palatal expander

Time for an Orthodontist FAQ!

January 22nd, 2020

MANY OF OUR PATIENTS and potential patients come to us with the same questions about orthodontic treatment without realizing it. These are some of the questions we hear most often, and we’re sure that even more people haven’t spoken up but don’t know the answers either.

1. How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment length varies depending on the individual patient’s needs. A simple case may only take a few months to treat, while someone with a complicated bite problem or an impacted tooth that needs to be pulled into place may take closer to two years. Following the orthodontist’s instructions carefully is the best way to ensure minimum treatment length for your situation.

2. Can I speed up my treatment by wearing extra rubber bands?

More is not always better, and that is absolutely the case with your rubber bands. We tell you the exact number of rubber bands to wear and how often because that is the number that will safely and efficiently progress your orthodontic treatment. Wearing too many can easily create additional problems that will take more time to correct.

3. How old is too old for orthodontic treatment?

We tend to think of braces as being for teenagers, and while most orthodontic patients are teens, more and more adults are getting braces these days too. There is no upper age limit, so don’t think you missed your chance for a properly aligned smile just because you didn’t get braces in high school!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eBItKesSms

4. What does the orthodontist mean by “malocclusion”? - See our blog post "Types of Bad Bites and their Treatments"

Malocclusion is Latin for “bad bite.” Some patients have overbites (the upper teeth are farther out from the lower teeth), underbites (the lower teeth are farther out than the upper teeth), crossbites (some upper teeth are in front and some lower teeth are in front), and even deep bites (the lower teeth touch the gums behind the upper teeth when the mouth is closed). Each type of malocclusion can cause problems, and we have ways of correcting them.

5. Can I still play musical instruments with braces on?

Yes! It may take some practice and adjusting, but you can absolutely keep playing woodwind or brass instruments while undergoing your orthodontic treatment. If you’re having an especially difficult time, though, talk to us about it, and we might be able to find a solution.

Bring Us Your Questions!

We hope these answers have been eye-opening for you! The more educated you are about the orthodontic treatment process, the more confident you will feel about the amazing transformation your smile is (or will be) undergoing. If you have any questions we didn’t cover here, give us a call or stop by our office!

We love our patients!

 

Top image by Flickr user Zoe 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

 

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

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.