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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Preventing Stains During Orthodontic Treatment

Preventing Stains During Orthodontic TreatmentFinishing orthodontic treatment is a big deal! Finally, your braces are coming off! You’ve invested a lot into the process and are excited to see your sparkling straight smile. The last thing you want to see when they remove your braces is stained teeth. Fortunately, we have several recommendations to offer to prevent you from being surprised with stained teeth after braces.

Orthodontic Treatment & Stained Teeth

Braces can make it difficult to fully clean and remove plaque from your teeth. It is common for plaque to build up behind wires and around brackets. If not removed, the plaque may develop into tartar and turn a yellow or brownish color. The bacteria found in plaque can eat at your tooth’s enamel, soften your tooth, and leave exposed white spots.

Over time, if not professionally cleaned, the tartar and plaque can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

Sometimes the bonding material used to attach brackets to your teeth become discolored over time, but this material will be removed along with your braces.

Can You Prevent Stains?

Fortunately, you can take preventative measures against tooth staining after braces.

The first step is to practice and maintain good oral hygiene practices during orthodontic treatment. We recommend investing in interdental brushes, water flossers, or floss threaders to help you clean and remove plaque and leftover debris from between your brackets, gums, and teeth. An electric toothbrush with an orthodontic headpiece can also help to keep your teeth clean. Brush after every meal with a soft-bristled brush and ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste. Avoid using tooth-whitening toothpaste as this can lead to discoloration since only the exposed areas will be whitened.

The second step is to continue to attend regular cleanings and examinations with your dentist and orthodontist as needed. Your orthodontist can offer suggestions on how to clean around your braces and avoid stains.

Minding your diet is also important as certain foods can become stuck to your braces, damage wires, and significantly contribute to plaque buildup. We recommend limiting sugary, acidic, starchy, sticky, and crunchy foods during your orthodontic treatment. Dark and highly pigmented foods and beverages such as dark sodas, tomatoes, berries, tea, wine, coffee can stain your teeth as well.

For patients who smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products, if possible, try to reduce the amount or stop altogether during treatment as these products can stain your teeth as well.

Removing Stains After Treatment

If you’ve recently had your braces removed and noticed stains or discoloration, it’s not too late. We offer several treatment options that can help whiten and brighten your new smile.

Teeth whitening either at home with toothpaste and strips or professional in-office treatments can lift stains from the surface of your teeth. Always consult with your dentist before trying over-the-counter products as some ingredients may lead to tooth sensitivity or gum inflammation.

Cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or composite tooth restorations can be applied to the surface of your teeth to whiten your smile as well. If you are curious about using cosmetic dentistry to whiten your smile, speak with your dentist for more information.

As orthodontists, we are here to help you achieve that straight and dazzling smile you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t let the fear of potential stains prevent you from seeking treatment. We will be with you every step of the way so that you can smile after braces with confidence and pride. For more information on how to prevent brace stains or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthdontics today.

Moving Your Teeth With Braces

Moving Your Teeth With BracesWe care about our patient’s well being and comfort in our office and as such we encourage you to be active in your treatment. A great way to be active is to learn more about your treatment and the orthodontic process. Understanding how your teeth move and how orthodontics works can help you to feel more comfortable with your treatment as we work together to create a healthier, straighter, smile.

Can your teeth move?

Yes! Your teeth can shift and move due to your body’s incredible ability to adapt to certain situations and stressors. Your teeth move when slight pressure is applied to them over time, this can happen due to overcrowding, smaller jaws, or crooked teeth. As orthodontists, we use your body’s ability to adapt to also correct any malocclusions so that you can have the smile you’ve dreamed about.

Retainers, lingual braces, headgear, aligners, and traditional braces are just a few methods we use to straighten your smile.

What are braces?

Braces are one of the most common treatment options for correcting your smile. Braces are composed of several different parts that work together to create gradual gentle pressure on your teeth and jaw to move your teeth into the correct alignment.

When learning about how orthodontics works, it is a good idea to get to know the parts of your braces.

Brackets

Once your teeth are clean and dry, a bracket is applied to your teeth and bonded to the surface using glue. Brackets can be made of ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel. Just as your teeth are different shapes and sizes, your brackets are custom-made for each tooth for a proper fit. These brackets help ensure that pressure is applied evenly throughout your mouth and are connected by an archwire.

Archwire

An archwire is a thin, rod-like piece of metal that connects all the brackets in your mouth. They can be made of stainless steel, nickel titanium, or copper titanium. These metal wires are responsible for creating the right amount of pressure against your teeth to move them into their optimal position.

Elastic Bands

Elastic bands also known as ligatures that connect to your brackets create additional pressure on your teeth and jaw. They can help to move an individual tooth or group of teeth in a certain direction.

They come in a variety of colors including clear or tooth-colored so that you can tailor your smile to your style during treatment.

How do braces move your teeth?

The brackets and archwire are the “heavy lifters” when it comes to moving your teeth. They control the amount of pressure used to guide your teeth into the right alignment.

At first, the archwire may be thin and flexible, but as you progress further into treatment the wire will become thicker and less flexible to apply more pressure to your teeth and jaw.

Each tooth is covered by a ligament and surrounded by bone. During orthodontic treatment, pressure is placed on your teeth causing the ligaments to stretch and loosen slightly. As your teeth shift, osteoclasts are produced to break down some of the bone surrounding your teeth so your tooth can move. Don’t worry though–new bone is created to support your tooth’s new position thanks to osteoblasts!

At every appointment, we evaluate your progress and adjust your wires to keep consistent pressure on your teeth. Most appointments are scheduled every six to eight weeks to give your teeth time to shift and adjust at a steady pace.

Does it hurt?

Treatment can cause some discomfort, tenderness, and soreness as your teeth shift into their new position. Irritation can also be caused by the brackets and wires rubbing against the soft tissues of your mouth.

Why does treatment take a long time?

We do our best to keep your treatment length as short as possible. The average course of treatment can take anywhere from 1 to 3 years. You can help keep your treatment time short by following your orthodontist’s instructions for the care and maintenance of your braces.

It takes time to move your teeth properly, if your teeth move too fast, it can not only be painful but also damage the roots of your teeth and the surrounding bone and soft tissues. Once your treatment is completed, you will be asked to use a retainer to help ensure your teeth, bones, and surrounding tissues remain in their new position.

Whether you are considering orthodontics, in the middle of treatment, or about to have your braces removed, we are here to help you in your journey towards a straight and brilliant smile. For more information on orthodontics and our services or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

October and Orthodontics

October and OrthodonticsOctober often symbolizes the start of fall and the holiday season, and for us orthodontists October means National Orthodontic Health Month! During this month, we raise awareness about the benefits of orthodontic treatment and how essential it can be to your overall dental health.

Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents have their child’s smile evaluated by an orthodontist by the age of 8. Between the ages of 7 and 10, children undergo growth spurts that are important to the development of their jaws and oral health. By coming in early, we can evaluate their oral health and ensure that as they grow their smile remains healthy.

Early treatment can prevent conditions from worsening and lower the risk for more complex and costly procedures. Orthodontic care does more than straighten misaligned teeth to improve the appearance of your smile. An improper bite or misaligned teeth can result in an increased risk of tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss as well as affect your jaw’s ability to function properly.

We want to also mention that we treat patients of all ages, and you are never too old or young to come in and start your journey to a brilliant smile.

Our October Orthodontic Tips

The month of October can be full of fun fall activities and events. If you are recently starting your orthodontic journey, you may find that life with an orthodontic appliance such as braces can quickly translate to treading carefully when it comes to food.

If you plan on attending any harvest parties or want to indulge in trick-or-treating, some may not be brace-friendly. Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods. This includes caramel, popcorn, chips, gum, taffy, toffee, lollipops, hard candies, and products with nuts. Hard vegetables and fruits such as carrots, corn on the cob, and apples should be cut into smaller pieces.

This may seem like a trick as many of the “good” treats need to be avoided if you wear braces, but it is important that you follow the dietary restrictions associated with orthodontic treatment. These foods could damage the brackets and wires of your appliance which may lead to injury, broken appliances, and emergency treatment, and can lengthen the course of your orthodontic treatment.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Remember after you’ve had your fun, be sure to brush and floss after every meal and snack, especially after eating candy. Use interdental brushes and floss to clean between teeth, brackets, and wires. We also recommend rinsing your mouth afterward with an ADA-approved mouthwash. The last thing we want is a holiday cavity or dental emergency because of poor dental hygiene.

By following dietary restrictions and your orthodontist’s orders as well as remembering to clean your teeth properly, you can keep your treatment on track and reduce your risk for unexpected accidents afterward. If you have any questions about orthodontics and how we can help you or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Overcrowding and How We Can Help You

Overcrowding and How We Can Help YouOvercrowding, also known as dental crowding or crowded teeth, is a common dental condition that refers to when your teeth are unable to grow straight due to a lack of space. When this occurs, your teeth may press together, overlap, and twist out of alignment with some teeth being pushed behind or in front of other teeth.

There are three degrees in which overcrowding is diagnosed:

  • Mild – Mild overcrowding refers to only one tooth being affected and is slightly rotated in the upper or lower jaw.
  • Moderate – Moderate overcrowding is when two or three teeth rotate or overlap in the upper or lower jaw.
  • Severe – Severe overcrowding means several or the majority of the teeth overlap in the upper or lower jaw.

What causes overcrowding?

Teeth should grow straight without crowding or gaps, but we know that is not always the cause. Here are some common factors that can lead to overcrowding:

  • Abnormal tooth growth
  • Excess teeth
  • Genetics may cause teeth to be larger than your jaw can allow, or genetics may lead to a smaller jaw than average
  • Losing primary teeth too early may cause other teeth to shift into the empty space
  • Trauma and injury can fracture the jaw or lead to missing teeth which can cause teeth to shift in the healing process

Signs

If you are unsure if your teeth or your child’s teeth are crowded, there are some signs to look for that may indicate overcrowding, including:

  • Crooked teeth at unusual angles
  • Difficulty brushing and flossing
  • Jaw pain
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Trouble biting or chewing

Often overcrowding can be related to malocclusions or misalignments of the jaw which can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and a possible temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).

Does overcrowding need to be treated?

If left untreated, overcrowding can lead to a variety of oral health problems:

Poor Hygiene

Overcrowded teeth that overlap or twist against other teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss properly, making it easy for plaque and bacteria to build up in the mouth and increases the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and bad breath.

Gum Disease

If plaque and bacteria do build up in an overcrowded mouth, this may lead to the development of gum disease. Signs of gum disease include a bad taste in the mouth, bleeding gums, loose teeth, swollen red gums, and gums that pull away from the teeth.

Malocclusions

Failure to correct crowding during childhood can lead to the jaw becoming misaligned in adulthood which can cause headaches, jaw pain, and potentially lead to jaw dysfunctions.

Speech Impediments

Overcrowded teeth can also cause speech difficulties as they can interfere with the ease and clarity of pronouncing certain words. This will depend on the location and severity of the overcrowding. Dental crowding may also cause whistling when talking as air moves through the teeth.

What are my treatment options?

The treatment for overcrowding will depend on the patient’s age and conditioning. Common treatment options for overcrowding include braces, aligners, extractions, and retainers. Braces are the most common treatment for overcrowding, though they can be the lengthiest of treatment options and requires frequent visits to our office to adjust the appliance accordingly. Braces apply constant pressure to your teeth to move them into their proper position.

Aligners, including clear ones such as Invisalign, can correct mild cases of overcrowding. These options are an alternative to traditional braces and are removable, but can be more costly as they need to be replaced every two weeks so that the teeth will shift properly throughout treatment.

In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary for overcrowded teeth, but this is often only in cases of excess teeth. Once the tooth is extracted, we can discuss the best treatment method for you to help guide your teeth into proper alignment.

Retainers are often used after most treatment options for overcrowding to ensure your smile stays in place. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to properly use and care for your retainers so you can get the most out of your treatment.

As experienced orthodontists, we strive to provide you with high-quality care and service. A straight smile doesn’t have to be only a dream…we are here to assist you in achieving a healthy, bright, and beautiful smile! For more information on overcrowding and how we can help or to schedule a consultation, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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