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The Benefits Of Fixed Retainers

TOO MANY PEOPLE know what it’s like to accidentally throw a retainer away after lunch. Retainers can be expensive, so losing one is never fun. Fortunately, removable retainers aren’t the only option for keeping your teeth aligned after the braces come off!

What Are Fixed Retainers?
A fixed retainer, also known as a permanent or bonded retainer, is a wire that is glued to the lingual (tongue side) of the teeth. These retainers are typically made of stainless steel. The orthodontist fits it to the patient’s teeth, placing it just right so it’s not visible when smiling or talking, and attaches it with a form of cement. Some are cemented to each tooth, while others are only cemented to the teeth at the ends of the retainer.

Most often, fixed retainers are only placed on the backs of the front six lower teeth, though sometimes they go on the backs of the upper teeth, and some people even have them just for the two front teeth to keep a gap from reappearing. Fixed retainers are intended to stay in place indefinitely. If they break or come loose, it’s important to go back to the orthodontist to get them repaired.

How Fixed Retainers Compare
Now that you know what fixed retainers are, let’s look at some of the things that set them apart from removable retainers. The most obvious benefit to fixed retainers is that they stay in your mouth 24/7, which means you can’t lose them during lunch! It also means they’re continuously keeping your teeth in perfect position. Because they are so small, they tend to be much more comfortable than removable retainers. The best part is that nobody will see that you have one!

Cleaning And Maintenance
For all their advantages, fixed retainers can be tricky to keep clean. Food can get stuck in them and plaque can build up around them very easily and calcify into tartar, but they’re not so easy to clean out because the wire gets in the way of flossing. You can solve this problem with floss threaders or a water flosser. Make sure to get all those crevices!

Check out this video for tips on flossing around a fixed retainer:

You also might want to be careful when eating hard, crunchy foods, because they could break the wire or pop the cement loose from your teeth. If this happens, make sure to come see us!

Bring Us Your Questions!
If you have any questions about fixed retainers, don’t hesitate to ask us! Fixed retainers are a good option for some.  Whether you’re in braces now and thinking ahead to retainers or you already have a fixed retainer, we can fill in any blanks you might have. In the meantime, keep up your brushing and flossing!

We love our patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Why Straight Teeth?

TO SOME, IT MIGHT seem like the benefits of having straight teeth are purely cosmetic. And those benefits certainly do exist. Studies have shown that people tend to perceive someone with straight teeth as wealthier, happier, and more dateable than someone with crooked teeth. But there are plenty of other important benefits as well.

Consequences Of Crooked Teeth

There are many different ways crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth can negatively impact a person’s health and quality of life. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones.

Difficult To Clean

When teeth overlap each other in ways they aren’t meant to, they can be much harder to clean with brushing and flossing than straight teeth. If teeth aren’t getting cleaned as effectively, then they become more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Impede Clear Speech

Underbites, severe overbites, and other teeth alignment problems can interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly, leading to lisps and other distortions in articulation.

Interfere With Healthy Digestion

Chewing is a critical part of the digestion process. Our saliva begins to break food down on a chemical level while our teeth break it apart into more manageable pieces. Crooked teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to chew food enough, which forces the rest of the digestive system to pick up the slack. This can lead to a number of unpleasant GI consequences, and it can even make it harder to lose weight!

Can Interfere With Healthy Breathing

If your teeth don’t fit comfortably together, you might keep them apart instead of closing your jaws when resting. This can lead to mouth breathing, which has many negative health effects. The two most connected to oral health concerns are chronic bad breath and dry mouth.

Can Cause Jaw Problems

If there’s something wrong with your bite, that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Symptoms include a clicking jaw joint, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.

Do Your Teeth Need Straightening?

Having straight teeth eliminates or greatly reduces all of these problems. This, paired with the cosmetic advantages and the boost in confidence, makes orthodontic treatment a very worthwhile investment. If you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, schedule an initial consultation with us so that we can find out what will be best for your smile. In the meantime, keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling your regular dental appointments!

You deserve the best for your teeth!  Call us for a FREE complimentary consultation to see how we can make your teeth straighter and healthier!

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

The Big Scoop On Tooth Sensitivity

DO YOU GET a painful jolt through your teeth every time you try to enjoy a bite of ice cream or a sip of fresh coffee? If you do, then you’re familiar with the woes of tooth sensitivity, and you’re not alone. More than half of adults between the ages of 20 and 50 experience some degree of sensitivity in their teeth, and children can have sensitive teeth too.

So why does this happen? Well, to understand tooth sensitivity, it helps to know about the structure of a tooth and how the different layers function.

The Anatomy Of A Tooth

The crown of each tooth is covered in a thin layer of hard enamel. Beneath the enamel is dentin, a bony substance with thousands of microscopic tubules running through it. These tubules are how the nerves in the pulp at the core of each tooth can detect what’s going on at the surface.

Causes Of Sensitivity

Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel wears away, which could be the result of teeth grinding, erosion from acid, or even improper brushing. Without enamel, the tubules in the dentin become exposed. Once that happens, eating or drinking anything hot or cold — sometimes even sweet or sour — will give the tooth a nasty shock.

Another major cause of sensitivity is root exposure. Teeth roots don’t have that layer of enamel; their main defense is the gums. Gum recession, which can also be caused by teeth grinding or improper brushing, leaves the roots vulnerable. Other causes of sensitivity include cavities and having a chipped or fractured tooth.

When you have braces, your teeth are at a higher risk of enamel erosion because of how difficult it can be to keep them clean with the brackets in the way. Make sure to maintain the crucial dental hygiene habits of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing so that your braces won’t leave you with sensitive teeth.

How You Can Protect Your Teeth

If you do have sensitive teeth, there are several ways to fight back. First, start using a soft-bristled brush if you aren’t already, because hard bristles may further damage the enamel and gum tissue. You can also switch to a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Finally, avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks, particularly soft drinks.

Let Your Dentist Know

Make sure to go to your dentist if you begin experiencing tooth sensitivity, even if your next regular appointment is months away. They can strengthen your teeth with a fluoride varnish, perform dental restoration work on areas with enamel loss, recommend a gum graft to cover exposed roots, or prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste. They’ll also make sure there aren’t any other problems with your teeth!

Let’s make sure that smile stays healthy and strong!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Why Do We Get Crooked Teeth?

 IF BABY TEETH almost always grow in straight, then why are adult teeth so often crooked? What is it, if not just bad luck? There are competing theories, but adult teeth can come in crooked for a variety of reasons, from genetics to diet to daily habits.
Shifts In Society’s Diet…And Its Teeth?  One popular theory that comes from archeological studies is the Soft Foods Theory. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate much tougher foods than we do now, and this promoted more bone growth in the jaws and better-aligned teeth as a result. The theory suggests two possible reasons why modern people more often have crooked teeth:

  1. Modern food is processed and soft, so it doesn’t stimulate as much jaw bone growth.
  2. Modern food lacks many of the vitamins and minerals a hunter/gatherer diet would have been rich in, so the teeth and jaws can’t develop as much.

For more details on the Soft Foods Theory, check out this short video:

Braces Run In The Family

Even if you managed to eat tough foods for long enough to grow the jaw bones of a hunter/gatherer, you still wouldn’t be able to control what genes you inherited from your parents. If your parents didn’t need braces but you got Mom’s small jaw and Dad’s large teeth, you’ll end up with a crowding problem. Many children whose parents needed braces will also need braces.

Daily Habits Can Shift Your Teeth

While we have no say in our genes and would probably have a difficult time successfully sticking to a hunter/gatherer diet, the one cause of crooked teeth we might be able to control is our everyday habits. Something as simple as resting your chin on your hands can cause your teeth to shift over time, but these are the main offenders:

Thumb-sucking, when it continues past toddlerhood, can cause the upper teeth to flare out and shift the lower teeth inward, creating a misaligned bite, changing the shape of the jaw, and even affecting speech. If you’re looking for ways to discourage your child’s thumb-sucking habit, check out this resource.

Mouth-breathing, particularly during developmental years, can lead to dental crowding over time. Normally, when the mouth is closed, the tongue exerts pressure against the sides of the jaw, helping it develop in a healthy, wide shape. If the mouth is always open for breathing, this pressure isn’t there, and the jaw narrows, crowding the teeth.

Tongue-thrusting is the name of an incorrect or immature way of swallowing in which the tongue presses against the front teeth instead of the roof of the mouth. Babies naturally start out with this reflex, but it doesn’t always go away when it should, leading to dental alignment problems. This can be a difficult reflex to unlearn as a teen or adult, but there are special orthodontic appliances designed to encourage better swallowing habits.

Whatever The Cause, We’re The Solution!

Whether teeth are crooked due to genetics, a modern diet, or these kinds of unhealthy habits during childhood, the solution is the same: orthodontic treatment. If you haven’t already, schedule a consultation with us so that we can make a plan for getting you the perfectly aligned smile you deserve!

Thank you for trusting us with your teeth! We love helping you look your best!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.