Wearing braces can be one of the biggest challenges of ones life. From the fees involved, the commitment to appointments and care to finding the right orthodontic specialists for the job. Finding the right orthodontist can take time and effort, but provides many benefits. Whether you’re seeking braces for kids or clear aligners for adults, […]
Check Out These Easy Steps You Can Take to Prevent Coffee from Staining Your Teeth!
Do you love coffee, but worry about your beloved morning habit staining your teeth while in braces? As most patients know, whitening kits are a no-go while in braces, but thankfully there are a few ways to minimize the staining that can come from coffee.
- Drink your coffee through a straw. While most people save straws for cold drinks, straws serve as an excellent tool to minimize coffee’s contact with teeth. Less contact with your teeth = less staining. Pretty simple, right? Many coffee stirrers can work as straws and are made to resist high temperatures. Consider ordering some from your favorite office retailer to keep around the house until your braces come off.
- Drink water or rinse with water immediately after drinking coffee. When you drink coffee and do nothing, the coffee is allowed to sit on the surface of your teeth, and the longer the contact, the more likely you are to develop stains. Water will help to rinse away the lingering coffee and lessen the risk of staining.
- Brush your teeth afterwards. Do you make a habit of drinking coffee after you complete your morning oral hygiene routine? Consider switching it up and brush your teeth right before you head out the door. Not only will brushing your teeth immediately after your morning coffee help to minimize staining, it will eliminate the dreaded coffee breath too.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Dental cleanings help polish unsightly coffee staining away. To ensure you do not forget about scheduling your cleanings, try scheduling your next visit after each dental cleaning to stay on schedule, and check with your dentist to see if they offer text, email or phone call reminders so you do not miss an appointment.
See? You can still enjoy coffee while in braces without worrying too much about staining if you continue using an excellent oral hygiene routine and following the steps above. So, feel free to lounge with that latte or grab that macchiato to go!
Read on to see what extras you should include in your child’s backpack this school year.
It is time for school to begin! Patients in braces should have a few extra things to bring in their backpacks on the first day.
1. Toothbrush and toothpaste: While the school day might be hectic, it is essential that patients take the time after lunch to brush their teeth. Allowing food particles to sit on teeth and on the gum line all afternoon can result in gum swelling and tooth decay not to mention some seriously bad breath!
2. Floss threaders and floss: Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene while in braces, and it helps get to tricky bits of food that brushing might miss.
3. Orthodontic Wax: Nothing is worse than having a wire start to poke or a bracket rubbing all day. Packing some extra orthodontic wax on the first day is a wise move, and you will be so grateful to have it if something on your braces starts causing discomfort. Remember to get the area you plan to apply the wax super dry prior to applying it to ensure it sticks!
4. Mouth sore rinse: While not mandatory, having a small supply of mouth sore rinse such as Peroxyl can come in handy in case something starts rubbing or feels irritated during the school day.
5. Pain reliever: For patients returning to school after an orthodontic appointment, having access to Tylenol, Advil or Aleve is a relief. Check with your school to ensure students are allowed to bring their preferred pain reliever with them. Some schools might require students keep it in the nurse’s office.
6. School excuse: Patients will miss a class or two due to orthodontic appointments during the school year. When this happens, make sure that they get a school excuse from the front desk prior to leaving the office. That way, their absence will be excused. For patients that forget to pick up a school excuse on their way out, don’t worry! Call the office to have one emailed.
While this might seem like a lot to bring on a patient’s first day to school, most of these items can fit into a gallon-sized baggie with plenty of room to spare! If you have questions regarding back-to-school orthodontic care, call our office. For our Fishers office: 317-570-0011 or for our Indianapolis office: 317-849-0110.
Protecting your child’s teeth while they are engaged in sports is simpler than you might think!
For many of our patients, sports activities are a favorite pastime. However, participating in sports activities puts patients’ teeth at an increased risk of damage. Some patients are unaware that mouth guards are still required for sports activities while they are in braces. At Walker-Dixon Orthodontics, we strongly encourage patients who participate in sports to use a braces-safe mouth guard for all sports practices and games.
A typical boil-and-wear mouth guard is not an option for patients in braces as they will not fit properly, and they will stop necessary tooth movement if worn. Instead of the traditional boil-and-wear mouth guard, patients should purchase a braces-safe mouth guard, such as the Shock Doctor brand mouth guards.
These mouth guards work differently as they are not boiled and have extra space to ensure they do not adhere to the braces’ brackets. Since they are not boiled, the wearer might have to bite down to keep the mouth guard in place, but otherwise, these mouth guards work just as well as the traditional variety. There are even strapless and strapped versions to suit whatever sport patients play. To clean them, patients only have to use dish soap and warm water, and if needed, patients can trim the material to make it fit more comfortably.
Braces-safe mouth guards are available at your ordinary sports gear stores, or you can visit our office to purchase a Shock Doctor mouth guard, which we sell at cost to our patients.
For more information regarding braces-safe mouth guards, orthodontics in general or to set up a new patient exam, call our office! The Fishers office can be reached at 317-570-0011, or for our Indianapolis office: 317-849-0110.
Oral hygiene is incredibly important while in braces. Braces and other orthodontic appliances create additional hiding spots for food and plaque. If allowed to sit on teeth for an extended period of time, this food and plaque can result in swollen gums and even cavities. We at Walker Dixon Orthodontics believe so strongly in our patients maintaining great oral hygiene practices that we grade our patients’ oral hygiene at each visit, and always inform both the parent and the patient when oral hygiene is excellent and when it needs a little extra work.
Sometimes, a patient is unsure how to practice great oral hygiene. This can be due to the patient’s age. Younger patients have had less practice than older patients, or they strive for independence, and thus, do not want to ask for their parents for assistance. In other instances, patients simply forget due to a busy schedule filled with academics and athletics.
So, you may be wondering, how do I explain what good brushing looks like to my child who is either in braces, or will be in braces at some point in the future? Below, we have provided some guidelines to make it easier for you:
- Time: Children should spend at least 2 minutes brushing. Tip: to help ensure your child is brushing for a long enough time, try using an egg timer or find a fun 2 minute-long song to brush to.
- Technique: It is common for patients to brush just the front, lower surface of their teeth. Instruct your child to brush gently, but thoroughly along the gum-line as this is where food collects often. Also, stress the importance of brushing the back of the teeth as well. This is a commonly forgotten zone.
- Frequency: Brushing should occur at least twice a day for everyone (once in the morning and once at night before bed), though an additional brush after lunch is required for patients in braces. After lunch brushing prevents food from being trapped against the teeth and gums all afternoon.
- Flossing: Flossing is important for everyone, but it becomes especially critical for those in braces. Instruct your child in braces to floss after every meal. They can use floss threaders, or for a speedier flossing solution, pick up some orthodontic flossers such as Plackers.
- Rinsing: While not required, we always recommend patients use a fluoride rinse daily. This extra boost of fluoride is a great preventative measure for those in braces. Using a rinse nightly before bed can help reduce the risk of cavities and white marks while in braces. We recommend Phos Flur by Colgate, and sell it in our office at cost to our patients, though other fluoride rinses will work as well.
Following the above guidelines should result in an “A” grade for your child at their next appointment, and we encourage any parent or patient who has questions regarding hygiene to call our office or to ask in person at their visit. We are so committed to creating enthusiasm for great oral health, we even offer points in our rewards system to patients who put in the effort to maintain a healthy smile.
For questions regarding oral hygiene, orthodontics in general or to set up an exam, please call our office. For our Fishers office: 317-570-0011, or for our Indianapolis location: 317-849-0110.
This week, we have decided to revisit an older topic presented on the blog. While this article was originally posted last year, retainers are constantly lost and damaged, so we thought it might be good to re-blog and share this article for those who might have missed it at its original publication.
Since your retainer is a lifetime commitment, you will have your retainer a long time. As such, it is important to know how to care for your retainer. This care includes identifying potential hazards to your retainer and preventing damage or loss. Luckily, keeping your retainer safe is easy and requires just a little extra effort. A lost or damaged retainer will have to be replaced, which costs you (or your parents) extra money and time.
A common source of damage to retainers is the dog. Since your retainer is in your mouth, it smells of your saliva, which as gross as it sounds to us, is highly appealing to your beloved pet. Dogs will do just about anything to get to a retainer, from climbing up on the counter or even chewing through retainer cases to get to it. You might find the remains of your retainer after your dog…
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Houston, We Have a Problem:
When something with your braces is just not quite right…
Your braces are a system made up of a lot of little parts that work together to make lots of little movements to your teeth. Since there are a lot of parts that move, and they are attached to your mouth, which also moves, it is likely that you might have some part of your braces that breaks, falls off, or just does something flat out weird.
Today, we are going to explore one of the different things that can go wrong while you have your braces, and what you should do. Some problems you might be able to fix on your own (or with a little help from mom and dad), but other problems might be a little more complex. For those, you will definitely want to ask your orthodontist to lend a hand.
So you had a bracket come loose from your tooth. The tell-tale wiggle of a loose bracket is easily noticeable, and might be annoying to you. However, there is no reason to panic or worry if you have a bracket that has decided to break free. For this problem, your orthodontist will have to be involved as you can’t re-bond (what orthodontists call re-attaching a bracket) a bracket to your tooth on your own!
While having a piece of your braces come loose might seem like a big deal, this is not an orthodontic emergency. Having a bracket come loose causes no pain or bleeding, and as long as the rest of your brackets are still attached, there is no rush to get in to your orthodontist to have it re-bonded. In fact, when you call your orthodontist, they will even tell you it is okay to have a bracket off for up to a month and will usually just reattach it at your next regular visit.
In the meantime, here are some ideas to minimize any irritation caused by having a bracket off. If the bracket is still attached to the wire, you can attempt to slide it off if it is the back bracket, or if it is in between other, still attached brackets, you can use wax to keep it from moving around. When using orthodontic wax, make sure to dry the area where you intend to place the wax thoroughly. Paper towel works well for getting an area dry enough. Take a pea-sized amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Press the ball firmly over the loose bracket. The bracket should be stuck in place and no longer able to slide around on the wire.
Remember, having a bracket off is not a true emergency, and wont cause a delay in your orthodontic treatment if you get it re-bonded within a month. If your next appointment is over a month away, and you have a loose bracket, just call your orthodontist and get scheduled to have it repaired. Otherwise, a courtesy call to your orthodontist to just let them know you have one off is great as they will will know they just need to take a few extra minutes with you at your next regularly scheduled appointment.
For any questions regarding orthodontic emergencies, braces in general or to schedule an initial exam, call our office. For our Fishers location, call 317-570-0011, or for our Shadeland office, call 317-849-0110.