When to See an Orthodontist

When to See an Orthodontist

When deciding when to see an orthodontist, the answer is generally that it is best to see one as soon as is possible. Earlier treatments generally mean that a patient will have easier treatments, and less likely need for a surgery or more serious corrections later in life.

For children, it is recommended that they see an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Most orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early rather than waiting until the jaw growth has slowed. For children under 7, there is a wide disparity of tooth development – it takes an expert to tell if a child may actually have an orthodontic problem or simply normal developmental variation. An early exam is also a good idea because most conditions are far easier to treat when caught at an earlier stage, when the child’s natural growth processes are in progress – an orthodontist can make good use of what the body is already doing to treat potential issues.

When should adults be seen by an orthodontist? Again, the best answer is usually as soon as possible! If you tend to be embarrassed by your smile, or cover your mouth when you laugh – perhaps you have started to think about getting braces to straighten your smile? The good news is that teeth can be straightened at any age. In current surveys, 1 in 5 orthodontic patients is an adult.

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and compliance is usually less of an issue with adult patients versus children. Don’t forget that orthodontics isn’t only about looks – straight teeth are easier to clean and maintain, and are less subject to abnormal wear and tear. A better bite can lead to better health – so the best answer of when to get orthodontic treatment may just be – “right away!”

How to Care for Your Clear Braces

How to Care for Your Clear Braces

Clear braces are quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for people who need orthodontic treatment, as they are almost completely invisible. The material of the clear braces makes them very hard to see to onlookers, especially when comparing to traditional metal braces. However, because of the colour of the clear braces, they can be more difficult to care for and it is imperative to maintain them to avoid staining – which would ruin the whole purpose of the braces being clear.

Below are some tips we have put together to help you keep your invisible braces clean and free of stains.

Avoid Foods That Stain
Some foods are far more prone to stain your teeth as well as your clear braces. Some of the worst foods for staining clear braces include sodas, tomatoes, mustard, and coffee. The dark colours in these foods can cause stains on both your teeth and on your clear braces if you are not careful. It is best to avoid these foods, but in cases where you cannot avoid them, it’s important to brush your teeth immediately after consuming them.

Brush After Eating
Even if the foods you are eating are not high-risk for staining your braces, you should always brush immediately after a meal to lessen the chance of stains to both your braces and your teeth. In addition to keeping your braces clean, frequent brushing will also help to avoid tooth decay behind the brackets of the braces.

Avoid Whitening Toothpastes
The allure of a whitening toothpaste can be strong, but in some cases these toothpastes may be doing more harm than good. The toothpaste will not stain your braces, but it an potentially leave spots on your teeth once the braces are removed – since you can’t brush behind the braces themselves, it is best to avoid whitening treatments.

Always Floss & Rinse
No matter how thoroughly you brush your teeth, you could miss spots. Flossing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash will help to ensure all food particles are removed from your teeth and braces – if not dealt with, these particles can cause staining to your teeth and braces.

Make Frequent Follow Up Appointments
Regularly visiting your orthodontist is one of the best ways to ensure you are taking proper care of your braces. Your dental team can give you additional tips, and can detect potential stains before they become obvious.

Clear braces can be beneficial as they are nearly invisible – but extra efforts are necessary to ensure that the braces do not stain. Following these steps, and checking in frequently with your orthodontist will keep your smile white and clean on your journey to straight teeth.

Types of Dental Impressions

Types of Dental Impressions

Accurate impressions are required for many aspects of dental work, and are essential to making sure that the (often pricey) work is done as efficiently as possible. There are many important factors that a dentist looks at when choosing how to take a dental impression, including material selection, tray design, and tissue management. The dentist follows basic principles for dental impression techniques.

Materials. The most commonly used impression material for crown and bridge is an addition-type silicone or polyvinyl solixane (PVS). PVS materials do not product a volatile by-product during polymerization and therefore they do not change much during setting. PVS materials have excellent flow, flexibility, and elastic recovery properties when used correctly. They also have a relatively short setting time, good tear resistance, and have no objectionable tastes and smells. It’s worth mentioning that a dentist should always use vinyl gloves when mixing PVS putty material, as some latex gloves contain sulphur compounds which may inhibit the polymerization of PVS.

Tray Design. Selection of trays is important for accuracy of the impression, and also for patient comfort. Trays should be rigid so as to not deform when taking the impression. Custom trays are ideal as they will require less impression material, hence increasing the accuracy of the impression by reducing material shrinkage. Customs trays are usually recommended for routine use when taking impressions, but if a custom tray is not available, stocks trays can be used using a two-stage impression technique.

Tissue management. This means to avoid injury to the tissues of the mouth during preparation and impression-taking. A dentist will do this by placing supragingival margins wherever possible. In some cases, retraction of the gingiva is done so that an impression can be taken of the root surface and margin details. This is commonly done without risk of permanent tissue damage.

The procedure of taking impressions is done by first preparing the trays, cleaning the site, removing moisture, then syringing the impression material around the tooth, and seating the tray properly. An impression usually takes around 5 minutes to fully set.
Accurate dental impressions are required for much of what your dentist does, and are a fairly common procedure. These are a few of the main decisions your dentist will need to make when taking impressions of your teeth.

Relationship Between Crooked Teeth and Neck Pain

Relationship Between Crooked Teeth and Neck Pain

While headaches and neck pain can have many causes, one fairly common potential cause of debilitating headaches and neck pain can be crooked or improperly set teeth and jaw. Malocclusion (misalignment of the bite and jaw) may be a lesser though-of cause of neck pain and subsequent headaches, but in many cases correction of the issue can help greatly for sufferers of neck pain.

In a “perfect” mouth, the top and bottom dental arches and teeth are perfectly aligned with each other and work like gears with molars fitting together seamlessly. Unfortunately, this almost never happens naturally in a human mouth. For a range of reasons, our teeth tend to grow misaligned and crooked which can lead to problems with bite and speech, and place strain on the temporomandibular joints and muscles that control the jaw.

The strain on these joints and muscles is what can cause some severe neck pain, and resultant headaches. An orthodontist can address the issues of malocclusions in the mouth through the use of braces or retainers to retrain the teeth into an ideal position. In doing so, this may lead to less strain on the muscles and joints in the jaw and may alleviate neck pains and strains. Many adults with misaligned teeth may prefer the option of using Invisalign aligners over traditional braces to avoid the look of having metal brackets and elastics across the teeth.

If you experience unexplained neck pain, and subsequent headaches or migraines, it may prove to be beneficial to book an appointment with your dental office to check your mouth for misalignment and crooked teeth which could be contributing to the problem.

How Invisible Braces Work

How Invisible Braces Work

There are a couple of different types of invisible braces – which are typically designed for adults or older children who may want to straighten their teeth without the obvious look of traditional braces. Invisible braces are typically not used when baby teeth are still present in the mouth. There are generally three types of invisible braces: ceramic brackets, inside braces, and clear aligners.

Ceramic braces work the same way as traditional braces, but they use brackets made out of a material the same colour as the tooth rather than metal in order to camouflage the look of the braces. While ceramic braces stand out less than traditional braces, many people do find that they are not as invisible as they would prefer.

Inside braces, which are sometimes also called lingual braces or “iBraces” are placed behind the teeth rather than in front, so provide a great cosmetic alternative for those who do not want the look of traditional metal braces. Similar to traditional braces, lingual braces work by applying gentle yet continuous pressure on the teeth to encourage them to slowly shift into position.  Inside braces do have some special requirements, as they are a bit more involved than regular braces. One of the biggest prohibitive factors with lingual braces is that they do tend to be quite a bit more costly, and they require strong technical expertise from the orthodontist.

Lastly, clear aligners are another type of invisible braces which are custom made for each individual. The aligners are almost entirely invisible and fit snuggle over the teeth – they are engineered to provide just the right amount of pressure to push the teeth into place. Aligners require determined cooperation to ensure they work properly, as the patient must adamantly wear the correct liners week after week, and they must be removed and cleaned between meals, and special events.

Though there are a few different types of invisible braces, they each work in their own way and they may or may not be best for your mouth. If you are thinking of getting invisible braces, talk to your orthodontist to evaluate what type would be best for you.

Is Accelerated Orthodontics for Me?

Is Accelerated Orthodontics for Me?

When you want to get your teeth straightened, there’s usually a nagging voice in the back of your head that already wants to know when the braces can come off. Braces are known to be a timely, and sometimes uncomfortable process, so a new school of thought has come about to combat the length of treatment. Accelerated orthodontics is a new method whose goal is to shorten the length of time needed to straighten the teeth. Some studied claim that accelerated orthodontics can reduce treatment time by between three and eight months.

Accelerated orthodontics require orthodontic devices (ie. Metal or ceramic braces, Invisalign, or lingual braces), and in some cases may also include a minor surgical procedure. The following are some of the currently used accelerated orthotics practices.

PROPEL System – this system follows the idea that creating a small amount of trauma to the mouth will stimulate bone growth, and aid in the braces moving the teeth more quickly. This means that before the braces are placed, an orthodontic surgeon shaves the gums and bones into a shape that allows the teeth to slide more easily into their desired positioning. Some research shows that this method can reduce treatment time by up to 50 percent.

AcceleDent – this system is similar to the PROPEL system but does not require the same amount of invasive surgery. Instead, it relies on a device that emits micro-pulses that encourage bone growth and help the teeth to move more quickly. The patient will wear a mouthpiece around the orthodontics and turns it on for 20 minutes per day. This is considered a safe method to accelerate treatment and is FDA approved.

The biggest reason that many patients opt for an accelerated method is to reduce treatment time – some are aiming to have their teeth straight by a specific day (for a wedding, or graduation for instance), and some would simply rather be done with braces as quick as possible. No matter the reason, accelerated orthodontics are a safe and efficient method for straightening your teeth.

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