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Brace Yourself: The Truth About When to Begin Orthodontic Treatment

Brace Yourself: The Truth About When to Begin Orthodontic Treatment

Back in 2012, a study found that 36% of U.S. adults felt that their teeth affected their social life. 77% of the study’s female participants even said that crooked teeth are worse than going bald!

But bad teeth, be it a bite problem or teeth crookedness, is more than a cosmetic issue. According to researchers, dental disorders can cause psychosocial problems too, especially in teens.

It’s no wonder Americans are spending more on dental services — a whopping $129.1 billion in 2017! And a huge chunk of that went towards orthodontic treatment for both children and adults.

Confused because you thought braces were only for kids? Not anymore! We’ll give you all the details on the best time to wear orthodontic appliances, so be sure to keep reading!

The Best Time for Orthodontic Treatment (According to Experts)

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) says that kids should see an orthodontist before they turn eight. Note though that this is only the recommended age for a first orthodontist check-up.

This early evaluation gives the doctor more than enough time to detect jaw and bite issues. In case the orthodontist does, then phase 1 treatment can begin by the age of 8 or 9.

Early treatment in kids is often more successful since their bones are still growing. Their jaw and facial bones are more malleable and easier to change the shape of. As such, orthodontic appliances can often straighten teeth faster in children.

You’re Now in Your 30s – Can You Still Get Braces?

Let’s say you missed the chance to have your teeth straightened while you were a kid. Does being 30 or older mean braces can no longer give you that amazing smile?

No! In fact, more and more adults are now getting braces, thanks to new orthodontic technology. In 2014 alone, over 1.4 million adults in North America sought orthodontic treatments.

That tells you that it’s not too late to have a more beautiful smile with straighter teeth. Although the recommendation for early orthodontic consultation still holds, that’s for the children. For your kids, it’s still best to set them up for an appointment with an orthodontist ASAP.

Also, adult braces are no longer limited to the traditional train-track kind. You now have the option to wear almost-invisible teeth straighteners. 

Problems that Orthodontic Appliances Can Treat

But first, what teeth and bite problems can orthodontic treatment correct? This depends on the specific treatment, but in general, they can correct the following:

Crooked or Gap Teeth

Teeth crookedness is when one or more of your teeth don’t align with the rest. This can be an incisor that juts out or a lower front tooth that grows behind the others.

Gap teeth occur when a jaw is too big, so the teeth grow with noticeable spaces between. The space that a lost tooth creates also allows the other teeth to shift or move around. This shifting then creates that space or “gap” between them.

Twisted Teeth

Sometimes, a tooth can grow out sideways, and it becomes twisted when fully developed. This can happen if the jaw is too small, so the lack of space forces the tooth to twist around.

Malocclusion

Malocclusion is when the upper and lower teeth don’t align properly. An overbite, for example, is when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. Whereas an overbite means that the lower teeth go over the upper teeth.

Most cases of malocclusion are hereditary, which means you can pass it down to your kids. Or, you inherited your overbite, underbite, or crossbite from your folks. But abnormal or mismatching jaw sizes can also cause malocclusion.

Setting Your Expectations

For adults considering orthodontic treatment, it’s best to expect a longer treatment time. After all, your bones are no longer as flexible and have already stopped growing. On average though, treatment runs from one to three years, depending on the appliance used.

Also, since adult bones have stopped developing, you may need surgery to get the best results. Although rare, some adults may also have to undergo tooth extraction.

Your doctor may also recommend seeing a periodontist first if there are signs of gum disease. Especially periodontitis, which now affects four in 10 U.S. adults aged 30 and older. A periodontist will confirm that you have enough healthy bone to support braces.

Your Treatment Options Beyond Traditional Braces

Once you’ve confirmed your teeth, gums, and bones are healthy enough, next is to choose the type of braces to get. In most cases, you’ll have to choose between traditional braces and Invisalign.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional braces (the train-track braces) are those that consist of metal parts. With this, the orthodontist glues a metal bracket on each tooth. An arch wire goes through the center of these brackets, joining them together to move the teeth.

Rubber rings (sometimes thin wires), called ties, secure the arch wire onto the brackets. The orthodontist may also use ligatures for this, which are elastic bands. These ensure that the braces apply enough pressure to gradually move your teeth.

The Invisalign System

Invisalign is a modern teeth straightener designed for both kids and adults. One of its biggest advantages lies in its patented material called SmartTrack®. It’s a thermoplastic material that makes the Invisalign aligners almost invisible.

Also, this system uses clear plastic trays that are easy to remove. You do need to keep your aligners on for 22 hours, and only remove it during meal times, brushing, and flossing.

Each Invisalign aligner is custom-made based on your current teeth’s position. After a week or two, you’ll swap your old trays with a new set.

Note that Invisalign isn’t the teeth-straightening solution for everyone. That’s why the orthodontist needs to give you a comprehensive assessment first. This’ll help the doctor figure out which type of orthodontic treatment is best for your case.

Other Dental Braces

Not all dental braces are of metal components, as there are now clear braces too. Other transparent aligners aside from the Invisalign System are also available. The doctor will explain all your viable options so that you know which one best suits your needs.

Orthodontics for the Young and the Young at Heart

Much thanks to new orthodontic treatment options, even adults can enjoy straighter teeth. So, don’t think that it’s too late to have your teeth straightened out. But the sooner you do, the better, as straighter teeth also means better oral hygiene.

Ready to learn more about adult braces or have your kids go for their first orthodontic checkup? If so, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We’ll be happy to address any concerns you have about teeth straightening.

What Do You Do with Leftover Halloween Candy?

What Do You Do with Leftover Halloween Candy?

What Do You Do with Leftover Halloween Candy?

November is here which means Thanksgiving and the Holiday season is fast approaching. While you’re decorating and planning meals for the holidays though, chances are you probably have leftover Halloween Candy that you’ve been snacking on. Before you eat the whole bowl of candy on your coffee table, consider these tips to finishing off that candy in a mindful way.

Limit Halloween Candy Before Bed

Eating candy right before bed is bad for many reasons. The sugar that is in candy is likely to keep you up later than you want, but it will also do damage to your teeth. Sugars can linger on your teeth overnight and cavities are more likely to form. If you do get a sweet tooth at night, try limiting yourself to one piece and make sure to brush your teeth right after. Flossing will do even more to make sure all candy residue is gone from your teeth. Additionally, rinsing with mouthwash will help to wash away lingering food particles.

Candies to NEVER Eat

Although a lot of candy isn’t good for anyone’s dental hygiene or diet, it’s natural to indulge in a few treats during this time of the year. With that being said though, there are some candies that you should avoid entirely. Candy that contains chocolate and peanut butter and other things that resemble actual food is better than candies that are made entirely of pure sugar. Fruit flavored candies, similar to Skittles, are made up of enormous amounts of sugar, cornstarch and chemicals like “tapioca dextrin” and “titanium dioxide,” which is not only bad for your diet, but can wreak havoc on your oral health. Excess sugar leads to tooth decay because sugars break down your tooth enamel over time due to sugar’s acidic nature. So while a Milky Way isn’t the healthiest option, it can be the better option for your teeth if you do get a chocolate craving.

 

Avoid candy that is crunchy as well, especially if you wear braces. Candy with nuts like Payday, or something that is sticky like caramel may be hard on the teeth and braces. Biting into something crunchy can break off brackets or wires and can ruin braces, leading to more orthodontic work being done. Talk to your Charlotte orthodontist if you have concerns about what specific candies and foods to avoid during the season.

Store Candy in a Mindful Place

Most Halloween candy will be good for six months to a year. So feel free to keep a little candy around to avoid purchasing even more sweets when you’re at the grocery. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to be intentional with where you store your Halloween candy. Try storing candy in a central location. This will help keep candy consumption on a regular schedule. Storing candy in a jar in the kitchen would be a good idea to keep consumption to a schedule after meals.

At Case Orthodontics, we are here to keep your smile happy and healthy while enjoying all the treats that this time of year has to offer. If you do happen to run into any orthodontic problems contact us! We offer orthodontic services for children and adults alike.

 

October is National Dental Hygiene Month!

October is National Dental Hygiene Month!

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Aside from fall festivals and Trick-or-Treating, October is also National Dental Hygiene Month – a time to refocus on healthy oral hygiene habits, as individuals and as families. A great way to implement healthy dental hygiene in your kids is to practice these good habits as a family! Case Orthodontics in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, has gathered a list of four healthy routines to focus on: brushing, flossing, chewing and rinsing.

Brushing

As a family, you’ve probably talked to your child about the importance of regular brushing, but it’s important to talk about the way to brush teeth. Bad brushing habits can be harmful to teeth in the long run, even if you can’t see the immediate effects. Even as parents, this aspect of teeth brushing can be overlooked. Follow these tips:

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
  • Use short strokes in back and forth motion
  • Brush all surfaces of your teeth – outer, inner, and chewing surfaces.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria that can linger there and ensure fresh breath
  • Never brush too hard – this can cause enamel to wear down over time

Flossing

Flossing may be the hardest part of oral hygiene to practice, simply because it’s easy to forget about. Flossing helps to remove bits of food that can linger in between and behind teeth, and just a toothbrush won’t always remove them. If these food particles are not removed, this leads to the buildup of plaque, and cavities will form. A good tip for flossing is trying to first implement flossing at the end of the day before bed. Try flossing as a family and teach your smaller children the best way to floss.  To remind your family to floss, try setting dental floss out on your nightstand or bathroom sink.

If your child wears braces, it is even more important to floss to remove food particles. Waxed floss is best to move easier around braces. Your Charlotte orthodontist or dental hygienist can show your child the best way to floss with braces.

Chewing

Chewing is an important part of your dental hygiene. Obviously, what you chew has a big effect on your teeth. It’s important to stay away from foods that are too hard or crunchy, as this can chip teeth. Additionally, you want to avoid acidic foods that can wear down your enamel over time. There is something you can chew, though – sugarless gum. According to MouthHealthy.org, chewing sugarless gum can provide great benefits to your teeth by increasing the flow of saliva. Saliva helps to wash away food debris and can neutralize acids in the mouth caused by bacteria. Additionally, saliva contains calcium and phosphate that strengthens tooth enamel. Look for sugarless gum with the American Dental Association Seal to be sure it’s safe to chew.

Rinsing

Rinsing with a cosmetic or therapeutic mouthwash can further help with excellent oral hygiene by improving bad breath and killing bacteria. Killing bacteria helps to prevent bad breath, plaque, tooth decay, and gingivitis. If you have concerns about what types of mouthwash to use, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Additionally, use a child’s mouthwash if you have small children. Using a mouthwash is another way your family can practice good dental care together.

At Case Orthodontics, we believe good dental hygiene is essential to overall health and help improve orthodontics care. We offer child and adult orthodontic treatment as well as braces and Invisalign. We serve the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

The Consequences of Thumb Sucking

The Consequences of Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural tendency for babies and young children, it helps them to feel comforted and nurtured. However, if thumb sucking continues for too long, it can cause damage in the long run to teeth and mouths. So what are the exact consequences of thumb sucking, and how can you help your child to quit the habit at an appropriate age?

Babies are born with a natural tendency to suck on something – one way they first explore the world is by putting objects in their mouth. This urge should decrease after the first couple months of life, but some babies will suck on their thumbs or fingers in an effort to calm themselves in certain situations when they feel anxious or restless, or when they are attempting to go to sleep. It is recommended that thumb sucking, including the use of a pacifier, stop at least by the age of three. After this age, if thumb sucking continues, it can impact the development of your child’s teeth.

Thumb sucking or using a pacifier can ruin the alignment of the teeth once they have started to develop, resulting in the need for dental and orthodontic work that can become costly. An overbite or an underbite can also start to develop, as well as jawbone alignment issues. Bite and jaw alignment issues can result in headaches, pain when eating and can also be the cause of teeth grinding at night, which wears the teeth down over time. Improper tooth alignment and bite issues can also cause speech impediments over time. Additionally, thumb sucking can cause the roof of your child’s mouth to become more sensitive, making it less enjoyable to eat certain foods.

Another reason your child should get out of the habit of thumb sucking is they are spreading germs and bacteria to the rest of their body. Children at this age likely don’t yet understand the importance of good hygiene, and they likely aren’t always keeping their hands very clean. When they are sucking their thumb for extended periods of time, they are putting countless bacteria into their body which can lead to them getting sick more often.

So what can you do to encourage your child to stop thumb sucking or using a pacifier? One approach is to simply teach them the importance of quitting thumb sucking along with the downsides of continuing to suck their thumbs. You can also help your child quit thumb sucking at night by putting socks over their hands at bedtime to prevent the natural tendency.

Another solution is to implement a rewards chart so your child can see their progress and feel good about not sucking their thumb. A positive attitude will encourage your child more and can also help with anxiety that could be a cause of their thumb sucking. It’s equally important not to scold your child about sucking their thumb, as this can create a negative attitude and stress that could encourage the tendency even more.

If your child is around two years of age or so, thumb sucking and continued use of a pacifier is completely normal. As they approach three years old, be thinking of slowly weaning them off a pacifier and start thinking about ways you can peacefully encourage thumb sucking and pacifier use to stop.

Talk to your child orthodontist if thumb sucking continues to be an habit for your four or five year old. They can provide further solutions and advice to encourage your child to quit, as well as address any development issues that may be present as a result of thumb sucking.

Contact us at Case Orthodontics in Charlotte, North Carolina for early orthodontic treatment for your child. Some of our services include phase 1 and phase 2 orthodontics for children, as well as adult treatment. Our doctors take great pride in helping your child realize the best version of their smile!

 

Meet Dr. Chip Case!

Meet Dr. Chip Case!

Just like Dr. Lindsey Koerich, Dr. Chip Case is proud to be in his hometown of Charlotte, where he has been practicing since 1983, providing the best orthodontic care at Case Orthodontics. His greatest joy in the orthodontic practice is the relationships he gets to build with patients and seeing the growth they undergo in their smile and self confidence. In order for you to get to know your Charlotte orthodontist a little better, we sat down to ask him a few questions about himself.

Dr. Chip Case Headshot

Dr. Case completed his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and then stayed at UNC-CH to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree with Honors. He then received a Master of Science degree in Orthodontics while winning a prestigious research award. Because of his care for patients, Dr. Case dedicates much of his time to learning about the latest Orthodontic advancements, leading him to be the first orthodontist in North Carolina to be certified by Invisalign®. Dr. Case has also held roles in several dental associations including a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) and a case review consultant in orthodontics with the North Carolina Board of Examiners. He was tested and awarded Board Certification by the ABO – a level of certification attained by only a select number of orthodontists. In addition to these organizations, he is a member of the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists, Southern Association of Orthodontists, World Federation of Orthodontists, North Carolina Dental Society, and Charlotte Dental Society.

 

Dr. Case loves being a part of the Charlotte community and giving back locally while not in the office.  He sings in his local church choir and participates in charitable dental organizations. Additionally, he devotes his time globally by participating in mission trips. His hobbies include watching college football and nascar races, traveling and creating videos for his friends and family. He is married to Lori Wilson Case and has two daughters.

 

Check out our interview with Dr. Case!

Q: What drew you to orthodontics, and what is the most rewarding part of your job? How did you decide on becoming an orthodontist?
A: “Developing relationships with the patients I treat, and individually helping them develop better smiles and self images.”

 

Q: What do you like most about working with Dr. Lindsey?
A: “Dr. Lindsey is very smart, kind, and brings a newer perspective to orthodontic practice.”

 

Q: What do you want to be remembered for?
A: “I want to hear Jesus say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

 

Q: If you weren’t an orthodontist, what career path would you have chosen?
A: “OBGYN”

 

Q: How do you spend your time outside the office?
A: “Church, ministry, travel, golf, amateur videographer.”

 

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for patients?
A: “Trust your orthodontist.”

 

Dr. Case loves treating and getting to know his patients, and he’d love to meet you! Case Orthodontics offers a wide variety of orthodontic treatments such as affordable braces and Invisalign®. We love being a part of the Charlotte orthodontics community, and we’d love for you to join our family at Case Orthodontics! Learn more about the services we offer to see which one fits your needs best. You can start your treatment by scheduling an appointment online, or giving us a call!

Meet Dr. Lindsey!

For Dr. Lindsey, Charlotte, NC, is more than just where her job is, it’s home. Dr. Lindsey loves getting to meet all of the patients that come to Case Orthodontics to get their braces and Invisalign for the first time. Many patients that come into the office don’t get the chance to ask Dr. Lindsey about herself. One of her favorite parts of working with patients is getting to hear about their lives and seeing them as they progress through their treatment. Now, it’s your turn to get the inside scoop on Dr. Lindsey’s background! We sat down with Dr. Lindsey to let you get to know her a little better — both inside and outside of the office. Dr. Lindsey Koerich Headshot

Dr. Lindsey grew up in the Granite Falls/Hickory area of North Carolina and went to college, dental school, and did her orthodontic residency at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors and distinction. She also completed a residency program in general dentistry at Columbia University. Dr. Lindsey worked for several years in Charlotte, NC, before temporarily relocating to Richmond, Virginia, for her husband’s dental education. She then came back to the Charlotte orthodontic community to practice with Dr. Chip Case.

Q: What drew you to orthodontics? How did you decide on becoming an orthodontist?
There is both a great deal of art and engineering involved with Orthodontics. I have always loved to work with my hands, from doing little crafts as a child to painting and other work as an adult. The sciences have always been my favorite subject in school, so the fact that Orthodontics allows both to be combined made it a perfect choice for me. It was an easy decision after I got a chance to do a braces treatment for a patient while still in dental school and got to see the smile that we created for her! She was so happy. Seeing someone smile on the first day that they get to see the smile that always wanted never, ever gets old. Best job ever!

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Hands down getting the chance to be a part of our patients’ lives. It is so fun to hear from them on a regular basis while they are in their treatment, and celebrate victories big and small in their lives.

Q: What do you like most about working with Dr. Case?
Dr. Case is an easy going guy whose morals always lead him to put our patients’ best interests as our #1 priority. Don’t let his friendly, laid back personality fool you though; he is very smart, talented, and a hard worker, too!

Q: What do you want to be remembered for?
As the doctor in you or your child’s life who takes the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions (and provide a beautiful smile for you!). I hope I come across as friendly, supportive, and on your team.

Q: If you weren’t an orthodontist, what career path would you have chosen?
I love architecture and interior design; something in a creative field.

Q: How do you spend your time outside of the office?
My husband and I have two little children, and we love to spend time with them at any of the fun places that Charlotte has to offer. When we have a little extra time, I love to travel (favorite past trips would be the south of France and Brazil, where my husband is from.)

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for patients?
Wear your rubber bands and you’ll always get finished with your braces earlier than if you don’t! And, you will be amazed at what you can achieve in life if you believe in yourself!

Dr. Lindsey loves treating and getting to know her patients, and she’d loved to meet you! Case Orthodontics offers a wide variety of orthodontic treatments, such as affordable braces and Invisalign. You can start your treatment by scheduling an appointment online, or by calling us.