Dental Tips Blog


Space Maintenance for Children

Posted in Braces

Losing teeth is part of growing up. Most of the time, teeth come out when they’re supposed to, and are replaced in a timely manner by their permanent counterparts. Sometimes though, teeth are lost earlier than normal, due to trauma or tooth decay. Even though it’s normal for a child to be seen with missing teeth, it’s not normal for a permanent tooth to loose it’s primary partner earlier than needed. In fact, premature tooth loss can interfere with eruption patterns not only of one tooth, but multiple teeth. Adjacent teeth can slightly shift into the space, blocking the other tooth from coming in, and also misguiding their own permanent replacements underneath.

Thankfully there’s a way to help prevent misalignment complications like crowding when a tooth is lost too early, and that’s by using a space maintenance device. Sometimes these are referred to as interceptive orthodontic appliances, because they affect the position of the teeth. Small space maintainers are easily put in place to help hold areas open, allowing the permanent tooth to come in correctly and without complication. Once the permanent tooth begins to erupt, the small device can be removed. One example of such a device is a “band and loop” that is essentially a thin belt placed around a tooth, with a wire loop extending out the side of it to hold any teeth back out of the open area that it covers.

Placing space maintainers is very easy to do, and does not require any anesthetic. Deciding to take this step can save lots of time and money later on when it comes to orthodontic needs.

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

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Preventing White Spots on Orthodontic Patients

Posted in Orthodontics

The last thing an orthodontic patient (or their parent) wants to see when their braces come off is white circles or spots on the teeth where their braces once were. These white areas are known as demineralization, and are actually areas where the tooth enamel begins to form a cavity, but didn’t make it far enough. Demineralized tooth enamel is weaker, more susceptible to sensitivity and decay, and can be cause for esthetic concern because it is so noticeable.

The most important factor to prevent white spots is to thoroughly remove all plaque from the teeth, at least twice each day. You should be brushing for at least two minutes twice a day, but orthodontic patients may need to be brushing even longer, but especially should be using oral hygiene aids that help them access the areas between the brackets. Brushing around the entire bracket with a toothbrush or interproximal brush is extremely important, because any residual plaque will simply cause acid to etch the tooth enamel.

Secondly, use a topical fluoride treatment every day. It may be an over the counter rinse, or a prescription strength gel given by your dentist; but it should be used every evening after normal oral hygiene practices. Don’t eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes after the application, and be sure not to rinse it off directly after either. That’s why using it just before bed is an ideal time.

Should white spots still happen to occur, your dentist can work with you to help reduce the appearance of the spots through topical or whitening treatments.

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

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3 Reasons You Should Keep Your Bonded Retainer

Posted in Orthodontics

So you’ve had your braces off for a while, and you’re considering taking off your old bonded retainer. Or maybe your retainer has fallen off and you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth it to have it put back into place. Perhaps you’ve even considered having it off since it’s difficult to keep clean. If any of these circumstances apply to you, then it’s important to know these 3 reasons why you should consider keeping a bonded retainer in your mouth.

#1: Your teeth will almost always shift out of place if you have the retainer removed (or if it falls off.)

Nearly every patient that has his or her bonded retainer fall off will experience a bounce-back in tooth positioning. It won’t evident immediately, but within a few weeks most people will see it happening. If left alone, those teeth can become severely crowded once again due to the natural midline shifting that occurs as we age.

#2: You don’t have to remember to wear a bonded retainer, and you won’t worry about misplacing it.

Not wearing a retainer regularly allows teeth to move and shift. Many people with removable retainers will lose or misplace them, forgetting about having a new one made until teeth have shifted too far out of place. A new course of orthodontics may be needed to help return teeth to their proper position.

#3: Almost everyone gets tartar buildup on the lower front teeth, whether or not they have a retainer in that area.

There’s a saliva gland just below the front of your tongue that encourages mineral deposits on the teeth. Even though keeping a retainer clean is more difficult, people with great oral hygiene will almost always have a small amount of tartar in this area regardless of whether or not there’s a retainer present. Modern oral hygiene aids like floss threaders, water flossers and electric toothbrushes make cleaning bonded retainers fairly easy to do.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck



Tooth Shifting After Orthodontic Therapy

Posted in Orthodontics

It’s every orthodontic patient’s nightmare: having your teeth shift after getting your braces off. If you’re not careful, it can happen to almost anyone. Thankfully there are some important steps you can take to prevent this from happening, or catching it early enough before it causes significant issues related to your smile.

Wear your retainer. This seems obvious, but it is the most important step you can take to ensure that your teeth stabilize into their new position, and don’t rebound into the location where they were before your teeth were realigned. Every tooth is held into place by hundreds of tiny fibers. These fibers can flex and stretch, so some tooth movement may be obvious immediately after having your braces off.

Wearing your retainer every day helps these ligaments stabilize so that the teeth can permanently adjust into the ideal position that they have been moved into. As months and years pass by, you can find that wearing your retainer less frequently is still adequate for maintaining your smile. It should still remain readily accessible and worn on a fairly frequent basis.

If something breaks, or something moves, call your orthodontist immediately. A broken retainer, or a bonded retainer that has fallen off of a tooth is a perfect opportunity for teeth to slip out of place. Waiting weeks to call your orthodontist may be just what that tooth needs to go back into a misaligned position and not be able to be corrected without follow up orthodontics. Have your dentist repair or replace your appliance as soon as possible, so that your tooth can be protect or pushed gently back into place.

Keep an impression of your teeth. Dental impressions are great to have on hand if you lose your retainer and find that your teeth are slightly beginning to shift. Your dental impression is the closest thing you have to your perfect smile, and a new retainer can be made using these so that your smile can be guided back into place.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck



3 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Straight After Orthodontic Treatment

Posted in Braces

You’ve just spent months or years getting your teeth straightened through orthodontic treatment. Now, it’s up to you to keep them that way! That’s right, if you don’t take a few specific steps your teeth won’t stay straight. Here are 3 tips to help your teeth stay straight after you’ve completed your orthodontic treatment.

#1 – See your orthodontist for a follow up

After your initial treatment is completed, you’ll see your dentist for a follow up or two once your braces are off. This will allow him or her to make sure that your retainers are fitting properly and guarding your bite as closely as they need to be.

#2 – Wear your retainer

Some patients have permanent retainers that are bonded into place, while other people wear removable retainers. The only way to keep your teeth straight is by wearing your retainer regularly. Follow your orthodontist’s instruction, and as the years go by you’ll want to still wear it a night or two each week.

#3 – Always keep your retainer, and replace it if it breaks or is lost.

If 10 years have gone by, your teeth still have the potential to shift back out of place. Most people quit wearing their retainers when they lose them or it breaks. To save yourself from going back through orthodontic care, have a replacement made as soon as possible.

Without following proper orthodontic after-care instructions, it is very likely that your teeth can shift back out of place, causing large gaps or crooked teeth where you had them before. After your investment in orthodontics, take the time to ensure that your smile will look great years down the road.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck


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