Orthodontics

What usually happens during an initial orthodontic exam?

In order to determine your specific needs, a dentist will completely evaluate your mouth. This will likely include:

  • Impressions of your teeth, from which models are made (these are useful for the doctor, and will remind you exactly how your teeth looked before correction).
  • Photographs of your teeth, face, and smile
  • X-rays of your head and teeth
  • Your medical health history and dental health history

The doctor will then carefully evaluate your specific needs and provide you with a treatment plan for correction. Following the recommended plan is important for proper correction.

What are spacers?

Teeth normally fit tightly against one another. Spacers are inserted before placement of your braces to provide some space between teeth for attaching the bands. There are two types of spacers, small springs or plastic modules. In just a few days they gently move desired teeth slightly apart.

Spacers often cause some soreness, but this goes away in a few days. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to relieve the irritation. Your normal chewing also helps to get your mouth feeling better.

What do I do if a spacer comes out?

Call us in Erie at (814) 838-6354 immediately for a replacement. That little spacer is making just enough room for a comfortable fit for your braces and plays an important role.

Foods To Avoid While Wearing Orthodontic Braces...

You can eat just about anything, but there are some exceptions. At Complete Family Dental Care, we feel that getting used to braces also usually means making a few adjustments in your eating habits. This is because some food might damage your braces or cause problems for your teeth. Here's a list of items to avoid (or some ways they can still be enjoyed with caution):

  • Apples (don't bite into a whole one! Cut it into wedges first.)
  • Bubble gum (some orthodontists allow sugarless gum, but check with yours for approval)
  • Candy (caramels, taffy, nut brittles, chewy candies, gummi anything!)
  • Carrots (avoid sticks, cut into thin curls)
  • Corn on the cob (remove the corn from the cob, then enjoy!)
  • Corn chips/hard tacos
  • Hard foods (they're tough on braces, causing bending and breaking)
  • Ice (no crunching!)
  • Lemon juice/lemons (pure lemon juice is very hard on your tooth enamel)
  • Nuts
  • Pizza crust/crusty breads (outer edges)
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels (the large, hard varieties)
  • Sticky foods (can bend wires and pull off brackets)
  • Sugary foods (avoid these as much as possible; if you do eat them, brush your teeth within minutes or as soon as possible, or at least rinse your mouth with water)

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most orthodontic problems are inherited, including tooth size and jaw size, and may lead to crowding of teeth or spacing of teeth. Overbites, underbites, extra or missing teeth, and irregularities of the jaws, teeth, and face also are inherited.

Other orthodontic problems can be caused from accidents, pacifier or thumb sucking, dental disease, or the premature loss of either the primary or permanent teeth.

How early should children get an orthodontic evaluation?

At Kneib Dentistry we use the simple guideline that children should be examined at the time their permanent teeth are beginning to come in. However, every child is different, and the best starting time for orthodontic treatment depends on the type of problem and how severe it is. So the answer really is: "It depends..."

If your child requires treatment, early intervention can make a real difference. We see the best results with treatments that would be impossible once your child's face and jaw have completely developed.

Also, when started early, completion of treatment at a later age is much easier.

During an initial examination, we will evaluate your child's facial growth, spacing between teeth, crowding, extra or missing teeth. And they will look for habits like tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking that may hinder normal growth and development. These problems can change tooth alignment as well as alter facial appearance.

If your child doesn't require any early treatment, most dentists will schedule periodic follow-up exams while the permanent teeth are coming in and the face and jaws continue to grow.

Orthodontic treatment can bring your child's teeth, lips and face into harmony. And we all know that a pleasing appearance and beautiful smile give children—and adults—a big advantage in life.

How often do I need to brush with dental braces?

Preferably brush within five minutes after you eat anything, whether you're snacking or after a meal. Brushing away cavity-causing bacteria helps keep your teeth cavity-free.

Carry a travel toothbrush in a backpack, purse, or briefcase to always have on hand for brushing away from home.

How do I brush my teeth with braces?

Brush between wires and gums to loosen any food particles. There are special toothbrushes for this, check with us for recommendations.

Start on the outside of your upper teeth, positioning the bristles at a 45 degree angle, toward the gum. Brush two to three teeth at a time using a circular motion, about ten strokes.

  • Next, brush the inner surfaces in the same manner.
  • Brush the chewing surfaces.
  • Repeat the same process for the lower teeth as for the upper ones.
  • Rinse your mouth as well as your toothbrush. Check your teeth in a mirror to make sure you've brushed all tooth surfaces.
  • Floss daily between braces using a floss threader.
  • Toothpicks, stimudents, and other interdental devices work well under brackets.

You may also want to use a water oral hygiene device that helps to remove food particles the toothbrush may not reach. It is used in addition to brushing and flossing, not as a substitute.

While wearing braces, be sure to schedule regular dental exams every three to six months for cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy.