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National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 3rd, 2019

While many people consider braces to be a teenage rite of passage, early intervention innovations like two-phase orthodontics are promising young patients fewer extractions and better oral health. This February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and we’re urging parents to rethink braces. By bringing your child to an orthodontist before all of their permanent teeth have erupted, you can set their smile up to be healthier and happier through proactive treatment.

How Early Intervention Benefits Smiles

Most professionals recommend that patients see an orthodontist when they are as young as 7 years old. This proactive visit can be incredibly beneficial for your child’s overall health. By evaluating your child’s teeth, jaw, and mouth, your orthodontist will be able to anticipate future orthodontic issues, and if necessary, treat them in a two-phase process.

Because many parents underwent one prolonged orthodontic treatment in their own youth, using more than one phase for their child’s treatment may seem unnecessary. With two distinct treatment phases and a rest period in between, orthodontists use early intervention during Phase I to tackle jaw, palette, or other mouth problems, correcting them before they might develop into a serious issue. After Phase I is complete, patients are given a rest period as their permanent teeth finish erupting. Patients then begin Phase II, which is the final stage of fine tuning that creates a perfectly aligned, healthy smile. 

If your child is a good candidate for early intervention, Phase I orthodontics can correct jaw alignment and create more space for permanent teeth, leading to less crowded and straighter adult teeth. Treatment may consist of a palette expander, partial braces, or an active retainer—all of which offer a number of health benefits for young patients including, but not limited to:

  • Fewer extractions of permanent teeth. All teeth serve a vital purpose in the mouth, operating as tools for digestion, chewing, and speaking. Early intervention helps the mouth accommodate adult teeth, eliminating the need for multiple extractions or oral trauma.
  • Healthier permanent teeth. When permanent teeth are crowded or misaligned, it can be substantially more difficult for patients to remove plaque by brushing and flossing, and substantially easier to grind teeth or wear them down.
  • Simplified Phase II orthodontics. Early intervention eliminates the need for many invasive or painful treatments later on, making Phase II a more streamlined process.

Early intervention through a two-phase orthodontic program can save children from needing more intense and invasive treatment in their teens and can correct a number of issues that sometimes interfere with oral health. If you are interested in learning more about early intervention or want to know if your child is a good candidate for a two-phase orthodontics plan, call us today to schedule an appointment. Our friendly staff is happy to answer any questions you may have and can’t wait to help you make your child’s smile as healthy and happy as possible.

 

Winter Braces Survival Guide

January 6th, 2019

Winter is the perfect season for building snowmen, dusting off the sleds, and making holiday memories with friends and family. However, sensitive teeth and poor oral hygiene can also come alongside the winter months, leading to pain and discomfort during an otherwise cheerful season. Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect against seasonal problems and enjoy the winter wonderland while wearing orthodontics. Read on for our best tips to help you care for your smile all winter long!

Remember Your Routine

During the holidays, many of us may switch up our schedules by sleeping in, traveling, and spending more time sipping warm drinks. However, don’t neglect good dental habits just because the season is bustling with activity. Remembering to brush for two minutes twice a day, flossing daily, and consistently wearing any removable retainers or aligners will ensure that you can enjoy your healthiest smile.

Be Sensitive to Your Teeth’s Needs

The drop in temperatures and harsh winds can leave your teeth more sore or sensitive than usual. Luckily, there are several strategies you can use to combat pain. If your sensitivity is mild, breathing only through your nose when outside may be effective enough to minimize any soreness. For more intense sensitivity, consider brushing teeth with desensitizing toothpastes, which can dramatically ease discomfort and help with tooth sensitivity.

Don’t Forget Your Lips

Wind, sun, and cold temperatures can harm the delicate skin on your lips, so be sure to protect them from damage. If chapped lips bother you this season, petroleum jelly is a cost-effective option that locks in moisture. You can also combat both the cold and UV rays by wearing a daily lip balm with SPF 15 or higher. To improve your skin overall, drink plenty of water and consider installing a humidifier in your home to provide extra moisture to help keep your lips healthy this season.

Treat Yourself and Your Smile

While it may be tempting to indulge in a variety of seasonal foods during the holidays, it’s best to avoid hard and sticky foods that can damage your braces, get stuck in your teeth, and promote tooth decay. Be sure to also limit sweet drinks since they are high in acidic content, can damage your tooth enamel, and expose your teeth’s inner layers to the cold. Regardless of the weather, there are plenty of braces-friendly, holiday treats like pumpkin pie, ice cream, pudding, and sliced fruits that are sure to keep you happy and your teeth, healthy.

Winter Can Create Positive Change for Your Teeth

Don’t let the weather impact your smile’s health. Be sure to maintain daily routines of brushing and flossing while keeping up with your orthodontist appointments to get your best smile this season and beyond!

Celebrate the Holidays with Braces-Friendly Beverages

November 30th, 2018

With the holidays here, it's time to start prepping for holiday parties and gatherings. But if you’re looking for fun and braces-friendly holiday drinks, we’ve got you covered.

Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate

If you enjoy cinnamon-flavored, wintery drinks, then this is perfect for you! Add some marshmallows for extra sweetness.

Find the recipe here.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

If you are in the holiday mood and love gingerbread, try this twist on frozen hot chocolate!

Find the recipe here.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This is one of the more famous drinks around the holidays. Experiment with this healthier version that uses real pumpkin puree and honey in the recipe.

Find the recipe here.

Spiced Vanilla Pear Apple Cider 

This easy-to-prepare cider recipe combines both pear and apple for a holiday favorite.

Find the recipe here.

Ginger Latte

This minimalistic recipe is perfect if you have ginger, sugar, and almond milk around the house.

Find the recipe here.

Caramel Vanilla Bean Hazelnut Milk

This holiday drink gets you in the festive spirit with its hazelnut and vanilla bean combo. Even better, it substitutes dates for sugar to make the drink sweeter. (Blending the dates makes them braces-safe!)

Find the recipe here.

Cherry Bombs

This drink is a play on the kid-favorite Shirley Temple.

Find the recipe here.

Iced Mint Protein Mocha

This sugarless recipe combines mint and coffee to make a refreshing caffeinated drink. It’s also a great pick-me-up for winter mornings.

Find the recipe here.

As always, we recommend foods and drinks with little to no sugar.  Not only are they better for your dental health, but minimizing your sugar intake is better for the rest of your body, too. These drinks are some fun ideas to get you started with your holiday planning, but there’s one more thing to remember: keep up with your regular dental hygiene to ensure you maintain that sparkling smile!

All About TMJ for National TMJ Awareness Month

November 4th, 2018

If you experience throbbing headaches, pain and tenderness in your jaw, or have difficulty chewing, you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from a TMJ disorder. This November is TMJ Awareness Month, and we’re breaking down the causes, symptoms, and treatments of TMJ disorders so you can learn the most effective ways to stay pain-free year -round. 

What is TMJ?

Every person has two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that rest in front of each ear. These joints allow your jaw to move in hinge and sliding motions so you can talk, chew, or swallow. When TMJ disorders strike, they can cause pain and restriction of the jaw, along with a myriad of other unpleasant side effects that can critically damage quality of life, including:

  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth (jaw locking)
  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw
  • Pain in or around the ears
  • Migraines and tension headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Oftentimes, there are a number of factors that can contribute to painful TMJ disorders, ranging from stress, to teeth grinding, to a bad bite. Most of these factors place undue pressure on your jaw’s joints, leading to the characteristic symptoms of pain, tightness, and restricted range of motion.

Treatment Options for TMJ

Because TMJ disorders can affect your ability to speak, eat, and even sleep, managing the pain and discomfort brought on by TMJ problems can feel overwhelming. However, regardless of stage, there are a number of effective treatments for patients to try. While most TMJ disorders are resolved with conservative treatments, surgical intervention is sometimes needed to relieve discomfort and pain. Some conservative treatments include an adjusted diet, bite realignment, wearing a mouth guard, or restorative dentistry. Patients with stress-induced TMJ may find counseling and exercises to be helpful.

If patients have TMJ caused by malocclusion (an improper bite), one of the most effective treatments is orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment can correct the improper bite and ensure that the jaw functions without compensating for misaligned teeth. In many cases, orthodontics can also reduce rates of jaw clenching or teeth grinding, since misaligned teeth are more prone to these TMJ-inducing habits.

If you routinely suffer from painful TMJ disorders, take the first step toward a pain-free life by scheduling an appointment with us today. By determining the causes of your pain, we can discuss treatment options that will transform the way you feel and leave you with your happiest, healthiest smile yet.

Schedule your Consultation Today!

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