Dangers of “Do It Yourself” Orthodontic Treatment

December 12, 2019

Dangers of “Do It Yourself” Orthodontic TreatmentAs we enter the holiday season, we know everyone is trying to put their best self forward preparing to gather around with loved ones. A good-looking smile with even teeth can be a major confidence booster and helps to make a lasting impression on others whether on a date, reunion, or even interview.

Each year millions and even billions of dollars are spent on products to help people achieve that beautiful smile. These days there are dozens of products and methods spreading across the internet claiming they can get your teeth to “pearlfection”. There are even some who have resulted in making their own concoctions of dental care to save on money.

Please heed our warning, when it comes to dental care, doing it on your own can have dangerous and disastrous results.

Recent videos and posts of how to perform “do-it-yourself” or DIY dental procedures have become more popular and resulted in a rise of patients suffering from DIY procedures gone wrong. These are problematic trends that can have serious consequences.

We’d like to warn you about some of these dangers in hopes that you will see through the false promises they give. Instead, save yourself the trouble and toothache of DIY treatments and come to us for your dental needs.

Home-made Orthodontics

An internet trend that has come to our attention is the increasing videos and articles on how to make your own braces. While we understand that many people consider braces a rite of passage and trendy look, it is important to note that orthodontic treatment is a dental procedure and not something one should take into his or her own hands.

What are they?

To make these DIY braces, people fasten household items to their teeth to move their teeth to where they think they should be. Some of these items include rubber bands, dental floss, hair ties, paperclips, and earring backs.

A popular method of DIY orthodontic treatment is to use clear hair ties to close a gap or straighten teeth.

The idea is to wrap these ties around the misaligned teeth and after an indeterminate amount of time (daily or nightly wear), the gaps are supposed to close and straighten your bite. A small pack of these hair ties costs around $5 and some people who claim to see results in as little as 45 days. The appeal of DIY braces can be awfully attractive, but it is truly a case of you get what you pay for–and you should beware!

Straightening your teeth isn’t just about closing gaps; braces help align the upper and lower teeth to reduce pressure on your jaw and keep your teeth from wearing on each other over time.

What are the effects of DIY orthodontics?

The shape of teeth vary greatly as each mouth is unique. It can be easy for those rubber bands and ties to slide into soft tissue. Once embedded into your gums they can be difficult and nearly impossible to remove without professional help.

If left untreated, it will continue to move further into your gum line causing nerve damage as it makes its way towards the root of your tooth. This process will cause the crowns of your teeth to extrude as the roots are slowly killed and the tooth becomes loose and falls out. The loss of teeth and nerve damage are common complications that we see from DIY orthodontics but are not the only things to worry about. Other complications include:

  • Choking on makeshift brackets such as earring backs
  • Metal clips such as paper clips and other metals can become toxic if left in the mouth for extended periods
  • The snapping of bands directly onto your teeth can crack your enamel. Enamel loss is permanent.
  • The gums can become infected, resulting in serious and often expensive treatment
  • Crooked smiles due to teeth being moved at the wrong angle.
  • Pain and lacerations from bands sinking into soft tissue
  • Long term issues and pain from moving teeth too quickly.

Quality dental care is not quick, easy or inexpensive. Creating the perfect smile is a practice that requires education, training, experience, and skill to know how to properly and safely move teeth.

Mail-Order Products

Mail-Order dentistry or “teledentistry” is now on the rise. Instead of going to a dentist or orthodontist, there are now direct to consumer companies that will supply you with orthodontic appliances. These companies will often send an at-home impression kit for you to make your own impressions and mail them back to the company for evaluation. The company will then decide if you meet their criteria and once approved the aligners are made and sent back with instructions on how to correct your teeth at home.

These products are significantly cheaper making them appear to be more convenient to consumers. However, the criteria for the company’s acceptance does not take into account clients who might suffer from oral health issues such as gum disease and dental decay. These conditions often cause the misalignment of teeth and cannot be corrected with mail-order productions.

Mail-Order companies have the goal of making money by selling you products that should be supervised by qualified oral health professionals and are willing to compromise consumer health and safety for the sake of profit.

Dangers of Mail-Order Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontists do more than just straighten your teeth. They identify and treat oral health concerns before considering treatment. This is why a comprehensive exam is performed before recommending any form of orthodontic treatment. With mail-order companies, other issues that the consumer might have can easily be overlooked as they can’t be seen with a simple impression kit.

Some dangers of these products are:

  • Poorly fitted products – A one-size-fits-all aligner or impression mold done without a professional evaluation can lead to poorly fitted aligners that may result in the loss of teeth, damage/infection of gums, inability to open/close jaw, and often teeth are left worse after receiving mail-order treatment.
  • Lack of supervision – There is no supervision with mail-order companies. Your teeth might move faster or slower than anticipated which is why orthodontic treatment requires frequent check-ups to see your progress throughout treatment. Without a dentist or orthodontist supervising you, issues will go unnoticed and may lead to further problems.
  • Aligners aren’t always the right choiceAligners are not the ultimate solution to uneven or misaligned smiles. Your mouth is unique and different treatments may be required for you to achieve your perfect smile.

It is important to remember that orthodontic treatment is a medical service, not a simple product or device to buy easily. Dental health professionals are here to decide what treatment plan will work best for you. Though these options can be tempting on the wallet, often consumers find themselves spending more money in the long-run when they come in for treatment to fix issues created by mail-order or DIY products.

Your teeth will thank you for putting your trust in dental professionals when it comes to achieving your perfect smile. Bring your questions and desires with you during your next Bracify 3D Orthodontics appointment and we will be sure to help you. Together, we will make a safe plan on how to achieve your best smile.

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Toothpaste and Orthodontics

Between the thousands of brands, different flavors, and claims it is no surprise that people can have a difficult time when choosing a toothpaste. Even some dental professionals admit

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Virtual Consults

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Malocclusions

You’ve probably heard of overbites, crooked teeth, or underbites whether you know someone who has one of these conditions or if you’ve experienced one yourself. These conditions are considered

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What do TMJ and TMD mean?

Medical terms can be confusing and overwhelming for some patients and even medical professionals from time to time. You may have heard your friends and family describing their diagnosis

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Toothpaste and Orthodontics

Toothpaste and OrthodonticsBetween the thousands of brands, different flavors, and claims it is no surprise that people can have a difficult time when choosing a toothpaste. Even some dental professionals admit that it can take time to differentiate between brands and types. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it can make the decision even more daunting. To help you we’ve compiled the ultimate toothpaste buying guide to keep your smile healthy and happy.

Common Ingredients

Though there are many forms and types of toothpaste on the market, there are some common ingredients shared by most varieties.

  • Abrasive Agents – These are scratchy particles that work to remove food, bacteria, and minimal stains from the surface of your teeth while you brush. Calcium carbonate is the most common abrasive substance used in toothpaste.
  • Flavoring – Artificial sweeteners are added to make toothpaste taste better. Though many of us associate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, there are many other flavor options on the market such as cinnamon, lemon-lime, and bubblegum.
  • Humectants – Moisturizing agents are used to keep pastes and gels from drying out. The most commonly used humectant for toothpaste is glycerol.
  • Thickening Agents – These agents help to give toothpaste that distinctive consistency and texture that we are used to in our toothpaste.
  • Detergent – Detergents are used to create suds or foams while you brush your teeth. The most commonly used agent for detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate.

Types of Toothpaste

Toothpaste comes in gel, paste, and powdered forms. When it comes to selecting the form of your toothpaste, it is a matter of preference. There are many types of toothpaste on the market and while some may target specific oral concerns, others may cover a variety. Some of the common types of toothpaste include:

  • Fluoride- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has proven instrumental in reducing tooth decay and preventing cavities dramatically over the last 50 years. Toothpaste that contains fluoride works to strengthen your enamel to prevent acidic damage and also reverses early signs of decay by remineralizing the surface of your teeth. Anti-cavity toothpaste contains higher levels of fluoride than standard options.
  • Tartar-Control- Everyone has bacteria on their teeth known as plaque which can be removed with good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left alone, it can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional during a cleaning. Tartar-control toothpaste is formulated to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth using chemical compounds such as zinc citrate, thus preventing the buildup of plaque and decreasing the formation of tartar more effectively than other toothpaste.
  • Tooth Sensitivity- Tooth sensitivity occurs when your enamel is damaged and the second layer of your teeth, dentin, is exposed. Specific compounds, such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, desensitize nerve endings in your teeth to offer relief and add a protective layer to the exposed areas.
  • Whitening – Having a whiter smile is a common goal for many people. Whitening toothpaste does not typically use bleach but may contain more abrasive particles or chemicals to polish or remove stains from the surface of your teeth. It is important to discuss whitening toothpaste with your dentist as some can do more harm than good as the use of whitening toothpaste can increase your risk for developing tooth sensitivity. Depending on your goals, you may need professional treatment to achieve your desired results.

 

Brushing with Orthodontics

Toothpaste that contains fluoride is recommended for all patients as fluoride works to reduce tooth decay and protect your enamel from erosion.

If you are straightening your teeth with Invisalign, then your oral hygiene routine can stay the same and your options are endless. For patients who have other forms of orthodontic appliances such as braces, you may need to work a little harder to maintain a clean, cavity-free smile. As always, we suggest a fluoride option, but using tartar-control toothpaste can also help to reduce plaque buildup in those hard to reach areas.

We advise our patients to avoid using whitening toothpaste or products while receiving orthodontic treatment, as these products will only whiten visible areas and may leave patients with uneven colored teeth once your braces are removed.

For more information on which toothpaste to select or how your toothpaste can affect your smile with orthodontic treatment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Virtual Consults

Hey guys, please use the link below to schedule a virtual consult or braces check with me!

Looking forward to connecting with you all❣️Dr.Gupta.

Schedule A Virtual Consult →

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Malocclusions

MalocclusionsYou’ve probably heard of overbites, crooked teeth, or underbites whether you know someone who has one of these conditions or if you’ve experienced one yourself. These conditions are considered different types of malocclusions, which is the official term for mismatched teeth or jaw issues caused by misalignments with your bite. Roughly 2/3 adults have some degree of malocclusion as very few people have perfectly aligned teeth. While some cases do not require significant treatment or treatment at all, we want to educate you on this common orthodontic occurrence and give a brief guide to malocclusions.

What is malocclusion?

Occlusion refers to the meeting of your teeth, or the actual contact of your teeth in your upper and lower jaws. Your teeth should fit easily and comfortably within your mouth without crowding, gaps, or any teeth that may be rotated or twisted. There should be a slight overlap of your upper jaw on your lower jaw so that your molars can fit into the grooves of their opposite molars.

Malocclusion refers to any deviation from the ideal occlusion. Most people have a malocclusion to some degree, but often it is so minor that treatment is not necessary unless for aesthetic reasons. There are three main categories of malocclusions:

Class 1 – This is the most common type of malocclusion where the bite is normal, but there may be a slight overlap.

Class 2 – Commonly referred to as an overbite where a severe overlap is present, meaning the upper teeth and jaw significantly protrude over the lower jaw and teeth.

Class 3 – More commonly known as an underbite, this class refers to cases where the lower jaw juts out causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper jaw and teeth.

The types of malocclusion can vary, but any type can cause issues for a patient. Common types of malocclusions include:

Crossbite – When the upper teeth bite down inside the lower teeth. It can occur on one side or both and may involve either the front or back teeth.

Open bite – When the front teeth do not overlap with the lower teeth or jaw when the mouth is closed there is a space between the top and bottom teeth.

Overbite – A severe overlap of the lower front teeth. In severe cases, the front teeth may hit the gums when a person bites their teeth together.

Overcrowding – Often caused by a lack of space resulting in teeth that overlap or become crooked, rotated, or twisted.

Overjet – Similar to an overbite, but occurs when the top teeth extend beyond the bottom teeth horizontally.

Spacing – Spaces that occur between two or more teeth

Underbite– An underbite is an anterior crossbite that occurs with the front teeth. When the mouth is closed the lower teeth protrude forward of the top teeth.

Symptoms

Symptoms of malocclusions vary depending on the classification, type, severity, and patient but common symptoms include:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Abnormal signs of wear on teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Alteration in facial features
  • Frequent biting inside of the cheek or tongue
  • Headaches
  • Tooth grinding
  • Neck, shoulder, and upper back pain
  • Speech complications
  • Mouth, teeth, or jaw pain
  • Breathing through the mouth rather than the nose

Cause

There is no single direct cause for all malocclusions. The majority of the time it is heredity due to a size difference in the upper or lower jaw or jaw shape. Sometimes certain birth defects such as cleft lips or cleft palates can lead to the development of malocclusions.

It can also be acquired from childhood habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier usage, or bottle feeding beyond the age of three. Children who have little space between their baby teeth are likely to experience overcrowding with their permanent teeth which can result in malocclusions.

Other causes for malocclusion include abnormally shaped teeth or bite patterns, presence of extra teeth, loss of teeth due to injury or accident, or impacted teeth. Malocclusions may also occur due to poor dental care such as poorly-fitted crowns or other dental/orthodontic appliances. Medical conditions such as allergies or enlarged adenoids or tonsils may also lead to airway obstructions and could create a degree of malocclusion.

Diagnosis

Malocclusions are often diagnosed during routine dental exams. If suspected, x-rays, photographs, and molds are taken and often given to an orthodontist to study and confirm.

Treatment

If a malocclusion is confirmed, an orthodontist will handle treatment in most cases. Treatment varies depending on the type of malocclusion and is determined on an individual basis. Several factors are considered including age, medical history, overall health, and the severity of the malocclusion.

Common types of malocclusion treatments may include but are not limited to:

  • Orthodontic appliances such as braces, aligners, or retainers to correct the position of teeth
  • Extraction of teeth to alleviate overcrowding
  • Capping, bonding, or reshaping of teeth
  • A palatal expander can be used in younger patients to widen the jaw
  • Plates and wires may be used to help stabilize the jaw

In severe cases, surgery may be needed and you may need to be referred to a maxillofacial surgeon or oral surgeon.

If not treated, the malocclusion may worsen over time and become more pronounced. Depending on the type of malocclusion, it may become difficult for you to clean your teeth and gums which can put you at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.

For more information on malocclusion and treatment options or to schedule a consultation, please contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

What do TMJ and TMD mean?

What do TMJ and TMD mean?Medical terms can be confusing and overwhelming for some patients and even medical professionals from time to time. You may have heard your friends and family describing their diagnosis of TMJ, with symptoms of a clicking jaw or earaches, while others refer to it by a different name, TMD. Though these terms can sound the same, they refer to different conditions and we are here to offer you a better understanding of what TMJ and TMD are and how they may affect you.

TMJ and TMD

TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint which connects the mandibular, or your lower jaw, to the temporal bones of the skull. The TMJ is one of the more unique joints within your body as it allows you to move your jaw forward, backward, and side to side so that you can chew, talk, sing, yawn, and more. This joint can be found just in front of your ears on both sides of your head.

Any problem with the muscles, ligaments, discs, bones, or the joint itself are known as temporomandibular disorders or TMD and refers to the actual disorder, where the jaw joint is misaligned and causing problems such as pain, inflammation, and inability to move or operate the jaw. However, these problems or conditions are often incorrectly called by the joint name of TMJ instead.

What are the causes of TMD?

There can be a variety of causes for TMD and can arise from problems with the jaw, the muscles near the jaw, or the joint itself. If you notice some of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor who may refer you to a specialist to determine the cause of the oral problem. Some common causes for TMD include:

  • Injury to the joint, jaw, or muscles along your neck and face
  • Whiplash
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth which puts pressure on the joint
  • Movement or dislocation of the soft cushion, or disc, between the joint parts
  • Arthritis of the joint
  • Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial or jaw muscles
  • Tooth/jaw misalignment

Signs & Symptoms

Patients with TMD often experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary or chronic. Symptoms depend on the severity and cause of your condition and can show on one side or both. There are many signs and symptoms of TMD that can overlap with other conditions, which makes a diagnosis by your doctor all the more important.

Some of the most common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the face, jaw, or ear area
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Pain or pressure around the ears, face, and behind the eyes
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Dislocation of jaw
  • Locked, stiff, or stuck jaw
  • Tenderness of jaw muscles
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Swelling of the face
  • Dental occlusion (the way the upper or lower jaw/teeth fit together)

Diagnosis

As stated above, many of the symptoms of TMD can overlap with other conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, sinus problems, or arthritis. To determine the cause, your orthodontist will conduct a physical examination and medical history review.

During your appointment, your jaw will be tested for pain or tenderness, and your doctor will examine how your jaw works when you open and close it while listening for clicks, pops, or sounds when you operate your jaw. Your bite and facial muscles will also be tested. It is not uncommon for x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to be required to determine the cause as these images can provide insight into the joint, surrounding tissues, and structures of your jaw. Depending on the diagnosis, you may need to be referred to another doctor or specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

Treatment

Several different treatment options are available depending on your condition and the severity of your symptoms. In most mild cases TMD can be treated with self-care practices at home. Home methods include:

  • Taking over-the-counter medication to relieve muscle pain and swelling
  • Using moist heat or cold packs
  • Eating soft foods or cutting your food into smaller pieces so you chew less.
  • Avoiding hard, crunchy, or chewy foods
  • Limiting extreme jaw movements that force you to open your jaw wide
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Performing jaw stretching exercises

If your symptoms do not improve with these home remedies or if your case is more complex, your doctor may prescribe pain medication, anti-inflammatory medicine, muscle relaxants, or even Botox to reduce tension in muscles and nerves. Your doctor may also provide you with custom made bite guards or splints to prevent clenching or grinding of your teeth.

Other treatment options may include low-level laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, or low-level electrical stimulation to provide muscle relief. If misaligned teeth or bite is the cause, corrective dental treatment may be necessary. In extreme cases, surgery can help to remove fluid or debris from the jaw or replace/realign the joint.

Every case is unique, and a careful diagnosis and treatment plan will help to address your needs. If you have any questions about TMD or your temporomandibular joint, please contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today so that we can help.

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