Dental Tips Blog

Aug
13

What Are Dentofacial Orthopedics?

Posted in Orthodontics

There’s more to how your smile looks than just straight teeth. In reality, it has a lot to do with the eruption patterns, size of the jaws, and anatomical features of the face. One of the ways that dentists or orthodontists provide comprehensive therapy to their patients is by providing interceptive orthodontics, or dentofacial orthopedics. What do all of these fancy terms mean? Modifying the growth patterns of the mouth, enhancing the positioning of the jaws and how the teeth bite against one another.

Some examples of dentofacial orthopedics include:

  • Herbst appliances
  • Space maintainers
  • Palatal expanders
  • Lower lingual arches

These orthopedics work together to guide the width and growth patterns of the jaws. Most of the time they are worn for several months, until desired changes have been made. Dentofacial orthopedics is non-invasive therapies that your dental provider can use to create healthier, straighter smiles before more complications arise later on. This minimizes the need for surgical procedures or orthodontic treatments for many dental patients!

How do you know if you or your child needs dentofacial orthopedics or interceptive treatment? Your dentist can conduct an occlusion assessment and bite analysis during your routine dental exam. Well-aligned teeth are generally healthier, having less tooth decay and periodontal disease around them than teeth that are crooked or crowded. Professionals recommend that children have an orthodontic screening or bite assessment no later than age 7.

By seeing your dentist regularly, you can monitor oral health concerns and growth pattern complications before they become more severe. If more complex care is needed, you may be referred to an orthodontic professional. Your general family dentist is a great place to start when you have questions about you or your child’s dental misalignment needs.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel 

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Jun
4

Preventing White Spots Around Your Braces

Posted in Orthodontics

You’ve probably seen or heard about white spots on the teeth of orthodontic patients. They go through 1, 2, or even 3 years worth of treatment to get beautiful, straight teeth, only to have their braces taken off and white circles left on their teeth where their brackets once were. To prevent and eliminate the risk of white spots, you’ll need to know what actually causes them in the first place.

White spots are actually areas of weak tooth enamel that began to demineralize and decay due to plaque biofilm sitting on the tooth. These areas can also occur along the gumlines, leaving “stripes” on the teeth of children as their teeth erupt further into place because they did not brush properly. On an orthodontic patient, it comes from the plaque resting around their brackets on each tooth.

Thorough plaque removal around every bracket each and every day is essential. Electric toothbrushes, proxa-brushes, and water flossers can help remove plaque in even the hardest to reach areas. Brushing and flossing (traditional or water flossing) must happen at least twice each day for 2 or more minutes to make sure that enough bacteria has been removed. A regular or electric toothbrush will not get the plaque between the teeth, so always use another type of oral care device to target these areas. Brush carefully above and below the brackets, not just straight onto the tooth.

Lastly, your dentist or orthodontist may prescribe a fluoride gel to use at home during your orthodontic treatment. Fluoride helps remineralize weakened enamel, preventing it from becoming “white” or even turning into a cavity.

Posted on behalf of Envy Smile Dental Spa

Nov
6

Foods to Avoid When You Have Traditional Braces

Posted in Orthodontics

Orthodontics can completely change the way your smile looks, increasing dental health, boosting self-confidence, and changing the way other people look at you. However, traditional braces do require a bit of extra attention since you’re wearing them for an extended period of time. One of the important factors to keep in mind is the type of food that you should avoid. Eating the wrong foods when you’re wearing traditional braces can cause brackets to fall off or appliances to break.

Acidic foods like lemons for example, can loosen the cement, which bonds your bracket to the tooth. Drinking acidic drinks like soda from time to time should be done through a straw, to prevent excess acid levels directly on the orthodontic appliances.

Sticky foods, which typically include candies like taffy, bubble gum, or caramel, can literally pull your orthodontic appliances directly off of your teeth (including some dental restorations.) Look for substitutes to these items to curb your cravings for sweet, sticky treats.

Harder items like nuts, jerky, apples or corn on the cob may also break your orthodontics. Try cutting your food up into small pieces (apples, carrots, or meat), cooking them until they are very tender, or simply avoiding them.

If you’ve had an appliance slip out of place or break due to something you’ve eaten, it’s important to get in touch with your orthodontic provider or dentist within a day or two to have it corrected. Waiting too long to repair a broken bracket can cause teeth to move irregularly or cause injury. Being careless with your treatment will only cause it to last longer than it originally should have, and may incur costs related to repeatedly replacing equipment.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck, DMD, MS, PC

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Aug
12

Do Braces Have to Be Put on All of My Teeth?

Posted in Braces

One of the reasons that people inquire about orthodontic treatment is that they have a few teeth in the front of their mouth, which appear crooked or crowded. The rest of their teeth seem to be fine, but they want to improve the way their smile looks. This begs the question that Alpharetta orthodontists and dentists hear on a regular basis, “do I really need to have braces put on all of my teeth?”

The majority of the time, orthodontic patients will need to have the braces placed on all of their teeth. There are a few reasons for this: 

Braces use all of the teeth to reposition the ones that need to be moved. When you have brackets or wires placed on a few front teeth, they need something to work against in order to move the teeth into their new position. Without some type of anchor, the misaligned teeth cannot be moved. 

There may be misalignments not visible to the patient. Braces not only make your teeth look straighter in the front of your mouth, they also correct misalignments in your bite throughout all of your mouth. The way your teeth bite together can cause premature wear, TMJ disorder or make you prone to develop gum disease if the back teeth are not aligned appropriately.

Treatment is more comprehensive when the entire mouth is addressed. Even the slightest movement in teeth can affect the rest of the mouth. Your orthodontic treatment is designed to address your entire bite, not just a small portion of it. By only altering a small area, the rest of the mouth will be affected. Full orthodontics prevents problems later on.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck

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Jul
11

How Long Should You Wear Your Orthodontic Retainer?

Posted in Orthodontics

So, you have had your braces off for a year and your dentist asks you if you’re still wearing your retainer. What do you say? Do you know if you’re still supposed to be wearing it or not? The answer is yes. You should be wearing your retainer, and should continue to do so for as long as feasibly possible. The frequency of wear may decrease as time goes by, but even 10 years down the road you should try to wear your retainer a few nights a week.

Why should you continue to wear it? Because teeth naturally shift over time, and avoiding the use of your retainer can cause relapse in your tooth positioning. Teeth naturally shift forward to the front of the mouth as you age, and without a maintenance retainer, yours may do so even after extensive orthodontic therapy. Having a tooth pulled can increase your risk for tooth shifting, so always keep your retainer in a safe place and wear it on a regular basis.

Permanent retainers that are bonded into place behind the front teeth can sometimes fall off. A common misconception by patients is that if the retainer falls off, it can stay off. While they may be cumbersome to keep clean, bonded retainers are an essential part of maintaining tooth positioning after treatment. Similar to not wearing a removable retainer, if your bonded retainer falls off you will most likely experience relapse.

Wearing your retainer for a regular basis is the only way to prevent relapse of your teeth and avoid additional orthodontic treatment. If you find that your retainer breaks or doesn’t fit, see your orthodontist immediately. A new retainer is the only way to ensure proper alignment of your teeth. It doesn’t take very long for teeth to shift out of place without a retainer.

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