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Richmond Orthodontist | Caring for Your Retainer: 5 Helpful Tips

Orthodontist in Richmond

We understand how easy it can be to forget about your retainer. Once you get used to having one, it can become second nature to regularly care for it. For those who are new to retainers, however, it can be tricky to remember to take care of your new appliance. We’ve assembled a list of five tips to help you get started in the right direction.

  1. Keep It In, Unless…

Your retainer should be worn for the entire day. Without it, your orthodontic treatment results will suffer. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Do take out your retainer while you eat, clean it, during sports, and as directed by your dentist and our doctor. Otherwise, keep it in!

  1. Use Your Case

Your retainer will come with a case to store it in. When it’s out of your mouth, use the case. We’ve heard many horror stories of patients putting their retainer in a napkin while they eat, only to throw it away by mistake. A replacement retainer can be costly, so treat yours with care.

  1. Clean it Regularly

Your retainer needs to be kept clean. Like your teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up on it, which can be harmful to your teeth. We recommend cleaning your retainer every time you brush. Rinse your retainer with water, then use toothpaste and your toothbrush to give a gentle scrubbing. Rinse it off a final time before putting it back in your mouth.

  1. Be Careful of Sports

Contact sports pose a risk of damaging your retainer. Even non-contact sports may cause you to experience some degree of facial trauma. While playing sports, your retainer should be removed and placed in its protective case. Ask about a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth during these activities.

  1. Visit Us

While receiving orthodontic treatment, we will schedule a series of appointments with you to measure your progress. These visits are important for ensuring your results are maintained. They allow our team to make sure your retainer continues to fit properly, as well.

It may take some time to become comfortable with caring for your retainer. Follow our guide to stay on track. Keeping your retainer clean is just as important as keeping your teeth clean. Don’t forget to remove your retainer while eating, and always use the case to store it when it is not in your mouth.

For more retainer care tips or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks

Orthodontist Richmond

X-rays provide useful visual data for dentists to utilize when treating you. Occasionally, guests to our office ask about the radiation from x-rays and the dangers associated with high-exposure. Rest assured, a dental x-ray is one of the safest medical imaging procedures there is. Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental x-ray.

The Purpose of Oral X-Rays

X-ray imaging of the mouth can show our dental team damage to your teeth as well as disease. They can also show incoming teeth that could be problematic. X-rays allow our team to prevent problems by addressing them early. Rather than wait for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a simple x-ray procedure can identify it before it becomes painful.

Dangers of X-Ray Radiation

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increasing the risk of cancer. However, not all radiation sources are the same. It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much you are exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation

Dental x-rays are among the lowest dose of radiation producing procedures in medical imaging. It would take roughly 1,200 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT Scan. Did you know that when you fly in an airplane you are exposed to a small amount of radiation? A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a 7-hour plane ride. The amount of radiation is even lower for a routine x-ray exam. A routine procedure including 4 intraoral images is about the same dose of radiation from a 1-2 hour plane ride. A dental x-ray provides less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to in the average day from natural radiation.

Safety First

Even though dental x-rays are safe and expose you to a small amount of radiation, our office takes additional measures to keep you safe. First, state laws and regulations set the limit of radiation patients can be exposed to. We never exceed these restrictions. Our experienced team is also trained to use the x-ray equipment. Visitors are provided with a shield or bib that provides additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If you are a new patient, please provide us with your medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging you have had. Talk to our dentist about your concerns. Together we’ll work with you to ensure you are treated in a safe environment.

Dental x-rays are a safe and incredibly helpful procedure. They allow our dentist to detect problems and develop solutions specific to your mouth. Dental x-rays provide a significantly lower dose of radiation than other safe medical imaging methods. We strive to create an atmosphere where our guests are comfortable. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule your next examination, please contact our office.

The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

Richmond Orthodontist

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries pose a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes who play contact sports, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Mouthguards defend your teeth against such injuries. But mouthguards aren’t only for teeth. Your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. But all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should also wear one to protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you find the best mouthguard during your next visit to our office. There are a number of options available ranging from store-bought ones to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly. We can also work with you if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment and are wearing braces. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Your mouth should be protected while participating in athletic activities. Oral injuries can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult. Protect yourself from an injury before one happens. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.

Orthodontist in Richmond | The Dangers of Grinding

Orthodontist Richmond

Orthodontist Richmond VATeeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

Richmond, VA Orthodontist | 7 Things to Do with Your Child Before Age 7

Richmond Orthodontist

Orthodontist in Richmond VAAs you have likely come to realize, children grow up quickly. Make sure you are savoring each moment you have with your child. Here are seven things we suggest doing with your child before they reach age 7.

  1. Make an Artistic Masterpiece

Art projects are always a fun activity. Create art together. Do a finger painting, or draw and color together. Your child’s art masterpieces will be a lasting memory of the time you shared together.

  1. Experience Snow

Do you live in a cold climate where it snows in the winter? Embrace the snow and go sledding or build a snowman. If you live where it is warm, make sure your child experiences the magic of a fresh winter snow before they grow up.

  1. Establish Traditions

Create fun traditions that will transcend time. Your child might be too young to remember one event, but a yearly occurrence is sure to provide for a fun memory when your child grows up. Celebrate half-birthdays or start new traditions with a surprise on Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. Think small. It’s often life’s little moments that are cherished most.

  1. Read Together Each Day

Reading with your child each night is a great way to bond together over a fun story. Reading will also help your child learn and improve their reading skills, not to mention engage their ever-active imaginations.

  1. Teach Your Child About Honesty

Childhood provides an important time for instilling good habits and a sense of morality in our children. One of the most important lessons you can teach your child is to always be honest.

  1. Watch the Clouds

When the weather turns nice, enjoy a lazy afternoon outside looking up at the sky. What does your child see in the clouds? Encourage their imagination.

  1. Bring Your Child in for an Orthodontic Evaluation

It is important for your child to have an orthodontic evaluation by the time they reach age 7. By this time, most children will begin to grow their molars and incisors. The jaw is also still at an age where it can be formed and shaped.

As a parent, you can provide your child with a smile that will last through the years. Embrace each moment you share together, and the smiles that go with them. Contact our office today.

Richmond Orthodontist | The Perfect Bite – What Orthodontists Look for

Orthodontist in Richmond

Orthodontist Richmond VAYou may have been referred to our office by your dentist because you were told your bite needed work. We see many patients referred to us who are sometimes surprised to hear their bite needs work, because they did not notice. Our doctor looks for a few key things when examining your bite.

The View You See

When you look in the mirror, you can see the front of your teeth. What we look for in our office is to see whether your teeth are too long. If you notice your top teeth are covering more than half of your bottom teeth, we call this a deep bite. We also check to see how your teeth are lining up in relation to your lip.

Looking Down

Imagine your mouth wide open. Our doctor will have you open wide to check your teeth’s alignment from the top looking down. An ideal bite will form an arch shape when viewed from above. This is also a good way for us to see if you have gaps between your teeth.

From the Side

It might be hard for you to see your mouth from the side, but it is another important view of your bite that we check in our office. From this view, we can see if your mouth structure needs to be adjusted from an overbite (where your top teeth stick out in front of the lower set) or an underbite (where your lower teeth stick out beyond the top).

Next Steps

Once we’ve evaluated your bite in our office, we can take the next steps in helping you achieve the results you desire. If you have gaps and spaces, we might consider treatment options such as braces  or aligners. To correct under or overbites, we might consider treatments such as expanders.

Your Bite Matters

It is important to have a good bite because misaligned teeth can lead to difficulties while eating and speaking. Extensive jaw discomfort and tooth decay are also other side-effects of having an improper bite. Your oral health is dependent on having a good bite. Our experienced team is ready to assist you with any questions you might have.

For more information on the perfect bite or to schedule an examination, contact our office.

Orthodontist Richmond, VA | Sensitive Teeth and Braces

Orthodontist in Richmond, VA

Orthodontist Richmond VASensitive teeth may occur for a variety of reasons. Receding gums, tooth decay, exposed tooth roots, and thinning tooth enamel can all cause teeth to become sensitive to temperature, as well as sweet and acidic flavors. However, patients who are undergoing orthodontic treatment are at increased risk of developing sensitivity. It is important to consider all the factors involved to determine what actions you should take regarding your braces and sensitive teeth.

 

Tooth sensitivity is a condition that often develops due to receding gums. Symptoms include a sharp pain that worsens with pressure on the exposed tooth or when drinking hot or cold beverages. If you are undergoing an orthodontic treatment such as braces, sensitivity is not uncommon.

 

About 1 in 8 people with braces experience some tooth sensitivity. It is important to know the causes and treatments for this condition. The level of discomfort a patient experiences is due to pressure that is placed on your teeth by the braces and is different from other types of tooth sensitivity because it is not permanent and will only last a few days. This level of discomfort varies from patient to patient.

 

Factors Impacting Sensitivity

There are many factors that can lead to an increase in tooth sensitivity. The most common cause is due to over brushing. By brushing your teeth extremely hard, you can brush away your gum line exposing the sensitive root area. As a gum line recedes, it exposes porous root surfaces, which causes your teeth to become extremely sensitive. This can lead to painful discomfort due to the pressure that is placed on your teeth from the braces. Brushing your teeth and gums in softer, even circles is the best way to keep your gums intact.

 

Another cause of tooth sensitivity resulting from braces is improper brushing or improper dental hygiene. This happens when you fail to remove plaque and buildup. Plaque causes your teeth to weaken, leaving them at a greater risk for sensitivity. For patients with braces, it is very important to practice proper dental hygiene because food can easily get trapped between your teeth and braces, and when that happens bacteria can settle, resulting in decay. This makes you more susceptible to tooth sensitivity. If you think your brushing habits are not working well enough, talk to us for more tips on brushing with braces.

 

Steps You Can Take

There are several things you can do to stop the pain and sensitivity. No matter what is causing the problem, a good dental routine is your best bet. Brushing with a soft brush in an up and down motion vs horizontally can help reduce your risk of developing sensitive teeth. Over-the-counter toothpastes for sensitive teeth can help treat the condition. If you do not experience relief from special toothpastes, other treatments provided by our dentist can help. Talk to us about any lingering sensitivity so that we can work together to address the issue and reach a solution.

 

Our dentist will show you the correct tools and methods to use when brushing and caring for your teeth and braces. If your sensitivity is caused by scheduled orthodontic adjustments, it is safe to take over the counter pain relievers. If sensitivity continues for more than a few days or you have severe pain, please contact our office for additional advice and to schedule an appointment.

 

For more helpful tips about managing your braces or dealing with sensitivity, call our office.

Orthodontist Richmond | Baby Teeth – Should My Child’s Teeth Be Removed?

Richmond Orthodontist

Orthodontist RichmondMaking sure your child’s mouth develops properly is important. Part of a growing mouth will mean your child’s baby teeth will come out. For many kids, baby teeth loosen and fall out on their own, but every child is different. When you bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation, we take into consideration your child’s baby teeth. Here are some things to remember about your child’s teeth.

Is My Child on Track?

Sometimes we see parents in our office who are concerned that their child’s baby teeth have not fallen out. Each child’s mouth is going to be different. Typically, between the ages of 6 and 8, your child will lose their first teeth. This usually continues through ages 10 to 13 when the last of their baby teeth come out. Many kids experience a break between ages 8 and 10, so don’t be alarmed if your child hasn’t lost any teeth for a while.

What This Means for Orthodontic Treatment

We start any examination with a basic inventory of your child’s teeth. We look at how many they have lost and what teeth still must come in. Your child might lose teeth at a slower pace, and this usually is not cause for any concern. However, as kids reach age 12 and beyond we might consider removing baby teeth when planning orthodontic treatment. If your child is getting their second molars and has yet to lose some of their baby teeth, we likely will consider removal.

Why They Need to be Removed

Crowding is an issue when a permanent tooth begins to grow next to a baby tooth. We usually recommend removal in this instance, but it is important to note that this does not solve the issue of crowding. Usually expansion is a solution for crowding.

In our office, we use x-rays and scans to track your child’s mouth. These are a valuable resource in helping figure out the best time to have teeth removed. We can see what is coming in and decide to remove a baby tooth if it will cause complications to the new permanent tooth.

Why They Shouldn’t be Removed

Sometimes, the best course of action is to wait it out. Your child’s baby teeth have an important function in holding the required space needed for permanent teeth to come in. With missing teeth, our doctor will decide if the space between needs to be closed. Keeping teeth in place is also good for keeping your gums healthy.

Our doctor will decide if removal is needed based on your child’s teeth. Your child should be receiving regular examinations. Their fast-changing mouths need to be looked at frequently to ensure their teeth will grow properly in the future.

For more questions about orthodontics, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office.

Orthodontist in Richmond, VA | 6 Things You Never Knew About Braces

Orthodontist in Richmond

Richmond OrthodontistThe desire for straighter teeth goes back thousands of years. We’ve come a long way in improving our smiles. Braces have evolved over time to become more comfortable and efficient. Here are six things you probably never knew about braces.

  1. Ancient Egyptians May Have Wanted Straighter Teeth

Archaeologists have found mummies with cords wound around their teeth, likely to straighten them. What were these ancient braces made from? Animal intestines. Thankfully, our orthodontist has more modern materials to work with!

  1. You’re Not Alone

An estimated 4 million people in the US currently are wearing braces or another device to correct their teeth. That’s a little more than the number of people living in Los Angeles.

  1. Getting Braces is a Little Like Rocket Science

NASA scientists were looking for a flexible material for solar panels and turned to a metal called nitinol 60. As nitinol heats up, it reverts to its original shape. Today, nitinol is used in braces. The heat from your mouth makes the metal return to its original shape, helping guide your teeth to where they should be.

  1. Wear Your Retainer!

Did you know that an estimated 25% of braces wearers neglect to wear their retainer? Many end up needing a second set of braces. Don’t be one of the 25%. Wear your retainer for lasting results and a perfect smile.

  1. Braces Are Older Than America

If you consider 1776 to be the birth year of America, braces have another 48 years on the United States. The first modern braces were developed in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard. He used flat metal brackets and connected the teeth using thread.

  1. Busting Braces Myths

You don’t have a greater chance of being struck by lightning when wearing braces. Your braces also can’t interfere with any radio signals. Take some comfort in knowing not everything you’ve heard about braces holds true.

Though braces have been around for hundreds of years, today’s braces are more efficient and comfortable than in the past. Our experienced orthodontic team will help you get the results you desire. If you are ready for your perfect smile, set up a consultation with us today.

For more information about braces or to schedule your orthodontic consultation, please contact our office.

Orthodontist in Richmond | Warning! DIY Braces Pose a Real Danger

Richmond, VA Orthodontist

Orthodontist Richmond For some, the cost of braces can be a deterrent. Many might find it an appealing option to consider making their own set of braces. However, this is a frightening trend that can lead to more damage to your teeth and your wallet.

Do It Yourself Braces
You may have seen videos online filled with various alternatives to braces. Rubber bands are a common method. However, this does not provide you with a safe, long-lasting solution for fixing misaligned teeth. Before taking matters into your own hands, schedule an appointment with our office to learn about potential solutions.

What’s the Harm?
Missing teeth, bleeding gums, and serious infections are not the results you hope to see from braces. These are very real risks to those who make their own braces. Blackened, infected gums are not an attractive look, and serious pain is not going to be worth the small savings.

Moving your teeth can cause the blood supply to be blocked, leading to discolored and infected gums. Prolonged damage can even lead to root damage and teeth falling out.

DIY braces can also be a very temporary solution. Your teeth can shift back if you move them too quickly. Not only will it cost you money to make your own braces, but the amount of damage you would do to your teeth will require further professional help, likely in the form of more expensive fixes.

A Reason for the Orthodontist
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) states the practice of moving teeth is a healthcare procedure that requires the professional experience of an orthodontist. Morris N. Poole, DDS, president of the AAO, said “Any time a dental procedure is undertaken by an untrained individual there is a substantial risk for irreparable damage.”

Our office is staffed with a knowledgeable, experienced dental team who work on improving patients’ smiles every day. We pride ourselves on working with you to reach affordable solutions in a safe, professional environment.

Leave it to the Pros
DIY braces pose a significant danger, especially to children and young adults who may have seen examples online. The pain, irreparable damage, and costly fixes are not worth it. When it comes to dental care, leave it to the professionals.

For more information about braces or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office.