Back-to-School Braces Basics

Read on to see what extras you should include in your child’s backpack this school year.

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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.

Is Your Child’s Brushing Making the Grade?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Tooth Sensitivity and You

Tooth sensitivity is common and treatable. Read on to learn more about this condition and what you can do to prevent it.

Does the thought of taking a bite of ice cream or taking a sip of ice cold water cause you to cringe? If so, you may have sensitive teeth! Luckily, tooth sensitivity can be treated.

Sensitivity in teeth can be caused by a variety of factors. Cavities, worn fillings, gum recession and worn tooth enamel are some of the most common causes. These problems affect your enamel and allow heat, cold and acidity to reach the nerves inside your teeth causing discomfort for you!

Consult your dentist if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, and he or she can analyze your sensitivity and come up with a treatment plan which may include fluoride treatments to strengthen enamel, fillings on teeth where cavities are causing sensitivity, or gum grafting for sensitivity caused by recession.

Prior to consulting your dentist at your regular appointment, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your tooth sensitivity at home. Try switching your toothpaste to a desensitizing variety such as Sensodyne and Pronamel which help to block sensation to the nerves in teeth and also can help with strengthening enamel. Also, avoid acidic foods and drinks such as soda, coffee, tomatoes and lemons. These can weaken and erode enamel making sensitivity worse over time.

Prevention of sensitivity is simple, and if you already experience tooth sensitivity, you will want to create a plan to avoid additional sensitivity in other teeth. You can prevent tooth sensitivity by avoiding acidic foods and beverages and maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine that includes regular brushing, flossing and the use of a fluoride rinse.

Does Your Child Suck Their Thumb? What You Need to Know.

All you need to know about the hazards thumb-sucking presents for your child, and what you can do to curb the habit.

Thumb sucking is a very common habit for children, but what can seem like an innocent enough habit can present a number of dangers to your child’s health. So, as a parent, you might wonder when should you intervene, and how do you help to curtail your child’s thumb-sucking habit? This great article by Surfside Dental outlines the risks associated with thumb-sucking and also presents possible paths you can take to help your child stop their habit.

Should I Stop My Child From Thumb-Sucking? Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex for babies. This is a habit that can be seen even among infants in the womb. Babies suck their thumbs to feel happy and secure. This habit also helps induce sleep and as such, babies and toddlers often suck their thumbs before bedtime. […]

via Should I Stop My Child From Thumb-Sucking? — Surfside Kids Dental Blog | Sacramento Pediatric Dentist | Elk Grove Pediatric Dentist

Easy Ways to Keep Your Teeth White This Holiday Season

Check out this great list of braces-safe ways to keep your teeth white and bright this holiday season.

 

Looking for braces-safe ways to keep your teeth dazzling white this holiday season? Harper CE provides a quick and easy list of 5 ways patients can ensure their teeth stay nice and white without the use of whitening strips/trays which are off-limits to patients in braces.

via Top 5 Tips for Winter White Teeth that Sparkle through the Holidays — HARPER CE NOW!

Five Quick Braces-Friendly Breakfast Ideas — dentistryonpark

Need some brace-friendly breakfast ideas after your child’s orthodontic appointment? Read on for some great brace-safe breakfast ideas!

After an orthodontic appointment, patient might struggle to eat some of their favorite breakfast foods. Sore teeth do not mix well with chewy bacon and hard cereal. Luckily, there are plenty of softer breakfast options patients can try. For some braces-friendly and filling breakfast options, check out this blog post by dentistryonpark!

WHEN YOU HAVE BRACES, it can sometimes be tricky to find good food to eat that won’t put all those crucial brackets and wires at risk. Finding the right food is even trickier if you’ve just had your braces tightened and things are still a little tender. That’s why we’re dedicating an entire blog post to […]

via Five Quick Braces-Friendly Breakfast Ideas — dentistryonpark

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! 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.