Keeping your teeth and gums healthy isn't always easy—and it's even more of a challenge if you're wearing orthodontic appliances like braces. That's why a fair percentage of patients wearing braces also contend with tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
The reason is simple: The orthodontic hardware makes it difficult to fully reach all parts of teeth surfaces with your toothbrush or floss. As a result, you can miss removing some of the accumulated plaque, the thin film of bacteria and food particles most responsible for dental disease. And it only takes a short amount of time (just days with gum disease) for a bacterial infection to begin.
But while avoiding dental disease is difficult while wearing braces, it's not impossible. Here are 4 ways you can minimize your dental disease risk while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Be diligent with your daily hygiene. Even though it's more difficult, don't slack on daily brushing and flossing. It does require more time to work the brush around and between the wires and brackets, but taking the time will help you clear away more plaque you might otherwise miss. It may also help to switch to a multi-tufted, microfine bristled toothbrush if you're not already using one.
Use a water irrigator. If straight thread flossing is proving too difficult (and even with a floss threader), try using a water irrigator. This device emits a pulsating spray of pressurized water that loosens and flushes away plaque between teeth. Clinical studies consistently show water flossing is effective for reducing plaque in orthodontic patients.
Lower your sugar intake. Sugar left over in the mouth is a prime food source for bacteria that cause tooth decay or gum disease. Reducing sugary foods and snacks can help reduce bacterial populations and lower your disease risk. You can also fortify your oral health with healthier foods that contain calcium and other minerals.
Keep up regular dental visits. In addition to your orthodontic adjustments, don't neglect your regular visits with your family dentist. Semi-annual cleanings help remove any plaque and calculus (calcified plaque) you may have missed. Your dentist can also monitor your health and boost your disease prevention through topical fluoride treatments or prescribed antibacterial mouth rinses.
If you would like more information on dental care while wearing braces, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
It would seem the best time to turn your attention to orthodontic problems with your child is when their permanent teeth have come in around early puberty. In fact, you should be attentive much earlier at around 6 years of age.
Here are 3 reasons why an early orthodontic evaluation could be beneficial to your child’s dental health.
We may be able to detect the first signs of a malocclusion. Also known as a poor bite, it’s possible for an experienced dentist or orthodontist to notice the beginning of a malocclusion as the permanent teeth start coming in between ages 6 and 12. Crowding of teeth, abnormal space between teeth, crooked, protruding or missing teeth are all signs that the teeth are not or will not be coming in properly and some type of treatment will eventually be necessary to correct it.
We might spot problems with jaw or facial development. Not all malocclusions arise from faulty erupting teeth position: sometimes they’re caused by abnormal development of the jaw and facial structure. For example, an orthodontist can detect if the upper jaw is developing too narrowly, which can create a malocclusion known as a cross bite. The difference in the source of a malocclusion will determine what present or future treatment will be needed.
We can perform “interceptive” treatment. While braces won’t typically be undertaken until the permanent teeth have come in, there are other treatments that can “intercept” a growing problem to eliminate or lessen future treatment needs. Orthodontists may recommend appliances that help guide incoming teeth, coax impacted teeth to come in fully or expand portions of the upper jaw to normal dimensions.
As with other areas of health, the earlier orthodontic problems are found the better the chances of a successful and less interventional outcome. By having your child examined orthodontically you may be saving money and future difficulties.
If you would like more information on when to begin monitoring bite development in your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.”
Braces are constructed to be durable and secure, built to withstand biting, chewing, brushing and normal wear and tear. On occasion, as with any dental implement, loosening or breaks can occur, which can be inconvenient and irritating to the gums.
Orthodontist Dr. Josh Goldknopf of the Brace Place, with locations in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL, is available to help you fix broken brackets on your set of braces, but should a mishap occur after hours or while you are away, follow his helpful tips to keep you comfortable until you can make an appointment.
What should I do if I have a broken bracket?
If you have damaged a bracket from your braces, make sure to call our Jacksonville or Ponte Vedra, FL, office to schedule a visit with your orthodontist. In the meantime, you can try to shift the bracket back into place using either a soft ended tool, like a cotton swab or clean fingers. If your bracket has fallen out completely, you can store it in a container to bring back to our office for reattachment.
To keep the wires of your braces or the loose bracket from irritating your mouth, use orthodontic wax to temporarily hold the bracket in place and offer a buffer between the metal and your inner mouth.
It is best to avoid crunchy, sticky foods until your orthodontist can re-affix your bracket, and to brush the area gently to avoid further movement of the bracket or irritation to your mouth.
How will my orthodontist fix my broken bracket?
At our office, if you were able to save the bracket, we can reuse it, attaching it with a resin. If your bracket is damaged or lost, we will replace it with a new one.
Don't let a broken bracket fluster you -- call our Jacksonville Beach, FL, or Ponte Vedra, FL, office today at (904) 249-0037 to make an appointment with Dr. Josh Goldknopf.
Each year, millions of children and teenagers wear braces or clear aligners to straighten a crooked smile. But there may be a way to treat some of these bite problems and avoid braces—by intercepting the problem at an earlier age.
This can often be done if the bite problem stems from abnormal jaw development rather than misaligned teeth. An example of this occurs when the upper jaw growth outpaces the lower jaw, causing the upper teeth to protrude beyond the lower teeth. Aside from the effect on appearance, protruding front upper teeth may extend beyond the protection of the lip and be more prone to injury.
A device called a Herbst appliance could prevent this from happening. The top of the device has two hinged metal tubes that connect to elastic bands bonded to the back teeth on both sides of the upper jaw. The bottom also has tubes affixed in the same way to the bottom teeth, except they're slightly smaller and fit within the upper tubes.
The lower tubes sliding within the upper tubes produces slight pressure against the lower jaw to ease it forward. This gradually influences the lower jaw to grow at a pace equal with the upper jaw to decrease the chances of poor bite development. Unlike other corrective methods, the Herbst appliance fixed in place and out of the way won't interfere with sports or other physical activities.
An installed Herbst appliance may change a patient's sensations during swallowing, eating or speaking, but most children adapt to the changes within a few days. And, because the device can create challenges for keeping the back teeth clean, many dentists recommend adding a fluoride rinse to daily brushing and flossing as an added boost against tooth decay.
The Herbst appliance is most effective during the period of most rapid physical growth between the ages of 11 and 14, but if the teeth are already beginning to protrude it can be undertaken as early as 8 or 9. Either way, this important orthodontic tool could help address a complicated bite problem and reduce the need for more costly orthodontic treatment later on.
If you would like more information on early interventions for poor bites, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Herbst Appliance.”
If you required braces growing up there is a chance your child may need them as well. They are an essential step of childhood to help them avoid dealing with complications in the future. To learn more about all the ways braces can improve your child's dental health get in contact with your Jacksonville Beach orthodontist Dr. Josh Goldknopf of The Brace Place with offices in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL.
What to Look For
Some of the easier to identify signs that your child may need braces include thumb-sucking after the age of two, mouth breathing, of if biting their tongue or cheek is something that they do regularly.
Thumb sucking especially, depending on when it's ultimately addressed, can leave lasting dental problems. Problems which braces can correct, and the sooner they are corrected the better.
The same goes for problems like teeth that are bunched, crooked, or a bite that doesn't come together properly.
Bunched or crooked teeth can make dental hygiene difficult, as plaque can hide in between them, which could lead to possible decay, and in turn cavities and gum disease.
An underbite or overbite can wear teeth with time, eroding the protective enamel of their teeth which could open the door to decay. A number of other difficulties also sometimes accompany these like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), possible speech issues, and challenges with chewing.
Braces in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL
Not all signs that your child may require braces are easy to notice, and some are easy to overlook. So the best way to know for sure is to have your child see their dentist on a regular basis. Even from a very young age, your child's orthodontist can determine if they will require some form of corrective treatment. So make an appointment today with Dr. Goldknopf of The Brace Place in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL, by dialing (904) 222-8588.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.