Month: March 2016

Oral Hygiene For The Orthodontic Patient

Oral Hygiene For The Orthodontic Patient

When you have braces on teeth, those teeth need extra attention to protect them from decay, staining and gum disease. You should also take precautions to avoid damaging the braces. For example, activities to avoid include eating chewy or sticky sweets, eating hard or crunchy foods, biting your lip, breathing excessively through your mouth and pushing your tongue against your teeth.


Although brushing twice a day is the standard oral care recommendation, when you wear braces, you should brush after every time you eat — even after that mid-afternoon vending machine snack or some late-night munchies. That’s because food particles easily become trapped in the braces, and the longer those particles stay trapped, the greater risk you have of developing dental problems. Use a soft toothbrush , or an electric toothbrush if you prefer.

Start by rinsing your mouth with water to loosen food stuck in and around your braces. It’s important to brush each tooth at the gum line and both above and below the brackets. Brush your gum line first, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Next, clean the brackets by brushing at a downward angle on top of the brackets and brushing at an upward angle at the bottom of the brackets. Rinse again after brushing.

Other Cleaning Methods

Floss at least once a day, making sure you floss not only between the braces but also under the wires. To more easily floss under the wires, use a floss threader or orthodontic flosser, which you can buy at drug stores. Waxed floss is easier to slide between your teeth and less likely to snag on your braces than unwaxed floss.

If you have space between your teeth, you might find that an interproximal (also called interdental) brush that goes between the teeth works better than flossing. Another option for hard-to-reach areas is an oral irrigator. Its stream of pulsating water can remove plaque and food debris.

Watch What You Eat

When you wear braces, you need to be more aware of what you eat. Eating too many sugary and starchy foods can cause plaque to build up around the brackets, which can cause staining of the teeth, causing cavities or leading to gum disease. You should especially avoid sticky and chewy foods, such as dried fruits, caramel, taffy, corn on the cob and chewing gum, all of which can become stuck and be hard to remove from braces.

Hard foods are another no-no. Foods such as nuts, ice, popcorn and beef jerky can break the wires of the braces and loosen the brackets. Even otherwise healthy foods, such as raw apples and carrots, can be problematic because their hard texture can damage the wires. To eat crunchy foods, cut them into small, bite-size pieces.


Invisalign offers a number of benefits over traditional orthodontics. Patients love that they are unnoticeable, comfortable and removable. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign wearers are not presented with extra challenges when brushing and flossing. This is a remarkable advantage towards the health of your smile during orthodontic treatment. However, it doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to neglect the health of your teeth and gums all together.


Although Invisalign trays can be removed for brushing, there are still some things to watch out for. The most significant step you can take towards a healthier smile while wearing Invisalign is to taking diligent care of your aligner trays as well as your teeth.


West Paces Ferry Orthodontics patients usually wear trays for a week each. That may not seem like a long time, but it is plenty of time for bacteria to harbor inside your trays, especially if your tray gets scratched. Your trays can also seal food particles into your teeth that you may have missed with brushing and flossing. This creates a welcoming environment for tooth decay and even gum disease.


During Invisalign therapy, you can expect to wear your trays about 22 hours per day. Therefore, follow these care tips to ensure your smile stays healthy while it gets straighter:

  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to daily clean your trays
  • Store your trays in their case when they’re not in your mouth
  • Always brush, floss, and rinse your teeth immediately before putting trays back in
  • Don’t let trays get dry for long periods of time
  • Avoid smoking while undergoing Invisalign treatment

Additional Tips

If you are caught without a toothbrush, vigorously rinse your mouth with water (or mouthwash) and brush as soon as possible. Also, if your braces or wires chafe the inside of your lips, you can place a special wax on them to prevent this from happening and rinse often with salt-water. You can get this wax at drug stores, or just ask your dentist or orthodontist.

Your Child’s First Check-up

Your Child’s First Check-up

Choosing The Optimal Time For Treatment

While orthodontic treatment most often begins between the ages of 9 and 14, some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they’re treated early.  If it appears that treatment will be needed, your orthodontist can advise you as to the ideal time to begin and should be evaluated by the age of 7.  This gives your orthodontist the best chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance and self-esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve the way lips meet



Signs Your Child’s Bite Isn’t Right

It’s not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem.  Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite.  Here are some clues that may indicate the need for Orthodontic attention:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that are to far forward or back
  • Biting the check or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
  • An unbalanced facial appearance
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth


About Orthodontist

Orthodontist are dental specialist who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities.  They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.


Give Your Child the Gift of a Healthy Smile

Not only do well-aligned teeth look good and feel good, they also are important to good dental health.  Poorly aligned teeth can lead to dental problems.  Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment.  But if your child does need help, it pays to start treatment when you have the greatest chance for success.  Make sure your child receives an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven.



The Exciting New World Of Accelerated Orthodontics

The Exciting New World Of Accelerated Orthodontics

The Orthodontic world is rapidly changing. One of the major changes is the introduction of accelerated Orthodontic treatments.  Treatment times have already been cut to half of what they were just  two years ago.  This has been achieved by accelerating our natural cycles that allow teeth to be moved through orthodontics.  Some patients can be treated in as little as six months with Invisalign therapy or traditional braces!


The bone that houses the roots of our teeth have a natural recycling process called the osteogenic cycle. This involves two bone cells called osteoblast and osteoclast. Osteoblast synthesize bone, and osteoclast break down bone tissue.  This function is critical in the maintenance, repair, and remodeling of bones in our body.  Essentially, our bones are in a constant state of recycling.  Applying consistent pressure to a tooth causes  the bone around the tooth to adapt and allows the tooth to then move with the pressure provided by either Invisalign trays or traditional braces . osteodiagragm
Accelerated Orthodontics is achieved by increasing the production of these special cells in our body causing the process to double in speed as well.   The early stages of this acceleration were only able to be achieved by surgical means.  Patients would see a specially trained periodontist or oral surgeon who would perforate the bone with a drill and the healing process would cause an increase in cellular production.  The down side to this option is the discomfort associated with surgery as well as the cost due to the large amount of time the surgery takes the specialist.


Thankfully this new science has entered into a new phase. By inserting a mouthpiece fitted around traditional braces or Invisalign trays and wearing the activator every day the Orthodontist at West paces Ferry Orthodontics can speed up tooth movement through the use of vibrations.  This increases blood flow in our upper and lower jaw and this in turn increases the production of the osteoblast and  osteoclast, causing the bone to remodel to the tooth’s new position much faster. This also decreases the inflammation caused by orthodontics lowering the level of discomfort as well as speeding the process up.

Invisalign or Traditional Braces


Traditional braces may not be the best option for the business professional in the busy world in which they operate in. Considering braces versus Invisalign to straighten your teeth may lead to a lot of questions. Which is more effective?  Which is more affordable? Which is better for my overall dental health? Both braces and Invisalign were designed to straighten teeth while improving your smile and oral health. Braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets that are glued to your teeth, and connected via wires and tiny rubber bands. Invisalign, on the other hand, is designed to be invisible. Aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic are worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move your teeth.

The first question for many potential patients is how effective is Invisalign in comparison to traditional bonded braces.  Let’s start by reframing the question. As a potential patient, the most important question to ask when considering your treatment options is what will work best for me?1This answer is different from patient to patient because individual needs and habits greatly affect the final outcome of treatment. In the past, some conditions were more difficult to treat with Invisalign, but with technological advancements and the expertise of the practitioner (West Paces Ferry Orthodontics is a Top 1% Elite Provider – the highest level of classification Invisalign offers) most, if not all, of these concerns have been addressed and improved. But, as mentioned, Invisalign is not for everyone. For example, one has to be vigilant in wearing their aligners. The temptation to take them out too often or not wear them enough is too much for some.braces-vs-invisalign

Of course cost is a concern as well. Prices of treatment vary greatly from patient to patient based on the needs and goals of the individual patients. Not only that, but prices vary greatly from provider to provider. In some practices, the price is fairly close to traditional braces as the provider has acquired the skill to complete the treatment without incurring higher cost in doing so (which is the case at West Paces Ferry Orthodontics) while a provider that has not completed as many Invisalign treatments may need more time and resources to achieve the same outcome resulting in higher fees.

Also, one must consider the effect on our overall oral health. Invisalign tends to have an advantage here.  Fixed orthodontic appliances (FOA) temporarily interfere with periodontal health of patients, as the appliance complicates oral hygiene. The use of aligners in orthodontic therapy increased strongly during the last decade. In the literature, the reports about effects of aligner treatment on oral hygiene and gingival conditions are scarce 2.   The fact that Invisalign can be removed for brushing and flossing give Invisalign a significant advantage. This allows the patient to clean plaque away from the enamel and gingival surface with much less effort. The plastics do not contain BPA and are registered and approved by the FDA.3





How Your Dental Health Affects Your General Health

Heart Diseasebodyhealth

The American Heart Association published a statement in April 2012 supporting an association between gum disease and heart disease. Studies show an association between gum disease and several serious health conditions, including heart disease, even after adjusting for common risk factors.

Respiratory Disease

New research suggests bacteria from gum disease travel through airways and into the lungs and this may lead to potentially life-threatening respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.


Research studies show a strong connection between Arthritis and gum disease. In fact, another study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, showed that when people with a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis cleared up their gum disease, their pain and other arthritic symptoms got better.


Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose, the main sugar found in the blood and the body’s main source of energy, and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

Gastrointestinal Disease

To date, the most significant relationship between dental disease and digestive disorders is from tooth loss and misaligned teeth. Studies show that changes in food preferences and subsequent nutrient deficiencies are associated with tooth loss and misalignment of teeth or the bite. Evidence suggests that nutritional deficiencies, regardless of their cause, are associated with impaired immune responses.  Another study showed that these individuals are also subject to numerous health problems, directly related to their inability to properly chew their food. These subjects took more medication for gastrointestinal disorders than those with a higher chewing performance. Poor chewing was also associated with a decrease in vitamin A and fiber intake.

Pre-Term Low Birth Weight Babies

Recent studies have provided new evidence that periodontal disease in pregnant women may be a significant risk factor for pre-term low birth weight. A number of studies also suggest that 18% of all low birth weight cases may be attributable to periodontal disease. It now appears that periodontal disease stimulates the body to release chemicals that can induce labor. Study data also suggests that if a pregnant women’s periodontal condition worsens during pregnancy it will create an even greater risk of premature birth.