Posts for: May, 2015
Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.
“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:
- Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
- Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
- Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.
Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
A critical part of effective, daily oral hygiene, flossing removes bacterial plaque from between teeth that can’t be accessed with brushing. Unfortunately, it’s often neglected — string flossing requires a bit more dexterity than brushing and can be difficult to do properly.
It can be even more difficult for people with implants or who wear orthodontic appliances. For brace wearers in particular, getting access to areas between teeth with string floss is next to impossible; the metal brackets and tension wire also have a tendency to catch and retain food debris that’s difficult to remove with brushing alone.
Water flossing, using a device called an oral irrigator, is an effective alternative that addresses many of these difficulties. First available for home use in the 1960s, an oral irrigator delivers pulsating water at high pressure through a handheld applicator that forcefully flushes material from between teeth.
There’s no question that string flossing is effective in plaque removal between teeth — but what about oral irrigators? A 2008 study looked at a group of orthodontic patients with braces who used oral irrigators and compared them with a similar group that only brushed. The study found that five times as much plaque was removed in the group using the oral irrigators as opposed to the group only brushing.
Oral irrigators may also be effective for people who’ve developed periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, oral irrigators coupled with ultra-sound devices are routinely used by dental hygienists to remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) in periodontal patients. As with regular oral hygiene, though, it’s important for patients with gum disease to include water flossing with daily brushing (at least twice a day) and regular cleaning sessions at the dentist to ensure removal of all plaque and calculus.
If you’re interested in using an oral irrigator, be sure to consult with us at your next appointment. Not only can we recommend features to look for in equipment, but we can also instruct you on the techniques to make water flossing an effective plaque remover.
If you would like more information on water flossing, 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 “Cleaning Between Your Teeth.”
The actions you choose to take when you're having an urgent problem with your teeth can have a long term effect on your dental health. If you wait too long, you put yourself at risk for losing or damaging your teeth. If you're having a dental emergency, do not hesitate to have it checked out as soon as possible by Dr. John C. Koechley at his Batavia dentist office.
What Is Considered a Dental Emergency?
Some patients neglect to see a dentist urgently because they’re not sure if it’s really an emergency. Here are a few clear indications that you have a dental emergency and should visit the dentist’s office ASAP:
- Pain that makes it difficult to eat, drink or talk.
- A loose or knocked out tooth or crown.
- A chipped or broken tooth.
- Cut gums, cheeks or lips.
- Excessive bleeding from the gums.
The Potential Consequences of Waiting Too Long
Patients often put off necessary dental appointments either because they can’t take time off of work, have busy schedules or are too anxious to visit the dentist. But delaying a dental visit, especially in the case of an emergency, can have significant repercussions. Allowing dental pain from an abscess or tooth infection to persist can cause the tooth to rot away, and an infection can travel. A broken or chipped tooth may allow food particles and bacteria to enter that can cause an infection. Also, the faster you see your Batavia dentist after a tooth is knocked out, the better the chance that it can be successfully reintegrated into the bone.
General Dental Care Tips
The best way to avoid dental emergencies is to prioritize good at-home care practices and to commit to seeing your dentist at least twice per year. Brush your teeth (and gums gently) once when you wake and once before you go to bed. Floss at least once every day to remove food particles that could cause gum disease or tooth infections.
See Dr. Koechley for Urgent Care
Like any other medical emergency, it’s important that you seek help at the first sign of serious problem. Call Dr. Koechley’s Batavia dentist office at (630) 406-9441 to speak to a friendly receptionist about your urgent issue and come in to see him as soon as possible.