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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.