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6 Hygiene Tips for Taking Care of Your Orthodontic Braces and Teeth

6 Hygiene Tips for Taking Care of Your Orthodontic Braces and Teeth

Getting orthodontic braces means you’re well on your way to straight, beautiful teeth. However, this means that your oral hygiene is more important than ever. According to the NIDCR, 26% of adults have untreated tooth decay.

Braces threaten to make this percentage higher because the wires and brackets make it an ideal place for food particles to be trapped. Without proper oral hygiene, these food particles will gather bacteria, leading to cavities and gum disease.

Read on to learn our six top hygiene tips to improve your oral health while you have braces!

1. Use the Right Tools

You’ll find that brushing and flossing your teeth with braces is harder because of the brackets and wires blocking your normal path. For this reason, we recommend asking your orthodontist about the best tools to use for oral hygiene.

For instance, many people find that water picks are a great supplement to flossing your teeth because the strong water flow can blast away the areas that you missed.

Water picks shouldn’t be a replacement for normal flossing, so your orthodontist can give you a floss threader. This allows you to easily thread the floss through your wires so that you’ll have an easier time flossing. Inter-dental brushes are also a great addition to your routine, as they allow you to brush around your brackets and underneath wires.

Floss threaders, orthodontic wax for braces, and inter-dental brushes may all be found in your orthodontic kit for braces.

2. Brush Your Teeth More Often

You’ll find that new orthodontic braces mean that you’ll be combatting food getting stuck beneath the wires and around your brackets. For this reason, we recommend brushing your teeth after you eat. If you don’t want to carry around a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, swish your mouth out with water and floss!

You’ll find that will teeth will feel better at the end of the day, your mouth will be fresher, and you’ll be less likely to develop cavities.

3. Be Gentle

Many people find that they feel the need to be rougher on their teeth and gums once they get braces. The reason for this may be because they’re trying to compensate for the new areas that are harder to reach. However, it’s important to keep using a gentle touch.

You may find that your gums are already swollen and puffy because your teeth are moving. For this reason, gently floss your teeth by “hugging” the floss around each tooth on either side and sliding it up and down. Jamming the floss straight down into your gums will cause more damage and discomfort.

4. Avoid Certain Foods

Unfortunately, you’ll need to avoid certain foods with braces. Eating these foods gives you a higher chance that you’ll break a bracket.

Sticky foods such as candy or gum will also make it hard to clean out of your braces at the end of the day, upping the chances that you can develop cavities. Tooth decay is also a large result of sugary foods and beverages like soda.

Here are some of the foods you should avoid:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • Ice
  • Chips
  • Pretzels

You can eat raw vegetables, but it’s important that you cut them into smaller pieces. This will lessen the chance that you bite into them hard and break a bracket.

One of the reasons why teenagers and adults are the best age for orthodontic braces is that they’re better able to pay attention to the food and cleaning requirements!

5. Check Your Teeth

Although these cleaning tips seem like a lot, you’ll find that after a week or two they’ll be another old habit. However, it’s important to remember not to fly through your cleaning routine–take time to check your teeth and braces in the mirror afterward! This is recommended because you may be able to spot wires that are kinked or misaligned or brackets that seem loose.

You’ll also be able to spot-check your teeth to make sure that you haven’t missed any food particles that are still stuck in-between your teeth or around your brackets. The more you check, the less likely you are to miss those spots in the future.

6. Don’t Skip Appointments

Even months after you have braces, it’s important that you not skip any of your orthodontic appointments. They’ll be regularly adjusting your appliance in order to straighten your teeth over time. If you notice any extreme pain that doesn’t go away in time, it’s important to contact your orthodontist as soon as you can.

During this time, it’s also important to keep going to your general dentist appointments. They’ll be able to give you cleanings and fluoride treatments that will give you extra protection against cavities. They’ll also be able to check your teeth in order to spot any early signs of cavities or gum disease.

The earlier they spot any signs, the easier it will be to treat them!

Pay Attention to Oral Hygiene With Orthodontic Braces

When you get your orthodontic braces, it’s important that you focus on attending each of your appointments as well as your oral hygiene. Ignoring your oral hygiene means that you’ll be at a greater risk of cavities and gum disease due to the trapped food.

Use tools such as water picks and floss threaders in order to make it easier for you. You’ll also want to avoid sticky foods such as gum and sticky candy that will make it harder to remove the particles from around your teeth.

Last but not least, don’t forget your appointments with your general dentist! They’ll be able to give fluoride treatments that provide extra protection against cavities.

Ready for your perfect smile today in Charlotte, NC? Contact us today for your free consultation!

Treatable Invisalign® Cases

Treatable Invisalign® Cases

With recent technological advances, nearly everyone is a candidate for Invisalign® orthodontic treatment, whether they are a child or adult. Invisalign® aligners can treat anything from a simple overbite to tough oral cases.

Baby & Permanent Teeth: Phase I Treatment

Invisalign® is now capable of treating Phase I orthodontic cases. Phase I occurs between the ages of 6-10 and is the best time for children to go to the orthodontist for their first visit. At this point, most of their baby teeth have fallen out and are being replaced by their permanent teeth, which means that the jaw is growing and developing and may need more space. This is the best point at which to interfere if it is noticed that there are oral problems. Early intervention is key to a beautiful and healthy adult smile as a number of issues can be fixed at this point, and almost all with Invisalign®.

Underbite

An underbite is the opposite of an overbite in that your lower teeth protrude past your upper row of teeth. Try closing your mouth and observing as this will be the best indicator of whether you have an underbite. Chewing and eating correctly may be a problem when you have an underbite, and it may cause jaw pain and the wearing down of teeth. Invisalign® may be a treatment option for you, but first, check with your orthodontists at Koerich & Case Orthodontics and an oral surgeon. 

Crossbite

According to the Invisalign® website, a crossbite bite is a mix between an overbite and an underbite. When you close your jaw, if some of your upper teeth sit inside your lower teeth, you probably have a crossbite. “A crossbite can make your teeth wear down or chip. It can also make your gums start to recede or make little notches above your gum line. This kind of damage can lead to painful gum problems or even bone loss.” Invisalign® aligners can treat certain cases of crossbites.

Gap Teeth

A very common oral problem that Invisalign® is used to treat is gap teeth. This is a spacing issue that occurring when you have gaps between two or more of your teeth. This can lead to food being easily stuck between teeth and wearing down your gums, even eventually causing gum disease. Fortunately, this is a very treatable condition and your oral hygiene will thank you for taking the steps to perfect your smile! Come visit the professionals at Koerich & Case Orthodontics to start your Invisalign® journey today.

Open Bite

Similar to other conditions, an open bite is a malocclusion where the teeth do not properly align when the jaw is closed. The upper and lower teeth slant outward so that they do not touch when your mouth is shut. Common causes include thumb sucking when a child has baby teeth, tongue thrusting, and being born with skeletal problems. Having an open bite can make it hard to chew food and cause speech impediments. Speak to Dr. Lindsey and Dr. Chip if you think your child may have an open bite.

Overbite

Having an overbite means that your upper row of teeth protrudes too far out over your bottom row of teeth. This is called a malocclusion or misalignment and it can range from slight to severe. An overbite can cause problems from jaw paint to wearing down the enamel on your teeth. If you notice that you or your child may have an overbite, Invisalign® is an option for you. Ask Dr. Lindsey and Dr. Chip to tell you more about it during your consultation!

Crowded Teeth

Having crowded teeth means that your teeth are misaligned: twisting, crowding, overlapping, or bunching up, which often continue to become worse over time. This is a very common condition that is often seen in orthodontic cases and can be treated with Invisalign®. Causes may include thumb or pacifier sucking, having extra teeth, a cleft lip or palate, an underdeveloped jaw bone, or irregularly shaped teeth. This condition can lead to plaque and tartar buildup as it becomes hard to brush and floss properly, eventually resulting in gum disease and tooth decay.

Generally Straighter Teeth

Do you have minor annoyances with your smile? Perhaps you have had braces in the past and forgot to wear your retainers consistently, have only had small cosmetic issues that do not affect your oral hygiene, or just want a way to fix your smile without everyone noticing? Invisalign® clear aligners are the perfect transformational option for you.

From major developmental cases to minor cosmetic cases, Invisalign® is an amazing treatment option! Because clear aligner treatment has advanced rapidly over the past few years, children, teens, and adults can all utilize it to achieve their perfect, healthy smile. Visit Dr. Lindsey and Dr. Chip and their team at Koerich & Case Orthodontics today in Charlotte, North Carolina to start you or your child’s smile journey. We can’t wait to meet you!

5 Reasons It’s Important To Correct Overbite Teeth With Invisalign

5 Reasons It’s Important To Correct Overbite Teeth With Invisalign

Did you know that a little bit of an overbite is natural? When humans settled thousands of years ago and began to eat softer foods, the structure of the human jaw actually changed to accommodate this change in diet!

Having said that, there’s such a thing as too much of an overbite. When left untreated, overbite teeth can lead to all sorts of problems.

The good news? There are plenty of orthodontic procedures that can correct your overbite. And if you’re thinking, “I don’t want braces,” we’ve got even more good news!

Invisalign is your brace-free solution to correcting your overbite! Read on to learn more about why it’s important that you take care of your overbite teeth and how Invisalign can make it happen.

Why Correct Your Overbite Teeth?

Whether your teeth grew in at an angle or you practiced teeth-shifting habits like thumb sucking, it’s not too late to correct your overbite.

Your teeth, body, and mind will thank you when you do! And you don’t have to take our word for it, because we’re going to talk about 5 reasons that you should correct your overbite that might surprise you.

1. Prevent Tooth and Gum Damage

When you have an overbite, some or most of your teeth are not properly aligned. On top of that, the teeth in the front of your mouth may be rubbing against one another in ways that teeth can’t withstand.

As your teeth go through unnecessary wear and tear as a result of your overbite, you lose enamel. Enamel acts as armor, protecting your teeth from bacteria. Without it, your teeth will be more susceptible to cavities and gum disease around the base of your teeth.

2. Prevent TMJ and Jaw Pain

A TMJ disorder develops when the joint that connects your jaw to your skull becomes damaged or irritated. TMJ disorders cause jaw soreness, headaches, and ringing in the ears. TMJ disorders also make it difficult to eat, yawn, and even speak.

If your jaw is misaligned from your overbite, you are constantly putting pressure on that joint that could lead to TMJ disorder or jaw pain.

3. Correct Your Facial Structure

Believe it or not, your overbite teeth may be changing the shape of your face. This is particularly the case if your overbite is caused by a forward-thrusting upper jawbone.

When your lower jawbone sits further back than your upper jawbone, your chin and cheekbones look less pronounced. A bit of jaw correction can give you a sharper jawline, making you look both thinner and younger!

4. Correct Speech Impediments

Overbite teeth can cause certain speech impediments like lisps that you’re tired of living with. This is because your tongue isn’t hitting your teeth or the roof of your mouth the way it’s supposed to, making some letters and sounds difficult to pronounce.

Combined with speech therapy (or practice at home), correcting your overbite can help you to correct your speech impediment!

5. Learn to Love Your Smile Again

Studies have found that over one-third of Americans are dissatisfied with their smile. As a result, many people hide their smiles behind their hands or smile with their lips shut.

The problem? Smiling can actually make you feel happier and more confident. Plus, your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. A bright and beaming smile shows that you are comfortable and approachable and helps to draw people in!

Don’t hide your smile because you’re uncomfortable with your overbite teeth. Get your overbite corrected and learn to love your smile again!

Why Use Invisalign to Fix Your Overbite?

Invisalign is a great option for kids and adults who want to alter their teeth without getting braces. Correction with Invisalign usually takes about 9 months to a year and requires fewer trips to the orthodontist than braces. Plus, there’s no bulky or distracting metal in your mouth!

Invisalign is a series of clear, retainer-style aligners that are customized to your teeth. You wear your aligner for 22 hours a day, taking them out to eat and, of course, to brush and floss. As you move through the different aligners, your teeth become straighter and your bite shifts to a more comfortable position.

Now, Invisalign offers Precision Cuts, incorporating the use of elastic bands into your aligner regimen. The elastic bands hook to the top and bottom aligners, moving the top teeth back while moving the bottom teeth forward. This slowly adjusts the way your jaw and teeth naturally sit.

As your teeth straighten and your bite and jaw shift to their proper positions, your overbite becomes less severe. By the end of your Invisalign program, your overbite teeth with look and feel less pronounced, all without the hassle of braces!

The tradeoff? Only that you need to follow the orthodontist’s orders to optimize your Invisalign results!

Feel Better With Invisalign

Whether you’re already feeling the effects of the overbite side effects we’ve listed above or you just don’t want to reach that point, consider Invisalign.

If you think that your overbite teeth need correction, talk to your regular dentist for their input. If they agree, ask them to fill out our referral form so we can get you started with your Invisalign program as soon as possible!

If you have questions about our services or wish to contact us, visit “Our Services” on our website! Read through your options or scroll to the bottom for our contact information and new patient appointment request form. We can’t wait to get you the path to a healthier, happier smile!

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!