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Pacifiers, Thumb Sucking, And Baby’s Teeth

IT’S NOT ALWAYS easy to know the best thing to do as a parent. Every child is different and there isn’t a handy instruction manual. One question on many new parents’ minds is when to start discouraging a child from sucking their thumbs or using pacifiers. We might not be able to answer all of your parenting questions, but we have this one covered.

Babies And Toddlers Benefit From These Habits

Sucking on anything and everything is a natural reflex for babies. It’s soothing and comforting for them, especially when they’re teething. There’s no reason to discourage thumb sucking or pacifier use for babies and toddlers. It will help them sleep, stay calm when separated from you, and even reduce the risk of SIDS.

When Should Thumb Sucking Stop?

Many parents are anxious to curb a pacifier or thumb-sucking habit behind as soon as possible because they worry it will cause the adult teeth to grow in crooked. This is a valid concern, but not before a child is about four years old, at which point most will stop sucking their thumbs on their own. If they don’t, it’s time to start weaning them off it.

Vigorous thumb sucking beyond age four can change the shape of the palate and cause an open bite in the permanent teeth. An open bite is where the front upper and lower teeth slant outward and do not touch when the teeth are closed, which causes problems with chewing and speaking clearly.

Strategies For Breaking The Thumb-Sucking Habit

These dental problems are a bigger risk for thumb suckers than pacifier users, because you can simply take the pacifier away if they won’t stop using it on their own. Hopefully you’ll be able to get your child to stop sucking their thumb by age five, but if they’re close to their sixth birthday with no signs of stopping, it’s time to get serious. Here are a few strategies to try:

  • Focus on positive reinforcement. Praise successes rather than punishing continued thumb sucking.
  • Make a rewards chart so that they can see what they’re working towards.
  • Keep their hands occupied with activities like arts and crafts.
  • Be careful using topical aids to make their thumbs taste bad, because many don’t work and some are actually harmful.
  • To prevent nighttime thumb sucking, restrict access to their thumbs by putting socks on their hands. (You might need to tape them in place.)
  • Click here to learn more

Let Us Know How It’s Going!

If you’re getting worried about your child’s continued pacifier use or thumb-sucking habit, don’t hesitate to talk to us about it. We can answer any questions you may have and help you with your strategies for ensuring that your child’s palate and adult teeth develop the right way.

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

Top image by Flickr user various brennemans 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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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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Don’t Take A Vacation From Oral Hygiene!

WITH THE ARRIVAL OF SUMMER comes the season of family vacations and exciting trips to new places. We’re as excited for it as our patients, but before everyone leaves to explore parts unknown, we want to give you a few tips and reminders about taking care of your teeth while you’re away from home.

Before You Go, See The Dentist

The last thing anyone wants while relaxing on a beach or enjoying the rides at a theme park is for their fun to be interrupted by a toothache or dental emergency. Depending where you go on your vacation, it might be hard to get proper dental treatment. You’ll save yourself a major potential hassle by simply scheduling a dental appointment before you leave!

A simple dental checkup will ensure that your teeth are clean and cavity-free when you start your trip. It’s especially important to get any restorations (e.g. crowns and fillings) checked in case they’re becoming loose, and untreated cavities and weakened dental work can become painful due to the pressure changes on flights.

Don’t Get Too Carried Away With Vacation Food

We can probably all agree that the food is often one of the best parts of any vacation, but that can make it easy to overdo it. Try to avoid eating too many sweet treats and snacks, and maybe keep a pack of sugar free gum handy to help prevent cavities.

Don’t Slack On Brushing And Flossing

When we’re at home, it’s easy to go through daily routines like brushing in the morning and brushing and flossing in the evening. Make sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss when you go, and quickly establish these routines in your new location.

One important thing to remember is that bacteria grows fast on a toothbrush that is damp and in an enclosed space, such as in luggage. Give your brush time to dry before you pack it, and store it somewhere it can get plenty of ventilation between uses.

Instead of leaving your toothbrush out on a hotel counter, try a simple solution like this: Watch Video

Have A Great Vacation!

Following these tips will help you keep your teeth strong and healthy while you’re away from home. That should make it easier to flash a big, bright smile for the camera during your adventures! Have a wonderful time, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Thank you for trusting us with your dental health!

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 To Finish Your Orthodontic Treatment Early

Successful orthodontic treatment is dependent on a number of factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces.

However a lot of it actually depends on you! Patients who follow instructions often finish 6 months or more early.  While those who do not, commonly add an extra 6 to 12 months to their treatment time. Wow, that’s a big difference!

So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time (or maybe even early!) and get a fantastic smile? Here are 4 simple steps to keep your treatment on track for a great result. Make sure to watch the videos on this page of our website for clear and easy to follow instructions: Orthodontic Care Guide.

Keep Your Smile Amazing At Kineret Orthodontics! - With 4 Easy Steps:

1. Keep Your Appointments

The better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be!  Also very important for an early finish is that you come on time to your appointments.  Having enough time to perform planned procedures is essential to your smile’s progress.

2. Avoid Damage to Your Braces

Damage to your braces can really put the brakes on your progress. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending your wires, be sure to wear a mouth guard when playing sports or a night guard if you grind your teeth. Also follow closely the advice on the Foods and Habits Checklist in your new patient folder.

Specifically, avoid these foods while wearing braces: Popcorn, Nuts, Sticky candy like taffy & caramel, and Ice. Some other examples of foods to avoid are jerky, hard candies, cookies, crunchy cereals, hard (like pita) chips and snacks.

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, remove the crust from pizza and hard or chewy crusted breads. Also, it is best to slice corn off the cob and meat off the bones prior to consumption.

Avoid habits like chewing on pens, fingernails, clothing, etc.

3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions--Wear Your Rubber Bands Consistently

If your unique case calls for orthodontic appliances other than braces, it’s crucial to wear them as prescribed. We most often see patients neglecting to wear their elastics, or rubber bands. In general, you’ll only need to take them off when eating a meal, brushing your teeth or wearing a mouth guard and then replace them ASAP.  Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot, harm your roots, and limit the degree of improvement! So be sure to follow your instructions.

4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums during treatment is very important! Braces can make it harder to keep your teeth clean, so you need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you’re undergoing treatment.

Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment and no one wants spotty teeth from not brushing. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible and have a stellar smile, brush, floss, proxy-brush, and hydro-floss (water-pik) and don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly!

Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment on Track in 4 Simple Steps and Get Done Early

If you follow these guideline, I promise you… It Will All Be Worth It!
Going through orthodontic treatment takes a little extra effort and focus, but it can be life changing. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted and deserve!

If you have any more questions, call us today. We’re always here for our amazing patients.  Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey to a fantastic smile! 

The content on this website reflect the experience, training, and opinion of this provider and is not intended to be a substitute for individual 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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Does It Hurt When You Get Your Braces Put On?

The Big Questions People Have

Does getting braces hurt? Absolutely not!  So you can take your worry wart hat off right now because the process is super easy, completely painless, and only takes about an hour!  

In our practice, patients actually watch their favorite movie on Netflix while we “glue” them on with a special adhesive (no shots or drills).  So the time passes very quickly and our patients tell us the process is so much easier than they ever expected! Aw, the joys of modern orthodontics!

The Next Few Steps

Once the braces are in place, they are connected to the wires with tiny colored o-rings of your choice.  These initial wires and o-rings are super elastic. In fact the wires are so small and flexible that you can literally tie them in a knot so you will not feel them at first.  

Also good to know is that we use tiny micro brackets these days to make sure your braces are gentle and cleanable.

At Kineret Orthodontics you will enjoy the fact that we only use brackets and do not use bands (the silver rings that go on molars)— so there are no painful separators as in days past-yey for that!

Your teeth will be sore for about 3 to 4 days afterwards but the application of braces itself will not hurt.  And the really good news is that like a small bruise, the soreness usually fades away quickly!

Here is our Braces Quick Start Checklist that has some great tips to help you adjust to your new braces smoothly and quickly.

Braces Quick
Start Guide

If you would like to watch a short video clip giving a quick tour of our office and a peak at how we will put your braces on, watch the video. The video shows one of our young rock star patients getting her braces placed—as you can see the process is really quite painless, quick, and easy.

And don’t worry, on the day we put your braces on, we will share with you tips to make your treatment go faster and better. However if you want to get a jump on it and sneak preview the next steps go here to our Orthodontic Care Guide.

We are excited to have you join the Kineret Orthodontics family and are very much looking forward to helping you realize the best smile possible-See you soon!

The Kineret Orthodontics Team

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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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