All posts in Blog

When Clear Braces Are Better Than Traditional Braces

When Clear Braces Are Better Than Traditional Braces

Clear Braces

Clear braces are good alternatives to traditional metal braces. Since clear braces are able to blend in more to the color of the teeth, it has a very good aesthetic advantage over the traditional one. Typically, clear braces are made up of plastic or ceramic materials which function in a similar manner with the traditional braces. The main advantage of using clear braces is apparent in teens.

Advantages of Using Clear Braces

Since teens are going through several stages of maturity, they become more sensitive, irritable, and fragile. Most kids or teens wearing traditional metal braces are being bullied by other kids just because they look horrible with their braces on. As parents, you don’t want this to happen to your beloved kids since your goal in the first place is to make them look better in the future.

Fortunately, clear braces are created in order to serve the same purpose without having to sacrifice how patients look while under the treatment. Since clear braces are hardly noticed, teens can have more confidence in facing their classmates every day in school.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign on the other hand are clear aligners which allow orthodontists to straighten a patient’s teeth without the use of braces. These removable clear aligners are made up of clear plastic hence they are also hard to notice making it a good option for teens. Since these aligners are removable, patients have the freehand to remove them while eating, brushing, playing musical instrument, and the like.

When it comes to ease of use, nothing beats Invisalign as it can be easily removed anytime. However this strength can also become its greatest weakness. Why? It’s because most orthodontic patients are kids and teens. Most of these young individuals are not responsible enough to put their Invisalign on the prescribed number of hours a day. Some kids even lose their Invisalign often and others just forget to wear them in a day.

When it comes to orthodontics, following the instructions carefully greatly impacts the results at the end of the treatment. Therefore, if you are not sure your child can keep up with the responsibilities involved in Invisalign, it is better to get traditional braces instead since they are not removable.

More

Common Misconceptions About Orthodontics

Common Misconceptions About Orthodontics

While the practice of orthodontia has become increasingly popular over the years, there are still many misconceptions that cause people concern. At Whitehead Orthodontics, we want to dispel your concerns by addressing these common misconceptions.

Misconception #1: My orthodontist is just like my family dentist.

The Truth: While it is true that the goal of both orthodontists and dentists is to help patients achieve lifelong oral health, we go about these goals in completely different ways.

An orthodontist will help patients achieve oral health by addressing the alignment of your teeth. By correcting these issues, we are able to help patients with a variety of oral health issues including; crowded teeth, bite problems and even speech impediments.

A dentist works with patients to prevent and treat a variety of oral hygiene and health issues including; teeth cleaning, gum disease, tooth decay and other common oral health problems.

Misconception#2: Orthodontists only treat children.

The Truth: While the majority of people you will see at an orthodontist office are children and teenagers; there has been an increase in adults sliding into the orthodontist chair. Because there are many causes for crooked teeth, treatment for crooked teeth can happen at any age.

Misconception #3: My child has to wait until all their adult teeth are in place before seeing an orthodontist.

The Truth: Actually, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist for an evaluation at the age of 7. By doing so, it gives the orthodontist an opportunity to treat any problems early on while the jaw is still growing and the adult teeth are not already in place.

Misconception #4: It takes too long!

The Truth: While the duration depends on the severity of your issues and the speed in which your teeth move, the majority of patients have braces for about two years. While two years may seem like a lot, it is a miniscule amount in time for a smile that lasts a lifetime.

Misconception #5: It is not worth the expense!

The Truth: While it is not cheap, the pros far outweigh the cons. No one has ever regretted investing the money to correct his own or his child’s smile. Instead of focusing on how much you are spending, think about what you or your child will gain by having a beautiful, healthy smile. Isn’t that worth more than money can buy?

Bottom line, a smile is a powerful asset, don’t let these common misconceptions dissuade you from pursuing it. Call Whitehead Orthodontics today and get one step closer to a smile you can be proud of.

More

The Benefits Of Invisalign

The Benefits Of Invisalign

For years, if you wanted to have that picture perfect smile you had endure the dreaded metal mouth. Thankfully, times they are a changin’ with the help of Invisalign. Unlike the unsightly and painful metal braces of yore, Invisalign offers patients an affordable alternative.

How does Invisalign work? By using advance 3-D imaging technology, Invisalign determines a complete treatment plan from the initial position to the desired results. Once a plan has been made, custom clear aligners are made for your teeth based on these results. Each aligner is designed for a specific stage and works for a couple weeks before being replaced for the next aligner in the series. This causes your teeth to gradually move into the proper position.

One of the biggest benefits of choosing Invisalign is that the aligners are clear so most people won’t even be able to tell you are wearing them in the first place. However, the benefits do not stop there. There are many benefits to the clear aligners, including improvements to oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.

Unlike traditional metal braces that require a lot of painstakingly tedious maintenance, Invisalign is low maintenance. Studies have shown that oral hygiene improves with Invisalign over braces due to the fact that there is less of a chance for food to be trapped around the small edges of the brackets. Simply just remove the aligners before you eat or drink. Just remember to brush and floss before putting the aligners back in.

In addition, Invisalign does not require any metal brackets or wires, so you never need to worry about the aligners irritating your mouth. Which means that you will spend less time in the orthodontist’s chair, as you will not need to come in for routine adjustments. Just remove trays to eat, brush, floss and clean the trays to avoid an odor residue. If this important aspect is overlooked, it could mean the growth of bacteria in the aligners, which would then transfer onto the teeth. If this protocol is not followed, it could lead to more serious dental conditions such as plaque overbuild, gingivitis, tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, just to name a few.

Bottom line. Practicing good oral hygiene along with proper wear of your Invisalign braces will ensure a smile that will last a lifetime.

More

Handling out of town orthodontic emergencies

Handling out of town orthodontic emergencies

Handling Out of Town Emergencies
School is out for summer and that means vacation season for many familes. Do you know what to do if you have an orthodontic emergency while you are out of town, on vacation, or away at camp? Here are some tips from Whitehead Orthodontics.

Fortunately, most problems with your braces don’t qualify as true emergencies. Let’s talk about a few things you can do while you are away to avoid the inconvenience and expense of trying to find an orthodontist in an unfamiliar area. Here are some helpful hints on what to do if you have a problem with your braces.

Take a mini emergency kit with you – Include orthodontic wax, nail clippers or small pair of wire cutters, tweezers, a pencil with an eraser, and our phone number if you need guidance.

 

More

Invisalign: The premier choice for an adult smile makeover

Invisalign: The premier choice for an adult smile makeover

It is becoming increasingly common for adults to desire a better looking smile, and there are many treatment options that patinets’ can consider to improve their exsisting smile. Invisalign has become, for good reason, a top consideration in smile makeover procedures, and had many advantages over other commonly used techniques. It had long been know that orthodontics is the premier treatment options for adults desiring an improved smile, but traditional braces is not an option that some adults will consider. Long treatment times, concerns about treatment comfort, and the cosmetic concern of an older patient wearing braces have traditionally been major concerns for adult patients when it comes to orhtodontic treatment. Invisalign, when compared to other teeth straightening techniqes, has been shown to solve many of these concerns. It will give you a reason to smile! To find out if Invisalign is right for you, contact your Bakersfield orthodontist, Dr. Whitehead to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your options and learn more about Invisalign: the clear solution to straightening your teeth.

What are the advantages of Invisalign? There are many, but some include being virtually invisable, the aligners are removable so patients can eat normally, there is no metal in the mouth so gum and cheek irritation is minimal to none, and the aligners can be taken out to brush and floss- so excellent oral hygiene is easier to maintain.

What about Veneers or Instant Orthodotnics

Veneers have been used by dentists to correct many cosmetic smile concerns. Veneers are considered a “quick fix” for spacing, irregular alignment, crowding, tooth size issues, and a host of other concerns. However, you must be aware, Invisalign and veneers can’t be directly compared to each other. Veneers require cutting of the teeth, and removal of enamel is permanent and irreversable. Veneers are not a permanent solution, they can chip, crack, break, and will need to be replaced every 10 years or so as they experience the wear and tear of chewing and eating. Also, not only are veneers very expensive initially, if you look at the cost of treatment over the patients life with replacing the veneers every so often, Invisalign is certainly the more cost effective option.

Bottom line

The major advantage of Invisalign is that it is virtually impossible to see while being worn, and at the same time is taking care of the actual problem: the alignment, crowding, or spacing concerns (and not simply masking these issues as veneers do). We can also improve the bite, creating an overall more healthy mouth in the process. It is not faster than getting veneers, but the extra time is worth it and is a much better value since it does not have to be redone over time. Even if Dr. Whitehead recommends veneers for certain reasons, orthodontic treatment can reduce the total number of veneers needed, and/or allow the dentist to create better looking veneers because the teeth are more properly positioned. If you are thinking about improving your smile, contact Whitehead Orthodontics and talk to Dr Whitehead personally about all your treatment options.

More

The Importance of Flossing During Orthodontic Treatment

The Importance of Flossing During Orthodontic Treatment

Having braces is definitely an investment, but it’s certainly a costly one. It just makes sense to keep your teeth in the best of health during your orthodontic treatment. A regular hygiene routine is just as important while you’re wearing braces as it was before you began treatment. Flossing is an essential component to having healthy teeth and gums while you’re wearing braces. Diligence with brushing and flossing is a must because braces may hold food, sugars, and liquids during and after eating. Make sure you visit our office for regular adjustments as well. We all know it’s quite difficult to get kids to floss daily without braces. Sometimes the struggle becomes greater once braces are applied. It’s important to keep in mind that by not flossing, you will become more susceptible to cavities and gum disease during your treatment. While you floss, remember to gently massage your gums in between your teeth. Flossing with braces takes extra time because you must weave the floss through each and every bracket. During the flossing process, you should not see blood. If you can see blood, you may not be flossing properly or enough. The use of an electric toothbrush is also a great idea to help massage your gums before or after flossing because electric toothbrushes can assist in removing any harmful bacteria that remain in your mouth. Also, remember to add mouthwash to your routine to break up bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in tip top shape during your orthodontic treatment. Flossing is a healthy habit that will help you keep your shimmering smile for a lifetime!

More

Preparing for Orthodontic Treatment

Preparing for Orthodontic Treatment

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy! The days are longer, and everyone is vacationing to melt away stress. It’s the best time of year to relax and get happy, no matter what age you are, and it’s important to start from the inside. You’ve been eating less salt and getting in your daily cardio, which are excellent ways to relieve stress and get healthy. But don’t forget to get happy! Are you smiling without a care in the world and laughing with all your might? Are you living your healthiest life? If crooked teeth or gaps between them are problems that give you anxiety, it’s time to consider orthodontic treatment. And it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience; we will help you every step of the way!

Basic Exams

The first step to a confident smile is the examination. We will conduct an oral exam and take X-rays at our office, which is necessary to identify potential problems and ensure that we are able to create the best course of orthodontic treatment for you. Everyone is different, and we will thoroughly prepare for each individual case.

Sometimes, X-rays and exams reveal that tooth extraction is necessary before beginning orthodontic treatment and being fitted for braces. Our job is not only to prepare ourselves, but also to prepare you for what to expect. There will never be surprises, and your orthodontic treatment is a joint venture!

Bite by Bite

Once your exam and X-rays are complete, our orthodontist and team will determine your jaw alignment. If adjustments are deemed necessary to the jaw, we will incorporate that into your course of orthodontic treatment as well.

Allowing our orthodontist to examine bite indentation is key, and must be taken into consideration to achieve your goal of a brighter smile.

Extracting Teeth

If tooth extraction is necessary, the final step of preparing for orthodontic treatment is tooth removal. Only our orthodontist can determine if this is mandatory before moving forward with your course of treatment.

Don’t let an imperfect smile stand in your way of living the healthiest and most confident life. Please call our office today to schedule your complimentary consultation because summer is the time for SMILES!

 

 

More

Don’t Be a Soda Jerk!

Don’t Be a Soda Jerk!

As school ends and summer begins, it can be easy to lose discipline with our diets. And when you’re wearing braces, you already know to avoid crunchy and chewy foods, but it’s also important to be mindful about beverages. Whether you say soda or pop, it’s all sugary carbonation. And while we may enjoy this treat, it’s not the best for your teeth! “Why,” you ask? It’s pretty simple. We all know that humans need food. And guess what? So do bacteria. And what sustains it? The sugar that you eat throughout the day. Yep, that’s right. And it stays in your mouth until you brush it away. The bacteria turn the sugar into acid, which then eats away at your tooth enamel. Hello, cavities. If you’re wearing braces, this can cause some problems.

ACID. Enamel’s Enemy.

Not only does sugar decay tooth enamel, but acid does, too. So you’re not even safe with diet soda! And since soda acid has a cumulative effect on enamel, drinking that pop over a period of time exacerbates the issue.

But I Need Caffeine!

Scientists agree at this point that caffeine hinders calcium absorption. And since calcium is the foundation of healthy bones and teeth, this is more than a problem. Want the breakdown? Two 12-ounce caffeinated soft drinks can lead to a loss of 5mg of calcium. WHAT? Yep. And if you’re drinking super-sized sodas, you’re most likely drinking fewer calcium-rich beverages.

What Do I Do?

Keep your chin up. You can take measures to cut down on this tooth tragedy:

  • Curb that bad habit. Try to avoid introducing your kids to soda if possible. Bad habits (and good ones!) start early. If your children are used to milk and water, they won’t expect that super sweet and fizzy libation. And they may even grow to find them distasteful.
  • Keep Soda as a Treat. Soda really shouldn’t be a mainstay. Have it every once in a while as a treat. Equate it to candy!
  • Opt for healthier drinks. Kids want something FUN! Go for fruit and vegetable-infused water or herbal tea. They come in fun flavors, and they are excellent choices for enjoyable options with all the health benefits.

If you have any questions regarding your diet while wearing braces, or proper care of your braces, please give our office a call today! We can help you be healthy, and get you that SMILE to last a lifetime!

More

Invisalign Teen®

Invisalign Teen®

If you ask anyone if they would like straighter teeth, most would say, “Yes, please!” Everyone wants the confidence that a bright smile brings, but we understand that some may have reservations about getting braces. Most teens don’t want to be different, have to watch what they eat, or worry about how they look. Never fear! There are now more orthodontic treatment options available than ever, and now is a great time to consider Invisalign Teen.

People Don’t Notice What’s Invisible.

Invisalign Teen clear aligners are virtually invisible. Gone are the days of smiling with a mouth full of metal if that is a concern. Most likely, the only people who will know are your friends and family, or whomever you choose to tell.

Maintain Your Food Freedom.

Since the aligners are removable, so you may eat as you normally would. You don’t necessarily have to avoid crunchy or chewy foods because you don’t have to worry about food getting stuck between your braces or a bracket coming loose or popping off. You can have food freedom with Invisalign Teen! Unlike with traditional braces, you may still enjoy:

  • Popcorn
  • Trail mix with crunchy nuts and dried fruit
  • Chicken wings and ribs
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables

With Invisalign Teen, Oral Hygiene is a Snap.

When wearing braces, the patient must pay extra attention to efficient oral hygiene. As exciting as achieving your ideal smile is, unfortunately there is a possibility of tooth decay during orthodontic treatment. The Invisalign Teen clear aligners are removable, so you have access to every nook and cranny! You may brush and floss as normal by simply removing the trays from your mouth.

Achieving your ideal smile will boost your confidence for many years to come, and there is no reason to miss out on that with new orthodontic technology. Invisalign Teen will allow you to continue living as normally as if you were undergoing no orthodontic treatment at all. Please give our office a call today to make an appointment to discuss your new smile. With Invisalign Teen, the possibilities are endless!

 

More

One Phase, or Two?

One Phase, or Two?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is just that; two phases of treatment that are separate and distinct. If your child has bite or jaw problems, two-phase treatment allows that to be addressed in order to reduce dental issues they may later experience.

Our orthodontist will sometimes recommend two-phase treatment to improve how well the second phase of orthodontic treatment works, and to essentially help make room for permanent teeth. Two-phase orthodontic treatment overall helps to position teeth and the jaw for a more attractive profile. As always, we recommend bringing your child in at the age of approximately seven so that we can determine if early treatment would be necessary.

Phase-One

Phase-One orthodontic treatment is also known as early treatment. Your child will have their first orthodontic exam, and, if deemed necessary, Phase-one treatment will begin shortly thereafter. The primary goal of Phase-One orthodontic treatment is to ensure enough room for permanent teeth, which will reduce the risk of overcrowding, which inevitably leads to crooked teeth. Phase-One treats bite growth and the jaw, including issues such as crossbite or underbite. And it’s important to have the conversation with our orthodontist about Phase-One treatment reducing the need for extractions later.

Phase-Two

Phase-Two orthodontic treatment is what most of us are familiar with. Phase-Two occurs when braces are placed on the upper and/or lower teeth. Not only does this phase correct spaces and ameliorate misaligned teeth, but it also corrects overbite or underbite concerns. Phase-Two typically begins around the age of 11 or 12. This phase of orthodontic treatment usually lasts an average of two to three years, but, as always, each case is different, depending on the individual. Some children may need braces for up to four years, while others have fewer issues and may need to wear them only a year or so.

Signs of Needing Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

Any of the following signs may indicate your child is a good candidate for Two-Phase treatment:

  • Losing baby teeth early (before age 5)
  • Biting or chewing problems
  • Thumb-sucking after age 5
  • If the teeth don’t come together properly when opening, or any evidence of crossbite
  • If teeth become crowded at age 7 or 8
  • Protruding upper or lower teeth

Again, not all children will need Two-Phase orthodontic treatment. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our orthodontist to discuss if your child is showing any of the above signs. We will create an orthodontic treatment plan that will make your smile its very brightest!

More