What To Expect At Your First Orthodontic Appointment

orthodontist Surrey BCYour first consultation with an orthodontist, and certainly with an orthodontist at the Pacific West Dental, Surrey office, is likely to last at least an hour. This gives you plenty of time to ask questions and for us to gather and share information.

After talking with you and reviewing your past and present medical and dental history, we may proceed with determining what treatment is necessary to correct any problems. We’ll typically do this with a visual examination of your teeth and also by taking regular photographs. Taking these photographs might be accompanied by seeking other relevant information, such as taking radiographic (X-ray) images, which allow us see the position and growth of bones and joints, and teeth that are still below the gum line. At the completion of this stage, we’ll be able to provide you with a tentative treatment plan.

We may also take an impression (mold) of the teeth in order to make a custom replica of your bite. This model helps us to understand the problem and how best to treat it. Following this, we will perform a detailed analysis of the records and images in order to give you a final diagnosis.

The final thing that happens on your first visit to the orthodontist at Pacific West Dental, is the finalization of a treatment plan. At Pacific West Dental, we’ll explain the plan in detail, including a clear presentation of fees, dental payment plan options and possible appointment schedules. Note, however, that we may also be giving you the great news, that no treatment is necessary at that time. Do remember that you can ask questions at any stage of our first meeting at Pacific West Dental and while talking with an orthodontist. In both the Surrey and Vancouver offices, we encourage you to ask questions, as it’s an important part of determining a treatment that is right for you.

Maintaining Your Smile After Your Braces Come Off

Maintaining Your Smile After Your Braces Come Off

care after bracesStraight teeth and a beautiful smile are the desired result of any orthodontic treatment. After treatment is complete, it can be really exciting to be free of wires and brackets and eat previously forbidden foods. However, to maintain your new smile, there are precautions you should take to ensure that it lasts into adulthood.

Maintaining straight teeth can be a lifelong endeavour, as often your teeth will want to return to their original positions. After getting your braces off, wearing your upper and lower retainers as instructed by your orthodontist, is key on keeping your teeth in place. Cleaning your retainers as directed and storing them safely will help to keep them in good shape, and avoid any reason to stop wearing them.

If it seems like your teeth are shifting after your treatment is complete, make sure to contact your orthodontist for follow-up right away. It will be easier to correct the problem and come up with a solution before things shift too dramatically. If you end up losing an adult tooth later on in life, this can also cause your teeth to shift, drifting into the space that was left by the tooth.

Maintaining proper oral health throughout your life is the simplest way to prevent periodontal disease and or other oral health issues that can cause tooth loss. Careful brushing and flossing is the best way to take care of your new smile into adulthood.

Make sure to continue follow-up appointments with your orthodontist yearly, or as directed, after your treatment is complete. You may be required to wear your post-treatment retainer or other device indefinitely, and that also may change over time. At Pacific West Dental, we have been serving clients for over two decades in Surrey and Vancouver – we want you to maintain your new smile and are here to help you with the process.

What is the Trudenta process and how can it benefit me?

What is the Trudenta process and how can it benefit me?

trudenta surrey vancouverThe Trudenta process is comprised of an assessment process and a treatment process. A qualified Surrey orthodontist should conduct both of these processes.

To start Trudenta in Surrey/Vancouver, you must visit an orthodontist who will begin the as-sessment. This begins with a bite force analysis, which will reveal any imbalances in your jaw, and will create a 3D digital model of the way forces are at work inside your mouth.

Next, your Surrey orthodontist will perform a range of motion analysis, discovering any irregu-larities and showing where to focus treatment.

A headache history form helps in understanding your symptoms and creating a detailed, accurate diagnosis.

A muscular exam checks your face and neck for trigger points, which are knots and bands in your muscles that can trigger pain.

A head health questionnaire uncovers any previous trauma that could be affecting your oral health.

When you are ready for treatment through Trudenta in Surrey/Vancouver, there are four aspects to the process.

Ultrasound therapy works to return circulation to your muscles and break up scar tissue and ad-hesions. This helps with trigger points especially.

Trigger point therapy targets areas of the muscles that are causing pain, through manual stimulation of your muscles. This helps with tension and gives your orthodontist a better canvas for other rehabilitation processes.

Electrocurrent therapy uses a painless, low level current, applied to areas of pain and sensitivity. This helps soothe inflamed muscles and stimulates the nerves, while reducing lactic acid buildup that can cause problems.

Finally, low level cold laser treatment works to heal inflammation.

All of these therapies and assessment programs work together to address orthodontic issues at their root, and treat them in a long lasting manner, reducing pain and strain on your body.

Invisalign vs. Braces. Which is Right for You?

Invisalign vs. Braces. Which is Right for You?

invisalign bracesWe all hope for a perfect smile and to be able to chew comfortably. A bite that’s askew can cause a lot of discomfort. Straight teeth can greatly improve quality of life. If you are seeking the guidance of an orthodontist in Vancouver you might wonder if Invisalign or braces are a better fit for your situation.

Your orthodontist office in Vancouver will be able to take your specific issues into consideration and make a recommendation, but these are some of the things they will think about:

Your budget. Depending on how much you have to spend, your orthodontist in Vancouver will recommend a treatment option that meets your treatment goals but stays within your price range.

Your specific needs. The complexity and nature of what you are trying to accomplish will dictate which treatment path will be most effective. Your dental history and existing dental work may impact which options are available to you. Ask your Vancouver orthodontist which choice is best for your specific cases.

Your lifestyle. Your daily activities and ability to adhere to the structure of the treatment plan will impact which option is best for you. Some sporting activities can make braces less practical, while those who consider themselves to be less disciplined may find sticking to wearing trays more difficult.

Your treatment time frame. The length of your treatment time may vary depending on the treatment option selected. Consult with your orthodontist in Vancouver as to how much time you have to reach your goals.

Your orthodontist in Vancouver will help you make a decision that will meet your specific needs. Whatever you decide, you will be well on your way to a perfect smile, comfortable chewing and a significantly better quality of life. Whether Invisalign or braces, your smile and comfort are about to improve.

5 Clear Signs You May Require Orthodontic Services

5 Clear Signs You May Require Orthodontic Services

orthodontic servicesWho doesn’t love a bright smile? Smiling makes you feel on top of the world, especially when your teeth are straight and properly aligned. If you haven’t been blessed with straight teeth or have other issues you’re not happy with, it may be time to find out if orthodontic services can help you.

Here are 5 clear signs you may require orthodontic services:

  1. Crowded and crooked teeth. Do you have teeth that almost overlap each other, or others that sit crooked in your mouth? When some teeth seem to stick out more than others, these are known as malocclusions and should be corrected.
  2. Teeth too far apart. This is the opposite of teeth crowding. Here you have gaps or spaces in-between your teeth. You may have had a tooth removed and your other teeth haven’t moved together to fill the space. As well as not having the appearance you might wish, this can impact the functioning of your mouth and jaw.
  3. Look at your bite. When you bite down, there should be no overlapping of the top teeth over the bottom. It is possible for lower teeth to protrude beyond the top teeth too.
  4. Mouth misalignment. When your teeth don’t line up correctly, this leads to misaligned bites and a misaligned jaw. You may have difficulty chewing or suffer frequent headaches. Misalignment can also cause damage to the roof of your mouth.
  5. Do you have a lisp? Lisping may also be due to a malocclusion, which can be corrected with braces.

The first thing you want to do is to speak with your dentist. They will do a thorough examination of your mouth and determine whether you need orthodontic services. Even if you are an adult, the time may be right for your teeth to be fixed at long last.

How to Make Braces Safe for Athletes

Because of technological advances, braces today work faster and are more comfortable and inconspicuous than ever before. That doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t have to alter your behavior somewhat while in treatment. Certain foods like hard nuts or sticky caramel are best avoided while wearing braces. Likewise, when playing sports, you should be a little more careful than you might normally be. You have to protect your teeth from impacts and shocks. Otherwise, brackets can pop off or cut the insides of your mouth, and severed wires can cause even more damage.

Contact sports, in particular, require caution. Luckily, many of these sports already require helmets with full-facial guards as part of their standard equipment. A full-facial guard is the hard plastic piece that juts out in front of the mouth and protects the face from a direct impact of a ball or the body of another player, and if you play football, ice hockey, or lacrosse, you already wear one. For many sports that don’t require full-facial guards, shutterstock_104711387you are still highly encouraged to wear one if you have braces (and it’s a good idea to wear one in general). For example, sporting goods stores sell face guards designed especially for softball players. If you’ve ever been smacked in the face by a softball, you’ll know that they really aren’t all that soft. And similarly in baseball, face masks aren’t just for catchers. Other players can wear face guards too.

While a full-facial guard will provide broad protection from external forces, hard impacts and tackles can still cause injuries on the insides of your mouth. Mouth guards are the next line of defense against damage to your braces. They are particularly important in sports where full-facial guards would be out of place but where your braces are vulnerable to damage. This can be anything from basketball to soccer to gymnastics and tennis. Mouth guards are worn on inside your mouth to fit directly over your upper teeth, while dual-arch models also protect lower teeth.

Mouth guards are widely available at sporting goods stores, but they aren’t all the same. The “boil-and-bite” types are not recommended, because they can stick to brackets and pull them off when the guard is taken out of your mouth. Also be careful of guards that are designed to conform to your bite. After all, your bite will not stay the same while you’re in orthodontic treatment. A company called Shock Doctors makes a good line of mouth guards specifically made for athletes who wear braces. PacificWest Dental can make customized orthodontic mouth guards too.

Another way to protect your mouth from lacerations when playing sports is by using dental wax. OrthoSil Silicone Dental Wax is a good brand (which is really made of silicone). You can also try products made from actual wax or experiment with different brands to find one you like.

If you’re an athlete, wearing braces doesn’t mean you have to be stuck on the bench. Feel free to talk to Dr. Wang about the sports you play and what specific recommendations he has for you.

The Emotional Benefits of Braces

In our field, orthodontists focus on the tangible aspects of our patients’ smiles. Our specialty concerns straightening misaligned teeth and correcting malocclusions (incorrect bites). We look at the physical aspects of these problems and the physical solutions to them. We are not psychologists.

At the same time, we are aware of the psychological impact of what we do for our patients. Even though orthodontics improves oral health, it also improves mental health and well-being in a number of ways:

SELF-CONFIDENCE
We’ve begun working with patients with crooked teeth who are clearly shy about how they look. They tell us they try not to show their teeth when they smile for photos, and sometimes they cover their mouths with their hands when they talk. It’s so wonderful when they’re done with treatment to see how their attitude has improved. But these benefits are not just anecdotal. According to studies, young people after orthodontic treatment have shown higher emotional and social well-being than their peers who never had treatment.

SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE
Like it or not, we live in an image-conscious society (and you can argue that every society in human history has been image conscious in its own way). Orthodontics make people’s smiles more attractive, and it’s human nature to respond positively to attractiveness. So braces can lead to increase social capital. Beyond that, braces can help in other ways. For example, crooked teeth can trap food in hard-to-reach places and result in bad breath, so straight teeth can eliminate other social negatives as well.

LESS FRUSTRATION
If you have or once had a misaligned bite, you know that malocclusions can make the everyday functioning of your mouth annoying. When your teeth don’t meet up as they should, it can be hard to bite into food, and you might have to compensate by biting with other parts of your mouth. Or your misaligned teeth may cause a speech impediment. It’s also harder and more time consuming to clean crooked teeth as opposed to straight ones.

IMPROVED CONCENTRATION
The benefit of improved concentration is primarily for those patients whose dental problems are not just annoying but are in fact painful. Jutting teeth can sometimes stick into the insides of cheeks or scrape against the tongue, and the pain can be even worse when the problems result in ongoing blisters or bleeding. Chronic pain can be very distracting. Orthodontic treatment takes care of it.

MORE MATURITY
When you’re a baby or toddler, you live in the now and have little awareness of the benefits of delayed gratification. This awareness of course improves as people get older, but teenagers’ decisions still tend to be short sighted, according to child development experts. The process of getting orthodontic treatment and the very tangible rewards at the end help exhibit firsthand the benefits of delayed gratification.

So while orthodontists may not have expertise in psychology or counseling, they still can have quite a bit of influence on their patients’ emotional happiness.

Retaining a Beautiful Smile

All orthodontic patients look forward to the day their braces come off, but even once that day arrives, the work is not quite complete. The final phase then begins: the wearing of the retainer.

Retainers may seem like an afterthought after the heavy lifting of brackets and wires has been done, but using retainers is actually an important step that should be diligently carried out. Neglecting to wear a retainer properly can undo a lot of the work done by braces.

Retainers are removable trays custom-made to fit each patient and meant to be worn for a set period of time after braces are removed. They are normally made of plastic and single wire that goes around the teeth to keep them from shifting. There are also permanent retainers that are affixed to the back of the teeth and can only be installed and removed by a professional.

The purpose of the retainer is to allow the teeth to settle into their new positions. Wearing the retainer holds the teeth in place until the new bone has grown in and the gums have adjusted.

Orthodontists typically recommend a retainer be worn for at least 12 months. In the beginning of this period, it is recommended to wear a retainer at least 12 hours a day, sometimes almost continuously (except when eating) depending on the severity of the problem prior to treatment. The initial phase of using a retainer normally lasts three to six months, after which most patients can cut back to wearing one at nighttime only.

After a year of wearing the retainer, people often stop using them, but in reality, it can be a good idea to wear one three to five times a week for the rest of one’s life. That may be surprising to hear, but remember teeth shift as people age. The occasional use of a retainer can help prevent shifting and maintain your smile.

To clean your retainer, baking soda works well. Make a paste of baking soda and water (distilled or filtered is best), and brush your retainer with your toothbrush. Any time your retainer is not in your mouth, it should be soaking in distilled water. Never allow your retainer to get dried out.

Always keep your retainer in its case when it’s not in your mouth. Do not wrap the retainer in a napkin when you are eating. At our orthodontic office, we’re always molding new retainers that were accidently thrown in the trash because they were wrapped in a napkin, and they’re not cheap to replace.

And remember, it’s also expensive to redo orthodontic treatment that failed to settle properly because patients didn’t wear retainers as instructed. Keep in mind that retainers are not an afterthought. They’re essential.

Summertime Recipes That Won’t Bother Your Braces

strawberry smoothie shutterstock_213409228Braces can make your teeth feel sore, especially when you first get them or when they’re tightened. That’s one reason you’ll need to adjust your diet when in treatment. Anything crunchy can make sore teeth feel worse. Really hard foods or foods that strain your teeth (like when biting into an apple) can make brackets pop off. You’ll also need to avoid sticky foods because they get stuck in your braces and cause tooth decay.

For summer, that might seem like a bummer. Favorite summertime foods like ice cream cones, amusement-park taffy, and corn on the cob are out for the time being. But still, there are lots of summer foods that you can still enjoy. We put together a few recipes.

Breakfast

  • Smoothies are a great summertime treat. They’re cool, fruity, and taste like a milkshake, only healthier. Strawberries are in season during summer, so try this Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie.
  • Blueberries are also in season during summer. Add them to pancakes, or try this recipe for blueberry muffins which we like because it has a low amount of sugar.
  • Scrambled eggs are soft just like a braces friendly dish should be, but they can get boring after a while. Up your egg game by adding some zucchini to your dish in this Summer Vegetable Frittata. It’s great for brunch, and there’s no reason you can’t make it for dinner either.

Soup

  • If you have the grill fired up in the backyard for hot dogs and burgers, also throw on some vegetables for this Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho. Gazpacho is a soup meant to be eaten cold, so you can put everything you grilled in the fridge to prepare the next day.

Sides

  • Even though you can’t have corn on the cob, that doesn’t mean you can’t have corn off the cob. Prepare the corn according to this guide to corn on the cob, and scrape off the kernels into a bowl. Then put them on your plate to eat with a fork.
  • Potato salad is another traditional side to go with BBQ. Try this Easy Potato Salad and just cook the potatoes a little longer than normal to make sure they’re nice and soft.

Dinner

  • Basil flourishes in the heat of summer, so make your own Basic Basil Pesto sauce to add to spaghetti, ravioli, or any other noodles. Replace the jarred pesto in this recipe for Creamy Pesto Chicken Broccoli with the fresh stuff you just made.
  • If you catch any fish over the summer, instead of frying it in a crunchy coating, just bake it with a little butter or olive oil. This recipe for Easy Baked Tilapia is fairly adaptable to whatever type of fish might bite your hook.

Three Types of Bad Bites Needing Correction

 
shutterstock_214580728  Scientists estimate around 70% of people have at least a mild malocclusion, meaning some sort of crooked  teeth or misaligned bite. In other words, a perfect bite and smile is the exception rather than the norm. So  if you have a “bad” bite, don’t feel bad yourself. You’re in good company after all, and luckily, you live in an  age where orthodontic treatment can fix just about any bite problems.

What does an ideal bite look like? The upper teeth should overlap the lower teeth just slightly all around  the U-shape of the mouth. If you don’t have that healthy bite, your bite is classified as an overbite,  underbite, or crossbite:

Overbite

As mentioned, a healthy smile has a slight overbite in that the upper teeth will overlap the lower teeth a little. But a bite in which the upper jaw noticeably protrudes beyond the lower jaw is an overbite, or called an overjet when the protrusion passes a certain threshold. Sometimes the overbite is caused by the way the teeth are aligned, and sometimes it’s because of an issue with the overall jaw structure. Overbites, which are a rather common type of malocclusion, can cause speech problems like lisps, difficulty eating, jaw pain, and damage to teeth which leads to tooth decay

Overbites are often corrected by using braces in conjunction with rubber bands or springs that pull the jaw into place over a period of many months. Overbite patients can also be candidates for Invisalign.

Underbite

Underbites are when the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth. Like with overbites, underbites can lead to jaw pain and the uneven wearing of teeth, eventually causing issues with tooth decay. Likewise, underbites cause the teeth to erode more quickly than normal. About 10% of Americans have underbites, making them not as widespread as overbites but still fairly common.

Underbites are easiest to treat when caught early. Orthodontists often use a palatal expander as a child is growing into a teenager to widen the upper jaw and help it to fit better into the lower jaw. Another device sometimes used is a type of headgear called a reverse pull face mask. In more severe cases, an oral surgeon will break the lower jaw and reset it farther back with medical hardware.

Crossbite

Crossbites, a more complex situation than either overbites or underbites, happen when the upper teeth on one side end up on the inside of the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. Crossbites can cause significant wear on the teeth, leading to gum disease or bone loss. Crossbites may be inherited, but they can also be caused or worsened by poor oral habits like thumbsucking.

As far as orthodontic problems go, crossbites are fairly serious and should be treated young. Often treatments can begin as young as age 7, and early treatment makes the problem easier and less expensive to correct. Various retainers and appliances are used to treat this condition.