Posts for: November, 2017
Find out what options you have for fixing your crooked smile.
Getting braces is something from which many people can benefit. While it may be obvious that orthodontic treatment will finally give you the smile you want and improve your appearance, having a straight smile can also improve the health of your teeth and gums and reduce your chances of decay and even potential damage to teeth (e.g. cracks or chips). From the office of our Conroe, TX, dentist Dr. Thomas English, here are the different orthodontic options available to you.
Traditional Metal Braces
This is the most well-known type of braces and one that’s most commonly used because they can handle a variety of different misalignments, from minor to more complicated. Brackets are bonded to the front of teeth and connected to each other by bands and wires. It’s the wires that apply the proper amount of pressure to shift teeth into the ideal position.
While metal braces may not be ideal for those looking for a more subtle approach, metal braces can be more efficient, particularly for more complex issues. Plus, the metal braces of today are sleeker, lighter and contain less metal than the ones from decades ago.
Clear Traditional Braces
If you need traditional braces in order to tackle your orthodontic issues but you loathe the idea of sporting a mouth full of metal than you can still get the treatment you need and the results you want with tooth-colored traditional braces instead. Instead of metal, brackets are made from porcelain or ceramic so they blend in more naturally with the rest of your smile.
Did you realize that the traditional braces that we bond to the front of your smile can also be bonded to the back of your teeth? That’s right. If you want a discreet way to straighten your smile and you hate the idea that everyone will see only metal on your teeth then it’s time to talk to our Conroe, TX, general dentist about lingual braces.
Lingual braces are custom-made to fit your teeth so they are a bit more expensive and the treatment process is a bit different than with traditional braces. We would be happy to tell you more about the treatment process with lingual braces if you are interested in this option.
The idea of wearing bracket-and-wire braces may frustrate teens and adults who want to fix crooked or otherwise misaligned smiles. Luckily, there are clear, removable systems on the market that can straighten your smile just by wearing custom-made clear aligners made from medical-grade plastic. Absolutely no metal is used and people won’t immediately even know that you have braces.
Whether you have questions about the orthodontic treatments we offer or you are ready to chat with us about one of our offerings, don’t hesitate to call our Conroe, TX office today.
If you’ve ever looked at younger photos of yourself, you’re sure to notice differences with your present appearance. Of course, your basic features might appear much the same. But maybe your lips seemed a little thicker back then, or your nose a bit less prominent.
This is because your facial features don’t stop growing when you reach adulthood—they continue to change throughout your life. For example, lips reach their maximum thickness by around age 14 for girls or age 16 for boys; they’ll remain at that level of thickness for a few years before gradually thinning throughout adulthood. The nose will also continue to grow, becoming more prominent especially as changes in the lower part of the face can make the chin appear shorter.
Although each of us ages at different rates and in different ways, these general physical trends are somewhat predictable. That’s why we can use the knowledge of how our facial physiology changes with age to fine tune orthodontic or other cosmetic dental treatments. The most optimum approach is to consider treatment in the early stages of bite development during childhood or early adolescence.
This means we’re doing more than correcting a patient’s current bite: we’re also taking into account how tooth movement now might affect the jaw and facial structures later in life. By incorporating our understanding of age-related changes into our treatment we might be able to provide some hedge against the effects of aging.
This approach starts with early comprehensive dental care, preferably before a child’s first birthday, and an orthodontic evaluation at around age 6 to assess bite development. It may also be necessary to initiate interceptive treatment at an early age to lessen or even eliminate a growing bite problem to help ease the extent of future treatment. And if a bite requires correction, early evaluation can help create a timetable for effective treatment in later years.
Taking this approach can correct problems now affecting both dental health and appearance. But by acknowledging the aging process in our treatments, we can build the foundation for a beautiful smile well into the future.
More than likely your great-grandparents, grandparents and even your parents had a common dental experience: when one of their teeth developed a cavity, their dentist removed the decayed portion (and maybe a little more) through drilling and then filled the cavity. In other words, treatment was mainly reactive—fix the problem when it occurred, then fix it again if it reoccurred.
You may have had similar experiences—but the chances are good your dentist’s approach is now quite different. Today’s tooth decay treatment is much more proactive: address first the issues that cause tooth decay, and if it does occur treat it with an eye on preventing it in the future.
This approach depends on maintaining equilibrium between two sets of competing factors that influence how your teeth may encounter tooth decay. This is known as the caries balance (caries being another name for tooth decay). On one side are factors that increase the risk of decay, known by the acronym BAD: Bad Bacteria that produce acid that dissolves the minerals in tooth enamel; Absence of Saliva, the body’s natural acid neutralizer; and Dietary Habits, especially foods with added sugars that feed bacteria, and acid that further weakens enamel.
There are also factors that decrease the risk of tooth decay, known by the acronym SAFE: Saliva and Sealants, which focuses on methods to boost low salivary flow and cover chewing surfaces prone to decay with sealant materials; Antimicrobials, rinses or other substances that reduce bad bacteria populations and encourage the growth of beneficial strains; Fluoride, increased intake or topical applications of this known enamel-strengthening chemical; and Effective Diet, reducing the amount and frequency of sugary or acidic foods and replacing them with more dental-friendly choices.
In effect, we employ a variety of techniques and materials that inhibit BAD factors and support SAFE ones. The foundation for prevention, though, remains the same as it was for past family generations—practice effective oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily and regular dental cleanings and checkups to keep bacterial plaque from accumulating and growing. Your own diligent daily care rounds out this more effective way that could change your family history of tooth decay for you and future generations.