Casthely Orthodontics

Invisible Braces: Not Just for Looks

When most of us think of invisible braces such as Invisalign®, we naturally assume that their sole purpose is to enhance the aesthetic value of one’s smile.

And to a certain extent that assumption is true. For most people with braces of any type, the primary goal of straightening their teeth is improving their look. But did you know that there are actually added health benefits to having a straighter smile as well?Invisible Braces

Here, we outline just a few reasons, outside of the obvious aesthetic benefits, that invisible braces can help you:

  • Periodontal Health: Overcrowded teeth can result in swollen, red, irritated gums. More often than not, these symptoms are the result of periodontal disease. Braces help to straighten and evenly space teeth to allow for enhanced gum health.
  • Better Cleaning Access: Because the clear teeth aligners are removable, you can do a better job of brushing and flossing your teeth, just as you would without braces. By contrast, traditional metal braces limit access to the surfaces and in-between areas of teeth, making it difficult to maintain a good brushing and flossing routine.
  • Healthy Diet: Invisible braces are removable, which means that there are no restrictions to what you eat. This allows you to continue your healthy eating habits just as if you didn’t have braces at all. With traditional metal wires and braces, however, some people fall into the trap of eating only soft foods and thus miss out on much-needed nutrients.
  • Overall Health: Because oral infections are thought to be related to other health issues in the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, keeping your teeth properly spaced and straightened is an important first step toward better health throughout your body.

Allow us to enhance your smile both aesthetically and from an oral health standpoint as well with invisible braces!

Straight Teeth Without the Brackets and Wires: Invisalign®

Nothing compares to the look a child gives us when he or she is told they need braces. The fact of the matter is that many kids and young adults do eventually need some sort of treatment to fix gaps and cracks in their smile. But unfortunately, the combination of metal wires and crooked teeth can cause social embarrassment for many adolescents.

What if there was a solution that not only straightened your teeth but also avoided the hassles of traditional orthodontic braces?

As you may have guessed, there is a solution: a revolutionary treatment appropriately named Invisalign®. Unlike regular metal wire braces, Invisalign® uses clear, removable trays, molded to the shape of your teeth to straighten your smile over time. Invisalign® is a great solution for adults and many adolescents as well.

Straight Teeth Without the Brackets and WiresHow do we use Invisalign®?

First we will take an x-ray and impression of your teeth, which will then be sent out for the creation of a 3-D model of your teeth. A series of custom plastic aligners are then created out of liquid resin, hardening in a plastic mold.

How should you take care of your aligners?

In order for the Invisalign® process to be effective, you will need to wear each set of aligners for two to three weeks. In total, the process takes approximately 13 to 14 months. Aligners should only be removed for brushing, flossing and eating. When the treatment process ends, you will be encouraged to wear a retainer at night to maintain your new smile!

What other benefits does Invisalign® have over traditional braces?

While the main appeal of Invisalign treatment is its transparent appearance, it also avoids some of the health disadvantages that are associated with traditional braces, such as the shortening of tooth roots, increased chance of tooth decay and interference with x-rays.

Are you looking for an improved smile? Call us to schedule your Invisalign® consultation!

Brush Up On Brushing

Understanding proper brushing technique is important for your oral health, especially if you are teaching young ones how to brush and want to establish life-long good habits. Whether you need a refresher yourself or your little one is starting to brush on his or her own, we have some great tips here to get you started!

Technique. For most people, a circular technique or elliptical motion is best. Holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, brush the outside and inside of your teeth, your tongue, the chewing surfaces and areas between your teeth. Brush a couple of teeth at a time and gradually wobrush up on brushing,jpgrk your way around your entire mouth. Avoid using a back and forth motion, as it can cause the gum line to recede, expose the root surface and make the root tender.

How Long? Brushing for 2 to 4 minutes is ideal. If you listen to the radio while you brush, this is the average length of a song! Otherwise, use a timer or stop watch to make sure you don’t rush the job on busy mornings. Purchasing a fun egg timer can be a great way to encourage children to brush.

How Often? Because longer brushing time ensures a more thorough cleaning, it is better to brush for a full 2 to 4 minutes twice a day than for a shorter duration more than twice. If you use a toothpaste with fluoride in the morning and evening, you won’t need to brush in between.

Type and Storage. A tooth brush head should be small enough to comfortably reach all of your teeth and should have a good handle for an easy grip. The bristles should be soft and nylon with round ends. If they are too abrasive, they can wear down your teeth. To avoid bacteria build up, rinse and dry your tooth brush after each use and store it in a travel container. Replace your brush every three months.

Toddler Tooth Brushing. As soon as your child’s teeth start coming in, they need to be brushed. Traditional tooth brushes may not be safe for toddlers because they can be inserted too far into the mouth. Thankfully, most grocery stores and pharmacies now sell toothbrushes and toothpaste that are specially designed to be safe for toddlers.

Because we brush our teeth so regularly, we often cut corners without even realizing it. This can lead to cavities and gum disease over time. To improve your oral health, make sure you pay attention to your tooth brushing habits and make the most of this simple but effective tool for preventing dental problems!

Fluoride: Nature’s Cavity Fighter

Nobody likes coming to the dentist to have a cavity filled! Many of our patients ask us how stop a cavity before it happens. Many people have heard of fluoride but wonder how it works and if it is safe. We wrote this blog to answer your questions about fluoride and to help you understand its benefits and how to use it effectively.

Fluoride occurs naturally in certain foods. You might be surprised to learn that it can be found in black teas and raisins, and in our water sources, such as lakes and rivers. And, because it provides such good protection from tooth decay, it has been added to dental products to help prevent cavities.

Fluoride works for both children and adults. It’s true! Before teeth even erupt through the gums, fluoride taken in from certain foods and supplements makes tooth enamel stronger and therefore more resistant to decay. After teeth erupt, brushing with fluoride toothpaste helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel, reversing early signs of cavity formation. In addition, the fluoride you consume becomes a part of your saliva, constantly bathing your teeth with tiny amounts of the cavity fighter. While it is critical for infants and children to be exposed to fluoride when primary and permanent teeth are forming, new research indicates that topical fluoride is just as important in fighting tooth decay for adults!

Use the correct amount of toothpaste to benefit your teeth. While all toothpaste removes plaque (a thin film of bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay), only toothpaste with fluoride can prevent tooth decay by making teeth stronger. Make sure you’re using the correct amount of toothpaste with your children!

  • Fluoride Natures Cavity FighterFor very little ones, under 3 years of age, parents and caregivers should begin gently brushing teeth as soon as they come into the mouth with an amount of fluoridated toothpaste the size of a few grains of rice.

  • For children ages 3 to 6, a pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and make sure to supervise children to help instill good habits.

Some mouth rinses also contain fluoride. You may already be protecting your teeth with fluoride without even knowing it! However, mouth rinses should not be used with children under the age of 6, as they may not be able it use it appropriately.

You may have fluoride in your water. Your community may have chosen water fluoridation (simply adding fluoride to drinking water) as a public health benefit. Water fluoridation is safe, effective, and healthy. The Center for Disease Control has noted water fluoridation as one of the ten best public health achievements of the 20th century.

For your best dental hygiene routine, ask us during your next visit about the right fluoride products for you and your family. Your oral health is our priority so we want to answer any questions that you have. Armed with the right information, your family can have healthy teeth for life. Contact our office to schedule your next visit! We can’t wait to see you soon!

Evolution of Braces: Then and Now

Braces are a far cry from the teeth-alignment practices of hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Now, more than half of American teenagers wear braces, but back in the day some pretty strange gadgets were used in orthodontic care. Take a look at these braces of the past!

Ancient Braces

Even ancient civilizations believed that a beautiful smile goes a long way. Ancient Greeks apparently aligned their teeth using gold wires – that would be a pretty expensive luxury today! Even stranger, Egyptian mummies have been found with catgut bands, which are made from animal intestines, wrapped around their teeth. Imagine having that in your mouth!

18th Century

A Frenchman named Pierre Fauchard invented a device called the “Bandeau,” a metal object shaped like a horseshoe that attached to gold wires and corrected tooth alignment. This bulky metal “Bandeau” would have been a lot less fun to wear than the trendy bandeau tops people wear today!

20th Century

  • In the early 1900s, people aligned their teeth using all kinds of materials: gold, silver, copper, even ivory and wood. Gold worked great because it was soft and easy to mold, but its softness was also a downside because it bent out of place and had to be adjusted frequently.
  • By the 1970s, modern braces were taking hold. Professionals ditched the bulky, embarrassing wires and headgear for direct bonding, or gluing stainless-steel brackets to the teeth using dental adhesive. The subtlety of these braces was taken a step further with lingual braces, where the brackets are placed on the backs of teeth instead of the front. Tooth-colored brackets became another new way to disguise braces.

Modern Braces and Invisalign

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Invisalign took orthodontic care to a whole new level with invisible, removable teeth alignment. With Invisalign, you can eat all the foods that you can’t eat with braces, because you simply take it out while eating and pop it back in when you’re done. No wires for food to get stuck in!

Now, people even customize their braces, adding a personal flare by choosing brightly colored rubber bands. Aren’t you glad to live in a time when braces are constantly developing from the unusual orthodontic methods of the past?

Tips for Flossing with Braces

 

Flossing may seem impossible when you have braces – all those wires getting in the way! It normally takes people with braces three times longer to floss, but we have some pointers to help speed things up. Our team loves to suggest techniques that take the hassle out of having braces! Keep reading for a list of tools that will help clean your teeth in half the time.

  • Waxed floss: Unwaxed floss is made up of strands that catch on braces and get left behind in your mouth. Try waxed floss, instead; it glides easily between teeth and doesn’t tear so you don’t have to worry about floss residue.
  • Floss threader: It’s hard to floss properly with braces blocking your teeth and gums. Using this tool is a lot like threading a needle: pull the floss through the threader, then use the threader to maneuveTips for Flossing with Bracesr the floss behind your wires and between your teeth.
  • Dental tape: If you have gum soreness you may find dental tape, or ribbon floss, more comfortable because it’s wider, spongier and gentler on gums.
  • Orthodontic brush: Also called a “proxy brush,” these have v-shaped bristles to get between brackets and reach all the places you might be missing with a regular toothbrush.
  • Water pick: Water picks can help flush out food and bacteria in hard-to-floss places. They’re convenient for getting rid of food debris between meals when you don’t have time to brush or floss. The water pressure also stimulates the gums to ease inflammation.
  • Disclosing tablets: Here’s a fun way to find out if you’re brushing and flossing well enough! Plaque disclosing tablets are chewable and contain a dye that lights up plaque and food residue you might have missed while cleaning your teeth.

You shouldn’t have to struggle with flossing just because you have braces; braces are supposed to improve your oral health, not make it more difficult to maintain! If you pick up the right materials, your dental care routine will be quick and effective.