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Braces & Your Oral Hygiene Routine

June 4th, 2018

Braces can make maintaining thorough oral hygiene difficult. However, there are some best practices and special tools you can use to make your oral hygiene routine easy and efficient!

Brushing Basics

Let's start with the basic brushing tools. Our orthodontists recommend choosing either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (a toothbrush that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges). Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can also work. But be sure that the electric brush you select is set to a moderate power level whenever you use it, and be mindful of the vibrations. You don’t want the back of your brush to hit your brackets or braces.

Best Practices

Our team of skilled orthodontists advises that you brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day (preferably after meals) for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all teeth surfaces: outside, inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. And be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, as well as between brackets and gums — that's where food particles can easily become trapped, causing decay.

Technique

Beginning at the outside surfaces, place the tips of toothbrush bristles flat against teeth then use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. For areas between braces and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, utilizing a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish by carefully brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the outside surfaces.

Special Oral Hygiene Tools

There are several tools that can make your oral hygiene routine simpler. A couple popular options include the interdental toothbrush (or proxabrush) and the Waterpik®. An interdental toothbrush has a small tuft of bristles that stick up like a pipe cleaner. It can be used to clean tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets. Meanwhile the Waterpik® shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies.

Healthy Smiles to Last A Lifetime

Every day that you keep your teeth and gums healthy is an investment in your future. Great oral hygiene enables you to get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, setting you on a path to a brighter smile. For more information about brushing and flossing, inquiries regarding braces, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics at our Chicago or Vernon Hills location today! We’d love to hear from you!

 

Dangers of Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Treatment

May 7th, 2018

If you’re going to do something, do it right. There are dangers involved with direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment. Learn about them now!

Today we live in a world where people want things instantaneously—goods delivered to their homes so they won’t have to go out and get what they need. While this can work with some typesproducts, when it comes to medical treatment of any sort people should reconsider.

If you’re having skin problems you should go see a dermatologist. If your vision is acting up you should make an appointment with an optometrist. And if you desire straighter teeth you should book an appointment with an orthodontist. Sure, you could get face cream, glasses, or even teeth straightening products like direct-to-consumer aligners delivered to your home. HOWEVER, without in-person evaluations that are necessary to understand your specific needs and situation, those fixes will not be as effective and may even cause you harm in the long-run.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) warns that (while online orthodontic companies make their treatment sound easy) without in-person evaluations and/or in-person supervision of your orthodontic treatment by an experienced orthodontist, your results may not be as reliable. They could even damage your teeth. After all, orthodontic treatment involves major movement of biological material in your mouth. So if done incorrectly, you could experience expensive and potentially irreversible oral/dental damage to your teeth, gums, bite, and more.

Before you decide to proceed with a direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment company, bear in mind this warning. Read more on the AAO’s blog today and consider these two important questions: What are you willing to sacrifice for saving a little time and money with a direct-to-consumer product? And is it better to do things the easy way or the right way?

Seven Myths about Orthodontic Treatment

April 13th, 2018

Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics is committed to bringing you the latest in orthodontic treatment, technologies, and information. We utilize our blog as a means to help our patients understand vital orthodontic treatment, oral, and dental topics. This month, we would like to highlight a great piece from the American Association of Orthodontists that debunks and explains seven myths about orthodontic treatment. Read the piece in full on our blog below, or view it here on the AAO website:

American Association of Orthodontists – Orthodontic Treatment Article

Myth #1 Anyone who provides braces or aligners is an orthodontist

False. While some general dentists or online companies offer braces or aligners, only an orthodontist who has taken the additional years of advanced training at an accredited residency can call themselves an orthodontic specialist or be a member of the AAO. It’s not worth the risk of permanent damage to your face and smile to allow anyone who isn’t an orthodontist to attempt to move your teeth. By selecting an AAO orthodontist, you are choosing a specialist who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Look for the AAO logo at your orthodontist’s office, or locate an AAO orthodontist using ‘Find an Orthodontist’ at aaoinfo.org/truth.

Myth #2 Orthodontists are so expensive

AAO orthodontists are unique health care providers who carefully customize their patients' treatment plans and as a result, their fees directly reflect the complexity of each case. From simple cases which only take months to treat, to very difficult ones which may take a couple of years, the benefits of having an expert provide your orthodontic care will be well worth it. Most AAO orthodontists offer free consultations and flexible payment plans, and are willing to work with their patients in order to help them achieve a beautiful smile. Trust your smile to an AAO orthdontic specialist who will safely straighten your teeth and closely monitor your progress to ensure that your bite is the best that it can be.

Myth #3 Office visits are not necessary to get straight teeth

No Visits = No Monitoring = No Good The reality is that the health of your gums, teeth and jaws cannot be monitored during treatment if you are never seen by a qualified orthodontist. Even the most carefully planned treatments need to be closely monitored to ensure that your treatment stays on course. These visits must be completed by a trained orthodontist should a problem arise or a mid-course treatment correction be needed. The good news is that today’s technology has allowed patients to extend intervals between appointments to as long as 8 to 10 weeks.

Myth #4 Orthodontic treatment takes several years

Orthodontic treatment requires careful, controlled movements of the teeth to ensure they are moving into proper positions. From simple cases (which may only take a few months to treat) to the most complex cases (which could take longer), your AAO orthodontist has the training, experience, and skill to deliver an excellent result in the shortest amount of time. It’s not worth the risk to have someone who attempts to do orthodontics as a side business because of the possible irreversible damage that could occur.

Myth #5 Orthodontic treatment is purely cosmetic

There’s much more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye. An improved appearance is the most obvious result. But when teeth and jaws are in alignment, it means function (biting, chewing, speaking) is improved, too – a dual treatment benefit!

That beautiful smile is the outward sign of good oral health, and sets the stage for the patient’s overall well-being. Orthodontists play a larger role in healthcare than is generally realized.

Myth #6 Orthodontists only offer metal braces

Orthodontists spend years studying and training in how teeth move. It makes them expertly qualified to use all the tools available to provide the best care possible for their patients. That includes metal braces, as well as a full range of other appliances (devices designed to move teeth) that can be fixed or removable, with clear options available. Rather than pressuring a patient into using a particular product or service offered by individual companies, orthodontists are craftsmen with a variety of tools at their fingertips. An AAO orthodontist has the expertise to provide the best appliance (at the right time) to achieve the best result in the most timely manner.

Myth #7 Orthodontic treatment is just for kids

False. Patients of all ages, young and old, can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Age is not a concern when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful smile. In 2014, close to 1.5 million adults were treated by AAO orthodontists! Because adults may have more complicated cases from prior dental work or gum disease, it is imperative that their treatment be provided by an AAO orthodontist who has the training, expertise and experiences to deliver the best results.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists - only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.

When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.

Wisdom Teeth & Wisdom Tooth Extraction

March 16th, 2018

Your third molars are more commonly called "wisdom teeth." Usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties, wisdom teeth often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction.

When teeth lack the space to come through, or simply develop in the wrong place of your jaw and become impacted, problems arise. Thus, it becomes necessary to extract them. Never fear. Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively common procedure, performed on some five million patients every year.

When Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Necessary?

When your wisdom teeth start coming in you will be examined with a series of diagnostic tests such as x-rays or a CT scan to see if the incoming teeth will cause issues in your mouth. Wisdom tooth extraction will be recommended if:

  • Your jaw is too small to accommodate all your teeth once the wisdom teeth come in.
  • The wisdom teeth are erupting (coming in) in a crooked orientation.
  • It doesn’t look like one or more of the wisdom teeth are going to erupt.

What If I Leave My Wisdom Teeth in?

If your jaw is too small for new wisdom teeth then crowding will occur. Crowding can lead to your wisdom teeth becoming impacted (that is, unable to emerge from the gums), potentially harming adjacent bone or teeth. Additionally, if your wisdom teeth come in at a crooked angle they can damage teeth, harm the jaw, and cause bite problems.

When a wisdom tooth doesn’t fully erupt then it has a greater chance of developing bacterial infections. A cyst (a closed, fluid-filled sac) may also form around an unerupted wisdom tooth, which can turn into an infection and injure adjacent bone or nerve tissue. Wisdom tooth extraction can be a simple solution to potentially save your mouth from a myriad of dental problems like these.

The Extraction Procedure

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually an in-office procedure. It's usually possible to have the treatment done with only a local anesthetic (numbing shot); this could keep you from experiencing any pain. However, if multiple teeth are being extracted at one time (as is often the case) a general anesthetic or conscious sedation may be administered.

Once you have been appropriately anesthetized, the gum tissue at the extraction site may need to be opened if the tooth is impacted. The tooth will then be gently removed. When the extraction is complete, you may need to have the extraction site sutured (stitched) to aid the healing. After the procedure is over you will rest for a short time before going home. Depending on what type of anesthesia you have, you may need another person to drive you.

Recovery

The recovery period after wisdom tooth extraction generally only lasts a few days. During this time you should rest to encourage healing and take pain medication as prescribed. It's normal to experience some bleeding at the extraction site; this can be controlled by gently biting on gauze pads, changing them as needed, and resting with your head elevated on pillows rather than lying flat. You can also hold an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for a few minutes at a time (for example, five minutes on / five minutes off) as this may help reduce swelling the first day after the procedure. On day two the warm, moist heat of a washcloth placed on the outside of the cheek may make you more comfortable. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water a few times a day can also help alleviate discomfort.

We recommend eating soft foods for the first few days after a wisdom tooth extraction. On the same note, be careful when brushing your teeth or putting anything in your mouth until your healing is complete. As a whole, be sure to follow your post-operative instructions.

Learn More About Your Teeth Today!

Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure than many of us go through in order to prevent future dental problems and protect our smiles. If you’re at an age when your wisdom teeth are coming in, this treatment may be right for you. If you have questions, please contact us at our Chicago or Vernon Hills office today.

And for more info about great oral and dental topics, visit the Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics blog again soon!