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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.

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.