Tips to Help Improve Oral Care

We are all taught to brush and floss as a means to great oral health, but do we brush and floss effectively? Blogger Bianca Lacey shares some tips on how to take your oral hygiene to the next level!

The nursery rhyme may go “to keep your teeth healthy here’s the truth, you gotta brush each and every tooth”, but grown-ups should know better than to believe you can ensure good oral health just by brushing the teeth every day and night. In order to achieve optimal dental health, you will need to be […]

via 5 Effective Dental Tips for Better Oral Care — Bianca Lacey’s Blog

The Top 10 Things Not to Do While in Braces

What can you avoid doing while in braces to ensure your treatment is a success? We will give you the breakdown of the top 10 things you should know to avoid.

Being in braces, you will find that you are able to do just about everything you did prior to treatment. There are some things you will want to avoid doing while undergoing orthodontic treatment, however. In this post, we will outline the top ten things that will cause problems for you and your braces, so your experience in braces is problem free!

Eating Hard Foods

Hard candy and foods might be tempting, but they can cause problems for you and your braces. When you chew on something hard, you can cause the brackets to break off of your teeth, and you can cause the wire to come out of the brackets, which might poke your cheek and gums causing pain for you! Some examples of hard foods and candy include jaw breakers, sweet-tarts, hard pretzels, hard breadsticks, and nuts.

Eating Sticky and Chewy Foods

Sticky and chewy foods can be delicious, but they are often the causes of problems with braces. Non sugar-free gum, taffy, caramels, and other similar foods can get stuck on braces and pull lose your brackets and wires, which can cause you discomfort if wires start to poke from being pulled loose. Stick with drier foods that are easier to chew and wont adhere to your brackets and wires the way sticky foods will.

Chewing on Things Other Than Food

If you like to chew on pencils, pens, mouth guards or other non-food items, this is a habit you will want to break immediately before pursuing orthodontic treatment. Not only are these items bad for your teeth in general, but they can bad for your braces, too. Chewing on non-food items can result in brackets coming loose or breaking off and can also result in wires being knocked loose, so learn to curb that habit sooner rather than later.

Not Brushing Teeth After Eating

While it might seem inconvenient to have to brush after every meal, excellent oral hygiene is absolutely necessary when you are in braces. Braces act like shelves on your teeth and can hold food on your teeth and gum line, causing irritation that can result in swelling, bleeding and eventually cavities. Keep a small pouch with a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste at work, school or in your car to make it more convenient to brush.

Not Flossing

Flossing your teeth is definitely more of a challenge when you have braces, but with the right tools and a little patience, it is possible. Flossing is also necessary when you have braces as the brackets and wires can hold and hide food in places not easily visible to you. Left on your teeth and gums, the food will decay causing gum swelling, bleeding, bad breath and eventually cavities. Use flossers designed especially for braces, floss threaders, or invest in a Waterpik to ensure you are flossing effectively.

Playing With Wires

It might feel strange at first to have braces on your teeth, and when you are bored, it might be easy to reach into your mouth and play with your wires. However, when you choose to play with your wires, you run the risk of breaking the wire, which can result in a wire poking into your cheek and gum line causing you pain. Doing this can also result in a bracket breaking off of your teeth, which might mean an extra trip to the orthodontist’s office. Try to keep from playing with your wires, and if you suffer from fidgety hands, perhaps find another outlet for your boredom such as a stress ball or fidget spinner.

Picking at Brackets

When a bracket is rubbing, or feeling strange to you, you might be tempted to pick at the bracket with your fingernails or other objects. As tempting as it may be, you must refrain from picking at your brackets. Doing so can result in brackets coming loose and causing you additional discomfort and trips to the orthodontist. If a bracket is really bothering you, use orthodontic wax to cushion the irritation, and maybe call your orthodontist if you feel as if the problem is more severe.

Removing the Wire

While you might have figured out how to open the doors on your brackets to remove your wire, you should never do this. It might make brushing and flossing easier, but you run the risk of not putting your wire back in properly, or not being able to get the wire back in at all. Putting a wire in improperly can result in incorrect tooth movement, which might delay treatment completion, and can also in more extreme cases, even cause root damage. Leave the wire removal to your orthodontist, and learn to become a pro at your oral hygiene routine with your wire in.

Playing Sports Without a Mouthguard

If you enjoy playing sports, you will want to get a mouthguard to protect your braces and teeth. Even if you have never had an accident while playing a game, one can happen at any time, and it is better to be protected. Ensure you get a mouthguard, such as the Shock Doctor, that is designed for braces. We sell them at a discount to our patients, but if you are in another state, check with your local orthodontist to see if they offer mouth guards at their office or if they can direct you to a supplier.

Not Wearing Elastics

The biggest thing that is guaranteed to delay your braces coming off is not wearing elastics that your orthodontist recommends to you. Your elastics are essential to correcting your bite, and if you do not wear them, your bite will not change, and your orthodontist will not take off your braces until it is correct. So, wear those elastics day and night!

In conclusion, while it might seem like there are a lot of things you should not do while you are in braces, luckily, these are all things that are easy to avoid or stop doing. If you have further questions on whether or not something will harm your braces, call your orthodontist to ask. They will happy to answer your questions on how to keep your braces and teeth in great shape while you are in treatment.

Waterpiks and Braces

Benefits and Drawbacks to Using a Waterpik While in Braces.

So you, or your child, are in braces and your orthodontist has suggested a Waterpik to assist in maintaining great oral hygiene while in treatment. You might be wondering what the benefit is to having a Waterpik, and you might also be wondering if there is anything else you should be aware of before making the purchase?

What is a Waterpik?:

A Waterpik is a oral hygiene device composed of a wand connected to a canister that is filled with water before use. The Waterpik propels the water from the canister through the wand with a strong force which, when aimed at teeth, is effective at dislodging food particles that might be stuck between teeth or stuck in appliances such as braces and permanent retainers.

Benefits:

Braces are composed of a lot of small parts that adhere to teeth. These parts, such as the wires, elastics, coils and brackets, make for perfect food traps, and therefore, present more of an obstacle to brushing and flossing. For children where dexterity and attention to detail might still be a work in progress, even with brushing and flossing, some things might be missed. A Waterpik can assist in dislodging stubborn or hidden food particles missed with regular brushing and flossing.

Since it uses streams of water to “floss,” the Waterpik can often reach challenging areas with greater ease than with regular dental floss alone. As an extra “insurance policy” in an oral hygiene routine, a Waterpik might help reduce the risk of cavities and decalcification while in orthodontic treatment.

Drawbacks:

Many individuals might think that having a Waterpik is a substitute to regular flossing. While a Waterpik is certainly effective in dislodging food particles, regular flossing is still essential during treatment, and using a Waterpik is not a substitute for great brushing and flossing while in braces. If you purchase a Waterpik for a child, it is essential that your child knows that they must continue to brush and floss in addition to the use of their Waterpik.

As a device that is designed to shoot water at a great speed and with a considerable amount of force, Waterpiks can also understandably be quite messy for those not expecting the speed and rate at which water is expelled from the device. To minimize the mess, ensure that children are supervised and possibly use the Waterpik over the bathtub or in the shower until its use is mastered.

In Conclusion:

A Waterpik can be an asset during orthodontic treatment as it can help dislodge food particles that might have been missed with regular brushing and flossing. However, keep in mind that it is not a substitute for great oral hygiene practices including brushing, flossing and using a fluoride rinse daily. It can be messy at first, but once mastered, the mess should be minimized. For those who want or need an extra bit of help with their oral hygiene routine, a Waterpik can be an excellent choice.

Walker Dixon Orthodontics is proud to offer Waterpiks to our patients at a discounted price. For patients wanting to ask questions or purchase a Waterpik, or for those with questions on orthodontic treatment, please call our office. For the Fishers location, call: 317-570-0011, or for our Shadeland location, call: 317-849-0110.

Those Dreaded White Spots…

What are those white spots on teeth, and how can you prevent them?

What is, and What Causes Decalcification?

When you first get your braces on, your orthodontist will stress the importance of excellent oral hygiene while in braces. They also will probably show you new techniques to ensure you have the knowledge to keep your teeth clean while in treatment. All of this extra emphasis on oral hygiene might make you wonder what all of the fuss is about? In truth, you orthodontist wants to ensure that when your braces come off, your teeth are visually perfect in addition to being perfectly aligned. For those patients who do not follow an excellent oral hygiene routine, they will often finish treatment with what is called decalcification. Decalcification is also commonly referred to as “white spots” on your teeth.

If food is allowed to sit on your teeth, it will eventually form plaque, which eats away at your teeth, breaking down the calcium and other minerals your teeth are composed of. This chemical break down creates white areas on your teeth. Essentially, these white spots are the start of cavities, which left untreated will turn into cavities.

Is There a Way to Remove The White Spots?

Unfortunately, once decalcification occurs on your teeth, there is no way to reverse it. This is why it is absolutely necessary to get in the habit of practicing excellent oral hygiene from day one in treatment. If you have developed decalcification, you can prevent it from becoming a full-fledged cavity by practicing excellent oral hygiene and by using a restorative toothpaste (such as Pronamel or Prevident) and fluoride rinse (such as Act or PhosFlur). Your orthodontist might also recommend or provide a prescription-strength toothpaste, such as MI Paste (this is a prescription product and cannot be purchased over the counter) to prevent further decay.

In Conclusion

The best way to treat decalcification is to prevent it from the start by sticking to an excellent oral hygiene routine which includes brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing regularly, and using a fluoride rinse daily. Your orthodontist will provide you with the tools and knowledge to prevent decalcification from the start of your treatment, but the responsibility for caring for your teeth while you are in braces ultimately rests on your shoulders.

For questions about oral hygiene while in braces, contact your local orthodontist. For patients of Walker Dixon Orthodontics, or for those who are interested in pursuing treatment with us, please call our office. For our Fishers location, call: 317-570-0011, or for our Indianapolis location, call: 317-849-0011.

Wonderful Article on the Power of Your Smile…

Author talks about the power of your smile for self-confidence. She discusses ortho treatment to straighten, but also shares tips on how to improve your smile at home!

Are you one of those people who feels too shy to smile with an all out toothy grin? Do you try to hide your teeth behind your own lips out of embarrassment for how they look? There’s something particularly heartbreaking about a person who doesn’t feel able to show the most basic of emotions because […]

via Smile With Confidence — lifewithlilred

Elastics in Orthodontic Treatment

Elastics: Why you need them

So, you are at your orthodontist for an exam or for your regular appointment, and the doctor tells you that you will need to wear elastics during your time in braces. This may leave you wondering what elastics are and why you need to wear them in the first place? Read on to get the full scoop on the what and why of elastics in orthodontic treatment.

What Are Elastics, Anyways?

Almost everyone who has braces will at some point be told they need to wear elastics. The elastics resemble tiny rubber bands, but they are composed of latex, though non-latex elastics are available to those who are allergic or sensitive to latex. They come in a variety of sizes, which, in our office, are given animal names to help you remember which elastics you are wearing. The elastics are worn by attaching them to hooks that are placed strategically on your brackets.

Usually, you can place the elastics with your fingers. It takes a little practice, but given time, you will be able to put them in and take them out without even looking. You may have a few appointments before you have to wear elastics, and when its time to start wearing them, your orthodontist will instruct you on how they want you to wear them.

Why Are Elastics So Important?

Your orthodontist and the orthodontic assistant at your appointment will probably stress your cooperation with elastic wear when it is time to start wearing them. Something so small might seem like its of minor importance, but elastics are incredibly important to orthodontic treatment.

Your elastics are designed to retrain your jaw, and wearing them as recommended by your orthodontist will help correct your bite in ways that the wire and brackets alone cannot. Make sure to pay attention to the instructions as there are a number of ways the elastics can be worn, and you want to make sure you are wearing them correctly.  You can even request a diagram from your orthodontist that you can reference after your appointment to ensure you are wearing your elastics correctly long after you leave their office.

If you do not wear your elastics as often as you are told, or if you wear them improperly, your treatment can go on longer than originally estimated. Your orthodontist can always tell if you have worn your elastics properly, so make sure to be diligent and consistent in their wear, and be honest with your orthodontist if you could have done better with wearing them since your last appointment.

For additional questions on why elastics are important, or if you have questions on how you should be wearing them, do not hesitate to call your orthodontists’ office. If you are a patient of Walker Dixon Orthodontics with questions on elastics wear, or if you are interested in pursuing treatment with us, call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011, or our Indianapolis location at 317-849-0110.

Discomfort 101: The Best Ways to Treat Discomfort When in Braces

How do you treat discomfort when you are in braces? Read on for the best tips and tricks for treating orthodontic discomfort.

When you have braces, a little discomfort is to be expected. Luckily, all discomfort with braces is minor, and you should never be in so much pain that you miss school or work. Most discomfort caused by braces vanishes within a few days as your mouth and teeth adjust. With a little extra effort, you can reduce your discomfort levels until your mouth and teeth have had time to adjust!

Tooth Soreness:

This is very common after you have had your braces first put on and after each adjustment appointment. If you experience tooth soreness, take your preferred over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol, Aleve or Advil, and refrain from eating any hard or chewy foods until the soreness goes away. Tooth soreness after appointments usually goes away after a few days, so just hang in there until its gone!

Mouth Sores:

Mouth sores are inside of your cheeks and sometimes the inside of your lips as well. Braces are composed of a lot of parts that are rubbing the inside of your mouth, so mouth sores are quite common when you have braces. To treat them, try a simple saltwater rinse composed of a cup of warm, not hot, water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Swish the solution around your teeth for about 15-30 seconds before spitting and continue the process until all of the solution is gone. It may taste funny, but a salt water rinse is easy and highly effective at healing mouth sores and making them less painful. There are rinses such as Peroxyl which we sell at our office that are designed specifically for mouth sores as well.

Using orthodontic wax is an effective way to cover and cushion a spot that is causing a mouth sore. Make sure to get the area you want to cover very dry to ensure the wax sticks. Paper towel works well for getting an area dry enough! While wax will help, use it sparingly as you will want the area getting the sore to get used to the braces being there. Over time, your mouth will get used to the braces and mouth sores will heal.

Something is Sharp or Poking

This can be the result of a couple of different things, but often, as your teeth begin to move and space between them closes, the wire has nowhere else to go but out the back of your bracket which can be a little uncomfortable. Using fingernail clippers or jewelry wire cutters, you can clip the offending wire on your own, or with the help of a parent if you are young. If the wire is impossible to reach, you can use orthodontic wax to cushion the sharp point. Again, make sure to get the area as dry as possible to help the wax stick. Use a salt water rinse to help your mouth heal if the poking wire has caused a sore.

If you have followed all of the steps above, and are still experiencing discomfort, call your orthodontist’s office. They will be able to tell you whether or not your discomfort can be treated at home, or if you need to come in for an appointment or see your dentist.