental Anxiety Stats

An estimated nine to 15 percent of Americans completely avoid visiting the dentist because of anxiety and fear. Dental anxieties and phobias can spill over to orthodontics too. Any fear that stands between a patient and the treatment they need is a serious concern, and we’re here to address that today.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Orthodontist

If you’re worried about going to the orthodontist, that might be because history and pop culture have given you the wrong idea of what to expect. Bulky headgear is a thing of the past, and new innovations are always making tooth-straightening more comfortable.

Watch the video below to learn more about how we’re uniquely qualified to give you the smile you’ve always wanted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKsp-FxBU1U

Advice For Overcoming Braces Anxiety

Knowledge is power! One of our main goals for our patient's during their first examination is to make them feel comfortable and informed. New patient examinations in our office are scheduled in such a way that the doctor has all of the uninterrupted time that he/she needs to spend with you to explain treatment options and rationale. More than that, we aim to keep our initial examination appointments as relaxed as possible - we like to get to know each patient on a personal level! We treat our everyone like family, and hope they feel the same about us!

For some, anxiety can be relieved by having the doctor explain everything that they will be doing that day before, during and after the procedure. For others, that information itself can seem overwhelming. Let us know what makes you most comfortable! Every person is unique and we willingly modify our approach to ensure your comfort and happiness.

We Will Work With You!

Your care and comfort are our top priorities. If you or someone in your family struggles with dental anxiety and it’s interfering with getting orthodontic treatment, we’d love to schedule a time for you to come to our practice so that you can get used to the facility and get to know our team. We can answer any questions you may have.

We hope to see you soon!

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


Vacation Tips To Care For Your Braces!

June 27th, 2017

SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE and you know what that means–family vacations, impromptu getaways and fun trips! Just like you, we couldn’t be more excited. As orthodontic professionals, however, we want to make sure that when you leave on vacation, you don’t leave your oral hygiene behind, especially if you have braces. Follow these tips to protect your braces and keep your teeth healthy and bright, even when you’re traveling!

Have A Checkup Before Leaving Town

You should definitely see your orthodontist before you head out on your fun adventure. At your appointment, we will make any necessary adjustments and ensure that your orthodontic treatment is going forward as planned. If you wear traditional braces, we will check your brackets and wires to make sure they are firmly in place.

Watch What You Eat

One of the reasons that we go on vacation is for the amazing food! But remember, with braces, there are some foods you should stay away from. Nothing will put a damper on your trip like popping off a bracket or bending a wire. Here are the kind of foods you should watch out for:

  • Nuts
  • Hard cookies, candies, or bread
  • Pretzels and bagels
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chewy, sticky, or gummy candy
  • Raw fruit and vegetables that aren’t cut into pieces

Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Vacating your normal life and responsibilities for a short time is what vacations are all about! It’s important that you don’t leave your oral hygiene at home, however. Keeping your teeth healthy is something that requires daily care, so make sure your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are at the top of your packing list!

Quick tip: When packing your toothbrush, make sure to store it in a case or bag that is ventilated. If you use a brush head cover or need to pack it in a bag without any ventilation, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush.

You’ll also want to pack an orthodontic travel kit. This will include some over-the-counter painkillers, in case you experience any discomfort, any interdental cleaners that you use besides floss and orthodontic wax. If you use clear aligners and happen to lose your current one, just pop in the previous or next tray and call us when you get home!

Bon Voyage!

We hope these tips will help you protect your teeth, even when you’re on vacation. You’ll have a lot more fun knowing that your teeth and braces are taken care of and your smile is summer-ready. Wishing a safe trip and a wonderful summer to all of our amazing patients!

Thank you for the trust you place 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 tiarescott used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.


Have You Considered Invisalign®?

April 18th, 2017

IF YOU WANTED TO STRAIGHTEN your teeth back in the day, you really only had one option–traditional metal braces. The science of orthodontics has evolved significantly in recent years, allowing our patients to have a variety of different options when it comes to how they would like to have their teeth straightened and what is most convenient for them. Today, we want to talk about Invisalign®!

Invisalign Treatment Provides Many Benefits

Not everyone is a good candidate for Invisalign, but if you are, it may be a great option to achieve your dream smile!

As the name implies, Invisalign trays are nearly invisible, allowing you to go throughout your daily activities with most people being unaware that you are undergoing orthodontic treatment! The aligners are custom-made for you, ensuring a perfect, comfortable fit.

Of course one of the best perks of choosing Invisalign is being able to eat whatever you want! Because you can take your aligners off while eating and drinking, you don’t have to worry about staying away from the foods that you love. Invisalign trays also don’t affect your oral hygiene routine like traditional braces do. You can brush and floss as you normally would!

You also won’t have to worry about getting used to metal brackets that may rub on your cheeks and lips at the beginning of treatment or during sporting events. With Invisalign, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

And even though we love to see you, patients with Invisalign generally need to come in less frequently than our other orthodontic patients. If you have a busy schedule but still want to improve your smile, Invisalign might be just the thing for you!

Talk To Us About Invisalign

We want your orthodontic treatment to reflect your unique smile, lifestyle and personality. Call us today to discuss any questions you might have about Invisalign or any of the other treatments we provide at our office!

Thank you for choosing our practice. We absolutely 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.

Get Screened For Oral Cancer

April 4th, 2017

WHEN PEOPLE GO TO THE DENTIST OR ORTHODONTIST, it’s generally because they have a toothache, they need some dental work done, they want to get their teeth cleaned, or they want their teeth straightened. But this month being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want to emphasize more than ever how important regular oral exams are. Of course your dentist will make sure you don’t have any cavities, but what you may not realize is that regular dental exams could actually save your life.

What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

Some people think oral cancer is rare, but here are the facts: approximately 132 individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer each day in the United States alone, and someone dies of oral cancer every hour. It is a particularly deadly cancer–only about half of oral cancer patients survive five years past their initial diagnosis. But what we really want you to remember is that early detection saves lives. When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates increase by 80 to 90 percent!

Be Aware Of The Risk Factors

Certain lifestyle activities can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Familiarize yourself with these risk factors:

  • Tobacco use–Smoking and other tobacco use makes you three times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Alcohol consumption–Drinking alcohol more than doubles your risk of oral cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure–Frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your risk of developing lip cancer
  • Age–Two-thirds of individuals with oral cancer are over age 55

While knowing the risks can help us prevent oral cancer, it still occurs in people without any of the above risk factors. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent among non-smoking, healthy individuals. The reason for this shift is the rise of HPV, or human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted infection. Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer–even more so than tobacco users.

Get Screened Regularly

Oral cancer often begins as a painless sore in the mouth. We encourage doing frequent self checks at home as well as visiting your dentist regularly, where you will receive routine oral cancer screenings. Come and see us immediately if you experience any lumps, white or red patches, numbness, or a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks in and around the mouth and throat.

As dental professionals, we are the first line of defense against this awful disease. Next time you’re in our office, ask us more about how we screen for oral cancer. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Help Us Raise Awareness

Unfortunately, we don’t hear as much about oral cancer as we do other cancers, and many people are unaware of their need to get screened on a regular basis at routine dental exams. As your trusted oral health care providers, we want to change that. Help us spread oral cancer awareness this month by sharing this post with your friends and loved ones.

We love being the orthodontic practice you trust! 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.

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.

Think It’s Too Late For Braces? Think Again!

October 4th, 2016

THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE of a child or teenager in braces is a thing of the past. In fact, more than one million adults in the U.S. and Canada currently wear braces! If you’re thinking it’s too late for you to straighten your smile, we want you to know that no matter your age, orthodontic treatment can change your life.

Why Are So Many Adults Seeking Orthodontic Treatment?

We know that not everyone had the opportunity to receive orthodontic treatment when they were young, even if they wanted to. Some of you may have had braces in the past but for various reasons need them again. Whatever the reason you are seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, we have options for you!

Because of advances in technology, we are able to provide a variety of treatment options. Depending on your unique case as well as your lifestyle and personality, we will recommend one of the following types of braces:

  • Conventional metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Clear plastic aligners (Invisalign)

With more options and more freedom to choose, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted in a way that works best for you.

The Benefits Of Straight Teeth Go Beyond Cosmetics

Having straight teeth and a healthy smile you are proud of are shown to improve self-esteem and confidence. According to 75 percent of adult braces wearers, orthodontic treatment can even improve your career and personal relationships.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DIrqWotkdQ

But beyond the cosmetic side of things, many adults are realizing just how important straight teeth and an aligned bite are for oral and overall health. Here are just a few of the health benefits orthodontic treatment could provide for you:

  1. Less plaque and tartar buildup: When teeth are crooked and crowded they trap food more easily and are harder to clean. That’s why having straight teeth reduces the risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Easier eating: Did you know that misaligned or crowded teeth can compromise chewing? It can also cause abnormal tooth enamel wear and increase your risk of cracking or chipping a tooth.
  3. Less headaches: Jaw misalignment and crooked teeth are common contributors to headaches and neck, jaw and face pain, as well as pain associated with TMD.

Talk To Us Today About Adult Orthodontics

It’s no wonder that 92 percent of adults with braces say they would recommend orthodontic treatment to their peers. Braces can beautify your smile and help give rise to a healthier, happier you! So, what are you waiting for? Set up an orthodontic consultation with us today.

We can’t wait to give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Top image by Flickr user Chris Hunkeler 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.

Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth?

August 23rd, 2016

MANY PARENTS HAVE heard their children (loudly) grinding their teeth while they sleep at night, or even during waking hours. You may  worry about the health of your child’s teeth or what their tooth grinding habit means and what has caused it. We hope this blog post answers your questions!

Why Does Teeth Grinding Occur?

Most commonly, bruxism–or teeth grinding–occurs at night. The causes of bruxism are not entirely understood and every child is different. Teeth grinding can occur due to teething in infants, or even when children get their permanent teeth. Others may do it in response to pain, frustration or stress. Some may grind or clench due to improperly aligned teeth. Certain medical conditions as well as genetics may also make people more prone to grinding.

Is Bruxism Worrisome?

Bruxism is fairly common among children. In fact, twenty to thirty percent of children grind or clench their teeth at one point during childhood. The good news is, most outgrow it and do not incur any lasting damage to their teeth during a teeth grinding phase.

If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, it’s important to take them to your dental care provider. The symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Grinding noises while your child is asleep
  • Pain when chewing
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Sore jaw or face, especially in the morning upon waking

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or you suspect that they grind or clench their teeth frequently, pay us a visit. Fortunately, most cases of bruxism in children do not require treatment, as it usually goes away over time. However, depending on the cause of your child’s bruxism, we may recommend various treatment options. For example, if your child grinds their teeth in response to stress, perhaps a more calming bedtime routine may help. Or if your child’s bruxism is due to a misaligned bite, orthodontic treatment could be the solution.

During your visit, we will examine your child’s teeth for tooth enamel wear and damage. If there is damage, or your child grinds their teeth very frequently, we may recommend a custom-made night guard to protect teeth and hopefully prevent grinding.

We’re Here To Help

Whatever the reason for your child’s teeth grinding habit, we would love to help! Have any more questions or concerns about bruxism? Come in to see us today!

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.

Top image by Flickr user Katrina Br*?#*!@nd used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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.

Why Correcting An Overbite Is Important

July 12th, 2016

IT IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION to think that orthodontic treatment is simply for aesthetic purposes. In reality, having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can have lasting effects on your overall oral health.

So, what if you have an overbite? Fixing your overbite, or any kind of malocclusion for that matter, will not only beautify your smile, but it will also prevent dental problems in the future!

What Is An Overbite?

An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the lower and upper jaws and/or teeth are not aligned, causing the upper front teeth to cover the lower front teeth. Most often an overbite is hereditary, but it can also be caused by the jaw not forming correctly. Childhood tendencies such as thumb-sucking or prolonged bottle-feeding or pacifier use can cause or worsen an overbite.

Why Is Correcting An Overbite Important?

Fixing an overbite may simply be a matter of wanting to improve the appearance of your smile, but it’s important to remember that an uncorrected overbite can cause a wide range of health and dental problems. Some of these include:

  • Gum damage. In a severe overbite, the lower front teeth can contact the gum line in the back of the upper front teeth, while the upper front teeth may strike the gum line of the lower front teeth, resulting in gum recession. Damaged gums can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
  • Difficulty speaking and chewing. Overbites can make speech difficult, resulting in speech impediments or overcompensation to articulate certain words. Overbites can also complicate proper chewing.
  • Tooth wear and damage. The teeth often rest and hit each other in odd places when the jaw is misaligned, causing enamel wear, tooth fracture and even tooth loss.
  • Sleep apnea. People with overbites and a small mouth have a higher likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea, especially if the overbite is associated with lower jaw which is set back.
  • Jaw pain. A misaligned jaw can result in chronic jaw pain and headaches and may contribute to the development of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).

What Treatments Are Available?

After an examination, your orthodontist can diagnose the severity of the overbite and suggest the best method of correction. For most people, that is orthodontic treatment. Not only will orthodontic treatment fix your bite, it will also straighten your teeth and beautify your smile. In rare occurrences where an overbite is due to a malformed jaw, surgery may be required.

Love Your Smile

Everyone deserves to love their smile! For most of us, that perfectly aligned smile doesn’t come naturally. That’s where we come in! We are dedicated not only to ensuring your oral health, but also to making sure you walk out of our office loving that gorgeous grin of yours. Call us today for a consultation! We love hearing from our patients.

Thank you to our loyal 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.

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.

Baby Teeth and Braces: Why Early Treatment May Be Necessary

May 10th, 2016

WHILE MANY THINK BRACES are for correcting misaligned adult teeth, you may be surprised to learn that orthodontics can help correct your child’s bite before their adult teeth even come in!

Baby Teeth Play an Important Role in Oral Health

Primary teeth—more commonly known as baby teeth—play a key role in your child’s oral health. Besides providing an aesthetic appeal to your child’s smile and boosting their self-esteem, primary teeth have three main functions:

  1. They aid in proper chewing, fostering good nutrition
  2. They promote proper speech development
  3. They reserve a space for permanent teeth to grow in

If a primary tooth falls out or must be removed before its time due to decay, the surrounding teeth may shift into the gap, causing dental crowding and future orthodontic problems.

Seven Is the Perfect Age for an Orthodontic Visit

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic exam at the earliest signs of any orthodontic issue, but no later than age seven. Although not every child will need treatment that young, some may benefit from early intervention.

Much of the treatment that takes place at this age is called Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, usually occurring when a child still has a mix of primary and permanent, secondary teeth. During this phase, we seek to correct any problems that may be occurring with jaw growth and even address certain bite issues. This phase is generally followed by a second phase of treatment when all of the child’s permanent teeth have erupted.

Beginning two phase treatment while your child still has primary teeth can have numerous benefits and can even reduce the time needed for a full set of braces.

Early Orthodontic Intervention Can Prevent Future Problems

Whether or not your child is showing signs of misaligned teeth, seven is the perfect age for them to come in for an orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontic treatment isn’t always necessary if there’s a space in your little one’s primary teeth or baby teeth, but we can help you determine the best plan for your child’s growing smile.

Thank you for trusting us with your family’s oral health! We love our patients.

Image by Flickr user Loren Kerns 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.

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.

What to Do About Congenitally Missing Teeth

April 19th, 2016

WHILE MOST PEOPLE HAVE thirty-two permanent teeth that develop (including the wisdom teeth), some people’s permanent teeth never grow in at all. These are called congenitally missing teeth—teeth missing from birth—and it’s actually more common than you think!

So, what do you do if you find out you or your child have one or more congenitally missing teeth?

Why Would a Tooth Be Congenitally Missing?

A lot of factors are at play when it comes to the complex process of tooth formation. Congenitally missing teeth can run in families, meaning that often it is simply an inherited trait. Certain systemic conditions can also result in missing teeth. Whatever the reason for congenitally missing teeth, the good news is that there are effective ways to treat it.

What Kinds of Treatments Are There for Missing Teeth?

Depending on your unique situation and personal preference, your orthodontist and/or dentist will recommend one or a combination of these treatments:

  • Orthodontic treatment: Often times gaps left by missing teeth will cause the surrounding teeth to rotate and shift into the empty space, resulting in bad bite and other issues. Orthodontic treatment is typically recommended first to set the patient up for an ideal tooth replacement in the future in regards to function and aesthetics. Your orthodontist will even put a fake tooth on your wire, and create a retainer with a tooth on it so that your smile stays at it's best while you are considering your options for permanent replacement.
  • Dental implants: This is most often the treatment of choice once the surrounding teeth have been put into their proper places. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. Combined with a crown specifically made to match your teeth, they are the most aesthetic, functional and long-lasting treatment option.
  • Dental bridge: Bridges, often considered the next best option, literally “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Crowns, placed on the two teeth adjacent to the gap, are connected to a false tooth that fills the space left by the missing tooth.
  • Removable partial denture: This appliance consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. The removable denture simply rests on your natural teeth and gums.

Your Dream Smile Is Our Goal

If you or your child have congenitally missing teeth, consult with us today about your options. Whatever your decided treatment plan, we’re dedicated to making sure you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Making you smile makes our day!

Image by Flickr user KatieThebeau 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.

10 Fun Dental Facts You Probably Didn’t Know!

March 22nd, 2016

THE TRUTH IS, our teeth are amazing! Without them we wouldn’t be able to speak, eat, sing, or smile properly. We’d like to celebrate our teeth by sharing some interesting dental facts you may not have known!


Here Are 10 Fun Dental Facts

  1. If you've been using floss daily, by the end of the year the total length will be the perimeter of a baseball diamond! Is your floss going to make it to home plate?
  2. Because birds lack teeth, many swallow stones or grits to aid in breaking up hard foods.
  3. On average, women smile 62 times a day and men only eight times a day. Step it up, guys!
  4. The average American spends 38.5 total days brushing their teeth in their lifetime.
  5. Only 40 percent of young people age six to 19 have had cavities in their life. That’s down from 50 percent a decade ago!
  6. In the middle ages, people thought that a dog’s tooth boiled in wine made an excellent mouth rinse to prevent tooth decay. Tasty!
  7. The Egyptian plover, also known as the crocodile bird, is famous for flying into crocodile mouths and cleaning their teeth.
  8. Prior to the 1850s, ‘toothpastes’ were usually powders and contained soap and chalk.
  9. An obscure law in Vermont states that it is illegal for women to wear false teeth without the written permission of their husband. Crazy!
  10. Different animals have different amounts of teeth; armadillos have 104, pigs have 44, and humans have 32.

Another cool fact: the narwhal's tusk is actually a tooth!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7aTCbiD0KM?rel=0

How Many Of These Facts Have You Heard Before?

It’s always fun to learn about the obscure facts and crazy history that make up our tooth trivia! Do you know any other cool dental facts? Comment below or on our Facebook page! And remember, take care of your teeth. They do so much for you!

We are grateful for our awesome patients!

Image by Flickr user la vaca vegetariana 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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