Posts for tag: 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.”
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”