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Treat Your Overbite And Transform Your Smile

December 23rd, 2019

A beautiful grin helps you to greet the world with confidence. It’s also a crucial part of your overall oral health. However, did you know that overbites, also called deep bites, are very common in our modern world?

A slight overbite doesn’t usually cause any oral health challenges and can be left alone. However, if your upper teeth significantly overlap your lower ones, there is a good chance that your dentist might recommend that you visit an orthodontist for an evaluation and possible treatment plan.

Keep reading to discover how you can correct your overbite and transform your smile.

What Causes an Overbite?

A genetic malformation of the jaw often causes deep bites. Other common reasons include missing teeth, extended thumb sucking and pacifier use as a young child, clenching and grinding teeth, and gum disease. Regardless of the reason for your overbite, you can be confident that an orthodontist can correct your bite.

The Downside of a Deep Bite

Although overbites are a common problem for many people, you should consider treating a marked bite problem before you experience too many of the disadvantages that come with an imperfect bite. Some of the issues that arise from a severe overbite include:

Tooth decay

An increased number of mouth sores

Chewing difficulties

Living with an uncomfortable overbite is no fun. The positive news is that Smiles for Life Orthodontics specializes in turning major overbites into well-aligned smiles so you can say goodbye to a sore mouth.

Typical treatment options

Your overbite didn’t develop overnight, and straightening your teeth will take time and effort. Braces are the most widely used way to correct a misalignment in your bite. Expect to wear braces for anywhere from one to three years, followed by a retainer to keep your teeth in the proper position.

Don’t worry if the prospect of a mouth filled with metal brings back unhappy memories of middle school. Worry not, since many of today’s braces are nearly invisible. We’ll help you to choose the best type of braces to fit your treatment needs and budget.

Lastly, you don’t need to live with the consequences of your self-image and oral health that come from an overbite. The professionals at Smiles for Life Orthodontics know how to comfortably and affordably help you achieve a beautiful smile.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for a thorough evaluation of your bite and an honest discussion of appropriate treatment options.

How To Clean Retainers So They Last

December 9th, 2019

You will always remember the day you get your braces off. You can’t help but run your tongue over your slippery teeth and will smile at yourself at every reflective surface you pass. You have every right to be smiling. It’s an exciting time when you finally get your braces off, so make sure to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape. Below are tips on how to clean retainers, so they will last.

Why Wear Your Retainer

While braces served their purpose, the only fun thing about braces is getting to pick different colored bands every few weeks. The long term care and health of your teeth begin the moment you get your braces off. You will have to have a retainer to make sure the smile you worked so hard to get will stay that way. Read on to find out what you’ll need to do to make sure your retainer stays in good shape, and how to clean retainers so it will last for the long haul.

Why Are Retainers Important

You probably know what retainers are since most people end up getting some orthodontic work done in their lifetime. They are generally made out of a plastic and metal combination. No two retainers are alike since they are custom-fit to each person.

After you have done the hard, and sometimes painful work of wearing braces now comes the retainer. Retainers are so important to maintain your teeth shape. Even though your bones have now changed shape, your teeth will want to continue to move around. For people who have smaller teeth and a larger jaw bone, the teeth will want to spread out, causing gaps. If you have already spent a lot of time and money on braces, you probably don’t want to spend more time and money on braces again.

Types of Retainers

There are two types of retainers. Removable and permanent.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are made of plastic and metal. Just like they sound, these retainers are removable for doing things like eating and talking. It is recommended that retainers are worn full time for the first 4-6 months after getting your braces off, and then indefinitely at night after that.

Permanent Retainers

After braces, most people get a permanent retainer on their bottom teeth to keep them aligned. Some people have had their permanent retainer in for 15-20 years.

Continue reading for some tips to get the most out of your retainer.

How To Clean Retainers So They Last

The retainer and the case both need to be cleaned frequently. Your mouth is filled with bacteria, which means your retainer, and the case will become filled with bacteria if they aren’t properly cleaned.

The care of both permanent and removable retainers are important to maintain your oral health and your retainer durability.

Permanent Retainers

If you have a permanent retainer bonded to your teeth, then you will need to take extra care when you are flossing. You will most likely need to use a floss threader to get the floss behind your bar. Flossing underneath the bar to make sure there isn’t a plaque build-up is a must.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers require a bit more maintenance than permanent retainers. If you’re wondering how to clean retainers so they last, then follow these 6 tips as an easy guide for how to clean retainers, so they last.

1. Heat and Retainers Do Not Mix

The heat will damage the plastic parts. For example, the dishwasher is not a good place to clean your retainer because the water is too hot. It’s also not a good idea to leave your retainer on your dashboard or put it in the microwave. Make sure to use warm water when cleaning and not with hot water.

2. Dish Soap Over Chemicals

A little dish soap, warm water, and a soft-bristle brush are all you need to keep your retainer clean.

Your retainer can carry bacteria, like Streptococcus, which will make you sick. It might seem like you want to bust out the heavy-duty chemicals to clean, but the harsh chemicals can cause damage to your retainer, and it’s not a good idea to put those chemicals in your mouth.

3. Soak

Equal parts mouthwash and lukewarm water can create a solution that will kill bacteria and freshen up your retainer. Don’t let the retainer soak for too long, and don’t do this too often.

You can also talk to your orthodontist to see if you can use a denture cleaning solution.

4. Clean Your Case

A clean case is just as important as keeping the retainer clean itself. You can quickly clean your case with a small amount of dish soap and lukewarm water. Wash and dry your case every day.

5. Keep it Safe

When you are in the first few months of post-braces life, it gets annoying to take your retainer out for every meal. Make sure you keep your case with you at all times so you can put your retainer in a safe place. Yes, it’s annoying to do this, but having to get a new retainer is much more annoying (and more expensive).

6. Replace

As with anything, you should probably inspect it before putting something into your mouth. If you notice some wear, weird spots or anything unusual about your retainer, then you should probably get a new one. Take it into your orthodontist, and they can determine if it’s time for a new one or not.

Even with the proper care and maintenance, removable retainers won’t last forever. They typically last about ten years. You will also have to go in occasionally to get fitted for a new retainer.

At Smiles for Life, your oral health is of the utmost importance to us. We know that the proper care of your mouth will lead to a beautiful smile that will last you a lifetime. Give us a call today and let us help you achieve your smile dreams.

Tips for Managing the Wires on Braces

November 25th, 2019

Are you ready to commit to fixing your bite, but you feel a little nervous? Never fear; devoting the time and upkeep that braces require will pay off with a beautiful smile.

Follow along for tips to effectively managing the wires on braces.

Basics of braces

Once you decide that you’re ready to tackle correcting your bite, it’s time to consider what type of corrective appliance fits your needs best. The most common methods used to fix your misaligned and overcrowded teeth include:

Metal braces

The traditional braces, otherwise known as metal braces, use a combination of metal brackets, wire, and rubber bands to push your teeth into the proper position.

Ceramic braces

If you would like a less noticeable type of braces, ceramic braces fit the bill. They use ceramic instead of metal, with wire and rubber bands.

Invisalign

A clear aligner, like Invisalign, replaces traditional braces with a series of aligners that work to move your teeth into place slowly.

Your orthodontist will carefully examine your teeth to decide which type of orthodontic appliance best fits your situation. Read on to learn more about managing the wires on braces if you opt to use wire braces to improve your smile.

How braces work to transform your smile

Traditional wire braces do a terrific job of correcting misaligned bites. Indeed, many orthodontists rely on them to correct severe misalignments and overcrowded teeth. An additional benefit is that they are typically a less expensive way to achieve a beautiful smile.

You’re most likely familiar enough with braces to know that your new braces will include brackets, wire, and rubber bands. The wire does the bulk of the work by slowly pushing your teeth into proper alignment. Your orthodontist will tighten the wire to move your teeth throughout multiple appointments.

Now that we've given you a speedy introduction to how braces work, let’s move on to how you should care for the wires on braces.

Tips for caring for the wires on braces

As soon as you begin orthodontic treatment, it’s essential to spend time caring for your teeth and gums every single day. After all, you don’t want to go through the whole journey of wearing braces to end up with a mouth filled with cavities and plaque-covered teeth.

We won’t deny that it can be challenging to clean your teeth when you wear braces. However, with effort, you can keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape while you’re in braces.

Here are some no-nonsense things that you can do to protect your smile while wearing braces:

  • Never forget to remove the rubber bands from your mouth before cleaning, so you have total access to your teeth and gums.
  • Brush your braces at least twice a day. Hold your brush at a forty-five-degree angle while brushing from the top of the wire to the bottom. Pay particular attention to removing food debris.
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day with your favorite toothpaste. Aim to brush at a forty-five-degree angle for a minimum of two minutes.
  • Flossing isn’t anyone’s favorite activity, but it’s essential if you hope to keep your teeth cavity-free and your gums healthy. Floss once a day with your favorite flosser. Read here about the variety of dental flossing products on the market today.
  • An American Dental Association (ADA) accepted mouthwash is a terrific way to rinse away the tiny crumbs of food that like to get stuck in your braces and between teeth. What’s more, a beneficial mouthwash helps to prevent white spots from forming on your teeth. Here’s more information about choosing a mouth rinse when you wear braces.

Along with all of the above cleaning tips, make it a habit to visit your dentist every six months. Regular appointments help you to remedy problems with your teeth and gums before they turn into significant issues. Your dentist will also give your teeth a thorough cleaning, and you’ll love how fresh your mouth feels after an appointment.

Establishing a total daily cleaning routine is a terrific first step in maintaining overall oral health. The second part of caring for the wires on braces involves eating a healthy diet. Follow along for diet tips that will help to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Eat a braces-friendly diet

Did you know that what you eat and drink each day can make a dramatic difference in what your smile looks like post-braces? It’s true. You have the power to improve the health and appearance of your teeth and gums by sticking to a braces-friendly diet.

In general, expect your mouth to be a little sore right after you get your braces and after each adjustment. You can give your mouth time to heal by eating soft foods. Examples of foods that won’t irritate your mouth include yogurt, eggs, mashed potatoes, pasta, and well-cooked vegetables.

Stay away from chewy bread, ice cream, hard cheeses, citrus fruits, and spicy food until your mouth is less sensitive.

Once your gums are back to normal, you can move away from a soft-food diet. Dentists recommend that you eat a variety of healthy foods every day. Make sure that you drink multiple cups of water and include nutrient-rich foods in your daily meal plan.

You won’t need to give up delicious food while you wear braces. Indeed, we highly recommend that you treat yourself to a wide assortment of tasty treats. However, you’ll want to avoid things like hard nuts, hard candy, sticky foods, chewing gum, chewy bread, and hard, uncooked vegetables.

Ask your orthodontist for advice on creating satisfying meals that you can count on to keep your teeth and gums secure.

Final thoughts

Lastly, paying close attention to your oral health routine is a vital part of successful orthodontic treatment. Don’t allow the wires on braces to deter you from thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums. A consistent cleaning routine, combined with a braces-friendly eating plan, is a sure way to help achieve your best smile.

Smiles for Life Orthodontics understands the commitment that it takes to undergo orthodontic work successfully. We promise to do our part by giving you the highest quality service in Flower Mound, TX. Contact us today to find out how orthodontics can give you your happiest smile.

How Thumb Sucking Negatively Affects Teeth and What to Do About It

November 15th, 2019

Do you delight in watching your thumb-sucking toddler sleep? Sadly, while a small child with a thumb in their mouth is adorable, this habit can set your child up for years of dental woes. Let’s look at why, after a childhood spent thumb sucking, teeth struggle to show their best smile in adulthood.

Thumb Sucking and Young Children

Is there anything sweeter than watching your infant self-soothe by sucking on their thumb? Who hasn’t breathed a sigh of satisfaction when their cranky toddler finally falls asleep with a thumb in their mouth? The answer is that parents throughout time have rejoiced in the power of thumb sucking to soothe a young child.

However, while the American Dental Association says that there is nothing wrong with a young child sucking on their thumb, there comes an age when it’s time to break the thumb sucking habit. Indeed, it’s essential to break the habit well before the time when a child’s permanent teeth first begin to appear. Keep reading to find out how, through thumb sucking, permanent teeth can end up needing a lifetime of expensive dental care.

Thumb Sucking and Teeth

Thumb sucking is one of those things in life that is fine for an infant and toddler but can become a problem if it persists into the preschool years. A child risks damaging the alignment of incoming permanent teeth if they are still sucking their thumb when permanent teeth start to appear.

Sadly, we often see the results of prolonged childhood thumb sucking on teeth in our orthodontic practice. Too many teenage patients come to us with severely misaligned smiles after a childhood spent with a finger in their mouths. Misalignments in a teenager’s bite often show up as:

  • Crooked Teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crowded Teeth

Along with the appearance of the teeth, other symptoms of a misaligned bite include such things as difficulty chewing, tooth decay, speech issues, and mouth breathing. Over time, an untreated bite problem can lead to jaw pain and significant wear and tear on the teeth.

Correcting Misaligned Teeth

Unless your child’s misaligned bite is minimal, there’s a strong chance that your dentist will suggest an orthodontic consultation. At the initial consultation, the orthodontist will take complete x-rays and perform an extensive examination to determine if orthodontic correction should take place to correct the problem.

If your orthodontist believes that orthodontic treatment is necessary to fix the misalignment, the treatment options vary according to the severity of the bite’s misalignment. Typical orthodontic treatments to correct a lousy chomper include:

  • Extraction of teeth to reduce overcrowding
  • Invisalign
  • Braces

Braces are an orthodontic treatment of choice for many people who suffer from improperly aligned teeth. One of the terrific benefits of wearing braces to correct a bite problem is that braces can successfully improve even the worst types of bite issues. Read on to learn how to care for your child’s smile while they wear braces.

How to Care for Braces

It can take years to correct misaligned teeth with braces. During that time, your child must protect their teeth and gums from such things as decay and gum disease. We won’t pretend that cleaning the teeth around the metal and wires that come with braces is an easy task, because it’s not.

Although not a simple job, daily oral cleaning is vital to a beautiful smile in the future. You can help your child’s former thumb sucking teeth correction to run more smoothly through adhering to the following oral health steps.

Brush

There is no substitute for brushing teeth a minimum of two times a day for at least thirty seconds at a time. Look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride for total cavity busting power.

Floss

Who enjoys flossing? Don’t forget to pester your child about flossing each day. Flossing is the most sure-fire way to get all of those itty bitty bits of food out from between teeth. Failure to floss can result in cavities and the start of gum disease.

Oral Rinse

Consider adding an oral rinse to your teenager’s daily oral health routine. Rinsing with an effective oral cleaner is an efficient way to wash away any food debris that remains stuck between the teeth and braces after meals. Read here for information about oral rinses and braces.

Diet

We know that it can feel next to impossible to monitor the food intake of the average braces-wearing teenager. Still, it’s worthwhile to try and remind your teen about healthy eating and drinking habits while wearing braces. Here’s an excellent article on food to eat and avoid while wearing braces.

Change Elastics

Your orthodontist will recommend how often to change the elastics that go with braces, and your teenager must follow the advice. The elastics must function correctly to help the metal braces to do their job. Tired rubber bands aren’t taut enough to work effectively.

Fortunately, rubber bands for braces come in many different colors and patterns. You’ll probably find that switching out the elastics might be the one thing about wearing braces that your teen won’t neglect to remember. Read more about how elastics can be a fashion statement here.

It’s Never Too Late

Is it ever too late to fix your smile? Although we’ve focused on teenagers in this article, it’s never too late to improve your bite. We see many adults at our orthodontic practice, and we happily tell them that a beautiful smile is never beyond reach.

As Harvard Medical School notes, you’ll need to work harder to correct your smile with braces than would your sixteen-year-old counterpart. The bones in your jaw finished growing by the time that you reached adulthood, and it’s more challenging to fix an alignment issue completely. Still, with patience and effort, there is a strong chance that you’ll end up with a smile that makes you want to smile.

When it comes to prolonged childhood thumb sucking, teeth tend to end up misaligned. The positive news is that there is help for a misaligned bite. It’s never too late to turn a mouth filled with crowded, ill-matching teeth into a smile that you’ll be delighted to share with the world.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics in Flower Mound, TX, for a painless assessment of your orthodontic needs.

American Dental Association American Association of Orthodontists Texas Association of Orthodontists Southwestern Society of Orthodontists