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April is National Facial Protection Month!

April is National Facial Protection Month!

Our orthodontist and team advocate for proper facial protection, especially when participating in any sports activities. This protection is essential, particularly during orthodontic treatment. We want you to achieve your ideal smile in the most efficient manner possible, and an injury to your mouth can certainly be an obstacle.

Full Facial Guards

Full facial guards offer protection to your mouth from most injuries. These are often used in football, which makes a lot of sense! But even if your face is protected from outside impact, you still may be vulnerable to damage to your braces and cuts to your mouth from internal impact. So additional mouth protection may be a good idea to consider.

Mouthguards

Also called boil-and-bites, this type of mouth protection can be purchased at various retail stores. These guards are boiled in water to soften the material. The guard is placed in your mouth while still warm, and the impression is formed by biting down gently. Although these guards form to the shape of your mouth, they do not necessarily offer the best protection or fit.  Custom mouthguards are much better because you are ensured a comfortable fit and better protection. They are also built in layers for durability. The American Dental Association endorses custom mouthguards for orthodontic patients because they are designed to provide the appropriate protection for your mouth and your braces.

We suggest mouthguards to protect your mouth and your braces, no matter which sport you participate in. Even slower-paced sports come with the possibilities of injuries. According to the academy for Sports Dentistry, a properly fitted mouthguard should never interfere with any sports activity. We are pleased to bring awareness during National Facial Protection Month, and we want the dialogue to continue all year long!

Please give our office a call today with any inquiries regarding facial protection. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and there is no reason you cannot enjoy your favorite activities. If you do suffer an injury to your mouth or braces during your orthodontic treatment, please contact us immediately. The sooner we are able to ameliorate your situation, the quicker you get back in the game!

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How to Keep Your New Invisalign® Smile!

How to Keep Your New Invisalign® Smile!

You’ve worked really hard to achieve your ideal smile! You followed doctor’s orders, worn your Invisalign clear aligners as instructed, cared for your teeth, and now you have a megawatt smile. Congratulations on this achievement! However, to keep your smile in tip-top shape, keep these things in mind when continuing your new and improved oral care routine.

Retainers

When your orthodontist determines that you have completed your Invisalign treatment, you aren’t done. Many patients will require a retainer after Invisalign treatment, and this is the time your orthodontist will determine that. They will take new impressions of your teeth, and have new retainers made. In the grand scheme, you’ve spent a small window of time in those clear aligners, and you’re over the most intense part. Everyone’s situation is unique, so follow your doctor’s guidelines and use your retainer as directed. During this time, you should still avoid hard or crunchy foods as your teeth adjust.

It’s important to know why wearing your retainers is necessary. If you’re a teen, your bones are still “soft,” and that goes for the upper and lower jaws. Retainers will prevent the natural tendency for teeth to migrate back to their original positions. If you don’t wear your retainers as directed by your orthodontist, you will see this happen within weeks of completing your Invisalign treatment. Remember, the same physiological properties that allow your teeth to move during orthodontic treatment are always at work. You don’t want to undo all that hard work!

Brushing and Flossing

As you already know, brushing and flossing must be part of your daily oral care. And by this time, you’re a pro! Flossing prevents plague from building up and becoming tartar or calculus. This can eventually cause gingivitis and gum disease, so stay on course. Your gums may be sensitive for up to two weeks after your orthodontic treatment is completed. A warm salt-water rinse will help.

Your teeth sensitivity will last only a short time. Keep in mind that they have been protected by your Invisalign aligner trays, and are now fully exposed. Ask our orthodontist about using a toothpaste specifically for tooth sensitivity during this time. Also, if your teeth are stained in any way, ask about whitening treatments to consider.

Regular Dental Checkups

With your new smile, you will be more motivated than ever to keep it healthy! You still need to see your dentist regularly. Cleanings and X-rays will ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy so you can keep that bright smile for life. When cavities happen, and they do happen, they can be taken care of quickly.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please give our office a call today!

 

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Braces-Friendly Breakfasts!

Braces-Friendly Breakfasts!

Kids can be picky, and this quirk often occurs at mealtime. How many times has your child tried to feed their greens to the dog waiting anxiously under the table? If that ever-elusive “recommended daily allowance” of fruits and vegetables is a chore, our orthodontist and team understand that. Add braces to that equation, and it could become even more of a headache. But never fear! Our orthodontist has some healthy suggestions so your child won’t miss out on the most important meal of the day.

Scrambled Eggs are a perfect option because they are soft and easy to eat. We love suggesting eggs for breakfast (or anytime!) because not only are they braces-friendly, but they are also incredibly nutritious. They boost HDL (the “good” cholesterol), reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, benefit eye health and brain function, and the list goes on. So start scrambling!

The reason breakfast is the most important meal is because we want to jump-start our metabolism and get the energy flowing. So all fingers point to the stellar smoothie! It’s a great source of fruit, and no chewing means braces-friendly! Keep freezer bags of bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, or anything you like. You can even add spinach, which offers an extra serving of veggies. Smoothies are fun to make, and they are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants!

Crunchy cereals are pretty much out of the question when wearing braces. Biting down the wrong way can snap wires or dislodge brackets. An orthodontic emergency is NOT a good way to start the day! And considering how sugary most cereals are, this is a great time to explore healthier options in general. We suggest substituting oatmeal, and who doesn’t love a hot breakfast? Avoid the flavored kinds (packed with sugar), and add your favorite fruits, sprinkle with cinnamon, or a drizzle of honey or milk. The fiber in oatmeal will keep you fuller longer, and studies have shown it lowers cholesterol, may reduce cancer risk, and is a heart-healthy food! This diverse breakfast treat has many health benefits.

Yogurt is another excellent choice for breakfast. Many varieties contain special strains of probiotics to help regulate digestion and strengthen your immune system. Did you also know that studies have shown that yogurt may be beneficial at keeping colds at bay, and lessen symptoms for allergy sufferers? According to a study at the University of Vienna, the healthy bacteria in yogurt sends signals to immune-boosting T cells in your body to power up. How’s that for a super food? And much like oatmeal, we do suggest going for the plain yogurt, and adding delicious soft kiwi or honey to jazz it up!

Consider options like these, and wake up SMILING. For more braces-friendly recipes and tips, please give our office a call today!

 

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Does Orthodontia Affect Overall Body Health?

Does Orthodontia Affect Overall Body Health?

Over the last several years, research has shown that there is a correlation between orthodontic treatment and whole body health. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, scientists have discovered that people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease or suffer blood sugar irregularity than people without gum disease. While researchers continue to find relationships between oral health and whole body health, it has not yet been determined if gum disease is the sole cause of these conditions. However, it is safe to say that good oral health isn’t just about having a healthy smile, but it has an impact on one’s overall health.

Make Healthy Gums a Priority!

The connection between oral health and whole body health is too obvious to ignore. Although we do not yet have definitive proof, researchers do not think it is only a coincidence when gum disease and other health problems occur simultaneously.

4 possible connections between your mouth and body:

  • Excessive oral inflammation has been linked to a greater occurrence of clogged arteries.
  • According to the American Society of Microbiology, certain types of oral bacteria can infect the arterial cells and weaken the wall of the heart.
  • Loose teeth may often be a warning sign for osteoporosis, a disease that decreases bone density.
  • Some studies suggest women with gum disease are more likely to deliver preterm, low-weight babies.

Orthodontics and gum disease

So by now you’re probably asking what orthodontic treatment has to do with gum disease. Braces do so much more than give you a beautiful smile. Simply put, straight teeth are easier to keep clean than crooked teeth. Your toothbrush is able to remove more plaque-causing bacteria, and your floss can more efficiently eliminate tiny particles between your teeth.

Despite certainty in these findings, the message is clear: If you improve your oral health, you will also have a greater chance of maintaining whole body health. And that’s a chance our team believes is worth taking. For more information about this topic, please give us a call at our office, or ask our orthodontist during your next visit!

 

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Let the Journey Begin!

Let the Journey Begin!

Most of our patients are excited to get braces because they know that a beautiful smile awaits. But we certainly understand the anticipation that comes with waiting to get them off. Depending on your individual circumstances, treatment may take up to two years or more, and we know that time can seem infinite. Having a system in place for counting down the days (or minutes!) will help you keep your eye on the prize. Just know the day WILL come, and we’re with you every step of the way.

Countdown with a Wall Calendar

We’ve all had those projects where we cross out each day before something is due. You can use your appointments as mini timelines to help push through to the final due date. Have an eye for design? Create a calendar that’s an original work of art to keep it fun. And don’t forget your options of going digital. Upload photos or designs you see online for each month. Keep it interesting, so you keep SMILING!

Reward Yourself

It’s true. Wearing braces and getting the most out of your treatment requires some discipline. Giving yourself regular rewards each month will help to keep you motivated. Brainstorm with your parents ways to reward yourself! Everyone loves an excuse to shop, and we think this is a great one!

Make a Paper Link Chain

We love when our patients get creative, and here’s another opportunity. Using strips of paper to make a chain, add a new link each week during treatment. Write a reason why you want straighter teeth on each link, or quotes from your favorite author, favorite song lyrics, or write whatever inspires you day to day. You can even think of it as a journal, which you’ll treasure once treatment is a distant memory!

Nutty Buddy

A project is always better if you have a buddy. Find a friend who is getting braces around the same time as you (trust us, that won’t be difficult), and as time passes, share your experiences. Make a pact to celebrate milestones, and take some time to celebrate with news of your improved smile. It will make the journey a lot more fun!

Dance ‘til You Deband

Get a large art pad of white paper. You can find various page quantities, so choose the quantity of how many days you want the countdown to be. Flip to the last page and write a huge “0.” Then on the next-to-last page, write a huge “1.” Repeat this until you get to the first page, which will help you keep track of the last days of your treatment. Decorate however you’d like! Get out your glue gun and go nuts. Use your favorite colors and design away. Now you’ll have a fun reminder of how the number of days is dwindling.

The bottom line is that we want to help make your course of orthodontic treatment FUN! And that may require our patients to have patience. Call our office today to discuss how we may help you begin your journey in achieving your ideal SMILE!

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What is Hyperdontia?

What is Hyperdontia?

Sometimes children are born with supernumerary, or additional, teeth, which is an oral condition called “hyperdontia.” Extreme cases are very rare, and the majority of cases are limited to only a single tooth. The standard number of primary teeth is 20, and the standard number of permanent teeth is 32. The first set of teeth to erupt in a person’s mouth are the primary teeth. Typically these appear by the age of 3, and are shed by the age of 12. Permanent teeth are usually erupted by the age of 21, and take the place of those primary teeth. If a person develops more than 20 primary teeth, or more than 32 permanent teeth, the condition is known as hyperdontia.

Supernumerary teeth are often classified by shape and by position. The shapes include the following:

  • Supplemental, where the tooth has a normal shape for the teeth in that series
  • Tuberculate, or “barrel shaped”
  • Conical, or “peg shaped”

There is evidence of hereditary factors leading to hyperdontia, although the exact cause is unclear. Often, there are conditions that may accompany hyperdontia, such as cleidocranial dysplasia, Ehler-Danlos syndrome, Gardner syndrome, or cleft lip and palate. Hyperdontia is rare in people with no other associated diseases or syndromes, and it affects approximately one and four percent of the United States population.

Depending on the individual case of hyperdontia, there are several options when it comes to dealing with the condition. According to the potential problem supernumerary teeth and their type may pose, treatments plans your doctors suggests may vary. Orthodontic treatment often will help, and extraction may also be necessary. Children should typically receive a dental evaluation by the age of 7. This not only ensures a thorough hygiene evaluation, but will also uncover any potential complications due to hyperdontia.

If you think you or your child may be suffering from hyperdontia, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. We will help you determine if orthodontic treatment is the right course of treatment for you!

 

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

At this time of year, we are all reflecting over the previous year’s triumphs (and learning from our not so triumphant moments!), and we are all racking our brains to chart a new course for healthier living. And no matter how long those good intentions last, it’s certainly never a bad idea to be thinking about adopting a healthier lifestyle, especially after the sugar consumption that most likely ensued during the holiday season. Why not make the resolution to improve your smile, and overall oral health? We can help you get back on track!

The New Year is actually the perfect time to consider your oral health and ways to improve your smile. It’s the perfect time to make an appointment, and your insurance resets. Our friendly team members are happy to answer any questions you have regarding insurance coverage and any other financial questions you have. These days there are more options than ever to help you improve your smile!

We understand that thinking about orthodontia can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing. There are so many more options available than the traditional metal brackets, and how in the world will you find the right option for you? There’s no reason to panic! Our orthodontist and staff will present all the options that are best for you, and assist you every step of the way. It’s never been easier!

New and Improved Orthodontic Treatment

Gone are the days when bulky metal brackets were your only option for orthodontic treatment. Today there are several options for orthodontic treatment that will improve your smile. From traditional braces, to cutting edge technology, our orthodontist will help you find what’s right for you!

Traditional vs. Invisalign

Traditional braces are bonded directly to your teeth, and metal brackets are the most popular because they are so durable. However, many adult patients want a less obvious option, and porcelain brackets are another possibility for treatment. If a completely clear option is what you’re going for, you may want to consider Invisalign. Invisalign is a very popular treatment option these days. The Invisalign treatment system uses a series of removable clear retainers that are changed out as specified by your orthodontist. Impressions are taken of your teeth, and the clear retainers are custom made for you.

Considering All Options

Our orthodontist has the expertise to assist you in deciding what course of orthodontic treatment is best for you. After evaluating all options, and understanding the involvement and cost of each option, you will be able to make an educated decision on your course of treatment.

Do not hesitate to call our office today with any questions you may have. There’s never been a better time to put your best SMILE forward. Happy New Year!

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‘Tis the Season!

‘Tis the Season!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the first day of Winter is just around the corner! We are in the thick of the holiday season, and that typically means eating larger meals, accompanied by endless snacking. No matter which holiday you celebrate, we all have certain treats and snacks we associate with this time of year. But orthodontic patients need to remember to adhere to the list of what they can and can’t eat, paying particular attention to those items in the “NO” zone to ensure they don’t create an unnecessary orthodontic emergency.

We get it; holiday treats are delicious. They are the best. They are super hard to avoid! And while all our patients know we are always here for them, we know you’d rather be enjoying holiday parties and sing-a-longs instead of coming in for an impromptu visit. So here is a friendly reminder that for patients with standard braces, hard and sticky foods can pull and tug on the brackets and wires, damaging them, and even injuring the mouth. Ouch!

Try to avoid the following:

• Candy canes – Even the folks without braces know that there’s no graceful way to bite into these offenders. Use these for decorations, and save your braces.
• Nuts and snack mixes containing nuts, pretzels, or popcorn – These rascals can not only pull on your wires, but they can also wedge between your teeth and make flossing a nightmare.
• Peanut brittle, pecan pie, and other sticky desserts – We preach moderation when it comes to sugar, but super sticky and hard desserts such as peanut brittle should be avoided altogether if you wear braces. Pecan pie is sticky, and has hard nuts that can damage the wires and brackets of your braces. Just say NO!
• Vegetable platters – Veggie platters are always around, and they are certainly a great alternative to all of their sugary neighbors on the table. However, keep in mind that hard, raw vegetables can damage your braces. If you’re going to indulge, be sure to cut into small, bite-sized pieces.
Use your best judgment when searching for a braces-friendly holiday treat. Anything that is too hard, sticky, or a mess in general, can cause damage to your braces, and even your mouth.

But don’t worry! There are plenty of great holiday foods you can safely enjoy in braces.

• Break out the turkey and the ham! They can be safely eaten while wearing braces, but we do suggest avoiding a turkey leg!
• Cooked vegetables, such as mashed potatoes, are also a safe bet. And for dessert, you don’t have to avoid pumpkin pie! You can also indulge in custards and other pudding-based desserts and pies.

This holiday season, don’t undo all of your hard work and progress you’ve achieved by indulging in foods that can harm your braces. If you have any questions, give our office a call and we will be happy to provide a list of foods you should avoid.
As always, if you experience any damage to your braces, call our office immediately to determine if a visit is necessary. If a wire comes loose, simply place some orthodontic wax on the end of the wire to avoid it poking the inside of your mouth until you can get to our office.

We wish all of our wonderful patients the utmost joy and peace with their families and friends, and opportunities to make memories that last for years to come!

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Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is sometimes needed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. It is used to correct a wide variety of abnormalities of a patient’s jaw and teeth. The primary purpose is to correct functional problems, but it may also significantly improve the patient’s appearance.

Some common reasons for orthognathic surgery are:

  • Unbalanced facial appearance
  • Protruding jaw
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth don’t overlap properly)
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep problems
  • TMJ pain (jaw joint pain)
  • Restoring facial injuries

When treating a teenager, knowing when to start orthodontic treatment in preparation for orthognathic surgery can be a bit precarious. It is important to know when to get started. If the teenager is still growing and orthodontic treatment is initiated too soon, the patient will either need to stay in braces until his or her growth is complete and they are ready for surgery, or the braces may have to be completely removed and then placed again after growth is complete. Unfortunately, neither of these options is favorable since it requires longer time in treatment, which we typically want to avoid if possible. Our orthodontist aims to complete treatment in a timely manner because not only is it healthier for the teeth and gums, but you are able to start enjoying your lifetime of smiles!

If you have been told that you need jaw surgery, or you are considering orthognathic surgery, give us a call today to schedule your initial consultation. Our orthodontist will explain our treatment plan so that you understand all the details, and you will be kept informed every step of the way!

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Helpful Tips & Tricks!

Helpful Tips & Tricks!

Give Yourself Time to Settle in!

If you notice that your teeth and mouth are sore when you first get your braces, this is perfectly normal. As frustrating as this can be, don’t be discouraged because we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To alleviate pain, try dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Gargle and swish for a couple of minutes, and remember not to swallow the saltwater.

If the pain persists after trying a saltwater gargle, try taking a pain reliever. If your lips, cheeks, or tongue are irritated, do not be alarmed because this is also common. These sensations should subside after those areas toughen up and become used to your braces. This normally happens after one or two weeks. In the meantime, we are happy to give you wax to place over your braces. Please let us know if you need wax!

It’s completely normal for your teeth to begin feeling a bit loose. Don’t worry! For your teeth to be shifted into the correct position, your braces must first loosen them. Once they have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

Braces, like anything else, require some upkeep. If you take care of your braces, they will take care of you. However, the wires and bands on your braces may come loose. Please contact us as soon as possible so that we may check and make any repairs, if needed. If any part of your appliance comes unattached, be sure to save it and bring it in to the office with you.

Take Care of Your Appliances

We certainly want to avoid any situations that increase the length of your treatment process, and damaged appliances can sometimes be a culprit. This is why it’s extremely important to take care of your appliances. Your orthodontist will create a course of treatment that is specific for you because everyone is different. Your teeth and jaw will only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear your elastics, retainer, or any other appliance prescribed by your orthodontist.

Continue Being a Team Player

Great news for athletes! Orthodontic treatment should not come between you and playing your favorite sports, and we don’t want you to miss out! We recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance, and we can help find the right one for you!

As all athletes know, in a rough and tumble world, sports emergencies happen. If you have an emergency, be sure to immediately check your appliance for damage. If you notice any damage or loose teeth, please contact our office immediately. You may be able to temporarily relieve discomfort with a saltwater rinse or wax, but check in with us to go over the details.

Our orthodontist and team are here for you every step of the way!

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