Posts for tag: orthodontics
Sometimes it seems that appearances count for everything—especially in Hollywood. But just recently, Lonnie Chaviz, the 10-year-old actor who plays young Randall on the hit TV show This Is Us, delivered a powerful message about accepting differences in body image. And the whole issue was triggered by negative social media comments about his smile.
Lonnie has a noticeable diastema—that is, a gap between his two front teeth; this condition is commonly seen in children, but is less common in adults. There are plenty of celebrities who aren’t bothered by the excess space between their front teeth, such as Michael Strahan, Lauren Hutton and Vanessa Paradis. However, there are also many people who choose to close the gap for cosmetic or functional reasons.
Unfortunately, Lonnie had been on the receiving end of unkind comments about the appearance of his smile. But instead of getting angry, the young actor posted a thoughtful reply via Instagram video, in which he said: “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but like, can you fix your heart, though?”
Lonnie is raising an important point: Making fun of how someone looks shows a terrible lack of compassion. Besides, each person’s smile is uniquely their own, and getting it “fixed” is a matter of personal choice. It’s true that in most circumstances, if the gap between the front teeth doesn’t shrink as you age and you decide you want to close it, orthodontic appliances like braces can do the job. Sometimes, a too-big gap can make it more difficult to eat and to pronounce some words. In other situations, it’s simply a question of aesthetics—some like it; others would prefer to live without it.
There’s a flip side to this issue as well. When teeth need to be replaced, many people opt to have their smile restored just the way it was, rather than in some “ideal” manner. That could mean that their dentures are specially fabricated with a space between the front teeth, or the crowns of their dental implants are spaced farther apart than they normally would be. For these folks, the “imperfection” is so much a part of their unique identity that changing it just seems wrong.
So if you’re satisfied with the way your smile looks, all you need to do is keep up with daily brushing and flossing, and come in for regular checkups and cleanings to keep it healthy and bright. If you’re unsatisfied, ask us how we could help make it better. And if you need tooth replacement, be sure to talk to us about all of your options—teeth that are regular and “Hollywood white;” teeth that are natural-looking, with minor variations in color and spacing; and teeth that look just like the smile you’ve always had.
Because when it comes to your smile, we couldn’t agree more with what Lonnie Chaviz said at the end of his video: “Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Do you. Be you. Believe in yourself.”
If you have questions about cosmetic dentistry, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
Dental braces are comprised of bands, brackets and wires placed on the teeth to straighten and align them. On average they will stay on a patients teeth for around two years. While the braces are on, it is more challenging to keep the teeth and gums clean as there are many more nooks and crannies where plaque and bacteria can be trapped. Often, other dental aids are necessary to maintain a clean and healthy mouth. Listed below are essential dental tools to use while dental braces are on.
An electric toothbrush is one of the most essential tools to be used with dental braces. Electric toothbrushes simulate brush strokes at a much faster rate than you can achieve with your hand. That means you have to hold the toothbrush for a few seconds on each tooth, making sure to access all surfaces of the tooth, and the brush will do the work for you. Electric toothbrushes either use an oscillating or sweeping motion.
Because the wire of the braces blocks the contacts of teeth, it is necessary to use a floss aid to access the gum line. There are several different options for floss aids. Floss threaders are small loops that will pull the floss through, and super floss is a pre-cut piece of floss with a ridged end to poke through the contact underneath the wire. It is important to try several options and find the one that works best for you.
A water flosser is an electric powered tool that is used to shoot water in a jet-like stream through the contacts of the teeth and around the brackets. The water flushes out bacteria that are difficult to access. Water flossers also help to keep the gums healthy.
Interdental aids are tools that help to clean between the teeth and around the brackets. An example of this is a small angular brush that helps remove plaque with the bristles.
More Frequent Cleanings
Regular professional dental cleanings are an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth with dental braces. Some areas are tough to access, and even while using the right tools at home, may harbour bacteria. Cleanings every 3-4 months help to reduce the amount of bacteria accumulation and also provide a check up on the health of the gums and teeth.
It is essential to talk with your orthodontist, dentist or dental hygienist about the right tools for you. If you have any questions about any dental aids, or believe you may benefit from more frequent cleanings, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.
At your child's latest dental visit, you found out one of their primary (“baby”) teeth has become decayed and in danger of loss. Of course, you may think, it's only a primary tooth — it's going to come out sooner or later.
But a primary tooth lost “sooner” rather than “later” can create long-term negative consequences for your child's dental health. For the sake of the future permanent tooth, the best treatment strategy could be to put forth the effort and expense to save it.
Besides its role in eating and chewing, a primary tooth's most important function is as a “trailblazer” for the permanent tooth developing below it. A primary tooth doesn't normally loosen and let go until the new permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Until then they hold the new tooth's space in the jaw.
But if the primary tooth is lost prematurely, nearby teeth can drift into and crowd the space so that the permanent tooth comes in out of position. This can result in a malocclusion, or poor bite.
Depending on the state of your child's jaw development, it may be advisable to attempt saving the tooth through a filling or, in the case of deep decay, a modified root canal treatment. If the tooth can't be saved, then placing an orthodontic appliance known as a space maintainer might be necessary. Cemented to a tooth next to the empty space, this appliance has a looped band of metal that butts against the tooth on the other side of the gap, and prevents both teeth from drifting into the space.
Intervening for a decayed primary tooth can seem a waste of time and money since it has a limited lifespan to begin with. But for the health of its companion permanent tooth, as well as possibly avoiding orthodontic treatment, it could be well worth it for your child's long-term dental health.
If you would like more information on dental care for your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”