Oral hygiene is very important in your day-to-day life. After all, no one likes bad breath, rotten teeth, or receding gum lines. Flossing and brushing are key to maintaining a healthy smile.
When you have braces, it is even more important to make sure your oral hygiene habits are up to your dentist’s standards. Plaque, which is basically a mixture of food, bacteria, and bacteria poop, is your enemy. By not removing plaque from your teeth, build-up can result in cavities, gum disease, and may eventually end up losing your tooth!
How well you can maintain your oral hygiene is ultimately based on your dedication. Here are some of the most commonly seen mistakes on flossing that we observed from our patients. If you have any questions about proper techniques, please ask us at your check-up appointments.
Top mistakes people make when flossing:
- Not floss at all: Flossing allows you to clean the areas between teeth and underneath the gum that the toothbrush cannot get to. Without flossing, you are leaving 40% of the tooth surface uncleaned, not a good idea!
- Using the same area of the floss for the whole mouth: Make sure to use a different part of your dental floss when getting in between teeth, otherwise you may be putting plaque from one tooth to another tooth
- Not flossing into the gum: It’s important to wiggle the floss not just in between teeth, but also underneath the teeth (between the teeth and the gums). Your gums need cleaning too. But don’t force the floss in, go as far as it feels natural for you
Some people find flossing difficult, especially when trying to floss the molars or the teeth in the back of your mouth. With braces, flossing does take longer because you have to get underneath the wires. We recommend using a floss threader or superfloss when flossing with braces. Water Pik is a great alternative to flossing if you are having difficulties flossing properly. Water Pik is a device which sends concentrated blasts of water to clean in between your teeth. This is like power washing your teeth. However, it cannot replace good old brushing, and we only recommend using it when you really have difficulty flossing.
Stay tuned for our next post on how to brush your teeth properly!
Myth: Braces are bulky and painful
Fact: With continuous developments in orthodontic technology, the size of braces has been greatly reduced. In addition, the smaller size provides better aesthetics and also makes it easier for patients to keep their teeth clean. The wires that are now used give patients a gentle yet effective treatment experience as well. After an adjustment appointment, braces become more comfortable – just like when you buy a new pair of shoes and you have to break them in!
Myth: Kids should be seen by an orthodontist only after they get all their adult teeth
Fact: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children to have a consultation with a Certified Orthodontist Specialist by the age of seven. Although most children will grow healthily without the need of early orthodontic intervention, some children experience dental problems that should be addressed at an early age, to prevent the situation from getting worse. These problems may not be obvious and will require an assessment to determine the best course of action.
Myth: Braces will ruin my lifestyle and prevent me from doing the things I love
Fact: You can do almost anything during orthodontic treatment – sing, play musical instruments, play sports, etc. You may have to adjust to doing these activities with braces such as wearing a mouth guard when playing a sport, but you will be able to still enjoy these activities.
Since braces have been around so long, people have developed these preconceived ideas on what they think or think they know about braces. Well, we’re here to get at the truths behind those myths.
Myth: I’m too old for braces, they’re only for kids!
Fact: Actually, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. Age is not a problem as long as your teeth and gums are healthy. There are also various types of orthodontic appliances that are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional metal braces like Invisalign.
Myth: Only metal braces can straighten teeth!
Fact: There are many types of orthodontic appliances that can straighten teeth besides the traditional metal braces, such as ceramic (clear) braces, Invisalign, and lingual braces (braces that are mounted on the back side of the teeth). All these options are available to patients, and we will review which option is best for you.
Myth: I only have a little bit of crowding, but my smile looks fine. I don’t need braces!
Fact: Besides having a beautiful smile, having straight teeth makes it easier for you to keep your teeth clean. When teeth are crowded and overlapped, there are many crevices where food, plaque, and tartar can be trapped. This can lead to more incidences of cavities and periodontal disease if a person’s oral hygiene regiment is not satisfactory. Straight teeth make it easier to floss and brush, thereby reducing the chance of having bad dental problems. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth’s surfaces and cause difficulty in chewing and speaking.
Have more myths or questions about braces? Contact us and we will get those myths busted too!
The process of getting Invisalign is a relatively easy process for patients, but it is an important dental and financial decision for your long-term dental health. To begin the process, you will be given an initial consultation to discuss your needs and to evaluate if the Invisalign treatment is right for your needs. This will also give you a chance to become comfortable with your Invisalign provider, like PacificWest Dental, and to discuss any questions or concerns you may have before starting the treatment.
During the consultation, a specialized scanner will be used to create a precise digital image of your mouth. Physical impressions may also be taken. From these images, a treatment plan will be mapped out for you, including the movement of your teeth and the expected length of treatment. If you decide to go ahead with treatment, your first set of aligners will be ordered for you.
Once your aligners are ready, you will be instructed to wear them between 20 to 22 hours per day for best results. You will be asked to take the aligners out in order to eat, brush, and floss daily. You will likely be switching to a new set of aligners approximately every week, and will be expected to go in for checkups around every six weeks. Throughout the weeks, your teeth will gradually start to shift into their intended places.
When treated is finished, a retainer may be recommended for you. These retainers are custom made for your mouth using the same technology as the Invisalign aligners. Upon the finishing of your treatment, your smile will be ready to go out and show to the world!
As a young adult, having braces is probably not on your list of high priority items. The thought of getting braces likely hasn’t even crossed your mind. However, more and more adults have been getting braces, and on average 1 in 5 orthodontic patients are adults. While you may think that braces are for teenagers or that you don’t need to look like a brace face right now, do know that the process has become more than just putting metal in your mouth.
For starters, there are various treatment options to suit your budget and needs. If you don’t want the traditional metal braces because of aesthetics, you can choose Invisalign, ceramic brackets, or lingual braces. You’ve likely heard of Invisalign before, and there’s a reason for that. When Invisalign first entered the market, they were revolutionizing the way people experienced braces. The use of removable, customized “invisible” aligners to move your teeth met the needs of people who wanted the process to be subtle. Invisalign continues to be a great option for those who can take on the responsibility of following a schedule and not losing their aligners (they can be expensive to replace)!
Another option is the use of ceramic brackets, which clearish-white and blend in well with your natural teeth colour. You wouldn’t see younger patients with ceramic brackets because they are more delicate, so they are a perfect alternative to metal brackets for young adults. Alternatively, you can choose to have lingual braces, which are metal brackets attached to the inner side of your teeth. This allows you to go through your treatment process without your brackets being visible to anyone!
Even if you opt for the traditional metal braces, you can still accelerate your treatment duration with readily available technology. For example, there’s a device called the Propel Excellerator that stimulates the root of your teeth to encourage faster movement of your teeth. That way, your teeth can become aligned in a shorter amount of time. There’s also the Propel VPro5, a take-home kit that also encourages more movement of your teeth. Studies have also shown these movements help the bones retain the teeth’s new position better than without these technologies.
Whatever approach you take to your braces treatment, remember you should choose what you are most comfortable with. The team at PacificWest Dental will provide you all the information you require to support you in making your decision.
Everyone has different needs they want addressed when choosing a medical professional. Whether it’s a personality fit or a budget fit, or something else, we get it. That’s why many orthodontists, including PacificWest Dental, offer a free initial consultation so you can get to know us better. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best orthodontist for you:
- First impression – What were your thoughts when you first walked into the office? Did you feel welcomed? Trusting your gut instinct applies with many decisions, and is arguably one of the more decisive factors when making a decision
- Location – Is the office located somewhere convenient for you? Think about where you will be coming from before an appointment, and where you will need to go afterwards. Is the office location on the way?
- Reviews – In the world of unlimited, easy access information, of course you are going to see what other people have to say about orthodontists! Braces are an investment, and we want you to make an informed decision on who you do your treatment with
- Hours – Think about whether it will be easy for you to take time off to go to an appointment, or you require weekend or evening appointments to fit around your schedule. Again, choose what is convenient for you!
- Professional relationship – When you went to your first consultation, how did you feel about the orthodontist? Did you feel comfortable and able to ask any questions you had? You will be seeing the orthodontist for at least a year, so make sure you are comfortable with him or her!
- Budget – At the end of the day, you’re probably looking at your budget and insurance coverage to see what would be most suitable for you. You should also look at the payment options available to you and whether or not it meets your needs
- Bonus offers – How does an orthodontic practice go above and beyond what is expected of them? Do they have a rewards program for patients? Or do draws throughout the year? These are offers that may make your treatment just that much more enjoyable for you
We know that braces are an investment and hope you are able to find the orthodontist that is best for you. With over 20 years of experience giving patients a beautiful smile, we believe the team at PacificWest Dental is the right choice for you. Feel free to contact us for your free initial consultation – we look forward to meeting you!