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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.

Richmond, VA Orthodontist | Healthy Teeth for Sick Kids

Orthodontist in Richmond

Richmond OrthodontistAlong with cooler weather and the end of year school break, winter brings the return of cold and flu season. When you are focused on a child with a fever, cough, or vomiting, it can be easy to question getting them out of the sickbed to brush their teeth. However, keeping mouths clean and teeth healthy can be even more important during illness. Here are some useful tips for protecting your child’s oral health when they’re sick.

Brush and floss

Brushing and flossing helps prevent build-up of harmful germs and bacteria in your child’s mouth. This helps keep their immune system focused on fighting the cold or flu virus. If your child’s illness includes vomiting, their teeth are exposed to acids that can weaken teeth. Help them rinse thoroughly and brush their teeth to avoid damage.

Hydrate

When your child is sick, they need plenty of water to stay hydrated, soothe a sore throat, and keep sinuses moist. In addition, dry mouth can occur during illness and increase risk of tooth decay. Drinking water helps combat dry mouth and congestion.

Watch out for sugars

Cough drops and cough syrups can contain high amounts of sugar to improve the medicine flavor. However, this can leave sugary residue on the teeth. Look for sugar-free options when possible and rinse well after any medicine with sugar.

Disinfect dental appliances

If your child has a dental appliance, such as a retainer, athletic mouth guard, or night guard, be sure it is cleaned thoroughly between uses. Contact our office for information on the type of cleanser that is appropriate for your child’s device.

Follow-up

When your child is well again, replace their toothbrush. Even a clean toothbrush may retain some bacteria or germs following use. To help protect your child from reinfection, discard the used toothbrush in favor of a new one.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy through an illness, contact our office.

Richmond Orthodontist | Brushing with Braces

Orthodontist in Richmond

Richmond Orthodontist When you have braces, brushing your teeth becomes even more important – and more challenging – than ever before. To ensure your teeth remain clean and healthy, try these helpful tips for effective brushing when you have braces:

  1. Use a soft toothbrush. When you have braces, you can face increased risk of developing periodontal disease. The best way to protect yourself is to brush carefully between your braces and gums. However, a stiff brush may damage your gum tissue and raise your chance of infections.
  2. Debris first. Start with a wet toothbrush, but no toothpaste. Use the brush to remove debris that can be trapped in and around your brackets and wires. This can be easier to accomplish when toothpaste foam is not blocking your view.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste. Toothpaste provides a deep clean, freshens breath, and the added fluoride helps protect teeth from decay.
  4. Start at the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Scrub your teeth gently to clean all surfaces. Clean your braces carefully.
  5. Brush for 2 minutes. Most people believe they brush a full two minutes, but when timed, find they generally brush about ¼ of that time. Use a timer to ensure you spend a full 30 seconds on each quarter of your teeth.
  6. Brush often. Braces can trap food debris and bacteria, which can increase your risk of discoloration, decay, and infection. Though twice daily brushing is generally sufficient for most people, braces-wearers should try to brush after every mean whenever possible. When you do not have the opportunity to brush, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after eating to help remove as many food particles as possible.
  7. Follow up. By itself, brushing is not enough to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Be sure to follow brushing with careful use of floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner. See your dentist for exams and professional cleanings as directed.

Braces can give you a straighter, healthier smile, but they require some added care and attention. For more tips on keeping your teeth and braces clean during your orthodontic treatment, contact our office.

Orthodontist Richmond, VA | Orthodontic FAQs

Orthodontist in Richmond

Richmond OrthodontistWhat are possible benefits of orthodontics?

Straight teeth can help you effectively bite, chew and speak. It also contributes to healthy teeth and gums. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. In addition, an attractive smile is a pleasant “side effect” of orthodontic treatment and can contribute to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image at almost every age.

When teeth are properly aligned, they are less prone to decay and gum disease. Straight teeth collect less plaque. Bacteria in plaque feed on the carbohydrates that we eat and drink. This bacteria helps to produce acids that can cause cavities. Plaque can also increase the risk for periodontal disease. Also, when teeth are properly aligned, it is easier to keep teeth clean.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

Yes! Many adults seek orthodontic treatment to improve their smile and maintain good dental health. Teeth can be adjusted at any age to create a healthy, straight, beautiful new smile. Many orthodontic problems can be corrected as easily for adults as for children.

What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?

Adults and children of all different ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. For children, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children first visit an orthodontists around the age of seven.

What are some signs braces may be needed?

  • cross bite
  • under bite
  • crowding
  • spacing
  • jaw-malignment

Will braces hurt?

Although braces don’t hurt, in the first couple days after getting braces you may feel a slight discomfort as your teeth and mouth begin adjusting to your new braces.

If I have braces, do I need to brush my teeth more often?

When you have braces it is important to brush your teeth around four (4) to five (5) times a day. This means brushing after every meal if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The duration of treatment can depend on many different variables. However, there are things you can do to make sure the process goes as quick as possible. If you are required to wear rubber bands, make sure to follow the instructions you receive.

How often should I visit my general dentist while I have braces?

It is very important to keep up with your general dentist appointments when you have braces. With braces it is easier for food to build up in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. This means going to see your general dentist regularly for a check up every 6 months to make sure your teeth stay clean and cavity free.

Will having braces interfere with playing sports or playing a musical instrument?

Have no fear! Braces will not prevent you from participating in any of your school activities such as playing sports or musical instruments, although it may take a little getting used to at first. However, if you are playing a sport, talk to our doctor to see if you should wear a mouthguard.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us.

Orthodontist Richmond | 8 Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Orthodontist in RichmondRichmond Orthodontist

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. Orthodontic appliances such as braces, aligners, retainers, and mouth guards may also harbor the bacteria that cause halitosis. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep orthodontics clean.

Removable devices such as mouth guards, aligners, or retainers, should be washed with an antibacterial cleaner daily. This will prevent build-up of residue and bacteria that can cause unpleasant tastes and odors. If you wear braces, carefully clean brackets and beneath wires each day to keep food particles from remaining after you eat.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about halitosis with orthodontic treatment, contact our office.

Orthodontist in Richmond, VA | Keep Kids’ Teeth Safe and Healthy This Winter

Midlothian, VA Orthodontist

orthodontist-midlothian-300x200As a parent, you want to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy all year long. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are great ways to prevent tooth decay. What you may not realize is that the colder weather of the holiday season brings its own challenges to bear. Here are some ways to help protect your child’s oral health this winter.

Encourage Water

While you may think of summer as having dangers of dehydration, winter play holds similar risks for children. The air is drier during this season than in the spring or fall. Activities such as sledding and snowball fighting can lead to sweating out fluids. Have your child sip water throughout the day. This can keep them hydrated and prevent dry mouth, which can raise risk of tooth decay.

Mouth Guard

Whether your child enjoys skiing, sledding, skating, or snowball fights, winter brings increased risks of falls and injuries to both mouth and face. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), up to 40% of kids’ dental injuries occur during sports. Having your child wear a mouth guard during these activities can greatly reduce their risk of damaging teeth or gums.

Strong Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to keeping teeth healthy. If your child becomes ill with a cold or flu virus, continuing dental hygiene can help their immune system concentrate on getting well. If your child vomits, have them rinse their mouth with water right away to avoid leaving acids on their teeth. Discard and replace your child’s toothbrush once they are well to prevent re-infection.

Limit Sugar

Cold weather can lead to sniffles and coughs. Avoid bathing your child’s teeth in sugar from cough drops. Choose sugar-free options to soothe sore throats. Limit juice and cocoa that have high sugar content. Monitor your child’s candy intake through the holidays and ensure they brush after indulging.

Don’t Share

While sharing toys and books is a habit to encourage, sharing cups or silverware is not. Tooth decay, cold sores, and other oral ailments can be spread through saliva. Make sure each family member is using their own drink, spoon, and fork.

For more ways you can keep your child’s teeth safe through the winter season, contact our office.

Orthodontist in Richmond | Are Medications Damaging Your Oral Health?

Midlothian Orthodontist

orthodontist-in-midlothian-300x200According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans are currently taking prescription medications and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements. Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, you may experience medication side effects that can impact your oral health. Always let us know if you are taking any medicines or supplements and if those have changed since your last visit.

Here are some common side effects of medications that can impact your oral health:

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood thinning and reduced clotting accompany the use of some medications. This can cause problems with excessive bleeding during treatments for periodontal disease or oral surgery. Your dentist needs to know if you are taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment that may involve bleeding. 

Dry Mouth

Many medications can cause reduced saliva production. When your mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis is an oral fungal infection that can affect those who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler. 

Gum Tissue Enlargement

Overgrowth or enlargement of gum tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. Patients with this condition need to give special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation or decay. 

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. If you experience this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate your discomfort.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not directly a side effect of medication, several types of medicines use sugar to improve the flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, and lozenge forms. When these are taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the patient more likely to develop tooth decay. When possible, select sugar-free versions of medications, take with meals, or rinse your mouth after taking a sugared medicine.

If you are experiencing any of these side effects or have concerns about any medications you are taking, contact our office.

Retaining Your Smile

Orthodontist Richmond

orthodontist-in-richmond-89Most comprehensive orthodontic treatment will involve the use of braces or aligners. In either case, your treatment involves minor movement of your teeth to correct misalignment. This ensures both a straight smile and an even bite.

However, braces are not the only stage needed for a permanent orthodontic solution. Once your braces have been taken off, the retention phase begins. It is vitally important to follow through with retention in order to to maintain your newly straight smile after treatment. Your final orthodontic results depend on your retainer, so be sure to continue following up with our doctor for treatment even after your braces have been removed.

There are a few different types of retainers that may be recommended to you:

  • Clear Retainers – A removable, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth.
  • Traditional Retainers – A removable appliance made of acrylic and a wire that sits on the front side of your teeth.
  • Bonded Retainer – A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily bonded to the lingual (tongue) side of the anterior teeth.

Our orthodontist will provide you with the best retainer option that is suited for your orthodontic treatment plan. All retainers should be worn as often as instructed to do so. Keep in mind that your teeth have been in active treatment for months or even years. Wearing your retainer right after treatment is crucial and it should be worn for the appropriate amount of time each day as instructed.

Your retainer is an important part of completing your orthodontic treatment, so take care of it and it will take care of you. Regardless of whether it’s made of acrylic and wire or thermoplastic, the process of cleaning your device should be the same.

When it is not in your mouth, keep your retainer in its case. Bacteria and plaque also pose a significant threat to the life of your retainer. Bacteria can build up on it, just like they do on your teeth, making the apparatus less hygienic and affecting the fit. For theses reasons, regular cleaning is vital for retainer care.

When cleaning your retainer, you can brush it with a wet toothbrush. You will also need to disinfect your retainer by soaking it in a cleansing solution. Thoroughly rinse your retainer with cold or room temperature water before placing it back in your mouth.

Contact us for more information.