Posts for: January, 2019
When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?
For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.
Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.
Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:
- It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
- A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
- Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
- Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!
Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!
Invisalign offers dental patients a way to get the results of wearing traditional braces without actually having to wear metal materials. Teenagers who are going through growing pains may be particularly resistant to wearing silver-colored, omnipresent metal braces—they prefer a “clearer” solution. However, teenagers are not always the best candidates for Invisalign because some of them cannot commit to wearing their devices as often as they should. Learn more about the ins and outs of choosing Invisalign for teens with an orthodontist at The Brace Place in Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach, FL.
Why Invisalign Is Preferred
Compared to wearing metal brackets and wires that are permanently attached to each of your teeth, wearing Invisalign's plastic, removable trays for about 20 hours per day is a piece of cake for most patients. Invisalign trays gently move the teeth until they meet a pre-determined arrangement decided by your orthodontist in about six months to a year instead of multiple years (common for standard braces). Patients also enjoy the freedom of being able to take their trays off at inconvenient times, such as when having dinner with a friend or playing a contact sport.
Choosing Invisalign for Teens
Because teenagers are more likely to take out their Invisalign trays on a whim and for longer periods of time, a unique treatment called Invisalign for Teens is available at The Brace Place in Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach, FL. There’s an indicator on either side of each tray that will let the orthodontist know if the teen has been wearing the device for the appropriate amount of time. It helps ensure that the treatment is proceeding as planned.
Tips for Teens Who Wear Invisalign Braces
If your teenager is considering or has just started an Invisalign treatment with your Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach, FL orthodontist, here are some ongoing tips to offer:
- Keep your dental carrying case with you at all times to securely store your trays when not in use, and avoid putting them inside of tissue paper while eating (this is how many patients lose their trays and retainers).
- Always put your Invisalign trays on before bed, directly after brushing and flossing.
- To avoid extending the period of your braces treatment, wear your braces for at least 22 hours per day. The less you wear your trays, the longer the treatment will last.
A Straight Smile Early in Life
Some patients unfortunately wait until they are adults before straightening out their smiles. Now, teenagers can enjoy the smile benefits that come with Invisalign. Call (904) 249-0037 today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Josh Goldknopf at The Brace Place in Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach, FL.
If you or a family member wears braces, you're used to visiting your orthodontist for adjustments and progress monitoring. But it's just as important that you continue regular visits with your family dentist, especially if you begin noticing abnormalities with your teeth and gums.
We need to be on alert for dental health because risks for disease increase during orthodontic treatment. Most oral infections arise from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces. You avoid plaque buildup by brushing and flossing at least once a day and undergoing semi-annual office cleanings for any remaining plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits).
Braces, however, can complicate hygiene. It's harder to get into areas blocked by the brackets and wires with your brush or floss. This can quickly give rise to gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease characterized by gum swelling. If not treated, gum disease could eventually cause the gums to detach from the teeth and lead to bone and tooth loss.
The brackets and wires can also irritate the gums and cause them to swell or overgrow, a condition called hyperplasia. This further complicates proper hygiene, which then increases the risk for infection even more.
It takes more time and effort to brush and floss effectively while wearing braces. But it's necessary to prevent these problems. Interproximal brushes (which fit in the spaces between teeth) can help, as well as special floss threaders. You might also consider a water flosser, which use a high-pressured water spray to remove plaque between teeth.
And, don't neglect seeing us on a regular basis. If you notice gum swelling, redness or bleeding, contact us as soon as possible.
If the swelling is due to hyperplasia, treatment could wait until after the braces come off, as long as there doesn't appear to be any gum detachment from the teeth. If there is, though, you may need to see a periodontist (a gum specialist) for further evaluation. It may be necessary in advanced cases to remove the braces to treat the underlying gum condition.
It pays to keep a close eye on your teeth and gums while wearing braces. Catching problems before they become too serious will help ensure your new smile is just as healthy as it is attractive.
If you would like more information on dental care while undergoing orthodontic treatment, 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 “Gum Swelling during Orthodontics.”
Orthodontic treatment can breathe new life into your smile, straightening your teeth and correcting your bite issues. However, with several options to choose from, you may feel overwhelmed when choosing the best type of braces for you. Find out more about your orthodontic options and how you can determine which is the best for you with Dr. Josh Goldknopf at The Brace Place Orthodontics with locations in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL.
Do I need braces?
Orthodontic care can benefit patients in various situations. Misaligned teeth are perhaps the most commonly-known reason to need braces. However, orthodontic care can do much more, from correcting a bite issue, such as overbite or underbite, to helping align your teeth to make eating or chewing more efficient. A consultation with your orthodontist can help you determine in which ways braces can benefit your smile, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have.
What are my orthodontic options?
Though you may envision a mouth of metal wires and brackets when you think of braces, you have additional options which may better fit your lifestyle or preferences:
- Traditional Braces: Traditional braces use metal brackets and wires permanently attached to the teeth during treatment. These elements slowly move the teeth into their new, corrected locations along a predetermined path.
- Ceramic Braces: Ceramic braces use the same principals as traditional braces — but with a twist. Rather than being made from metal, the brackets and wires are tooth-colored ceramic, helping camouflage them into your natural smile and giving them a subtler appearance.
- Invisalign: Invisalign uses a different approach altogether than other orthodontic options: clear plastic aligner trays. The trays, which come in a series, are worn one after another for about two weeks each. Though it uses the same idea as traditional braces — placing pressure onto the teeth to move them — Invisalign’s trays give it an almost invisible appearance and allow them to be completely removable. This lets you remove your trays to eat or brush your teeth easier and more efficiently.
Orthodontic Treatment in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL
For more information on orthodontic care for your smile, please contact Dr. Josh Goldknopf at The Brace Place Orthodontics with locations in Jacksonville Beach, FL, and Ponte Vedra, FL. Call (904) 249-0037 to schedule your appointment at either of the two offices today!
On your way to a more attractive smile, you’ll have to deal with some inconveniences while wearing braces like avoiding certain foods or habits or dealing with possible embarrassment about your new “metal smile.” But there’s one consequence of wearing braces that could dramatically affect your dental health: the difficulty they pose for keeping your teeth clean of dental plaque.
Dental plaque is a thin film of bacteria and food particles that if allowed to build up on tooth surfaces could trigger tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. Brushing and flossing thoroughly every day helps prevent this buildup.
Unfortunately, metal brackets and wires can get in the way and cause you to miss areas while performing these hygiene tasks. This could cause plaque buildup in those isolated areas that could trigger an infection. And if you (or someone you love) are also a teenager, the natural adolescent surge in hormones can increase your infection risk.
If while wearing braces you notice your gums are reddened, swollen or bleeding when you brush, these are all signs of infection and the body’s inflammatory response to it. The longer the infection continues, the weaker the tissues become, causing them to gradually detach from the teeth. Along with bone deterioration (another effect of the disease), this can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to be as thorough as possible with daily brushing and flossing. To help make it easier, you can use special tools like an interproximal brush that can maneuver around the braces better than a regular brush. For flossing you can use a floss threader to more readily guide floss between teeth or a water flosser that uses a pressurized stream of water rather than floss thread to remove plaque.
This extra cleaning effort while wearing braces can greatly reduce your disease risk. But you’ll still need to keep an eye out for any symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums, and see your dentist as soon as possible. If the symptoms become severe you may need your braces removed until the disease can be brought under control. The health and future vitality of your teeth and gums is what’s of primary importance.
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 “Gum Swelling During Orthodontics.”