Category Archives: orthodontics

Importance of Plaque Control During Orthodontic Treatment

orthodontics Garland TXOral hygiene is important – especially during orthodontic treatment. While orthodontics is a wonderful investment in your oral health, it is important to know that you have an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay when wearing braces. This is because food and plaque collect on the surfaces of orthodontic appliances and because braces can make cleaning teeth more cumbersome.

Patients with braces should practice vigilant oral hygiene in addition to having frequent follow-up appointments with our orthodontist.

Brushing

If we brush properly, we can clean about 70% of the surfaces in our mouth. Brushing thoroughly controls the development of plaque and tartar. We should brush our teeth at least twice a day, preferably when we wake up and before we go to bed.

It takes a couple minutes to brush since we need to clean all sides of our teeth, the gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Patients should choose soft bristled brushes or brush heads and ADA-approved toothpaste for effective brushing.

Interdental Cleaning

Even though brushing is important, it doesn’t improve interdental hygiene. We must use interdental cleaners like floss to clean between our teeth. Since braces can make flossing more difficult, it is important for orthodontics patients to make extra time in their schedules for oral hygiene. Floss should be threaded behind the archwires of braces to avoid breaking them and to reach between teeth.

Some people wearing braces choose to use other types of Interdental cleaners like handheld disposable picks and water irrigators.

Dietary Considerations

Our diet affects oral health. If we consume starchy and sugary foods, we feed bacteria. Harmful oral bacteria grow stronger and colonize after feeding on sugar molecules. They also release acids, which can weaken tooth enamel, as a by-product of the feeding process. The American Dental Association encourages people to limit intake of sugary and starchy food items.

Our orthodontist is accepting new patients. Call Fleming Orthodontics to reserve a consultation with our helpful team.

Categories: braces, Garland orthodontist, orthodontics

Will I need to have teeth extracted prior to getting braces?

braces for adults Garland TXThe process of getting braces for adults differs somewhat from patients who pursue this treatment as children or adolescents. Because the patient’s jaw growth is complete by adulthood, the orthodontist can no longer manipulate the pattern of jaw development to correct misalignment of the teeth. As a result, patients with severe crowding may need to have teeth extracted prior to treatment. This creates room for the other teeth to move into the correct positions.

Braces for adults work just like braces for younger patients do. That is, the appliances apply forces to the teeth in order to break down the bone structure that holds them in place so that they can move into the right places. However, when a patient’s jaw is too small to accommodate this movement with all of the teeth remaining in the smile, extraction may be recommended. Your orthodontist will need to make this determination.

If tooth extraction is necessary, your orthodontist will advise you of this rather early in the process, possibly as soon as your initial consultation. This will give you adequate time to prepare for that component of your treatment. For adult patients who still have their wisdom teeth, extraction may be recommended prior to treatment as well. Impacted wisdom teeth can undo the results of orthodontic treatment, so patients who have this concern may want to explore extraction prior to treatment.

When an extraction is necessary, teeth that have erupted properly typically can be removed via simple extraction. Impacted teeth will most likely need to be removed surgically, however. Regardless, an initial extraction doesn’t need to delay braces for adults for any significant period of time.

Tooth extraction can help to achieve the goals of patients who are getting braces, although this step is not always necessary. Come to an initial consultation at Fleming Orthodontics to learn more about the course of treatment recommended in your specific case.

Categories: braces for adults, Garland orthodontist, orthodontics

Can I Still Play Sports With Braces?

orthodontics Garland TXPatients who are getting braces often have concerns about having their routines disrupted, including any sports that they may play. Fortunately, orthodontics don’t have to keep you off the field, court or ice if you take the proper precautions.

Orthodontics involve a significant investment of time and energy, so you want to do everything possible to protect that investment. For maximum protection, athletes should consider a custom-designed mouthguard provided by their orthodontist. Orthodontic mouth guards have a slightly different design that standard ones in order to make room for the appliances. They are just as comfortable as standard mouth guards, though, if not more so.

Getting a mouth guard from your orthodontist will reduce your risk of damaging the appliances, as well as safeguarding your soft tissue from injuries that may be caused by the sharp edges of the brackets or wires. Mouth guards are generally a good idea for anyone playing a sport, but especially for patients who are wearing braces.

Even sports with a lower risk of contact, such as cycling, track and field or volleyball, require some protection, as you can still sustain oral injuries as a result of these activities. Speak with your orthodontist about a possibility of getting a mouth guard regardless of which sport you play.

You might be tempted to get a standard boil-and-bite model mouth guard in your local sporting goods store, but we strongly discourage you from choosing that option. These mouth guards are less effective in general, and particularly so when orthodontics is involved. As the teeth shift as a result of the orthodontic treatment, the fit of a boil-and-bite mouth guard will decline significantly, giving the patient much less protection than a specialized orthodontic mouthguard.

Athletes may also want to consider Invisalign braces, which straighten the teeth using clear plastic removable trays rather than brackets and wires to reduce their risk of injury.

Getting braces doesn’t mean giving up your favorite sport, but you do need to be responsible about protecting your smile in order to stay in the game. Ask our provider what you can do to keep your smile as healthy as possible while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Call our caring team!

Categories: Garland orthodontist, Invisalign, orthodontics

Plaque Control and Orthodontic Treatment

orthodontics braces Garland TXPlaque starts out as a sticky substance that eventually hardens on the surfaces of teeth clinging to bacteria already living in our mouth; whenever we eat or drink, we are giving plaque another opportunity to grow. For the patient wearing braces, the danger of plaque formation increases because of the many areas so difficult to reach around bands and/or brackets.

Plaque is more than just a nuisance … the acids from plaque can eat away at the protective enamel on teeth leading to decay and the potential for gum disease. Keeping plaque under control is important for everyone, just a little more difficult for someone wearing braces.

Before orthodontic treatment gets underway, your dentist will likely recommend having your teeth cleaned to remove any plaque already present on teeth. You may be wearing braces for many months, possibly even years. Pay close attention to the instructions given by your orthodontist on how to keep your teeth as clean as possible once your braces have been placed. 

Your daily hygiene regimen might need to be tweaked; allow more time for brushing and flossing. Flossing may seem more cumbersome, but is important to maintaining your dental health. You are wearing braces to straighten your teeth enhancing your appearance and improving your dental health; you want those newly straightened teeth to be free from decay when your braces come off.

Every time you eat or drink, it is a good idea to rinse thoroughly. In the absence of being able to brush, rinsing may help flush away debris that might be caught on braces. 

You will be visiting your orthodontist periodically throughout treatment, but it is important to remember that these visits are to monitor your teeth straightening program only. You still need to see your family dentist for teeth cleaning and a dental exam as often as recommended by your dental provider.

Once your teeth straightening program is concluded and braces are removed, a thorough cleaning is encouraged. Your family dentist has worked as hard as you have to keep your teeth as clean as possible while wearing braces; but there may be some residual plaque that needs to be removed as soon as possible.

A beautiful smile and healthier teeth can be achieved by wearing braces; do everything you can to sustain good dental health before, during, and after orthodontics.  

For more information or to schedule a visit, contact our team at Fleming Orthodontics today.

Categories: braces, Garland orthodontist, orthodontics

How Early Can I Schedule an Appointment for an Orthodontic Screening?

orthodontics GarlandMost people think of orthodontic treatment like braces as appropriate for adolescents. Recently, however, it’s become more common for younger patients to receive orthodontic screenings as well as treatment. Early orthodontic treatment can help reduce or even eliminate the need for braces when your child gets older.

Scheduling Your Child’s First Orthodontic Screening

According to the American Dental Association, a child’s first orthodontic screening should occur before age seven. If your dentist sees any developing issues before this, he might recommend an earlier screening. Having the orthodontist screen your child this early means any necessary work can begin right away.

Using X-rays and other examination techniques, the orthodontist will evaluate the position of your child’s teeth. If permanent teeth are positioned incorrectly in the gums beneath the baby teeth, they could come in crooked, crowded or misaligned. They could even become impacted and be unable to emerge at all. Early orthodontic treatment can make more room so the teeth can come in normally.

Deciding on Orthodontic Treatment

Based on the recommendation of your child’s orthodontist, you can decide if you should pursue early treatment either on its own or to be followed by long-term orthodontic treatment. Some common approaches to early orthodontic treatment include:

These treatments aren’t intended to completely correct the issues with your child’s teeth. Instead, they make additional room in the mouth so permanent teeth are less likely to overlap or come in crooked. They can also help correct problems like crossbite, overbite, and underbite. Sometimes, this treatment is all that is necessary to ensure adult teeth are properly aligned.

Early orthodontic treatment doesn’t always eliminate the need for your child to see an orthodontist later, though. In fact, in most cases, early treatment serves as the first phase in a two-phase treatment approach, with the second phase consisting of traditional braces. However, early treatment can reduce the amount of time spent in braces.

Is your child old enough for a screening? Call us at Fleming Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment with our caring team!

Categories: braces, Garland orthodontist, orthodontics

Invisalign: The Clear Alternative to Braces

Invisalign GarlandFor those who need to have orthodontic work but want to avoid traditional metal braces, clear braces offer a more comfortable, more attractive alternative. Invisalign, with its clear plastic aligner trays, can address numerous orthodontic issues and let you complete your treatment without drawing attention to it.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Traditional braces use metal brackets, which are affixed to the teeth. These brackets secure rubber bands, which exert enough pressure to move the teeth gradually into the desired position. This method is very effective, but presents some disadvantages to adults whose work depends upon a well-maintained appearance, such as actors, broadcasters, or even people who work in retail.

Invisalign provides an alternative to braces for adults who wish to maintain an attractive smile even while they’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Instead of metal brackets and rubber bands, Invisalign uses clear plastic trays that fit snugly over the teeth. Each tray is shaped slightly differently. The slight shifts move the teeth gradually into the final desired position. After the last tray, you’ll wear a retainer to keep your teeth from moving back out of alignment.

Advantages of Clear Braces

The most immediately obvious advantages of clear braces is that they are virtually invisible, so no one needs to know you’re having orthodontic work done. If you rely on your smile for important aspects of your job, you won’t have to worry about metal on your teeth. These aren’t the only advantages, though. Many people choose Invisalign because:

  • The plastic trays are more comfortable than braces
  • The trays can be removed for short periods of time
  • You can see results clearly within a couple of weeks

For the best results, you’ll need to leave your trays in for twenty-two hours a day, but they should be removed during meals to keep them clean. You should also avoid contact between the trays and any hot liquids, since heat can warp the plastic, and be sure to clean the trays regularly.

If you’re interested in Invisalign, contact our office today to discuss your options with our team!

Categories: Garland orthodontist, Invisalign, orthodontics

Can you just wear Invisalign at night?

Invisalign clear bracesInvisalign is an orthodontic treatment that helps move your teeth into the appropriate position. Unlike braces, it uses clear plastic trays that are virtually invisible. You must wear these trays at least twenty-two hours every day for the best possible results.

Wearing Invisalign Trays

Invisalign trays are custom-made to fit your teeth, so they fit comfortably in your mouth. Each tray in the full series moves your teeth a small amount until, after all the incremental changes, your teeth reach the correct alignment. For the best results from your treatment, you should follow certain guidelines, including:

  • Do not take the trays out for more than about two hours each day
  • Wear the trays at night as well as in the daytime
  • Clean the trays at least once or twice a day
  • Don’t wear the trays while drinking hot beverages
  • Avoid foods or beverages that could stain the trays

Following these instructions will help ensure your trays remain clean and do not become warped. At the end of your treatment, you’ll have the perfect smile you’ve always wanted.

Choosing Invisalign

Invisalign is a popular choice for adults who require orthodontics. They offer several advantages over traditional braces, including:

  • They are virtually invisible
  • They are more comfortable
  • They are removable

Although you should not remove them often or for long periods of time, being able to see the progress of your treatment is a definite plus. You can also take them out occasionally for special occasions. However, you should always wear them through the night. Because they’re custom-made, they shouldn’t bother you or interfere with your breathing in any way.

As with traditional braces, you might experience some discomfort when you begin treatment. You might also feel some achiness each time you change trays, which occurs about every two weeks. This is because your teeth are shifting. In most cases, over-the-counter medication is sufficient to alleviate this issue. If you have any problems with your trays as treatment progresses, be sure to discuss them with our orthodontist and call us today!

Categories: Garland orthodontist, Invisalign, orthodontics

Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

Garland orthodontistIt’s not uncommon for permanent teeth to come in crooked or misaligned. In some cases, teeth with straighten slightly over time as the jaw itself grows. However, many teeth that emerge crooked or out of alignment will require the help of an orthodontist to restore them to their proper position.

How Do I Know If I Need an Orthodontist?

Orthodontics is a school of dentistry that focuses on making sure teeth are properly aligned and not overlapping, too far apart, crowded, or crooked. Your dentist will evaluate the placement of your teeth and look for signs that teeth are misaligned or otherwise in the wrong position. If your dentist feels problems are developing, he will refer you to an orthodontist.

A consultation with an orthodontist will help you determine if you need braces or another type of orthodontic treatment. This consultation usually includes digital photographs of your teeth so you can clearly see the existing problems as well as images of what your smile will look like after treatment. The orthodontist will recommend treatment and give you an idea of how long it will take and how much it will cost.

What Kind of Orthodontic Treatment Will Fix My Teeth?

The most commonly used orthodontic treatment is traditional braces. The orthodontist affixes metal brackets to your teeth. The brackets are used to anchor rubber bands, which exert pressure to gradually move your teeth into place. Another method is using plastic aligner trays. Each tray is shaped slightly differently, and pushes the teeth closer to their final position.

Sometimes, orthodontic treatment is designed to create additional room in the mouth so the teeth can come in less crowded or closer to the appropriate position. A palate spreader can be used to accomplish this. This appliance is placed on the upper palate and is gradually widened using a special key. It effectively moves the opposite sides of the palate farther away from each other. Over time, this can create room for teeth to come in more normally.

To discuss you or a family member’s orthodontic options, contact our office today!

Categories: braces, Garland orthodontist, orthodontics