oral hygiene

Nail Biting and Your Oral Health

September 25th, 2014

We’ve all heard that biting your nails is an awful habit, but you many wonder- really- what’s so bad about it? This interesting article discusses how biting your nails affect your teeth and oral health.

Nail biting, also known as Onychophagia, is a common habit among various age groups, including primarily children, teens and young adults. Nail biting is generally triggered by stress and most often decreases with age. That being said, nail biting is unsanitary, unattractive, as well as unhealthy for your teeth!

Here’s why:

It’s unsanitary. Your nails are dirty, almost twice as dirty as your fingers! Hence, biting your nails is just asking for germs and bacteria.

No good things come to your teeth. Nail biting causes your teeth to constantly be chewing, which is not good for them. This excessive motion wears your teeth down faster than a non-nail biter’s and puts a large amount of stress on your front teeth- contributing to teeth misalignment.

Braces don’t love it either. Braces already put pressure on teeth, nail biting ads unnecessary pressure, further stressing your teeth and weakening their roots.

It can be costly. Nail biting can result in up to $4,000 in additional dental bills over one lifetime, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Yikes!

What can you do about it?

Now that you know how harmful nail biting can be, it’s time to take action to break your nail biting habit. Try to be conscious of your fingernails and to keep them looking good- this will help you resist the temptation.

Ask Dr. Alan Kennell or visit the article for tips on how to break a nail biting habit.

Summer Care Plan for your Smile!

June 26th, 2014

Summer is here!  There's no better time to make sure you have a safe and healthy summer.  Pool parties, BBQ's, summer camps, vacations galore!  With summer comes a time to slow down, take a break and soak up a little extra family time.  That being said...Summer is NOT the time to skimp on your dental care routines.  Whether your child is heading off to summer camp with new orthodontics or you, yourself, have transitioned into a new retainer - Don't take a vacation from your healthy smile!

Make an appointment with Dr. Kennell today for a quick check up before heading out on your summer trips.  Remembering good orthodontic care during your summer activities, caring for your braces and avoiding sugary drinks and sticky, chewy or hard foods, are all part of a smart plan for maintaining your healthy Summer Smile!

June is National Smile Month

June 5th, 2014

The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. It can enhance your dental health and overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain your teeth—and your smile—for a lifetime.

Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.

Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!

Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. We can personalize your treatment to suit all of your needs!

10 Frequently Asked Questions!

April 3rd, 2014

Check out these 10 Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions, that are not answered below just ask us!

1. What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

2. What is an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Only dentists who have successfully completed an advanced specialty education may call themselves orthodontists.

3. At what age can people have orthodontic treatment?

Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics, because healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if treated early. An orthodontic evaluation at any age is advisable if a parent, family dentist or the patient's physician has noted a problem.

4. Why is orthodontic treatment important?

Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to conditions that cause not only tooth decay but also eventual gum disease and tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints, which can result in chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.

5. How long will orthodontic treatment take?

In general, active treatment time with orthodontic appliances (braces) ranges from one to three years. Mild problems usually require less time, and some individuals respond faster to treatment than others. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take only a few months.

6. What are orthodontic study records?

Diagnostic records are made to document the patient's orthodontic problem and to help determine the best course of treatment. Complete diagnostic records typically include a medical/dental history; plaster study models of the teeth, photos of the patient's face and teeth, and appropriate radiographic films. This information is used to plan the best course of treatment, help explain the problem, and propose treatment to the patient and/or parents.

7. How have new "high tech" wires changed orthodontics?

In recent years, many advances in orthodontic materials have taken place. Braces are smaller and more efficient. The wires now being used are no longer just stainless steel. Some of the new wires are heat-activated. These new kinds of wires cause the teeth to continue to move during certain phases of treatment, which may reduce the number of appointments needed to make adjustments to the wires.

8. How do braces feel?

Most people have some discomfort after their braces are first put on or when adjusted during treatment. After the braces are on, teeth may become sore and may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Patients can usually manage this discomfort well with whatever pain medication they might commonly take for a headache. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed.

9. Do teeth with braces need special care?

Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard and sticky foods. They must not chew on pens, pencils or fingernails because chewing on hard things can damage the braces. Damaged braces will almost always cause treatment to take longer, and will require extra trips to the orthodontist's office.

Keeping the teeth and braces clean requires more precision and time, and must be done every day if the teeth and gums are to be healthy during and after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning.

The orthodontist and staff will teach patients how to best care for their teeth, gums and braces during treatment. The orthodontist will tell patients (and/or their parents) how often to brush, how often to floss, and, if necessary, suggest other cleaning aids that might help the patient maintain good dental health.

10. How important is patient cooperation during orthodontic treatment?

Successful orthodontic treatment is a "two-way street" that requires a consistent, cooperative effort by both the orthodontist and patient. To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must carefully clean his or her teeth, wear rubber bands or appliances as prescribed by the orthodontist, and keep appointments as scheduled. Damaged appliances can lengthen the treatment time and may undesirably affect the outcome of treatment.

How To Prevent Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

March 20th, 2014

Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets.

Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

1. Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque, which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, and popcorn can also bend or break your braces. On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.

2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can't always reach.

3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can find many of these items at your local pharmacy.

4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
It's important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.

As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.

It's Almost A New Year!

December 26th, 2013

The year is almost over, and we reflect on the year that was. With a new office coming this spring to Plymouth's Boulder Point (in addition to our Laconia office), we know that we are looking forward to serving our amazing patients with even more great care in 2014!

A new year can mean a new you! It is never too late to get that beautiful smile you have always wanted. Nothing is as important as a genuine and heartfelt smile. Whether in your professional life or when you are out socializing, an attractive smile can make you feel happier and more relaxed –as well as making the right impression.

A beautiful smile is an amazing asset. It contributes to self esteem and positive self image – important qualities for any age group. As well as having teeth that look nice, orthodontic treatment can also improve the function of your jaw and aid chewing efficiency of your teeth by enhancing the way your teeth bite together. Crowded teeth can be very difficult to clean. They provide areas for bacteria to grow and food to stagnate and therefore require a rigorous oral hygiene routine. Straight teeth are much easier to clean as there are no awkward gaps to get between and improved accessibility, making oral hygiene routines straight-forward.

So go on... treat yourself this new year with a beautiful, bright, straight smile!  Schedule your consultation today!

Have a safe and happy New Year from our family to yours!