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.

Eating with Braces

Richmond Orthodontist

richmond-orthodontistWhat you eat and do not eat will directly affect the condition of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Here are some tips on what kinds of foods you should avoid and how to carefully enjoy some of your favorites.

Hard Foods

At times, it is difficult to break and chew certain foods. Eating hard foods can be harmful during orthodontic treatment because they can bend or break wires and even displace brackets. Avoid them entirely after you have had your wires changed, since teeth are the most tender at this stage.

Tips for eating hard foods:

  1. Fruits are an essential part of a balanced diet. If you want to eat apples, pears and peaches, do not directly bite into them. Instead, cut them into small pieces before consuming.
  2. If you enjoy eating almonds, cashews or peanuts, consider grinding them and adding it to cereals and yogurt.
  3. While eating chicken wings or ribs, remove the bones before consuming your meal. This prevents you from accidentally chewing on a bone and dislocating a bracket.
  4. While eating corn, remove the kernels from the cob to help prevent damage to your braces.
  5. Avoid chewing on ice. You can suck on ice cubes but never bite them.

Sticky and Sweet Foods

Sticky foods can get stuck to your teeth and braces, and can even result in the braces getting pulled off. Sweet, sugary foods are high in sugar and their consumption can lead to tooth decay.

Tips for eating sticky and sweet foods:

  1. If you enjoy eating candy, try sucking on them instead of chewing them. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water to avoid sugar buildup on your teeth.
  2. Avoid chewing on gum. Gum can stick to braces and may be difficult to clean. It can also loosen the wires and brackets.

As always, it is best to eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoiding soda, candy, and other sugary and acidic foods can help prevent tooth decay and keep you healthier overall. Contact our office for more helpful information or to schedule an appointment.

First Aid for Your Braces

Dentist in Richmond

Though braces are safe and generally involve little discomfort, there are instances when issues may arise. Here is some information that can be useful if any of these situations occur.

Food Caught Between Teeth

While not an emergency, this can cause discomfort or embarrassment for the patient. A small knot in a piece of dental floss can help to remove food stuck between teeth and braces. Other options that may be effective include a small dental toothbrush or toothpick.

Lost Ligatures

Ligatures include both the small rubber bands and the fine wires that are used with braces. If a rubber band comes off, it should be able to be put back in place using sterile tweezers. For a loose wire, use sterile tweezers to remove it. If a wire ligature is broken or missing, follow up with the orthodontist.

Discomfort

Discomfort for the first day or two following adjustment is normal. It can be helpful during that time to eat only soft foods and to rinse with warm salt water.

Mouth Sores

Some patients may have recurring issues with mouth sores. Though these are not caused by the braces, the braces may irritate the sores, making them more painful and take longer to heal. Generally, pain relief can be achieved using a topical anesthetic, such as Ora-Gel.

Lip or Cheek Irritation

New braces may cause irritation to the lips and cheeks, especially while eating. Non-medicinal relief wax can be used in small amounts to cover the part of the braces that is causing the irritation, providing relief. This wax is harmless if accidentally swallowed.

Protruding Wire

If a wire end is out of place, it can cause irritation to the mouth. Use a pencil eraser or cotton swab to gently push the wire back into place, if possible. Relief wax can also be used to protect the mouth. If the protrusion is severe and the patient cannot get to the orthodontist soon, clip the wire as a last resort.

Loose Brackets

If a bracket has become loose, notify the orthodontist immediately for how to proceed.

A Piece of the Appliance is Swallowed

Though highly rare, it is possible for this to occur. Contact the orthodontist immediately for instructions on how to handle this situation.

For more information on these or other braces issues, or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Thank You

 

Thank you for trusting me with your dental health care. You are a valuable part of my work and my life. I want you to know that my team and I appreciate your time, your trust, and your teamwork in your oral health care.

A smile is contagious. I love coming into work everyday and helping our fellow community members achieve the smile of their dreams because it means that they’ll share that smile with those around them. I believe that all of this smiling makes our community a better, happier place.

Serving the community we share gives me purpose. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for sharing your smile with our staff and your fellow community members. Thank you for being a patient that brightens our team’s day. Thank you for being a big part of why I smile.

If we’ve made you smile, please tell your friends and family about us. We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.

Thank you so much.

 

A Sweet Treat for Your Smile

Richmond Orthodontist

Did you know that some types of sugar can be less detrimental for your teeth than others?

The biggest nutritional factor impacting your oral health is sugar. Refined sugars and other refined carbohydrates cause most of the build-up of plaque and plaque-forming bacteria inside the mouth. This build-up is the primary cause of both tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because of this, diets high in refined sugars create a significantly increased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.

The sugars in fruit work differently in your mouth than refined sugars do. Fruit sugars come as a package deal with fiber, which is a major game changer. Fiber stimulates increased saliva in your mouth. Saliva is your first line of defense against the acids that cause tooth decay. Since the fiber that accompanies the natural sugars in fruit creates more saliva, more acid is neutralized and fewer food particles remain on your teeth after eating.

When you’re deciding what kind of sweet snack you want to have, consider the benefits of fruit’s natural sugar and fiber combination. Regular professional dental care can help offset the negative effects of those occasional refined sugar indulgences.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Don’t hesitate to call us to schedule your next dental appointment or forward this email to a friend who may benefit from meeting us.

Help Us Stop Cancer Before it Starts!

Orthodontist in Richmond

orthodontist-in-richmondDid you know that regular screening can allow Dr. Horsey to identify and treat oral cancers even before you develop any symptoms? In an oral cancer screening, Dr. Horsey will use his expert training and technology to check your mouth for any abnormal or potentially pre-cancerous cells, as well as any actual cancerous growths. Once identified, Dr. Horsey may recommend a biopsy to be certain whether cancer is present.

Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, can occur in any part of the mouth, such as in the lips or gums, the surface of the tongue, or the roof and floor of the mouth. A person suffering from oral cancer may experience mouth ulcers, swelling, lumping or thickening of the skin in any part of the mouth, or patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue. Pain in swallowing, jaw pain or stiffness, sore throat and loosening of teeth are also symptoms of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is typically caused by unhealthy habits such as smoking, chewing, or sniffing tobacco, consuming alcohol, unhealthy diet, or excessive exposure to sun and certain chemicals. People with GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) digestive condition and those who have undergone radiation treatments of the head or neck areas are also at a high risk for developing oral cancer.

Oral cancer can be diagnosed by various examinations such as biopsy, endoscopy, or imaging tests. If found, receiving proper treatment is imperative. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 9,570 people will die of oral cancers this year alone. That’s about one person every hour!Let us help you prevent oral cancer by scheduling an oral cancer screening.

As with any form of cancer, early detection and treatment plays an essential role in ensuring that oral cancer can be stopped before it fully takes hold. For more information or to schedule an oral cancer screening, please call Horsey Orthodontics today.

The Surprising Benefits of Aesthetic Dentistry

Orthodontist in Richmond, VA

Studies show that about 45% of adults are unhappy with the appearance of their smile. Read about the surprising benefits for achieving a healthy and beautiful smile below.

You might make more money

Studies show that those who are considered attractive make more money than their less attractive counterparts. Men with bad teeth earn on average 18% less than those with good teeth, and women with bad teeth earn about 11% less than women with good teeth.

People with straight teeth are also seen as smarter, thus have the ability to potentially earn more money.

You will have better health

In addition to relieving physical tension and stress, smiling helps to boost the immune system. Smiling decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter also improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can protect you against heart attacks.

You will have social success

About 48% of 18-24 years old have “detagged” themselves from a photo on Facebook because of their smile. Having good teeth increases self-confidence and there is no need to worry about making a bad impression with crooked teeth. About 97% of adults think a great smile is an important social asset.

You might get a date

The first thing that people notice upon meeting someone new is his or her smile. People with straight teeth are more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a date based on their picture alone.

Our team can help you achieve and maintain the smile you have always wanted! Contact our office to schedule a consultation with our orthodontist.