Dental Tips Blog

Sep
9

4 Ways to Get Your Braces Super Clean

Posted in Braces

Oral hygiene is extra important when it comes to orthodontia. Braces do your teeth a lot of good. But ironically, they make your teeth more apt to collect plaque bacteria. As if that weren’t enough, ortho itself makes normal tasks like brushing and flossing a lot harder.

Here are a few ways to keep your braces clean and your teeth healthy.

Use Orthodontic Floss

Orthodontic floss is designed to use without contorting your hands into uncomfortable positions. You can slide the stiff end of the floss in below the wire and floss with the fluffy or thin thread, whatever works best for that space.

If your flossing routine is easier, you’ll be more likely to do on the regular.

Rinse Well

You dentist may recommend a fluoride rinse to help strengthen tooth enamel around brackets and wires. If your gums are prone to inflammation, an antibacterial mouth rinse can prevent the buildup of irritating bacteria.

Try a Water Flosser

The powerful spray from a water flosser can get your braces extremely clean while having a therapeutic effect on the gums. These devices come in handy especially when flossing is impossible.

Take a New Angle on Brushing

As you brush, remember to tip your toothbrush bristles at angles to reach all surfaces. You’ll need to do this to access the top and bottom of brackets in addition to tooth chewing surfaces.

You’ll agree that the effort is worth it to keep your smile healthy during orthodontic treatment. The braces will come off sooner the healthier your teeth are, and your smile will look great!

Consult your dentist or orthodontist for more tips on cleaning your braces as thoroughly as possible.

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

Apr
22

Top Five Foods to Avoid When You Have Braces

Posted in Braces

The better you take care of your braces, the less time you’ll have to wear them. That’s why you want to avoid foods that are likely to damage orthodontic appliances.

Here are five of the worst foods for braces:

  1. Tortilla Chips

Crunchy tacos and corn chips fall into this category, as well. Those crispy bits are like little daggers that wedge themselves between teeth and wires.

  1. Taffy & Gummy Candy

Any chewy or sticky candy is off-limits. Not only can they “pull off” brackets, but they can encourage tooth decay by sticking around a long time.

  1. Crunchy Grains

Cooked oatmeal is a great breakfast for anyone, braces or no. But watch out for crunchy dried sweets like cookies or granola, which are studded with firm grains.

  1. Popcorn

Shells, hulls, husks, whatever you want to call them, those annoying little pieces are a thousand times harder to deal with when you have braces.

  1. Pretzels & Nuts

These delightfully salty snacks have to be kept off the table if you want to keep your braces safely on your teeth.

Taking a look at the above list, it’s clear these are all foods that cause problems because of their texture. Hard foods can damage braces and chewy ones can get stuck in them.

But you’ll also notice that there are ways to enjoy your favorite foods without endangering your braces. A few substitutions and are all it takes. Choose soft tacos over hard ones. Have chocolate pudding instead of a chocolate bar. Cut up pizza and bagels into chewable pieces. French fries are still on the menu even when chips are out!

Get more tips on making the most of your braces by talking with your local dentist or orthodontist.

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

Mar
27

Swallowing Braces – Could It Happen to You?

Posted in Orthodontics

A 30-year-old Australian woman wore braces to correct her smile. The braces were removed. Ten years later, she visited a hospital with severe abdominal pain and doctors extracted a 7-centimeter piece of orthodontic wire in her small intestine.

She doesn’t remember how it ended up there.

Doctors are still unsure of how orthodontic wire – especially of that length – could wind up being ingested. One theory is that a piece of wire is lost in the mouth of a sedated patient.

What does this mean for braces-wearers today?

Most orthodontic patients never have to be sedated, so this is little to no risk to the average person.

Loose bands could get lost in your mouth, however. But you’re not likely to swallow many, if any at all. If you did accidentally ingest a band, it wouldn’t do any serious damage.

The possibility of swallowing a dangerous piece of orthodontic wire is ridiculously small. A bizarre story like that of the Australian woman shouldn’t stop you from wearing braces any more than it should stop you from using screws or nails on home projects (those are commonly swallowed on accident).

An entire bracket can come loose off a tooth. If that happens, you would probably notice. Even if you were to swallow it, there’s no need to panic. It would probably pass through your system with no issue, but you may still want to see a doctor for an x-ray.

Parts of braces tend to come loose when they are not properly maintained. Wearing a mouthguard during sports and staying away from crunchy sticky foods will help keep your orthodontia in-tact.

Talk with your local dentist or orthodontist if you have any other concerns about braces.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

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
12

Are Braces Uncomfortable?

Posted in Braces

Granted, having metal wires on your teeth is not going to be a natural sensation, in the beginning. But it is something you can get used to.

Getting Braces – Does It Hurt?

The process of getting braces put on your teeth is not as bad as you might imagine. Your orthodontist applies a little conditioner to your freshly-polished enamel. This process helps the cement attach a little better. Then, the brackets are secured in place. Lastly, a wire is laced through the brackets and fastened with rubber bands.

You may feel a little discomfort in the early days of wearing braces. As that wire is first set, your teeth will resent the pressure. Just be patient as you adjust. Most patients get used to their orthodontics within a week of having them placed.

What To Do When Braces Hurt

If you seem to be experiencing more discomfort than you can tolerate, it’s usually recommended to take a painkiller; whatever you usually take for a headache is enough. Check with your doctor and orthodontist first for recommendations.

What about if the brackets are chafing your cheeks and lips? That’s a very common problem and happily, it’s easy to fix. Your orthodontist or local drugstore can supply you with some dental wax that can be molded to fit over any sharp metal pieces. It can take a bit of time before your mouth becomes accustomed to having a few rough areas of orthodontic appliances inside.

Sometimes your gums can get a little sore from gingivitis if you’re not brushing well enough. Just be patient and take care to floss!

Visit your orthodontist and local dentist regularly throughout treatment to keep your braces feeling as comfortable as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr #200
McKinney, TX 75071
(469) 209-4279

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

Aug
7

Are Your Braces Causing White Spots On Your Teeth?

Posted in Braces

Most orthodontic patients are concerned about getting white spots on their teeth. These lesions look like ghostly shadows of your braces after you get them removed.

White spots are very common and hard to avoid entirely. But on the plus side, you do have a lot of control over how badly you are affected.

These white patches are shallow areas of demineralized tooth enamel. The enamel dissolves, turns chalky white, and becomes prone to developing a cavity.

What dissolves enamel?

Acids produced by bacteria are primarily to blame. The demineralization process happens when four elements are in place:

  1. A tooth surface
  2. Acid-producing bacteria
  3. Carbohydrates for the bacteria to eat
  4. Time for the bacteria to multiply and do their dirty work

Actually, this process affects all teeth in all people – not just those with braces. 

So what part do braces play in all of this?

It’s simply the fact that brackets provide a little extra protection for those acidic germs hiding out in your plaque. Your tongue and lips do a great job at keeping your teeth clean. A toothbrush and floss take care of the rest.

But throw in some metal and ortho cement, and getting your teeth perfectly clean becomes a more tedious process.

It’s easy to miss spots above and around brackets when you brush. You know what a strain it can be to floss around braces, too! If you miss the same area often enough, the plaque will accumulate and wear away the enamel in that spot. When the braces come off – voila – a white spot.

To minimize or avoid white spots altogether, keep your toothbrushing game strong. It also helps to visit your dentist throughout your treatment for frequent professional cleanings.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Jul
17

What’s So “Bad” About a Bad Bite?

Posted in Orthodontics

If you like how even your smile looks in the mirror, then it’s hard to imagine why else you could need braces. But a bad bite is about more than just looks, alone.

What Is A Bad Bite?

When people think braces, they’re usually imagining a bunch of crooked and overlapping teeth. Occlusion is often overlooked because many don’t realize it can be a problem.

Occlusion is the way your teeth fit together in relation to one another when you bite down. So it isn’t necessarily about side-to-side tooth alignment. If you have a problem with your occlusion, it probably isn’t visible when you smile. When that’s the case, it’s also likely that you’ve never thought about getting it checked out by an orthodontist or your family dentist.

Problems Caused By Bad Bite

Still not convinced of the benefits of having straighter teeth? Poor occlusion can result in:

  • Headaches
  • TMJ pain
  • Uneven wear on teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Tooth fracture
  • Gum recession
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth alignment problems
  • Difficulty biting or chewing

When teeth don’t close together properly for any reason, they and the structures around them (such as the jaw) can suffer the consequences.

How To Treat A Bad Bite

You may not think that those headaches you’ve been getting every day could be connected to your teeth. The solution could be as simple as a dental crown. Crowns and other restorations can bring balance back to your smile. Other solutions include splints, enamel adjustment, and orthodontic treatment.

A bad bite isn’t always a major fix, but left untreated it can become a major problem.

Talk with your dentist to find out your options. If the need arises, he or she can refer you to a qualified provider in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

Apr
17

What Is “Teeth Alignment?”

Posted in Orthodontics

‘Tooth alignment’ generally refers to the way your teeth fit together in your smile. Dental offices that make adjustments in the position of teeth may offer “teeth alignment” services.

“Ortho” means straight and “-dont” refers to teeth. So “orthodontic” means straightening teeth, or bringing them back into healthy alignment. This is usually done with the help of braces.

You’ve probably realized by now that not everyone needs orthodontic treatment. Why might you end up needing braces?

Why Correct Tooth Alignment

Crooked teeth don’t just look a little funny. They can affect your overall oral health, as well.

Teeth that are positioned differently from the rest will trap bacteria and bad-smelling germs. The biofilm around crooked teeth can easily get inflamed. Your tooth itself might be more likely to develop a cavity.

Getting “teeth alignment” or orthodontic treatment will not only make your smile look better, it can also help you avoid some dental treatment later on.

Bringing Your Teeth Back into Position

When a few teeth are tipped or twisted out of alignment, this can throw off your entire bite. That’s why dentists who specialize in straightening teeth recommend treatment as soon as possible.

These specialists are called “orthodontists.” An orthodontist can give you several options for straightening your teeth. Some of these methods are better for kids, some are ideal for adults, some are cosmetic in nature, and some treatments can correct major problems.

Treatment options include:

  • Classic braces
  • Invisalign
  • Clear braces
  • Aligners
  • Accelerated ortho

To find out what kind of treatment you need to correct your smile, contact your local dentist or orthodontist for a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Spanaway Family Dentistry
20709 Mountain Hwy E #101
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 948-0880

Jan
30

Early Signs Your Child Needs Braces

Posted in Orthodontics

Braces are a significant investment. Usually, the sooner you catch problems and begin treatment, the faster treatment will be. You can expect that the longer your kid is in braces, the more expensive it will be.

When is it time to begin treatment?

Not every kid starts the orthodontic process at the same time. If you notice any of these signs, however, it would be a good idea to consult a specialist as soon as possible.

  1. Your child started losing their baby teeth unusually early or late.
  2. Your child has some difficulty with chewing or using the front teeth to bite with.
  3. You notice some top and bottom teeth don’t completely close together when your child bites.
  4. Your kid’s jaw shifts position or makes noises when they open and close.
  5. Your child’s mouth seems too small in proportion with the size of the teeth coming in.
  6. Your child has had an oral habit such as thumb-sucking for years.

A lot of orthodontic problems are genetic. If you had tooth alignment issues, it will be easier to recognize them in your child, as well.

When Should Your Child See the Orthodontist?

Every case is different. Some children need braces during their teenage years. Others start treatment before they even turn ten. Still other kids are lucky enough to never need braces.

Orthodontists and pediatric dentists generally recommend that you bring your kids in for their first orthodontic evaluation by the time they are seven. This is a good point at which an expert can best predict what your child’s needs are.

To find out whether your child is ready for this visit, consult your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

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