Back-to-School Braces Basics

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.

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.

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

Easing the Mind of the Nervous Patient

Is your child nervous about their first visit to the orthodontist? In this week’s article, we provide some tips and tricks to help reduce anxiety during orthodontic appointments.

For some patients new to orthodontic treatment, their first visits can be the source of anxiety and nervousness. This can be as a result of a negative past doctor’s visit, exaggerated stories told to them by their peers or simply from lack of personal experience which leads to fear of the unknown. Regardless of where it stems from, the anxiety a patient might experience can make a patient dread their orthodontic appointments. Luckily, there are steps that you as a parent can take to relieve your child’s anxiety about their orthodontic visits.

  1. Research: Educate yourself on what it is like to have braces. Pass this information on to your child, making them aware of what they can expect at their visits. Eliminating the mystery and being honest with your child often works wonders for settling nerves. Along a similar line, emphasize the positives that come with each visit to the office. For example, you might mention the fact that they will get to pick new colors, the fact that their teeth are going to be so beautiful once they are done or the fact that they can get a cookie in the office at the end of their visit.
  2. Listen: If you know your child is nervous about their visit, allow them to verbalize their concerns to you beforehand. Having an open discourse and discussion about what worries them will be a huge relief for your child, and from there you can understand the source of their anxiety.
  3. Calming Activity: Instructing your child to do a breathing exercise or meditative activity anytime they feel anxious can help them to alleviate some of the anxiety they experience. For example, taking a deep breath and releasing it for 5-10 seconds while closing their eyes or closing their eyes and picturing themselves somewhere else they enjoy can be quite effective. Young patients might also take comfort in having a stuffed animal or doll with them on their visits.
  4. Analyze Your Behavior: As a parent, are you nervous about the visits? While this might be unintentional, if you are visibly or verbally nervous or worried about your child’s visits, your child might also see a reason to be anxious or nervous as well. If you realize you are nervous about your child’s visits or orthodontics in general, follow the steps above for yourself, or even perform them with your child so you can overcome this shared anxiety together.
  5. Alert the Staff: Your orthodontist and his/her team want to know if your child is nervous about their appointment. By telling them about your child’s anxiety, they can take extra steps to make your child comfortable at their current and future visits.
  6. Encourage: Encouraging your child to be independent at the orthodontist’s office can also work wonders in lessening their anxiety. Have your child go on their own to the brushing station and back to the seating area. Assure them you will be waiting up front, right around the corner if they need you, but you know they can do it. Once they see that nothing bad will happen at their visits, they will no longer see the need for being nervous.

A little anxiety is normal for patients who are starting treatment, so do not worry if your child seems a bit apprehensive as it is an experience that is new to them. By following the suggestions above, you will eventually see a child who looks forward to their orthodontic appointments rather than one who is nervous about them.

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.

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

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.

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.