A Nightmare on Brace Street

A guide to candy and braces repairs over the Halloween season.

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‘Tis the season for pumpkins, costumes and, every orthodontists’ nightmare, sticky candy. Sticky, chewy candy adheres to your braces’ brackets and wires, causing brackets to come off and wires to be pulled out of place. This can cause discomfort for you, the brace wearer, and frustration for your parents who might find themselves having to make an extra trip to the orthodontist to fix your braces.

So, this raises the question: What can you do to prevent damage to your braces, but still have fun over Halloween?

The answer is easy. Avoid sticky, chewy and overly hard candies! You can still enjoy softer candies such as chocolate, circus peanuts, sugar-free gum and marshmallows, and if you must eat a hard candy, do not chew or bite on it. However, it is advised to avoid these types of candy altogether. If you find you have a lot of sticky and chewy candies after trick-or-treating, see if your friends and siblings will trade you for things you can have while in braces, or save these candies for later when you get your braces off.

Parents, you can help your child in braces by checking their candy and removing candies that your child cannot have while in treatment. Offer to put them away until braces come off, or to replace them with brace-safe options to ensure they do not feel like they are losing out on Halloween fun. By doing this, you will save yourself the time that will otherwise be spent calling and visiting the orthodontist for repairs.

If you do eat something sticky and you lose a bracket, do not panic. Having a bracket off is not an emergency, and if you have an appointment within a month’s time, you can wait to have it repaired until then. You just might want to call your orthodontist’s office to let them know a bracket is off. They can put a note in for your next appointment and prepare to repair your bracket when you come in.

So, in summary, while this is the season for scares, don’t scare your orthodontist with damage to your braces caused by candy!

For additional questions regarding what you can and can’t eat with braces on, or questions on orthodontics in general, call our office. For our Fishers location, call: 317-570-0011, or for our Indianapolis location, call: 317-849-0110.

Become a Retainer Defender

Taking care of your retainer is easy! Read on to find out how to keep your retainer well-cared for.

After your braces come off, it is important to remember that your responsibility for your orthodontic treatment is not over yet. Retainers are essential to maintaining your perfect smile once braces come off. Your teeth are alive and always want to move, so ensuring you wear your retainer and prevent it from being lost or damaged will ensure you keep your smile perfect.

  1. Keep your retainer in its case: Your retainer is small and might be clear, which means it can be easily lost or overlooked as it can fall into tiny places and also seem invisible. Retainer cases, however, are larger and usually bright in color, ensuring your retainer is not lost or thrown away by accident. *Extra tip: Be sure to fill in the sticker on your retainer with your name, address and phone number so if you lose your retainer and someone else finds it they can easily return it to you!
  2. Leave your retainer at home: If you are just going to spend the night at a friend’s or relative’s house, it might be best to leave your retainer at home. Your retainer might fit a little tighter the next time you put it in, but its better to deal with a night of a tight retainer than have it lost in transit. *Note: If you will be out of town for more than a night or two, take your retainer with you, but be sure to keep it in its case when its not in use!
  3. Contain the retainer in a drawer: This tip is especially useful if you have a dog, as they love to chew on retainers, but keeping your retainer in a drawer when not in use prevents your retainer from being knocked to the floor.
  4. Remember to wear it: Your retainer does no good if it is not worn, and you spent all that time in braces for nothing if you do not maintain your straight smile. Be sure to wear your retainer every night. *Extra tip: For those who struggle to remember, try taping a note to your mirror reminding you to wear your retainer, and get in the habit of putting it in immediately after you brush your teeth for the night.
  5. Keep your retainer clean: Use dish soap and warm water to keep your retainer clean as needed. Do not use overly hot water as this can disfigure your retainer and will result in it losing its perfect fit.

By following the tips above, you are well on your way to ensuring that your retainer lasts a long time. If you find that your retainer has been lost or damaged, be sure to contact your orthodontist quickly to ensure they can get you in quickly to have a new retainer made. Do not wait too long as your teeth might move without the retainer to hold them in place.

For additional questions regarding retainers or orthodontic treatment in general, we would love to hear from you! Please call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011, or our Indianapolis office at 317-849-0110.

A Nightmare on Brace Street

A guide to candy and braces repairs over the Halloween season.

‘Tis the season for pumpkins, costumes and, every orthodontists’ nightmare, sticky candy. Sticky, chewy candy adheres to your braces’ brackets and wires, causing brackets to come off and wires to be pulled out of place. This can cause discomfort for you, the brace wearer, and frustration for your parents who might find themselves having to make an extra trip to the orthodontist to fix your braces.

So, this raises the question: What can you do to prevent damage to your braces, but still have fun over Halloween?

The answer is easy. Avoid sticky, chewy and overly hard candies! For example, tootsie rolls, laffy taffy, jolly ranchers, starbursts and other similar candies. You can still enjoy softer candies such as chocolate, circus peanuts, sugar-free gum and marshmallows, and if you must eat a hard candy, do not chew or bite on it. However, it is advised to avoid these types of candy altogether. If you find you have a lot of sticky and chewy candies after trick-or-treating, see if your friends and siblings will trade you for things you can have while in braces, or save these candies for later when you get your braces off.

Parents, you can help your child in braces by checking their candy and removing candies that your child cannot have while in treatment. Offer to put them away until braces come off, or to replace them with brace-safe options to ensure they do not feel like they are losing out on Halloween fun. By doing this, you will save yourself the time that will otherwise be spent calling and visiting the orthodontist for repairs.

If you do eat something sticky and you lose a bracket, do not panic. Having a bracket off is not an emergency, and if you have an appointment within a month’s time, you can wait to have it repaired until then. You just might want to call your orthodontist’s office to let them know a bracket is off. They can put a note in for your next appointment and prepare to repair your bracket when you come in.

So, in summary, while this is the season for scares, don’t scare your orthodontist with damage to your braces caused by candy!

For additional questions regarding what you can and can’t eat with braces on, or questions on orthodontics in general, call our office. For our Fishers location, call: 317-570-0011, or for our Indianapolis location, call: 317-849-0110.

What is Phase I Orthodontic Treatment?

What it is, and why your dentist might say your child needs to be evaluated.

While at your child’s last dental cleaning, your dentist might have suggested you take your child to an orthodontist for an exam to evaluate for Phase I. This might leave you with some questions such as: What is Phase I? Isn’t my child too young for braces?

To answer the question of what Phase I is, Phase I is an initial stage of orthodontics for younger children who are still dentally developing. Phase I’s primary purpose is to correct crowding and to create room for adult teeth to emerge both properly and in a more ideal position.

After your dentist makes the recommendation, you can schedule an exam at an orthodontist’s office. Once there, the doctor will take specialized x-rays, diagnostic photos and conduct an examination of your child to determine whether Phase I treatment is necessary. The doctor will either make the recommendation to begin treatment, or they might decide to schedule periodic visits to monitor your child’s development.

Do you have questions about Phase I treatment, or are you looking to schedule an exam for your child? We would love to help. Call our Fishers office at 317-570-0011 or our Indianapolis office at 317-849-0110.

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.

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.