What To Know Before Getting Braces

Getting braces was once a symbol of awkwardness captured forever in high school yearbooks. Not anymore! Getting braces has turned into a fun right of passage for middle schoolers with the introduction of fun band colors, fun hashtags and in many cases the removal of braces long before senior pictures.

Even the stigma once associated with adults getting braces has diminished with the advances in orthodontic technology like clear braces aligners. Self-care has taken the stage to improve the health and confidence of those who couldn’t get braces in the past, or whose treatment wasn’t fully effective.

If braces are in your future – either for yourself or your child – here are a few things you should know before getting braces.

Before Getting Braces
It’s not just about the look of your smile. While orthodontics help with a cosmetic desire for straight teeth, braces can also help correct teeth, bite and jaw alignment issues and ultimately improve oral health.

You’ll need to get your dental work done first. Before getting braces, you’ll need to have a teeth cleaning and have all other dental work completed. This may include having wisdom teeth removed so they don’t interfere with the orthodontic treatment.

You’ll need to adjust your diet. Begin to limit or eliminate certain foods from your diet before you get braces that can become a big problem. This includes gummy and sticky foods like caramels, gummy bears, and gum; foods you have to yank to chew, like taffy or jerky; very hard foods, especially those you bite into like corn on the cob and apples .

Teeth brushing will be more important than ever. Braces make brushing a little more difficult but it’s even more important once braces are in place to ensure the health of your teeth during treatment. Before getting braces, get a travel pack together for your on-the-go oral care. Carry a toothbrush and travel-sized paste with you, as well as a gum-safe toothpick. Items can easily get stuck between wires and brackets, and brushing will help resolve it easily and keep breath fresh.

Athletes – You’ll want a mouthguard. Patients who play sports will want to make sure they start using a mouthguard to protect the inside of their mouth from potential contact with their braces.

Braces are a commitment. Most patients will need to see their orthodontist every 4-6 weeks to ensure treatment is progressing properly and to have adjustments made. It’s a time commitment for both the patient and their parent.

There might be some pain. At times, patients may experience mild pain, especially after initial placement and when wires are tightened. Patients can try chewing sugar free gum or sucking on ice to relieve discomfort. You’ll also want to prepare with over the counter pain medication and plan on only eating soft foods, especially in the beginning when you are getting used to the new braces.

You’ll want to take a selfie. Of course you want to have before and after photos – so make it fun and snap your selfie before getting braces to look back on when they come off and reveal a beautiful, straight new smile!

Knowing what to expect before getting braces will make the experience that much easier. When those braces finally come off and you see that new healthy smile, you’ll realize the little inconveniences were worth it!

Tooth Sensitivity to Cold? To Hot? To Sweets? Read this!

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can come and go with time, and is usually caused by exposed dentin on root areas from gum disease and/or receded gums. Unlike the crowns of your teeth, the root area of your tooth isn’t protected by enamel, but rather cementum. When the enamel or cementum wears away the nerves within the tooth are exposed which can cause tooth sensitivity. Common causes of erosion include:

Overzealous teeth brushing
Use of abrasive toothpaste
An acidic diet
Acid reflux disease
Bulimia
Excessive teeth whitening
Teeth grinding
Dry mouth

The good news? Sensitive teeth can be treated!tooth sensitivity to cold tooth sensitivity to sweets

How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity
Talk to your dentist about any tooth pain or tooth sensitivity to cold, hot, acidic or sweet drinks or foods. Tooth decay and cavities should be ruled out or treated. Your dentist may recommend an approved desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel toothpaste for use at home. With more severe cases of tooth sensitivity, a filling, a gum graft or a root canal may be required.

You may even want to consider dietary changes, such as eliminating high-sugar soda, fruit juices and alcohol from your daily intake. And of course, you’ll need to keep up with good oral care routines to prevent future problems.

Tooth sensitivity to cold is more than just an annoyance, it can be very painful, and may even be a sign of a bigger problem. Don’t suffer any more and make an appointment to start treating your tooth sensitivity!

What to Expect at Your Dental Check-Up

At Your Dental Check-Up
While every dentist office has their own process, you can expect some version of the following at your dental check-up.

Check In:
You will be welcomed by an office staff person or receptionist who will make sure the office has what they need from you to ensure a successful visit. This includes collecting your contact information, health history and insurance information. A few helpful tips to ensure an easy check in:

Be sure to answer all the questions in the health history so the dental team can make the best recommendations for you. Include information about any medications you are taking, and allergies you have. Remember, your information is always kept private, so it’s important to be thorough and honest.

Once you’ve checked in, a member of the clinical team will escort you to the back for your dental check-up. Again, every office has their own process, but you can expect some version of the following:

X-rays:
If you are new to this dentist, or haven’t been to the dentist in the last year, you will likely have x-rays taken. This helps the hygienist and dentist see things he or she couldn’t see about the condition of your teeth and jaw, especially below the gum line. It is an important part of the dental check-up and can help with early detection of certain disease and disorders. And don’t worry, x-rays are safe!

Evaluation:
a comprehensive evaluation will be performed to determine the health of your teeth and gums. It will likely include a review of your x-rays, a physical examination of your teeth and gums as well as a physical examination of your tongue, jaw and neck. During this evaluation, the team is looking for signs of gum disease, cavities, and other abnormalities including signs of oral cancer. The dental team will educate you and recommend treatment to help you achieve optimal oral health. They may recommend specific home care techniques, products or dental procedures.

Treatment:
based on the evaluation, your dentist will recommend treatment to remove any plaque and tartar as well as to address any other issues they might find concerning. You’ll likely have your teeth flossed and polished.

Q & A:
Take the opportunity with the dental team to ask questions about any concerns you have with your oral care, such as pain, habits, or cosmetic services.

Once you finish with the clinical team, you’ll need to pay for your visit and schedule your next appointment, so it’s likely back up front to visit with the office team or receptionist before you depart. The office staff will help you with any financial questions you have including expected insurance payments and your out-of-pocket costs. They will also help you reserve your next appointment. It is recommended that most people get a dental check-up at least twice a year, but the length between visits will vary based on your oral health.

By providing you with this quick resource about what to expect at your next dental check-up, we hope you feel more prepared for your next dental check-up. After all, a trip to the dentist is nothing to fear and you should be proud that you’re taking the next step to putting your health first. Your oral care is an important part of your overall health, and your dental team is here to help you have a successful and healthy experience.

Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

Is it an old wives’ tale that sugar causes cavities? Is it just an excuse parents use to scare children away from indulging in a bag full of candy?

As a parent, we want to make good choices for our kids, and maybe balance out all the no’s with a few yes’s every once in a while.

What is a Cavity?
A cavity, also called dental caries, is a hole in a tooth where tooth enamel has broken down due to decay. Decay is caused when plaque – a sticky bacteria that forms naturally in the digestive process – builds up on the tooth. When left for long periods of time, that plaque can cause decay, causing a cavity. Left untreated, a cavity can create a hole through the tooth and expose nerve endings creating significant pain. It can also create the need for a root canal or even result in tooth loss.

Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
No, sugar doesn’t cause cavities, bacteria cause cavities. But, sugar digestion does create bacteria, which, if not properly managed, will lead to not just cavities but also gum disease and may even result tooth loss. Whenever we eat food, acids are created by our body to break down the food to assist in digestion. These acids demineralize our teeth. Thankfully, our teeth are re-mineralized by brushing our teeth, drinking fluorinated water, and even our own saliva. The bottom line? It’s ok to indulge in some sugary treats as long as proper care is taken to reduce the presence of bacteria that cause cavities.

Cavity Prevention
To prevent cavities, you don’t need to give up sugar, but you do need to stay on top of good oral care; especially after holidays . For both kids and adults, the Indian Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily, using sugar-free gum between meals, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year.

Encouraging children to eat less candy can help prevent cavities but also has other health benefits. Establishing good dental health practices in kids is a proactive way to help reduce future health concerns, including improved heart health, lower risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and more.

How do you prepare yourself for your next Dental check-up?

So you did it, you scheduled your next dental check-up. Well done! Regular dental check-ups are a critical part of keeping both your mouth and body healthy. Whether this dental check-up is a first for you, the first time in a long time, or after relocating to a new area, you may want a refresher on what to expect at your dental check-up. So, we’ve put together this quick resource to help you get prepared for your next dentist appointment.

Preparing for Your Dental Check-Up
Before that next dental check-up, there are some things you should be sure you do, especially if this will be your first visit at a new dental office.

Gather information about your health history, including medications you are taking and contact information for your most recent doctor and dentist.

Request your former dentist transfer your records to your new provider. Help foster the transfer so your new dentist has a complete picture of your dental history.

Let them know if you have health concerns such as pregnancy, diabetes, epilepsy, or special needs, so they can best support you.

Be sure to mention any concerns you have or accommodations you may require, including dental anxiety. Fear of the dentist is common and your dental team can help make your checkup more comfortable.

Follow your normal dental routine, and if you need to eat before your appointment, then eat. You can always brush your teeth at the dentist when you arrive if needed. Give yourself extra time to arrive for your first appointment so you can complete paperwork and be in a calm state of mind.