Can I Still Whiten My Teeth during Invisalign Treatment?

February 14th, 2024

A common question you might be wondering is if you can still whiten your teeth while being in Invisalign treatment. We used to always inform patients that they should wait until they are done with treatment to use whitening strips. It still holds true that you should not use whitening strips, but there is now a solution to the whitening!

Invisalign now offers the Invisalign Professional Whitening System that is safe to use during and after your treatment.

Why it is safer to use this system than whitening strips is because it will be able to whiten your teeth despite the attachments. Trying to use a whitening strip would not be able to go through the attachments, leaving spots that are not as white when they some day come off. This Invisalign Professional Whitening System contains 10% carbamide peroxide formulation which breaks down into water, oxygen, and reactive oxygen molecules. The reactive oxygen molecules are what are able to change the stained molecules, making them lighter. Due to this reaction, the whitening solution will spread through the entire tooth without actually having to cover every part of it. So even the tooth surface underneath the attachments will still be getting whiter just the same.

The at-home kit allows you to easily whiten your teeth professionally! The kit comes with 4 syringes of whitening gel. At Dr. Kennell's orthodontic office they are sold for $150 and can be used throughout your treatment. It is instructed for you to lightly insert the gel just enough to cover the aligner so that it does not overflow to your gums. It is recommended for you wear them for at least 8-10 hours to get the full benefits. It is important to know that if you start to feel any sensitivity during these whitening treatments, you should take the aligners out. Using a toothpaste like Sensodyne along with your treatments will be helpful in reducing the sensitivity. This whitening gel is also made with potassium nitrate, used to reduce dental hypersensitivity, and fluoride, which helps strengthen the teeth.

Luckily, this whitening system can be used for Invisalign patients (during and after treatment), any patients that are in a Vivera/clear retainer, or anyone that is simply interested in just whitening their teeth! Make sure to ask your orthodontist/dentist about the Invisalign Professional Whitening System next time you are in the office, it will be worth it!

Phase I vs. Phase II Treatment, What is the Difference?

January 12th, 2024

With the new year starting, getting your teeth fixed might be, or should be part of your New Years Resolutions! Whether it is for your child or for yourself it could be a good idea to see an orthodontist. Knowing the difference between Phase I and Phase II treatment can help give you a better understanding of how soon to have your child looked at and the importance of it.

Let's start with Phase I, or early age orthodontics. This phase of treatment can be very useful in cases when patients have crowding, misaligned bites, jaw discrepancies, and or protruding teeth. Phase I treatment usually starts in young patients between 7 to 10 years old. A child is still growing and developing with a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth during this age range. This gives the perfect advantage to start correcting dental issues before they can get worse.

Some options for Phase I treatment include retainers, palate expanders, space maintainers, braces, and in some cases Invisalign. Removable retainers can help teeth stay in place to prevent shifting, guiding adult teeth into place, and even help with jaw development. Space maintainers will aid in maintaining the space needed to allow the adult teeth to grow and erupt correctly. Palate expanders help with correcting jaw growth problems in patients with narrow palates. Expanding the palate will make teeth less crowded and make room for the proper alignment of adult teeth. The use of limited braces is typically for cases when patients have overcrowding or issues with their bite.

All in all, Phase I orthodontics will do the early work in guiding the adult teeth in the right direction, whether its making space or maintaining the space for them to develop.

This is a type of palate expander called a Hyrax.

Braces are another type of Phase I treatment, but usually only a few brackets are placed on the teeth.

This space maintainer is called an LLA (Lower Lingual Arch).

These are examples of Upper and Lower Hawley retainers.

This now leads us into the next phase of treatment, Phase II orthodontics. Some patients who were in Phase I treatment will still need Phase II treatment later on, but less work is needed. Other patients do not need Phase I treatment and will just begin with Phase II.

Depending on how severe the misalignment of the teeth are, or if there are any jaw discrepancies or impacted teeth, it would be important for the patient to begin their treatment sooner than later.

The most common treatments in Phase II orthodontics include braces, traditional or clear brackets, and clear aligners, usually Invisalign. Both treatments can succeed in fixing misalignment or malocclusions based on what the patients needs are. It also depends on preferences, if you do not prefer to have the braces showing, maybe clear brackets or clear aligners would suit you best. In certain cases, extractions may be a necessity to make room for overcrowded teeth. If a patient has impacted teeth they may need surgery to expose the tooth and guide it in the right direction. The orthodontist will develop a treatment plan that will go over all of the expectations throughout your treatment.

Invisalign uses clear aligners to move teeth.

Some offices may offer clear brackets which are less apparent.

Traditional braces is a very common treatment in Phase II orthodontics.

To conclude, the main difference between Phase I and Phase II orthodontic treatment, is the desired result. Phase I aims to fix urgent issues that cannot wait until the permanent teeth develop. Whereas Phase II is important in making sure the adult teeth come together in proper alignment.

Setting up a consultation with your local orthodontist would be a good idea, especially when it comes to whether your child will need Phase I treatment or not. Dr. Kennell of Laconia, Plymouth, and Littleton, NH offers free consultations and will inform you if Phase I treatment is needed or if there is still time to wait!

Naughty vs. Nice Foods for the Holidays!

December 13th, 2023

The holiday season is all about spending time with family and friends, giving gifts, and of course eating plenty of food. Unfortunately not all of the foods during the holidays are braces friendly. We want to make sure you are aware because our office will be closed from Christmas until after the new year. Nobody wants to spend their holiday break with broken brackets!

Let's see what is on the Naughty and Nice lists this year!

Naughty List of Foods:

  • Candy Canes are a Christmas classic, but are very hard. If you do choose to have them make sure you only lick/suck on them!
  • Caramel is usually included during some holiday desserts, unfortunately it is so gooey and sticky that it will be stuck all over your braces.
  • Snack Mix usually has nuts and or other hard, crunchy ingredients that you'll want to avoid.
  • Popcorn is a typical holiday treat that comes in all different flavors, but the kernels will get stuck in your braces, especially the caramel corn. Steer clear even though its tempting!

Nice List of Foods:

  • Pie in flavors like pumpkin, apple, cherry or any other fruit will do!
  • Ice Cream is a great side to have with your pie!
  • Fudge is a nice, soft dessert to have as long as it doesn't have caramel or nuts.
  • Deviled Eggs are a great snack that is so easy to overeat, but were not judging!
  • Veggie Platters are a healthy choice to have just make sure your carrots and crunchy vegetables are chopped up smaller before you eat them.
  • Meat is usually the main course for holiday dinners, whether its turkey or ham you should be good. If you're enjoying a prime rib just make sure to cut it up into smaller pieces!

So, if you want to stay on Santa and Dr. Kennell's nice list, you will do your best to avoid naughty foods this Holiday season! It is totally fine to still indulge in some wonderful sweet treats, but don't forget to keep up with your brushing and flossing too!

We wish you a merry and bright holiday season this year from Dr. Kennell's Orthodontic Office!

November is TMJ Awareness Month

November 6th, 2023

What is TMJ anyways? TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joints, which are two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull.

It is important to bring awareness to TMJ as approximately 36 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. TMD stands for the Temporomandibular disorders which are a common group of related pain conditions involving the TMJ, jaw muscles and associated structures.

The symptoms to look for are:

  • Pain in the TMJ or jaw muscles
  • Joint sounds such as clicking or popping
  • Limitations in jaw movement
  • Tension in face or neck
  • Headaches, especially in the temples
  • Difficulty chewing/swallowing
  • Fatigue

Once diagnosed, there are some ways to help ease the pain on your own. For example, eating softer foods, avoiding repetitive functions (nail-biting, chewing gum), using heat packs, or practicing relaxation techniques to minimize jaw tension. If that does not do the trick, it could be beneficial to let your dentist know. Your dentist will be able to to recommend some jaw exercises, prescribe medications if it is necessary, or even create a night guard/bite plate to decrease the clenching and grinding you may be experiencing.

Can orthodontic treatment help TMJ disorders?

Orthodontic treatment CAN be helpful in treating TMJ disorders, but it is never a GUARANTEE that it will completely fix it. An orthodontist or a dentist could recommend the use of a night guard to help the jaw muscles relax and heal while you are asleep. If a patients occlusion is the main factor in causing TMJ, then getting braces or Invisalign treatment could be recommended by your orthodontist.

If prior techniques do not seem to be working, it would be a great idea to at least schedule a consultation. Thankfully, Dr. Kennell at Kennell Orthodontics of Laconia, NH offers FREE consultations. He will give a detailed exam and provide his expertise on what actions to take next. If this sounds like something you have been experiencing, come see us soon!

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