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.

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.