Easing the Mind of the Nervous Patient

Is your child nervous about their first visit to the orthodontist? In this week’s article, we provide some tips and tricks to help reduce anxiety during orthodontic appointments.

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For some patients new to orthodontic treatment, their first visits can be the source of anxiety and nervousness. This can be as a result of a negative past doctor’s visit, exaggerated stories told to them by their peers or simply from lack of personal experience which leads to fear of the unknown. Regardless of where it stems from, the anxiety a patient might experience can make a patient dread their orthodontic appointments. Luckily, there are steps that you as a parent can take to relieve your child’s anxiety about their orthodontic visits.

  1. Research: Educate yourself on what it is like to have braces. Pass this information on to your child, making them aware of what they can expect at their visits. Eliminating the mystery and being honest with your child often works wonders for settling nerves. Along a similar line, emphasize the positives that come with each visit to the office. For example, you might mention the fact that they will get to pick new colors, the fact that their teeth are going to be so beautiful once they are done or the fact that they can get a cookie in the office at the end of their visit.
  2. Listen: If you know your child is nervous about their visit, allow them to verbalize their concerns to you beforehand. Having an open discourse and discussion about what worries them will be a huge relief for your child, and from there you can understand the source of their anxiety.
  3. Calming Activity: Instructing your child to do a breathing exercise or meditative activity anytime they feel anxious can help them to alleviate some of the anxiety they experience. For example, taking a deep breath and releasing it for 5-10 seconds while closing their eyes or closing their eyes and picturing themselves somewhere else they enjoy can be quite effective. Young patients might also take comfort in having a stuffed animal or doll with them on their visits.
  4. Analyze Your Behavior: As a parent, are you nervous about the visits? While this might be unintentional, if you are visibly or verbally nervous or worried about your child’s visits, your child might also see a reason to be anxious or nervous as well. If you realize you are nervous about your child’s visits or orthodontics in general, follow the steps above for yourself, or even perform them with your child so you can overcome this shared anxiety together.
  5. Alert the Staff: Your orthodontist and his/her team want to know if your child is nervous about their appointment. By telling them about your child’s anxiety, they can take extra steps to make your child comfortable at their current and future visits.
  6. Encourage: Encouraging your child to be independent at the orthodontist’s office can also work wonders in lessening their anxiety. Have your child go on their own to the brushing station and back to the seating area. Assure them you will be waiting up front, right around the corner if they need you, but you know they can do it. Once they see that nothing bad will happen at their visits, they will no longer see the need for being nervous.

A little anxiety is normal for patients who are starting treatment, so do not worry if your child seems a bit apprehensive as it is an experience that is new to them. By following the suggestions above, you will eventually see a child who looks forward to their orthodontic appointments rather than one who is nervous about them.

Brace Yourself!

What to expect in your first few days in braces.

So you are getting your braces on. Congratulations! Getting braces is an exciting experience, and as you ponder what colors you will choose on your big day and what your friends will think of your new smile, you might also ponder what it will feel like to have braces. After all, you will have something attached to your teeth that was not there before!

The process of getting braces is very easy. All you have to do is sit back and relax as the orthodontist and the assistant place the individual brackets and the wire on your teeth. After your braces are on, the assistant will teach you how to maintain your new smile with special techniques for brushing and flossing. They even give you a tool kit with everything you need to keep your teeth sparkling clean.

On the first day of having braces, it will feel funny, and you might have to adjust your lips a little as they can’t rest in their usual position on your teeth. Your teeth will most likely feel a bit tight as the wire is already hard at work, gently moving your teeth to a better position.

After the first day, you will feel the impact of having braces a little more, and the discomfort will probably be the greatest at this point. The inside of your lips and cheeks are used to having the smooth surface of your teeth to move around on, and now, all of a sudden, there are raised objects on your teeth that your lips have to navigate around. Sometimes this can cause small sores, which might be uncomfortable. Your mouth heals very fast, however, and once it gets used to the braces, generally within a week or less, the sores will go away. You can use a variety of tricks such as salt water rinses and wax to treat this discomfort.

Tooth soreness is also common when you first get your braces. While in braces, you now have a wire that is working to guide your teeth to their proper positions. Teeth are stubborn and have been in their places for a long time, so they are not eager to move. This means that your teeth will probably be a little sore, and you will want to stick to soft foods for a few days after getting your braces put on. Use your preferred, regular pain-killer such as Advil, Tylenol or Aleve to help reduce soreness.

Your first week in braces is definitely a transition period as your teeth are undergoing a big change. While you might experience some discomfort for the first week, do not worry. It is far from permanent, and is never severe enough to make you miss school, work or other activities. Once your mouth gets used to the braces, you will be amazed at how easy orthodontic treatment is.

Your Orthodontic Exam

What to Expect on Your Very First Visit to Our Office.

For some patients, the idea of an orthodontic exam is a little overwhelming as they have either no idea, or a limited idea, of what to expect when they walk through an orthodontists’ front door. What many patients do not realize, is that at Walker Dixon Orthodontics we make the exam experience painless and easy.

Patients and their families will first be greeted by our treatment coordinator who will take them on a tour of our office, ensuring that no area of our office is cloaked in mystery. Patients will then be treated to their own photo-shoot which will be turned into a gallery. This is followed by a couple of diagnostic x-rays. These images and x-rays will be shared with patients’ dentists and are a necessary part of the doctor’s decision whether or not to recommend treatment for a patient.

After the photos and x-rays are taken, the orthodontist will review them and will then conduct an oral examination of the patient, and they will explain what they see. From there, the doctor will then make a treatment recommendation. Not all patients will even require treatment, or some might have to wait a while for more dental development to occur before moving ahead with braces. Those patients who are ready and do need treatment will be presented with a treatment plan as well as treatment cost. Patients and parents will also have ample opportunity to get all of their questions answered directly by the doctor during the exam as well.

The entire exam should take just around an hour to complete, and by the exam’s conclusion, patients will have in-depth knowledge of their orthodontic situation and a plan going forward. For more information regarding exams, orthodontics in general or to schedule an exam, please call our office at 317-570-0011 for our Fishers location or 317-849-0110 for our Shadeland location.

We Love the Damon System! Here’s Why…

All about the Damon System. What it is, and why you should care about the bracket system your orthodontist uses.

At Walker Dixon Orthodontics, we have used the Damon bracket system for our braces for almost 10 years with amazing results. Many patients, upon arrival to our office, do not even realize that there are different bracket systems that can be used for orthodontic treatment, and are surprised when we show them the difference between traditional braces and Damon braces.

Unlike traditional braces which use either wire ties or colored rubber bands to hold the wire, Damon braces have brackets which feature small doors that can be opened and closed for wire placement and removal. This reduces the friction experienced with traditional braces, and provides lighter forces and freer tooth movement on the wire. Arch width is developed naturally by these forces, which eliminates the need for those uncomfortable expanders. Differences such as these mean less pain and a quicker treatment time for our patients.

Patients with Damon braces also are seen every month and a half to two months on average, versus monthly appointments usually needed for traditional braces, which means patients miss less school and work.

Damon brackets are also smaller than traditional brackets which makes maintaining great oral hygiene much easier. The brackets come in standard metal coloring and also clear, for those who prefer a more subtle orthodontic experience. While colored bands are not needed with Damon braces, they are still available to our patients who want to express themselves with a little splash of color.

We, at Walker Dixon Orthodontics, are very enthusiastic about the Damon system and the great results it offers our patients. For more information about Damon Braces, you can visit our website at www.walkerdixonortho.com, or you can call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011 or 317-849-0110 for our Indianapolis office.

The Daily Grind

Why you might be grinding your teeth, and why you might want to get help.

Grinding of teeth, also known as bruxism, is quite common, and almost everyone has done it at some point in their lives. While it is most common to grind your teeth at night in your sleep, there are some who even do it during their waking hours.

Why do we grind?

Bruxism has a number of potential causes, and not everyone grinds their teeth for the same reasons, but there are a couple of causes that might lead to bruxism.

Stress and anxiety
An abnormal bite and/or crooked/missing teeth
Side effects: medication and alcohol and tobacco use can sometimes cause grinding
Age: young children tend to grind their teeth but this usually goes away with age
Caffeine: consuming caffeinated beverages in the evening has been linked to some cases

Should you seek help?

Again, almost everyone will grind their teeth at some point in their lives, however persistent and severe bruxation often requires intervention. If you grind your teeth frequently, you may experience temporomandibular joint disorders, damage to your teeth and pain in your face, teeth and jaw.

 

Making Brushing Fun for Kids

Great article on how to make brushing fun for kids, and by doing so, increasing oral hygiene compliance.

As tough as it may be, establishing a regular tooth-brushing regimen is just one of those parts of raising kids that we have to deal with. Here are a few easy tricks that might help in getting your kids to brush.

via Easy Tricks to Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth — When Women Inspire

Wisdom Teeth

Why your Orthodontist might say they need to go!

What is a Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom teeth are commonly referred to as a third molar, and they are usually the last teeth to develop. Contrary to their name, wisdom teeth have nothing to do with an individual’s wisdom, but get their nickname from their time of eruption, which usually occurs in early adulthood.

Do I Need to Get Them Removed?

Whether or not an individual can keep their wisdom teeth varies. Generally, most people do not have enough room in their jaws to allow for their wisdom teeth to stay. It is believed that in the long-distant past, humans had longer laws that allowed the wisdom teeth to erupt, but over time, human jaw size has been reduced, leaving the wisdom teeth with nowhere to go! So, when it is time for the wisdom teeth to emerge, they can become impacted, or only partially emerge which can result in tooth decay on the partially exposed tooth. Wisdom teeth can also travel in directions that can pose a threat to your other teeth, especially if they are traveling in the direction of your molars’ roots.

There are rare instances where wisdom tooth removal is not needed. If an individual is missing a tooth, sometimes a wisdom tooth can be beneficial. Some individuals are even born without wisdom teeth altogether, which would eliminate the need for their removal.

Your dentist or orthodontist will make the recommendation if your wisdom teeth need to be removed, so consult with them if you have questions on the timing of wisdom tooth removal. If they believe it is time, they will be able to write you a referral to an oral surgeon for the procedure.