Did you know there is a lesser-known cause for headaches that can be attributed to malocclusion? Malocclusion occurs when the jaws and teeth are misaligned due to abnormal positioning of the teeth when the jaws close. This can cause an overbite, underbite, crossbite or teeth crowding. While people often try to get their malocclusion treated for cosmetic reasons, it’s important to correct the issue for medical reasons as well if you want the teeth to function and last for years to come.
Why Fix Malocclusion
Unless the malocclusion is severe, orthodontics can readily correct these issues. If a child has a malocclusion, a combination of orthodontics and orthognathic surgery may be needed. If a child’s malocclusion has more to do with the jaws being off and they are still young, an orthopedic headgear can often correct the problem.
Straightened teeth help prevent tooth decay and gum disease since they are easier to clean, making brushing and flossing a breeze. An aligned bite also deters speech issues so you can speak and chew normally. It is vital so your body can break down and absorb the necessary nutrients from your diet.
Correct teeth alignment also keeps the wear and tear on the teeth and TMJ discomfort to a minimum. Conversely, untreated malocclusion strains the jaw and jaw muscles, resulting in tenderness, jaw and neck pain, and of course, headaches.
– Overcrowding happens when teeth are overcrowded, creating crooked or overlapping teeth.
– Gapped teeth or diastema occurs when teeth don’t fill up the available space between teeth or teeth that are lost.
– Overjet arises when the top teeth extend too far over the bottom teeth, interfering with normal speaking and eating.
– Overbite is when the increased pressure allows the front teeth to go more forward and bite down on the gums.
– Crossbite happens when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth and damage front or back teeth.
– Underbite arises when the lower teeth extend outward farther than the upper front teeth.
– Open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth don’t come together when the mouth is closed, leaving a gap or opening between the rows of teeth when the mouth is closed.
How Braces Help
Retainers and braces worn over teeth can help realign them into their proper position and keep the teeth and jaw in their ideal place. A retainer may be worn for years or even for life to maintain this aligned position.
Clear aligner treatment can effectively treat class 1 malocclusion and some underbites and overbites, while braces can fix big gaps and crooked teeth as well as underbites and overbites. Braces are especially helpful for children and teenagers since malocclusion most often impacts these ages. Baby teeth may need to be removed to make room for the eruption of the permanent teeth. Then braces can correct the jaw problems and misaligned teeth through gentle pressure applied on the teeth and followed up with a retainer to keep teeth in position.
If you have problems with your bite and find yourself with a persistent headache, we welcome you to call us today to schedule a consultation with our orthodontist for an evaluation. We look forward to helping you achieve the healthy bite and aligned teeth you deserve!
Traditional braces have come a long way when it comes to straightening crooked teeth. In fact, they are ideal for a variety of tooth issues, not just crooked teeth. They can effectively close gaps for crowded or overlapping teeth, fix misaligned or protruding teeth, align a bad bite, and match up dental midlines to overcome jaw problems.
For those struggling with any of these issues, traditional braces can help you eat, speak and even clean your teeth better while giving you a straighter smile. And if the idea of wearing traditional braces for straighter teeth doesn’t appeal to you, you might be pleasantly surprised because you could actually love wearing them!
How Have Traditional Braces Evolved?
Like everything else under the sun, modern traditional braces have evolved, thanks to modernized dental technology. Metal bands no longer wind around each tooth. Today, they are only placed on the back of specific teeth and slid into a tube on a band for support.
Today’s braces aren’t just sleeker, smaller and less obtrusive but more comfortable and cost-effective as well. How long these braces are worn depends on your unique needs, but it typically ranges from one to three years after which a retainer is worn to keep them in position.
What Do Braces Look Like Today?
– Modern braces come in durable stainless steel and high-grade titanium. They work with brackets, an archwire and ligature elastic.
– Depending on who manufactures them, the silver-colored brackets come in different shapes and sizes and are bonded to the front of each tooth’s surface.
– The teeth are then connected to each other with a metal archwire that puts pressure on the teeth being aligned to guide them slowly into their corrected position.
– A ligature elastic or metal band can be used to hold the orthodontic wire and braces together, and the wire is what moves the teeth while the bracket is an anchor on each tooth. The wires are changed out or tightened during routine orthodontic checkups to keep up the necessary pressure that aligns the teeth (and even the jaw).
Who Needs Them?
Traditional braces are a great option for all ages: kids, teens and adults. Particularly popular with kids, they are both durable and cost-effective. Kids also adjust to wearing them fairly quickly as the oral tissues toughen up, so they barely notice them. This is all thanks to today’s metal wires and brackets which aren’t as irritating to soft tissues.
Plus, the elastic that fits around the brackets come in fun colors that can be changed out at each appointment. This can give children something to look forward to as they show off their personality, celebrate holidays or display team spirit. For teens and adults who prefer a more subtle appearance, the bands are available in neutral silver, gray and white.
How Do You Maintain Your Braces?
You’ll want to follow the guidelines our orthodontist provides to keep teeth healthy while wearing braces. This means eating approved foods and brushing and flossing faithfully after meals. You want to protect your teeth against damaging plaque buildup around brackets and prevent permanently stained teeth from lack of oral care.
When it comes to orthodontic therapy, today’s traditional braces are an excellent and common choice when seeking to straighten smile issues. Give us a call today if you would like to know more or want to schedule a visit with our skilled orthodontist.
Summer is almost here and with it the start of fun recreational activities coupled with a slower pace. For teens today, braces are pretty much a rite of passage. The end result? A straightened smile they can flash proudly! Especially since a smile is one of the first things people notice. Of all the ways we can impress people, a healthy smile says we care about our appearance while exuding confidence. This summer, why not take advantage of the extra recreational time to get your teen’s smile on track?
While wearing braces might seem overwhelming at first, summer is a good time to let our orthodontic team help your teen make this process simple and easy to navigate. The first step is having our orthodontist examine their teeth and bite to determine the extent of work that will be needed for correction. Treatment time varies, and in some cases, extra steps may be taken to ensure proper spacing with orthodontics. We have the tools, tips and experience necessary to make their treatment time as comfortable as possible for beautiful results.
– Breaking in braces: It takes time to break in the orthodontic gear so that your teen can eat and speak with ease again. Summer allows them to do that without keeping up with schoolwork, peer pressure and the extracurricular activities they may normally be engaged in. Summertime gives them leeway to ease into their new oral care habits so that by the time school starts up again they will be comfortable with their orthodontic routine.
– Ease of appointments: Your teen can start wearing braces without having to worry about missing classes or other school year obligations. By the time school starts up again, their orthodontic appointments are slowing down as they adjust to the appliance. In fact, the school year is a busier time for orthodontists, so getting their braces applied in the summer months is the best for both parties timewise.
– Cleaning made easy: Wearing braces involves adjusting their oral hygiene routine. Your teen will learn how to care for their teeth, gums and braces to repel tooth decay and gum disease. Summer’s relaxed schedule allows them to create these new habits and ease into their routine before they get busy with the school year again.
Our skilled team is ready to make your teen’s orthodontic experience a positive one from start to finish. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get ready to boost their confidence for a successful school year!
Spotting and treating tooth alignment issues early on is very beneficial for your teeth. This allows time to make repairs and align the teeth into their correct position. Your teeth are something you use to eat, smile and communicate with others, so it’s important to take care of them as soon as possible, no matter your age. Whether making them more aesthetically pleasing or for the betterment of your health, we all need to take advantage of orthodontic benefits.
A straighter smile can improve you or your child’s self-confidence as it makes a more attractive smile (helping one feel more self-assured, especially for those navigating through insecure teen years). Along with the aesthetic improvements braces can provide you, studies have shown that a smile with aligned teeth can boost your career in addition to your social status. This is due to people feeling more confident with their smile knowing they have straight teeth.
When it comes to oral hygiene, one of the main benefits of straighter teeth is that they are easier to clean thoroughly. When your teeth are misaligned, this can create crevices where it’s difficult for your toothbrush and floss to clean. It ultimately prevents cavities and gingivitis, which alone is a big deal if you want to keep your natural teeth. Other problems may arise if gingivitis is not taken care of; periodontal disease may occur and even lead to heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
Another issue that may come up is bone and gum erosion. Without proper support, pressure is put on the jawbone and gum tissues. Braces help correct this and move your teeth into a proper place to support themselves, which in turn can help avoid periodontal issues as well as prevent tooth loss.
Another benefit of wearing braces is correcting your speech. As you age, teeth can shift out of their normal alignment due to a condition known as tongue thrust or if you have experienced oral trauma. A few more commonly known reasons are thumbsucking, gaps in the teeth (can cause whistling), an underbite or an overbite. By repositioning the teeth, speech impediments can be corrected, and the pronunciation of words sounds better.
Other advantages to having straight teeth include a lower risk of lip and gum injury as well as better digestion. Better alignment allows you to chew foods correctly. You can also prevent fewer headaches, teeth grinding and TMJ by correcting a bad bite.
Are you interested in benefiting from orthodontic care? Give us a call today to set up a consultation. We’ll be happy to help you get the full benefits of straighter teeth today!
Ever since YouTube began helping people learn and execute do-it-yourself (DIY) projects with accuracy and success, it’s become tempting to take on more challenging projects to save money. While this strategy works for learning how to crochet or paint your home, straightening your teeth should not be on that list any more than performing surgery or juggling fire.
Whether you are reading articles or watching videos on the Internet all about the DIY braces trend, at-home orthodontics using “equipment” like hair or rubber bands, elastic strings, earring backs, paper clips, glue or 3D printer technology is a dangerous practice. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reports that 39% of their orthodontists who saw patients using DIY braces needed corrective and restorative treatment afterward!
Whether you want to align your teeth or close a gap between them, DIY braces raise your risk of gum infection as well as damage to the teeth and bone. Moving teeth is a biological process, and if it’s not done properly, a healthy tooth’s root can absorb back into the body and dissolving, causing you to lose the tooth or even multiple teeth.
Without the guidance of a trained orthodontist who understands your oral anatomy, wearing DIY braces allows no control over the pressure levels to shift teeth into position. Your teeth are connected not only to the gums but to the blood supply that makes you vulnerable to infection, particularly if you tear gum tissue that doesn’t heal correctly. This can damage the attachment between them while support is lost. If you’re using a rubber band that slides up and accidentally cuts the attachment, you lose the needed support.
DIY braces can not only cause gum infection and tooth loss but also jaw and bite problems as well as lifelong dental issues. Some folks who have experimented with DIY braces have found themselves experiencing bruxism (grinding and clenching their teeth), shooting pain, and issues with their jaw joints and muscle spasms.
Using household items don’t work the same as braces designed for the task. Certified orthodontists use equipment that has passed rigorous testing standards to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Orthodontists complete education, training and hands-on experience, so they can accurately diagnose, supervise and implement the orthodontic process. By understanding how the jaw, mouth and tooth movement works together, they can avoid harm and ensure the teeth remain in place after straightening to prevent relapse.
An orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and gums to determine the alignment process needed to straighten your teeth without harming the gums or bone structure. This typically includes an oral and facial analysis, review of your dental records, taking images (intraoral and facial) and X-rays (panoramic and cephalometric), and taking impressions to create models of your teeth and bite.
Developing a formal treatment plan ensures that the straightening process leaves your mouth in better, not worse, shape when you are done. Replacing damaged/lost teeth is costly and not worth the risk to save some money now. Protecting and investing your healthy smile is as crucial as a healthy heart to your well being.
The good news is you don’t have to risk your health or your smile by doing it yourself. Working with our orthodontist is more cost-effective to fix crooked, crowded teeth and align your bite. This ultimately leaves you with a winning smile and increased self-esteem. With a variety of braces options available from the traditional to the nearly invisible, our skilled orthodontist can safely straighten your teeth and correct your bite for a brilliant smile. Call our office today to learn more!
When it comes to caring for your teeth in or out of braces, you already know how important it is to brush twice a day. Cleaning your teeth daily helps get rid of harmful bacteria or plaque in the mouth that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. But brushing alone won’t do the job, because you still need to clean sticky bacterial film and any stray food particles off your teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach. That’s where flossing comes in and not the dancing kind.
Struggling With Dental Floss?
Most people know how to use traditional dental floss but some struggle with it. This can include people who have problems with their hands, such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or Parkinson’s disease. To clean with dental floss, you need to be able to insert the string between the teeth to get at oral debris, plaque and food particles. It takes some skill to maneuver the floss around the teeth, and you need to have some manual dexterity. The last thing you want to do is avoid flossing because it’s too difficult. If you struggle with flossing, an alternative such as a water flosser might be the right tool to help you floss daily!
ADA-Approved Flossing Alternative
This handheld interdental cleaning device works by emitting a thin jet of water to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth and along the gumline. Waterpik is one of the most well-known brands, and since it carries the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, it has been proven to be both safe and effective at getting rid of plaque and keeping gingivitis at bay.
To use a water flosser, you simply fill it with water and place it in your mouth, aiming the stream of water between each tooth and around braceware. These are great to use for anyone struggling with gum disease, xerostomia or dry mouth, have difficulty with manual dexterity or are wearing braces.
Backed by Research
If you need more reasons to consider using a water flosser, in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, water flossing was determined to be 29 percent more effective than traditional flossing. A different study also published in this journal affirmed that using a manual toothbrush along with a water flosser was better at removing detrimental plaque than using a manual toothbrush and an interdental flossing brush.
Water Flossing for the Win
Waterpik’s own research found that its flosser is 51 percent more effective at lessening gum disease and three times more effective than dental floss when cleaning around braces. This means using a water flosser in addition to your daily tooth brushing is an excellent way to keep your teeth and gums healthy! Your water flosser can effectively clean behind your wires and wash away food fragments that are caught behind the braces.
If you need help flossing while wearing braces, feel free to give our experienced team a call and we can help you find the best tool for your needs. We are here to support your oral care efforts as you straighten your teeth and look forward to helping you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve!
When your child comes in for early orthodontic treatment, it’s usually not just because their teeth are not aligned. Because of this misalignment, this can lead to poor facial development or other health problems. If your child’s developing jaws and face don’t grow correctly, there may be health issues that affect their sleep quality and consequently impact healthy brain and body development.
Tooth eruption is yet another issue, but our orthodontist can monitor and guide your child’s teeth to fix problems early on. This is also why the American Association of Orthodontists® advises that your child has their first orthodontic screening by the age of seven to assess their need for orthodontic treatment. The goal is to begin treatment early to fix issues before they grow into more costly and time-intensive concerns.
Treating your child’s dental issues earlier can help create the room needed for erupting teeth that are crowded, allow space for the teeth which are yet to erupt, lessen the need for tooth extractions and guide their jaw growth for facial symmetry. If your child snores or breathes through the mouth, wakes up frequently, grinds their teeth, wets the bed or has trouble falling asleep, orthodontic treatment can even help with these problems. Other issues that can be resolved with orthodontics are speech impediments, chronic headaches, colds, sore throats or ear infections.
If baby teeth are lost too soon or too late, this may lead to crowding of the permanent teeth. Your child’s smile or bite can also be affected by thumb-sucking. A crossbite can also influence your child’s teeth and lead to gum disease, chronic pain in the jaw, neck and shoulder areas. This can even affect your child’s self-confidence leading to behavioral issues.
Early orthodontic treatment is done in two stages, Phase I and II. This allows your child’s permanent teeth to come in correctly and help prevent extractions down the road. Phase I is generally done around the age of eight or nine, while Phase II is done around age 11 to 15.
Phase I focuses on helping your child learn good oral hygiene habits, resolving dental issues, correcting their bite and jaw development while shifting their permanent teeth into the proper place. The goal of this phase is to start improving your child’s alignment and lessen the risk of dental issues in the future.
In Phase II, braces are employed to guide your child’s permanent teeth into position and stabilize them. Having orthodontic treatment done at this age can prevent the need for braces as an adult (which often involves tooth extraction or oral surgery), so wearing braces as a child prevents this and reduces the length of time they need to wear braces.
If you would like to have your child’s oral development checked, our orthodontist is happy to determine whether treatment is needed and designing a personalized treatment plan for the best results. If you would like to find out more or want to schedule your child’s orthodontic consultation with us, please call or visit us today!
The number one goal for your oral health is maintaining healthy teeth and gums. This means practicing diligent daily oral hygiene habits; specifically, brushing and flossing to remove plaque along with routine dental visits to remove tartar (hardened plaque), polish your teeth and have your gums checked.
When you opt for orthodontics to straighten your teeth, your oral care becomes even more important. In the case of braces, food and bacteria can become trapped easily in the brackets and hardware. To lower the bacteria in the mouth, you can also rinse with mouthwash when you brush and floss every day.
Removing plaque helps prevent cavities, swollen gums, halitosis and permanent stains on your teeth from wearing braces. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal or snack. If you can’t brush, at the very least you can do is rinse with water to wash away particles and bacteria. Also, be sure to floss at least once a day.
What happens if you neglect your hygiene in braces? You can find yourself with gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. As this is caused by plaque along the gum line, you’ll want to brush those areas and massage your gums gently whenever you brush. If gingivitis isn’t properly treated, the gums can become infected around the bone and ligaments holding your teeth. This can cause gum pockets to form, which harbor even more bacteria and plaque.
But the gums aren’t the only part of your mouth that can be harmed if you don’t take care of your teeth and gums when wearing your braces. You can also end up with white spots around the braces. These are permanent stains from decalcification, and they can’t be removed when the braces are taken off. To avoid these dental issues, take care of your teeth and braces by practicing the following:
– Brush with fluoride toothpaste, and be sure to replace your toothbrush every two months. This is especially important while wearing braces. Usually, it’s every 3-4 months, but the wear from the metal brackets affects the bristles. Be sure to brush after every meal and before bed.
– Floss once a day. There are a variety of flossing tools available for you depending on your needs. The most commonly used flossing tool is waxed floss with a floss threader. Another popular flossing method is an oral irrigator. Water flossers flush out bacteria and food particles around the gums and in the small spaces of the teeth and braces. Find something that works best for you and then use it!
– See your dentist every six months to check for issues and provide you with a professional dental cleaning. Along with keeping all of your scheduled orthodontic appointments, you will be optimizing your oral health while straightening your teeth with braces.
– Rinsing daily with an oral rinse can help prevent decalcification on the teeth (these are white spots on enamel) and also demineralization (this arises from acids left on the teeth that break down enamel). We can also prescribe an oral rinse tailored to your oral condition.
If you would like more information, we invite you to give us a call to find how to take care of your teeth while wearing braces. We want to help you achieve the healthy, straightened smile you deserve!
Now that you have undergone orthodontic treatment and your teeth are finally aligned, you will want to make sure they don’t slip back into their previous positions. To prevent this from happening, retainers are used to anchor your teeth into place. Retainers are fashioned to fit your mouth with the correct alignment by taking a mold, or impression of your aligned teeth and gums. The retainer is created in a lab using wire and or/acrylic material (depending on the type of retainer) from your impression.
These are simply a thin wire that is cemented onto the back of the upper or lower front teeth. This permanent bonding replaces the brackets if you wore braces. This permanently placed wire effectively keeps your aligned teeth in place around the clock so you don’t have to worry about keeping your teeth straight.
Unlike the fixed wire retainer, these are removable devices that are made of a combination of wire and an acrylic base with hooks or clasps that hold onto your upper teeth to keep them in position. They hold onto the front of the lower or upper teeth in the front of the mouth around the back teeth. Initially, you may wear this retainer every day for at least three months. Once you get the go-ahead, you will eventually need to wear it at night. Removable retainers do have some disadvantages; they can be accidentally tossed in the trash if you are taking them out to eat and you are away from home. If you drink or eat hot items it can warp the acrylic base. This means when you are not wearing your removable retainer you should keep it in an appropriate case and in a safe place.
Now let’s take a look at how you should care for your retainer to make sure it continues to serve you as it should. When it comes to cleaning your retainer, you’ll want to disinfect it daily to remove oral debris (plaque and food particles).
Cleaning a fixed retainer requires pulling floss that can be inserted into the interproximal spaces between the teeth and rub it up and down and sideways to remove oral debris – similar to how you flossed while in braces.
Cleaning your removable retainer can be done in various ways:
– Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mildly abrasive toothpaste
– Soak in denture cleaning tablets containing antibacterial ingredients
– Rinse with a disinfecting oral rinse
– Soak in vinegar and water to remove bacteria
In addition to taking good care of your teeth and gums by brushing daily and also cleaning your retainer every day, you will want to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. You want to make sure that cavities are taken care of and your newly aligned teeth cleaned (removing hardened plaque and tartar) and polished. We will also check out your teeth and gums as well as your retainer to make sure everything is working correctly and is in healthy condition.
As you can see, keeping your teeth in their aligned position after your braces come off is just as important as when you straightened them with orthodontics. If you would like to know more, please reach out to our team and we will help you with your orthodontic needs!
Straightening your teeth with orthodontics can help you achieve a more healthy, aligned and attractive smile. With the upcoming holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the month of December and New Year’s (to name a few), around the corner, your orthodontics treatment won’t take a holiday, so it’s up to you to remember why you are wearing braces. With proper care, you can enjoy all the festivities by following a few helpful tips that can keep your teeth and braces safe to ensure that your treatment time stays on track. Along with seeing our orthodontist for routine appointments, keeping rubber bands, toothpaste, wax and retainer cases on hand is a great way to start the season.
This holiday is all about the scary costumes and the candies but you can still keep your braces safe while you celebrate. It’s not just the frightening amounts of sugar that come at you during this time, but the texture and hardness of the treats that can damage braces parts and make them difficult to clean. Avoiding hard, chewy candy, gum and bubble gum, and nuts can help. This means holding off on candied apples, popcorn balls, caramels, taffy and blow pops. Safer sweets include chocolate, soft cookies, muffins, cupcakes, and soft, sliced fruit. Don’t forget to rinse well with water after eating and brush and floss if you can.
This warmth-filled holiday is all about comfort food and get-togethers with the people you love and care about. Thankfully, this occasion in braces can still be celebrated much easier than Halloween with its tasty traps. Snacking on soft cheeses, deviled eggs, bite-sized turkey pieces off the bone, creamy mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potato casserole, your grandmother’s green bean casserole, corn casserole, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie won’t pose a problem for braces brackets and wires. Forgo the crunchy, nutty toppings and avoid pecan pie or anything with caramel and follow up your scrumptious feast with careful brushing and flossing. Remember, you won’t always be in braces so the day will come when you can indulge in your seasonal favorites again.
Winter Holidays & New Year
Decorating your home, giving and receiving gifts, attending parties and downing eggnog, hot chocolate and champagne with friends, family, and co-workers, can all still be done with mindful care to protect teeth and braces. You want to make sure you don’t damage parts or invite cavities and tooth discoloration around the brackets. You are wise to skip the candy canes, peanut brittle, fudge and chewy candies. Festive alternatives include fresh seasonal fruits – kiwis, oranges, clementines, grapefruit and tangerines, which are rich in vitamin C that can help you fight gum disease and seasonal colds. Soft-cooked vegetable offerings are safe, as are soft cheeses like brie and cheese balls (without nuts), soft cookies, bread puddings, cakes, muffins, and soft fruits like jarred fruits, fresh berries and seedless grapes.
Caring for your Braces During the Holidays
No matter what the holiday, be sure to remain diligent when it comes to your daily oral hygiene because neglecting it can set your treatment time back. Brush after each meal, using a toothbrush (or interdental toothbrush) and fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least twice a day, or after meals whenever possible. Floss threaders can make cleaning between teeth, brackets, and wires easier, and many patients find using an oral irrigator easy and effective. Don’t forget to bring your oral hygiene necessities if you are traveling over the holidays, including extra elastics, or other materials as needed.
Being mindful and taking good care of your teeth in braces during this hectic, busy time can help you avoid dental problems and orthodontic emergencies. This holiday season, whether you are dressing up in a spooky costume, basting a tasty turkey, kissing loved ones under the mistletoe or making good on your resolutions for the new year, be sure to put forth your best smile by taking good care of your braces!