Dental Tips Blog

Dec
24

Why Do I Have So Many Gaps Between My Teeth?

Posted in Braces

Having multiple spaces between your teeth can make you self-conscious about your smile. Why do you have so many gaps? There are a few possible reasons.

Missing Teeth

If you were born with one or two congenitally-missing permanent teeth, this can lead to increased spacing between the rest of them. The same is true of losing teeth to trauma or disease. Over time, the remaining teeth will shift their positions, opening up more spaces across your smile.

Naturally Small Teeth

Genetics and certain health conditions can result in teeth that are proportionately too small for the mouth. They may be evenly spaced and healthy, but such teeth can have large gaps of empty space between one another.

Enamel Erosion or Decay

Your teeth may appear to have widening gaps between them because they’re being actively worn away. Rough tooth brushing, excessive acid exposure, and cavities can all cause enamel to erode.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that attacks the bone and gum tissue around tooth roots. As teeth lose support, they drift out of alignment and the gums shrink away. This can make them start to look flared-out and widely spaced.

How to Fix Gaps Between Your Teeth

Get started by scheduling a checkup with your local dentist. This will determine whether the gaps in your smile are caused by disease. Once your mouth is free of infection, your dentist will recommend cosmetic treatments to decrease the spacing between your teeth.

Treatment may include:

  • Physically closing the distance between teeth with braces
  • Hiding gaps with dental veneers or dental bonding
  • Enlarging teeth by capping them with dental crowns
  • Gum grafting to restore lost tissue

Contact your dentist today to schedule consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
213-234-3030

Apr
9

Why Are My Teeth Suddenly Getting Crooked?

Posted in Orthodontics

Crooked teeth don’t just look bad – they pose a major risk to your oral health and can even be a sign that something has already happened.

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Teeth tend to shift easily during childhood. At this time, the jawbone is still rapidly developing. A tooth can move when it’s pressed on by actions such as thumb sucking.

Crooked teeth can also be genetic. If a child’s parent needed braces, chances are good the child will eventually need dental braces as well. It’s also possible that inheriting one parent’s small jaw and the other parent’s larger teeth can lead to tooth alignment issues.

But what if your teeth were fine throughout childhood? What does it mean if they’re just now getting crooked?

Unfortunately, that’s probably a sign of trouble.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you have wisdom teeth coming in below the gum line, they can push on the teeth in front of them. This causes crowding, especially among the front teeth.

Still have your wisdom teeth or aren’t sure if you do?

See a dentist to get some x-rays to find out.

Missing Teeth

Your teeth keep moving forward. When there’s a gap in the alignment, the teeth behind the space tend to shift and tip over to fill it in. That’s one of the reasons why dentists recommend replacing missing teeth as soon as possible.

Gum Disease

Gum disease attacks the ligaments and bone that hold teeth in place. It can cause teeth to loosen. As they do, they may shift and splay out of alignment.

See your dentist for a checkup and to find out what could be causing your teeth to move out of their natural alignment.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
213-234-3030

Mar
13

Is There an Age Limit for Getting Braces?

Posted in Braces

Teens are popular orthodontic patients. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from braces if your teen years are well behind you.

Why Teens Get Braces

The jaw bone in teens’ mouths is dynamic and heals quickly. This is important to the orthodontic process. Traditional braces put pressure on teeth to move them through bone tissue into new positions. The bone breaks down and reforms fast enough in young people’s mouths to allow teeth to successfully relocate within months.

Complicated orthodontic cases are also easier to correct in the developmental stages. Braces in the early years can prevent the need for surgery and lengthy treatment in adulthood.

Braces Work for Adults, Too!

While braces tend to have faster success in young mouths, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit older patients just as much.

Braces work the same way in adults as they do for kids and teens. If you’ve got several decades of life behind you, then you might expect your treatment to take a bit longer than it does for your own kid.

The good news is that it’s almost never too late to get braces and experience the benefits!

Orthodontic Options for Adults

Older orthodontic patients usually want problem-focused treatment to cosmetically enhance their smiles.

Like other adult orthodontic patients, you may want a method that’s low-visibility, low-maintenance, and as fast as possible. Some suitable options include clear aligner trays, tooth-colored braces, and accelerated ortho.

If you have only slightly crooked teeth, then you might be able to make them look straighter without getting braces, at all. Dental veneers, for example, are a good orthodontic hack for adults.

Talk with a cosmetic dentist or orthodontist in your area to find out more.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Feb
3

How Do Braces Straighten Teeth?

Posted in Braces

You might be wondering: what is the science behind a bunch of wires attached to teeth?

How Braces Work

The problem of crooked teeth runs deeper than what you see when you smile. Each crooked tooth has a long root attached to it that rests in bone tissue. You can’t fix a twisted tooth without addressing the root and how it attaches to the rest of your mouth.

Interestingly, tooth roots are stronger than bone. If you put enough pressure on a tooth, it can move through the bone.

Braces put just the right amount of tension on a tooth. The goal is to carefully move the root through the bone at a rate that the bone can heal behind the tooth as it passes. That’s why getting braces is often a lengthy and precise process.

Why Do Braces Hurt?

All that pressure on your teeth is quite intense. Your teeth are designed to move in response to the pressure, but it isn’t an everyday thing. An orthodontic adjustment may cause you some discomfort for a few days until your teeth adjust.

What About Aligners and Retainers?

There’s a wide variety of teeth-straightening methods including lingual bars to removable aligner trays such as the Invisalign system. Depending on the individual case, these methods may be used after treatment with or in place of traditional braces.

Whichever stage of orthodontic treatment you find yourself in, the idea is the same: increase or maintain pressure on the teeth to move or keep them in place.

All orthodontic methods depend on the same fundamental way that teeth move. Which technique is right for you depends on your unique needs. Visit a dentist or orthodontist in your area for a braces consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Oct
22

How to Get Relief if Your Braces Are Irritating Your Cheeks

Posted in Braces

Braces can sometimes be uncomfortable. Loose wires or bulky metal brackets may irritate your mouth and leave you with small, ulcer-like sores. These tiny wounds may not be noticeable to many others, but they interfere with your everyday life, making simple things like talking and eating very uncomfortable.

You have the option of just enduring the irritation for a couple weeks. Eventually, the small ulcers will heal and your cheeks and lips will develop callouses as they “toughen up.”

But you don’t have to suffer needlessly. There are a few ways you can get relief from braces pain right away.

Swish with warm salt water.

This remedy is relied on to relieve types of dental discomfort. The salt helps bring down swelling and promotes healing.

Have a popsicle.

Chewing on ice isn’t great for teeth, but slowly sucking on something cool like ice cream or an ice pop is a good way to numb sore tissues in your mouth.

Use Orajel.

An over-the-counter oral numbing medication can get you relief right away. Dab a little of the paste on sore spots and feel the sting just melt away.

Avoid painful foods.

Mouth sores will heal faster and feel much better if you avoid sour things that irritate them. Stay away from foods like tomato sauce and citrus fruits.

Place a barrier.

You’ll get immediate relief if you can put something between your cheeks and the brackets. There are many products out there, which you just wrap over the brackets and/or wires including:

  • Dental wax and silicone
  • ComfortBrace strips
  • Lip protectors

Ask your dentist or orthodontist about more products and methods that can help you get relief from sharp orthodontic appliances.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999

Feb
16

Should You Get a Filling Before or After Getting Braces?

Posted in Orthodontics

Has it been years since you had a dental checkup? That first trip to the dental office can leave you with a to-do list of procedures. If you end up want both braces and needing a filling or two, which should come first?

It’s preferable (and usually more urgent) to treat decay before straightening teeth for a few reasons:

  • It’s easier to treat teeth without appliances in the way
  • Decay then won’t have the chance to spread to other teeth
  • Orthodontics can often be delayed, but treating tooth decay can’t

Braces are worn for around a year and a half. For some patients, even longer. There’s a good chance that you could develop a cavity or two during that time. 

What Then?

If necessary, most basic dental fillings can be done during orthodontic treatment. Although it’s not ideal, your orthodontist may be able to remove the wire and a bracket or two to let your dentist access teeth needing treatment.

Before Getting Braces

Get a complete professional tooth cleaning complete with x-rays and a gum exam. This will alert you to any underlying issues that could suddenly pop up while wearing braces. Ask your dentist about dental sealants, too. These can prevent cavities from forming on chewing surfaces.

While Wearing Braces

Your teeth will be more vulnerable to decay while in braces, since all of those extra surfaces can harbor bacteria. Reduce your risk of cavities by brushing several times a day. Use a flossing method that’s so easy for you that you’re willing to do it every day. Lastly, boost your fluoride use to strengthen all enamel surfaces.

To get an idea of your individual dental needs, schedule a checkup with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

Dec
31

Do I Have to Get Teeth Pulled Before Getting Braces?

Posted in Orthodontics

No one likes getting a tooth pulled, period. But there’s something that just feels even worse about losing a perfectly healthy tooth for the sake of orthodontic treatment.

If braces are in your future, you’ll be glad to know that tooth extraction is not an automatic part of treatment. Just because someone you know had a couple teeth removed for braces doesn’t meant that you’ll have to.

So why do some people need to have teeth pulled for orthodontic treatment?

Perhaps there is an extra tooth (yes, that happens) that will only get in the way of things.

More commonly, teeth have to be pulled because:

  • They are too close together and removing one or two will open space up to move teeth freely with braces
  • Front teeth are very protruded and a couple back teeth have to go to give them room to be pulled into place
  • It’s easier to remove teeth than it is to surgically alter a bone discrepancy, such as a jaw being too narrow for all the teeth to fit

Orthodontic treatment takes longer if teeth have to be removed first. Pulling teeth is not the cheating route. If the dentist or orthodontist recommends it, then they really believe it’s necessary.

To avoid having to get teeth pulled, it’s best to have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. That’s why this is the general recommendation for kids. It’s actually preferred to monitor tooth development and alignment from the time children are small and make corrections with expanders. Tooth extraction is typically a last resort.

Okay, that’s great, but you aren’t seven years old anymore. At this point, you can only find out whether or not you need teeth pulled by visiting an orthodontist for a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Seven Hills Dentistry
1305 Cedarcrest Rd #115
Dallas, GA 30132
(678) 257-7117

Dec
5

What Makes Braces Stay on Teeth?

Posted in Braces

Once set in place, braces are more stable than you may think.

Braces: The Early Years

Only a couple decades ago braces were attached to teeth via metal bands wrapped around every tooth! How’s that for a comfortable bite? Later, advancing research yielded some new techniques for securing the brackets onto just the front of a tooth.

How do today’s orthodontists make braces stick to teeth?

Bonding The Brackets

First, the orthodontist will polish and dry your tooth to get a smooth surface. Next, the enamel is conditioned with a special gel to help it lock into the cement. Then, a bonding material is placed. Finally, the bracket goes onto the tooth. Its underside has a roughened surface which improves its grip in the cement.

After Bonding

Now that the brackets are in place, your orthodontist can position the arch wire. This strong metal wire is what guides your teeth into correct alignment. It stays snug against your teeth when tiny rubber bands lock it against the brackets.

You’re all set with new braces! Your orthodontist will periodically check your brackets and wires to make adjustments and ensure everything stays in place.

Keeping Braces In Place

It’s not easy to knock a bracket off your tooth. Still, you should aim to take special care of your braces. You’ll have to wear them even longer every time they get damaged!

Follow these tips to get the most of your treatment:

  • Brush and floss carefully to avoid decay
  • Wear a customized mouth guard if you play athletic sports
  • Avoid very chewy, stringy, gummy, or crunchy foods

Contact your local dentist for more information on everything braces!

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202

Nov
30

When Should My Child Stop Using a Pacifier?

Posted in Braces

Are you wondering when your toddler needs to give up their pacifier? Preferably by age 2 and definitely before 4. Extended use of a pacifier can create long-term problems.

What kind of problems?

A higher, narrower palate, which is now being linked to issues with the airway like snoring and sleep apnea.

Misaligned teeth: Before age 2, the teeth should self-correct. After age 4, the permanent teeth underneath have already been influenced and your child is more likely to need orthodontics as a teenager. 

“How can we make the pacifier go bye-bye?” 

Cold turkey

Your kiddo lost his? Just don’t replace it – especially if he doesn’t seem to miss it that much. Sounds mean, but isn’t, if done with a dose of kindness. 

Trading

Some parents will bargain with their children or have the “Pacifier Fairy” visit to make a trade. One pacifier = one prize (often something cuddly like a blanket or stuffed animal that can still provide comfort to the child in a way that the pacifier once did).  

Praise

Tell your child how proud you are of him for each night that no pacifier is required for bedtime. 

Weening

Reduce the times that pacifier-use is allowed until it is only used at bedtime, then only on occasion to not at all. 

When should the dentist get involved? 

  • See a dentist when your child’s teeth start erupting or sooner, if there are issues that you are concerned about.
  • Get a full screening of your child’s mouth to make sure the teeth are developing properly as well as the palate, jaws, and airway space.
  • Hear ideas for how to best halt your child’s pacifier use.

Your dentist is your best resource for preparing your child for a lifetime of excellent oral health!

Posted on behalf of:
East Cobb Orthodontics
2810 Lassiter Rd
Marietta, GA 30062
(770) 993-7118

Sep
27

You May Need Braces if You Notice This in Your Smile

Posted in Braces

Who cares if your smile is a little less than perfect, right?

But braces aren’t just about having an aesthetically-pleasing grin. Orthodontic treatment can remedy some serious dental malfunctions and even prevent potential oral health problems.

Consider some annoying smile quirks that you may actually have tooth alignment to thank for.

Gum Recession

A tooth tipped out of line puts stress on the ligaments that hold your gums in place. Under pressure, those ligaments start to break down and your gums slip down the tooth, exposing the sensitive root.

Yes, braces can contribute to some minor gum recession, but not treating crooked teeth could cause a far bigger problem.

Difficulty Biting Into Foods

Upper and lower front teeth are meant to close together in a special way that helps you chomp into pizza, sandwiches, and the like. If you have to cut those foods up first to enjoy them, then you need braces to close up your bite and expand your culinary horizons.

Food Getting Trapped Between Teeth

Doughy breads, chicken, broccoli – you name it. If you’re sick of it sticking around long after mealtime, then it could be time to give your teeth some more breathing room.

Worn or Chipped Enamel

Misaligned teeth tend to have more accidents. When they close together unevenly, it causes premature wear and tear.

Underbite/Overbite

Are you shy about a comical-looking overbite or underbite? The shape of your mouth may be genetic, but you don’t have to accept this design if you’re not happy with it. Ortho treatment can correct even an undesirable facial profile.

So if you’re wondering whether braces are right for you, schedule a consultation with your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 399-9199

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