Learn How Orthodontic Treatment Can Help Correct an Open Bite

There are various reasons for seeking orthodontic treatment, including straightening your teeth and aligning your misaligned bite. Another reason is correcting an open bite. It is a common dental issue and can be effectively addressed with orthodontics.

You want your upper and lower teeth to come together with a slight overlapping of the upper teeth over your lower teeth when you close your mouth. An open bite is considered a malocclusion (also known as a bad bite). This condition arises when your top and bottom teeth don’t meet whenever you close your mouth all the way. So what you get when you try to close your mouth is an open space between your top and bottom teeth. While you can get an open either in the front or the back of your mouth, it’s most likely to occur to your front teeth.

Even if you close your mouth and jaw shut all of the way, an open bite can occur when the upper and lower teeth don’t come into proper contact in the front (or back) of the mouth. And when you have a bad bite, the malocclusion can leave you dealing with a host of problems. It can include pain when you clamp down to chew, problems cleaning your teeth properly (leaving the potential for cavities), and gingivitis (gum disease).

Open Bite and What To Look For

  • Your teeth are out of alignment
  • Trouble speaking properly
  • Trouble biting down with your front teeth
  • Trouble or pain when chewing and swallowing, affecting your digestive tract
  • Your teeth don’t make contact when you close your mouth
  • Diminished chin line adversely affects your facial profile
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD)
  • Headaches and earaches
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Snoring

Why an Open Bite Bad Is Bad for You

As you can see, an open bite harms your teeth, mouth, and body if you can’t eat properly, but it also affects your image and self-confidence. Your bite will only worsen with time, and your tooth enamel wears down in the process, risking tooth decay and cavities. If you find yourself dealing with an open bite, it is important not to ignore it. Coming in for an orthodontic evaluation is a vital step to determining the degree of malocclusion and correcting it with orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners.

  • Braces: Braces are reliable, cost-effective and you can choose from several different options. They can provide beautiful results and are relatively easy to maintain for children and adults.
  • Clear Aligners: These are comfortable, discreet, and convenient to wear. They are great for correcting open bites for adults as well as teens.
  • Retainers: Once your orthodontic treatment is complete with either clear aligners or braces, you will still need to wear a retainer to make sure your bite doesn’t fall back into misalignment. Retainers serve a dual purpose; they keep your newly aligned teeth and bite in their place. Without it, your teeth can regress to their original position and adversely affect your bite again.
  • Oral Surgery: As a last resort, oral surgery can help when orthodontic treatment alone can’t correct the malocclusion. Long-lasting results are achievable by combining orthodontic treatment with oral surgery for a severe open bite.

Why Wait? Call Today!

There is help if you struggle with an open bite and are ready to align your teeth and jaw for exceptional results. It is a worthy investment in your oral health, appearance and self-esteem. With today’s advanced orthodontic treatments and techniques, you can achieve the smile you have always wanted while correcting the many issues you might have from your open bite. Why wait? We welcome you to call us today for more information or a consultation.

Wearing a Retainer After Straightening Your Teeth Is Essential for Continued Alignment

Congratulations on getting orthodontic treatment for the health and appearance of your smile! Whether you wore braces or clear aligners, you will still need to wear a retainer to maintain that beautiful symmetry with your newly aligned teeth and bite. While wearing braces or clear aligners is phase one of your orthodontic treatment, retainers are phase two to ensure continued success.

Why Are Retainers Needed After Braces?

Your newly straightened teeth will not be able to hold their new positions without a placeholder to maintain them. In orthodontics, we call that retention, meaning your teeth retain their position instead of gravitating back to their old places.

Your teeth are kept in their place by a tissue layer of cementum, which weakens when the teeth are manually moved. Think of a rubber band. This layer of cementum will try to pull your gums back to where they started after your orthodontic treatment. Wearing a retainer keeps the cementum staying in its new position while your teeth and tissue fully adjust.

If you do not wear a retainer, you allow your cementum and gums to shift back; retainers work by holding the tissue where it has been moved. Over time, your teeth will adjust to their new positions with the help of the retainer.

How Your Retainer Supports Your Smile and How To Care for It

  • Stabilizes your bite: This oral appliance gives your soft tissues and bone time to adjust to their new place when worn consistently. It is called stabilization as wanted shifting is kept to a minimum.
  • Protects your mouth from improperly erupting wisdom teeth: If you have had orthodontic treatment in your teen years, your retainer will keep your newly erupting wisdom teeth from shifting your straightened teeth.
  • Keeps your bones and gums aligned with your teeth: With the help of your retainer, your teeth, bones, and gums will stay strong and stable for years to come.
  • Prevents the need for additional orthodontic treatment later: Properly wearing your retainer (both night and day as recommended) means your teeth won’t shift out of the desired alignment you worked so hard to achieve.

Types of Retainers

  • Fixed or bonded retainer: A strong wire bent around the inside of your teeth is cemented in place to keep your teeth aligned and stable. Brush and floss daily to keep your retainer free from harmful plaque formation. It also means keeping all scheduled routine dental cleanings so hardened plaque (tartar) is removed and doesn’t irritate your teeth and gums.
  • Hawley retainer: The base of this popular retainer is made from plastic or acrylic and metal bars that wrap around your newly straightened teeth on the top and bottom. You can take it out to eat and clean.
  • Clear plastic retainer: This clear retainer made from plastic conforms to your teeth for a perfect fit while keeping them in place. Clean them every day to keep them looking and feeling their best!

What Not To Do With Your Retainer

Wear your removable retainer as directed and clean it using cool water to avoid warping (no dishwasher, hot water, alcohol or bleach to clean). Do not wear your retainer while dining, and keep it in a sturdy container case when you take it out, so you don’t lose it. Don’t use abrasive cleaners like toothpaste or baking soda to clean your clear retainer, and brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. While it might be tempting, don’t swim with your retainer so you don’t lose or damage it.

We hope you love your straightened teeth and are committed to protecting them by properly wearing your retainer. After investing in a beautiful smile, you can easily keep it that way by taking good care of your teeth, gums, and retainer every day! If you have any questions about orthodontics or retainers, give us a call today! We love to help!

Now Is the Time To Set Orthodontic Goals for an Aligned Smile!

It’s that time of year again when we look back over the past year and make some goals to better ourselves mentally and physically. For many, that includes improving their smile! While considering your New Year’s resolutions for this year, be sure to include improving your smile on your list! And what better way to improve your smile than getting orthodontic treatment?

A Great Smile Starts With Good Oral Health

You already know that keeping teeth healthy means brushing twice a day and flossing daily. You want to keep dental plaque away so it doesn’t harden into tartar (which your dental hygienist then needs to remove). But did you know that straight teeth are easier to clean effectively? Having crooked or overlapping teeth makes oral hygiene harder and leaves teeth vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.

Why Orthodontic Goals?

While you are setting new goals for 2022, consider putting your smile on the list to make improvements with orthodontics! Brushing and flossing are optimized with straight and aligned teeth. Not only does this spare you from unnecessary tooth decay and gum problems, but it will also protect you from having trouble chewing and eating. Being able to flash a straight smile boosts your self-confidence around others, whether in school, the workplace, social gatherings, or dating! An aligned smile can leave you smiling from ear to ear and laughing more openly because you are happy with your smile.

Modern Orthodontic Options

Gone are the days of bulky and uncomfortable metal braces. Today’s orthodontic treatments can range from smaller, smoother, and more esthetically pleasing braces as well as removable clear acrylic aligners. Modern braces are lighter and more forgiving, which can make them more comfortable and more efficient at shifting teeth. It also translates to shorter treatment times than in the past and fewer office visits to get adjustments. And while you can still get metal braces if you prefer, you can also get ceramic braces or braces with colorful brackets. Kids and teens often enjoy colorful braces, while adults often opt for clear aligners.

Oral Hygiene While in Orthodontic Treatment

No matter what your choice of orthodontic treatment is, you must brush and floss your teeth daily. Cleaning teeth is easy to do while wearing clear aligners and will keep teeth and gums healthy, but you also need to keep your aligner trays free from harmful bacteria, food particles, and even dried saliva. Speaking of saliva, it is important to stay hydrated throughout your day by drinking enough water so your mouth can flush out harmful bacteria and food particles that cause tooth decay. For this reason, avoid alcohol while undergoing orthodontic treatment to protect healthy tooth enamel and avoid bacterial acids. It lessens your risk of getting cavities, gum disease or other oral health problems that might interfere with your orthodontic treatment.

Avoid drinking anything other than water while wearing clear aligners, as that can stain them. Hot drinks can also warp your aligners, so avoid hot chocolate, tea, or coffee! But even with braces, you will want to avoid soda because of the sugar and acids, both of which accelerate tooth decay! Even sports drinks and fruit juices are high in sugar that decay teeth.

Initial Complimentary Consultation

No matter what type of orthodontic treatment you ultimately choose, our orthodontic team is excited to work with you this year to create the aligned, beautiful smile you deserve! We welcome you to give us a call so we can schedule your complimentary initial orthodontic evaluation. We look forward to helping you fulfill your New Year’s resolution for a spectacular smile!

Caring for Your Teeth in Braces During the Holiday Season

This holiday season, while you are wearing braces, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure your smile stays healthy and you don’t put your orthodontic treatment at risk. While the winter holidays are considered the most wonderful time of the year, you want to be mindful of your braces and make some adjustments. For example, you can still enjoy your favorite hot chocolate or brandied eggnog by drinking with a straw to minimize contact on your teeth and braces.

Holiday Foods to Avoid with Braces

  • Gingerbread Cookies: If making gingerbread ornaments or houses is one of your family’s favorite traditions, remember that this festive staple becomes too hard to safely chew. So go ahead and enjoy them as decorations but skip chewing them this year!
  • Candy Canes: Who doesn’t love the cool chill of peppermint during the winter holidays? Go ahead and hang them on your tree and tuck them into stockings, but don’t try to eat them while wearing braces. Instead, enjoy this holiday flavor in soft peppermint patties and minty hot chocolate.
  • Sticky or Crunchy Treats: This year, avoid nutty or caramel sweets in any form, including pecan pie, peanut brittle, candy, or caramel apples. Treats like toffee or peppermint bark are also hard and sticky so avoid them.
  • Nuts: Even if you’ve got a traditional nutcracker at the ready, this is not the year to enjoy those chestnuts roasting on an open fire, including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (filberts), and Brazil nuts. Maybe eat the nutty chocolate spread (Nutella, anyone?) or nut butters instead.

Just so you don’t think we’re related to the Grinch, we have some wintery goodies that you can safely enjoy without worrying about your braces.

Braces-Friendly Holiday Foods

  • Hot Chocolate: Sip on peppermint or gingerbread flavored hot cocoa and even add melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows or whipped cream to protect your smile in braces.
  • Soft Baked Treats: Enjoy soft holiday cookies in all kinds of holiday shapes, including brownies, cupcakes, and cakes! Top them with confetti sprinkles and frosting galore. Just be sure to rinse, brush and floss your teeth afterward.
  • Festive Fruit: Oranges are awesome stocking stuffers hearkening back to long-ago traditions. Help yourself to festive fruit platters with cut-up melon chunks, strawberries, pineapples, bananas and kiwis to put a smile on your face!

Clean Your Braces and Teeth

After indulging in holiday goodies, brush and floss thoroughly. It helps to remove trapped food particles and oral debris off tooth surfaces, wires, and brackets. While you might be tempted to slack off during the whirlwind activities during winter break, it’s a bad idea because your teeth will pay the price. Take a few minutes to clean them throughout the day after enjoying sweets!

Flossing is easy with a floss threader to get in between brackets and under the braces’ wires. If you don’t already have one, a Waterpik makes dislodging food particles stuck behind the wires, between teeth, and around brackets with ease. It’s also a present you can give yourself that keeps on giving all year round!

Get Yourself a Travel Kit

If you’re lucky enough to travel for the holidays, be sure you’re prepared to keep your smile in great shape. Get a cool, travel-sized braces kit stocked with a toothbrush, dental floss, mouthwash, orthodontic wax, and a compact mirror to use after eating along with extra elastics as needed.

Wear a Mouthguard

If your family loves playing winter sports or engaging in other indoor and outdoor holiday activities, safeguard your smile! Does your family have a tradition of rock climbing indoors? Ice skating at a rink? Snowboarding, skiing or sledding? Do you enjoy ice hockey? Wearing a mouthguard during those kinds of activities can keep your teeth and orthodontics protected.

The Gift of Straight Teeth

This holiday season, while you are giving yourself the gift of a straightened teeth and an aligned bite, be sure to protect your investment. Before you know it, your time in braces will be up, and you can indulge in all your favorite activities again. We are always here to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment!

Do Your Teeth Need To Be Healthy and Cavity-Free Before Getting Braces?

You’ve decided to wear braces. Congratulations on investing in your smile for a healthier and more attractive appearance! Straight teeth are also easier to clean, maneuver around and in between, so you actually benefit from better oral health along with beautifully aligned teeth!

Cavities and Braces

But what about braces and cavities? While our orthodontist can help you align your teeth and bite, we can’t treat tooth decay and cavities. It is your dentist’s job, so if you want braces soon, make sure your dentist performs a thorough checkup. They can take care of any cavities before placing your braces.

You want to make sure your teeth (and gums) are healthy before wearing any metal or ceramic braces. Teeth are harder to clean around braces hardware with brackets and wires. And if you aren’t cleaning your teeth well, tooth decay can gain a foothold. Since the brackets bond onto and in-between your teeth, these areas also become harder to floss around, making them prime targets for cavities.

So, what causes cavities? Forming plaque in the mouth from oral bacteria, stray bits of food particles, saliva, and acids in the mouth combine into a sticky, bacterial film, which quickly hardens into tartar and calculus (that stuff your dentist eliminates during dental cleanings!). Unless removed, the acids attack tooth enamel, weaken it, and create holes in the tooth (a.k.a. cavities).

Bottom line: You’ll want to start your time in braces with your teeth as cleaned and cavity-free as possible!

Another reason you want to treat cavities (and gum disease) as quickly as possible is to minimize damage to your teeth and gums. Both conditions only worsen with time, and if left untreated, they don’t resolve themselves. The longer you wait, the greater the damage. And putting braces on weak teeth can leave you with bigger problems like cracks or fractures that eventually could result in lost teeth later.

Caring for Teeth in Braces

Once your teeth have a clean bill of health and you finally get your braces, you’ll need to go the extra mile and commit to brushing and flossing well every time you eat to keep your teeth strong and cavity-free. Keep braces clean and free from plaque to prevent decay around your braces appliances.

  • Brush after each meal to prevent plaque and tooth stains. Make sure to remove all the bits of food stuck around the hardware.
  • Floss thoroughly around brackets and wires and the spaces in between teeth.
  • Invest in tools you will want to use and will meticulously clear away food particles and plaque. These include floss threaders, a proxabrush or Waterpik.

After spending 18-24 months in braces, you don’t want the hardware to come off only to discover cavities and weakened teeth from decay. If, for some reason, you need to have cavities treated while in braces, we will likely need to take out the wire so your dentist can get to the cavity and fill it. It also means scheduling your dental and orthodontic appointments as close together as possible so your wire can be replaced soon after the cavity is filled so that your teeth don’t move out of their new position.

You will also want to give your dentist a heads up if you notice any tooth sensitivity or pain when you chew or consume hot or cold foods and beverages. Keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible is always the goal throughout your life, and even more so when you are committed to straightening your teeth for an amazing smile!

October Is National Orthodontic Health Month! Here Are Some Brace-Friendly Tips

It’s October, and we’re celebrating National Orthodontic Health Month along with the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Our goal is to help promote orthodontic health and share some tooth-friendly tips about orthodontic treatment to help you create a healthy, beautiful smile!

A great smile starts with healthy, strong, aligned teeth for a proper bite. Our goal is to work with you to create the straight teeth you need for your healthiest smile. We can align the position of the teeth and jaw using braces, clear aligners, and retainers. With orthodontic treatment, teeth can stay aligned in place for years to come. Orthodontics can be used on children, teens, and adults.

Straight teeth aren’t just optimal for appearance’s sake, either. An aligned bite with straight teeth allows better access to thoroughly cleaning teeth and gums when brushing and flossing. Having a correctly aligned bite and straight teeth are necessary to keep out dental decay and gum disease that can otherwise lead to tooth loss.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

  • You will create your healthiest bite when your jaw is in its optimal position. It helps you evade issues with biting, chewing, and speaking as well as avoiding sleep apnea.
  • Straightened teeth won’t scrape or grind together, prematurely wearing down tooth enamel or causing dental issues later that will require expensive treatment like crowns, bridges, implants, or dentures.
  • Attain a self-confident smile you will be proud to show off instead of hiding! Did you know people with attractive smiles are considered more successful in social and work situations?

As you can see, orthodontics has benefits that improve your quality of life!

National Orthodontics Month and Clearing Up Misconceptions

Thanks to the efforts of the American Association of Orthodontists, people can see that:

  • Dentists are not automatically orthodontists who can offer braces or aligners.
  • Orthodontics can be affordable.
  • Periodical orthodontic visits to monitor the process is part of the treatment.
  • Orthodontics does not require years to straighten teeth.
  • Orthodontic treatment is not only for cosmetic improvements.
  • You can choose between braces or aligners to get the results you want.
  • Orthodontics is not just for kids and teens. More adults than ever get their teeth aligned!

What You Can Do

  • Seek orthodontic treatment for your child while their jaw is still developing to spot potential problems early, and don’t wait until your child loses all their baby teeth before visiting an orthodontist.
  • Seek orthodontic treatment if you are unhappy with your smile; it is never too late for straight teeth!

Tips

This National Orthodontic Health Month, we offer you some tips to keep braces or other orthodontic appliances safe while keeping cavities at bay:

  • Halloween or not, don’t snack on hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy candy and treats. Here is the no-go list: anything with caramel, gummies, licorice, taffy, tootsie rolls, bubblegum, jelly beans, and sodas.
  • Make sure to stay away from hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips, popcorn, and ice.
  • Brush and floss every day, especially while wearing braces. Sugary-, starchy- or acidic-like materials tend to gather around brackets and other braces gear, so you will want to clean them well every day.
  • Treats you or your child can enjoy while wearing braces include soft chocolates (peanut butter cups, peppermint patties), milkshakes, ice cream, Jell-O, cake, doughnuts, and soft cookies. While these are easy on braces, you’ll still want to brush and floss after enjoying them.

Navigating orthodontic treatment during the holiday season does not have to invite tooth decay. By taking just a few tooth-friendly precautions and practicing consistent oral health care, teeth receiving orthodontic treatment can stay strong and healthy for a beautiful smile for years to come. Feel free to call us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with our orthodontic team!

Check Out These Braces’ Tools To Keep Your Smile Healthy!

Caring for your teeth and gums is essential for a healthy, beautiful smile. You want to get rid of the harmful plaque daily that will otherwise damage your teeth and gums. This sticky, colorless film made of bacteria, food, and saliva builds up around the teeth and gum line and quickly hardens. When you are wearing braces, this trapped buildup can lead to swollen gums, cavities, bad breath, and even permanent tooth stains. To prevent this, you will need to brush and floss every day to get rid of plaque before it gets a chance to harden.

Cleaning Teeth in Braces

Cleaning around your braces can be a challenge as their extra parts mean additional areas for food to become trapped, but with the help of the right tools, you can do a great job of preventing this! You will especially want to remove plaque buildup around braces brackets to keep tooth decay and gum inflammation away.

Pay special attention to any cracks and crevices, both between your teeth and around your braces’ brackets and wires. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it as soon as the bristles lose their shape, preferably with fluoride toothpaste to protect tooth enamel. Avoid tooth whitening toothpaste because it can’t whiten behind your braces brackets, so it won’t look uniform when your braces come off.

Brush thoroughly and gently in circular motions so as not to damage your wires or brackets, and clean all surfaces at least twice a day so they are spotless:

  • All the parts of your braces
  • All tooth surfaces (tops, sides, front and back)
  • All around the gums, tongue and roof of your mouth

Next, you will want to floss, preferably before you go to bed so you can take your time. A floss threader is a reusable tool that helps you clean below the archwire, along the gum line and below it. You can also rinse well with mouthwash to help clear away any residual oral debris.

Orthodontic Hygiene Tools

    • To better help you keep your teeth in braces healthy, consider trying these excellent oral hygiene tools:

 

  • Get a toothbrush and toothpaste you will love using. It might be a manual toothbrush or a powered toothbrush with an ortho brush head to clean the cracks and crevices around your braces. The oscillating movement is gentle on your gums, cleans wires and brackets effectively, and even massages the gums.
  • Pack a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash you can carry in your backpack, pocket, or purse to clean after meals when you are away from home.
  • Stock up on waxed floss threaders, super floss or dental picks as they can get underneath the wires to clean well.
  • Consider getting a proxabrush. This interproximal brush has bristles in a short cone shape that easily handles those hard-to-reach spots in your braces.
  • Invest in a Waterpik or similar water flossing tool. This effective addition works by aiming a stream of water to clean easily between your teeth and may come with orthodontic tips!
  • Use a good mouthwash (preferably with fluoride) to remove bacteria hiding in crevices and to support your tooth’s enamel.
  • Wear a mouthguard when you are engaging in contact sports or recreational activities to protect your face, mouth, and braces’ hardware.
  • Use orthodontic dental wax for your braces as needed to protect sensitive oral tissues.
  • Let us know if you have any issues with your braces’ wires and brackets so we can take care of any problems quickly.

Don’t forget to keep all your scheduled dental cleanings and checkups. These are important for supporting your daily oral hygiene care, so when your braces come off, your teeth will look their best! As always, we are happy to recommend great products that can help you in your orthodontic journey, so please don’t hesitate to call and learn more! You deserve a healthy, beautiful smile!

Tips To Help Your Child Experience an Amazing School Year While Wearing New Braces!

It’s that time of year again! As summer winds down, getting your child ready for back-to-school days can be both exciting and stressful, especially if they are new to wearing braces. Fortunately, it just takes a little bit of preparation, and your child will be back in the swing of things in no time, feeling confident instead of self-conscious!

Wearing braces can make your child feel shy as they wonder what their peers will think about them, but soon enough, they will see that they are not alone and are in good company surrounded by others in braces, so they will actually blend right in. To best prepare them, they’ll need some oral hygiene supplies in their backpack as their new routine falls into place.

Back-to-School Braces Kit

The best way to prepare your child is by giving them a braces care kit to stow in their backpack along with their pens and notebooks. It will make their braces as easy as possible to care for and help them be ready for anything. All it takes is a small bag with the toothy tools they’ll need while wearing braces to keep braces clean and their mouth comfortable throughout their school day. Supply your child with the following tools in their braces care kit:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss (to clear away food particles after lunch or snacks)
  • Dental wax and extra rubber bands (to cover brackets or wires irritating their cheeks, gums, or lips)
  • Lip balm (to keep their lips moist and comfortable)
  • Small mirror (to spot any stray bits of food stuck in teeth)

Watching What They Drink

Did you know that water helps your child’s brain work faster, boosts concentration, balances mood and emotions while improving memory? Staying hydrated not only boosts brain productivity but helps your child keep their braces clean and free from stray bits of food particles. Packing a refillable water bottle will also help clean their mouth while stimulating healthy saliva levels. It will also help them avoid sugary drinks and sodas that can stain their teeth, potentially leaving white spots when their braces finally come off!

Watching What They Eat

Be sure your child knows to avoid certain foods while in braces. It means leaving crunchy things like raw carrots, whole apples, nuts, and sticky foods like candy and gum behind as they can break wires and brackets that your child won’t enjoy dealing with during their school day. Make sure your child packs foods they can easily consume (like yogurt or applesauce) that can take the sweet-craving edge off in a way that’s good for their teeth. Packing a lunch can take the guesswork out of lunch lines in a crowded cafeteria while being friendly to their smiles. Providing meals from home (cut into easily chewed, bite-sized pieces) can make lunch simple and easy, even with sandwiches.

Watching What Gets Trapped in Their Teeth

A handy tool for ensuring your child’s teeth don’t harbor stuck food particles in their braces all day is to have a small mirror in their backpack. It can help them feel less self-conscious and catch bits of food early, so they don’t need to feel embarrassed while talking with old and new friends! Especially since no one may tell them, hey, you have some spinach in your teeth.

Protective Mouth Guard

And finally, wearing a mouthguard when engaging in gym classes or contact sports can increase the odds of keeping your child’s teeth, gums, and cheeks damage-free. Whether your child has a volleyball, football, or basketball streaking towards their face, a protective mouthguard can give their smile the safety they need. You can even get them a mouthguard designed to fit over their braces to save your child from pain and injury.

There’s no better time than now to give your child the right tools to succeed in the new school year! Helping them be prepared for their first week while wearing braces can help them relax, feel more confident, and be ready to smile for school photos, classes, and activities. It can be their best school year yet!

Check Out These Tips To Help You Prevent and Handle Orthodontic Emergencies and Accidents

Whether you are wearing braces or clear aligners to straighten your teeth, accidents can happen, potentially leaving you dealing with an orthodontic emergency. With proper planning, however, you can be prepared for just about anything! And you will definitely want to take care of anything that comes up with your orthodontic device.

Top Three Causes of Orthodontic Emergencies

1. Biting or chewing foods that are on the “do not eat” list.

It can be hard to stop eating your favorite foods that are bad for braces. Just remember that staying away from braces-damaging foods doesn’t just protect wires and brackets but also your teeth in braces! Before you know it, your teeth will be straightened, and you can go back to mindfully eating the following foods:

  • Caramel or other hard or sticky candy
  • Crunch chips
  • Ice
  • Popcorn with kernels

2. Participating in high-impact or contact sports without a protective mouthguard.

Wearing mouthguards is a simple, easy and effective way to keep your teeth, lips, gums, soft tissues, and jaw safe as you participate in sports. You can find sports guards online and in stores, but your best bet is to get one from your dentist or orthodontist. Orthodontic mouthguards are a little bigger than their standard counterparts, so they fit comfortably over your braces.

3. Trauma or injury to the mouth.

If you take a hit to the mouth, your braces can often keep your teeth from falling out. But you can also have chipped or broken teeth from a blow, so the best thing you can do is let our office know right away so we can recommend optimal treatment as needed. Sometimes it can wait until your next scheduled appointment, and other times, we might need to see you sooner.

Common Orthodontic Fixes

  • If you have broken or loose brackets, putting some orthodontic wax on it can help. If your bracket falls off, our orthodontist will want to replace it with a new one the next time you come in.
  • Protruding wires poking the back of your mouth can often be put back into place with clean tweezers, a cotton swab or an eraser tip. You can also cover it with a piece of orthodontic wax and call us so we can advise you further (or see you sooner).
  • If you have lost rubber bands, you can try using a clean tweezer to put it back where it belongs.
  • If you have mouth sores from your braces hardware, putting some wax over the brackets can help. You can rinse with saltwater (one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water) to relieve pain and prevent infection and put some topical anesthetic on the painful ulcer on your lips, gums, cheeks, or tongue.
  • As your teeth gradually shift into their new positions, you can sometimes find yourself with painful teeth or even loosening. If this leaves your teeth aching, you can treat the soreness by rinsing with saltwater. If your jaw feels tender, you can apply a heating pad or warm washcloth (on the outside of your jaw) for relief.
  • If you are wearing a plastic aligner (instead of braces) and it cracks before you switch to the new set, you can often continue wearing it. However, if the tray breaks all the way, wear your previous tray so that your teeth movement stays on track and let us know so we can advise you further.

Protect Your Orthodontic Appliance

Whether you are wearing clear aligners or traditional braces, taking good care of your appliance while your teeth are being straightened is essential to prevent orthodontic accidents. Keep it clean and properly maintained (not skipping scheduled visits!), and brushing and flossing your teeth every day as recommended. That also goes for retainers, and if you have a break in a bonded retainer, you’ll need to come in to have that fixed or replaced.

We hope these tips help you feel more comfortable handling potential orthodontic accidents or injuries. When in doubt, always give us a call, and we can give you further instructions based on your situation. We look forward to making your time straightening your smile as comfortable and pleasant as possible!

What You Need To Know About Malocclusions

When people think of orthodontics, they tend to visualize teeth straightening using metal braces or clear plastic aligners. But orthodontics is about more than just beautifully straightened teeth. It also corrects a misaligned bite! Malocclusions are what we orthodontists call “mismatched teeth” or jaw problems because of a misaligned bite. It is also more common than you might think! Around 2/3 of adults experience some malocclusion that can interfere with their oral health.

Orthodontists refer to occlusion as where your teeth meet when you close your mouth. So essentially, where your upper and lower jaws contact those teeth. Ideally, we want your teeth to sit comfortably inside your mouth with a slight overlap as the upper jaw meets your lower jaw when closing your mouth. The molars need to be able to fit into the grooves of the molars opposite them. What we don’t want to see is crowded teeth, diastema (tooth gaps), or teeth that are rotated or twisted. When your teeth deviate from what they should be, you will be dealing with malocclusion.

Classes of Malocclusion

Class I: As the most common type of malocclusion, you’ll see that the molars align as well as minor crowding in the back teeth with a slight overlap.

Class II: Called an overbite, the upper teeth greatly overlap the lower jaw and teeth.

Class III: Called an underbite, in these cases, the lower jaw protrudes, so the lower teeth overlap the upper jaw and teeth.

There are several different kinds of malocclusions that can cause trouble with your smile. Don’t ignore the following:

Crossbite: When some bottom teeth meet outside the upper teeth when you close your mouth.

Open bite: Your upper and lower teeth tip outwards, unable to come together when you close your mouth.

Overbite: Your upper teeth and jaw overlap severely over the lower teeth and jaw.

Overcrowding: Your permanent teeth don’t have enough space to grow straight so that you have teeth that overlap or end up crooked, rotated, or twisted.

Overjet: Your upper front teeth extend past your bottom lower teeth.

Spacing: You see spaces between two or more teeth where there should be none.

Underbite: Where your lower teeth protrude past your upper teeth when your mouth is closed.

How You Know if You Have a Malocclusion

  • You notice abnormal wear and tear on your teeth
  • You have misaligned teeth
  • You have trouble biting and chewing food
  • You see changes in your facial profile
  • You keep biting your tongue or the inside of your cheeks
  • You keep getting headaches
  • Your constantly grind your teeth (bruxism)
  • You have pain in the neck, shoulder and upper back
  • Your speech is affected
  • You have teeth, jaw and mouth pain
  • You are a mouth breather

Diagnosing malocclusions usually involves having dental X-rays and an examination. Then our orthodontist can determine the cause and recommend proper corrective treatment. Treatment might involve wearing an orthodontic appliance like braces, aligners or retainers. Other solutions might include extracting teeth, reshaping teeth, stabilizing the jaw with plates and wires, or using a palatal expander.

Call for an Orthodontic Evaluation

Malocclusions typically get worse if they are not addressed, even to the point where brushing and flossing become difficult, leaving you vulnerable to cavities, gum disease and, over time, tooth loss. If you suspect you might have malocclusion, we invite you to come in for a consultation and evaluation. Our orthodontist can help you get the aligned smile you deserve!