Archive for April 2014

Nail Biting 101

nail biting

Also known as onchophagia, the nail biting is a nervous habit that can have serious consequences. Stress, excitement, or boredom can trigger it, and approximately half of kids between ten and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another. According to experts, 30% of children and 15% of adults are nail biters, but most stop by the time they turn 30.

Here are four reasons to put a stop to the habit:

  1. It’s unsanitary: Fingernails harbor bacteria and germs, and are almost twice as dirty as your fingers. And swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach issues.
  2. It wears down your teeth: The added stress of biting nails can lead to crooked teeth.
  3. It can delay your orthodontic treatment: For those who wear braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
  4. You’ll literally pay for it eventually: It has been estimated that up to $4K in extra treatment can build up over a lifetime.

Our team recommends the following to kick your nail biting habit:

  • Trim your nails often; short nails leave you nothing to bite. .
  • A bitter-tasting nail polish will deter biting. .
  • Consider using a mouthguard to discourage nail biting. .
  • Try operant conditioning. Snapping a rubber band on your wrist when you bite your nails will associate the action with pain, eventually dissuading you from biting your nails. .
  • Be cognizant of when you are biting your nails, and try to understand what is triggering the action. .

If you’re having trouble, please ask your orthodontist for recommendations.


April Marks National Facial Protection Month

April Marks National Facial Protection Month

April, also known as National Facial Protection Month, is upon us, and for Dr. Jim Whitehead and our team at Whitehead Orthodontics, that only means one thing: it’s once again time to remind our patients to protect their faces and pearly whites.

According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually. To us, that’s simply unacceptable. By simply wearing a properly fitted mouthguard or other form of protection, kids and adults alike can greatly reduce their chances of traumatic facial injuries.

Here are five ways to ensure you and your child’s can protect your mouth this spring:

1. Make sure you or your child wears a mouthguard for contact sports such as baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse.

2. Remind him or her to wear a helmet

3. …and protective eyewear

4. Wearing a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin will help

5. Make sure your child is alert, even as a spectator

We hope these tips are helpful. Dr. Jim Whitehead will tell you protective gear is vital for anyone engaging in contact sports or activities. If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact us at our Lexington, SC office.

Stay safe and have fun this spring!


The Importance Of an Early Orthodontic Evaluation

When should I bring my child in for their first orthodontic examination? This is a very common question that parents often ask, and the recommendation from the American Association of Orthodontists is age 7. “I agree and feel the ideal age for a child’s first orthodontic exam is age 7. When we are fortunate enough to see a child at this age, we can closely monitor the eruption of their permanent teeth and follow the growth of the jaws through these critical years of development. This allows us to catch problems early while they are developing, rather than after they have already developed, thus we can much more effectively manage these issues and may be able to prevent more invasive treatment needed in the future” Says Lexington, SC orthodontist Dr. Jim Whitehead.  When orthodontic problems are left undiagnosed and untreated,many of these issues can result in severe and permanent dental health problems. These may include abnormal wear of tooth surfaces or enamel, inefficient chewing, and even excessive stress on gum tissue and supporting bones which can lead to gum recession and/or bone loss. Early treatment of these problems not only protects the teeth, but can be more cost effective for the family to fix these problems before they can cause damage.

Why Early Care?

Early treatment or Phase I treatment is typically provided between the age of 7 and 10. The treatment aims at eliminating bite problems that can damage the teeth or gum tissues or making treatment down the road less invasive thus minimizing tooth extractions or jaw surgery. Here are some of the reasons why Dr. Whitehead would recommend early orthodontic treatment:

• Protruding front teeth (buck teeth)

• Crossbites

• Harmful oral habits

• Jaw growth discrepancies

• Crowded teeth

Only a complimentary examination with Dr. Whitehead at our Lexington, SC office can determine if early orthodontic treatment is needed for your child. Should any treatment be indicated, Dr. Whitehead can clearly explain the diagnosis, the reason for the early treatment recommendation, and discuss all the treatment options with you. Our state-of-the-art Lexington, SC orthodontic practice provides the most effective, efficient, and affordable treatments available anywhere. Call us today to schedule your complimentary examination with Dr. Whitehead.