Taking Care of Your Smile from Home

June 12, 2020

Taking Care of Your Smile from HomeDue to COVID-19, many offices closed for patient and staff safety or were open for emergencies only. As our offices begin to reopen, you may be unsure of when you will be able to return for treatment. We understand that part of the success of the orthodontic treatment is showing up for your scheduled appointments, but under these circumstances, it is okay if you need to reschedule for your health. Our staff will work with you when you decide to return to our office to get you back on track with your orthodontic treatment plan.

With limited appointments available, now is the time to take care of your teeth and orthodontic appliance(s) to ensure the best possible result. If you are hesitant to return to our offices as we reopen, here are some steps you can take to handle any potential orthodontic issues and maintain a healthy smile from home.

Tips to keeping your smile healthy

Brush often – Keeping your teeth clean is important no matter the situation. If you can, brush and floss after every meal to keep your appliance clean and to prevent any cavities or other dental health concerns.
Stay on track – Wear your removable appliances such as retainers as prescribed so that you can keep your treatment on track.
Avoid problematic foods and drinks – If you are uncertain of when you will be able to visit us, handle your appliances with care until then. Continue to avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that could potentially damage your appliance.

If you have any questions or concerns, call our office. Even if we aren’t open or if you may not be ready yet to come in for an appointment, we are here for you.

Handling common concerns

It is common to experience some discomfort with orthodontic treatment as your teeth move. Here are some steps you can take to alleviate any discomfort or prevent additional damage to your appliance while staying at home.

We would like to remind you that should any issues or complications arise during your treatment, your orthodontist should be informed immediately.

Supplies

Keep the following items on hand and you will be prepared to handle most orthodontic issues from the comfort of your home.

  • Orthodontic wax
  • Dental floss and flossing aids
  • Interproximal brushes
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash
  • Toothpicks
  • Q-Tips
  • Non-prescription pain relievers
  • Topical oral anesthetics such as Ora-gel

and discomfort

Discomfort and irritation are common experiences with orthodontic treatment, but pain should not persist for more than a few days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and using pain relief medication can help alleviate discomfort felt during treatment.

Irritation felt due to your appliance rubbing against your cheek or lips can be soothed by using orthodontic wax. Make a small ball the size of a pea and flatten the ball over the surface causing irritation. If you run out of wax, it can also be purchased at local stores in the pharmacy section.

Some patients are prone to mouth sores during treatment which can be exacerbated by orthodontic appliances. These sores may appear on the cheeks, lips, or tongue. While not an emergency, they can be uncomfortable. Relief can be achieved by using a small amount of topical oral anesthetics such as Orabase or Ora-Gel.

Appliance Complications

Sometimes elastics or wires can become loose during treatment for various reasons. If you experience any appliance malfunction or complication, contact your orthodontist right away so they can advise you on the situation.

If an O-Ring (elastic rubber band) comes off at home, you can put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature that holds a bracket in place becomes loose, you should remove it with the tweezers. However, if it is sticking out and not loose, to avoid any pain or discomfort, bend the ligature back down.

Occasionally a wire may work itself out of place and begin to irritate the soft tissues of the mouth. Using the tweezers or Q-Tip, push the wire so that it is flat against your teeth. If the wire cannot be bent or moved into a comfortable position, cover it with orthodontic wax for relief until you can visit your orthodontist.

These are just a few steps you can take to keep your treatment on track. Make sure to stay in contact with your orthodontist about how and when they plan to reopen for routine appointments. Keep in mind you may need to reschedule appointments due to limited availability.

For more information on treating issues at home amid COVID-19, please contact Bracify 3D Orthodontics office.

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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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