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In the Event of an Orthodontic Emergency

November 19th, 2019

DO YOU HAVE A PLAN about what to do if something unexpectedly goes wrong with your orthodontic treatment? If not, we can help you out with some preparation tips. It also helps to know the difference between a minor issue and a serious emergency.

Common Orthodontic Problems

Some of the common setbacks patients experience with their orthodontic appliances include a bracket coming loose or breaking, discomfort from something poking into the cheeks, lips, or gums, and toothaches.

  • If a bracket breaks loose, please call the office. Depending on the location and tooth that the bracket is loose, you may need to schedule a repair appointment. It may be ok to wait to repair at your next regularly scheduled appointment. You can hold the bracket in place with wax so that it is not sliding around.
  • If a bracket or archwire is poking you, sometimes you can fix it by gently pushing the protruding part in with a pencil eraser so that it’s more out of the way. You can also use orthodontic wax to cover the uncomfortable spot. For wax, you need to make sure the surface area is completely dry and free of any moisture in order for the wax to adhere well. We suggest using a tissue or paper towel to help with this. You can even try to bend the wire in with a pair of sanitized tweezers. In some cases, you may be able to clip the wire from home with a new pair of nail clippers or a sanitized pair. If it’s still an issue or if it’s giving you a lot of trouble, give us a call and we can schedule you an appointment to clip this for you.
  • In the case of general toothaches as the braces apply pressure to your teeth, this is usually temporary, and you can manage it with over-the-counter painkillers and by swishing warm saltwater. If the pain remains or gets worse after several days, there could be another underlying issue. Please contact us so we we advise on next steps.

Why does that archwire start poking out in the first place?

 

What Qualifies as a Major Orthodontic Emergency?

Most patients will never have to deal with a major emergency, but it’s still a good idea to be prepared so that you know what to do if it happens. Here are the three major orthodontic emergencies:

  • Severe pain in the mouth or face
  • Swollen or infected gums or major swelling in the face
  • Trauma to the mouth, teeth, or face

Call us immediately if you experience any of these so that we can schedule an emergency appointment. If you can’t reach us or the emergency is affecting more than just your orthodontic situation, head straight to the emergency room instead, then call us once you’re out of danger.

Bring Us Your Questions and Concerns

It’s always a good idea to keep extra rubber bands and orthodontic wax handy so that you can quickly address minor issues, and keep our practice’s number in your contacts list. If you have any questions about how to deal with potential problems or emergencies, go ahead and give us a call today!

We want all of our patients to have the best treatment experience possible!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Teeth and Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

October 23rd, 2019

HALLOWEEN IS A TON OF fun every year, and it’s right around the corner! We love the costumes, the decorations, and the local events, but we’re a little wary of all that candy. Sugar isn’t just tasty to us; the harmful bacteria in our mouths love it. If you want to make Halloween a little healthier for your teeth (and safer for your braces), here’s a handy breakdown of how different types of treats and candies rank in terms of promoting good dental health.

Types of Halloween Candy to Avoid

Anything hard, sticky, or sour is going to be bad for your teeth. Hard candy takes a while to dissolve, which means your teeth are exposed to sugar for a long time, and it can easily break a bracket loose. Even the nuts in soft candy bars pose a risk.

Sticky candy is a problem because it adheres to the teeth and braces, pushing the sugar right up against the enamel and gum tissue. That’s like breakfast in bed for bacteria! Sour candy might not pose the same dangers to your brackets, but it contains acid as well as sugar, so it’s doubly bad for teeth.

Candy That’s Good for Teeth?

Not all candy is awful for oral health or dangerous for braces-wearers. Chocolate is on the good end of the oral health spectrum, and the darker, the better. Chocolate contains flavanoids and polyphenols — compounds that limit oral bacteria, fight bad breath, and slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate has more of these compounds and their benefits are less offset by sugar than in sweeter milk chocolate.

Other candies that are safe to eat with braces and not terrible for your teeth include mint patties, peanut butter cups, and nut-free chocolate bars. These are soft and not too sticky, so you can safely bite into them without risking a bracket.

Fight Back Against the Effects of Sugar

Aside from avoiding the more harmful candies in favor of chocolate, there are other ways we can combat the effects sugar has on our teeth:

  • Don’t give harmful oral bacteria an all-day buffet! If you’re planning on eating a lot of candy, it’s better to eat it all in one sitting than spreading it out across an entire day. This way, your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the acids and wash away leftover sugar.
  • Drink water after enjoying some candy. It will help rinse out the sugar sticking to your teeth.
  • Wait half an hour after eating candy, then brush your teeth! Good brushing and flossing habits are essential to protecting your teeth from the effects of sugary candy.

Another Great Resource Is the Orthodontist!

Being careful about which candy you eat and when, rinsing with water, and maintaining good daily brushing and flossing habits are all great, but don’t forget about the best resource you have: the orthodontist! If you’d like to learn more about which treats are healthiest for your teeth and safest for your braces, all you have to do is ask!

Have a happy, healthy Halloween!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What Kind of Toothbrush Is Right for You?

September 27th, 2019

THE TOOTHBRUSH HAS CHANGED a lot over the last century, and we consider ourselves very lucky that we don’t have to use animal hair as bristles. However, there are now so many different toothbrush options to choose from that it can be a little intimidating trying to find the perfect one.

Bristle Firmness

Conventional wisdom would suggest that the harder you scrub, the cleaner you get. That might be true with household chores, but we need to be a little more gentle on our teeth and gums. Brushing too hard can actually scrape away enamel and damage gum tissue — increasing your risk of gum recession, which can be permanent. This is why it’s typically better to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

When electric toothbrushes first hit the scene, there wasn’t much difference in their effectiveness compared to that of manual toothbrushes. The technology has come a long way since then. Modern electric toothbrushes actually can do a better job of cleaning the plaque out of hard-to-reach spots.

A good electric toothbrush will reduce plaque levels by up to 21 percent more than a manual toothbrush, as well as reducing the risk of gingivitis by 11 percent. With an electric toothbrush, you’ll also have an easier time brushing for the full two minutes and you’ll be less likely to brush too hard.

Sonic or Oscillating?

Even if you decide you want an electric toothbrush, there are still a lot of options to choose from, but don’t worry too much. Oscillating brushes (the ones with spinning tops) and sonic brushes (the ones that vibrate side to side) are both great ways to get a cleaner smile. And you can always ask us for a recommendation at your next appointment!

Toothbrush Storage

Having the world’s best toothbrush won’t do you much good if you don’t store it the right way, because an improperly stored toothbrush is a breeding ground for all the bacteria you just scrubbed off your teeth. Make sure to store your toothbrush upright somewhere with enough air flow that it can fully dry between uses — preferably far away from the toilet.

In addition to proper storage, it’s important to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you have an electric one) every few months. A dirty, frayed toothbrush is nowhere near as effective as a fresh, new one.

Here’s a nifty way to store your toothbrush if you’re looking for ideas:

Bring Us Your Toothbrush Questions

We want all of our patients to have the best tools for the job of keeping their teeth healthy and clean, but don’t forget that your best resource for good dental health is your general dentist! We recommend visiting them for a cleaning every six months. Even with braces on!

Dental health is all about having good habits, the right tools, and  great providers! If you do not have a general dentist let us know and we can recommend one to you!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Ways Medicine Affects Oral Health

September 10th, 2019

EVERY MEDICATION COMES with a list of potential side effects. Sometimes those side effects include a negative impact on oral health.

The Chemistry Of Medicine And The Mouth

Certain medications and vitamins can be pretty hard on our teeth, even for the short time they’re in our mouths. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines in pill form, so we don’t have to worry about these problems, but it can be an issue for children. Medicine for kids often comes in the form of sweet syrup and multivitamins, and the sugars in them feeds oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.

Another culprit is asthma inhalers, which can lead to oral thrush — white patches of fungus on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and other oral tissues. These can be irritating or painful. The best way to prevent this complication from inhaler use is for the patient to rinse with water after every use. Rinsing is a good idea for those sugary cough syrups and multivitamins too.

Oral Side Effects

Just because a pill can’t hurt your mouth directly while you’re swallowing it doesn’t mean it won’t have side effects that impact your mouth later on.

  • Medications containing blood thinning components can lead to bleeding gums after brushing.
  • Several medications have a side effect of causing inflammation in the gum tissue, which increases the risk of gum disease.
  • Heart medications, nervous system stimulants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can affect our sense of taste, leaving a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth or causing changes in general. As unpleasant as it can be, this isn’t usually a serious side effect.
  • In rare cases, osteoporosis treatment drugs can compromise the bone tissue in the jaw, increasing the risk of gum recession and tooth loss.

The most common oral side effect of both over-the-counter and prescribed medications is dry mouth. This is a dangerous one because we need saliva to protect our teeth and oral tissues from bacteria. Without saliva, we are much more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.

Make Sure We Know About Your Medications

It’s important to be aware of these side effects and to keep your doctor and your dentist in the loop if any of them occur. Prescriptions can sometimes be adjusted to minimize negative effects, but only if your health care professionals know what’s going on!

The dentist is your best resource for any oral health concerns you have!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

iTero California Dental Association Sacramento District Dental Society Invisalign American Association of Orthodontics American Dental Association
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