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Incognito Braces

Braces are any type of orthodontic device that aligns teeth. They may be used to correct a variety of dental problems such as underbites, overbites, malocclusions and crooked teeth. Braces apply pressure to the teeth, causing them to gradually move into the desired position. They must be tightened at regular intervals to ensure they continue to place the necessary pressure against the teeth. Braces may be used for both cosmetic and structural purposes, and they are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic devices such as palatal expanders.

Overview

The brackets for standard braces are bonded to the front of the teeth and are easily visible. Incognito braces are a type of lingual brace in which the brackets for the braces are bonded to the back of the key, making them more difficult to see. Each bracket of an Incognito brace is bonded to a specific tooth and is custom-made for each tooth. These braces are also lighter than the other types of lingual braces that are currently available. Incognito braces cosmetically more desirable than standard braces and are ideal for people are concerned about their physical appearance.

Comfort

Incognito braces cause a certain degree of discomfort, like all braces. They affect the movement of the tongue, causing the patient’s speech to be mildly affected. The period of greatest adjustment is generally the first two weeks, after which the speech of most patients is back to normal. The smaller diameter of Incognito braces reduces the pain caused by the friction between the tongue and the braces.

Suitability

Patients of all ages can benefit from Incognito braces, including those who don’t have their adult teeth yet. The custom fit of these braces makes them suitable for correcting a variety of orthodontic problems. This includes complex conditions that require many adjustments.

Duration

The duration of treatment with Incognito braces depends primarily on the conditions that require correction. A simple case typically requires about 15 months to complete, while the treatment for cases involving complex malocclusions may need up to 28 months. An orthodontist will provide each patient with a more accurate estimate of the treatment time for Incognito braces.

Eating

Incognito braces require restrictions on eating habits, like all braces. Chewy foods such as candy may stick to the braces, increasing the likelihood of tooth decay. Patients will typically need to brush their teeth after each meal to prevent the accumulation of food on the braces. Hard food like nuts can damage the thin wires of Incognito braces. An orthodontist can provide a complete list of foods to avoid while wearing these braces.

Procedure

The procedure for receiving Incognito braces begins with an examination of the patient’s teeth followed by a discussion of the available treatment options. The orthodontist will take a silicon impression of the patient’s teeth, which will be used to make plaster casts. A laser scanner generates a three dimensional image of the patient’s teeth from the casts, allowing the manufacture of the braces. The dentist will then bond the Incognito braces to the patient’s teeth.

How to Find a Qualified Orthodontist

Whether you’re ready for braces or just need to talk with an expert about your different options, selecting the right orthodontist makes all the difference. After all, you don’t want to trust your smile to just anyone. While some dentists may advertise a specialty in orthodontics, only a certified orthodontist will have completed the necessary training through an accredited specialty program to be officially designated an orthodontist. This training includes two to three years of accredited study beyond dental school and the successful completion of a residency specialty program.

When selecting an orthodontist, confirm that he or she is accredited by the American Board of Orthodontists (ABO). Board certification ensures that an orthodontist’s clinical knowledge and competency has been examined for proficiency and excellence. The American Board of Orthodontists can provide you with a list of board certified orthodontists in your community. Many orthodontists will also receive a master’s degree during training, adding the initials “MS” following their name and DDS degree designation. Board certification and a Master’s degree are two ways to confirm that an orthodontist has received proper training. You can also check with your state licensing board to verify dental licensure status and if any complaints have been brought against a practice.

If you are brand new to a community, finding a list of good orthodontists can be a challenge. In addition to checking with the ABO, see if a community magazine or paper publishes an annual “Best Of” list. These lists often include rankings for popular medical and dental professionals in the local community. Unbiased online reviews and patient testimonials will also give you an initial impression for how different people feel about a potential orthodontist.

Talk to friends, family, coworkers and neighbors for recommendations. Does a friend or neighbor currently have braces or know someone who does? Someone who is currently receiving treatment can describe the orthodontist’s relationship with his or her staff and patients. Have they had any problems during treatment? How easy is it to schedule or change an appointment? Has the orthodontist explained the different treatment procedures? Has the patient experienced any pain during treatment? Remember, braces can naturally cause some soreness because the teeth are being readjusted. Experiencing soreness is not a bad thing; what matters is how the orthodontist addresses this pain.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to one or two potential orthodontists, contact their practices to schedule initial diagnostic meetings. During these meetings, the orthodontist will discuss the different procedures available and which treatment options may be best for you. This meeting is an important opportunity to evaluate the orthodontist’s patient manner. Do you feel comfortable with his approach to treatment?

Your smile is special – when it comes to entrusting it to an orthodontist, don’t rush. Take the time to do your research and talk to patients. It’s important that you select the right orthodontist to meet your needs and enhance your beautiful smile.

Getting Braces as an Adult

So you are considering getting braces as an adult. Well, you are not alone! Lots of adults are going for it these days for straighter teeth and a more beautiful smile. Just ask the growing number of adults who are speaking with their orthodontist for just this reason. In fact, adults make up almost half of orthodontic patients looking to perfect their smile, reports WebMd.

The good news is that braces have progressed significantly over the last decade. Gone of the days of the “metal mouth”. Instead, today’s braces are more appearance-friendly and lightweight. No longer is a big, bulky metal apparatus required; brackets are smaller and bands don’t have to be wrapped all around each tooth like they used to. Teeth brushing is also easier with present-day, state-of-the-art braces.

Invisalign braces, for example, are practically invisible, as their namesake suggests. These clear braces are removable, and correct the same dental problems — like teeth overcrowding, overbite, underbite, and spacing — as the metal braces alternative do.

In addition to being more cosmetically-friendly, contemporary braces are also less painful. Yesterday’s braces were comprised of sharp metal that could irritate the gums and cheeks, as well as cause mouth sores. But with today’s innovative smooth plastic, the braces are more comfortable than ever before. Modern braces also take less time to do their job. On average, adults can expect to wear their braces for an average of 12 to 20 months.

Aside from the cosmetic reasons to get braces as an adult, there are health benefits associated with wearing braces. When teeth are misaligned or have a cross bite, there is a higher likelihood of getting food built-up between the tooth and developing an accumulation of plaque — both of which increase the risk for periodontal and gum disease.

Today, getting braces as an adult isn’t at all taboo. Age is no longer an issue for getting braces. People are living longer, and more and more adults are looking to preserve their teeth for as long as possible. Even senior citizens today are getting braces!

Remember, it’s never too late to improve your smile.

Four Benefits of Braces

Is an underbite or an awkward gap between your teeth causing you embarrassment? You may already know that braces can improve your smile and self-confidence. But did you know that braces can also help prevent serious periodontal problems including tooth decay, correct speech impairments, and reduce the risk for tooth loss? Braces offer many important oral health benefits. Here are four ways that braces can make a big difference for not only your smile, but also for your overall well being.

#1: Correct an underbite or overbite: An incorrect bite can contribute to serious orthodontic problems, including the abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. An underbite can also prevent the teeth from properly crushing or grinding food, leading to serious digestive problems. Without intervention, an underbite or overbite may become increasingly worse – in severe cases, surgery may even be necessary. Braces are a safe and effective way to correct an underbite or overbite before this misalignment leads to long-term problems.

#2: Reduce the risk for gum disease: Not only can crooked teeth hurt your self-confidence, but they can also interfere with proper chewing and strain the teeth and jaws. Crooked teeth may make proper oral hygiene difficult – leading to the build up of plaque, bacteria and food particles between teeth. This increases the risk for periodontal problems, including gingivitis. Correcting crooked teeth makes brushing and flossing easier, which reduces the risk for gum disease.

#3: Relieve headache and jaw pain: Do you suffer from chronic headaches or jaw pain? Orthodontic problems can contribute to excessive wear and tear of tooth surfaces – which can strain the jaw muscle. Without corrective care, a misalignment may develop, which can cause chronic jaw pain and debilitating headaches. Braces help restore proper alignment by correcting over-crowding.

#4: Increase self-confidence: Does your smile have a gap in the middle? Are your teeth crooked or unevenly spaced? If your smile is not “Hollywood perfect,” it’s natural to feel embarrassed, awkward or shy. Braces will help correct your smile imperfections, boosting your confidence and self-esteem. When your teeth are perfectly straight, you will be smiling from ear to ear!

Braces are not just for children and teenagers. In fact, one out of every five patients who receive orthodontic treatments is 21 years or older. Our patients choose braces because they are truly an effective, life-changing treatment.

Thinking about getting braces? Tell us – how could braces change your life?

Different Ways to Whiten Teeth

Teeth often become darker due to a variety of reasons. Adult teeth are generally darker than a child’s deciduous teeth. The mineral structure of the teeth changes with age, causing the enamel in the teeth to become less porous. Many substances can stain the teeth, such as coffee, tea and tobacco. Drugs like tetracycline can also discolor the teeth. The methods of whitening teeth include gel bleaching, light-accelerated bleaching and natural bleaching.

Gel Bleaching

Gels are the most common method of bleaching teeth, and they may be divided into high-concentration and low-concentration gels. High-concentration gels typically use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as the oxidizing agent that whitens teeth. Gels containing carbamide peroxide have a concentration between 10 percent and 44 percent, while hydrogen peroxide solutions have a concentration between 3 percent and 16 percent. High-concentration gels use trays to retain the gel around the teeth according to a prescribed schedule, typically 20 minutes at a time.

Low-concentration gels are typically found in mouth guards and strips that are commercially available. They are usually applied to the teeth for several hours each day for up to two weeks. Low-concentration gels are much less effective at whitening teeth than high-concentration gels.

Light-Accelerated Bleaching

Light-accelerated bleaching combines high-concentration whitening gels with certain types of light to reduce the treatment period. The lighting source must emit high-energy photons to effectively increase the reaction rate of the oxidizing agent, with blue light generally being the most efficient. However, it cannot produce a great deal of heat as this could burn the surrounding tissue. Halogen, light-emitted diodes and plasma arcs are the most common sources of lighting used in light-accelerated bleaching. This treatment typically consists of a single session in a clinical setting that lasts no longer than an hour.

Natural Bleaching

Many naturally-occurring substances can also whiten teeth effectively. Malic acid is one of the most common natural whitening agents and is found in many fruits such as apples and strawberries. Citric acid found in fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges can also whiten teeth. These acids can be used simply by eating the relevant fruits, although you can increase their effectiveness by brushing the pulp or juice directly onto your teeth. This method must be used with caution to avoid damaging the enamel in your teeth, especially when using lemon juice. Baking soda is also a common method of whitening teeth that relies on abrasion.

Best Foods to Eat with Braces

You will generally need to avoid certain foods while wearing braces. Extremely hard foods such as nuts can damage the braces and they are also difficult to remove from the braces. Sticky foods such as taffy can pull the braces apart when you chew, and sweet foods can increase the risk of cavities when they remain on the braces. The pressure created by braces typically makes your teeth ache, especially during the first week. This discomfort may further restrict you to soft foods until you adjust to your braces. The best foods to wear with braces can be categorized into breads, meats, vegetables and snacks.

Breads

The breads that you eat while wearing braces should be soft without pieces of nuts, seeds or whole grains. Ensure that whole wheat bread has a smooth texture, and cut off the crust if needed. You may need to steam or microwave tortillas to make them soft, especially corn tortillas. Crackers and matzo balls are usually soft enough to eat with braces so long as they aren’t stale. Foods made from hard grains such as farro must be cooked until they are very soft.

Meat and Dairy

You may need to prepare meat dishes in a pressure cooker or crock pot to ensure the meat is tender, especially when you first receive braces. Barbequed meat may also be soft enough to eat while your teeth are still sore. Lunch meats are typically acceptable when wearing braces if they are thinly sliced. Other meat dishes may require you to cut the meat into small pieces. The best cheeses to eat with braces are soft cheeses such as brie and cottage cheese. Harder cheeses like cheddar, harvarti and Swiss should be thinly sliced.

Vegetables

Brace wearers can eat most vegetables if they are thoroughly cooked. Raw vegetables such as carrots and broccoli will typically be much too hard to bite into. Raw, leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach also require you to exert a strong biting force with your incisors, which may be uncomfortable when you first get braces.

Snacks

Ice cream should be free of hard items such as nuts and chocolate chunks. Snack bars may be acceptable if they aren’t too sticky or chewy. Most people with braces find that iced drinks numb the pain from braces, although you should ensure the drinks don’t contain too much sugar.

Benefits of a Nice Smile

A person’s smile is a critical aspect of their personality. Many people want to improve the quality of their smile due to problems with their teeth. Many studies show that a nice smile provides a variety of benefits in a person’s personal and professional life.

Study

Dr. Anne Beall is a social psychologist who conducted a study on the benefits of improved smiles in 2006. This study was sponsored by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and centered on the photographs of eight people, four of each gender. Two photographs were taken of each person, one photograph taken before the subject received cosmetic dentistry and the other photograph taken after treatment. None of the subjects had extremely bad dental health such as missing teeth or rotten teeth.

Two subjects in the study showed a mild improvement in their smiles, two subjects showed a moderate improvement and four subjects showed a major improvement. The photographs of four subjects were shown to a group of 264 respondents representing a statistically valid cross section of adults in the United States. Photographs of the other four subjects were shown to a different group of 264 respondents. The respondents were asked to rate each photograph on ten characteristics. The rating scale ranged from one to ten, one being the lowest rating and ten being the highest rating.

Results

This study showed that cosmetic dentistry produced a statistically significant improvement in all ten characteristics. The greatest improvements were observed in general attractiveness, sexual attractiveness, wealth and career success.

The average rating of general attractiveness was 4.6 before cosmetic dentistry and 5.9 after treatment, providing an average improvement of 1.3. Sexual attractiveness increased from 5.0 to 6.2 for an improvement of 1.2. The perception of wealth improved from 4.9 to 5.9 for an increase of 1.0. The perception of career success went from 5.8 to 6.7, increasing the average rating by 0.9.

A subject’s average rating on the characteristic of “interesting” increased from 5.4 to 6.1 after cosmetic dentistry, for an improvement of 0.7. The increase in perceived intelligence was 0.6, from 5.9 to 6.5. The subject’s apparent happiness improved from 6.2 to 6.8, for an increase of 0.6.

The subject’s perceived friendliness went from 6.3 to 6.8, improving this characteristic by 0.5. Sensitivity also increased by 0.5, from 5.6 to 6.1. The improvement on kindness was 0.4, from 6.0 to 6.4.

Basics of Flossing

Dental floss is generally composed of a group of filaments made from materials that produce minimal friction when rubbed against the teeth. These materials include nylon, polyethylene, silk or Teflon. Dental floss is used to remove foreign material from the surface of the teeth, especially below the gum line. The primary benefit of flossing is to reduce the risk of gingivitis. Flossing can be performed by hand and a variety of tools are also available that may facilitate this process.

Overview

The American Dental Association recommends that you floss at least once per day, but it does not specify an order between flossing and brushing. However, flossing before brushing allows the fluoride in toothpaste to reach tooth surfaces more easily, especially between the teeth. The primary risk of flossing is cutting the gums due to excessive force with the floss.

General Instructions

Flossing by hand typically involves wrapping the floss several times around one or more fingers on each hand to prevent the floss from slipping. Pull the ends of the floss away from each other to apply tension to the floss. Place the floss between two of your teeth and bend the floss around one of these teeth.

Keep the floss tight while pulling it back and forth across the side of the tooth. Move the floss down until it passes below the occlusion between the two teeth. It is important to maintain pressure against the tooth as you do this so that you don’t pull the floss into the gums.

Carefully pull the floss against the side of the tooth where the gum meets the tooth. Pull the floss up to scrape the floss against the tooth. Repeat this step as needed to remove any film from the surface of the tooth. Repeat this step with the tooth on the other side of that gap. Floss the other teeth in a similar manner, including the exposed rear surface of your back molars.

Tools

Tools such as picks or wands are designed to hold floss instead of your fingers. The primary advantage of these tools is that they prevent the floss from pinching your fingers, which can happen when you floss manually. The biggest disadvantage of flossing tools is that they are more difficult to place in the proper position for flossing than your fingers. Flossing tools also have difficulty keeping the floss under the tension that is necessary to floss safely.

5 Steps to Prevent Decay While Wearing Braces

When you get braces, you are doing so to get the perfect healthy smile. It would be detrimental for your smile if you get your braces off only to reveal decayed teeth. For this reason, it is vital that you take extra time and attention to take care of your teeth while you are wearing braces. If you follow these five simple steps you will end up with the smile of your dreams once your braces are removed.

BRUSH EVERY TIME YOU EAT

Yes, you read that right, you need to brush your teeth after every meal. That is because the braces on your teeth act like a blockade for food that gets stuck underneath them. This blocked food can sit under your braces all day, causing decay to your teeth. If you only brush your teeth in the morning and evening that means that food can potentially be sitting on your teeth for over 12 hours. Not to mention what that will do for the smell of your breath.

USE AN INTERDENTAL TOOTHBRUSH

Not only do you need to brush your teeth with a regular toothbrush after every meal, you also need to use an interdental toothbrush. An interdental toothbrush is shaped similar to a tree, and is made specifically for brushing those hard-to-reach places behind and between your braces.

USE MOUTH RINSE

In addition to brushing and flossing, it is also more important than ever that you use a mouth rinse. A mouth rinse is kind of like an insurance policy against any food particles that you may have missed when brushing and flossing. If you are somewhere without mouth rinse, water will work in the interim.

AVOID SUGARY FOODS

It is commonly said that prevention is the best medicine, and this especially relates to your dental care while wearing braces. Sugar is the substance most likely to cause decay in the first place, so the more you can avoid it, the better.

DON’T FORGET TO VISIT YOUR ORTHODONTIST

When you are wearing braces, it is vital that you see your orthodontist every three months. He will not only make sure your braces are fitting you properly, but he will also give you a much needed deep cleaning. Before you know it, your braces will be off, and you will have the smile you always dreamed of.