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.

Emergency Care: Loose or Scratching Hook

What to do when your elastics hook is acting up.

When you start to wear elastics, you will might have new parts added to your brackets that allow you to wear your elastics. These parts look almost like tiny rods that the assistant will slide up through your bracket. The rods (often referred to as “drop-ins,” “posts” or “hooks”) have wire ends that fold over your bracket to hold it in place, ensuring you can wear your elastics with ease. Once you start wearing your elastics, this puts some tension on those posts and can sometimes cause them to start to wiggle loose. If this happens, you might notice that you have a slightly scratchy sensation near the bracket with the post. The good news is, this problem you can easily fix at home!

First, examine the bracket using your mirror. You might have to get close, but you should be able to see the offending wire end sticking up from the top of the bracket. Once you locate the problem, its simply a matter of pushing that little piece of wire back down into the bracket. You have a few options as to how you can do this. One option is to fix it using tweezers. Squeeze the tweezers to where they are closed and use the pointed end to push the wire end back down towards the bracket. This should only take a couple of tries. Other fine-ended hard objects can be used for this too. Just make sure what you are using is clean and not too sharp! If you do not have tweezers or do not feel comfortable using hard objects, you can also use the same technique with a pencil eraser to push the wire back into place.

If the wire end still does not want to go back down, orthodontic wax can be used to cushion your lip or cheek from the rough spot until your next regularly scheduled appointment. To ensure maximum effectiveness of orthodontic wax, be sure to get the area dry first. Paper towel works well at getting an area dry enough for wax to stick.

While an elastic hook coming loose might be irritating, it is not an orthodontic emergency, so there is no need to worry or rush to the orthodontist’s office. Just follow the steps above, and you will have the problem fixed on your own in minutes.

Protecting Your Retainer

Life as a retainer can be tough. Read on to find out what hazards your retainer faces, and how to protect your retainer from harm.

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 eats it, but other times, the retainer will simply disappear from its trusted resting place never to return again. The best way to prevent your dog from eating your retainer is to keep the retainer in its case and secured in either a drawer or up on a high shelf or in a cabinet.

The lunch, kitchen and dining rooms have also been the end of many retainers. Too often, a retainer is left on a lunch tray, forgotten, or is wrapped in a napkin to conceal it from view at the table, only to be discarded in the trash can and lost forever. Don’t let your retainer fall victim to a trash can. Unless specifically told otherwise by your orthodontist, keep your retainer at home in a location far from any dining areas, ideally your bathroom. Most retainers only need to be worn at night, but if you have been instructed to wear it more often, keep your retainer in its case. The case is larger and more visible, which will reduce the likelihood of it being accidentally thrown away. For an extra measure of protection, write your name and a phone number in permanent marker on the case so if it is left behind, someone can find it and return it to you.

For additional questions about retainers or about orthodontic treatment in general, contact your local orthodontic specialists at Walker Dixon Orthodontics in Indiana. For the Fishers office, call 317-570-0011, or for the Indianapolis location, call 317-849-0110.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Keeping your retainer clean has never been easier!

Since your retainer is a lifetime commitment, you will have your retainer a long time, so it is important to know how to care for your retainer. This care includes keeping it clean. Luckily, keeping your retainer clean is easy and requires just a little of your time.

Cleaning:

There are a couple of methods recommended for cleaning your retainers. Dish soap and warm, not super hot, water is the most recommended way to clean your retainer. You can use a soft bristled toothbrush or proxabrush to get into the cracks and crevices, but remember to scrub gently to avoid unsightly scratches. Denture cleaner is another option that is easy to use and is inexpensive to acquire. Simply soak the retainer in the cleaner for the recommended time frame on the cleaner’s packaging.

Some methods are not recommended for cleaning your retainers. First and foremost, do not use any cleaners that are toxic to human consumption to clean your retainers. Make sure to read labels, and contact your orthodontist if you have questions on whether a product can be used on a retainer. Not only are some chemicals toxic to you, but they might also be too strong on your retainer and can cause damage!

Toothpaste is another substance to avoid. Toothpaste is designed to be abrasive to remove plaque and stains from your teeth, and this abrasiveness can make your retainer cloudy and cause scratches. Any colored cleaners, such as mouthwash and rinses, should also be avoided. They will kill off bacteria, but they will also stain your retainer and might be too strong. Lastly, do not boil your retainer. The high temperature can cause the retainer to become disfigured or even melt altogether!

For additional questions about cleaning retainers or about orthodontic treatment in general, contact your local orthodontic specialists at Walker Dixon Orthodontics in Indiana. For the Fishers office, call 317-570-0011, or for the Indianapolis location, call 317-849-0110.

All About Retainers!

What is a Retainer, and Why is It Important?

What is a Retainer, and Why is It Important?

A retainer is a device used to keep your teeth in their perfect positions after your braces come off. It is important to wear your retainer consistently after your braces come off to ensure your teeth do not shift back to their pre-treatment state. Since your teeth are always alive, they are always going to want to move, therefore retainers are a lifetime commitment, and should be replaced relatively soon if they are lost or broken.

What are the Different Types of Retainers?

Because all mouths and teeth are different, your orthodontist may recommend a retainer that might be different from your friends’ retainers. The type of retainer most people think of is the kind of retainer that has a wire that goes around your teeth and a plastic piece that fits on the roof of your mouth. This type of retainer is known as a Hawley. Since it has a wire, the Hawley retainer can be adjusted when there are changes being made to your teeth. Your orthodontist might give you this type of retainer if they know you are going to lose teeth, or if your teeth have moved after your braces have come off.

Another type of retainer is the Acrylic Overlay. This retainer is a clear plastic tray that looks like a hollow model of your teeth at first glance. It fits right over your teeth, and is barely noticeable when worn. Your orthodontist will often give you this retainer if they want to keep your teeth exactly as they were, and is not adjustable, although it can be trimmed when baby teeth are lost to maintain its fit.

The last type of retainer is the 3-3, or as it is commonly known, the permanent retainer. A subtle, small piece of wire, your orthodontist will attach this retainer to the back of your bottom six front adult teeth at the end of your treatment. As these teeth are the most prone to fast movement, this retainer with faithfully keep your bottom teeth right where they need to be at all times.

If you have additional questions about orthodontic treatment, retainer wear, or if you need to replace a lost or broken retainer, contact your local orthodontic specialists at Walker Dixon Orthodontics. For the Fishers office, call 317-570-0011, or for the Indianapolis location, call 317-849-0110.

TMJ and TMD

What is TMJ and TMD? Your questions answered.

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ is a commonly used abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, also known as the jaw joint. These joints connect the mandible to the skull and allow for the range of jaw motion through the muscles in the area. When the joints do not work together with the muscles, that is when TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs. TMD symptoms can include jaw pain and limitations in jaw movement such as locking or limited ability to open or close the jaw.

How do you treat TMD?

The correct course of treatment for TMD varies from case to case, and depends largely on the type and severity of symptoms. Self-treatment is always recommended first and includes the use of cold and warm moist compresses, over-the-counter pain reliever and a soft diet until symptoms subside. It is also recommended to avoid activities that put additional strain on the jaw muscles which includes yawning widely, chewing gum and eating hard or chewy foods. If symptoms persist, or are greater in severity, it is a good idea to consult with your dentist or your local orthodontic specialist who might recommend a splint or orthodontic treatment to correct a bite discrepancy that might be causing TMD. Surgery for TMD is usually only recommended as a last resort to treat TMD after all other methods of treatment have been exhausted, and extreme caution is advised for those seeking surgical treatment for TMD.

If you are experiencing TMD symptoms, and would like additional information on how bite correction can help provide you with relief, contact your local orthodontic specialists at Walker Dixon Orthodontics to schedule an exam. For the Fishers location, call 317-570-0011, or for the Indianapolis location, call 317-849-0110.

Emergency Care: Bracket Has Come Off

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 of your teeth. Since there are a lot of parts that move a lot, and they are attached to your mouth, which also moves a lot, it is likely that you might have some part of your braces that breaks, falls off, or just does something flat out weird that you can’t quite figure out.

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 if you encounter them. 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 for a helping hand.

Loose Bracket:

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 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.

Emergency Care: Wire Poke

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 of your teeth. Since there are a lot of parts that move a lot, and they are attached to your mouth, which also moves a lot, it is likely that you might have some part of your braces that breaks, falls off, or just does something flat out weird that you can’t quite figure out.

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 if you encounter them. 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 for a helping hand.

Wire Poke:

You wake up one morning, or are going about your day, and all of a sudden you start to get the feeling that something is scratching at the back of the inside of your cheek, or when you talk, you feel as though your cheek is getting caught on something sharp. Surprise! You have what orthodontic offices like to call a wire poke. Probably the most common problem seen with braces, this issue is most often seen in the early stages of treatment as space between teeth is closing the quickest at this time. Naturally, as the space between your teeth closes up, the wire has to go somewhere, and often, it has nowhere else to go but out of the brackets on your very back teeth, making for an uncomfortable situation for you!

You can tell if you have a wire poke a lot of times just by how it feels, but if you are not sure, you can pull you cheek back and look in your bathroom mirror at your back brackets. You might just see a tiny piece of wire hanging out back there. If its too dark to  see exactly what is going on back there, you can use a flashlight (like the one on your phone) or recruit a parent to help you take a look.

Once you determine that you have a wire poke, it is then time to determine how to go about getting it fixed. Sometimes, a wire poke can be fixed at home with no extra trip to the orthodontist required. If you are recently in braces, your first wires are really thin and flexible, which means a simple nail clipper can sometimes do the trick. Simply slide the nail clipper back towards the offending piece of wire, holding your cheek back and out away from the brackets and snip that piece of wire as close to the bracket as you can. Kiddos, recruit the help of your parents for this one! If it is too far back to reach with the nail clipper, you can clip the wire up closer to the front where it is easier to see and get to until you can get into your orthodontist for a permanent fix. Your orthodontist can always replace a wire, but your comfort should come first.

If you are unable to fix the problem at home, call your orthodontist to see about making an appointment. Until you can get into your orthodontist, you can use wax to cushion the wire. Make sure to get the area as dry as possible (a paper towel works great for this), roll a pea-sized piece of wax into a ball, and press the wax firmly on the sharp piece of wire. This should make you a lot more comfortable until your orthodontist can get you in for a wire clip.

Remember, while a wire poke might be uncomfortable, it is easily fixed and no reason to panic. Take a deep breath, follow the steps above, and see about getting into your orthodontist.