By now you are likely aware that keeping your teeth and gums free from tooth decay and gum disease should top your list of oral health priorities when it comes to maintaining your healthy smile. But did you know that a malocclusion is another common dental issue that often needs to be addressed? Your original occlusion is how your upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite down or chew.

A normal bite means the teeth meet evenly, but if your teeth and jaw alignment is off and you have a bad bite or malocclusion, your mismatched bite can create severe dental problems. Fortunately, orthodontics can solve your bite pattern issues. Our team is happy to assist you with your bite pattern problems. We start by examining your bite pattern to determine which treatment is the best solution for you and your smile.

Here is a list of common bite patterns:

  • Overbite:
    Overbites happen when the upper teeth stick out farther than your lower teeth.

  • Open bite:
    Open bites occur when the top and bottom teeth do not connect when you bite down.

  • Underbite:
    Underbites are when the lower front teeth stick out past the upper teeth in your jaw.

  • Crossbite:
    Crossbites happen when your lower jaw is longer than the size and length of your upper jaw.

  • Overcrowded teeth:
    This arises when there is not enough space for your teeth, which can cause them to crowd together.

  • Misplaced midline bite:
    Misplaced midline bites happen when the center of your upper front teeth doesn’t match with the center of your lower teeth.

If you have any of the above bite patterns, remember, the sooner you have it treated, the greater your chances of avoiding oral problems later in life. Timely orthodontic treatment for a malocclusion can effectively restore a proper bite pattern to help you avoid the following problems:

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Chipped or cracked teeth

  • Crowded or shifting teeth

  • Uneven wear and tear on your teeth

  • Headaches, jaw pain, clicking, popping and jaw deterioration

  • Periodontal disease including gum recession and bone loss around teeth

  • Problems with your speech, eating or chewing abilities

  • Reduced self-confidence from the appearance of your smile

So how can your occlusal problems be fixed? There are a variety of treatments, including replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges, or fixing bad teeth with dental fillings or crowns. The jaw and jaw muscles can be stabilized with the help of bite splint therapy, and you can protect your teeth with the help of a dental mouth guard.

Orthodontics can correctly adjust and align the teeth, and that’s where we come in. We specialize in fixing malocclusions with the help of braces or other alignment method. To fix overcrowding, you may need to have one or more teeth extracted first. We might use a space maintainer to keep your teeth from shifting if one is missing or hasn’t yet come in. These problems can even be prevented from the start with an evaluation. After you complete your time in braces, you will simply wear a retainer (removable, permanent, or combination) until your teeth stabilize in their new position.

Do you have a unique bite pattern you need to correct? Do you have teeth that are too crowded, overlapped, or suffer from frequent headaches? If so, our orthodontic team is ready to help! We can help treat your misaligned bite pattern through the use of specialized orthodontic appliances. If you have questions about your teeth and alignment issues, please call us today to schedule your appointment or receive a consultation. We are ready to help you create your healthiest, aligned smile!

Orthodontics straighten your teeth to correct a bad bite, teeth that are crooked or protruding, misaligned jaws, and other malocclusions. Over time, untreated misaligned teeth can cause problems with talking, chewing food, becoming cavity-prone, inviting gum disease, and end up creating poor oral health overall.

It is why orthodontic treatment is so important. Straightening teeth has many benefits, like making it easier to keep tooth and gum surfaces free from bacterial plaque, whether or not you use metal or ceramic braces or clear plastic aligners to get the job done. Once this treatment is finished, the next goal is to keep your teeth in their newly aligned position to maintain your dream smile. Then begins phase two of your orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontic Phase II – Wearing a Retainer

Whether you use traditional orthodontics or one of the popular clear aligner options on the market today, you will want to make sure your teeth stay aligned after the treatment ends. Retainers are created specifically for this task of maintaining your smile’s new alignment.

Why Wear a Retainer?

The job of your retainer is to keep your teeth in place after the orthodontic work is completed. One of the reasons is that newly aligned teeth still need to settle into your soft tissues and jawbone that supports them. It is what your retainer does, keeping your teeth from naturally shifting in the months and years to come. In this way, you allow your teeth to adjust to their new positions over time instead of migrating back to their original places. Your retainers are your support system to keep your smile aligned after all your hard work in braces.

When you first finish your orthodontic treatment, that first month can put you at the most risk for your teeth to relapse. Your teeth will try returning to their old position before your orthodontic intervention. This early in the game means you’ll need to wear your retainer around the clock for your first month (except when you’re eating and cleaning your teeth).

After a month, your teeth will be more at home in their new position. However, your teeth will still be vulnerable to moving during the first year after you wear braces or aligners. It means wearing the retainer some of the time so that your teeth don’t forget where they’re supposed to align. Your retainer will be customized to perfectly fit your smile.

Types of Retainers

  • Fixed Retainers:
    Also called permanent retainers, this is a wire cemented to the back of your teeth (often the lower front) to keep them in their proper position. For some patients, they’ll need to be kept there permanently, while for others, it may only need to stay there for a few years.

  • Hawley Retainers:
    This version is perhaps the most common of them all, made from acrylic and metal that conforms to your mouth’s shape while being held in place using a wire that goes around your teeth.

  • Invisible Retainers:
    These clear plastic retainers look like you are not wearing them, and you will take them out when you eat or brush and floss your teeth.

How Long Do You Need To Wear Your Retainer?

For your child or teen, your orthodontist will determine how many hours a day they will need to wear their retainer for them to be effective. Some of this will be determined by the type of retainer they will wear and how much their teeth had to shift from their original positions. They might need to wear it full time during the first month, up to six months, followed by a couple of years at night only. However, if you wore your braces as an adult, the retainer will likely need to be worn more frequently. That’s because aging can change your mouth’s shape (and face), so you may need to wear your retainer at night or have a permanent retainer.

Without a retainer, your teeth will eventually shift back to their original position. You can proactively protect your original investment of time, energy, and money spent in orthodontic treatment by wearing and maintaining your retainer. Give us a call if you have any questions about straightening your smile!

Wearing an orthodontic headgear (or extraoral orthodontic appliance) allows our orthodontist to correct your child’s growing bite and support proper jaw alignment and growth. This appliance is usually recommended for children whose jawbones are still developing. A headgear can ensure symmetrical facial aesthetics by guiding their profile to grow in alignment. Headgears can also close tooth gaps between teeth, correct an uneven jaw bite from an overbite or underbite, and even correct teeth crowding.

Orthodontic headgear helps align smiles by using gear worn outside of the mouth that is attached to braces inside the mouth. Wearing braces with a headgear creates needed tension on them with the help of its various parts:

Headgear Parts

  • Chin cup

  • Elastic bands

  • Facebow

  • Fitting straps

  • Forehead pad

  • Head cap

  • Hooks

  • Mouth yoke

  • Tubes

Your child’s age is what makes the headgear so effective because while they are in their child or teen years, we can move their growing jaws so they properly align and sometimes even help move their teeth (especially their molars).

Your child may need to wear their headgear for one or two years. While they may not be as enthusiastic about wearing the headgear as we are, let them know that wearing it now can help them avoid jaw surgery when they get older. It can help keep sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) away.

Three Headgear Types

When your child’s bite is misaligned, it is called malocclusion. There are three kinds of malocclusions correctable by wearing orthodontic headgear. There are also three main types of headgears your child could wear, depending on the problem being fixed.

  • Cervical
    This headgear fixes an overbite and anchors around the back of your child’s neck.

  • High-pull
    This headgear also anchors at the back of the head but corrects both an overbite and an open bite.

  • Reverse-pull facemask
    This headgear corrects your child’s underbite by moving the jaw forward, but it anchors onto both forehead and chin.

To ensure an effective outcome, your child needs to wear their headgear anywhere from 12 to 14 hours a day (or longer). Usually, we start your child off by wearing the headgear for an hour and then increasing each day until they work up to the recommended time that will ensure success. It typically means wearing the headgear after school and through the night. Encourage your child to stick to their assigned schedule so the headgear can make the changes more quickly.

If your child experiences pain or the headgear isn’t fitting right, you should contact our orthodontist because it may need adjusting.

Other basic headgear guidelines include the following:

  • Take it off while eating (drinking through a straw is okay while wearing the headgear).

  • Take the headgear off while they clean their teeth to make the task easier.

  • If your child wears braces that are attached to the headgear, they need to stay away from chewing gum, hard candies, and hard-to-chew foods. Soft foods help after an adjustment.

  • Avoid contact sports and rough activities while they wear their headgear.

  • Take mild, over-the-counter pain medication for initial discomfort after an adjustment.

  • Eating cold foods can soothe aching gums.

  • Applying cold packs to the painful parts of your child’s face or jaw can also offer relief.

As you can see, while your child needs to commit to wearing their headgear consistently for optimal results. When they are finished, their aligned smile and straight teeth will be worth it!

Halloween starts off the busy holiday season where the nights get longer, the days grow cooler, and festivities begin. If you are wearing braces, Halloween may be a little tricky for you this year. Resist temptation by only keeping treats that are safe for you to eat and letting yourself enjoy them, guilt-free!

Sugary Treachery

Holidays aside, it is important to remember that sugar is bad for your teeth in general. Oral bacteria feed on sugars and starches and then release enamel-eroding acids. With braces, grazing on sugar can lead to cavities and decalcification, harming tooth enamel and affecting the state of your teeth (or your child is in braces) when the hardware finally does come off.

Oral Health Tip:
Whenever you or your child eat sugary treats, rinse and brush those teeth thoroughly around the brackets and gum line, cleaning every single tooth. Clearing away plaque and acids help avoid cavities!

If you or your children are currently undergoing orthodontics, we recommend the following braces-friendly treats to keep smiles safe this Halloween season:

Satisfyingly Safe Treats

  • Ice cream without hard to chew chunks or nuts

  • Chocolate milkshakes and pumpkin-flavored smoothies

  • Soft chocolate like peanut butter cups, Kit Kats, Reese’s Pieces, 3 Musketeers, Oreos, Hershey Bars or Kisses, plain M&M’s, and peppermint patties

  • Gelatin without nuts or hard fruit chunks

  • Blondies and brownies

  • Soft, chewy cookies without nuts

  • Sliced apples with a thin, diluted caramel sauce (it can’t be super sticky or it will pull on your braces hardware)

  • Soft candies or candies that you know you will suck on (never bite!) until they dissolve

Avoid These Tricky Treats Like the Plague

Snacking on these bracket and wire-damaging sweets can mess with your braces hardware before you know it:

  • Candy apples, because biting into a regular apple can harm your braces, so any apple should be sliced or cut into small chunks. If the caramel coating is thick, it will double your risk of braces damage!

  • Hard or sticky candies like Skittles, jelly beans, gummy candies, licorice, taffy, caramel, nutty M&M’s, and gumballs or bubble gum.

  • Hard candies like Tootsie rolls or pops, Starburst fruit chews, or Jolly Ranchers. These can also damage teeth yank off your cement out of your braces bands.

  • Sour candies like Warheads and Sour Patch Kids have acidic levels that can wear down tooth enamel, increasing the potential for cavity development.

  • Any kind of brittle; they are hard by nature and sticky to boot!

  • Regular or sweet popcorn as the popcorn shells get stuck in the gums and can lead to pain or infection.

Horrifyingly Hard on Braces

The reason hard and sticky candies are so bad for your braces is because people typically bite down on them. That is when the scary stuff happens, like breaking off a bracket or bending a wire and having it poke your soft oral tissues. Do not let your treats damage your braces, at least if you want to avoid having to come in and see us more than usual. Remember, every time a bracket or band needs replacing or repairing, it sets the orthodontic process back a step.

What happens when you do have a problem with your braces hardware? Be sure to call our orthodontic office right away, so we can take care of it as soon as possible and get you back on track. We hope you safely enjoy the upcoming holiday season, starting with Halloween!

Did your child receive braces this summer? If so, they will need to prepare themselves for the new school year by learning how to keep their teeth healthy while getting them straightened. The goal is to have a healthy, beautiful smile when their oral hardware comes off. Since they will be spending a good chunk of their time away from home during the week, they should have the tools they need to keep their smiles safe at school. Even if your child isn’t spending their time in a school this year, a tool kit is essential to have on hand.

At-School Braces Tool Kit

The first thing we recommend is making sure they have a basic braces care kit that they can keep with them or in their locker. Consider equipping them with the following tools to help them be prepared to maintain their oral health while away from home:

  • A brand new, soft-bristled toothbrush to clean their teeth after eating and some fluoride toothpaste.

  • A dental flossing tool they like to help remove food particles after a snack or lunch.

  • Some orthodontic wax to keep braces from irritating soft tissue in the mouth.

  • A tube of lip balm to keep lips moisturized and fend off irritation from the braces hardware.

  • A pencil that hasn’t been sharpened to push a poking braces wire back into place.

  • A compact mirror to spot food particles stuck on braces after eating.

  • Rubber bands in case one breaks while they’re away from home.

  • A container to hold their clear aligners (instead of straightening their teeth with braces) or their retainer while they eat.

  • Water bottle or reusable beverage container.

  • An orthodontic mouth guard to protect them if they participate in P.E. or gym class. These fit over their braces during games and practices no matter what sport they are playing.

Know What to Eat for Lunch and Snack Breaks

School lunches (or even just grabbing a quick snack between classes) can leave oral debris around the braces hardware as brackets and wires tend to trap food particles easily. Along with carrying their braces toolkit in their backpack, they should also be aware of food restrictions while at school. Teach them which items are on the braces-friendly list as well as ones that are not – specifically hard, crunchy or chewy foods. One thing you can do to help them is to keep track of their weekly school lunch menu or simply provide them with homemade lunches in their backpacks. If your child likes to raid the in-school vending machines, let them know which foods are off-limits (such as hard or sticky candy, pretzels and chips).

Braces-Friendly Food List

  • Soup

  • Lean meats

  • Mashed potatoes

  • Pasta like spaghetti & macaroni and cheese

  • Steamed vegetables

  • Soft fruits like applesauce

  • Soft-bread sandwiches cut into bite-sized pieces

  • Egg dishes

  • French fries

  • Yogurt and smoothies

Drink Water!

Another essential is having them take a water bottle to school every morning. Water helps them keep their saliva levels at optimal levels, preventing dry mouth and neutralizing acids from foods. Water can also help rinse away oral debris between brushing and flossing at school.

Avoid Sweetened Drinks

Make sure your child knows to avoid sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, chocolate milk and even Gatorade! These sweetened drinks can trap and feed oral bacteria around brackets and wires, setting the stage for cavities and stains on tooth enamel. If you think your child will sometimes indulge in sweetened beverages while at school, tell them to use a straw (or tuck some in their backpack) to keep the liquid sugar from pooling on their teeth.

Smile With Confidence

As your child adjusts to wearing their new braces, they will feel more confident and willing to smile, knowing one day their smile flaws will be corrected as the braces come off. There are also plenty of other students wearing braces, so they will see that they are not alone. With school pictures coming up around the corner, your child can smile with pride!

If you have been wanting to straighten your teeth for a healthier, more beautiful smile, you have come to the right place! We love straightening smiles and aligning bites to give our patients the smiles they have always wanted. It is a big investment in your oral health, time, energy, and finances, and we are pleased to take you on this life-changing journey.

But First, Paperwork!

This first visit is all about evaluating your smile and determining what you need to align it. Once that is done, we can explain your treatment options so you can choose the one that fits your goals. It’s important to come in about 20 minutes early so you can fill out the initial forms required for your consultation (our orthodontic new patient forms). Remember to bring your ID and insurance cards with you so we can copy them and keep them on file for your records and insurance provider.

Next Up, Your Initial Examination

Once your paperwork is done, we will take you back and perform a clinical exam to evaluate your smile. We may take dental X-rays and diagnostic photos. We will be happy to answer all your questions and concerns as we walk you through all the necessary steps. After thoroughly checking your face, lips, teeth, and gums, we will also perform a bite test.

These steps will allow our orthodontist to see what will be necessary to straighten your teeth so you can discuss any potential problems and determine the right course of treatment. We will provide you with an estimate of the treatment costs and go over your insurance benefits as well as your financing options and payment plans. Our goal is to help you get the smile you want.

Our orthodontist will talk about your appliances, such as braces, expanders, and retainers. We will also discuss a potential timetable for how long it should take to straighten your teeth and how often you will need to come in and see our orthodontist to monitor and evaluate your progress and make routine adjustments. Your consultation can take anywhere from one to two hours.

Are You Ready? Determining Treatment

If our team determines that we can help you create the smile you want, you may need to see your dentist before having braces installed. They will need to take care of some items before having your braces installed, like having cavities filled, a dental cleaning, etc. (in extreme cases, teeth extracted) before you have your braces placed.

When you come in to get your new braces, we will explain how to take good care of your teeth while wearing your braces. Oral hygiene is always vital to not only a beautiful smile but a healthy one, and especially so in braces. This is no time to skip your routine dental cleanings! We will explain how best to clean around your appliance and the proper dental hygiene practices you should follow daily so that your teeth and gums stay healthy during your orthodontic treatment.

You could say that creating a healthy smile is a team effort, combining your daily at-home care, routine orthodontic visits, and biannual dental cleanings and exams. Together, you can finally have the smile you have always wanted! Give our team a call today to learn more or to schedule your first orthodontic visit!

Braces worn at any age takes up to two years to straighten on average. Designed to fit your mouth, they are customized to your mouth to place your teeth correctly. During your time in braces, many appointments and adjustments will need to take place. It’s not always comfortable, but it can prevent many issues down the road! Many people feel braces are easier to deal with when you are younger versus as an adult when you are busy working or raising a family.

Different ages react differently to wearing braces, especially when it comes to the psychological and social reactions to being in braces. Kids are often excited about their braces, seeing it as a rite of passage, transitioning from being a child to finally being a teenager. Teens and adults, however, often feel self-conscious wearing braces.

Summertime Is a Great Time for Braces

When it comes to children, getting braces is often best done in the summer because it gives them the leeway to learn how to treat their braces and care for them and adjust to how they feel in the mouth. When first getting braces, the gums and teeth can feel tender, and your child will need to learn how to eat with them and also clean them correctly. Placing your child in braces during the summer is often ideal because of the free time they have to adjust.

Receiving early orthodontic treatment allows our orthodontist to work on their growing smile, preventing more invasive treatments later on and possibly shortening treatment time in braces. Our orthodontist can spot growth or eruption issues to make sure your child has room for their adult teeth to come in properly.

Why Kids Wear Braces

Using orthodontic techniques, we can control where your child’s adult teeth erupt by training the bones to grow into the correct position, fixing issues in the jaw structure, and the facial structures for facial harmony. That’s why it’s important to evaluate their growing smile early so proper treatment can be implemented and timed for the most progress.

Some signs that might indicate that your child could need orthodontic intervention include late or early tooth loss, having misplaced or crowded teeth, or having issues when biting and chewing.

Benefits of Wearing Braces Early

  • Better assess how their adult teeth will develop.

  • Fix bad habits like thumbsucking or tongue thrusting that can lead to developmental problems.

  • Fix bite problems.

  • Guide jaw growth for the teeth that will erupt.

  • Lower the potential risk of damage to teeth that are protruding.

  • Improve how your child’s teeth, lips and face look (potentially increasing their self-esteem).

  • Help prevent future invasive dental treatments down the road.

Does Your Child’s Growing Smile Require Orthodontics?

Our orthodontist can assess your child’s growth pattern to see if early treatment is recommended. Early treatment can help with the following tooth and bite conditions:

  • Crowding

  • Spacing

  • Open bites

  • Deep bites

  • Crossbites

  • Missing teeth

  • Teeth that don’t erupt in the right order

  • Overjets (where excessive protrusion of the upper jaw causes a horizontal overlap of the front teeth)

  • Ankylosed teeth (where a tooth’s roots fuse to the underlying bone, so it doesn’t erupt properly)

Our Orthodontic Team Is Here for Your Child’s Smile

Early orthodontic treatment can help prevent bad habits like poor oral hygiene as you have to clean your teeth more often and more carefully in braces. Establishing good brushing and flossing habits in childhood help avoid dental problems later in life. Braces can also help improve breathing and jaw movement, prevent jaw pain, teeth grinding, and prevent breathing problems. Because the jawbone is not fully developed yet, wearing braces at a young age helps make treatment easier, quicker, and more effective while offering more treatment options.

As you can see, placing your child in braces does more than just boost their self-confidence! There’s no better time than summer to get your child used to braces. It allows them to be more comfortable when school starts up again, so they can focus on the new school year rather than on their new braces! Please give our team a call if you have questions about your child wearing braces.

Children, teens and adults alike need to take extra care with their daily oral hygiene when wearing braces to straighten their teeth. In honor of Oral Health Month in June, we have some tips to share for keeping braces clean and your teeth healthy. Whether you are a parent of a child or teen in braces or are an adult undergoing orthodontics to straighten your teeth, healthy habits like brushing and cleaning between teeth are more important than ever to achieve a healthy smile after the braces come off!

Why You Should Clean Your Braces

It often helps to understand why you need to focus extra hard on cleaning your teeth while wearing braces. Oral bacteria don’t take a break when you start orthodontic treatment; in fact, it’s just the opposite! Instead of only hiding between teeth and around the gum line, oral bacteria can now accumulate around orthodontic hardware and grow into thriving colonies of sticky plaque. This biofilm is consumed and processed by oral bacteria and releasing acid. These germs then collect around brackets and bands and harden into tartar that needs to be removed by your dentist.

It is why you need to pay extra close attention to your teeth in braces, so they are healthy when your braces come off. You don’t want to have your braces removed only to find that tooth decay and gum disease are busy damaging your smile. Stepping up your daily at-home oral hygiene will help ensure your smile stays healthy and your teeth stay bright when the braces are removed. Consider protecting your orthodontic investment by investing in oral tools you can use to best clean your braces: a high-quality toothbrush, floss, interdental cleaner and an at-home oral irrigation system.

When to Brush

Brush your teeth after every meal or at least four times a day when wearing braces (after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before you go to sleep for the night). Granted, brushing your teeth can be tricky when you are away from home. If you can’t brush after a meal, the next best thing is thoroughly rinsing your mouth out with water to get rid of food particles and the sugary or starchy remnants of your meal. Leftover remains can collect around your teeth and leave you with plaque.

Brushing With Braces

No matter how you brush your teeth, using a manual or electric toothbrush, aim for a compact head to reach all the tooth surfaces while you are wearing braces. Many orthodontists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush or powered toothbrush to do the job. Be sure to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle on the gum line, gently brushing back and forth and toward the biting surfaces where bacteria and oral debris collect.

Remember to brush for two minutes every time you clean. Now would be a good time to break out your favorite tunes to brush long enough to be thorough! Brush around all the components of the braces hardware as well as every side of each tooth. Pay extra attention around the gum line, and don’t forget the tongue and roof of your mouth.

Since brushing your teeth four times a day around metal or ceramic hardware can make your toothbrush wear out sooner, replace your toothbrush more often (every three to four months). A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) when the bristles begin to fray.

Flossing With Braces

Flossing can be tricky to do when dealing with braces hardware, but it’s more important than ever. Floss at least once a day to get rid of oral debris stuck between teeth. To make this job easier, many people have found that using a water flosser (or oral irrigator) can make this task pleasant and effective. Just be sure to be thorough and floss at least once a day.

Did You Know?

Avoid or limit sugary and starchy foods to keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces, but snacking on cheese is one tooth-friendly food you can enjoy without worry. It protects the pH balance in your mouth by lowering the oral acids that cause tooth decay.

Practice daily oral hygiene habits that will last while wearing braces and after you take them off!

With school out early for the year, now may be a good time for your child to be evaluated for braces. Braces are often recommended to improve one’s smile (or orofacial appearance) by correcting crooked or crowded teeth. Braces can also fix problems with the bite, including overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position and disorders of the jaw joints.

When Your Child Might Need Orthodontic Treatment

Your child may have straight front teeth and still have malocclusion like a “deep bite” or overbite, causing problems when they chew, speak or sleep. While orthodontic treatment is typically done between the ages of 9 and 14 years, an earlier diagnosis of future malocclusion can also be determined from age 7 to 8. Early treatment can prevent the removal of permanent teeth down the road and guide your child’s skeletal growth to prevent additional problems.

Deep Bite

Orthodontics can be done to open your child’s bite and level the lower arch. When the mouth is closed and the top front teeth greatly overlap the bottom front teeth, your child has what we call a deep bite. This is often seen when the lower jaw is small, or short. This is problematic if the bottom teeth keep growing and eventually touch the back of the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. A deep bite can also arise if a lower tooth is missing and when the biting muscles are too powerful.

Deep bites should be fixed not only to improve your child’s appearance but to avoid erosion of the lower front teeth and potential loss of the tooth’s structure from thinning and chipping of the enamel surfaces. Your child might also experience painful mouth sores if they are biting into the roof of their mouth, causing them pain when they try to eat. A growing child needs proper nourishment provided by eating a healthy diet, and that can be thwarted if it hurts to eat.

If excessive loss of the tooth structure occurs, your child’s bite will need to be opened by moving apart the top and bottom teeth through orthodontics. This creates room for the crowded teeth to align. Your orthodontist may move the upper or lower front teeth into the bone supporting the teeth. The teeth to the back and the side of the mouth can also be extended to open the bite.

TMJ Disorder and Orthodontics

TMJ/TMD arises when the temporomandibular joint joining the lower jaw (mandible) to the upper jaw near the temporal bone is misaligned. This causes the upper and lower teeth where the teeth meet to exert undue pressure on the temporomandibular joint. Orthodontic treatment can be used to realign the joint to lessen or relieve symptoms. TMJ is often the result of bite problems, stress and habitual teeth grinding and clenching. Wearing braces can correct TMJ disorder if your child’s TMJ results from misalignment or bite problems. Braces apply constant pressure to gradually shift teeth into their desired positions using advanced technology with archwires, brackets and rubber bands that keep braces in place. As the teeth are moved back into their proper positions, the TMJ also moves back into the proper alignment to relieve the symptoms of TMJ and prevent abnormal wear and tear on the teeth.

An orthodontist can assess your child’s smile by evaluating the position of their teeth and the size of their jaw to devise effective treatment for optimal oral development. We invite you to give our team a call today if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s bite!

Straightening your teeth for a healthy, properly aligned and beautiful smile takes time and effort and is worth every second! So is taking good care of your teeth along the way so that when the braces come off, your teeth are as healthy as they were when you began!

This means stepping up your oral hygiene game as you brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily. You want to remove bacterial plaque and trapped food particles from your teeth, brackets, ligatures, archwires and metal bands. These tasks take just a little time and aren’t hard to do, so it is really just a matter of making it happen. Like the Nike slogan says, “Just do it!”

To help you take the best care of your smile while wearing braces, we have some tips to help make your job easy and fun.

Cleaning Tools for Braces

On the Run

If you eat while you’re away from home, it’s important to clean your teeth afterward as you still want to brush after each meal. Keep a travel-sized soft toothbrush and toothpaste in a handy plastic zip bag tucked into your backpack, pocket, or purse. If for some reason you just can’t brush your pearly whites away from home, keep a small bottle of mouthwash on hand or some kind of flossing tool and do the best you can. Every little bit helps!

Flossing

People sometimes take flossing less seriously than brushing but remember, flossing cleans those areas your toothbrush can’t. To achieve sparkling clean teeth means supplementing your tooth brushing efforts with a good flossing tool that can reach those areas like the molars in the back of your mouth. Find a flossing tool you like using, and then use it daily to discourage plaque. The toothy areas under the archwires won’t clean themselves, so floss daily, and your teeth will thank you!

You have a variety of flossing options to choose from:

  • Floss Threaders:
    These are easy to use with a loop, strand of floss and a stiff point you can stick between teeth around the gumline. They are handy for reaching beneath the archwire of the braces to remove food particles.

  • Dental Picks:
    These look a lot like toothpicks and do an excellent job of loosening oral debris under and around your braces.

  • Superfloss:
    A pre-cut strand of floss with a plastic threader and a spongy part to clean wider spaces along with regular floss for more narrow areas.

  • Soft-Picks:
    Interproximal flossers with a tapered section to reach adjoining spaces between teeth and your orthodontic appliance parts.

  • Water flossers:
    These hi-tech flossing methods stream a pressurized jet of water between your teeth to flush out oral debris with the added benefit of massaging your gums.

Brushing

  • Powered Toothbrush With an Ortho Brush Head:
    You want your toothbrush to clean the cracks and crevices around your braces. Nothing does this better than a powered toothbrush with an ortho brush head. Thanks to their oscillating movement they are gentle on the gum line while cleaning wires and brackets and also massaging your gums.

  • Proxy or Interproximal Brush:
    These resemble tiny pipe cleaners that slide between the braces and teeth to get rid of any trapped food bits and sticky plaque.

Braces Wax

While braces wax isn’t a cleaning tool, it is something you will likely want in your oral care arsenal to protect your teeth and gums from being damaged by brackets or loose wires. This virtually invisible wax covers metal parts, so they don’t irritate your soft oral tissues or teeth.

Keeping your smile healthy while wearing braces doesn’t have to be hard, and with the right tools you can use at home, it can even be fun! Let us know if you have any questions about your braces, we’re here to make your time in braces as enjoyable as possible.