September 1st, 2017
BACK TO SCHOOL
It is the season of Back-to-School, with all the excitement and anxieties that come with it. This can also be true for children, and parents of children undergoing orthodontic treatment.
One way to put both parents and children at ease when it comes to orthodontics at school is to discuss a “Plan of Action”. If you and your child understand the plan ahead of time, it will help ensure a successful (orthodontic!) school year!
Here are some recommendations for your Orthodontic “Back-to-School Action Plan”
- Bring a toothbrush to school – It’s always best to brush your teeth after you eat lunch. A quick brushing doesn’t take long and will help keep your teeth and braces free of food, which helps to avoid cavities and/or permanent staining on your teeth, as well as bad breath!
- Drink Water – Bring a water bottle to school and drink throughout the day. This helps to keep your mouth clean by rinsing away large food particles stuck in your braces after eating. Keep a toothbrush in your locker in a toothbrush case along with some toothpaste, and you will never have to remember to bring it to school.
- Packing your lunch and snacks – When packing lunches and snacks, avoid foods that are hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy to prevent bending wires or breaking braces. If you like hard fruits and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, cut them into smaller pieces before you leave for school. Biting into hard fruits and veggies can damage your braces, which can cause discomfort and could lengthen your time in braces.
- Retainers – Bring your retainer case with you to school. Make sure to always place the retainer in the case whenever it is out of your mouth, and make sure your retainer case is labeled or has a unique marking or pattern on it, to avoid accidentally mixing it up with your friend’s. Many patients who need retainers replaced have forgotten to bring their case to school and left their retainers on a lunch tray or in their lunch bag where it’s likely to disappear in the garbage. Replacement retainers can be quite costly and it’s no fun to look in the trash to look for your lost retainer! Ewwwwwww…
- Rubber bands – Don’t forget to change your rubber bands and bring a supply with you to keep in your desk, backpack or locker! A great idea is to have an orthodontic baggie in your locker that has everything you need to take care of your orthodontic appliances, and to make sure your mouth stays clean and comfortable while you’re at school.
- Do you play a Sport? – Protecting your braces during sports not only protects your teeth from accidents but also protects your braces!!
- Lastly, Don’t forget to SMILE! – Show off your beautiful smile to your friends and teachers!
August 24th, 2017
We’re close to the end of summer vacation, and the summer months bring an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of kids damaging their precious mouths and pearly whites. If you play sports, it's important that you consult our office for special precautions, such as wearing a mouth guard. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing school sports such as baseball, soccer, lacrosse and others. Be sure, however, to avoid mouth guards that custom form to your teeth as these will resist any tooth movements we are trying to achieve.
In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, please schedule an appointment with the office. And don’t forget to ask us about how you can get a mouth guard for yourself.
Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Please give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment at our office.
August 8th, 2017
When coming to our office to have braces put on, you may find yourself feeling a bit intimidated and nervous about the experience. We hope to help you feel more at ease by explaining exactly what the different parts of braces are, and what they do.
Parts of Braces
• Elastic Tie — This is a very small rubber band, and it holds the archwire in place.
• Archwire — This is the main part of the braces. It is a wire guide that tracks the teeth. The wire may be moved from time to time during treatment to continue straightening a patient's teeth.
• Loop in Archwire — This is not in all braces. If it is used, it is to close a gap left from a tooth extraction.
• Bracket — This piece of equipment holds the archwire in place. Formerly, many patients used colored rubber bands to keep the brackets in place, but now since most brackets are cemented on, this is no longer necessary.
• Headgear Tube — This is a hollow area near the back bands, which allows the headgear to fit into the braces. This is only used on patients who require headgear.
• Coil Spring — If needed, this would fit between a bracket and the main archwire. Its purpose is to open up the space between the teeth. This is not necessarily used on all patients.
• Tie Wire — This is another piece of equipment that is used to keep the archwire in place. It is a thin wire that wraps around the bracket.
• Band — This is a metal band that fits completely around a tooth. It is used to help adhere brackets to the tooth.
• Hook — This is the piece of equipment that is used to attach the elastics, also known as rubber bands, around the bracket.
• Elastic — These elastics are used to connect one point of the appliance to another. The purpose is to apply pressure, and encourage the teeth to move into the proper positioning.
By defining each appliance we hope you or your child will be less apprehensive about getting braces put on. At the end of your treatment, you will have a bright, straight smile to show off to all of your friends.
July 13th, 2017
Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:
1. One tooth at a time. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.
2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.
3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.
4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.
5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.
6. Remove the moving parts. If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.
7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.
8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.
9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces.
10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office - we’d love to help!
We hope this helps, and remember to give our team a call if you ever have any questions!