Your Orthodontic Exam

What to Expect on Your Very First Visit to Our Office.

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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.

 

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.

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.

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.