Posted by: parkortho | April 1, 2014

April Is Mouthguard Awareness Month

mouthguard1

What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a flexible appliance made out of plastic that is worn in athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth from trauma.

Why should I wear a mouthguard?
To protect your mouth from injuries. The dental profession unanimously supports the use of mouthguards in a variety of sports activities. More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year.

Do mouthguards prevent injuries?
A mouthguard can prevent serious injuries such as cerebral hemorrhages, incidents of unconsciousness, jaw fractures and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw. Mouthguards are effective in moving soft issue in the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances.

In what sports should I wear a mouthguard?
Anytime there is a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces, it is advisable to wear a mouthguard. Players who participate in basketball, soft ball, football,wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating, martial arts as well as recreational sports such as skateboarding, and bicycling should wear mouthguards while competing.

Why don’t kids wear mouthguards?
Parents are sometimes uninformed about the level of contact and potential for serious dental injuries involved with sports in which the child participates. Some, though not all schools, reinforce the health advantage of mouthguards for their contact sports. Cost may be another consideration, although mouthguards come in a variety of price ranges.

What are the different types of mouthguards?
Stock mouthguard: The lowest cost option is a stock item, which offers the least protection because the fit adjustment is limited. It may interfere with speech and breathing because this mouthguard requires that the jaw be closed to hold it in place. A stock mouthguard is not considered acceptable as an facial protective device.
Mouth-formed protectors: These mouthguards come as a shell-liner and “boil-and-bite” product. The shell is lined with acrylic or rubber. When placed in an athlete’s mouth, the protector’s lining material molds to the teeth and is allowed to set.
Custom-made mouth protectors: The best choice is a mouthguard custom-made by your dentist. It offers the best protection, fit and comfort level because it is made from a cast to fit your teeth.

How should I care for a mouthguard?
• Clean your mouthguard by washing it with soap and warm (not hot) water.
• Before storing, soak your mouthguard in mouthwash.
• Keep your mouthguard in a well-ventilated plastic storage box when not in use. Make sure the box has several holes so the mouth-guard will dry.
• Heat is bad for mouthguards, so don’t leave it in direct sunlight or in a closed automobile.
• Don’t bend your mouthguard when storing.
• Don’t handle or wear someone else’s mouthguard.
• Call your dentist who made the mouthguard if there are any problems.

Courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry

Posted by: parkortho | July 5, 2013

Retainers

Hawley Retainers and Essix Retainers

Hawley Retainers and Essix Retainers

So you’ve put in the hard work and finished up your orthodontic/braces treatment.  Now what?  Retainers!  Well how long will I have to wear retainers?  At what point will my teeth stop moving?  Do I have to wear these every night?  These are all great questions that we’ll answer.

Once you finish up treatment, you want to enjoy that beautiful and functional smile for the rest of your life.  The problem is that you have to do a little bit of work to keep that smile looking that way.  YOU HAVE TO WEAR YOUR RETAINER (Properly)! If we could take your teeth and place them on a shelf after treatment that would be the ideal situation where they would not move.  We all know that’s not possible and we want to use those teeth and show them off.  Unfortunately, as we go through life we are constantly placing forces on our teeth.  If you think about how braces work, you will get a better understanding of why we need a retainer.  Your teeth move with braces because the braces/wire are placing a light continuous force on your teeth.  You put light continuous forces on your teeth everyday: tongue pressure, lip pressure, chewing pressure are the main ones.  You can’t keep your teeth away from these forces, so you need something to hold them in place to fight these forces.  Hence a retainer is given to you.  A retainer will not work if it is not being utilized;  I personally recommend daily wear, because you are having forces placed on your teeth daily.  Also, make sure that the retainer is being seated completely.  The retainer was made to fit all the way down; if it isn’t down all the way, it allows the teeth to have some wiggle room.

Will my teeth ever get to a point they will not shift?  The simple answer is no because there is never a point that your teeth do not have some kind of force applied to them.  Whether you have or have not had braces treatment your teeth are always shifting.  Individuals will notice that their teeth shift as they get older; that’s just the cumulative result of forces on your teeth over time.

We recommend that you where your retainer daily, to preserve the investment that you’ve made in your amazing smile.

Posted by: parkortho | January 24, 2013

Decalcification/White spots on teeth

Heavy-Plaque-on-Patient-with-Braces3-300x217White-Spots-After-Braces3-300x242

So what exactly are decalcification spots or white spots on teeth? 

Oral hygiene is something that we always stress due to its importance of keeping teeth healthy and strong.  You may have noticed certain people have great, straight teeth, but they also have small white spots or circular white areas on their teeth; these are decalcification spots.  What is the cause?- a lack of proper oral care.

Decalcification becomes even a geater issue when orthodontics or braces come into play.  Whithout any appliances in the mouth you can freely brush and floss the whole area of the teeth without any hindrances.  Once braces and wires are placed, it becomes an obstacle course to perform simple daily things that you had done previously.  Food and bacteria have more surfaces to bind and hide.  You may get frustrated and stop flossing; you may brush the tops of your teeth well, but could be missing the areas below the brackets and around your gingiva(gums).  Not properly cleaning every aspect of your teeth and gingiva can lead to decalcification, caries(cavities), gum and bone disease.

Decalcification is a process where the teeth are weakened.  If the teeth are not properly cleaned, food can become trapped and build-up.  Bacteria in the mouth utilize this food as energy and produce a sticky film called plaque, where more bacteria can bind and live.  These bacteria produce acid that weakens the tooth structure ( on a side note this is why sodas and sour candies are bad for your teeth- they are filled with acids).  The acid can weaken the tooth enough to form a cavity.  Decalcifications are the first step of tooth weakening and cavity formation.  As the tooth is weakened, calcium is removed from the tooth and starts to undermine the integrity of the tooth; unfortunately this also creates an unpleasant white spot, or “tooth scar”.  Once decalcification spots are formed they are permanent; some remineraliztion can occur with treatment. The best way to prevent decalcification is a proper oral hygiene regimen.

Brushing and flossing 2-3 times a day is always recommended.  Again, you must make an effort to reach every surface of the tooth.  Bacteria love to hide in nooks and crannies around the brackets and wires.  To better visualize areas that you need to focus on, a disclosing agent is recommended.  Disclosing agents are tablets or types of mouthrinses that color plaque.  After brushing a daily fluoride mouthrinse should be used daily.  Any soft bristled toothbrush can be used; manual or power brushes work equally well.  You can buy a $200 toothbrush, but if it’s not touching all the surfaces of your teeth you are wasting money.  The $2 toothbrush is a better investment if you are brushing properly with it.  Water-Piks ( I like to call them tooth pressure washers) are a great aid in addition to your regular daily care.  Don’t forget that your general dental visits are very important, as well.  Receiving your regularly scheduled 4-6 month dental cleaning allows the teeth to get that extra level of care and maintenace.

It’s simple to keep decalcification spots away.  It just takes a little time and diligence in brushing, flossing and your daily oral care.

Posted by: parkortho | October 29, 2012

Halloween……not the orthodontist’s favorite holiday

Well, it’s that time of year that we get dressed up so that we can see how many goodies we can receive by yelling “Trick or Treat!” For the most part, we don’t get tricked, but get handed a load full of treats.

We all love the treasures that we reap on Halloween night. Unfortunately, many of those treats are “sticky, chewy, crunchy or gummy”- all things that the orthodontist asks you to avoid. As you can imagine, the days after Halloween can be some of the most trying for orthodontists and their patients. These seem to be the days that a lot of inconvenient problems occur. There are situations where brackets have come off or wires are pulled out and/or bent. This may be a coincidence for this time of year, but I happen to think there may be a correlation :).

The American Association of Orthodontist has come up with a few guidelines for patients to follow:

In general, orthodontic patients should llok for foods that are soft and easy to chew: Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, Peanut butter cups, Milk shakes, Gelatin, Peeled, thinly sliced apples, Ice cream.

Treats to Avoid: Caramel,Nuts (including candies that contain nuts), Licorice, Jelly beans or taffy, Hard pretzels, Bubblegum, Candy corn, Lollipops, Popcorn (including unpopped kernels), Taco chips, Ice

If you get any of these no-no treats, try to trade them out with friends or siblings. We want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a safe/fun Halloween experience; be careful, please.

Posted by: parkortho | September 3, 2012

When is the right time for an orthodontic check-up?

One of the most frequent questions we receive is ” when should we go to the orthodontist?”.  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you should first see an orthodontist at the age of 7.  Some of the comments that you may hear may state “you should wait until all the baby teeth are gone” or ” if you go too early you may have to wear braces more than once”.  At the age of 7, you are starting to get a mixture of permanent and baby teeth.  A visit to the orthodontist can reveal any issues or problems that could be affecting the teeth that are present.  If you wait until all the baby teeth are gone, and a problem exists, you may be putting the permanent teeth that are present in a situation that can cause damage over a number of years. It’s not only the teeth that are being examined.  Certain “bites” may lead to skeletal discrepancies that can affect jaw growth and jaw relationships.

We have “free consultations” that include a thorough examination and radiographs (x-rays); the only thing it will cost is your time.  We hope that when you leave our office, that you feel like you have learned something about your mouth and teeth.  Treatment may be recommended or you may be placed on an observation or recall status where dental facial growth is monitored around 6 month intervals. 

The following is from the American Association of Orthodontists: 

Why Your Child Should Get An Orthodontic Check-up No Later Than Age 7:

• Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some

baby teeth are still present.

• While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an

orthodontist can detect.

• The check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a

developing problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and

then if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases,

the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

• Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make

treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.

• In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible

once the face and jaws have finished growing.

• Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:

• guide jaw growth

• lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth

• correct harmful oral habits

• improve appearance

• guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position

• improve the way lips meet

• Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity

for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the

orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most

appropriate time.

Posted by: parkortho | August 17, 2012

Blessings

ImageIt was tough to decide on the subject of our first blog topic.  Should it be on when to pursue orthodontics/braces?  Should it be about the doctor or staff?  Should it be what the latest and greatest innovations in othodontic technology are current and upcoming on the horizon? I stopped to think…. it should be on blessings.

God has provided in so many ways over the years.  We are not the biggest and busiest orthodontic practice in Douglasville; we are constanly striving to be the best.  We try to invest and know our patients, not just their teeth and bites.  We have come to know so many amazing families and individuals in the past  year and a half; we’ve had the opportunity to laugh and cry with many.  God has blessed……..

Part of our mission statement states that we want to invest not only in our community , but also the world.  We have been given the opportunity to partner with our patients in investing in the life of our first “World Vision” sponsor child, Medify Langa.  Medify is 7 years old and is from the country of Malawi.  Malawi borders the countries of Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia (Africa).

Medify and her family live in a community severly affected by HIV and AIDS.  She attends elementary school; her favorite subject is math.  She helps at home by caring for the animals and likes to play ball games in her spare time.  “Our” partnership with World Vision will help Medify meet basic needs for food, school and medical care.  We not only help her family gain access to basic need, but also the chance to learn of God’s unconditional love.

Thank you for giving us the the chance to know Malawi.

Posted by: parkortho | September 12, 2011

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