floss

Types of Bad Bites and Their Treatments

January 15th, 2020

WHAT IS A BAD BITE? A bad bite also called a malocclusion, is when the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together the way they should. Depending on the type of malocclusion, this can cause a variety of problems, from impacting speech to making digestion less efficient to worsening TMD troubles, and they can even increase the risk of breaking a tooth!

What Makes a Bite Go Bad?

Malocclusions happen for different reasons. Some are caused by genetics. If a child inherits large teeth from Dad and a small jaw from Mom, there’s a good chance their teeth won’t be able to fit together well. Other causes include injuries and bad oral habits in the developmental years, including thumbsucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, nail-biting, mouth breathing, and teeth clenching.

By discouraging these kinds of bad habits, parents can help their children grow up with healthier bites. If one of these habits does cause a malocclusion, it’s still important to break the habit so that bite problems don’t come back after orthodontic treatment. Luckily, we can help with that.

Different Types of Malocclusions

When the teeth and jaws are aligned correctly, the upper teeth rest slightly over the lower teeth while the jaw is closed, and the points of the upper molars fit nicely into the grooves of the lower molars. Here are the five most common ways a bite can differ from this healthy ideal:

  • Open Bite. The front upper teeth flare out, creating a gap between them and the lower front teeth even when biting down. (Can be caused by thumbsucking beyond toddler years or tongue thrust.)
  • Underbite. When biting down, the lower teeth overlap or partially cover the upper teeth.
  • Crossbite. Some upper teeth bite down on the inside of the lower teeth while others bite down on the outside.
  • Excessive Overbite. The upper teeth overjet or overlap the lower teeth beyond what we want to see in a healthy bite.
  • Deep Bite. An overbite so severe that, when biting down, the upper front teeth completely overlap the lower front teeth, which sometimes drive into the gums behind the upper teeth, risking gum injury and other problems.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TkTbVJyT4U

Fixing Malocclusions with Orthodontic Treatment

Each of these types of malocclusions and others can be corrected through orthodontic treatment. Now, before you start picturing bulky headgear, remember that the field of orthodontics has come a long way. Surgery and headgear are still sometimes necessary for extreme cases, but we can typically correct a bad bite in very low profile and hassle-free ways.

Have You Scheduled an Initial Consultation Yet?

If you have concerns about the way your teeth bite down, schedule an initial consultation so we can see if a bad bite or some other alignment problem is the source of your troubles. Don’t wait to start working towards a healthier, more functional, and more confident smile! Call us today 860-872-8361!

We appreciate every member of our CVO family!

 

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 by Flickr user Fake Plastic Alice used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Straight Teeth: Not Just About Looks

March 13th, 2019

 

THE MOST OBVIOUS impact of orthodontic treatment is a straighter, more attractive smile. While it is true that we tend to perceive people with properly aligned teeth as happier and more successful, the benefits aren’t just superficial.

Clearer Speech

Do you remember the lisp you had between losing your two front teeth and the adult ones growing in? Based on that, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that our teeth are a crucial component to our ability to speak and enunciate clearly.

In order to make the right sounds, our lips and tongues have to maneuver around our teeth. When teeth are properly aligned, this is simple, but crooked teeth can result in a lisp, slurring, or difficulty making certain sounds that require tongue-to-tooth contact, such as the “t,” “s,” and “ch” sounds. Orthodontic treatment can solve these problems by moving the teeth into their proper positions.

Healthier Digestion

We don’t give our teeth enough credit for the role they play in good digestion. Chewing is a very important part of the process. It doesn’t just chop the food into small enough pieces to fit down the esophagus, it mixes the food with saliva, which begins the chemical digestion process.

When we wolf down our food without much chewing — or when we chew with misaligned teeth that don’t do the job effectively — it forces our stomachs to work harder than they should. If you already have straight teeth, put them to good use by chewing each mouthful for longer. If you don’t, your digestive system will thank you for getting orthodontic treatment.

Better Breathing

Having poorly aligned teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to comfortably close your jaws when you aren’t moving them, which can lead to habitual mouth breathing. Mouth breathing has a number of negative effects, including dry mouth, bad breath, snoring, chronic fatigue, and brain fog. The effects are an even bigger problem for kids, sometimes going as far as changing the development of their facial bone structure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA82k3a4rsM

Straight Teeth For A Better Life

Not only do straight teeth make it easier to speak, eat, and breathe properly, they’re also easier to clean! Maybe you’ve been avoiding orthodontic treatment because you’re happy with the way your smile looks, but the many benefits of straight teeth are worth considering.

Straight teeth lead to better oral health and better overall health!

 

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.

Baby Teeth and Braces: Why Early Treatment May Be Best

November 29th, 2018

WHILE MANY THINK BRACES are for correcting misaligned adult teeth, you may be surprised to learn that orthodontics can help correct your child’s bite before their adult teeth even come in!

Baby Teeth Play an Important Role in Oral Health

Primary teeth—more commonly known as baby teeth—play a key role in your child’s oral health. Besides providing an aesthetic appeal to your child’s smile and boosting their self-esteem, primary teeth have three main functions:

  1. They aid in proper chewing, fostering good nutrition
  2. They promote proper speech development
  3. They reserve a space for permanent teeth to grow in

If a primary tooth falls out or must be removed before its time due to decay, the surrounding teeth may shift into the gap, causing dental crowding and future orthodontic problems.

Watch the video below

Dr. Adam Daniels explains when a good time to get your child evaluated

Seven Is the Perfect Age for an Orthodontic Visit

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic exam at the earliest signs of any orthodontic issue, but no later than age seven. Although not every child will need treatment that young, some may benefit from early intervention.

Much of the treatment that takes place at this age is called Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, usually occurring when a child still has a mix of primary and permanent, secondary teeth. During this phase, we seek to correct any problems that may be occurring with jaw growth and even address certain bite issues. This phase is generally followed by a second phase of treatment when all of the child’s permanent teeth have erupted.

Beginning two phase treatment while your child still has primary teeth can have numerous benefits and can even reduce the time needed for a full set of braces.

Early Orthodontic Intervention Can Prevent Future Problems

Whether or not your child is showing signs of misaligned teeth, seven is the perfect age for them to come in for an orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontic treatment isn’t always necessary if there’s a space in your little one’s primary teeth or baby teeth, but we can help you determine the best plan for your child’s growing smile.

Thank you for trusting us with your family’s oral health! We love our patients!

~ Dr. Adam Daniels and the CVO Team

 

Image by Flickr user Loren Kerns used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 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.

What Is a Frenectomy?

June 25th, 2018

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of a person being “tongue-tied” or “lip-tied”? Dr. Daniels and Dr. Rola care about the health of your mouth as a whole, not just your teeth. When a tongue or lip-tie is present, some problems may arise that we can help with!

Why Do Lip And Tongue-Ties Occur?

A lip or tongue-tie occurs when a thin tissue in the mouth called a frenum is overgrown. There are two kinds of frena in the mouth, labial (lip) frena and the lingual (tongue) frenum. The labial frena can be found in the center of the lips, connecting the inside of your upper and lower lips to the gum tissue. You can see the tongue frenum by looking in the mirror and lifting your tongue up to touch the roof of your mouth.

The purpose of the frenum is to limit certain muscle movements to prevent tissue damage. When the frenum tissue is excessive, however, it has the potential to do more harm than good.

What Problems Can Arise As The Result Of A Tongue-Tie?

A tongue-tie restricts the tongue and prevents it from moving freely. Tongue-ties may be moderate, resulting in only small inconveniences like not being able to lick an ice cream cone. In some cases, however, they cause severe impairments such as:

  • Difficulty nursing as an infant and eating later in life
  • Speech impediments
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Periodontal issues, such as receding gums
  • Tongue thrust and bite misalignment

What Issues Can A Lip-Tie Cause?

A lip-tie refers to a frenum that attaches too far down on the gum. The possible complications of a lip-tie are somewhat similar to those who are tongue-tied. An overgrown labial frenum can:

  • Cause pain and discomfort
  • Make it difficult for children to keep their teeth clean
  • Complicate nursing
  • Lead to periodontal issues, such as receding gums
  • Result in misaligned teeth and bite (usually gap teeth)

A Frenectomy Helps Alleviate Tongue and Lip-Ties

A frenectomy is a simple procedure that can be performed by dental professionals where excess tissue on the frenum is removed. Before performing a frenectomy, several factors are taken into account, including the possibility that the condition may correct itself over time.

We’re Here To Answer Your Questions

If you’re concerned about a possible lip-tie or tongue-tie in yourself or your child, schedule an appointment with us today. We’d be more than happy to answer your questions and together, we’ll determine the best way to move forward!

Thank you for trusting us with your oral health concerns!

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.

~ Natasha

Summer Vacation is almost here! Follow these simple tips...

June 1st, 2018

If you are wearing braces and are planning a vacation, Dr. Adam Daniels, Dr. Rola Alkhatib and the CVO team have put together a list of items that will be handy to have with you at all times while you are out of town.

Putting the following items together in a kit keeps everything in one place and easily accessible:

  • Toothpick, flosspick, or other interdental cleaners
  • Floss
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • A water bottle or a mini bottle of mouth rinse
  • Orthodontic wax to help with discomfort from protruding wires, brackets or attachments
  • A small mirror for examining any possible issues in your mouth

Just a reminder:   if your vacation destination includes a flight, make sure they are travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

If you happen to be on vacation and experience problems, contact us and we may be able to talk you through it until your return.  Otherwise, we may suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get him or her out of pain or discomfort.

We also suggest avoiding the following foods to prevent broken brackets and/or wire distortion while you are on vacation:

  • Chewy, sticky, or gummy food
  • Apples, pears, and other whole fruits (cut fruit into wedges before consuming)
  • Bagels, hard rolls and pizza crust
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard candies
  • Hard cookies or pretzels
  • All varieties of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and cashews

If you are wearing clear aligners, in addition to the recommended kit above, bring your previous aligner and/or next aligner with you.  If you happen to lose your current aligner, don’t worry! Simply put in the previous one or the next one if it fits and contact us as soon as you get home!  If you need an extra retainer case, just let us know, we'll be happy to provide one for you.

Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation! Please give us a call if you have any questions!

Melanie

 

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.

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.

Extra Floss? Try These Tricks!

February 26th, 2018

WE KNOW, WE KNOW… We ask you about flossing every time you come visit us! It is an integral part of your oral hygiene routine and essential for healthy gums and teeth. But did you know there’s more to floss than cleaning between your teeth? Dental floss can actually be used for a lot of other things!

Eight Useful Dental Floss Hacks

Have some extra floss lying around? Don’t have the right equipment and need to get a job done in a pinch? Try these cool dental floss hacks.

  1. Use floss for perfectly sliced cake. Ever slice a cake and the knife comes up with half of the cake on it? Use flavorless dental floss to make the perfect slice by stretching it taut and gently pressing through the cake. Pull it out when you reach the bottom and voila!
  2. Don’t have any kitchen twine? Floss will do. Some foods like meat and bacon need to be bound when cooked. Usually kitchen twine takes care of this but what if you run out? Floss (again, flavorless) has got you covered!
  3. Floss can help you start a campfire. Believe it or not, waxed dental floss burns well! Wrap dental floss around a match or a dry piece of wood to increase burn time.
  4. Floss can clean out those hard-to-reach spots in your furniture. You know those small cracks and crevices in your wooden furniture that you can never manage to clean? Well, dental floss is meant to get into nooks and crannies! Try it on your wooden furniture. You’ll thank us later.
  5. Floss is great for sewing. Whether you’re out of thread or in need of something more durable, floss works well for sewing on buttons and patching up holes on the fly.
  6. Are your freshly-baked cookies stuck to the baking sheet? Floss ‘em!Dental floss can unstick your cookies without leaving anything behind.
  7. Dental floss can even help in the garden. If you’re training a vine to grow a certain direction, floss can help! Use it to attach the vine loosely to the structure you want the vine to climb.
  8. Floss makes for an easy DIY clothesline. If you’re camping, in a hotel, or simply don’t have room in the dryer, floss can be used to create your own clothesline. Yes, it’s that strong!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moZQq7P4BIM?rel=0

Let’s Be Honest, Floss Is Awesome

Whether you’re using floss to patch something up or slice your birthday cake, always remember to use it for what it was made for, to clean in between your teeth! Daily flossing protects your beautiful smile from periodontal disease and tooth loss, so yeah, we’d say it’s pretty awesome!

Know some more flossing hacks? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you!

We have the best patients in the world!

Image by Flickr user brett jordan used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 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.