Archive for Archived Posts

Smile To Improve Your Day — And Your Health!

“IT TAKES MORE MUSCLES to frown than to smile,” the old cliché goes, so you should smile more to conserve energy. Well, it turns out the cliché is false. Smiling takes at least ten muscles, while as few as six are required for a frown. A better expression would be “smile to burn more calories,” but that isn’t the only benefit you’ll get from flashing those pearly whites more often.

The Feedback Loop Between Smiling And Happiness

When we smile, it sets off a chemical reaction in our bodies and brains. We release endorphins, the feel-good hormones. The amazing thing is that we can release these endorphins simply by the act of smiling, even if it’s fake!Smiling and happiness are so closely tied together in our brains that it doesn’t matter which one comes first. If you’re having a rough day and want to feel better, smiling is a great, simple first step to take.

Smile Your Pain And Stress Away

That rush of endorphins has a lot of benefits, and two of the most immediate ones are reducing pain and relieving stress. Endorphins are natural painkillers with no side effects, and they help us recover more quickly from stressful situations. A 2012 experiment demonstrated this by testing how long it took for subjects’ heart rates to return to normal after performing a stressful task. The smiling subjects were the fastest to recover!

Smile To Give Your Immune System A Boost

Over time, those short-term benefits from the endorphins released by smiling can compound into something much bigger. By smiling freely and often, we can make ourselves more resilient against all kinds of illnesses — even lowering our chances of getting cancer by reducing the number of stress-induced mutations our cells go through.

Smile To Live Longer!

When we think of the benefits of smiling, we usually don’t think much farther than how it makes us look younger and more attractive to the people around us, but in the end, smiling can actually add years to our lives. Smile as often as you can so that you can take full advantage of what it can do for you, and make sure you’re taking good care of your smile so that you feel more like sharing it. Click here to learn more!

Let’s See Those Gorgeous Smiles!

Did you know that children smile an average of twenty times as often as adults over the course of a day? Just imagine the health benefits we could enjoy as adults if we smiled as often as we did when we were little. We encourage all of our patients to find every reason you can to smile, and come see us twice a year so that we can help you keep your smile as healthy as it can be!

Our patients are our biggest reason to smile!

Top image by Flickr user David Long 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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How Braces Work

WE ALL KNOW THAT braces shift misaligned teeth into their proper position over time, but have you ever wondered exactly how that process works? Today, we’re going to walk you through it, because it’s actually really neat.

The Pieces Of The Braces Puzzle

The different parts of your braces all contribute to the orthodontic treatment process in specific ways. You might have additional appliances tailored to your specific treatment plan, but everyone with traditional braces has brackets and archwires, tied together with o-rings (also called bands or ligatures).

Brackets

If you look carefully at braces brackets, you may notice that they aren’t all placed in a straight line. At first, the braces may even seem to emphasize the crookedness of the teeth. The way the orthodontist positions the brackets is what allows braces to shift teeth into their proper place. By the end of the treatment, the brackets — and, more importantly, the teeth — will be straight!

Archwire

The archwires run through the brackets on each row of teeth. The orthodontist chooses the thickness and material of the archwire carefully based on your treatment plan. As they try to straighten back into their original shape, archwires provide steady, gradual pressure in the right direction so that your teeth will shift towards their proper position. The colorful o-rings are what keep the archwires in place in the brackets.

Elastics

The most common addition to braces beyond the basics of brackets, archwires, and o-rings are elastics. If you have a malocclusion (bad bite) or misaligned jaw, elastics apply pressure to bring your jaws into proper alignment. In order for them to do their job, however, it is essential to exactly follow the orthodontist’s instructions. Wearing too many or too few rubber bands will interfere with your treatment and make it take longer. Click Here to learn more about parts of braces.

The Biology Of Shifting Dental Alignment

So what’s actually happening on the cellular level during orthodontic treatment? Specialized cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts respond to the pressure around the periodontal membrane (the pocket of gum tissue connecting the tooth’s root to the jaw bone). Osteoclasts break down the bone tissue so that the tooth can move, while osteoblasts gradually form new bone tissue behind it. So it’s not just your teeth moving into position; your jaw bones are reshaping themselves too! Click Here to watch an educational video.

What About Retainers?

Your teeth still remember where they used to be for a while after the braces come off, which is why it’s so important for you to remember to wear your retainers as directed. Retainers will help your teeth get used to their new position, and they’ll prevent unrelated shifting that happens to most people naturally over the course of time.

Want To Learn More About Your Orthodontic Treatment?

If you have any questions about how your braces are working to give you that properly aligned, more functional smile you’ve always wanted, click here,  give us a call, or ask us about it at your next appointment. We want all of our patients to have the information they need to feel confident in their treatment!

We love seeing our patients’ smiles!

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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How Clean Is Your Tongue?

“BRUSH YOUR TEETH for two full minutes twice a day and floss your teeth once a day.” You’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve heard that, but how often have you heard that you should be cleaning your tongue every day too?

The Difference A Clean Tongue Makes

More bacteria likes to live on our tongues than just about anywhere else on our bodies. That’s because all those tiny crevices in the tongue’s surface are prime real estate for all kinds of pathogens. If we don’t actively keep our tongues clean, the harmful bacteria will stay put and multiply, causing bad breath and contributing to tooth decay on the inner surfaces of our teeth.

Another reason to regularly get rid of all that tongue bacteria is that it can dramatically improve your sense of taste. When the tongue is covered in bacteria, the tastebuds have a hard time doing their job, but with the bacteria gone, they’re free to absorb all those delicious flavors at their full capacity. Yum!

Chemical digestion begins in our mouths, and a clean tongue makes this process more effective too. So, if you want to enjoy your favorite foods as much as possible, keep your breath clean and fresh, and improve your digestive health, clean your tongue!

Finding The Best Tools For Cleaning Your Tongue

Keeping your tongue clean takes more than swishing mouthwash or rinsing with water. The bacteria hiding in all those tiny grooves is very stubborn, and washing with liquid won’t be enough do dislodge them. To really clear off the biofilm of bacteria, you need to scrape it with a tongue-scraper.

If you don’t find these in the grocery store near the toothbrushes, you can order one online, and some toothbrushes have tongue scrapers built in on the reverse side. Between brushing and rinsing your teeth is the best time to scrape your tongue. Start at the back and work forward, and try to get as much of the surface area as you can.

For the first few days, you might be surprised by how much biofilm comes away with the tongue scraper, but the longer you stick with it, the cleaner your tongue will become, until it seems like you’re scraping away nothing but clean spit. See if you notice the difference in your breath and your sense of taste when you get to this point! Learn More!

Tongue-Scraping Is Older Than You Think

If you’ve never heard of tongue-scraping before, you might think it’s a new idea, but it’s actually been around since ancient times in some cultures. It’s part of the daily hygiene routine in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Tongue-scraping tools have been made of many different materials across the centuries, including copper, silver, gold, ivory, whalebone, and tortoiseshell. Today, they’re typically plastic or stainless steel.

Have Any Questions About Tongue Cleaning?

If you have questions about tongue cleaning or would like our recommendations on the best tools for the job, just give us a call! We’re always happy to help our patients improve their daily dental hygiene regimens, and we look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

Top image by Flickr user Jon Russell 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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Considering a D2C orthodontic company?

Many online orthodontic companies make their treatment sound so easy and convenient-you take some selfies, an impression or maybe a scan—and voila, in no time you have a great new smile.

Based on my decades of professional training and experience, straightening your teeth and improving your bite is rarely that simple.  If it were, licensed orthodontic specialists would not be required by the state to go to school for the mandated 11 to 12 years and another 2-4 years beyond dental school in order to render expert specialist care.

Easier Isn't Always Better

The main risk you should consider is that with direct to consumer orthodontic companies, the critical in person initial pretreatment evaluation, the diagnostic process, and ongoing supervision is usually removed from the process.   So a lot of important biological factors are skipped and that could potentially lead to irreversible and costly damage like gum loss, changed bites, and root and bone deterioration.

Really, the main question to ask yourself is what other medical procedure would you pursue without an in person evaluation and the continued direct supervision of a professional?

What You Need to Ask Yourself

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) lists 14 important questions you should ask when researching direct to consumer ortho aligner companies.  You can go to the AAO consumer alert to read them all. However, for the sake of brevity, I have condensed the AAO list into 6 key questions that should be answered before starting any treatment.

  • As part of your treatment, is a clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite and supporting structures performed and are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays taken before your treatment?
  • Does your treatment fee include the cost of any in person visits to an orthodontist to make sure teeth are moving as planned?
  • Is only one type of treatment offered; how do you know that is the best option for your individual case?
  • If a general dentist or orthodontic specialist is involved with your treatment, do you know his/her name and can you communicate directly with the doctor in a timely manner?
  • Who can you speak with at the online orthodontic company about your treatment and if an issue arises how will it be handled and who will be responsible for handling it?
  • Does the treatment model comply with the dental laws in your state?

Remember that orthodontic treatment is not a product or device-it is a professional medical service-you want your treatment to be directly supervised by a highly trained specialist. Before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider doing some research and having an in person consultation with a post-doctorate residency trained orthodontist.

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Recent Advances in Orthodontic Care

 

All of our efforts as parents and grandparents are undertaken in order to raise healthy, happy and confident children who will excel and contribute to our community and nation in very positive ways.  Orthodontics has always been a key piece to this puzzle. A bright and attractive smile always facilitates a significant social edge and translates to more joy and success in life.

For children and adults who need braces or aligners, orthodontic treatment can make a huge difference in their outlook on life. When a person who does not feel good about his or her smile can become comfortable and confident, it is a life-changing experience!

Being able to give a person confidence and self-esteem is the most fulfilling part of our job. We love what we do! We want everyone to experience the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from having a great smile and the confidence to show the world. Nothing warms a room, a relationship or changes attitudes like a great smile!

The days of having to see the orthodontist every month, painful bands and separators, headgear and high down payments are in the past! Modern technology, modern convenience and modern financing make braces more attractive and affordable now than ever before.

Orthodontics and the process of getting braces has changed tremendously over the last few years. Forget all the things you had to endure as a child, the lack of affordability and the painful process. Things are different now! Change is good.

Call and make an appointment to see an orthodontist today. It will change you or your child’s life!

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The Difference Between An Orthodontist and a Dentist

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is? Though the lines may seem blurred at times, there are some important distinctions to consider when thinking of the two!

How Much Schooling Did They Do?

The first thing to consider is education. All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists! The journey to becoming an orthodontist begins with completing dental school and becoming a licensed dentist. Once completed, orthodontists continue in their education with three more years of residency in order to become a specialist.  

The next thing to consider is specialization. The hours of specialized training that orthodontists receive is invaluable and makes them the clear choice when deciding who to trust with your orthodontic issues. Orthodontists solely focus on enhancing facial beauty by aligning teeth and jaws, that’s it! 

If you had to have your knee replaced, you most likely wouldn’t go to your family doctor to have the procedure done. You would likely find a doctor who specializes in this type of procedure. You should do the same for your smile. When it comes to the alignment of your smile, it is best to trust an orthodontist.

Finally, one must consider experience. During an orthodontist’s education and training, they are exposed to many different orthodontic issues that they must learn how to address. When visiting an orthodontist, you can be sure that they have the necessary experience to understand and address your needs. 

You don’t want to trust just anyone with your smile.  At Kineret Orthodontics we are passionate about creating exceptional smiles and memorable experiences. We remain committed to caring for you with expertise, professionalism, all in the most heart centered-way. We would love to help you feel confident in your smile! To schedule your consult, please give our office a call at (916) 772-5832. 

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How Important are Straight Teeth?

Picture yourself flipping through a magazine. Page after page you see advertisements featuring people who most likely have something in common. That commonality is straight teeth with a beautiful smile. Let’s face it, smiles are one of the first things that people will notice when they meet you. Don’t you want to have a smile that will leave a lasting impression?

Study after study has shown that people with straight teeth are more likely to be successful, more likely to get a job and more likely to have higher self-esteem. The aesthetic benefits of straight teeth have been shown to improve your overall confidence.

Higher self-esteem and confidence are important for adults but even more so, they are important for children. Everyone wants their children to be happy and healthy. We want them to be confident and successful, too. And a beautiful smile can contribute to this.

While the aesthetic benefits of straight teeth are great, the health benefits are something that should also be considered when looking into orthodontic options.

First of all, crooked/crowded teeth are more difficult to clean. It is harder to reach all of the areas between your teeth to remove plaque and bacteria when your teeth are crooked. This problem could lead to an increase in the risk of cavities and gum disease.

A crooked smile can also lead to issues with your bite. This misalignment can lead to uncomfortable tooth grinding, pain, TMJ and sinus issues. These problems can be avoided or corrected with the proper care from your orthodontist.

People who have crooked teeth are more likely to suffer from tooth breakages, chips and fractures. If teeth are protruding, they are less protected than straight teeth and more susceptible to these types of issues.

Overall, straight teeth can increase your confidence, contribute to your overall health and well-being and save you money in the long run. Modern technology, modern convenience and patient-friendly financing make braces and aligners more attractive and affordable now than ever before.

Now there is nothing to hold you back, whether young or old (25% of our patients are adults!). Call and make your consultation appointment today. We look forward to meeting you!

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The Relationship Between Oral and Overall Health

If you ask the average person on the street what an orthodontist does, she or he will say that orthodontists straighten teeth. Which is partially true, but they do more than that. What is often overlooked are the actual goals of orthodontic treatment, meaning what are they actually trying to accomplish when they move teeth around.

The real goals of orthodontic treatment are two-fold.

Goal number one is to align the teeth and jaws in a way that enhances facial esthetics. This is important because 80 percent of feeling good is looking good, and a pleasing smile definitely makes us look good. Looking and feeling good translates to enhanced self-esteem and confidence, which gives us an advantage in social interactions. That advantage can mean better outcomes in life like higher paying jobs, better grades, more friends and better relationships.

Goal number two is to enhance overall oral health and in my opinion is equally important. Well-aligned teeth are easier to keep clean which translates to a reduced risk for decay and gum disease. The better the upper and lower teeth fit together (the occlusion or bite), the less likely will be the occurrence of excessive and uneven wear. Better alignment and bites also contributes to the overall oral health by fostering a balance between the jaw muscles, joints, bone, and roots of the teeth as well.

According to the article below posted on the Mayo Clinic website, we can go further with our discussion of the importance of well aligned teeth and jaws, and overall oral health. This interesting article discusses the relationship of oral health to our overall health—I don’t know about you, but after reading this article I immediately went looking for my floss.

Wishing you Health and Happiness,

Dr. Steve

Oral Health: A window to your overall health

Your oral health is more important than you may realize. Get the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums may affect your general health. By Mayo Clinic staff

Did you know that your oral health can offer clues about your overall health? Or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Understand the intimate connection between oral health and overall health and what you can do to protect yourself.

What’s the connection between oral health and overall health?

Your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and cause oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, dental procedures, medications, or treatments that reduce saliva flow, disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth or breach the mouth’s normal protective barriers may make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

What conditions may be linked to oral health?

Your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis. Gum disease and dental procedures that cut your gums may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system or a damaged heart valve, this can cause infection in other parts of the body — such as an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis).
  • Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly due to chronic inflammation from periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. In addition, people who have inadequate blood sugar control may develop more-frequent and severe infections of the gums and the bone that holds teeth in place, and they may lose more teeth than do people who have good blood sugar control.
  • HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Other conditions. Other conditions that may be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder — and eating disorders.Be sure to tell your dentist if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you’ve had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition.

How can I protect my oral health?

To protect your oral health, resolve to practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Floss daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups.

Also, watch for signs and symptoms of oral disease and contact your dentist as soon as a problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

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Are braces really worth it?

The Worth of a Smile

The thing that goes the farthest
Towards making life worth while,
Which costs the least and counts the most,
Is just a pleasant smile.
The smile that bubbles from a heart
That loves its fellow men,
Will drive away the clouds of gloom
And coax the sun again,
It is full of worth, and goodness too,
With many kindness blent;
It is worth a million dollars
And it doesn’t cost a cent.

There is no room for sadness
When we see a cheery smile,
It always has the same good looks,
It’s never out of style.
It nerves us on to try again
When failure makes us blue,
The dimples of encouragement
Are good for me and you.
It pays a higher interest
For it is sincerely lent;
It is worth a million dollars
And doesn’t cost a cent.

A smile comes very easy,
You can wrinkle up with cheer
A hundred times before you
Can squeeze out a soggy tear.
It ripples out moreover
To the heart-strings that will tug,
And always leaves an echo
That is very like a hug;
So smile away, folks understand
What by a smile is meant;
It is worth a million dollars
And doesn’t cost a cent.

Anon

 

Are Braces Worth It?

Here are some blog comments to consider…

“Good luck, and I recommend braces!!” (Samantha)

“Yes it’s worth it!!! Because the older you get the more your teeth start to shift. and it makes your teeth completely straight. I’ve had my braces for about 9 months and I still have 9 more to go, but my teeth are already pretty straight and they were really bad before. And about the retainer for the rest of your life… you really only wear it at night, as my friend does, so don’t worry about that and wouldn’t you want perfect straight teeth? So go for it!” (Anonymous)

“It’s deffs worth it! Your smile is the first thing people notice about you lol! There’s a lot of people that have done it and they don’t mind the retainer or anything. So if you can afford it do it. 😉 Take my word for it! You will be way more attractive so hurry and do them while you are still young!” (Meh:)

“I had braces for 2 years and was told I had to wear the retainer forever. It was worth it and I only wore the retainer for 1 year and then on occasion after that. I think you should because you’re still in high school and it’s still socially acceptable to have braces.” (Dave)

“Yeah they are worth it! 🙂 I have crooked teeth and regret not getting them.” (asban)

“Absolutely since your teeth might look fine but the overbite is a problem that should be fixed. You will love the band behind your teeth once you get your braces off compared to a plastic retainer since you do absolutely nothing with it. You don’t feel it, don’t notice, and most of all will not care about it. The band is simply a tiny metal retainer that goes behind your bottom 4 teeth to prevent it from moving.” (Anonymous)

“A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as no one needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.” (Anonymous)

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Single Phase vs Two-Phased Orthodontic Treatment?

Single phase orthodontics means we wait until nearly all of the permanent teeth are in place prior to starting treatment.  Phased orthodontic treatment means a first phase of treatment is started earlier — commonly at age 7 to 9, when all permanent incisors (front teeth) and permanent first molars are in place but permanent canines and premolars have not yet erupted.  There are indications for both approaches and the option selected should be individually based.

If you select the phased treatment option, it is important to realize that there is a greater than 50-50 chance that you will need to do both phases – i.e. even if you start early you will not finish early, and there may be additional cost and time involved.

In our practice,  we have a comprehensive approach to the first phase, a rigid retention program, and, in fact, 1 out of 3 patients will not need to go on to a second phase.   Furthermore, for the 2 out of 3 patients that still require phase II treatment, the second phase of treatment is often simpler and faster than if we had done single phase treatment.  That being said, we do not do phased treatment on everyone, preferring to wait when problems are mild to moderate.

On the other hand, the benefit of a phased approach to young patients may be worth much more than the extra time or cost.  For example, many female patients finish most or all of their jaw growth prior to the time their full permanent dentition is in place.  Teeth that erupt into the wrong place or are impacted (‘stuck’ or blocked out of place) often require extractions or surgical intervention and this is often circumvented with earlier treatment.

 

The literature lists the following as benefits of phased treatment:

1.       Takes advantage of growth

2.       Requires fewer extractions of permanent teeth

3.       Involves less orthognathic (jaw) surgery

4.       Addresses harmful habits

5.       Causes less tooth trauma and enamel wear

6.       Improves self-esteem and social comfort

7.       Assures greater compliance with the course of treatment than in the challenging teenage years

Most important is the improvement in self-esteem and confidence that occurs when a child is given a beautiful smile during the socially challenging middle school years.  With a list of clear long-term medical benefits, the ultimate decision is still based most often on the consideration of that more intangible factor:

How much is your child’s self-esteem worth?

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