How to Take Care of Your Retainer

January 1, 2019

How to Take Care of Your Retainer Your orthodontic care does not end when the aligners are removed. Retainers are essential to stabilizing your new tooth arrangement. The braces or aligners force the teeth to return to the mouth, which involves the absorption of bones at the back of the oral cavity. To maintain your new look, you must use the retainers for a period that has been determined by Dr. Bailey, Dr. Smith, or Dr. Johnson. In many cases, patients must use these products for the rest of their lives. Depending on certain factors, the period can even be as short as three months. Retainers are used only intermittently, usually three to five times a week, for those who use them throughout their lives.The care of the retainers is essential to keeping your teeth in their new condition. The care of the retainers can be carried out as follows:

CLEAN YOUR RETAINER REGULARLY
Treat your retainers as your own teeth! Carefully scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and water after each use. Avoid brushing the retainer with toothpaste, as the toothpaste might be abrasive and cause scratches that will make it difficult to clean the keep your retainer clean.

WEAR YOUR RETAINER OFTEN
Use your retainer as often as recommended by your orthodontist. It’s best that you keep your retainer upright, so your smile stays perfect. Remember, retainers only work if you use them!

AVOID HEAT ON YOUR RETAINER
Your retainer will only work if it fits properly! Your doctor will prepare it with the perfect support for your mouth, but it’s up to you to make sure it stays that way. Avoid leaving your retainer in a hot environment, such as a windowsill or a hot car. It will melt or wrap. Never put it in boiling water; you may think that boiling it is a great way to make it as clean as possible, but the heat will ruin it.

KEEP YOUR RETAINER AWAY FROM PETS
Yes, you love your furry best friend, but they have a special ability to snack on retainers. Keep your retainer safe and away from pets at all times.

AVOID PUTTING NAPKINS ON YOUR RETAINER
If you wrap your retainer in a napkin during meals, it may be easy for your waiter or you to throw it in the trash accidentally. To avoid getting into the bin, keep your retainer in its storage box!

SOAK YOUR RETAINER
To add extra cleaning to your retainer, try soaking it. You can buy retainer cleaner, which comes in tablet form, or you can make your own cleaning solution by mixing 1 part of sodium hypochlorite with ten parts of water. Soak for 5-10 minutes, and your retainer will be perfectly clean.

REPLACE YOUR RETAINER WHEN NEEDED
Even a well-made retainer eventually wears out. If you find that your retainer is deteriorating or behaving differently, contact your doctor. Replacing your retainer when due is an important part of maintaining your smile.

CAREFULLY PUT ON AND TAKE OFF YOUR RETAINER
When you put on your stand, make sure it is always on. There should be no gap between the teeth and the support. When removing it, do not twist it with your tongue or pull it to one side. Otherwise, the retainer may get damaged. Loosen your retainer in several places when you remove it and then ease it off. Do not forget to store it in its storage box!

BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE AND AFTER WEARING YOUR RETAINER
Before and after putting on your retainer, brush your teeth. If you put your support on dirty teeth, your support will get dirty much faster, and it is not good for your teeth

KEEP YOUR RETAINER ONE SPOT
It sounds obvious, but do not lose your retainer! Always keep it in the bag when not in use and keep it out of reach of dogs or children. If you lose it, make sure you replace it.

We cannot stress this point, use your support! Your teeth can change throughout your life. Even if you think your teeth are straight and will stay that way, it is essential that you continue to use your retainer! Taking care of your retainer will help to make your teeth look good and make the most of your investment, and do not forget to show off your big smile. For any retainer questions that you might have contact Dr. L’Tanya Joy Bailey, DDS, MS, PLLC in our Old Plank Location or Hickswood Location.

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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.

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.

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