Helpful Tips For Flossing Around Braces

c2711399-955b-4269-b80f-f8974748d95a

FLOSSING IS CRUCIAL for dental health even when we don’t have braces, but it’s especially important when we do.

Not flossing can prolong orthodontic treatment by leading to unhealthy gums, which can actually grow over the brackets if they get bad enough. You could also end up with permanent white spots caused by enamel decalcification around your brackets, which will make getting your braces off far less exciting than it should have been.

Reaching Those Hard-To-Reach Spaces

 

As important as it is to floss around your braces, we know it’s tricky. Luckily for you, there are many braces-friendly options for interdental hygiene. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes–also called proxy brushes–are an excellent option if you have a hard time getting the floss around your braces, but it’s still a good idea to give your teeth some good traditional flossing. These little gadgets look like pipe cleaners for your teeth. They fit between and around brackets, scraping away any remnants of food and plaque as they go, and they can even fit between teeth!

Threaders

Flossing when you have braces can be time consuming and difficult, especially if you haven’t had much practice. Threaders will save you a lot of trouble. Just loop the floss through the threader and poke the end of the threader up between two brackets. From there, flossing is easy! Just keep moving around to the rest of your teeth.

Platypus Flosser

Floss picks (those little fork-like sticks with floss strung across the end) have made flossing quick and easy for many people, but they don’t help if you have braces, because the ends are too broad to fit between brackets. Luckily, you can just use platypus flossers instead! These flossers are specifically tailored to braces. One of the plastic ends is very flat, and the handle also works as a proxy brush, so you get two braces-friendly floss tools in one!

Water Flossers

A water flosser may be the most attractive interdental cleaning option for anyone with braces, because all you have to do is point the spout between your teeth and let it blast the plaque away with massaging pulses of water.

A Good Orthodontic Outcome Is A Team Effort!

Our job is to move your teeth into place so that you can have a straight smile and a healthy bite, but it’s your job to keep your teeth clean during that process, which is just as important. Good oral hygiene will help you get your braces off on schedule and ensure that your teeth look great when the braces are gone!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

Advertisements

Nail Biting And Oral Health

7f30400d-36eb-415e-b9d4-a699944b0f1a

WE CALL SUSPENSEFUL BOOKS “nail-biters,” but the habit of nail biting itself has less exciting connotations.

The most obvious consequence is torn, uneven nails, and in particularly severe cases, nails that become dramatically shortened and deformed over time. This alone would be enough of a reason to discourage the habit, but far more insidious are the effects of nail biting on teeth and oral health.

Consequences For Teeth And Gums

Teeth should never be used as tools, and that includes using them as nail clippers. Over time, nail biting, or oncyophagia, can lead to a variety of complications.

Malocclusion and gaps

Grinding the front teeth together in order to bite through nails can gradually cause them to shift, creating a bad bite—malocclusion—or a gap between the top teeth.

Wearing, chipping, and cracking

At the same time that teeth are shifting into less than ideal positions, they could also be getting chipped or cracked, and they are certainly being worn down.

Root resorption

The pressure chewing nails places on the teeth can actually cause the jaw bone to begin re-absorbing the roots of those teeth, weakening them and increasing the risk of tooth loss. Having braces makes the risk of root resorption even greater.

Gingivitis

Fingernails trap a lot of dirt and microorganisms under them, and chewing on them introduces all of that bacteria to the mouth, which can lead to gum disease.

Increased risk of developing bruxism

People who chew their nails are more likely to develop a chronic teeth-grinding habit, which causes even more problems for the teeth, as well as frequent headaches and facial pain.

Why Does It Happen?

Compulsive nail biting has traditionally been thought of as a nervous habit, but recent studies indicate it may have to do with boredom and perfectionism as well as anxiety. It’s one of several body-focused repetitive disorders, such as picking scabs and pulling hair. Biting nails can be comforting or it can simply provide something to do. Many people who bite their nails don’t even notice they’re doing it. That, of course, makes stopping much harder.

Breaking The Habit

There are many different strategies nail-biters can use to help overcome the urge to keep chewing those nails.

  • Keep nails trimmed short so there isn’t much to bite.
  • Use bitter-tasting nail polish to make nail biting unpleasant.
  • Get manicures so that you’re more motivated to keep your nails looking nice.
  • Replace nail-biting with a different habit, such as squeezing a stress ball or playing with silly putty.
  • Identify your triggers. If you know the circumstances that cause you to bite your nails, you can make plans for dealing with them.
  • Stop gradually. Pick one or two fingernails at a time to stop biting (you might need to cover them to physically prevent yourself from biting them), then gradually add more fingernails until there are none left to bite!

We’re With You All The Way!

Our patients’ oral health is our top concern, which makes us your biggest ally against bad habits that put your oral health in jeopardy. If you have any questions or concerns about nail biting or would like more advice on putting the habit behind you, don’t hesitate to call us!

Our practice is rooting for you!

Medications’ Impact On Oral Health

5d3167df-3a7d-448c-ab69-81c7e88d2e53

 

MANY OF US need to take medications to treat a wide variety of conditions. However, even as those medications treat our illnesses, they could be causing problems for our teeth and gums.

Medicine And Oral Chemistry

Some medications—even some vitamins—can damage our teeth for the brief period that they’re in our mouths. This can pose a particular problem for children. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines. Children’s medicine tends to come in the form of sugary syrups and multivitamins, which feed oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.

Inhalers for asthma can also cause problems, specifically oral thrush, which is white patches of fungus in the mouth that can be irritating or painful. The best way to avoid this complication of using an inhaler is for you or your child to rinse with water after each use, and the same goes for sugary cough syrups and chewable multivitamins.

Side-Effects For Your Mouth

Plenty of other medications, though they don’t do any damage while you’re ingesting them, can be harmful to your mouth in the long term because of the side-effects. Let’s take a look at some of the more common side-effects.

Inflammation And Excessive Bleeding

If you notice your gums becoming tender and swollen shortly after you start on a new medication, you should talk to a medical professional about it. Several medications can cause gingival overgrowth(or excessive growth of the gums), which puts you at increased risk of gum disease.

To learn more about the risks of gum disease, watch the video below:

Altered Taste

Some medications, such as cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and smoking-cessation products can leave you with a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, or even interfere with your overall sense of taste. This isn’t necessarily a serious side-effect, but it can be unpleasant, especially for food-lovers.

Dry Mouth

The most common mouth-related side-effect of medications is dry mouth. A wide range of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, and antidepressants can all cause it.

Aside from feeling uncomfortable, dry mouth is very dangerous to oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense. It contains compounds that remineralize your teeth, neutralize acids, and keep bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, that bacteria runs rampant and there’s nothing to neutralize the acid or add minerals back into your tooth enamel. From there, you can develop mouth sores, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Taking Medications? Let Us Know!

The best thing you can do to ensure your medications aren’t clashing with your oral health is to tell your dentist about your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’re taking. From there, we can formulate a plan for how to counteract the medications’ effects.

At our practice, we’re rooting for your oral—and overall—health!

 

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.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

(NOTE TO OUR CLIENTS: Please customize your blog post by answering some questions here. What experience does your practice have with younger patients? Do you have anything to add to the tips for helping children have healthy smiles? Are you doing anything special in your practice in honor of Children’s Dental Health Month?)

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

Why Do Teeth Move Even After Braces?

EVERYONE KNOWS THAT the most exciting day for someone with braces is the day they get them off! The final result of a beautiful, straight smile is what makes orthodontic treatment worth it. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping those teeth straight!

Guess What… Teeth Can Move!

Of course it comes to no surprise to an orthodontic patient that teeth can shift over time–that’s exactly what happened during their treatment! Teeth are dynamic and always moving as pressure and force is applied to them, even after you’ve had braces.

Teeth may shift in response to things such as teeth grinding and clenching, numerous dental restorations, tongue thrusting and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or nail biting. Teeth also move naturally as we grow older and our facial structures change.

Keeping Your Smile Straight Is A Lifelong Commitment

So, what can you do to make sure that your new smile lasts a lifetime? Wear your retainer! It really is that simple. After you’ve finished orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will tell you how often you need to wear your retainer and for how long. Over time, most patients will only need to wear their retainer at night.

It’s especially important to wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist immediately after you get your braces off. Your teeth have a sort of “memory” of the way they were aligned before you got your braces on and are more prone to revert back to their original positions right after orthodontic treatment has finished.

When it comes down to it, every orthodontic patient needs to ask themselves, “How long do I want my teeth to be straight?” Whatever the answer is, that’s how long you’ll need to wear your retainer.

(INSERT VIDEO HERE)

Keep Smiling

We love creating beautiful, healthy smiles that our patients can be proud of. There’s nothing better than seeing our patients’ faces light up when they see their straight, new smiles. So keep wearing your retainer and keep up the good work. And most importantly… keep smiling!

We love our patients! Thank you for trusting us with your orthodontic treatment.

 

Disclaimer: 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.

How Do Braces Work?

 

 

CREATING A BEAUTIFUL, STRAIGHT SMILE through orthodontic treatment is a pretty amazing process! With braces, we can feel and see our teeth move over the course of treatment, but how does it happen?

Our Braces Contain A Few Key Components

To understand the science of braces, we first need to understand the components that make them up. First, there are the brackets, usually made of metal or ceramic. The bracket is the part of the braces attached to each tooth and is held in place by a bonding material that keeps the brackets firmly attached to your teeth over the course of treatment.

One of the most important pieces is the archwire. This thin piece of metal is placed over the brackets and puts pressure on the teeth, giving them the direction they need to become aligned and straight.

The ligature elastic (or “o-ring”) is a small, colored elastic that holds the bracket onto the archwire. These elastics are changed at each adjustment visit. Some types of brackets do not need elastic ligatures, however, and are actually self-ligating.

How Do Braces Straighten Our Teeth?

Anyone who has had braces knows that the process involves a bit of pressure. The component that exerts that gentle pressure on your teeth is the archwire. The light but constant force that is applied causes the teeth to move, slowly but surely, into their proper positions. But how, exactly?

The scientific word for what is actually happening to your teeth is called bone remodeling. Under the gumline, your teeth are surrounded by the periodontal membrane, sometimes called the periodontal ligament or PDL. When the archwire puts pressure on your teeth, the periodontal membrane stretches on one side and is compressed on the other. This loosens the tooth.

In response to this pressure and movement, the body sends cells called osteoclasts to break down the jaw bone. The body then sends in bone building cells, called osteoblasts, to rebuild the jaw bone into a new shape that lets the periodontal membrane hold teeth in the new position.

A Smile That You Can Be Proud Of

Having a perfectly aligned smile can affect the way you speak and chew, as well as your self-confidence. We care about you and know that a healthy, beautiful smile can make a big difference in your life. Our team provides specialized orthodontic treatment tailored to each of our patients, so that you can have a smile to be proud of!

Thank you for reading our blog and being a valued patient a

New Technology Can Reduce Orthodontic Treatment Time

WHAT DOES NASA HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR BRACES? Probably more than you think! The braces of ages past are gone. Modern treatment includes everything from advanced digital imaging to metal alloys created for space travel. These amazing technological advances mean that your treatment is more comfortable, less conspicuous, and more efficient.

Smile Design Through Advanced Imaging

All orthodontic treatment starts with a plan of action for your ideal smile. New scanning technology lets us fully envision that plan before ever putting a bracket on a tooth!

Comprehensive orthodontic scanning gives us a detailed look at the skull’s structure, and underlying problems in the mouth and jaw. Using this information, we’re able to create a complete picture of your bite, and plan the movement of teeth. Better imaging means better planning, and more efficient treatment for YOU.

Gradual, Steady Movement Through NASA Technology

Years ago, archwires on braces were made from stainless steel. This inflexible metal created a dramatic push right after tightening (effective, but sometimes uncomfortable), but didn’t continue corrective pressure after a few days. Now, we use nickel titanium wires. This memory-wire produces very gentle, gradual, and continued pressure as it strives to regain its set shape.

What does this mean for you? It means braces are much more comfortable, and yet they move your teeth more between tightening appointments, which makes your treatment time faster!

Watch NiTi Wires In Action

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzJDlN2o36M)

What Does the Future Hold for Orthodontics?

The possibilities are endless! It may be very soon that you come in for a checkup and get your retainer 3D printed within the hour. Perhaps computerized, self-adjusting brackets will allow us to monitor your treatment remotely! Whatever happens, you can be sure we’ll be there to see if it can better help us give you the smile of your dreams.

We treasure the trust you place in our practice. Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!