Wellness, Eat Better, Look Better

Oral wellness is an important part of general wellness.

The first thing your physician does is look in your mouth. It reflects the general health and wellness of your entire body!

The ease of cleaning and maintaining your oral health is, in large part, due to the proper alignment of teeth. If they are crowded it is more difficult to clean.

Teeth out of alignment are also more prone to unusual wear and breakage. Chipping or breaking a tooth can quickly ruin your day. Fixing it can ruin your budget!

Proactive and preventive care, like aligning your teeth with braces, can improve your oral health and overall health. As an added bonus, it improves your FACE VALUE!

Do Electric Tooth Brushes Do A Better Job?

Electric tooth brushes have been found in a recent study to clean teeth better than a manual tooth brush. There does not seem to be a significant difference between brands of electric toothbrushes.

The American Journal of Orthodontics in the December 2017 edition has a well designed and detailed meta-study to compare manual with a number of electric toothbrushes. Ask your orthodontist or dentist for a recommendation on which brush they think is best.

How do braces close spaces between teeth?

The braces are a handle attached to each tooth. The wire is the guide path. It is important to keep the teeth upright as they move and not tip them. If they are tipped to close the space, the space will re-open.

Method One: An elastic chain is attached to each brace both securing the guide wire into the bracket and pulling the teeth closer together. As the teeth move closer together, the extra wire slides out the back of the last brace.

Method Two: A loop in the guide wire (a spring wire) is stretched, as the loop closes, spaces between teeth are reduced. The loop is stretched (activated) by pulling the wire out the last brace and bending it over.

Orthodontic Informed Consent

Braces or aligners take time! Many things can happen or change during an average 24 to 30 month treatment.

Orthodontic treatment can make wonderful changes to your appearance and function, however issues and/or problems can arise during or after treatment. You should know the risks and limitations regarding the treatment before you make a decision to commit to starting.

Issues to discuss with your orthodontist include but are not limited to: Hygiene requirements, related to potential permanent scars on the teeth, and gum/bone health.

Growth related issues, including unusual or unexpected jaw growth.

Treatment time estimates, treatment times can vary person to person.

Tooth root resorbsion (shortening), can be increased during active treatment.

Jaw joint issues, as related to orthodontic treatment.

Retainers and how long they need to be used.

Many treatments have other specific issues which need to be discussed prior to starting active treatment.  Many of these issues require active participation of the patient or assistance of the parents of the younger patients. Some issues should also be discussed with your dentist or other specialist prior to starting active orthodontic treatment. Especially, post treatment prosthetics(replacement of missing teeth) and gum health.


Are Clear Aligners worth the cost?

Clear aligners cost more than metal braces or clear braces. The cost to the orthodontist or dentist for buying clear aligners is significantly higher than for braces.

Aligners are made by one of several companies and sent to the dentist ready to use with the entire treatment built-in. For longer treatments there can be one mid treatment adjustment with no added charge. If a second course correction needs to be made, there are additional charges for the new aligners.

Braces can have multiple course corrections as needed, usually with no additional cost. The orthodontist makes changes as needed. With aligners, new aligners need to be made for each correction.

Do Clear Aligners Work?

Clear aligners, like any removable retainer can make limited changes to your teeth. Closing small spaces and turning a front tooth and examples of what they can do well.

Like all removable appliances, they only work effectively if worn all the time. Teeth do not know what type of appliance is pushing on them. It takes 11 hours of continuous wear to activate the bone moving cells of your body. The teeth and bone respond to light, continuous pressure.

Clear aligners are not attached to the tooth as well as a traditional brace. So, they have trouble moving teeth that are more cylinder shaped (eye teeth) and more trouble moving teeth vertically. Often the dentist will add acrylic handles (brackets similar to a traditional brace) to the teeth so the clear aligner will have a better grip on each tooth. These acrylic handles will be removed after the treatment is completed.

If you have short teeth or swollen gums, this makes it more difficult for the clear aligners to grip your teeth. If the clear aligners do not seem to be fitting properly and snugly to the teeth, they are not working properly and need attention from the dentist.

Will my braces be put on at the first visit?

Starting braces is like building a house. If you start to build before a plan is completed, the result will be less than ideal and take longer to complete.

The orthodontist needs to evaluate your wants and needs before presenting a detailed plan. To do this they will interview you and your family, evaluate diagnostic x-rays, photos and a model of your teeth. This all takes anywhere from a few days to a week or more.

At our office the patient and family is presented with a detailed plan that outlines all the issues to be addressed, the initial treatment plan and any known problems or limitations regarding the treatment. Only when everyone agrees with the plan are the braces started.

An important part of the orthodontic plan is that is needs to be re-evaluated at every appliance adjustment to be sure everything is on track and no changes need to be made. Almost every treatment lasting for more than 12 months will be reevaluated at about the mid-point to see if adjustments need to made to the plan.


Can I choose colors for my braces?

The colors for braces are actually small plastic rings that connect the brace to the wire. They are changed at almost every adjustment appointment. The rings come in 30 or more different colors. There are clear rings for clear braces and silver rings for metal braces for those who do not want fun colors.

Many of our patients will choose colors for upcoming holidays such as orange and black for Halloween, red/white/blue for Independence day, etc.

Clear rings can become stained and discolor depending on the foods you eat. Food that is yellow, like mustard or curry will discolor the ring ties.

Self-ligating braces such as Damon, Speed and Inovation are highly advertised to the public as a better and faster alternative to other brace products. These types of braces do not require a ring tie to attach to the wire, and no colors are used.

Ask your orthodontist for the colors available.

Do Braces Hurt?

Mostly no. However, there are a few times they can be uncomfortable.

When you first have the braces placed, they will irritate the lip and cheek for the first few days until you are more used to them. The orthodontist will provide soft wax to cover the braces so you can adjust a little at at time. The day after placement will be the most difficult. Every day after will be better. Which ever side of your face is on the pillow when you sleep will be the most sore.

The teeth will also be sore for the first few days. It feels like having a seed or food stuck between your teeth that you can’t take out. More annoying than sore.

Taking some Tylenol, Motrin, etc. before have braces placed or an adjustment will be helpful. Also, chewing some gum, or a chew wafer for the half hour after the adjustment will make the teeth less sore.

Lost Retainer – What should I do?

A lost or broken orthodontic retainer is a problem that needs prompt action. This is especially important during the first year after braces are removed. For the first 10 to 12 months the bone around the teeth is getting stronger.

First thing to do is call your orthodontist and let them know there is a problem. If the retainer is not found or if it is broken, the orthodontist will need a new impression (mold of the teeth) to make a replacement. The replacement may take up to two weeks to have made.

There is no insurance for lost retainers. The cost can vary from $100 each to more than $300 each depending on the type of retainer and the orthodontist fees.

If your teeth have already shifted, a treatment retainer may do the job to return you to your best smile. A treatment retainer takes several ongoing adjustments by the orthodontist to move teeth back into place. It must be worn all the time to be effective. The cost will also be greater than a passive retainer.