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In the Event of an Orthodontic Emergency

DO YOU HAVE A PLAN about what to do if something unexpectedly goes wrong with your orthodontic treatment? If not, we can help you out with some preparation tips. It also helps to know the difference between a minor issue and a serious emergency.

Common Orthodontic Problems

Some of the common setbacks patients experience with their orthodontic appliances include a bracket coming loose or breaking, discomfort from something poking into the cheeks, lips, or gums, and toothaches.

  • If a bracket breaks loose, schedule a repair appointment. Leaving it until the next regularly scheduled appointment can interfere with your treatment plan and may even mean your braces off day gets pushed back!
  • If a bracket or archwire is poking you, sometimes you can fix it by gently pushing the protruding part in with a pencil eraser so that it’s more out of the way. You can also use orthodontic wax to cover the uncomfortable spot. If it’s still an issue or if it’s giving you a lot of trouble, give us a call and we can recommend other steps.
  • In the case of general toothaches as the braces apply pressure to your teeth, this is usually temporary, and you can manage it with over-the-counter painkillers and by swishing warm saltwater. If the pain remains or gets worse, it could be a more serious problem and you should contact us.

Why does that archwire start poking out in the first place?

What Qualifies as a Major Orthodontic Emergency?

Most patients will never have to deal with a major emergency, but it’s still a good idea to be prepared so that you know what to do if it happens. Here are the three major orthodontic emergencies:

  • Severe pain in the mouth or face
  • Swollen or infected gums or major swelling in the face
  • Trauma to the mouth, teeth, or face

Call us immediately if you experience any of these so that we can schedule an emergency appointment. If you can’t reach us or the emergency is affecting more than just your orthodontic situation, head straight to the emergency room instead, then call us once you’re out of danger.

Bring Us Your Questions and Concerns

It’s always a good idea to keep extra rubber bands and orthodontic wax handy so that you can quickly address minor issues, and keep our practice’s number in your contacts list. If you have any questions about how to deal with potential problems or emergencies, go ahead and give us a call today!

We want all of our patients to have the best treatment experience possible!

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.

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Time for an Orthodontist FAQ!

MANY OF OUR PATIENTS and potential patients come to us with the same questions about orthodontic treatment without realizing it. These are some of the questions we hear most often, and we’re sure that even more people haven’t spoken up but don’t know the answers either.

1. How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment length varies depending on the individual patient’s needs. A simple case may only take a few months to treat, while someone with a complicated bite problem or an impacted tooth that needs to be pulled into place may take closer to two years. Following the orthodontist’s instructions carefully is the best way to ensure minimum treatment length for your situation.

2. Can I speed up my treatment by wearing extra rubber bands?

More is not always better, and that is absolutely the case with your rubber bands. We tell you the exact number of rubber bands to wear and how often because that is the number that will safely and efficiently progress your orthodontic treatment. Wearing too many can easily create additional problems that will take more time to correct.

3. How old is too old for orthodontic treatment?

We tend to think of braces as being for teenagers, and while most orthodontic patients are teens, more and more adults are getting braces these days too. There is no upper age limit, so don’t think you missed your chance for a properly aligned smile just because you didn’t get braces in high school!

4. What does the orthodontist mean by “malocclusion”?

Malocclusion is Latin for “bad bite.” Some patients have overbites (the upper teeth are farther out from the lower teeth), underbites (the lower teeth are farther out than the upper teeth), crossbites (some upper teeth are in front and some lower teeth are in front), and even deep bites (the lower teeth touch the gums behind the upper teeth when the mouth is closed). Each type of malocclusion can cause problems, and we have ways of correcting them.

5. Can I still play musical instruments with braces on?

Yes! It may take some practice and adjusting, but you can absolutely keep playing woodwind or brass instruments while undergoing your orthodontic treatment. If you’re having an especially difficult time, though, talk to us about it, and we might be able to find a solution.

Bring Us Your Questions!

We hope these answers have been eye-opening for you! The more educated you are about the orthodontic treatment process, the more confident you will feel about the amazing transformation your smile is (or will be) undergoing. If you have any questions we didn’t cover here, give us a call or stop by our office!

We love our patients!

Top image by Flickr user Zoe 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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Types of Bad Bites and Their Treatments

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 Overbite. The upper teeth overjet or overlap the lower teeth beyond what we want to see in a healthy bite.
  • 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 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!

Top image by Flickr user Fake Plastic Alice 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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Making Room For Your Gorgeous New Smile

THINK OF THE LAST TIME you gave up something good to get something even better in the future. During the course of your orthodontic treatment, it’s possible you may need to give up good teeth for a better smile!

Understandably, the thought is a little unsettling. But when you understand the reasons and see the results, you’ll look back and see it was the right decision all along.

Some Teeth Just Don’t Fit

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 extractions are the best option for beginning to align your teeth. Removing teeth can also be key in solving underbite, overbite, and problems with protrusive teeth.

Pain-Free Extraction, Rapid Recovery

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 optimal treatment time.

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.)

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Protect Your Retainer, Protect Your Smile

PERHAPS IT’S BEEN YEARS SINCE YOU had braces, but suddenly you find yourself concerned about your teeth again. Why? You’ve lost (or don’t wear) your retainer!

Some people lose their retainer and never bother getting a new one. Others know where their retainer is but haven’t worn it for so long, it no longer properly fits. Whether it’s been weeks or years since you finished orthodontic treatment, if you’ve lost your retainer or it doesn’t fit, you need a new one.

Common Questions About Retainers

“Does my retainer really matter?”

Absolutely! Without a retainer, your bite is unprotected and teeth are prone to shifting. Even years after treatment, a properly fitting retainer helps keep your smile beautiful and healthy. Remember, the cost of a replacement retainer is much less than undergoing orthodontic treatment again!

“Will I need to have a new mold made?”

Probably. Even if your teeth have moved just a little bit, we’ll need to factor that in for your replacement retainer.

“What if I received my original orthodontic treatment elsewhere?”

That’s completely fine. We can evaluate where your teeth are now, regardless of your treatment history. We may need to take some new images and impressions of your teeth. We’re happy to accommodate you!

Wear Your Retainer!

Your retainer is your best friend after orthodontic treatment. Follow our instructions for effective use. And, if you lose your retainer, let us know right away before your teeth start shifting!

If you’ve skipped wearing your retainer for a long time, please come and talk to us. We can evaluate your bite and visit about your options.

Do you know someone else who needs to hear this information? Feel free to share this post!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

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How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?

IT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT to watch out for sugar in our foods while we’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. As our patient, you’ve already been advised about problematic foods for braces. However, learning more about hidden sugars in your diet can help you better protect your teeth against decay.

Sugary Foods Cling To Our Teeth And Braces And Cause Cavities

When sugar clings to teeth, bacteria feeds off of those sugars, producing an acid byproduct that wears away tooth enamel.

Studies repeatedly find that as sugar consumption increases, so do cavities (even when you’re not wearing braces). The World Health Organization’s 2014 study found that in one population, when daily caloric intake of sugar increased from 0% to 5%, the amount of tooth decay doubled.

Cut Sugar Intake In Half

After the study, The World Health Organization cut their recommendations for sugar consumption in half, from 10% of our daily caloric intake, to 5% (and ideally, less). Currently, the average American gets 12-15% of his or her daily calories from sugar—and America isn’t even the highest consumer of sugar worldwide!

How do you cut back on sugar? In addition to cutting back on sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in our diets. Even a “nutritional” food can be packed with sugar! On our food labels, sugar goes by numerous aliases, including:

  • Molasses & Maltose
  • Corn syrup, Malt & Dextrose
  • Sorghum syrup
This list is only a sampling. Keep an eye out for anything ending in “-ose,” “sugar,” or “syrup,” and educate yourself on more alternate names here.

3 More Tips For Cutting Back On Sugar

  1. Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.
  2. Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
  3. Cut back on soft drinks, fruit juices, granola bars, yogurt, and sugary cereal in addition to regular sweets.

A Healthier Diet = A Healthier Mouth

You don’t need to cut out sugar entirely to have healthy teeth. That’s why brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are so important! If you’re ever feeling unsure about which foods are appropriate while wearing braces, just ask us! We’re passionate about helping you have a healthier, happier lifestyle!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

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Feel Inspired By Mouth Painter, Mariam Paré

HOW OFTEN DO WE PAUSE to appreciate our own amazing gifts and abilities? It’s easy to take things that come easiest for granted. Mariam Paré’s inspiring story not only gives us courage and motivation to be our best, but it helps put life into perspective.

Paralyzed By A Bullet Wound, Mariam’s Life Changed In An Instant

Mariam, a promising 20 year old painter, dreamed about all the things her artistic future held. Today, 18 years after a tragic event that changed her life, she’s painting just as she dreamed—but she’s doing it a little differently than she imagined.

Mariam paints with her teeth, patiently and precisely clenching brushes between them as she continues to express her remarkable artistic gift. Click here to learn more.

We Can All Take Lessons In Showing Gratitude

First, let’s all be grateful for our healthy mouths and teeth. For all the things they do for us… Speaking, chewing, nourishing, smiling, and in Mariam’s case, even painting—let’s be grateful for our healthy smiles and show our appreciation by taking great care of them.

Second, we are grateful for you—our valued patients. Without your support and friendship we couldn’t do the things we love to do each day. We treasure the trust you place in us. We’re honored when you recommend us, or refer one of your friends or coworkers. Always let us know how we can best serve you.

See Mariam’s story

 

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Trust Your Smile To An Orthodontist

WHEN THE TIME FOR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT comes, you have a big decision to make. You’ll find a variety of treatment plans, cost estimates, and projected treatment timelines. How do you decide what’s right for you?

Do It Right The First Time

Ideal orthodontic treatment has three elements. First of all, it’s a long-term solution which, if you do your part to maintain, will last a lifetime. Secondly, ideal treatment makes your mouth and jaw healthier by bringing the whole bite into balance. Thirdly, you get beautiful results that you’re proud to show off.

Discount options might seem appealing at first, but if treatment doesn’t answer the true needs of YOUR particular bite, then you may find yourself spending more time and money to get it fixed in the future. It’s not uncommon to see someone coming in for re-treatment, after having incomplete orthodontic treatment done. Make a goal for yourself to get it done right the first time around.

Orthodontists Are Specialists In Tooth Movement

Orthodontists have two to three years of additional training after dental school, in order to best understand the complicated mechanics of the bite and the alignment of teeth. We’re trained in the full range and knowledge of tools that will help your smile reach its true potential. Click Here to learn more.

Care You Can Trust

Our practice is passionate about providing the best treatment for all of our patients. From customer service, to keeping ourselves up-to-date on the most recent developments in orthodontic care, we work hard to provide the best treatment plan for your unique smile.

Your smile is too precious to discount! Invest in beautiful, healthy, professional results. Give us a call if you have any questions.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

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3 Common Speech Problems Orthodontics Can Help

THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE THROUGH SPEECH is one of the first things people notice about us! Did you know that the alignment of your teeth can affect your speech? If you struggle with certain elements of pronunciation, it could be attributed to your teeth.

Here are 3 common problems orthodontics can help. 

1. Lisp or Whistling

A primary cause of the development of a lisp or whistle is overbite—when upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth too much. Another cause could be gaps in teeth, which impede correct placement of the tongue and allow air to escape while talking, creating a whistling sound. Braces can correct overbite, and close the gaps between teeth.

2. Word Slurring

To correctly form words and regulate talking speed, our tongues need freedom to move. If the structure of the jaw or placement of teeth restricts that movement, stuttering or slurred speech is more likely. In most cases, braces can align the teeth and open up room for the tongue.

3. Mispronunciation

Certain sounds are very difficult (if not impossible) to pronounce when teeth aren’t where they’re supposed to be. For example, fricative consonant sounds like “t” “s” or “ch” which require tongue-to-tooth contact. Orthodontic treatment places teeth where they need to be for better pronunciation.

Orthodontic Treatment Is An Investment In Confidence And Health

Orthodontic treatment isn’t a magical cure for all speech challenges. However, for people working to correct speech disorders, orthodontics can offer life-changing solutions. And the advantages of orthodontic treatment are not limited to speech therapy alone. The confidence that comes from having a straight, beautiful smile and the oral health benefits will last a lifetime.

 

Don’t let orthodontic-related speech difficulties limit your personal and business relationships or keep you from being your most confident, eloquent 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, please pass along this blog post. Thank you. We appreciate your kind referrals.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends.

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Some Helpful Ideas For Flossing While Wearing Braces

WE KNOW SOME OF YOU DON’T LIKE TO FLOSS, especially with braces on. You may be surprised to hear us say, “we understand!” Flossing each day can be difficult. In addition to the impeding brackets and wires, perhaps you have sensitive gums, your mouth is small, or you feel like floss wrapped around your fingers cuts off your circulation. There are lots of seemingly good reasons not to floss—and as you can imagine, we’ve heard them all.

However, today there are options that can help make flossing easier, even when you have braces.

Many, Many Varieties Of Floss

Try ribbon-style floss instead of thread-style. Try waxed versus unwaxed. Try one that’s specially designed to glide easily. Try a different thickness, or a different flavor. The type of floss you use doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact you’re doing it!

Consider Tools Like Flossers And Flossing Sticks

Look into some tools that are designed to help. Finding something that works for you will prove to be a worthwhile investment.

  • Flossers and floss sticks eliminate the need to wrap floss around your fingers. These tools can also make it easier to reach back teeth without having to stick your hands in your mouth. There are even ones designed to work with braces.
  • Hydro Flossers (AKA Water flossers, Water-pik) current research shows that used often and correctly, water flossers are as effective as regular string floss and much easier to use.
  • Interproximal brushes (the ones that usually look like little Christmas trees) can help thoroughly clean the space between your teeth and your brackets and wires.
  • Floss threaders help you string normal floss between teeth and through wires.

The are many different tools and many different brands available to try. And again, which tool you use isn’t nearly as important as the fact you’re doing it! Click Here to learn more.

Never Underestimate The Value Of Flossing!

Flossing is an essential part of effective, daily oral hygiene care. Flossing helps guard against gum disease, the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. While you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, it’s important to maintain healthy gums to ensure that your treatment goes according to schedule.

Make Flossing A Daily Priority

If you have questions about how to make flossing easier, please visit with us. We want to help you be successful. For more tips and “How To” videos on flossing and taking care of your braces, visit our website.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

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