Archive for Oral Hygiene

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Posted in: Blog, Informative, Oral Hygiene

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