- Appearance – when there is an overbite, underbite or crossbite, it may be quite evident merely from looking at the patient. Not only may these conditions detract from the smile’s appearance, they may also negatively affect the patient’s ability to chew.
- Discomfort – If the upper and lower jaws do not fit together properly, the patient may experience some discomfort. Additionally, malocclusions can contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which also can cause pain, along with clicking, popping or locking of the jaw. As such, orthodontic treatment may be recommended for patients who have TMJ disorders.
- Biting the cheek, lip or tongue – An incorrect bite may trap other soft tissues in its clenches while chewing food. Patients who notice that they repeatedly bite their cheeks, tongue or lips may have misaligned jaws, and orthodontic treatment can be helpful in fixing it.
November 16, 2018
Oral 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.
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.
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.
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.
September 20, 2018
A beautiful, healthy smile takes effort. Parents must work with children and their dentist to develop good oral hygiene habits. It is important to brush and floss diligently, eat a healthy diet and limit sugary snacks. Children should also visit the orthodontist as part of their oral health routine.
Not all children need orthodontic treatment, but they should all be evaluated around age seven. Many parents avoid having children evaluated until all adult teeth have erupted, but this is a mistake and it increases the chances that a child may spend a longer amount of time wearing braces.
Early Intervention is the Key to Optimum Oral Health
A child should ideally have their first orthodontic evaluation between the ages of six and eight years old. This is when permanent teeth begin to erupt, and orthodontic issues may become apparent. During this time a child’s facial features are still developing making it easier to correct minor issues. Preventive orthodontics is best applied at this age to prevent the need for more invasive treatment later. This is typically referred to as Phase One treatment.
Does My Child Need Braces?
After an orthodontic evaluation, you may find that your child can benefit from braces. Dental braces are used to correct many issues including crooked or crowded teeth and malocclusions. They put gentle but steady pressure on teeth to shift them into the desired position. Most children benefit from traditional metal braces with wires and rubber bands. Children typically get to choose the color of the rubber bands which makes it more fun for them.
Time of Treatment
Once braces are placed, your child will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for adjustments. This is what helps move teeth to the desired position. The length of time your child will need to wear braces depends on many factors including the issue being treated, their age at treatment and the intended results. People are never too old for braces, but the process is easier and more effective when started early.
If you have been told your child needs braces, or you think they might, schedule an appointment with our team at Fleming Orthodontics. Our highly skilled and compassionate staff is always happy to set up an evaluation and answer all your questions because everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile.
July 19, 2018
One of the many benefits on the Invisalign orthodontic treatment system is that the clear plastic trays used to reposition the teeth can be removed at mealtime. That means you can take them out to eat and drink the foods and beverages that you’ve always enjoyed (although it’s always a healthy choice to limit sweet treats!). Tea and coffee can be safely consumed while you’re undergoing treatment with Invisalign clear braces, although you should not drink these beverages while you are wearing the trays.
Although you don’t have to chew when you’re drinking beverages, it’s important to remove the trays before consuming them. Especially in the case of drinks like tea and coffee, which are capable of staining the teeth. If you drink coffee or tea while wearing your aligners.
You can remove your Invisalign trays to drink coffee, tea and other beverages, as well as eat meals, but it’s important that you remember to put them back in to achieve the desired treatment results in the anticipated timeframe. Your orthodontist will educate you on how many hours the trays should be worn each day. It’s usually around 22 hours.
Your orthodontist will also instruct you when to change to a new tray. Invisalign moves the teeth using a series of clear plastic trays, which must be swapped out in a specified order. Being conscientious about this aspect of your treatment will also help you get the smile you desire.
This type of clear braces has other benefits in addition to the convenience of eating and drinking. They are barely noticeable to observers, so they are far less intrusive on your smile than conventional braces, even those that use clear brackets.
Invisalign offers patients the convenience to eat and drink typical things, including tea and coffee, although you must take care to do so properly to reduce the risk of staining your teeth. Talk to our orthodontist for more specifics about this aspect of Invisalign as well as general information about the treatment.
May 17, 2018
The 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.
March 20, 2018
When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may focus your attention on getting a straighter smile. However, braces may also be used to correct a malocclusion or “bad bite.” Here are some signs of misaligned jaws that may be addressed using orthodontic treatment.
In addition to the brackets and wires associated with traditional braces, an orthodontist may use other appliances to correct the malocclusion. Your provider can advise you as to the recommended approach in your case.
Depending on the circumstances, an orthodontist may be able to intervene and correct a malocclusion using braces alone. This is particularly effective in adolescents whose jaws are still growing, and that development can be manipulated. However, orthodontic treatment may not be sufficient in other cases, when the orthodontist may need to collaborate with an oral surgeon on the overarching treatment plan.
A “bad bite” can interfere with your smile’s appearance and functioning as much as crooked teeth do. To learn more about orthodontic treatment solutions for this issue, please contact our team at Fleming Orthodontics and set up an evaluation.
January 21, 2018
Patients 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!