Thursday, March 22, 2012

Adult Braces: Is it too late?

This is a common question asked by adults who would like the benefits of teeth straightening procedures but are intimidated by the hype and stigma associated with them.  The answer is simple; it is never too late to achieve that beautiful, healthy smile that you have always desired.  In fact, a census conducted by the American Association of Orthodontics show that one out of every four orthodontic patients today are adults.  Some orthodontic practices, such as Orthodontics of Cambridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts have a patient roster that is closer to 60% adults, many of whom are over the age of 35.

Orthodontic treatment, at any age, is a commitment and a life adjustment.  The bonus to starting this process as an adult is that, chances are, you will be more diligent in the time you invest into your oral care and thus better ensuring that you receive optimal results.  Many young adults that had braces as teenagers require some form of orthodontic treatment later in life because of a misplaced retainer, or inconsistent retainer wearing habits, resulting in the shifting of teeth over time.  You wouldn’t let this happen to you on your own dime this time around, would you?

Don’t worry about the appearance of orthodontia either, this is an art form that has gone through many changes and upgrades since your childhood!  Did you know that they now make brackets, wires and elastics that virtually match the natural color of your teeth?  And then there’s Invisalign or ClearCorrect, the orthodontic technique that straightens teeth over time using a series of clear molded trays.  But why be modest?  Some adults actually have more fun choosing brightly colored elastics to show off than kids do, their thought process being: “Well, if I’m going to make this commitment, I might as well have fun with it!”

What is most important to remember when considering braces is that they are not only the key to an aesthetically pleasing smile, but to proper jaw alignment and healthy gums.  In 16 to 24 months, you too could have a smile that you are proud to flash and the best oral health of your life. 

Adults of all ages, if you are interested in obtaining the healthy, happy smile of your dreams, contact our office for a complimentary initial visit!

The Importance of Brushing with Braces:

You hear all the time from your dentist how important it is to keep your teeth clean...but why does your orthodontist push you each visit to maintain these excellent oral hygiene habits?  It may sound a bit over dramatic, but we kid you not when we say that plaque is one of your greatest enemies.  When you ad the additional surface area and angles of braces to your teeth, plaque finds even tinier nooks and crannies to hide in and wreak havoc on your unprotected teeth.  

Plaque is a film composed of saliva, food and bacteria that coat your teeth.  If it is allowed to remain on your teeth and around your orthodontic appliances, you could be plagued with bad breath, swollen gums, cavities and even permanent stains on your teeth.

In order for your orthodontic treatment to be a success, it is important to understand that the end results depend directly on the teamwork between you, your dentist and your orthodontist.  Because you are the one who has daily interaction with your teeth and gums, you are the MVP on this team!  It may seem tedious at times, but trust us when we say that a little extra work on your part now will save you many headaches, (and toothaches for that matter), in the future!

We highly recommend that you brush after every meal, but if this is impossible, try to always rinse your mouth with water at the very least after every snack or meal if you don't have a toothbrush handy.  Travel toothbrushes are so easy to come by at your standard convenience stores, and now you can even find disposable single-use brushes that make oral hygiene on-the-go even easier!  Flossing every night before bed is also recommended for good measure - you don't want to miss those little spaces hiding between your teeth, do you?  What's the use of straightening your teeth if you neglect your gums?

Please visit our “How to Brush and Floss with Braces” for some additional helpful tips!

How to Brush and Floss with Braces

Here are some simple steps to help keep brushing and flossing simple throughout your time in braces.

Flossing is key for getting into those hard to reach, in-between places.  It is recommended that you floss nightly before going to bed as that is generally the most relaxed time of day and you won't feel pressured to rush through it.  Your orthodontist or the assistant who you see at each visit may have introduced you to what is known as a floss threader.  This is a reusable tool that allows you to get dental floss underneath your arch-wire easily; it is shaped like a sewing needle and very easy to thread and feed through those trickier spaces.  Pay close attention to the gum line; food and plaque have a field day on (and under) this sneaky surface area which causes the gum disease gingivitis and threatens the health of your teeth and their roots.  Always brush or rinse after flossing to swish away any remaining tooth offenders to ensure optimal oral health.


Now, let's talk about brushing.  Power toothbrushes are the ultimate tool for brushing those pearly whites while they are cemented with brackets and archwires.  They are highly effective, and when used correctly, promote happy teeth and gums and overall oral health and wellness.  If you don't have a power toothbrush handy, don't worry, simply take your time using a soft, rounded bristle toothbrush that is in good condition.  Make sure you brush every surface on and around your braces thoroughly until those braces shine!  Don't forget about that gumline of yours either, always brush it gently and with intention.  To get to those trickier places, ask your orthodontist where you can find an interproximal brush.  An interproximal brush is a tiny tree-shaped brush that slips easily between your archwire and teeth to remove plaque and trapped food.  Any standard fluoride toothpaste, such as Colgate Total, is always a safe bet when choosing an oral cleanser.  Follow up with a fluoride rinse once a day too, if possible; fluoride provides a strong defense for your teeth as they shift into place to form that beautiful smile you have been waiting for! 

Happy Hygiene-ing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your Child's First Visit for Orthodontics Should Be Around Age 7

You might have thought that your child wouldn't be due for an orthodontic evaluation until most of their adult teeth had come in, so when your family dentist referred your 7 year old for an initial orthodontic visit it probably came as a surprise, right? Well, we are here to tell you that your dentist is doing you a great service by making this recommendation. Seven years of age really is the best time to get an evaluation of your child’s upper and lower jaws as well as the pattern of their permanent teeth eruption. While orthodontic treatment most often begins between the ages of 9 and 14, some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they're treated early.

This early treatment gives the orthodontist a chance to help prevent future problems that would become much more difficult to correct if it is not addressed in the pre-teen years. Early intervention can guide jaw growth, correct harmful oral habits, improve the way lips meet, guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position, and of course, improve the appearance and self-esteem for your child.

Please call us at Orthodontics of Cambridge for further information and to set up a complimentary initial orthodontic exam if your child displays one or more of the below symptoms: 

  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth 
  • An unbalanced facial appearance
  • Upper and lower teeth that don't meet, or meet in an abnormal way
  • Protruding teeth 
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth 
  • Jaws that are too far forward or back
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth 
  • Thumb sucking 
  • Breathing through the mouth 
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth

Best Wishes!

William U. Murthy, DMD & Team
Orthodontics of Cambridge
186 Concord Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-864-2003
Fax: 617-864-2004