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PALATAL EXPANDERS

May 21st, 2018

In Dr. Daniels’ previous post, he talked about some of the benefits of early treatment. You’ll hear us mention “expanders” a lot in the office. Most early treatment in our office involves the use of an expander.

What is an expander?                                                        

An expander is an appliance used to gently widen the upper jaw to help the top teeth fit properly together over the bottom teeth. After careful measurements in our office, we send the components to a lab so it can be custom-made for each patient. Our expander is nicknamed a “hygienic expander” because it’s easy to clean and will not accumulate food around it.

What should you expect with an expander?

The way an expander works is by turning the screw—every turn of the screw is actually 1/4mm, gently widening the upper jaw by opening the mid-palatal suture. It’s very common to have a space between the two front teeth as this happens—don’t fret! The stretchy fibers in the gums between the teeth will bring them back together and we will help close the rest of the space with braces.

Most kids feel very little discomfort with the expander and easily adjust to eating, swallowing, and talking with it after a few days. If they feel anything at all, it’s usually described as “pressure” or “tightness.” I actually had an expander when I was younger and remember feeling this. Since we turn the expander only once per day, it is a very gentle pressure and if there is any tightness, it goes away a few minutes after the turn is finished.

https://youtu.be/HFALOyCkspM

 

We will usually leave the expander in for 6 months after stopping the turns. This allows the new bone to fill in where the suture was opened in the palate. Basically, it needs some time to set in its new position and by holding the expander in there for that length of time, it prevents relapse.

Why not wait until all of the adult teeth are in and start everything all at once?

A common misconception is to wait until all adult teeth are in to start any orthodontic treatment (Please see Dr. Daniels’ first post to see why). In actuality, we usually recommend doing an expander when young (after age 7). The expansion we achieve at a young age is more impactful and will not relapse. The reason is that as our bodies mature, the sutures fuse and the two halves of the upper jaw fuse into one piece—when that happens after maturity, the only way to fix a narrow upper jaw is by doing surgery.

It’s important to be proactive and set the foundation for a more successful outcome when the rest of the adult teeth do come in!

Dr. Rola Alkhatib

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.

Protect Your Smile With A Custom Mouthguard

May 14th, 2018

THE CRISP SMELL OF FRESHLY CUT GRASS on the soccer field, the gleam of the basketball court before a game, the cheering fans at the football stadium, the feeling of the baseball bat, familiar in your hands… There’s no doubt about it–playing sports can be a magical thing.

We love when our patients are having fun and being active, but unfortunately, sports-related dental injuries happen all the time. That’s why we make custom mouth guards in our practice, so you and your children can always play it safe!

Wear A Mouth-guard And Reduce Your Risk Of Injury

You may be surprised to learn that up to 40 percent of dental injuries are sustained during sports activities. In fact, not wearing a mouth-guard makes you 60 times more likely to sustain an injury to the face and mouth! Wearing a mouth-guard during recreational as well as competitive sports activities decreases both the frequency and severity of injury.

A fractured, chipped or knocked-out tooth isn’t the only thing a mouthguard safeguards against. Did you know that wearing a mouthguard can also help prevent more serious injuries such as concussions, jaw fractures, and neck injuries? Not to mention the protection it provides for the soft tissues of the mouth like the tongue, lips and cheeks.

This is especially true for those of you with braces. Not only are your braces an investment you should protect, but those metal brackets can be especially damaging to your mouth if you’re hit by a stray ball or elbow. On top of that, if your braces are damaged, there may be a delay in your orthodontic treatment.

Custom Mouthguards Provide More Comfort And Protection

https://youtu.be/d0ktAyLnGTE

When it comes to purchasing a mouth-guard, you have a couple different options. A custom-fit mouth-guard made specifically for you by a dental professional is the most effective and comfortable choice. We can even specially customize your mouth-guard for the specific sport you play. Custom mouth-guards are:

  • Less likely to be displaced during the action because of their custom fit.
  • Durable and tear-resistant. Custom mouthguards last longer due to the higher quality of materials used to construct them.
  • More fitted and less bulky. This adds to the overall comfort and makes talking, breathing and swallowing easier.

Your Smile Is Worth Protecting

Customized specifically for your smile, the mouth-guards we make in our practice provide superior safety and genuine comfort.Your smile is worth protecting. Talk to us today about your own custom mouth-guard! Connecticut Valley Orthodontics, offers mouth-guard events, a whole team can come to our office for FREE CUSTOM MOUTH-GUARDS! Contact us to schedule your team event!

Our patients make our day!

~ Natasha

 

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.

Why Would Someone Ever Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?

May 7th, 2018

This is a question that I often get asked. Someone may see a 7 or 8 year old with braces, or their family member or friend may have just gotten referred to see us.  So why would someone so young need braces?

This question can’t be answered quickly or in simple terms, but I will try to give you a light overview of the direction that Orthodontics has moved.  Not everyone is born with a large enough mouth for all of their teeth to fit into.  The way our profession used to address this was to take pictures, x-rays, do some measurements then start extracting numerous teeth.  Some would be baby teeth, then move onto extracting permanent teeth. I have heard of adults having up to 16 teeth extracted in some cases between baby and permanent. Well, things change, our profession has evolved and research shows that in most cases, this is not the best way to approach our patients.

What we see is that extracting permanent teeth can set up patients in the future for a list of problems: narrow smiles, teeth that can easily be worn, jaw joint problems and even difficulty chewing and eating.  Research started showing us, that if we can make room for a patients’ teeth at an early age – we not only can give our kids much broader, more attractive smiles, but we can prevent a whole list of problems long term.  Treating as early as 7 years old has helped my patients avoid tooth impaction, gum recession, bone loss, tooth wear, recessed jaws, narrow smiles and joint problems (just to name some).

Now, not every child needs Early Orthodontic Treatment (Phase 1), but the only way to find out if it is right for your child, is to bring them in for a consultation around the age of 7.  In our office, we do a Panoramic X-ray on all patients and an exam completely complimentary.  It allows me the chance to properly evaluate a patient and educate their family regarding current or future needs for Orthodontic treatment.

In future blogs – I will talk a little bit more about the type of treatment that one might expect in this early stage (Phase 1).

Dr. Adam S. Daniels

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.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

 

 

 

 

After-School Snacks For Healthy Teeth

April 11th, 2018

GROWING BODIES NEED a lot of fuel, and that means a lot of after-school snacks. The nature of those snacks can have a big impact on a child’s oral health during this critical period when they’re losing baby teeth and growing in their permanent set. So which snacks are the best ones if you’re trying to watch out for your children’s oral health?

Snacks To Avoid

Most children would eat cookies and candy and drink soda pop all day if they could, but these tasty treats aren’t just bad for their health, they’re bad for their teeth. Many types of bacteria live in our mouths, some good for us, some bad. Sugar happens to be the bad bacteria’s favorite food, and after they eat it, they excrete acid onto our teeth as a waste product, which can dissolve our enamel and lead to tooth decay. Carbonated drinks contain acids that can harm our teeth too, and most fruit juice has as much sugar as soda does.

Now, we know it’s unreasonable to suggest that you forbid your child from all sugary foods and drinks forever. However, a great way to reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities is limiting their consumption of these kinds of treats to special occasions, instead of using them as daily snacks.

The Right Snacks

If sugary foods and drinks are the wrong kinds of snacks for healthy teeth, then what are the right ones? You can’t go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables, and cheese and nuts are great snacks too! Foods like apples and strawberries can actually scrub our teeth clean as we eat them.

If your child is picky about eating fruits and veggies, then try some yogurt with berries mixed in or hummus dip to go with the carrots and celery sticks. And don’t forget to wash those snacks down with a refreshing glass of milk or water! Beyond being a good source of calcium, milk is a mild base and can reduce the impact of eating acidic foods.

Looking for some creative snack ideas? Check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ6jFJpu9sY

Timing Matters Too

After we eat, it takes about half an hour for saliva to neutralize any leftover acids and wash away any remaining food particles from our latest meal or snack. However, if we constantly snack throughout the day, our saliva won’t be able to do its job. This is why it’s better for our children’s oral health if they stick to designated snack times instead of always having something to munch on throughout the day — even when the snacks in question are healthy ones.

Snacks Are One Part Of The Equation

Making sure your children eat healthy after-school snacks is an important part of keeping their teeth healthy and teaching them good dental habits for life, just like brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing, and coming to see the dentist every six months are. We look forward to seeing them again soon, and make sure to bring any questions you have about healthy snacks when you bring them in!

We love having you in our practice family!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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.