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Posts for tag: orthodontics

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
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.

By Thomas J. English, DDS
November 18, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics  

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.

If you would like more information on keeping an attractive smile throughout your life, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


If you're currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, you're no doubt looking forward to the day your braces come off. But that won't end your treatment just yet — you'll need to wear a retainer.

Teeth are held secure in the bone of the jaw by an elastic tissue known as the periodontal ligament. As the braces “pull” the teeth to their new position, the ligament stretches and the bone remodels around the teeth. But the ligament also has a tendency to rebound as the tension eases when the braces are removed. The teeth could then return to their original position, especially during the first few months.

To prevent this patients wear an orthodontic appliance known as a retainer. It maintains some of the tension once supplied by the braces to help keep or “retain” the teeth in their new position. Depending on your age and other factors, you'll have to wear one for at least eighteen months; some patients, especially adults, may have to wear one indefinitely.

You may be familiar with a removable retainer, one you can take in and out of your mouth. But there's another type called a bonded retainer that's fixed to the teeth and can only be removed by a dentist. With this retainer a dentist bonds a thin piece of wire to the back of the teeth where it can't be seen. You can feel it, though, with the tongue: an unusual sensation at first, but one easily grown accustomed to.

Unlike their removable counterparts, bonded retainers aren't noticeable, either to others or the wearer. They're especially appropriate for patients who may not be as diligent in wearing a removable retainer.

It does, though, have some disadvantages. The position of the wire running horizontally across several teeth can make flossing difficult. And as with any retainer, removing it could increase the risk of the teeth moving out of alignment.

There are a number of factors to discuss with your orthodontist about which type of retainer is best for your situation. If you do choose a bonded retainer, be sure you work with the dental hygienist on how best to floss the affected teeth. And if you do have it removed, have a removable retainer prepared so you can preserve that smile you've invested so much into obtaining.

If you would like more information on bonded retainers following braces, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.