Posts for: July, 2018
If you’re seeing your dentist regularly, that’s great. But if that’s all you’re doing to stay ahead of dental disease, it’s not enough. In fact, what you do daily to care for your teeth is often the primary factor in whether or not you’ll maintain a healthy mouth.
Top of your oral care to-do list, of course, is removing daily plaque buildup from teeth and gums. This sticky film of bacteria and food particles can cause both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. You do that with effective daily brushing and flossing.
Effective brushing starts with the right toothbrush—for most people a soft-bristled, multi-tufted brush—and fluoride toothpaste. As to technique, you should first avoid brushing too hard or too often (more than twice a day). This can damage your gums and cause them to recede, exposing the tooth roots to disease. Instead, use a gentle, scrubbing motion, being sure to thoroughly brush all tooth surfaces from the gumline to the top of the teeth, which usually takes about two minutes.
The other essential hygiene task, flossing, isn’t high on many people’s “favorite things to do list” due to frequent difficulties manipulating the floss. Your dentist can help you with technique, but if it still proves too difficult try some different tools: a floss threader to make it easier to pull floss through your teeth; or a water flosser, a handheld device that directs a pressurized water stream on tooth and gum surfaces to loosen and flush away plaque.
And don’t forget other tooth-friendly practices like avoiding sugary snacks between meals, drinking plenty of water to avoid dry mouth, and even waiting to brush or floss about an hour after eating. The latter is important because acid levels rise during eating and can temporarily soften enamel. The enzymes in saliva, though, can neutralize the acid and re-mineralize the enamel in about thirty minutes to an hour. Waiting to brush gives saliva a chance to do its job.
Lastly, keep alert for anything out of the ordinary: sores, lumps, spots on the teeth or reddened, swollen, bleeding gums. All these are potential signs of disease. The sooner you have them checked the better your chances of maintaining a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on caring for your teeth at home, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”
Orthodontic treatment--wearing braces--helps correct the alignment of smiles that are crowded, gapped, and uneven. Besides the obvious aesthetic problems, poorly aligned teeth lead to dental problems and overall health issues. At Lake View Dental Associates in Chicago, IL, Dr. Scott Emalfarb delivers both conventional braces and Invisalign clear aligners to patients of all ages who desire healthier, more attractive, and better functioning smiles.
The benefits of orthodontics
Good oral health, better self-image, and an attractive smile--that's what orthodontics from Lake View Dental Associates delivers. Whether you're a young person of the traditional age to receive braces (11 to 14, says American Academy of Orthodontists) or are an older teen or even a middle-aged adult, braces could help you achieve important smile goals and improve your overall well-being.
Unfortunately, smiles that are crooked, are missing teeth or have teeth that are rotated or misshapen due to congenital factors, often cause people facial, back, ear, jaw, and even shoulder pain. Additionally, some patients develop speech or nutritional problems, and teeth that are overcrowded are harder to keep clean, putting people at greater risk for dental decay and periodontal problems.
Patients come to Lake View Dental Associates with a variety of smile issues which may need orthodontic services. Some common ones are:
- Malocclusions such as overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite
- A midline which has shifted (the middle of the top arch is askew from the middle of the bottom arch)
- Protruding front teeth
- Orthodontic relapse (teeth shift when braces are removed)
- Tooth tipping and rotation
- Overcrowding (too many teeth or teeth are too large for the jaw)
Types of braces
There are many, and Dr. Emalfarb can determine what type is best for your particular issue. We're all familiar with traditional metal braces--brackets, archwires, and rubber bands which exert gradual physical forces on teeth to move them into favorable and functional positions. Alternatively, these braces may be made of ceramic or may be mounted on the tongue-side of the teeth for a less obvious appearance.
Dr. Emalfarb also offers Invisalign clear aligners, a practically invisible series of customized appliances. These innovative aligners are BPA-free and removable for hygiene and meals, and they move teeth into position more quickly and comfortably than traditional braces can.
Qualifying for braces
As your orthodontic expert at Lake View Dental Associates in Chicago, Dr. Emalfarb will perform a complete oral examination to determine if braces are right for you. He'll take digital X-rays, photos and comfortable oral impressions using the 3M True Definition Scanner. Your treatment plan will be planned step-by-step and individualized to meet your specific needs.
Enjoy the many advantages of a healthy, well-aligned smile. Explore orthodontics through a consultation at Lake View Dental Associates in Chicago, IL. To book your appointment, call (773) 472-6322.
When designing your new smile, we have a lot of options for changing how individual teeth look: from whitening discolored teeth to replacing missing teeth with life-like dental implants. But the problem may not be how your teeth look — in fact, individually they may look perfect. If they’re not straight, though, your smile won’t be as attractive as it could be.
We can address a poor bite (malocclusion) through the dental specialty of orthodontics. By moving misaligned teeth we may be able to transform your smile without any other dental work, or it could serve as a more solid foundation for other cosmetic enhancements. To find out if orthodontics can make a difference for you, you should begin with an initial visit to your general dentist. A thorough dental examination will enable them to tell you if correcting your bite could be a good option for you. If it is, they’ll most likely refer you to an orthodontist, a specialist in treating malocclusions.
The orthodontist will also perform an evaluation and get as complete a picture as possible of your particular bite problems. This examination will also include checking jaw growth and development in younger patients, how the affected teeth align with other teeth, and if your current bite is having any effect on the jaw joints. This will provide a good overview of not only the malocclusion but how it affects the rest of your mouth.
With this detailed analysis, they can then advise you on the best course of treatment. Most malocclusions can be corrected with braces or, increasingly, clear aligner trays. In certain situations, though, more specialized approaches may be needed, such as isolating only certain teeth for movement.
While orthodontic treatment takes time and can be expensive, the end result can be amazing: an improved bite that not only enhances your appearance but improves function and long-term health. Along with other cosmetic enhancements to your teeth and gums, orthodontics can give you a new sense of confidence in your smile.
If you would like more information on improving your smile with orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
If your teenager is in need of orthodontic treatment, you might automatically think braces. But while this decades-old appliance is quite effective, it isn’t the only “tooth movement” game in town any more. Clear aligners are another choice your teenager might find more appealing.
Clear aligners are a sequential set of computer-generated plastic trays that are worn by a patient one after the other, usually for about two weeks per tray. The trays are fabricated using 3-D computer modeling of the patient’s mouth, each one slightly different from the last to gradually move teeth to the desired new positions.
So, why choose clear aligners over braces?
They’re nearly invisible. Because they’re made of a clear polymer material, they’re not nearly as noticeable as metal braces. In fact, they may go completely unnoticed to the casual observer.
They’re removable. Unlike metal braces, which are fixed in place by an orthodontist, clear aligners can be removed by the wearer. This makes brushing and flossing much easier, and they can also be removed for eating or special occasions. That said, though, they should be worn at least 20 to 22 hours each day to be effective.
They’re becoming more versatile. With some complicated malocclusions (poor bites), braces and other orthodontic appliances may still be necessary. But innovations like added power ridges in clear aligners can more precisely control which teeth move and which don’t. This has greatly increased the number of poor bite scenarios where we can appropriately use clear aligners.
If you’d like to consider clear aligners, just remember they require a bit more self-discipline on the part of the wearer than braces. And once the treatment finishes, they’ll still need to wear a retainer just as with metal braces to help keep the repositioned teeth from reverting to their old positions.
If you think your teen is up to the challenge and their particular situation can be corrected with this innovative technology, then clear aligners could be a great choice.
If you would like more information on clear aligners orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for Teens.”