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Posts for tag: braces

By Thomas J. English, DDS
January 11, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   oral health  

Breathing: You hardly notice it unless you're consciously focused on it—or something's stopping it!

So, take a few seconds and pay attention to your breathing. Then ask yourself this question—are you breathing through your nose, or through your mouth? Unless we're exerting ourselves or have a nasal obstruction, we normally breathe through the nose. This is as nature intended it: The nasal passages act as a filter to remove allergens and other fine particles.

Some people, though, tend to breathe primarily through their mouths even when they're at rest or asleep. And for children, not only do they lose out on the filtering benefit of breathing through the nose, mouth breathing could affect their dental development.

People tend to breathe through their mouths if it's become uncomfortable to breathe through their noses, often because of swollen tonsils or adenoids pressing against the nasal cavity or chronic sinus congestion. Children born with a small band of tissue called a tongue or lip tie can also have difficulty closing the lips or keeping the tongue on the roof of the mouth, both of which encourage mouth breathing.

Chronic mouth breathing can also disrupt children's jaw development. The tongue normally rests against the roof of the mouth while breathing through the nose, which allows it to serve as a mold for the growing upper jaw and teeth to form around. Because the tongue can't be in this position during mouth breathing, it can disrupt normal jaw development and lead to a poor bite.

If you suspect your child chronically breathes through his or her mouth, your dentist may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to check for obstructions. In some cases, surgical procedures to remove the tonsils or adenoids may be necessary.

If there already appears to be problems brewing with the bite, your child may need orthodontic treatment. One example would be a palatal expander, a device that fits below the palate to put pressure on the upper jaw to grow outwardly if it appears to be developing too narrowly.

The main focus, though, is to treat or remove whatever may be causing this tendency to breathe through the mouth. Doing so will help improve a child's ongoing dental development.

If you would like more information on treating chronic mouth breathing, 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 Trouble With Mouth Breathing.”

December 11, 2018
Category: Orthodontics
Tags: braces   orthodontics  

Discover the benefits your smile will enjoy when you get braces.

When most people think about getting braces the main reason has to do with straightening a misaligned or crooked smile, also known as aorthodontic care malocclusion (“bad bite”). After all, nothing makes you feel more confident than being able to flash a perfectly straight smile. Of course, people often don’t realize that orthodontic treatment and a straighter smile can afford other benefits to their oral health, as well. From the office of Conroe, TX, dentist Dr. Thomas English, here are some of the lesser-known benefits of getting braces.

Decreased Risk for Decay and Gum Disease
When your teeth are straight there are fewer areas where cavity-producing bacteria can get trapped. Misaligned smiles that are left untreated are more likely to harbor plaque buildup and food, as there are more areas for them to get stuck. Before long plaque buildup leads to cavities and gum disease.

Reduced Risk for TMJ Disorder, Jaw Problems and Dental Injuries
Another way braces can improve oral health is by improving tooth function. The upper and lower rows of teeth do not line up properly when the bite is misaligned. Underbites and overbites are examples of misaligned bites. In such cases, the work of biting and chewing is not always evenly distributed across teeth when they are not properly aligned. Uneven distribution can lead to additional strain on certain teeth. Those teeth can sustain extra wear and tear, which can adversely affect oral health. If you do not fix this issue more stress is placed on the jaws, which can lead to joint pain and problems such as TMJ disorder, as well as excessive wear and tear on certain teeth. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to fractures or cracks in teeth.

Types of Braces
Several options are available when it comes to braces. Whatever type of braces you select, you will benefit by straightening your smile, correcting your bite, and improving oral health. Four main types of braces include traditional metal, clear ceramic, clear aligner therapy, and lingual. The brackets for metal and ceramic braces are placed on the front of the teeth, while they are discreetly placed on the back with lingual braces. The clear aligner therapy such as Invisalign is a popular choice by many since it doesn't involve brackets or wires. Your Conroe dentist can help you select the right type of braces for you.

There are several benefits to getting braces. Beyond achieving straight teeth and a corrected bite, you will also improve tooth functioning and make oral hygiene easier. Both of these benefits can improve your oral health. To learn more about how braces can improve your oral health, schedule a consultation with Conroe, TX, dentist Dr. Thomas English.

By Thomas J. English, DDS
March 12, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

At any given time some 4 million teens and pre-teens are wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances to correct a malocclusion (poor bite). While most cases are straightforward, some have difficulties that increase treatment time and cost.

But what if you could reduce some of these difficulties before they fully develop? We often can through interceptive orthodontics.

This growing concept involves early orthodontic treatment around 6 to 10 years of age with the goal of guiding the development of a child’s jaws and other mouth structures in the right direction. These early years are often the only time of life when many of these treatments will work.

For example, widening the roof of the mouth (the palate) in an abnormally narrow upper jaw takes advantage of a gap in the bone in the center of the palate that doesn’t fuse until later in adolescence. A device called a palatal expander exerts outward pressure on the back teeth to influence the jawbone to grow out. New bone fills in the gap to permanently expand the jaw.

In cases with a developing overbite (the upper front teeth extending too far over the lower teeth when closed), we can install a hinged device called a Herbst appliance to the jaws in the back of the mouth. The hinge mechanism coaxes the lower jaw to develop further forward, which may help avoid more extensive and expensive jaw surgery later.

Interceptive treatments can also be fairly simple in design like a space retainer, but still have a tremendous impact on bite development. A space maintainer is often used when a primary (“baby”) tooth is lost prematurely, which allows other teeth to drift into the empty space and crowd out the incoming permanent tooth. The wire loop device is placed within the open space to prevent drift and preserve the space for the permanent tooth.

To take advantage of these treatments, it’s best to have your child’s bite evaluated early. Professional organizations like the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommend a screening by age 7. While it may reveal no abnormalities at all, it could also provide the first signs of an emerging problem. With interceptive orthodontics we may be able to correct them now or make them less of a problem for the future.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Interceptive Orthodontics.”

By Thomas J. English, DDS
January 18, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   braces   orthodontics  

Orthodontic treatment is a big investment. But given the benefits for future good health and a more attractive smile, it's well worth it.

In the here and now, though, braces wearers face a different threat to their dental well-being — dental disease. Wearing braces can actually increase the risk of disease and make it more difficult to fight.

Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, the two most common forms of dental disease, usually arise from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces. The bacteria produce acid, which erodes enamel and makes the teeth susceptible to decay. Certain bacteria can also infect the gums and eventually weaken their attachment to teeth. Thorough brushing and flossing everyday removes this disease-triggering plaque buildup.

But braces' hardware can make brushing and flossing more difficult. The brackets attached to the teeth and wires laced through them make it more difficult for floss and brush bristles to access all the areas around the teeth. Plaque can build up in certain spots; it's estimated braces wearers have two to three times the plaque of a person not wearing braces. Acid can also remain in contact with some of the enamel surface for too long.

It's important, therefore, if you wear braces to make a concerted effort to brush and floss thoroughly. Besides improving technique and taking more time, you might also consider additional aids. You can obtain toothbrushes specially designed for use with braces, as well as floss holders or threaders that make it easier to access between teeth. Another flossing alternative is an oral irrigator that sprays water under pressure between teeth is an alternative to flossing.

As a precaution against acid damage, we can boost enamel protection with additional fluoride applied to your teeth. We may also prescribe antibacterial rinses to keep the bacteria population low.

Above all, be sure to look out for signs of disease like swollen or bleeding gums or pain. As soon as you sense something out of the ordinary, be sure and contact us.

If you would like more information on keeping your teeth disease-free while wearing braces, 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 “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”

November 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   orthodontics  

Find out what options you have for fixing your crooked smile.braces

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.

Lingual Braces

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.

Removable Braces

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.