Q There has been a lot of media attention recently about extreme makeovers. How can orthodontic treatment help achieve an ideal smile makeover?
A Orthodontic treatment can be extremely helpful to achieve a smile makeover. For example, orthodontic treatment can place the teeth in better positions to correct the bite and eliminate crowding so that it is easier for the restorative dentist to improve the appearance of the teeth. A smile makeover without orthodontic correction may require reshaping and removal of tooth structure to adjust for crowding or faulty positions of the teeth. Often, an extensive makeover can be eliminated with orthodontic treatment and patients may only desire whitening or relatively small corrections of blemished or worn teeth.
Q I know orthodontic treatment provides cosmetic benefit, but what are some of the other reasons for having braces?
A Adults and children benefit from orthodontic treatment to correct the bite, alleviate crowding and improve alignment, thus improving function, facilitating proper oral hygiene, and preventing possible future dental problems such as increased wear of teeth. For children, orthodontics is not only important for alignment of teeth, but treatment may help correct jaw discrepancies through some modification of jaw growth in combination with tooth movement and bite correction. Children also benefit through correction of problems when teeth do not erupt normally and reduction of overjet (“buck teeth”) to minimize trauma and fracture of front teeth.
Q My dentist has recommended my daughter see an orthodontist because her canine teeth are not coming in correctly. How will this be corrected?
A Depending on the exact position of the canines and if the patient is seen early enough, the orthodontist may be able to help redirect the eruption path of the canines so that they will erupt normally. However, if the patient is already past the age of the normal canine ruption time or the positions of the teeth are significantly abnormal, the orthodontist may need to assist in the eruption of the teeth by employing surgical uncovering of the tooth and orthodontic tooth movement.
Q What is Invisalign?
A Invisalign is a form of orthodontic treatment that utilizes a series of custom made clear retainers to move teeth. Each retainer moves select teeth a tiny amount and then the patient progresses to the next retainer. It is usually more expensive than fixed orthodontics and is more limited in the scope of what can be accomplished compared to traditional fixed braces. It is not recommended for children and is designed for the adult who does not want to wear traditional braces.
Q Do I still need to see my dentist while I am in braces?
A Absolutely yes! I recommend that all of my patients see their dentist at least every 6 months or as recommend by their dentist; in some situations, a patient may need to have professional exams and cleanings more frequently.
Q Is it necessary to have teeth removed for braces?
A Your orthodontist may or may not recommend removal of teeth as part of your treatment. The most obvious reason is for severe crowding or protrusion of teeth. However, there may be many other reasons for the removal of teeth. For example, in young patients, extraction of baby teeth may be necessary to help the eruption of the permanent teeth and to prevent a tooth from being “impacted” or unerupted. In adult and adolescent patients, extraction of teeth may be necessary to correct a bite problem.
Q What is an underbite and what problem does it cause?
A The word “underbite” is used to describe a bite characterized by the lower front teeth biting ahead of the upper front teeth. This situation can be seen in all ages. It may be a sign of an abnormality in the position of the jaws but it can also be caused by just a few teeth that are poorly positioned. In the latter case, the patient may have excellent jaw positions but actually has to position his jaw forward in order to bite because of the faulty tooth positions. Early detection and correction of this situation can help a child greatly.
Q What is meant by a jaw discrepancy?
A I use the term “jaw discrepancy” to describe, in general, situations where jaws do not line up properly in one or more dimensions. For example, most people recognize when someone has a lower jaw that is too far back. Many other scenarios exist such as a lower jaw that is too far to one side, or too far forward causing an “underbite”, or an upper jaw that is too far forward. These situations are skeletal in their cause and are not just due to faulty tooth positions. They result from unfavorable patterns of facial growth.
Q What is surgical orthodontics?
A Surgical orthodontics involves a course of treatment during which a patient who has a major discrepancy between the positions of the jaws has orthodontics in combination with a surgical repositioning of one or both jaws. The surgery is often called orthognathic surgery. Typically, the patient undergoes orthodontic treatment first to carefully position the teeth in each jaw so that when the jaw positions are corrected, the teeth fit nicely together. The patient's braces stay on during the surgery, and after the surgery, the orthodontist then “fine-tunes” the position of the teeth and bite prior to removal of the braces.
Q At what age is a patient too old for orthodontics?
A Fortunately, age does not disqualify someone from orthodontic treatment. As long as a person has healthy teeth and healthy supporting bone and gum tissues, they may be a candidate for orthodontics. Even if someone has had some bone loss around the teeth, they may be able to have orthodontics with careful treatment and monitoring of the gum tissues. One factor that may prevent someone from having orthodontic treatment is the chronic use of a bone density medication called a bisphosphonate; Boniva, Fosamax, and Actonel are examples of such drugs. A specific consultation with an orthodontist is recommended in such situations.
Q At what age do most children begin orthodontic treatment?
A Most children do not need to start treatment until preadolescence when they are starting to loose the last few baby teeth. A relatively small percentage of children will have specific conditions that warrant early intervention including problems such as correction of anterior or posterior cross bites which cause a child to “shift their jaw”, guidance of eruption when there are problems with teeth erupting in the wrong position, and a few very specific jaw position problems. In these cases, the early limited treatment is intended to prevent or minimize future problems and to facilitate comprehensive treatment when all of the permanent teeth are erupted.
Q At what age should I have my children seen by an orthodontist?
A Depending on the recommendation of your child’s general dentist or paediatric dentist, every child should have an initial examination by an orthodontist no later than age 8 or 9. However, your child’s dentist may recommend an earlier or later evaluation based on specific situations. The initial evaluation usually involves a screening radiograph to check for missing teeth or teeth that are erupting in an unfavorable position and a clinical exam to check the bite, jaw positions, and amount of crowding. Then the orthodontist can advise you if there are immediate needs or establish a time for a future follow-up examination.
The time has come. You brush and floss your kids' teeth every day, but it's finally time for their first official dentist appointment. You know how important it is to attend regular dentist appointments. You want your kids to have good oral health for life and don't want them to develop a fear of the dentist or feel anxiety about dental visits.
To ensure your kids have a good experience on their foundational visit to the dentist, prepare them properly before the big day.
Schedule the First Visit Early
Most experts advise that children see a dentist sometime before their first birthday. The earlier you can get your kids in to the dentist, the better. If they start early, they'll be familiar with the process and know what to expect as they get older.
However, if you missed that first early visit, it's not too late to establish good oral health for your kids. Get them in to see a dentist as soon, and as young, as possible.
Go to a Family-Friendly Dentist
What kind of dentist you choose matters. Even if you love your own dentist, they may not be right for your kids.
Choose a dentist who regularly deals with children and families. Many dentists' offices have long experience dealing with children and will happily accept appointments for the whole family. Your kids will likely have a better time if their dentist knows how to appeal to children.
Remember it's not just the dentist who will deal with your kids. Everyone from the front-office staff to the oral hygienist will also interact with your children and contribute to their first dental experience. Choose an office that knows how to make a positive first impression.
Explain Why You Go to the Dentist
Before their first visit, explain to your kids why it's important to go to the dentist. Talk, in a kidfriendly way, about how the dentist uses special tools to make their teeth squeaky clean again.
Use metaphors or imagery that are easy for kids to understand. Decide, based on your children's personalities, whether to tell them how little cavity bugs hide in their teeth and the dentist needs to clean them off, or whether to just say you need the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong.
Tell your children what you personally like about going to the dentist. Maybe you like when the dentist polishes your teeth or takes an X-ray. Relay your own experience to give your kids a positive impression of what to expect.
Show Your Kids Positive Media
Familiarize your children with the environment and equipment they'll see at the dentist's office. Show them pictures and videos of kids at the dentist and images of the tools the dentist uses to clean their teeth. Find episodes of kid-friendly TV shows that address dental visits, and watch them with your children.
Expose your children to a variety of positive media about dental visits. If they know what things look like and what to expect before they get to the office, they'll be less intimidated by the dental environment.
Give Your Kids Something to Look Forward To
Offer your children a treat or special event for after their dentist visit. Maybe they'll get to spend a day at the zoo, or just go out for ice cream after their appointment. Give them a positive event to look forward to so they approach their first visit to the dentist with happy anticipation.
With the right preparation, you can help your kids establish a positive relationship to dentists and oral hygiene. Promote a good attitude before their first dental visit and build a healthy foundation for the rest of their lives.
From the moment you wake up to the last few minutes before you go to sleep, you're constantly on the move. You have to rush to work. You must drive your kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. And you can't forget to shop for groceries, pick up the dry cleaning and stop by the bank.
When you're on the go, you don't have the chance to prepare and pack healthy foods. In between tasks, you may only have a few minutes to grab a granola bar or stop by a nearby coffee shop for a doughnut or two.
But these sweet treats and snacks can wreak havoc on your dental health, especially when you don't have time to brush afterward. The more sugary foods you eat, the greater your risk for cavities and decay.
If you're in a rush, try grabbing these simple snacks before you step foot out the door. They only take you a minute or so to prepare, and they can keep your teeth in great shape.
1. Cheese Cubes
Although cheese tends to last best when refrigerated, string cheese, cheese cubes and cheese curds all travel well if packaged appropriately. Simply throw a stick or package in your purse or backpack, and you have a flavourful way to feed yourself (or your kids) while on the go.
Cheese is one of the best foods you can eat when you want to maintain a healthy smile. Cheese supplies plenty of vitamin D and calcium for building strong bones, and it temporarily increases your mouth's pH levels to keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
To read more about the benefits of cheese for your oral health, feel free to check out our previous blog .
2. Raw Almonds
Cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios make for the ultimate last-minute snack, as they don't require any refrigeration or preparation. You can eat them directly out of the box, bag or can, or you can set aside a reasonable portion in a travel-friendly plastic container.
Almonds offer lots of calcium for supporting teeth and nourishing healthy gum tissue. Additionally, almonds supply a hefty amount of vitamin E and can effectively regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, almonds can effectively reduce your risk for periodontal disease.
As you snack, eat nuts with care. If you try to chomp through a harder nut or de-shell the nut with your teeth, you may chip a tooth. If you worry about accidentally damaging your teeth, opt for de-shelled and chopped nuts rather than whole.
Don't Forget to Brush When You Can
These snacks are a tooth-friendly way to satisfy your hunger pangs when you're too busy to cook. But remember that even the healthiest foods still have the potential to damage teeth.
Ideally, you should brush within 30 to 60 minutes after snacking. But if you don't have the opportunity to brush, at least take a few moments to rinse your mouth with water. Water will clear away some of the lingering food particles and restore your mouth's pH balance.
And though you may be busy, don't forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist. A single appointment every six months could save you multiple dental surgeries in the future.
Chances are, you don't think about your teeth much except while practicing your daily oral hygiene routine. And even then, your mind will be busy planning your day or trying to remember last night's dream.
However, a toothache is a painful reminder of the fragility of your teeth, one which can cause disruption in your life. Even fairly mild localised pain can become distracting quickly. More major toothaches change the way you eat, speak and smile almost immediately.
Unfortunately, there're no guaranteed answers to most questions about your toothache. But in this blog, we guide you through common causes, telltale symptoms and sure signs you should see your dentist.
What Causes Toothaches?
Though your teeth have a strong outer layer of enamel, they connect to a network of sensitive oral nerves. These nerves exist inside each tooth as well as in the soft tissues of your mouth. Toothaches indicate irritation of or damage to these nerves.
Common causes of toothaches include the following:
Abscess or other oral infection
Bruxism, also called tooth grinding
Chipping or fracturing of a tooth
Lost or damaged filling, bridge or crown Untreated cavities and tooth decay
You are more likely to experience tooth-related discomfort if you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), frequent headaches and certain chronic diseases. Always discuss your medical history with your healthcare providers to rule out non-dental causes of tooth discomfort.
How Do Toothaches Manifest?
Toothaches can appear at any time, in patients of any age. Most patients describe a combination of one or more of the following symptoms:
Change in taste -If you have an infected tooth or section of gum tissue, you may notice a foul taste in your mouth that doesn't disappear when you eat or drink. The change usually results from wound discharge.
Headache -Your teeth, jaw and facial bones can easily be affected by each other. You may experience headaches before, during or after a toothache.
Tooth pain -Tooth pain can come in many forms, from sharp to achy and from throbbing to constant. Additionally, your tooth pain may only appear when you eat sugary or acidic foods, put pressure on your teeth or expose your teeth to heat or cold. All these pain types qualify as a toothache.
Because toothaches can result from a number of different causes, their symptoms vary. Some patients experience dull pain that comes and goes, while others report intense, focused pain over extended time periods. Take note of your symptoms before you have your appointment as these effects can help your dentist identify the cause.
When Should You See Your Dentist?
If you have brief, mild discomfort, you may get away without a trip to the dentist. However, most toothaches require professional evaluation and treatment for them to disappear.
You should see your dentist as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
Difficulty opening your mouth, chewing or speaking
Discomfort lasting for two or more days
Earaches or localised discomfort around the ears
Extreme pain, even if you only feel it intermittently
Inability to properly care for your teeth due to the pain
Visible changes to your teeth, gums or oral tissues
If you develop fever, lightheadedness or other sudden and serious symptoms, seek medical attention from your general practitioner or from an emergency dentist. These symptoms may indicate infection or a different pain source, such as an advanced sinus infection.
If you have a history of tooth sensitivity, decay or aches, bring up your concerns during your next appointment at Dental Smile Clinic. Your dentist can develop a hygiene, appointment and procedure plan based on your specific circumstances. With some simple proactive measures, you should be able to avoid most future toothaches.
Most people have been advised many times to visit the dentist every six months. However, some people still don't visit the dentist regularly. Even if you practice excellent oral hygiene care at home, you should still see a dentist on a regular basis.
Missing only a couple of dental check-ups likely won't cause permanent damage to your teeth. However, if you frequently skip these oral exams, here are some reasons to break the habit. Disease Prevention
Dental check-ups usually involve cleaning and polishing your teeth. Without this regular cleaning, bacteria and tartar may build up in your mouth. Over time, this tartar build-up can irritate gum tissue and result in gum disease.
When you visit the dentist, your dental hygienist will mostly likely use an ultrasonic dental instrument or hand scaler to remove tartar from your teeth. This process is one of the only ways to remove tartar. You simply cannot remove it by only flossing or brushing.
After the dental hygienist cleans your teeth, he or she will examine your gums and teeth for signs of potential complications. Many dental issues won't cause pain or become apparent until they enter advanced stages. This examination helps prevent health and dental complications because your dentist is trained to catch early signs of complications.
If you visit the dentist regularly, you can take care of potential dental and health issues before they become serious.
Some possible health complications that have possible oral symptoms include:
Heart disease. Early signs of heart disease include loose teeth and inflamed gums. In addition, bacteria near your gums may spread to other parts of the body if you have gum disease. Once bacteria enter your body, they can form clots or plaque in your arteries. Diabetes . Though poor oral health doesn't cause diabetes, this health condition causes issues in your mouth such as bleeding gums, gum disease, and loose teeth.
Osteoporosis. Although this disease doesn't affect your teeth, it can alter the bones that support your teeth. Your dentist may identify osteoporosis by loose teeth and receded gum lines.
Eating disorder. Dentists may notice signs of an eating disorder if a patient has a dry mouth and bleeding gums. Poor nutrition can also cause the insides of the front teeth to erode.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When inside tooth enamel begins to erode, it can indicate GERD. GERD causes erosion throughout the oesophagus and may lead to oesophageal cancer. If your dentist detects early signs of GERD, notify your doctor as well.
If your dentist notices signs of these health issues, he or she may recommend a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist for further treatment.
Regular cleanings can sometimes be vital in preventing major health problems. For instance, people who regularly have their teeth cleaned are at a 24% lower risk to experience a heart attack and 13% lower risk of experiencing a stroke.
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?
Most people only need to visit the dentist twice a year to maintain proper oral hygiene. Others may need to visit the dentist more frequently. For instance, people who have a high risk for developing periodontitis may need to visit the dentist every few months.
Never go longer than 18 months without visiting the dentist. Otherwise, you could develop more serious issues that may be more difficult and costly to treat. Talk with your dentist to determine a good schedule for you.
Your dental health is an important element of your overall health. Don't neglect the importance of regularly visiting your dentist. If you're due for a check-up, call your dentist to schedule your appointment today. When you regularly visit the dentist, you keep your teeth on the path for optimal health.
Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with changes. Some changes you may expect, such as a growing tummy or sudden cravings for pickles and ice cream. Other changes, however, may catch you by surprise, such as increased risk of nose bleeds, hot flushes and constipation.
Although you feel you can handle most of these developments on your own without batting an eye, keep in mind that some physical shifts may require outside help to resolve. Your dental health, for example, may need assistance from your dentist to stay in good condition.
As your pregnancy progresses, keep a lookout for the following problems. With a few minor adjustments in your lifestyle and a little help from a professional, you can ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout each trimester.
1. Morning Sickness Eats Away at Enamel
Statistics estimate that nearly 75% of women experience morning sickness during pregnancy. Although some women merely feel queasy for a few weeks, many unlucky mothers may have to run to the toilet several times a day when the morning sickness gets the best of them.
Unfortunately, vomiting regularly wreaks havoc on your teeth in addition to inhibiting your nutrient absorption. Typically, stomach acid has a pH level of about 1.5 to 3.5, more than enough to eat away at your enamel.
Talk to your doctor about your morning sickness. He or she may recommend a combination of vitamins and dietary changes to ease the nausea and give you some relief.
If you still face regular morning sickness during your first trimester, you can minimise the damage to your teeth by rinsing with water after you vomit. Then, wait for 60 minutes before brushing your teeth. When you brush immediately after heaving, the bristles push the acids deeper into the grooves of your teeth.
2. More Frequent Meals Increase Sugar Exposure
Many doctors recommend that pregnant women eat small meals throughout the day. Regular healthy snacks not only ensure the mother receives adequate nutrition, but these foods also keep blood sugar levels in check, minimising nausea and energy crashes.
However, the more often you graze, the more sugar you put into your mouth. The sugar feeds oral bacteria, which in turn produce acids that eat away at your enamel. Furthermore, the constant food intake means your mouth doesn't have enough time to restore its natural, neutral pH levels, so your teeth sit in a constant acid bath.
As you 'eat for two', remember that some snacks are better than others for you, your baby and your smile. When you pick and choose your meals, look for foods with low sugar and high fibre content.
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, contain folic acid which will boost your baby's neural development. Additionally, these veggies supply a healthy amount of calcium that will maintain your teeth and bones.
Cheese and yoghurt are also excellent snacks during pregnancy. These dairy items have plenty of protein for your baby's growing muscles, iron for your red blood cells and calcium for your teeth. Better still, cheese and yoghurt temporarily increase your mouth's pH levels, reducing your risk for cavities.
3. Hormone Fluctuations Trigger Gum Inflammation
During pregnancy, your hormone levels go wild. Your progesterone production skyrockets, which then stimulates the prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins regulate the female reproductive system, and they affect how your body responds to injury and illness. In some cases, prostaglandins cause inflammation of blood vessels, resulting in sensitive gum tissues and swelling.
Due to hormone fluctuations, many pregnant women have an increased risk of suffering from gingivitis and gum disease. In extreme situations, the swelling leads to a benign growth known as a pregnancy tumour, which bleeds easily.
Although you can't control your hormones, you can take steps to reduce inflammation. Take care to floss every night, and always brush with a soft-bristled brush. Avoid trigger foods that make your teeth feel more sore and sensitive, such as hot tea or cold ice cream.
Talk to Your Dentist About Your Pregnancy
While pregnancy leads to a variety of changes, these changes don't have to negatively impact your oral health. If you haven't already done so, set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss your pregnancy and ways you can maintain your teeth and gums over the next few months.
Cavities form when the bacteria that naturally grow in your mouth start to eat your tooth enamel. The bacteria accomplish this task by ingesting some of the sugars that you eat, and these organisms metabolise the sugar into acid. The acid then begins to break down your tooth enamel and dissolves it until the bacteria reach the dentin, nerves and blood vessels within the tooth.
Even if you have experienced cavities or dental caries in the past, you may not notice when one starts to develop in your mouth. You might not see any evidence of cavities until you visit your dentist. You might also attribute some cavity signs to other causes, like food discolouration or bruxism.
Read below to learn how to recognise cavities so you can catch them and remedy them before they do too much damage to your teeth.
1. Discoloured Spots or Patches
As cavities delve deeper and deeper into your teeth, they create a hole, and sometimes that hole exists under the topmost dentin layer. In that situation, you do not see a hole so much as a discoloured patch that can appear black, grey, brown or even extra yellowed. You should not see any concentrated colour spots on your teeth anywhere. Even an extra-white patch could signal a cavity.
2. Sensitivity in the Enamel and Gums
You might assume, when you have a serious cavity, that you will notice pain before any other sensation. In some cases, you would be right. However, many people notice sensitivity long before they notice pain. Sensitivity occurs because the bacteria have removed some of the protective enamel and dentin layers, exposing the sensitive nerves underneath. Even a tiny bit of nerve exposure can lead to sensitivity.
Sensitivity feels like a shocking or tingling sensation, and it feels worse when you eat cold, host, sweet or acidic foods. Even hot or cold air could cause a reaction.
3. Persistently Bad Breath
Bad breath can occur because you ate something especially fragrant. It can also occur because of a large number of metabolising bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria consume leftover food, and the by-product of this reaction creates a bad smell that will not go away by itself, no matter how many times you brush your teeth. You will have to see your dentist and resolve the cavity before you can have fresh breath again.
4. Relentless Toothaches
When you experience tooth pain, you might dismiss it and assume you bit something too hard. You may also assume that you clenched your jaw while you slept. However, if that pain persists all day or even for several days, then you probably have a cavity. You may even have a cavity in its advanced stages because pain does not usually manifest before the bacteria reach beneath the enamel.
5. Hollows or Holes in Your Tooth Enamel
When you notice craters, hollows or even large holes in your tooth enamel, then you need to book treatment with your dental care provider as soon as possible. Holes indicate that your cavity has reached advanced stages. The hole could turn into an abscess, which means more pain and more expensive treatment. Act quickly to save your tooth or teeth.
The average person cannot take care of a cavity on his or her own. He or she must seek a dentist's help to overcome the bacteria and fill in the gaps the cavity left behind. So, if you notice any of the signs above in your mouth or your children's mouths, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. The sooner your dentist remedies the cavity, the healthier your mouth will be.