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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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.

Back-To-School Orthodontic Tips

Back-To-School Orthodontic TipsEven though the weather may be still hot and sunny, it is time to head back into the classroom for many of our patients! Whether you are preparing a child to go back to school or getting ready yourself, we understand that braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances can make navigating the new school year a little stressful. Not to fear though! Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help to make your back-to-school season smooth and stress-free!

Back-To-School Kit

When you have an orthodontic appliance, we strongly recommend patients brush their teeth after every meal. We understand that this may be tricky while at school, so we always encourage patients to prepare a travel kit for the semester, so that they can freshen up after a quick bite while on the go!

Your kit should include toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss or interdental brushes, lip balm, and dental wax. If you have braces, you might want to pack extra rubber bands if needed. The toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are needed for cleaning and brushing between meals. Wax and lip balm can help to prevent irritation to the lips, gums, and cheeks.

Lunch Bunch Help

One of the biggest challenges for new orthodontic patients is the restrictions to their diet. Certain foods such as hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky ones can damage, break, or get stuck within the appliance.

Certain items on the menu may not be suitable for you in-between classes, so you may need to pack your lunch occasionally or eat mindfully. Even sandwiches may need to be cut into smaller bites to prevent the bread and fillings from clinging to your appliance. If you are packing lunch for your child, be sure to include easy-to-eat treats such as pasta, lean cuts of meat, yogurt, applesauce, cheese, and soft fruits and vegetables.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water frequently throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to keep your braces and other oral appliances clear of food. Water can rinse food from brackets and wires, and though sodas, sports drinks, and juices can be tempting, they can increase the risk of cavities and buildup in your mouth, so we recommend water as your first choice of beverage!

Sports & Mouthguards

If you plan to play sports this year, make sure you speak to your orthodontist about choosing a mouthguard. Any sport can run the risk of mouth, teeth, and jaw injuries, however, some sports are a greater risk than others such as hockey, rugby, and football.

Mouthguards are cushioning oral appliances made of flexible material that fits snugly over your teeth to help protect against injuries to the teeth and mouth. They also prevent your jaws from coming together fully, reducing the risk of jaw joint injuries and concussion.

You can purchase mouthguards from sports stores or purchase a boil-and-bite type at pharmacies, but be sure you select one that is designed for people with braces or retainers. We can also create a custom mouthguard for you in the office so that you can be sure it fits your mouth perfectly.

It’s normal to feel a little nervous about the new school term, but orthodontic treatment shouldn’t be stressful. A straight and healthy smile can take time, but we hope that with these tips, the school year starts off stress-free! We wish all students and teachers a wonderful start to the year. For more information on how to navigate the school year with orthodontic treatment or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Manual vs. Electric: Which Toothbrush Is Right For You?

Manual vs. Electric: Which Toothbrush Is Right For You?If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you know how important it is to take extra care in brushing your teeth to prevent the buildup of plaque around your braces or other orthodontic appliances. Part of this care begins with choosing the right toothbrush to help keep your teeth and appliances clean. Choosing between the traditional manual toothbrush or an electric-powered brush can be difficult, so we’ve put together a few facts to help you decide.

Manual vs. Electric

Your orthodontic appliances can trap food between your wires, brackets, and teeth easily and increase your risk of building up plaque that will lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so it is important to choose the right toothbrush.

Benefits of Manual Toothbrushes

The traditional manual toothbrushes are more cost-effective compared to electric-powered brushes. Though they may not be as powerful in brush strength, you can control how you brush each tooth, and the convenience of never having to worry about batteries or if your toothbrush is charged can’t be beaten! Plus, replacing a manual toothbrush can be easier and less expensive than their electric counterparts.

Some may argue that electric brushes are better since some models are proven to significantly remove more plaque buildup, but research shows that patients with good oral hygiene routines who use manual toothbrushes have similar results.

Benefits of Electric Powered Toothbrushes

Electronically powered toothbrushes have small brush heads so that you can reach all areas of the mouth easily and are ideal for patients with limited mobility. Some even have varied bristle lengths and widths to clean away areas where food, debris, and plaque may hide. These powerful brushes enable you to remove plaque easier than manual brushes and may even come with different modes such as ones for sensitive teeth, removing stains, and tongue cleaning.

One of the drawbacks to choosing electrotonic toothbrushes is that they are more expensive compared to manual ones. For orthodontic patients, this may be a major factor as braces and other orthodontic appliances can break down bristles fast causing you to need replacement heads more frequently.

Which Is Right For You?

We say the toothbrush best for you is the one you will use. As you can see, both electric-powered and manual brushes are great options for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. Remember to floss between your teeth and brackets carefully.

It can take some time and practice to get used to brushing your teeth with braces, but we are here for you and will give you plenty of information and demonstrate how to properly brush your teeth with whatever brush you select. Always look for a brush that has the ADA seal as products with this seal are tested for safety and effectiveness. If you are unsure which toothbrush is best for you or if you have any questions about our services, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

Sensitive Teeth and Orthodontics

Sensitive Teeth and OrthodonticsOn a hot summer day, it is common to find yourself seeking a cool refreshment to make you more comfortable in the heat. What is not as common is feeling a sharp pain through your teeth once you take a bite or sip of a cool treat. We aren’t talking about brain freezes–we are talking about sensitive teeth!

Tooth sensitivity is triggered by hot or cold temperatures, sweet or sour foods, and drinks, or deep cavities and fillings. When the protective layer of enamel on your teeth wears away and exposes the dentin layer of your teeth, sensitivity occurs due to the porous nature of dentin.

Common Causes

Diet- Acidic foods and beverages can also eat away at your enamel and make your teeth more prone to erosion. Rinse your mouth with water afterward and wait at least one hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth.

Hygiene Habits- Poor oral health habits such as not brushing properly or flossing may also cause plaque and bacteria to build up and break down your tooth’s enamel, weakening them and making them more susceptible to sensitivity. Over brushing is a common cause for tooth sensitivity as a hard bristle brush or firm hand can wear down on your enamel and expose porous surfaces that lead to your tooth’s nerves increasing sensitivity.

Grinding Your Teeth- Patients who grind their teeth may create small fractures in their teeth that may irritate nerves and increase sensitivity as well.

Oral Health Conditions- Receding gums can also expose those that are normally protected by your enamel and increase nerve sensitivity in your teeth. Tooth decay, cavities, or deep fillings that penetrate deeply close to the nerve may also cause irritation and the development of tooth sensitivity. Certain dental conditions may also increase your risk of tooth sensitivity such as overcrowding, crooked teeth, and misaligned bites.

Whitening Products- You may also increase your tooth sensitivity by using certain teeth whitening products or chemicals. The main ingredient in many whitening solutions is peroxide which can irritate your teeth’s nerves and lead to sensitivity.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Your treatment will depend on the cause and severity. If your pain is due to an orthodontic adjustment, an over-the-counter pain reliever will help to reduce pain until the discomfort subsides.

For those whose sensitivity is caused by poor hygiene habits, then switching toothbrushes and brushing patterns can provide a great deal of relief–a soft-bristle brush will help to keep your teeth clean without damaging the enamel or gums. Using toothpaste designed for those with sensitive teeth can also help offer relief. Patients should notice a difference after several weeks of normal usage. If your sensitivity is severe and persists for several days, we may recommend scheduling an appointment to rule out cavities or other dental conditions that may be creating tooth sensitivity.

Orthodontics and Sensitive Teeth

When undergoing orthodontic treatment, you may also experience sensitive teeth. During treatment, your teeth are slowly shifted into alignment by using braces, and after an adjustment, you may notice minor sensitivity and discomfort. Fortunately, this is temporary and should not last more than a day or two following your appointment. If you experience sensitive teeth longer or chronically, consult your orthodontist. We will be able to recommend further care or may suggest scheduling an appointment with your dentist to discuss additional treatment options.

Remember to keep your teeth clean by brushing around the brackets, bands, and wires as best as possible, and flossing as proper hygiene will help to reduce plaque buildup that can wear down enamel and lead to sensitive teeth. For some, Invisalign may be an option depending on your case for those with extremely sensitive teeth. This clear aligner provides a lower risk of irritation and allows for easier cleaning.

Having sensitive teeth shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life to the fullest or prevent you from receiving orthodontic treatment. For more information on orthodontics and how we can help with sensitive teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics today.

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