Posts for: February, 2019
THE MOST OBVIOUS impact of orthodontic treatment is a straighter, more attractive smile. While it is true that we tend to perceive people with properly aligned teeth as happier and more successful, the benefits aren’t just superficial.
Do you remember the lisp you had between losing your two front teeth and the adult ones growing in? Based on that, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that our teeth are a crucial component to our ability to speak and enunciate clearly.
In order to make the right sounds, our lips and tongues have to maneuver around our teeth. When teeth are properly aligned, this is simple, but crooked teeth can result in a lisp, slurring, or difficulty making certain sounds that require tongue-to-tooth contact, such as the “t,” “s,” and “ch” sounds. Orthodontic treatment can solve these problems by moving the teeth into their proper positions.
We don’t give our teeth enough credit for the role they play in good digestion. Chewing is a very important part of the process. It doesn’t just chop the food into small enough pieces to fit down the esophagus, it mixes the food with saliva, which begins the chemical digestion process.
When we wolf down our food without much chewing — or when we chew with misaligned teeth that don’t do the job effectively — it forces our stomachs to work harder than they should. If you already have straight teeth, put them to good use by chewing each mouthful for longer. If you don’t, your digestive system will thank you for getting orthodontic treatment.
Having poorly aligned teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to comfortably close your jaws when you aren’t moving them, which can lead to habitual mouth breathing. Mouth breathing has a number of negative effects, including dry mouth, bad breath, snoring, chronic fatigue, and brain fog. The effects are an even bigger problem for kids, sometimes going as far as changing the development of their facial bone structure.
Straight Teeth For A Better Life
Not only do straight teeth make it easier to speak, eat, and breathe properly, they’re also easier to clean! Maybe you’ve been avoiding orthodontic treatment because you’re happy with the way your smile looks, but the many benefits of straight teeth are worth considering.
Straight teeth lead to better oral health and better overall health!
AS A CULTURE, we tend to think of braces as a teenage experience, so it can be surprising to learn that the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children have an initial orthodontic consultation by age seven. If a child is starting to develop complicated orthodontic problems, this early checkup allows the orthodontist to head them off with Phase 1 treatment.
What Is Two-Phase Orthodontics?
In traditional orthodontic treatment, the patient (who is in their mid-teens or older) is fitted for their appliance, which they wear until their teeth are properly aligned. In some cases, extractions or surgery may be necessary. This treatment all happens in a single phase, followed by wearing retainers to keep the teeth from shifting back.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment means that part of the orthodontic work is done when the patient still has most of their baby teeth, with the goal of minimizing developing problems so that treatment in their teens will be faster and simpler.
Who Benefits From Two Phases?
Certain types of orthodontic problems respond well to two-phase orthodontic treatment.
- Early correction for a cross-bite can be easier and help stop lower jaw problems from getting worse.
- In cases of extreme crowding, phase 1 treatment can create more room, reducing the need for future tooth extraction.
- Protrusive front teeth (teeth that stick out) are at higher risk of being damaged, particularly for very active children, and moving them back could prevent an injury.
When One Phase Is Best
The idea of two-phase treatment may appeal to some parents who prefer to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to their children’s oral health, but two-phase orthodontic treatment is not for every patient.
For many patients, the final results after a single treatment period will be the same as at the end of two-phase treatment. Even in some cases where it would make sense, the child may not be able to follow the orthodontist’s instructions very effectively because they are so young.
Trust Your Orthodontist
Whether your child will benefit most from one phase of treatment or two, you can trust the orthodontist to find the best treatment plan for them so that they will be able to have the straight, healthy smile they deserve. If your child is old enough for that initial consultation, give us a call to schedule one!
We love to see our patients smile!
OUTSIDE OF ANTIQUE FURNITURE and modern art, stains are pretty much always bad news. Worst of all is when the stains are on our teeth. If we aren’t careful during orthodontic treatment, we can end up with white spots on our teeth around where the brackets used to be when the braces come off. But why does this happen and how can we avoid it?
Why Teeth Develop Stains
The first thing you should know when it comes to post-braces stains is that they are not inevitable. It also isn’t the braces themselves that stain teeth. However, they do make it easier for plaque to build up, because the wires and brackets provide numerous nooks and crannies where bacteria and food particles can hide, making cleaning more difficult.
When plaque forms around brackets, it leaves decalcified patches. Then, when the braces come off, the spots where the brackets were are the same color as before, while the rest of the tooth has a bleached appearance. The buildup of plaque also increases the risk of decay and gum disease while the braces are on.
How To Keep Your Teeth Stain-Free
Your best defense against white spots and other stains is a good oral hygiene routine. Make sure to brush thoroughly at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and stay on schedule with your regular dental cleanings. Your dentist can get to any plaque or tartar you might have missed.
Another way to avoid stains is to stay away from foods and drinks that are known to leave stains, such as coffee, dark teas, highly acidic drinks (like soda), sugary foods like candy and cookies, and even chips! All of these foods and drinks can either directly stain the teeth or they can easily get stuck between brackets and lead to plaque buildup.
Other things to avoid are tobacco and alcohol. These are big causes of stains on their own, and braces only make it worse because you’ll still have those normal-colored patches when the brackets come off. Your teeth will thank you if you steer clear.
Are The Stains Permanent?
If you do have stains or white spots when your orthodontic treatment ends, there are ways of fixing them. Some stains become less intense over time simply by being exposed to your saliva, which is why we might not recommend any whitening treatments right away. After a few months, if the stains are still visible, you can use over-the-counter whitening products or have your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist for a more uniform result.
Still Worried About Stains?
If you want to learn more about white spots and how to avoid them, just ask us! We want to help you get the smile you deserve, and that means having teeth that are stain-three as well as properly aligned.
We love giving our patients more reasons to smile!
THE INITIAL ORTHODONTIC consultation is a critical step in your orthodontic treatment process. One of the best things you can do to prepare is to think about the kinds of questions you want to ask the orthodontist. Here are just a few to get you started.
How Long Will My Treatment Take?
Every patient has their own specific orthodontic needs, which means their treatment will be unique. Make sure to ask the orthodontist for an estimate on long your own treatment will take and what factors influence that timeline. The length and complexity of your treatment will also determine how much it costs.
How Do I Brush And Floss Around My Braces?
We sometimes take brushing and flossing our teeth for granted when we don’t have braces. It’s a fairly simple process to clean all of our teeth’s surfaces and get in between with a string of floss. With braces, it can be trickier, because there are many more places for pieces of food to get stuck, which also happen to be harder to reach with braces in the way. That’s why it’s important to ask the orthodontist for advice on how to keep your teeth clean with the braces on!
What Foods Should I Avoid?
You may have heard of the banned foods list orthodontic patients have to follow, and there’s a good reason for that. Having braces can make it difficult or impossible to eat certain types of food comfortably, and some foods can actually put the appliance in danger of breaking. Make sure you leave your consultation knowing which foods you should leave off your grocery list during your orthodontic treatment.
What Do I Do If Something Breaks?
Accidents happen to everyone, including orthodontic patients. A bracket may come loose or break, an archwire may snap, or any number of other complications could come up. It’s a good idea to get some early advice from the orthodontist on what to do in those kinds of situations so that you’ll be ready for them.
What Options Do I Have For My Treatment?
Because everyone’s teeth and situations are different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in orthodontic treatment. Ask the orthodontist if traditional braces are the most effective option for you, or if you might do better with a different approach, such as invisible aligners.
How Can I Help My Teeth Move Into Place On Schedule?
Many factors besides the starting position of the teeth can impact the speed of orthodontic treatment, including the actions of the patient! Depending on what you do, your treatment can either finish on time or become delayed, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you need to do to stay on track!
Having questions is no reason to postpone your orthodontic treatment!
Come See Us With These And All Your Other Questions!
Here at our practice, we can’t wait to start working with you on helping you reach your healthy, straight smile goals, and the first step is making sure all your questions are answered. If you haven’t already scheduled your initial consultation, give us a call today!
We love giving our patients more reasons to smile!
Contact us to schedule your complimentary orthodontic evaluation today!