Posts for: October, 2019
October is National Orthodontic Health Month, and the more than 18,000 members of the American Association of Orthodontists want you to know the importance of a good bite. Correcting a bite problem can do wonders for your health and well-being—and the added benefit of a more attractive smile can do wonders for your self-image and relationships.
Perhaps, though, you’re well past your teenage years and think you might be too old to consider having your teeth straightened. Not at all: Even if you’re a senior adult, you can still undergo bite correction as long as your overall periodontal health is sound.
But then why go through the effort and expense of orthodontic treatment? Here are 3 top reasons why correcting a poor bite is worth it at any age.
Improve digestion. As we chew during eating, our teeth turn food into digestible bits that our body can easily process for nutrients. Misaligned teeth, though, aren’t as efficient at this first step in the digestion process, causing less efficiency at retrieving nutrients along the way. Correcting your bite could therefore improve your digestion and your health.
Prevent dental disease. While you need to brush and floss every day to prevent tooth decay or gum disease, it’s a lot easier if your teeth are properly aligned. Crooked teeth are more prone to collect and harbor disease-causing plaque that can “hide” from brushing and flossing. Correcting your bite can make it easier to remove plaque, thereby decreasing your risk of a tooth-destroying infection and gum disease that can contribute to chronic inflammation in the body.
Renew your confidence. While the previous two therapeutic reasons are primary for orthodontic treatment, don’t discount the power of an improved smile. Gaining a more attractive smile can boost your confidence in social and business situations—which could change your life. Consider it the added “cherry on top” that accompanies better health and wellness when you correct your bite.
If you’re interested in a healthier life and a more attractive smile, see us for a complete orthodontic evaluation. Even if you’re an older adult, you may still be a good candidate for bite correction. And you might not even need to wear braces: depending on your condition, we may be able to correct your bite with clear aligners that are nearly invisible to others while you’re wearing them.
There are good reasons for improving your bite. The sooner you do, the greater the benefits to your health and confidence.
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment, please contact us to schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Moving Teeth With Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics for the Older Adult.”
Although adults are more prone to dental disease, children aren't immune from one particular infection, tooth decay. Some children, in fact, are at higher risk for an aggressive form called early childhood caries (ECC).
There are a number of things you can do to help your child avoid this destructive disease, especially daily brushing and flossing to remove bacterial dental plaque, the underlying cause for tooth decay. It's also important for your child to see a dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings and checkups.
But some of their teeth, particularly the back molars, may need some extra attention to fully protect them against decay. This is because larger teeth like molars have numerous pits and crevices along their biting surfaces that can accumulate dental plaque difficult to remove by brushing alone. The added plaque increases the presence of bacteria around the tooth, which increases the risk of decay.
To minimize this possibility, dentists can apply a dental sealant to "smooth out" those pits and crevices in the molars and make it more difficult for plaque to accumulate. This is a quick and painless procedure in which a dentist brushes a liquid plastic resin or similar material onto the teeth's biting surfaces. They then apply a curing light to harden it into a durable coating.
About one-third of children—mostly those considered at higher risk for tooth decay—have undergone sealant treatment. But the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend this preventive measure for all children between ages 5 and 7, and then later between 11 and 14 when additional molars come in. Although there is a moderate cost per tooth for sealant application, it's much less than the potential expense of treating an infected tooth.
Combined with daily oral hygiene and other preventive measures, sealants can reduce the chances of damaging tooth decay. Keeping your child's teeth healthy is an important part in maintaining their dental health today—and tomorrow.
Dental Decay / Cavities
Cavities occur when sugars are consumed, turn into acid in the mouth, and attack the teeth. Cavities are not formed with just one exposure to sugar but can develop from constant sugary attacks over time. That’s why a high sugar diet increases the risk of cavities. Cavities can occur anywhere on a tooth but are common on the biting surfaces of molars and in-between molars. Cavities start in the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) travel through the dentin (the middle layer of the tooth) and can eventually enter the pulp (the nerve of the tooth.) Once a cavity travels into the nerve of a tooth, an infection will occur, and the tooth will require a root canal. It is beneficial to catch cavities at their smallest stages, to prevent loss of tooth structure. To prevent cavities, consider a low sugar diet, brush and floss, use fluoride toothpaste, and have your check-ups and cleanings regularly.
Gum recession is when the gum tissue around a tooth recedes away, exposing the underlying tooth and root structure. Gum recession can occur anywhere around a tooth. Gum recession is caused by a variety of reasons, including brushing too aggressively, clenching/grinding and trauma. To prevent gum recession, try using an electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator or a super soft toothbrush and wear a nightguard if you clench or grind your teeth.
Erosion is wear of the outer structure of the teeth called the enamel, caused by acids in your mouth. The acids can be from highly acidic foods such as citrus fruit, or acid reflux/ GERD. When the teeth are frequently exposed to acids, the enamel will slowly wear away, leaving them sensitive, thin and discoloured. To prevent acid erosion, make sure to rinse your mouth after citrus fruits/vomiting and talk with your doctor about medication if you suffer from acid reflux/GERD.
Tooth wear is any traumatic wear of the enamel surfaces. Causes of tooth wear can be due to a habit of clenching, grinding, or a traumatic bite. Over time, the tooth surfaces may flatten or indent, and loss of enamel will occur. To prevent tooth wear, be sure to wear a night guard if you have a clenching or grinding habit. If the wear is caused from an off bite, braces may be recommended to align the teeth and fix the bite, allowing biting forces to be distributed evenly.