Why is oral hygiene so important? The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily. Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease. It is also incredibly important to maintain your 6-month cleaning appointments with your general dentist. It also may be advised to increase cleaning appointments with your dentist while you have braces on your teeth.
Choosing Oral Hygiene Products
There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients. Seek products with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
While brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort. Focus on two teeth at a time, and then move on spending at least two minutes a session. When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue. Next you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing. If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to ask our Doctors or Hygienist.
Dental disease and cavities usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to floss with the proper technique. The following instructions will help you, but remember it takes time and practice.
If you are in Invisalign treatment, with clear trays removed, start with a piece of floss (“Glide” or waxed is easier) about 18″ long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand and wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand. To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss between the teeth. Do not force the floss or try to snap it into place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section. To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the backside of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower. When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily, and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop. When wearing full braces, flossing can be a little more difficult. Using a floss threader or a bridge threader, thread floss under the arch wire and follow the above instructions. We also recommend using an interdental cleaner by GUM called “soft picks”. This latex free flexible and tapered bristles fit between small spaces to dislodge food and plaque. They are clinically proven to remove plaque and helps to reduce gingivitis.
The greatest breakthrough in preventive dentistry in the last fifty years has been the use of fluoride. Almost all water naturally contains some fluoride. About three-fourths of American cities add additional fluoride to the water supply for the prevention of tooth decay.
There are many benefits in the use of fluoride, for people of all ages. When children are young and their teeth are forming, fluoride joins with the enamel surface and makes it harder and more decay-resistant. The benefits for adults are just as great. Fluoride can help repair an early cavity, even before it becomes visible in the mouth, by rebuilding the enamel layer of the teeth.
Fluoride is also helpful in older adults to help solve the problem of root caries or root sensitivity. Fluoride rinses or gels are sometimes prescribed to help eliminate germs that cause gum disease. It is an important part of every tooth decay prevention program. When combined with the good hygiene habits of brushing and flossing, the number of cavities in children and adults can be dramatically reduced.
Nutrition & Health
Good nutrition plays a large role in your dental health. Brushing and flossing help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong; however, a balanced diet will help to boost your body’s immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to oral disease. How often and what you eat have been found to affect your dental health. Starchy foods such as crackers, breads, cookies and candies cause the bacteria in your mouth to feed on it, the bacteria then produce acids, which attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes or more. Also, foods that stick to your teeth or are slow to dissolve give the acids more time to work on destroying your tooth enamel.
Sticky/slow to dissolve foods:
- Granola Bars
- Chewy Fruit Snacks
- Dried Fruits
- Potato Chips
- Hard Candies
You may also want to avoid drinking soda, as it is high in acids and sugar. Saliva production increases at mealtime, rinsing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids. Foods such as nuts, cheese, onions, and some teas have been shown to slow growth of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Foods to Avoid
While you are wearing braces, please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the amount of sugary foods you eat; the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.
Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:
- Gum (sugar-free or regular)
- Sugar Daddies
- Tootsie Rolls
Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:
- Hard taco shells
- French bread crust/rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
- Jolly Ranchers
- Pizza crust
- Uncooked carrots (unless cut)
Minimize Sugary Foods like:
- Ice Cream
Only Once a Day:
- Sweetened tea
- Drinks with sugar
We encourage patients to quit bad habits, such as fingernail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects. All of these activities can break or damage your braces.
It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to arrange a repair appointment.
One day in the not-too-distant future, your braces will come off. In a few moments, you’ll be free of bands and brackets, able to eat what you want and run your tongue over smooth, clean teeth. But, even on this happy occasion, please remember that you’re not quite done with orthodontic treatment yet: The next phase, called retention, is just beginning.
Retention is a critical follow-through stage that typically involves wearing an orthodontic appliance called a retainer. Several different kinds of retainers are available, all of which are custom-made just for you. We will recommend the type (or types) that will work best in your situation, and we’ll tell you exactly when and how long you need to wear them.
But if your teeth are straight now, why do you need a retainer at all? Simply put, it’s because if you don’t wear one, your teeth will start moving right back to where they were!
Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone — instead, they’re held in place by a network of fibers called the periodontal ligaments. After they have been moved, it takes several months (or even years) for the periodontal ligament to adjust to the new position. So, if you want to keep that new smile — and not waste all the time, effort, and money it took to get it — it’s essential to wear your retainer as directed.
Being fitted for a retainer usually happens on the same day your braces are removed. They take approximately 45 minutes to make so you may be asked to come back the same day in the afternoon to receive your retainer.
A Period of Adjustment
After a short time, most people adjust quite well to wearing a retainer. Some may find that they produce more saliva than usual for a day or so after first wearing any type of retainer — a normal reaction to a foreign object in the mouth. You may also find it a little harder to talk normally at first, but that problem will soon disappear. Of course, removable retainers should always be taken out when you eat or brush your teeth — a big change from braces!
You will wear your removable retainers every night for at least TWO YEARS following treatment. After the initial two years, you may be able to reduce your retainer wear to every-other night or even more sporadic. As a general rule, if your retainer feels tight when you put it in, you need to wear it more. If that is not the case, you might get away with wearing it a bit less, but it’s never recommended you go more than a week without wearing the retainer.
Maintaining and Retaining Your Retainer
To stay fresh and germ-free, all retainers need proper cleaning. Soap and water, denture cleaners, as well as special retainer cleaners, can be used to clean most removable retainers.
Finally, remember to always carry — and use — a retainer case. You’d be surprised how many retainers end up folded in a napkin and accidentally discarded! Also, don’t expose your retainer to excess heat by washing it in very hot water or leaving it in a hot car: That can cause the retainer to warp and make it unusable. With proper care and conscientious use, a retainer can help you transition from braces to a permanent, healthy smile.
At Silver Smiles Orthodontics, we are able to offer several different treatment options to fit the specific needs of our patients. In addition to traditional metal braces our options include:
- Invisalign Teen®
- Palatal Expanders
- Traditional Metal Braces
- Clear Ceramic Braces
- And More!
Everybody is unique and has different needs when it comes to their treatment plan. A thorough examination is needed to determine what’s best for you.
A – First Visit (Consultation Appointment)- Anticipate 1 hour
At Silver Smiles Orthodontics, our mission is to help every patient achieve the smile of their dreams. Our doctors and expert team of orthodontic specialists take the time to treat patients as individuals, getting to know them personally and designing specialized treatment plans to perfectly suit their unique orthodontic needs. At our office, you are our number one priority from your very first visit!
Your Initial Orthodontic Appointment
We hope you’re as excited as we are for your first visit with us! It’s an exciting time, and it’s a chance for us to get acquainted, to take stock of your current orthodontic health, and to explore the treatment options that might be right for you.
For your first visit, we ask that you plan to spend at least an hour in the office – while we may not use all of that time, this ensures that there’s no rush and that we have ample time to answer all of your questions. When you first walk in, you’ll meet with one of our receptionists or patient coordinators and go through some initial paperwork which will get you into our system. Once you’re through with that, we’ll start with diagnostic work and your exam.
Measuring for Success
We’ll start by taking photographs and x-rays, allowing us to fully understand both the alignment of the teeth and what’s happening under the gums – the positioning and orientation of your teeth, jaws, bones, and joints, as well as any teeth that may still be below the gum line.
The Initial Exam
Next, we’ll perform a careful, thorough examination of your teeth, jaws, mouth, and bite. This will be a lot of looking around your mouth, checking for noise when you open and close your jaws, and asking if you’re encountering any problems when you chew, swallow, or perform other everyday functions. We’ll use the information we gather here to make a diagnosis and decide on the best treatment option.
Planning for a Beautiful Smile
Consider this your chance to ask any and every question you want. We put a lot of value on helping our patients understand their treatments, so we’ll give you ample time to ask and discuss anything you don’t understand or are curious about. We’ll go over all your potential treatment alternatives, how your orthodontics will work, and other major topics like:
- How will orthodontics help?
- What procedures would be best?
- Should we start treatment now or wait?
- Will we need to extract teeth?
- What will it cost? What are my financial options?
- How long will it take?
Financial Information and Insurance
After the doctor has gone over the photographs, x-ray and treatment plan, a treatment coordinator will go over the various treatment options, as well as the cost of treatment. She will also explain how any insurance benefits are applied and will arrange a variety of payment plan options. In most cases, treatment can begin the same day, if the patient/parent are desires to begin orthodontic treatment.
When Can We Start?
In most cases, treatment can begin the same day, if the patient/parent are desires to begin orthodontic treatment.
Contact Your Local Braces & Invisalign Experts
Overall, your first visit will be the beginning step in your journey towards a gorgeous new smile that’ll last you a lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Feel free to call us. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to starting you on the path towards a beautiful, healthy smile!
B – Developmental Supervision Appointments – Anticipate 15-20 minutes
Developmental supervision is a program at Silver Smiles that allows us to follow a child through his/her dental and skeletal growth, prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic records are taken which give us a baseline of the patient’s orthodontic issues. There is a one-time charge for the orthodontic records, and the patient is not charged for the developmental supervision appointments. The records charge is deducted from comprehensive treatment, once treatment begins. Typically, patients are seen for developmental supervision appointments between 6-9 month intervals. During the developmental supervision appointments, the doctor is documenting dental changes and recommendations may be made during that time concerning removal of certain baby teeth, or if any early intervention is needed. We do not charge additional fees if additional x-rays or photographs are needed prior to or after treatment begins. In most cases, we monitor the dental and skeletal growth until most or all of the baby teeth are lost and the patient is ready to begin full comprehensive orthodontic treatment. At the proper time, the doctor will recommend and additional consultation to go over the orthodontic treatment plan.
C – Adjustment Appointments – Anticipate 20-30 minutes
At a typical adjustment appointment, the doctor will examine the patient and give the assistant instructions as to what changes should be made. Elastic ties (“colors”) or power chains are changed at most appointments. Wires may also be changed and additional brackets can be added. Instructions may be given concerning elastic wear, as well as feedback on oral hygiene. If the patient has broken appliances, the adjustment appointment may take longer. We do try to make all repairs during the scheduled adjustment appointments, but if there is excessive breakage, a longer appointment may need to be scheduled.
D – Bonding Appointments (When you get your braces or Invisalign) – Anticipate 1-1.5 hours
The bonding appointments typically do not cause any discomfort. We routinely bond all brackets to the facial surface of the teeth, eliminating the need for orthodontic bands. A lip retractor will be inserted into to patients mouth to keep the lips away from the teeth. The teeth are prepared for the braces with a series of etchants and primes. Then the brackets or attachments are placed on the teeth and cured with an ultra violet (blue) light. Once the brackets are on every tooth, wires are placed and elastic ties or power chains are attached to the brackets, which hold the wires in place. The wires are heat activated nickel titanium wires which work in conjunction with the body temperature. As the wires warm, they exert gentle pressures which begin moving the teeth.
Several hours after the braces are placed, the patient may experience pressure and some soreness as the teeth begin to move. One way to aid this discomfort is by drinking ice water. The cold water will “relax” the wires and help the patient get through the initial adjustment period. Softer foods are also advised, as well as ibuprofen or Tylenol, as needed.
E – Removal Appointments – Anticipate 1-1.5 hours
Removal appointments are typically scheduled during the morning hours. This is a longer appointment, which usually lasts an hour. At this appointment, the brackets are “popped off” the teeth and any residual cement is removed from the teeth. Impressions are made for retainers, which will hold the teeth in the new position. We typically we take new photographs, as well as a panoramic x-ray, the day the braces are removed. Retainers require time to be made and it may be necessary to come for a second appointment to pick up the retainers. The retainer delivery appointments are usually made for the same day as the removal appointment, but in the afternoon.
Aligning your teeth and keeping them aligned is a team effort. Our orthodontist moves the teeth and brings your bite into alignment. After completing the orthodontic treatment, your teeth can still move back to their original positions if not maintained properly. So, once we’ve moved your teeth, we’ll ask you to do your part and wear a retainer every night that we’ll make especially for you. Wearing the retainer holds your teeth in their corrected position long enough to allow for new bone and ligament to re-form around them. It’s important to keep your smile looking great for a lifetime so wear your retainer every night. It really is very easy.
For Braces or Invisalign in Metro-Atlanta, Contact Us Today!
For many in Metro-Atlanta, braces can be the best way to achieve that smile you’ve always wanted. For a FREE consultation, please contact us today at 770-972-6000.
At Silver Smiles Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest quality orthodontic care while maintaining a fun, friendly, and relaxed office environment. Our doctors work hard to design specialized treatments for every patient we see, and we’re proud to serve the communities of Atlanta and Snellville, GA with expert orthodontic care. For many people, though, it can be hard to know when they should come into our office.
A Myriad of Signals
There are a few answers to this, but the simplest is that you should come and see us anytime you have questions about the alignment of your teeth or the health and function of your bite. While this is sometimes obvious in cases where there’s a clear problem in the alignment of teeth or the jaws don’t meet correctly, other times, it may be more subtle – but just as serious. Conditions like mouth breathing, clenching or grinding of teeth, or an inability to comfortably close your lips are all signs that you may need treatment, and even things as subtle as your jaws frequently shifting position can indicate a problem.
Orthodontists are specialists and as you’d expect orthodontics have benefitted from the special attention this has brought to continually developing technological advances and options for treatment. For the vast majority of orthodontic patients, wearing fixed appliances (commonly called braces) will be a major part of treatment — and those braces, for the most part, will be the familiar silvery-metal type. But even braces have seen advances that have led to decreases in size, improved metals, even cosmetic enhancements! But while they’re still quite popular, traditional-looking metal braces are no longer the only game in town! Let’s have a look at some of the options available in orthodontic appliances.
First, we should distinguish between fixed and removable appliances. Fixed appliances like braces are attached to the teeth by metal bands or special cement. They aren’t normally taken off until treatment is complete. Removable appliances, such as clear aligners, are typically worn 22 hours per day, but may be easily taken off as needed. Depending on the treatment needed, the lifestyle of the patient and financial considerations, we will be able to recommend the right choice for you and your family.
Typically made of high-grade stainless steel, traditional metal braces remain by far the most common type of fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of small metal brackets that are cemented to the front surfaces of the other teeth. A thin, springy metal wire, running through the brackets, gently guides the teeth into a proper position. This archwire may be fixed to the brackets by flexible elastics (colors), metal ties, or other types of clasps.
There are many good reasons why time-tested metal braces remain popular — because they offer a reliable, effective and economical treatment option. As mentioned before, in contrast to the appliances of the past, today’s braces are actually smaller, lighter and more comfortable to wear. If you want a less traditional look, you may be able to choose colorful elastics for the brackets, or other modifications. Just ask us!
Clear ceramic braces are a new variation on the traditional system that provides a far less noticeable method of treatment. They use the same components as traditional braces — except that the brackets on the front side of the teeth are made of a translucent ceramic material that blends in with the tooth’s natural color. This system has become a favorite for adults (including some well-known celebrities) because, unless you look closely, it’s hard to notice they’re there!
Several types of ceramic braces are currently available, and the technology is constantly improving. Their aesthetic appeal is undeniable… be aware, though that there are a few tradeoffs. The ceramic brackets can be less durable than their metal counterparts; plus, while the brackets themselves don’t stain, the elastic bands that attach them to the archwire do (however, these are changed at every visit). Ceramic braces cost a little more than metal — but for many people, the benefit of having an inconspicuous appliance outweighs the costs. We’re happy to help you consider what’s best for you!
Advances in orthodontic treatment have led to a dramatically more comfortable experience than in past years. As specialists, on the cutting edge of treatment methods, we actively seek treatment methodology and technologies that bring more comfort to the orthodontic experience. Today, we can say we offer comfortable orthodontics! We are a provider of Invisalign® clear aligners which require less adjustments and feel more comfortable when in place than metal braces. Even our metal braces are made more comfortable as we use more elastic titanium wires.
For years, whenever you needed a dental crown (cap), your dentist had to make molds of your teeth which required taking an impression of your teeth. A tray filled with a goopy, putty-like material was used so that a three-dimensional model of the prepared tooth could be created. Using this mold, along with a dental lab, we could custom-craft the new crown. At Silver Smiles Orthodontics, we now have a digital scanner that can eliminate the impressions of the past.
Here’s how it works
Technology has given us the power to replace impressions of the past with virtual models — made using small, handheld “wands” that employ a digital camera.
This remarkable tool uses blue wavelength light so that we can precisely capture the unique nooks and crannies of your tooth’s surface to make a highly accurate 3D digital model. It enables us to instantaneously examine a tooth and your bite.
How this technology benefits you
Finally, you can say goodbye to the goop, gagging, discomfort, and anxiety you’ve experienced in the past with traditional dental impression materials! It takes less time than traditional dental impressions and makes orthodontic treatment easier than ever.