Archive for Blog

Dinner Ideas For The Days Your Braces Are Tightened


ON BRACES-TIGHTENING DAY, you might want to eat something soft and easy when you get home. There are plenty of options for meals that are not only easy to eat, but delicious as well! The key to braces-friendly cooking is to replace hard, crunchy foods or ingredients with softer substitutes. 

7 Tips For Easy Chewing

Foods that don’t require much chewing make mealtime easier. We’ve done the thinking for you and yes… There are more options than just Jell-O! These tips should be handy when planning your menu on tightening day:

  1. Macaroni and cheese is easy to eat with braces, since pasta is soft and the cheese won’t stick to braces. There’s a reason mac ’n cheese is such an infamous comfort food!
  2. Soft foods like burritos and lasagna are a better choice than crunchy foods like tacos or pizza–unless you can make a homemade soft crust pizza!
  3. Prepare meals with cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables. A soft vegetable stir-fry is a healthy and soft dinner choice for tightening day.
  4. Although meat is a great source of protein, it can be tricky to eat with braces. Softened beef in sloppy joes is a good option. Avoid working around a bone, or chewing tough meat.
  5. Mashed potatoes or polenta are great sides for any dish on tightening day.
  6. Smoothies, applesauce, yogurt, and hummus are great snack options.
  7. For a sweet treat, consider soft cookies, ice cream, cake, or a mousse.

More Great Ideas:

What’s Your Favorite Post-Tightening Meal?

Sensitivity after a tightening should go away after a day or two, but choosing the right foods can help you feel comfortable sooner. There are lots of great ideas and recipes for tender teeth. Do you have your own favorite food to eat after tightening? Share with us below! We love hearing from you.

Thanks for being our valued patient and friend. We appreciate you!

Top image by Flickr user José Carlos Cortizo Pérez used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Posted in: Blog, Informative

Leave a Comment (0) →

Coronavirus Health and Safety Tips

CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING all of our lives right now as we work together to slow the spread of the virus, keep everyone safe, and stay positive. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of misinformation going around, and we want to make sure our patients are well-informed.

Symptoms and Testing

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, shortness of breath, a dry cough, and sometimes tiredness. Don’t confuse it with seasonal allergies, which mostly involve congestion, itchy throat, and sneezing, or the flu, which involves vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, aches, and fatigue. Until tests for COVID-19 are widely available, only people exhibiting the typical COVID-19 symptoms should seek testing.

The number of confirmed cases is likely to go up as more tests become available. Higher numbers might seem alarming, but remember that it won’t represent an increase in the number of people who have COVID-19, it will represent an increase in the number of people who have been tested, which is a big step in the right direction. The more information we have about who has the virus, the easier it will be to contain and ultimately treat it.

Social Distancing and Protecting At-Risk Demographics

Why are we being encouraged to avoid large gatherings and work from home if possible? Coronavirus spreads person-to-person through close contact and when an infected person coughs or sneezes and germs get on their hands or surfaces other people touch. Elderly people and those with respiratory problems or compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable, and the best way to protect them is by following social distancing recommendations.

Hand-Washing and the Power of Soap

Because there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, washing our hands frequently is one of the best ways that we can slow the spread of the virus. Thanks to simple chemistry, regular soap is a highly effective weapon against coronavirus. These microscopic germs have a fatty layer that holds them together, and when the fatty layer comes in contact with soap, it breaks apart and the virus is destroyed.

This is why washing our hands is so effective. We should make sure to take at least 20 seconds and get every surface, then dry our hands thoroughly. Hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol content is a decent (but less effective) substitute. It’s also important to avoid touching our faces as much as possible.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces

Washing our hands is great, but it’s even better if we can clean the germs off the things we touch. We should be disinfecting our electronic devices and the surfaces in our homes and workspaces. Don’t forget doorknobs and light switches! Soap and water, alcohol-based cleaners, or bleach are all good options, but vinegar hasn’t been shown to be effective in this case. Make sure to give those surfaces a good scrub, not just a single swipe!

Getting Information from the Best Sources

As healthcare professionals, our top priority is ensuring that our patients have the best information in times like these, particularly with such a serious subject where the situation is changing rapidly. To learn more about the coronavirus and what you can do to help slow the spread, go to the CDC’s website. In the meantime, remember that taking good care of your teeth and gums is just as important now as ever!

Stay safe and happy. We look forward to seeing 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.

Posted in: Archived Posts, Blog, Informative

Leave a Comment (0) →

4 Reasons Seeing Your Dentist During Orthodontic Treatment Is Important

WHILE ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT MAY GIVE YOU the impression that you are keeping your teeth healthy, your dentist is the one who can assure your overall oral health is at its best.

So, should you continue seeing your dentist while receiving orthodontic treatment? The answer is always YES! Here are some reasons why…

1. Avoid Bracket Buildup

Braces can create more nooks and crannies for food and bacteria, causing tartar and plaque buildup. At your regular dental appointments, the buildup around brackets is removed and managed. Teeth cleanings will be worth it when you see your pearly whites sparkle after getting your braces off!

2. Keep All Your Calcium

Decalcification can leave white spots on your teeth during orthodontic treatment, if left untreated. You can prevent the loss of calcium in your teeth by practicing good oral hygiene while undergoing treatment, eating right, and seeing a dentist regularly. Preventing these white spots will make for an all-around perfect smile at the end of your orthodontic treatment!

3. Prevent Possible Delays

Cavities can prolong orthodontic treatment. To prevent these delays and ensure your teeth are healthy when your orthodontic treatment is over, get exams and cleanings at your dental office every 6 months, or as recommended by your dentist.

4. Ensure Good Health And Appearance

You don’t want your teeth to only look good at the end of orthodontic treatment, you want them to feel good as well. Without cavities, gum problems, and irritation your teeth will feel and look like a million bucks when your braces come off! Remember: your dentist is the best person to see for the overall health of your teeth and gums!

Is It Time For Your Next Cleaning?

Dental checkups are equally—if not more—important when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Regardless of what type of orthodontic treatment you or your loved ones are getting, we are committed to providing you with the best care and information to keep your smile healthy during the treatment process.

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend.

Top image by Flickr user Gordon used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Posted in: Blog, Informative, Oral Hygiene

Leave a Comment (0) →

Gum Disease Can Delay Orthodontic Treatment

RECENT STUDIES ESTIMATE about half of all adults have some form of gum disease. Shocking, isn’t it?

One reason the spread of periodontal conditions is so common is because gum problems progress slowly and often painlessly. In many cases, dental neglect and skipping regular checkups allow periodontal disease to seriously damage gums and even underlying bone structure before action is taken!

When bone structure is weakened, teeth can begin to drift out of place. Normally, when teeth need to be aligned, orthodontic treatment including braces or retainers can do the job. But when gums are infected, things become more complicated.

Periodontal Disease Can Delay Orthodontic Treatment

Attempting orthodontic treatment on a mouth affected by periodontal disease can invite even more problems. The pressure of braces on already weak bone structure can cause teeth to move unpredictably and cause further damage.

The first order of business should be getting periodontal disease under control. Once gums are healthy enough to provide the needed support for orthodontic treatment, gaps can be closed and teeth can be straightened.

Expert Diagnosis is Key

In general, periodontal disease should be addressed before moving any teeth. However, in some cases, applying orthodontic treatment sooner can help to alleviate gum problems!

Each individual situation is different, and by getting to know your unique dental profile, we can develop the optimal treatment plan for you. Information provided by your general dentist also helps us decide the best way to proceed.

Take Care of Your Gums, With Braces or Not

Even if you’re not planning on getting braces anytime soon, caring for your gums is crucial for oral health—and total-body health! Healthy gums are linked to lower risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.

We view orthodontics as an essential part of your overall well-being. Along with treatment, our goal is to help you establish dental habits that will not only benefit your smile, but your total health and quality of life!

Thanks for being our valued and patient and friend! We invite you to talk with us on your next visit if you have any questions.

Top image by Flickr user Nicolas Henderson used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Posted in: Blog, Informative, Oral Hygiene

Leave a Comment (0) →

What Causes Crooked Teeth?


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 tradeoff 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!

Top image by Flickr user aaron.bihari 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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative

Leave a Comment (0) →

A Quick Guide To Retainer Maintenance

THE DAY YOUR BRACES come off will arrive sooner than you think, but your orthodontic treatment won’t quite be over yet. In order to keep the straight smile you and our practice are working so hard for, you’ll need to wear your retainers. Retainers are different from braces in many ways, including how to take care of them.

Why Does A Retainer Need Cleaning?

As you wear your retainer, it accumulates bacteria, plaque, and tartar. We brush and floss to prevent this buildup on our teeth and gums, and we have to clean our retainers for the same reason. Without sufficient cleaning, a retainer can become smelly, foul-tasting, filmy, cloudy, and covered in small white spots.

Removable retainers should be rinsed with cool water and brushed at least once a day. It can be tricky to floss around a permanent retainer, but doing so is crucial to prevent tartar from building up in the crevices around it. You can use threaders to make flossing easier or invest in a water flosser if you don’t have one already.

Deep-Cleaning Your Retainer

Like with teeth, daily cleanings can only do so much, which is why retainers need the occasional deep clean to remain good as new. For a permanent retainer, the hygienist will be able to take care of this at your regular cleaning appointments, but you can clean a removable retainer yourself.

Deep-cleaning a retainer is easy and can be done very cheaply. You can use special retainer cleaning tablets if you prefer, but a simple mixture of baking soda and water will do the trick. Water and vinegar would also work, or you could use hydrogen peroxide, but never use harsh chemicals like bleach. Soak the retainer for a few minutes, then rinse it and let it dry.

Proper Retainer Storage

If you only have to wear your retainer part time, then it’s crucial to know how to store it when it’s out of your mouth. Harmful bacteria love warm, damp, enclosed environments, so make sure you keep your retainer somewhere safe and cool that it can fully dry when you aren’t wearing it. (The same goes for how you should store your toothbrush!) For some types of retainers, it’s better to soak them in water to store them, so be sure to check with us about what your type of retainer needs.

Are Retainers Really So Important?

Yes! Our teeth are held in place by the jaw bone and the periodontal ligament. These supporting structures need time to get used to the new, straight position of your teeth. Wearing a retainer for the amount of time specified by the orthodontist ensures that your jaws will get used to the new arrangement. Without the retainer, your teeth can slide back towards their original position until you need another round of braces to fix it! Nobody wants that.

Come To Us With Any Retainer Questions

Whether your retainers are clear plastic or wire and acrylic, bonded or removable, we’re here to answer any questions you have about how to take care of them. This is a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment and we want you to have the best experience and result possible!

Congratulations on graduating from braces to retainers!

Top image by Flickr user Will 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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative, Oral Hygiene

Leave a Comment (0) →

The Advantages of Straight Teeth

CONTRARY TO WHAT some people might think, having straight teeth isn’t just about looking good — not that there aren’t aesthetic benefits too. Studies show that a person with straight teeth is seen as being happier, wealthier, and more attractive than a person with crooked teeth, and knowing your smile looks good can be a real confidence boost. But there are also real health benefits to having properly aligned teeth.

Straight Teeth Are Easier to Clean

Teeth that are crowded and overlap each other tend to be harder to brush and floss effectively, which makes them more vulnerable to tooth decay. When teeth are straight, there’s plenty of space to floss between them and brush all the surfaces, so it’s easier to keep plaque under control.

Our Teeth Help Us Speak Clearly

Having poorly aligned teeth or a malocclusion such as an underbite or severe overbite can actually make it harder to enunciate words properly, contributing to speech impediments like lisps. It might take some time to get used to speaking with braces or a retainer, but when the orthodontic treatment is over, it will be easier than ever to speak clearly!

Proper Chewing Is Crucial to Good Digestion

Chewing isn’t just about breaking our food into small enough pieces to swallow, it’s actually the first step in the chemical digestion process. While our teeth grind up the food, our saliva begins to break it down. Poorly aligned teeth are less able to chew food as much as it should be chewed, placing a greater burden on the rest of the digestive system. This can lead to a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including making it harder to lose weight.

Breathe Easier with Straight Teeth

Even breathing can be influenced by the way teeth fit together. If you can’t comfortably close your jaws when resting, you’re more likely to end up breathing through your mouth. This might not seem like a big deal, but mouth breathing has numerous negative health effects. Among them are chronic bad breath and dry mouth (which in turn increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay).

Crooked Teeth Can Be a Pain in the Jaw

When there’s a problem with the bite, the chances of jaw problems like temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ or TMS) go way up. Symptoms include things like a clicking jaw joint when doing normal mouth movements, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.

Want Straight Teeth? We Can Help!

If you’ve avoided getting braces because you’re happy with the way your smile works, you could still benefit from orthodontic treatment in numerous ways that are arguably more substantial from a health perspective. Straight teeth are easier to clean, make it easier to chew, speak, and breathe correctly, and are better for good digestion and jaw health. Want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment? Just give us a call!

We think everyone deserves the benefits of having a properly aligned smile!

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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative

Leave a Comment (0) →

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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative, Oral Hygiene

Leave a Comment (0) →

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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative

Leave a Comment (0) →

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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 4 1234