May 12th, 2022
Spring is bringing out some fun at the office! We dressed up for St. Patty's Day, played some pranks on April Fool's Day, dressed up the office for Easter, AND we celebrated Red Sox Opening Day 9even though it was postponed due to weather)! Happy Spring Everyone
New Office Location Coming Soon! This is not how I envisioned breaking the big news of our office re-location, but never-the-less I am excited to share the news! We will be moving into a beautiful and bigger office in the coming weeks. An exact date is not known yet as construction completion has been slow due to COVID-19 as you can imagine. The new space is only a 20 second drive south of our current location so essentially the same great location! The fabulous news is that it is bigger with more space to “space -out” in which is critical in our new “normal” lifestyle thanks to COVID-19, it is on the first floor so easy and quick access to the office for your convenience and of course it will be state-of-the-art so that we can provide you with the very best orthodontic care that you have come to expect at our office. I will keep you all updated on progress and timing for our move and expect that it will have minimal inconvenience to all of our wonderful patients.
We set out our Spring Newsletter in March right before our office closure due to COVID-19 so many of our patients and families did not get the chance to see it. Well.....here it is :) It's a great way to catch up on what the office was doing every quarter. Enjoy!
To keep all of our patients and employees safe, we are adhering to the mandate from the CDC and State of Massachusetts that all dental/orthodontic offices remain closed until May 4th. For your protection, if you have an appointment scheduled from now until May 4th, it will be rescheduled as soon as we are able to resume. We will be checking phone messages regularly but ask that calling the office try to be limited to inquiring about acute orthodontic emergencies and not scheduling questions. You can always call or text Dr. Hughes’ cell phone at 774-270-5429. At this point, we are only allowed to see emergency orthodontic patients with pain. We wish you good health through this tough time and we will work hard to help everyone as soon as the emergency is over.
In recent light of Gov Baker's guidance and trying to "flatten the curve" , we will be closing the office for 3 weeks and rescheduling all routine appointments. Dr. Hughes will be available for emergency visits. Thank you and please stay well and as isolated as possible so we can try and stop the spread of this virus. We must all do our part.
As previously stated, we are keeping up to date on the latest COVID-19 concerns and have made some changes in our office to assist in further patient, family and staff safety. Our waiting room gets extremely busy during peak hours of operation in our office (a fact which you all are painfully aware of from 3-5pm as it is often standing room only). Because of this, the waiting room chairs have been reduced and spaced out to provide more social distance between seated patients and family members during this outbreak. This means fewer seats in the waiting room unfortunately. If you are comfortable sending your child into the office alone for their appointment (while a parent/family member waits in the car or elsewhere in the building) we can reduce the number of patients in the waiting room considerably. Feel free to call or text the office while your child is at their appointment to schedule their future appointment. Texting is a feature that can provide a quicker response than playing phone tag on voicemails. We generally provide a synopsis of your child’s treatment at the end of their appointment. If you are not at the office during your child’s appointment, Dr. Hughes is always happy to provide appointment details to you at the end of the day so feel free to request a call back from her as well.
When you check in for an appointment, we will be screening all patients regarding their recent travel history and medical conditions. Please do not take offense to this. We are merely trying to screen for the safety of our patients, families and staff members. This screening process has been recommended by for all dental offices to conduct.
We will be wiping down the office waiting room furniture, beverage center, video game consoles more frequently throughout the day with our hospital level surface disinfectant that kills viruses. Please cheer on Mia, Jen or Kerry when they are doing this as they are looking out for your safety!
We have tissues and hand sanitizer at the front desk. Please cover your coughs and sneezes and use our hand sanitizer products.
If you are not comfortable bringing yourself or child to their appointment, please do what you think is best. The worst case scenario is that they/you will be in orthodontic treatment longer and in the grand scheme of things, this is fairly trivial.
In the clinical part of the office, we will continue the same high standard infection control protocols that we always provide. Every year, the office attends an infection control class that provides all the latest information on dental office safety and thus guides our routine infection control protocols. This includes wiping down our dental chairs in between each patient with hospital grade surface level disinfectant. Dr. Hughes had to have all the chairs reupholstered last year as this disinfectant is so strong that after a few years of wiping chairs as often as we do, the leather becomes cracked and worn. Safety first though in this office! Gloves, masks and eyewear are always in use and all instruments are sterilized between each patient in our sterilizers. Weekly spore tests are completed on all sterilizers to ensure that they are performing at proper level on sterilization. Proper hand washing between patients and the use of hand sanitizer that has more than 60% alcohol is in constant use as well. Staff members that display symptoms of respiratory illness will also be asked to stay home from work. Unfortunately this could mean added waiting times to see patients or perhaps the need to reschedule patients if we are understaffed. We apologize ahead for this inconvenience should it occur.
We will continue to update you on changes as they occur and please call should you have questions.
We love to support our community and local sports teams! Hockey, baseball, football, soccer....you name it, we have helped to sponsor it! Let us know if your team needs sponsorship!
Awareness about bite problems are important. This month we spread the word about orthodontic health. Call us and schedule your consultation today
Don't forget to bring in those old shoes so that we can turn them in by September 30th!
Don't trust your smile to just anyone! Make sure you seek the care of a Certified Orthodontist to ensure a healthy and beautiful smile. Dr. Hughes is one of only a few board certified orthodontists in the Metrowest area. Board Certification is a voluntary process which orthodontists go through after they receive their orthodontic degrees and it helps to ensure that they are up to date on all the current research, have the highest of orthodontic standards for completing cases and are passionate about their profession and maintaining high quality care for you and your family. Check out our website link to the American Board of Orthodontists
Diagnosing Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea in children is a critical thing for their overall mental and physical health and well-being! Did you know that if your child has sleep apnea, it can impair their organ health long-term and has been linked to attention issues in school? If you think your child has some of the signs and symptoms of a sleep disorder, contact your pediatrician for a consult. They may refer you for a sleep study as well. If your child is diagnosed with sleep apnea, an expander is a critical orthodontic appliance used to improve their breathing ability through their nose. Don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions regarding this very importance health issue that has become more and more recognized in our population today.
We love helping to support our local community! In February, we celebrated Children's Dental Health Month by visiting the Johnson School and giving a presentation on oral health and taking care of teeth. The Tooth Fairy and our special guest "Tooth" (AKA Kristen dressed up as a giant tooth) came along for the visit! We also donated dental goody bags to Brown Elementary 3rd graders. They loved getting their toothbrushes, floss, coloring books, and tooth savers! We also have an ongoing canned food drive at the office to support the Natick Service Council. All of our patients that bring in canned goods get extra wooden nickels! Lastly, for Earth Day, we raised money to plant 50 trees to help the wild fire devastated areas in California. Dr. Hughes grew up in California so this is a project near and dear to her heart.
It's been a busy Spring for us here at the office! We have had some great theme days to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, the Kentucky Derby and even threw in a pajama day! Below is a picture of our Kentucky Derby Day with Dr. Hughes, Jen and our new team member, Mia. We recently hired Mia as a new Scheduling Coordinator to help at the front desk a few afternoons a week. Next time you are at the office, please say "hi" to Mia. She grew up here in Natick and in her spare time is taking college classes.
Back to school is here! After a fun summer, it is time to get back into our routines. For some of our patients, they will be returning to school for the first time with braces! No need to be worried; these days, it seems braces are pretty much a ‘rite of passage’, so you’ll fit right in. However, we do have some tips to make sure the transition is a smooth and comfortable one:
So you’ve just got your braces on – Congratulations! You are on your way to a healthy, spectacular smile! There are a few things that you can do to make sure you and your braces become great friends; Like any relationship, it’s all about showing that you care (and maybe a little compromise too.) Here are a few tips to ensure that your relationship gets off to a good start:
Follow these tips to make sure your relationship with your braces is carefree and easy. If you have any questions or concerns about your braces give us a call or ask at your next appointment.
Just as helmets, shoulder pads, and knee pads are worn to protect against sports-related injuries, mouthguards are equally important as protective gear. Mouthguards help prevent injury to the oral cavity, especially to the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. Even athletes who wear helmets or face shields – such as football, hockey, and lacrosse players – should wear mouthguards, since they also protect against head-and-neck injuries by helping to cushion blows that otherwise could result in a concussion or worse.
When you’re in orthodontic treatment you have to use a mouthguard that is made to fit over the braces. (No ‘boil and bite’). We recommend the Shock Doctor brand. You can pick one up at a local sporting goods store or at our office.
When you are finished with your orthodontic treatment we can make you a custom mouthguard. Custom mouthguards are made to fit your teeth perfectly. You can choose the colors and we can even put your team logo on the mouthguard!
Always protect yourself by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports. If you have any questions about mouthguards ask us at your next appointment.
Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month by learning more about orthodontists.The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite — straight teeth that properly meet opposing teeth in the opposite jaw. If your teeth are crowded, protrusive, spaced too far apart, meet in an abnormal way or do not meet at all, correction may be recommended. If you have an abnormal bite your dentist may recommend braces or another orthodontic treatment to straighten out your smile. Correcting the problem can create an awesome-looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. A healthy bite makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak. It also prevents improper wearing of the teeth, tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems.
Abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have a consultation around age 7. Treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results. In the past, orthodontic treatment was associated with children and teens, but today many adults seek orthodontic treatment. In fact, there are currently more than 1.2 million U.S. adults in orthodontic treatment! Today there are many aesthetic options for adult treatment including clear braces, Invisalign and active retainers.
Come visit Lakewood Park Orthodontics in Natick to learn how orthodontics can improve your oral health and give you a healthy, straight smile. Call 508 319 1545 for a complimentary consultation.
Lakewood Park Orthodontics is excited to now be using the Carriere Motion Appliance for our Class II orthodontic cases! The Carriere appliance can shorten treatment time and reduce the amount of time spent in wires and brackets. The appliance is barely visible and there is even a clear option for those who would like an even more concealed look.
A class II malocclusion is a very common bite that we see among our patients. With a Class II bite the upper teeth are forward of the lower teeth. This causes an ‘overbite’. We usually treat Class II malocclusions with elastics (sometimes a headgear is also needed at a young age if the malocclusion is significant). Elastics are typically used to fix the bite at the end of treatment. But sometimes patients are ‘burnt out’ by the end of treatment, they are not enthusiastic and therefore their compliance is not up to par. Unfortunately, elastics are only effective if the patient is compliant. With the Carriere appliance, we are able to use the elastics in the beginning of treatment -before the braces even go on. Fixing the malocclusion in the beginning of treatment, when the patient is most compliant, can reduce total treatment time. Plus, it reduces the amount of time spent in wires and brackets making treatment easier on the patients.
The number of adults investing in their oral health is on the rise. Adults are seeking braces for all types of issues from minor crowding or spacing to more significant bite issues. One of the main reasons for this increase in adult patients is the advancement in the design of braces that make them less noticeable. A ‘mouth full of metal’ is no longer a requirement for straight teeth and a healthy bite. Clear braces can create a brilliant smile without compromising self-esteem or professional appearance.
At Lakewood Park we offer ceramic braces and Invisalign. Ceramic braces are like metal braces, except the brackets are tooth-colored. With advances in the industry, ceramic braces are now as strong and effective as regular metal braces. Invisalign are clear aligners. They are removable custom-fit plastic pieces that resemble retainers. They are nearly inviscid and virtually pain free, with no brackets to come off or wires to break and poke. Clear aligners are removed to eat, brush and floss. Although they are removable it is important to wear them 20-22 hours a day for them to be effective.
You no longer have to let worry about what braces will look like keep you from having the smile you deserve. For more information about how ceramic brackets or Invisalign could work for you call Lakewood Park Orthodontics at (508) 319 1545 for a free consultation
Our patients who have braces know how annoying and painful canker sores can be, especially when combined with braces. Canker sores are not contagious. They most commonly appear on the inside of the mouth and can show up as one or multiple sores at the same time. Unfortunately, canker sores often return and there are no known causes. However, stress, trauma, food allergies, eating certain foods (chocolate, nuts and citrus fruits) and vitamin deficiencies may be a trigger.
The good news is that there is relief for canker sores. You can use pain-relieving gels, saltwater rinses and antibacterial mouthwashes to help ease the pain and support healing. The sores will usually heal within two weeks – if yours lasts longer than that you should contact your dentist.
You take great care of your teeth; In the morning you brush with fluoridated toothpaste and swish with antiseptic mouthwash. In the evening you brush and floss. You visit the dentist every six months to ensure your ‘chiclets’ are in top form. But wait. What? A cavity? Why?
Cavities are all too common in adults. More than 90% of us have had a cavity. But not all of us experience tooth decay for the same reasons. Your degree of vulnerability to getting a cavity is influenced by multiple factors. Below are some of the many causes of cavities.
Many people have inherited deep grooves on the surface of their teeth. The grooves can be cavity-causing culprits since bacteria can easity be trapped in these crevices. Consider talking with you dentiast about dental sealants to smooth over the grooves
Acid breaks down your enamel, so keeping your PH level in a neutral range is important for maintaining strong teeth that can remineralize when the enamel breaks down. You can influence you mouth’s pH by reducing your consumption of acidic foods like soft drinks, coffee, nuts and bread and upping your intake of low-acidity foods like spinach, broccoli, blueberries and avocados.
Overcrowded teeth can trap food, making it more difficult to get your teeth really clean and create a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes cavities. Overcrowding can be addressed by an orthodontists and may require extractions, braces or aligners to correct.
Saliva washes away food and debris from the teeth and gums and provides disease-fighting substances that help prevent cavities and other infections. Certain medications, treatments for cancer and horomonal changes can cause dry mouth. To keep saliva flowing freely be sure to drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum and ask your dentist about a hydrating oral rinse.
When swallowed or applied to the teeth, fluoride helps prevent cavities by making the outer source of the teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay. To make sure you’re getting enough fluoride for oral health, drink fluoridated tap water and use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthrinses.
What you put into your body is not only essential for your overall health but your oral health as well. Eating a healthy diet – low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables and fruit and limited added sugar – abstaining from drinking alcohol and avoiding cigarettes and other tobacco products are essential behaviors for preventing tooth decay and other oral diseases.
To prevent cavities it is important to approach your oral health in ways that include, but also go beyond, daily oral care and your biannual visits to the dentist. Keep up these good habits, and adopt some others that keep your grin glowing.
Lakewood Park Orthodontics is now the proud owner of an iTero Intraoral Scanner. This new scanner puts the latest technology at our fingertips. Now, we can take impressions with a quick scan that usually only takes a few minutes. This means less goopy, sticky impressions for our patients. (We know you'll miss the old sticky impressions though). The scanner also allows us to do lots of cool things...We can show you your study models on the computer screen to show you the progress you've made. We can also simulate what results you can expect from an Invisalign treatment before you even start! Soon, we will even be able to use the scans to make appliances! We are super excited. Come in and get a scan to see what your teeth would look like after treatment!
Did you know the five most common causes of childhood injuries (in order of frequency) are basketball, football, bicycling, playgrounds and soccer? Painful facial injuries can take the fun out of any game. But the good news is that they can be avoided – mouth guards have been proven to significantly decrease the risk of oral injuries by holding the teeth in place in the event of trauma.
Athletes who participate in football, hockey and boxing are required to wear mouth guards. But, even if your sport does not require mouth guard use it is a smart choice to use one. We recommend using them for basketball, soccer, lacrosse and any other sport where there is a risk of injury to the face.
Dr. Hughes and the entire staff at Lakewood Park Orthodontics believe that creating a beautiful smile should be a fun and joyful experience! Our theme days are an exciting way we create a fun environment for our patients and their families.
Theme days are celebrated at our office every month. Many times the theme days are coordinated with holidays and current events. We encourage our patients to participate in the theme days by dressing up with us and taking silly pictures in exchange for ‘wooden nickels’. (Wooden nickels are tokens that patients earn during treatment that can be traded for cool prizes).
Recent themes have included St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Pajama Day, Ugly Sweater Day, Chicken Dance Day and Red Sox Opening Day (just to name a few). No matter what the theme we are always willing to dress a little wacky to encourage our patients to have fun and feel like a part of our family during their time at Lakewood Park Orthodontics.
Do you have a great idea for our next theme day? Comment below or let us know at your next appointment and we may use your suggestion for our next theme day!
Want straight teeth, but not willing to do the "braces thing"? Consider Invisalign! More than 25% of our practice is composed of adults, so it's never too late to have the smile you dreamed of! Call us today for your complimentary Invisalign consultation and check out our website for more information
February is Children's Dental Health Month! Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. but, it's preventable! Teach children to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. In addition to brushing an easy way to get Fluoride to help protect your teeth is just to drink tap water! Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults.
Most folks who are undergoing orthodontic treatment with Dr. Hughes don’t intend to make a statement with their braces. Then there are patients who do. If you are straightening your teeth with braces, why not spice them up a little with some color? Your orthodontist may offer different colored elastics that can be affixed around each bracket. They’re really called ligatures and are used to hold the archwire in place. They’re changed about every four-to-six weeks, so a patient can create a new look with each orthodontic visit.
Tips for Choosing Colors
The common colors that patients choose for their ligatures include shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. Gold, dark blues, orange, green, or purple can complement a darker skin tone. Light blues, dark purples, and dark shades of red or pink can complement a lighter skin tone. Darker colors can make your teeth appear whiter; lighter colors can give your teeth a yellow tone. Which colors compliment your eyes? What colors coordinate with the clothing that you usually wear? You can choose to combine colors for your favorite sports team or school organizations. The Lakewood Park Orthodontics team say that some patients like to get specific color schemes for certain holidays like red and green for Christmas, or red, white, and blue for Independence Day. There are some colors that you may want to avoid, however. Black, brown, or dark green may mimic food stuck in your teeth and white can possibly make your teeth appear yellow.
What Do the Colors Mean?
Your color and your style is your choice. To express yourself with your braces, consider these colors and their meanings:
• Red symbolizes energy, strength, and determination. It is an intense color with high visibility, but it’s possible to use a lighter or darker shade to reduce this effect.
• Blue is often associated with depth and stability, as well as calm and tranquility. It is a masculine color that can create vibrant designs when combined with warmer colors like red or orange.
• Purple is associated with royalty, wealth, luxury, and power. It can also symbolize wisdom, creativity, or mystery.
• Green represents freshness, growth, and harmony. It can be associated with money or peace.
• Orange symbolizes joy and happiness. Orange is highly visible and can be used to make exciting color combinations.
• Yellow represents honor, loyalty, and cheerfulness. It also symbolizes intellegence and energy. Just like red and orange, it’s a very visible color.
Now you’re ready to choose the colors of your elastics (ligatures)! If you’re looking for an expert in the Natick area to help you choose some exciting new colors, then talk to Dr. Janeen Hughes and the Lakewood Park Orthodontics team. They specialize in orthodontic care for kids and teens. Contact them for information or to schedule an appointment, call: 508-319-1545
It's time again for our traveling T-shirt Contest! While traveling this summer or just at home enjoying summer fun, take us along with you! Send us a picture of yourself wearing your LAKEWOOD PARK ORTHODONTICS t-shirt via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Lakewood-Park-Orthodontics-226824237353397/) and be enterested into a contest for a $25 gift card! Don’t have a LAKEWOOD PARK ORTHODONTICS shirt and want one? Call us at 508-319-1545 (contest is limited to patients of the practice). The deadline for photo entries is Friday, August 31, 201. Happy Travels!
Dr. Hughes and the entire staff at Lakewood Park Orthodontics believe that creating a beautiful smile should be a fun and joyful experience! Ongoing contests and theme days at the office along with festive holiday decor make the office a truly warm, inviting and fun place to visit. Check out some of our recent theme day photos and ongoing contests on FB or our website contest page. Every Saturday is a theme day so there are plenty of opportunities to participate (Halloween, Easter, Red Sox Opening Day, Ugly Sweater Day, Pajama Day, St. Patty's, Red Nose Day, Flag Day and our favorite....National Chicken Dance Day)!
One of the first things Dr. Hughes will look for during a consultation of a teenager/pre-teen is the presence of primary (baby) teeth. If a thirteen year old still has baby teeth it may mean that the dental development is delayed or it could mean that something is not right. The 12-year-molars are a good indicator as to what exactly is going on. If the 12-year-molars have not erupted, chances are that development is just behind schedule. Another indicator is whether or not teeth are being lost in the appropriate sequence. If they are, it is likely that things are just delayed. However, if for example, one primary second molar remains and it isn’t loose and all of the others are gone with their replacements in, it may indicate an issue and warrant investigation.
In some cases the patient would benefit from having the primary teeth extracted and starting braces. There are several factors to consider when determining if the patient would benefit from extractions of baby teeth. The first is the patient’s age. If the patient is 14 or 15, Dr. Hughes will usually recommend having the baby teeth removed and starting braces in order to have the treatment finished before they graduate from high school. The formation of the roots of the un-erupted permanent teeth are considered. If the roots are 2/3 formed and the associated baby teeth are not loose, extractions are recommended. Another factor is the status of the 12-year-molars. If the 12-year-molars are erupted and baby teeth remain, Dr. Hughes will usually recommend extracting the primary teeth and starting the braces.
In general, starting treatment after all of the primary teeth are gone minimizes treatment time and reduces the chance of any negative effects of orthodontic treatment such as white spot lesions, puffy gums and root resorption. But there are some situations that would warrant starting braces when the patient still has baby teeth. For example, if a tooth has become impacted because there is not enough room for it to come in, we may make room for the underlying tooth with hopes that the baby tooth will become loose on its own. If it does not, we would then have the baby tooth removed by the patient’s dentist. Certain malocclusions may also benefit from starting treatment before all the baby teeth are gone. For example, in underbite cases we often start treatment before the lower baby molars are gone. Also, in large overbite cases it is ideal to start before the upper baby molars are lost. Also, if we are keeping a baby tooth because its underlying permanent tooth is missing, the remaining baby tooth will have no impact on when the braces should be started.
Many times we are told that patients had postponed their initial consultation because of the presence of baby teeth. In many cases this is OK. However, we do recommend coming in for a consultation even if there are some primary teeth left (especially if they have been hanging around for a while) in case one of the factors mentioned above are present.
Miss gnawing on a stip of beef jerky now that your braces are on? Try Shredded Jerky Jumbles
2 oz. dried beef jerky
1 c boiling water
Cut the beef jerky into quarter-inch bits with a sharp knife. Put them in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let the jerky bits soak for 30 minutes, then drain off the water. Eat them with a spoon. Almost like the real thing!
One of the more frequently asked questions at the initial consultation is whether or not braces will hurt. Although every patient is different and has a different threshold for pain, there are some general guidelines as to what can be expected when it comes to braces and discomfort…
At your first appointment, (the ‘records’ appointment) an impression (mold) of your teeth will be taken. The impression is easy and painless. ‘Separating elastics’ will be placed at this appointment as well. The seperators create room between your molars for the metal bands to be placed at the following appointment. You may feel some pressure when the seperators are placed, but it is usually not painful until a few hours later when the teeth start to move.
At the next appointment the braces will be put on. The process of getting the braces put on is relatively painless. Although, the retractors used to hold back your cheeks are not the most comfortable things. The first step is to get the brackets glued to the teeth. Then, the wire is placed and ligature elastics are added to hold everything together. You may feel pressure after the braces are put on, but it really isn’t painful until a few hours later.
Three to four hours after the braces are put on you will start to feel uncomfortable. Braces work by creating inflammation around the roots of the teeth. The force placed on the tooth cuts off the blood flow to one side of the tooth creating a buildup of lactic acid (the same thing that creates a ‘Charlie horse’ or makes your muscles sore after exercise.) Over the next one to two days your body will dissolve the bone in the area where there is pressure which causes the tooth to move. Depending upon how much force was placed on the tooth the process may repeat itself. Once the force is used up the tooth will relax into the new position and any discomfort will subside. You can expect this process to occur every time your braces are tightened (about every five weeks).
As I mentioned, everyone’s pain tolerance is different. Some patients say they hardly feel a thing while others report severe pain (although this is uncommon). Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil and Tylenol can usually help through the first couple of days.
Each February the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.
Why is attention to children’s dental health important?
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable. More that 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16 to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste can help keep children from getting cavities.
Make sure to brush two times a day for two minutes (that’s 4 times a day for those of you with braces), floss once a day and see your dentist every 6 months.
Lakewood Park Orthodontics is promoting children’s dental health
As an active member of the ADA, Dr. Hughes strongly supports this effort! She will be headed out to local Natick Schools this month to hand out toothbrushes, dental information and give fun classroom presentations on dental health.
The road to a winning smile requires excellent teamwork. Your orthodontist has years and years of education and experience that helps him or her put the braces on just right. The patient is also a team member, carefully brushing and flossing the teeth, avoiding hard or sticky foods which may bend or break the braces, and following all other instructions such as wearing rubber bands, bite plates and other appliances.
In recognition of our very best patients, we have developed the STAR PATIENT OF THE MONTH PROGRAM. The rules are simple; each month we keep track of all patients who have perfect check ups with us. Excellent oral hygiene, excellent cooperation and a great attitude towards your orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist and his staff are the main things we’re looking for.
Needless to say, many of our patients have perfect check ups. So, at the end of each month, we randomly select one patient from the list of perfect check ups to be PATIENT OF THE MONTH.
As a token of our appreciation, the winner receives a gift certificate to a local movie cinema, and their photograph is prominently displayed in the office and on Facebook/website. Also, these patients can rest assured that they will soon be the proud owner of a beautiful smile and healthy bite…the best reward of being a great team player!
Veterans Day is a public holiday that is dedicated to honoring anyone who has served in the United States military. The holiday began as a day to remember the end of World War I and was declared a holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday became Veterans Day in 1954.
Most federal workers are given the day off and there is no mail service in the United States on this day. Federal workers who are required to work during the holiday are often given additional compensation as a benefit.
When Woodrow Wilson declared 11 November a holiday, the primary intention was to have a day to reflect on the sacrifices of those who had served in the military during World War I. Observation of the holiday through parades and meetings was envisioned.
Today, many Americans observe the day by attending ceremonies and parades that are dedicated to honoring the troops for their service. These often allow veterans to speak about their time in the service and give Americans the opportunity to personally thank veterans for their sacrifice.
We, at Lakewood Park Orthodontics, have our very own veteran who served overseas in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The picture below was taken upon landing on the shores of Kuwait. Happy Veteran's Day!
Lakewood Park Orthodontics will be holding its annual food drive starting November 6th and we would love your help! Please bring by non perishable food items to the office at your appointment or drop off anytime on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and we will donate all items to the Natick Service Council. Extra wooden nickels will be given to all our patients who participate so please be sure to let us know who brought the item :)
As the nation prepares to observe the 16th Oral Caner Awareness Month this April, the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Dental Association and the American Dental Hygienists' Association have joined the Oral Cancer Foundation in its campaign to raise awareness of this silent killer.
Be mindful of symptoms
The mouth is one of your body's most important early warning systems. Between dental visits, it is importance that you be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and see a dental professional if they do not improve or disappear after two to three weeks:
Factors that may increase your risk of oral cancer
Research has identified a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Historically, those at an especially high risk have been heavy alcohol drinkers and smokers older than age 50, but today the cancer also is occurring more frequently in younger, non smoking people. The human papillomavirus 16 (HPV) is related to the increasing incidence of oropharyngeal cancer (most commonly involving tonsillar tissue, including the base of the tongue) in the younger population.
If you have never had an oral cancer examination, there is no better time to schedule one than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April! When you do, be sure to ask that this examination be made routine at all your future dental checkups.
One of the most common orthodontic appliances used in children is the palatal expander. Arch expansion is one of the most common ways to eliminate mild/moderate crowding and cross-bites in growing patients. Successful expansion requires that the growth plate in the roof of the mouth (the midpalatal suture) is not fused. This fusion usually occurs between age 14-16. An expander is attached to the upper arch by bands placed around the first molars (and in some cases around the 1st premolars if they are erupted). Although there are removable expanders, fixed ones have an importance advantage in that they cannot be lost or forgotten.
Interestingly, the lower jaw (mandible) is not amenable to expansion. The suture in the mandible fuses soon after birth so true expansion is not able to occur. If the back teeth have an excess tip inwards (Curve of Wilson), then a Swartz removable expander is useful to upright teeth to the ideal position. This does allow some space creation in the front teeth as well.
Expanders are relatively painless for our patients. Some report that they feel pressure on the teeth, in the roof of the mouth, behind the nose, and even between the eyes as their expander is activated (or turned). This pressure fades within minutes. Besides pressure, we also tell parents to expect the child to speak differently for the first few days. Additional saliva production may also occur as well as slight modifications to eating. One of the most visible signs that the suture is opening (the desired effect) is the appearance of a space between the upper central incisors. Once the expansion is complete, it is normal for the space to close spontaneously. This occurs as the elastics fibers surrounding the gingival tissues return to their original positions. The underlying bone, however, remains expanded. It is normal for the anterior teeth to feel slightly loose and sore as they move together.
Because there is always some relapse, I generally choose to over-expand the palate slightly and then hold the expander in place for an additional 4-6 months. Following the removal of the expander, I will provide a Hawley retainers that is to be worn at night (of after school and night) so as to ensure the stability of the correction and then follow the patients quarterly until they are ready for comprehensive orthodontic evaluation (when all the permanent teeth erupt).
As always, if you have any questions about this appliance or any orthodontic treatment, please don't hesitate to talk to Dr. Hughes or one of the assistants at the office.
Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. As an active member of the ADA, Dr. Hughes strongly supports this effort! She and Brandy will be headed out to the local Natick schools this month to hand out toothbrushes, dental information and give fun class room presentations on dental health. Hope everyone has a wonderful February and don't forget to brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes (that's 4 times a day for those of you with braces), floss once a day and see your dentist at least every 6 months.
Lakewood Park Orthodontics is excited to announce our first annual Halloween Candy Buy Back Event! Bring your extra Halloween candy to Lakewood Park Orthodontics on Wednesday, November 5th from 3pm to 5pm and receive $1 for every pound of candy up to 5 pounds. The candy will be donated to Operation Gratitude and shipped to troops overseas (along with toothbrushes, of course). We hope that receiving the Halloween candy will bring back warm memories of life back home to each soldier and remind them that we are so grateful for all that they are sacrificing for us. Plus, this is a great way to get rid of all the chewy, sticky candy that can wreak havoc on your braces and orthodontic appliances. (Don't forget to save yourself a few pieces of the soft braces friendly candy.) We hope to see you on November 5th! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Today it seems children are starting orthodontic treatment earlier than ever before - It’s not uncommon to see braces on elementary school children. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists’ recommends that all children be screened at age 7. This recommendation is based on the fact that the severity of many problems can be reduced by starting treatment at an early age. Many parents wonder whether early treatment is beneficial or necessary for their child.
When treatment is started on a child who still has a number of baby teeth it is referred to as ‘phase-one’. The goal of Phase-One treatment is to eliminate serious damage to the teeth and/or reduce the need for extractions of permanent teeth and surgery in the future. Early treatment may involve a growth modification device, a habit appliance, a functional appliance, a headgear or multiple appliances. These appliances help the jaw develop in a way that will help accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Early expansion and growth modification can often convert surgery cases into mere extraction cases. Early treatment can convert some extraction cases into simple expansion or non-extraction cases. A few patients are even able to avoid full braces as a result of early care. However, this is definitely the exception to the rule - If a child has a condition serious enough to call for treatment at age seven, it is almost certain that he or she will need to have their treatment finished in a second phase as a teenager.
Starting Orthodontic treatment at an early age can also benefit the gum tissue. The appearance of the gum tissues around the teeth is affected by where the permanent teeth grow into the mouth. If a child has a lot of crowding and the canines come in very high, the tissue over those teeth often will stay higher than the surrounding teeth, even if grafting is performed. Expanding the dental arches so that there is enough room for normal eruption helps avoid most of these gum problems.
Children who may be candidates of early orthodontic treatment include:
• Those who exhibit early signs of jaw problems, such as a crossbite (when the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth)
• Children with severe crowding
• Children who have to have baby teeth extracted.
• Those with habits such as thumb sucking
It is Dr. Hughes’ belief that it is best to limit treatment length when possible. However, there are many cases when early orthodontic intervention is necessary. If you are wondering whether early orthodontic treatment would be beneficial for your child call Lakewood Park Orthodontics to schedule a complimentary consultation.
At Lakewood Park Orthodontics we take pride in utilizing technology to make things easier for our patients.
The Patient Login portal offers our patients the convenience of 24/7 access to their account information.
Our patients can now check appointments online, view treatment images and x-rays, customize communication (choosing to receive email, text or phone appointment reminders), set up reminders for dependent patients and more!
If you haven't signed up already, go to Natickorthodontics.com and click the 'login' button on the top right hand corner of the page.
Dr. Chavez, a colleague of Dr. Hughes, has developed an easy to remember formula to help orthodontic patients remember important information about maintaining good oral hygiene. He calls it the ‘Rule of 5’s’. Dr. Hughes would like to share this clever mnemonic (memory) device with her orthodontic patients.
The ‘Rule of 5’s’
1. There are 5 places to brush: (1) Where the teeth meet the gum lines, In toward the gums; (2) under the wire; (3) on top of the wire; (4) on top of the teeth; (5) in back of the teeth
2.There are 5 times during the day to brush: after breakfast, after lunch or after school, after dinner, after snacks and before bed.
3. Spend 5 minutes brushing each time.
4. At the end of the day, spend an additional 5 minutes to floss and use fluoride rinse.
Congratulations to Dr. Hughes on completing her board recertification process! This is an honor bestowed to less than 25% of all orthodontists in the country.
Is Every Orthodontist Board-Certified?
No. There is a difference between licensed and Board Certified. All practicing orthodontists are licensed; only about 25% of all orthodontists are Board Certified as well. Certification as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics signifies a unique achievement—a large step beyond the two to three years of advanced education required for a dentist to become a specialist in orthodontics. The current procedure requires the candidate to demonstrate actual accomplishments in patient care with detailed case reports on the treatment provided for a broad range of patient problems. Board certification is a unique honor following a process by which an individual orthodontist is thoroughly examined by an expert panel as to orthodontic knowledge and clinical skills.
What is the American Board of Orthodontics? Are there other recognized boards in orthodontics?
No. Today, it is the only certifying board recognized by the American Dental Association for the specialty of orthodontics. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) was founded in 1929 and is the oldest specialty board in dentistry. Key objectives of the ABO are to elevate the standards the practice of orthodontics, and to certify continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics.
If Board Certification is voluntary, why would an orthodontist become board certified?
The passage of the examination process is a demonstration to the dental profession and the general public of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics. It is a representation of a commitment by a licensed specialist that he/she has the necessary knowledge base and skills to treat patients to the highest of standards. It exemplifies a practitioner’s commitment to continue to keep abreast of the latest advances in patient care, and to continue to deliver these latest advances to patients.
What is the process by which orthodontists may become board certified?
Since its founding in 1929, the process has changed many times. Today, the process involves a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of information on which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable. Successful passage allows the orthodontist to then present detailed case reports, which demonstrate a history of excellence in patient care. These cases are evaluated by expert examiners of the Board during a Clinical Examination. An Oral Examination is then given, and the applicant is tested on a wide variety of academic and clinical topics. Certification is then awarded for a time-limited period and the orthodontist must re-examine on a periodic basis to maintain the board certified status.
For further information on the American Board of Orthodontists, click below: http://www.americanboardortho.com/public/
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, despite the fact that it’s almost entirely preventable. More that 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth, and more than two-thirds of 16 to 19-year-olds have had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Good oral hygiene practices such as thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste can help keep children from getting cavities.
Make sure to brush two times a day for two minutes (that’s 4 times a day for those of you with braces), floss once a day and see your dentist every 6 months.
Orthodontic Bingo started Dec. 1st on our Facebook page! The game is simple... check out our Facebook page for a daily "orthodontic bingo word" posted and play the Bingo card you were given at the office. The first person to get Bingo will win a $25 Natick Mall Gift Card. If you do not already have a bingo card get one at the office at your next appointment.... Let the Games Begin!!!
Adult Orthodontic Patients Highly Satisfied with Treatment Outcomes: A survey of adult orthodontic patients, conducted recently for the AAO in conjunction with National Orthodontic Health Month, indicates high satisfaction with treatment results. Seventy-five percent of adults surveyed reported improvements in career or personal relationships, which they attributed to their improved post-orthodontic treatment smiles. Citing newfound self-confidence, 92 percent of survey respondents say they would recommend orthodontic treatment to other adults. To read more, visit the AAO site below!
October is National Orthodontic Health Month! In a month full of hard, sticky and chewy treats, it’s more important than ever to encourage patients to be kind to their teeth during treatment. If you have braces, avoid caramel, taffy, bubblegum, and candy with nuts. If you can’t keep yourself away from the sugar, opt for softer candy such as peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth treats.
The habits your children develop now will follow them the rest of their lives. That's why it's so important to make sure they learn to brush and floss properly. Here are some tips for helping young children develop good dental hygiene habits.
Dental care should begin as soon as the child's first tooth appears. Even though your child will be too young to understand the process, getting them used to the toothbrush and the sensation of brushing early will help build a lifetime of good oral health habits. The American Dental Association advises cleaning babies' teeth with water and a soft, child-size toothbrush from the time the first tooth appears up until two years of age. Between ages two and six, a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste can be used. Parents should always supervise their children while brushing, both to see that the job gets done and to ensure that they do not accidentally swallow the toothpaste.
Set a Good Example
As soon as your child can brush their teeth on their own, start brushing along with them. This will help them see that brushing is an important adult activity they should want to participate in. Plus, it will give you something productive to do while supervising their daily dental care routine.
Get Kid-Friendly Tools
In order to make dental hygiene more fun, you should consider investing in some of the many kid-friendly toothbrushes, toothpastes, and flossers. You should definitely use flossers instead of regular dental floss because they are easier for kids to handle. Kids' oral care items come branded with just about every cartoon character imaginable. Some toothbrushes spin, play music, or have moving parts that make them almost like a toy. You might consider having a stash of different brushes and letting your child choose which one to "play" with each time they brush.
Make It a Game
Tooth brushing is boring for adults, so it's no surprise that kids hate it too. One way to prevent your child from blowing through the brushing in two seconds flat is to turn it into a game. Try using a smartphone app like Brush DJ or Star Teeth, which challenges kids to brush along to a song or video for the recommended two minutes and helps the time pass faster.
In order to make dental hygiene into more than just a chore, offer rewards for good technique and good behavior. For example, you might award points for each brushing session completed without complaining, or for each time your child remembers to floss without being reminded. When you child accumulates enough points, you can offer them a reward like a new toy or a special snack.
Ensure Dental Visits Are Positive
Children should have their first dental visit by the time they are 1 year old. In order to set the stage for many happy dental checkups down the road, be sure to select a non-threatening, kid-friendly dentist who can deliver a positive experience. You can also use various videos beforehand to help your child understand what to expect from their first visit to the dentist. If you need help finding a dentist for your child please call our office at 508 319 1545 and we would be happy to give a recommendation.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr_Jaime_Breziner
Thumb/finger sucking habits, particularly if they continue once the permanent teeth erupt, can cause significant orthodontic problems. The habit generally must persist 6 hours a day in order to have an impact on the dentition and skeletal structure. If not stopped, habits such as thumb sucking can lead to a significant open bite in the front of the mouth, a posterior (back) crossbite and an overjet ("overbite") that may lead to the need for extractions and/or orthognathic surgery. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children are seen by an orthodontist no later than age seven because there are certain malocclusions and habits that may benefit tremendously from early diagnosis and treatment.
There are several reasons for the changes in the bite due to a thumb habit. Finger/thumb sucking is an active habit and causes intrusive forces on the incisors, while at the same time leading to an altered posture of the jaw that allows posterior teeth to erupt. The active sucking habit also causes a width change in the maxilla and leads to a narrow and V-shaped maxillary arch with a crossbite sometimes occurring.
If your little one has a habit, don’t hesitate to call us and speak to Dr. Hughes. On your own, you can try many tried and true home remedies to stop a thumb habit:
Use a reward system. Pediatricians sometimes recommend a game-playing, reward-based system for helping kids stop sucking their thumbs. Try buying a calendar and placing it on the refrigerator. For each day you don't see the child sucking his or her thumb, you can put a smiley-face sticker on the day. At the end of a set period of time, say a month, you can offer a modest reward, such as a toy or dinner at the child's favorite restaurant.
Try ordeal therapy. How about trying a little reverse psychology? Point out to a thumb-sucking child that he or she isn't being fair to the other fingers -- so why not suck them, too? Give the child a timer and explain that it's important to suck all fingers for the same duration. Often, the child will grow so tired of the process that they quit thumb sucking altogether. The only problem with this type of approach is that kids are likely to see through it when it comes from a parent (they know the parent really wants them to stop altogether). If you suspect that this will be the case, a pediatrician or close friend of the family may be able to help.
Offer the child the option of thumb sucking in private. Consider your efforts a success if the child quits thumb sucking in front of you or in public. Don't worry, the relatively brief time a child can spend sucking on a thumb in private won't be long enough to cause other problems.
Never use negative reinforcement. If the child has a slip, it may be destructive to use a negative reward, such as placing a sad-faced sticker on a calendar date. Failure has a nasty way of perpetuating itself.
Try "reminder fluid." Although some doctors see it as cruel, others recommend the use of bad-tasting fluids that are put on the thumb to keep the child from putting it in his or her mouth. However, don't use this method as a punishment. Rather, stress the positive by telling the child that the fluid will help by serving as a reminder of his or her goal. As an alternative, parents can place a glove or mitten on the child's hand as a reminder to keep the thumb out of the mouth.
Start with the easy stuff, then move on. First, you might suggest that the child stop thumb sucking while in public, or some other time when he or she is most likely to comply. Then you can move on to the times when the habit is most ingrained, such as bedtime. You may want to double rewards if the child doesn't suck his or her thumb during the more challenging times.
Don't yell. Although you may feel frustrated when your child slides back into his or her thumb-sucking behavior, don't punish or yell at the child. You will only make him or her nervous and upset, which will probably lead to more thumb sucking.
Wait it out. You know what happens to most kids who suck their thumbs at four, five, or even six years of age? They stop. Parents often notice that children engage in the habit a bit less with each passing year, or perhaps only suck their thumbs at certain times, such as when they're tired or watching television. Pediatricians say that many children give up thumb sucking altogether by age six or seven because of peer pressure -- ribbing from friends and schoolmates shames them into stopping.
The good news is that even if the above suggestions do not work, the early treatment of a habit by Dr. Hughes is a fairly simple and pain free one. It involves the fabrication of a habit appliance once it has been determined that the patient is unable to stop the habit themselves.
Dr. Hughes is happy to share her knowledge and advice should any of you parents have a question or concern so don't hesitate to call us.
Do braces make the roots of your teeth shorter? How serious is root resorption? Can it be prevented or treated? These are all important questions and each orthodontic patient should be informed on the risks and limitations associated with orthodontic treatment, including root resorption. That is why we have each patient/guardian read and sign the ‘Informed Consent for the orthodontic patient’.
Braces work by creating little cramps around each tooth. The enzymes that are summoned by orthodontic forces cause old bone to dissolve where there is pressure and new bone to be formed where there is a void. These responses are normal and are the basis for orthodontic tooth movement. Research has shown that tooth movement causes at least small changes in the shape and length of the roots in ALL patients. In 98% these changes are undetectable with the naked eye.
In 1-2% of patients, however, obvious root shortening occurs during routine orthodontic treatment. These patients are just more genetically susceptible to root resorption. Root shortening can even run in families. This genetic predisposition is important and should be communicated to your orthodontist if you are aware that it has been noticed in your family.
Are there things an orthodontist can do to cause or prevent root resorption? Some have theorized that root resorption happens if the teeth are moved too quickly or too slowly. Teeth that are moved too quickly may be subject to too much force they say. However, in many cases where a patient has experienced resorption the same amount of force was used for exactly the same amount of time as patients who did not experience resorption. Braces that are on longer logically have more time to cause a problem. However, there have been transfer cases that have had braces on for more than 5 years with no signs of root change. There really is neither documented cause of nor protocol to follow to prevent this shortening.
So what can be done about root shortening during treatment? About the only thing an orthodontist can do is to monitor each patient during treatment using routine x-rays. These should be taken at least annually as long as the braces are on. If root shortening is noticed, it should be pointed out and discussed with the patient and their family. Depending upon the amount of shortening, treatment may be continued as normal, the treatment time shortened (stopping after spaces close for example), or the braces immediately removed. It is generally believed however that a tooth can lose up to half of its root length and never have a problem.
Root resorption is a normal consequence of orthodontic treatment. Hundreds of cases are treated exactly the same way without incident while a handful may experience obvious root shortening. Be sure to allow your orthodontist to take x-rays on a regular basis to monitor your progress and screen for problems during treatment. Ask her to specifically look for root shortening if she does not bring it up herself.
Over the past couple of decades there has been a shift in orthodontics from extracting teeth to expanding the arches when there is crowding present. Expanders work great, but there are some side effects that catch parents by surprise. One of them is the appearance and disappearance of a gap between the front teeth.
The palate or roof of the mouth is made up of two bones joined together down the center by a junction called a suture. When a patient is young, this suture is made up of stretchable cartilage that is the area where growth takes place (a “growth plate”). After skeletal maturation somewhere between 14 and 17 years of age, this suture fuses and the palate becomes a single solid structure. Expanders take advantage of the presence of the growth plate if they are used before it is fused. One sign that the expander has actually moved the two halves of the palate apart is the appearance of a space between the front teeth. The central incisors are located on different sides of the growth plate and they spread apart as the palate is expanded. The result is a visible gap between the teeth. This gap is normal and desirable.
After the expander has provided the desired amount of expansion, the orthodontist will typically leave it in place for several months holding the two halves of the palate apart while new bone develops between them. Upon removal of the expander, there is always some relapse or loss of arch width. Most orthodontists over-correct by a few millimeters in anticipation of this change.
During this stabilization period, the gap created during expansion tends to close on its own. This happens slowly over time, but it shocks many parents the first time they notice it is smaller or gone altogether. Understandably, many parents call our office worried that the expander has slipped and that the benefits achieved during the activation phase have been lost.
During palatal expansion there are two forces on the teeth. The force created by the expander pushes the palate apart and a gap appears between the teeth. At the same time there is an opposite force acting on the teeth produced by the gum tissues. Just like other soft tissues in the body, the gums are elastic. As the expander pushes outward, the gum tissue starts pulling the teeth back together. You can tell this is happening by comparing the size of the gap between the teeth with the amount of expansion visible on the expander. Rarely will the size of the gap between the teeth ever get as large as the distance between the two sides of the expander because the teeth start moving back together even before expansion is complete. Another sign that the front teeth are being pulled back together is that they get sore and feel a little loose during expansion for no obvious reason (just like when braces are moving them). Now you know that they are being pulled back together by the elastic fibers in your gum tissue. In fact, it is not uncommon for the gap between the two front teeth to be completely closed by the time the expander is removed.
Knowing ahead of time that an expander will create a gap between the front teeth and that it will go away on its own is reassuring when it happens. Understanding what is normal will save you some worry and an unnecessary phone call to your orthodontist. If what you see in your mouth or in the mouth of your child does not seem to follow the pattern described however, give your orthodontic office a call and let them know. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Many people who want straight teeth never go through with treatment because they just don’t like the way braces look. In 1998, Align Technology introduced Invisalign tooth positioning aligners. Up until that time, the only cosmetic alternatives to silver braces on the teeth were clear (ceramic) or lingual (inside) braces. Why do orthodontists still use clear braces when Invisalign seems so much better?
Align Technology’s introduction of Invisalign changed the field of orthodontics forever. For appropriate cases, Invisalign does provide the esthetic alternative to metal braces that many patients are seeking. When Align bypassed professional providers and marketed directly to the public, they created a demand for their product and an expectation that teeth can now be straightened without wires and brackets glued to the teeth. Because the Invisalign system seems so much easier to use than conventional braces, more than 300,000 non-specialist dentists are now also offering orthodontic services in their practices. Although these changes have encouraged more patients to seek treatment, Invisalign is not a replacement for braces in all cases.
Although clear aligners are appropriate for many orthodontic problems, they are still biomechanically inferior to conventional braces in many situations. Because it is more difficult for plastic shells to create some of the forces required for complex tooth movements like turning round teeth, making teeth longer, and paralleling roots in extraction cases, most orthodontists still prefer to use brackets and wires for moderate to severe cases.
By taking Invisalign directly to the public without explaining its limitations, Align forces orthodontists to be “the bad guys” who more often than not have to give disappointing news to overly optimistic prospective patients. Only one out of eight patients who come in hoping for Invisalign have problems that qualify for aligner therapy. The other seven would obtain better result with braces.
Because Invisalign appears easier to use than braces, dentists with little or no orthodontic training are now also offering orthodontic services to their patients. Since most of us trust the advice of our family dentist, rarely do we question when he recommends a new service. The results obtained by any doctor however are determined by his skills and experience. Eliminating brackets and wires does not eliminate the need for accurate diagnosis, treatment planning, and case management. Invisalign is simply a tool not a replacement for experience and skills.
Dr. Hughes uses Invisalign to treat mild to moderate crowding and alignment cases. It is especially good for patients who have had previous orthodontic treatment but did not wear their retainers and have experienced some relapse. The fact that patients can take out their aligners to eat and brush is very convenient. Patients like it because it looks so much better than braces. So in many cases, Invisalign is actually the treatment of choice.
However, if Invisalign is not appropriate for your particular problem, you do have other options. The most tried and true economical alternative is clear braces. They have been around a long time and are now better than ever! Modern manufacturing techniques have overcome practically all of the long-standing weaknesses that have plagued previous generations of clear brackets. Today’s appliances are stronger, smaller, and do not stain like previous models. They can be used for the exact same complex movements as metal brackets and move the teeth just as efficiently. The only two drawbacks that remain are that they are still more fragile than metal (for athletes in contact sports), and they still cost your orthodontist more to purchase (which she must pass on to you).
So if you are dead set against metal braces you have options. Invisalign might be perfect for you if your problems are only mild to moderate. If you want the most cost-effective esthetic alternative to “railroad tracks” that can actually move your teeth like metal, ask your orthodontist to show you today’s clear braces. I think you’ll be impressed.
Your child just had “X-rays” taken at the dentist last month. Why does the orthodontist need to take another one? In fact, why do orthodontists need X-rays at all?
X-rays, officially called radiographs, are images created when a beam of radiation passes through the body and hits a sensor (or a piece of film in older machines) on the other side. X-rays have the ability to create pictures revealing the differences in the densities of the tissues through which they pass. The “shadows” cast on the digital sensor or film allow doctors to see objects hidden by the skin and bone. The most common X-rays taken by general dentists are called bitewings. In a bitewing, the dentist gets a detailed picture of a small group of teeth that reveals the health of the enamel, inner canals, and roots. Enamel and fillings are dense and appear white in color on the radiograph. The bone around the teeth, the root canals and decay are less dense and therefore appear darker. Dentists are trained to interpret the light and dark patterns so they can distinguish normal tissues from abnormal ones.
X-rays are essential in orthodontics for many reasons. First, orthodontists are also dentists and, although they are focused on different things, they share the responsibility of identifying pathologies if they are present. These include abscesses, tumors, and other things that are not necessarily directly related to straightening the teeth. Although rare, such pathologies are many times identified for the first time by orthodontists and lives can be saved as patients are referred for treatment.
The second reason orthodontists take X-rays is to help them diagnose and treat orthodontic problems. Orthodontic X-rays focus more on the position and form of the teeth and jaws than on individual teeth like bitewings. Orthodontists are especially interested in missing, extra, impacted, or misplaced teeth, and short, long, or misshaped roots. Problems with the jaws include bones that are too big, too small, asymmetrical (off center), too far apart, too close together, or misshapen. X-rays provide orthodontists with essential information that helps them determine where problems exist and the best way to correct them. The size, shape, and position of the teeth and bone in X-rays dictate if surgery or tooth extraction will be necessary.
Orthodontists also take X-rays during treatment so they can monitor how treatment is progressing. Not all effects of orthodontic treatment are visible to the naked eye. Although very rare, moving teeth in some individuals (about 2%) causes the roots to shorten. Orthodontists must check for this during treatment so they can determine if and how long tooth movement should continue. Sometimes orthodontists observe how the teeth are moving to help them finalize the treatment plan.
After treatment, a final X-ray is taken to evaluate the outcome of treatment and make recommendations for other necessary procedures (i.e. wisdom teeth). Ideally then, one radiograph is taken at the beginning of treatment, one six months to a year later to monitor treatment and one after the braces come off. Each of these X-rays exposes a patient to less radiation than they would receive taking a typical airplane flight. All dentists are taught to use the ALARA principle (As Little As Reasonably Achievable) when it comes to radiation. Dr. Hughes is careful to take X-rays on her patients only when it is in their best interest. Don’t be afraid to ask the reason for your next X-ray.
When should your child see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child see an orthodontist by age 7. You may think this sounds very young for the first visit to an orthodontist. However, many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if treated early rather than when jaw growth has slowed. Catching an issue early will reduce the need for surgery, extractions and further orthodontic in the future.
The majority of 7-year-olds have a limited number of permanent front teeth as well as all four permanent first (six-year) molars. An orthodontist can generally determine whether or not there will be adequate room for the remaining permanent teeth at this time. This determination is often aided by a panoramic X-ray. If the orthodontist determines that there will not be adequate room for the permanent teeth, early treatment can be initiated and may consist of appliances to expand the jaws or the early removal of deciduous teeth. This approach greatly increases the chance that the remaining permanent teeth erupt ideally aligned.
In addition to treating dental crowding early, many orthodontists will also advise treating certain bite problems (malocclusions) early as well. One of the most important bite problems to correct early is a crossbite. A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth fit inside or behind the lower teeth. When left untreated, crossbites may lead to permanent deformation of the lower jaw as well as severe wear of permanent teeth and may require future oral surgery to correct. Treatment may be as simple as an upper retainer or may involve appliances to expand the palate and stimulate forward growth of the upper jaw.
Another commonly treated orthodontic problem is an overbite (more correctly termed overjet) or "buck teeth." An overbite may result when the upper jaw grows more rapidly than the lower jaw or may simply result from protrusive front teeth. If the jaw is involved, treatment will usually consist of an orthopedic appliance to help stimulate lower jaw growth. In addition, limited upper braces are often placed on the front teeth. The advantages of treating the overbite early include improved chewing function, speech, facial esthetics, increased self-esteem and reduced risk of dental injuries.
Finally, orthodontists generally recommend treating harmful habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing at a young age. There is strong evidence that these habits can lead to significant orthodontic problems.
While it is recommended for your child to see an orthodontist by age 7, individual problems will determine the ideal time to start orthodontic treatment. The majority of patients seen at this age will not require treatment and will be monitored during annual dental exams by the orthodontist, enabling necessary treatment to begin at the optimal time for their individual circumstances.
Call our office to book your child’s first orthodontic exam at 508 319 1545. The first appointment is complimentary and includes an oral exam, x-rays and pictures, and a consultation with Dr. Janeen Hughes.
November 1, 2012
One exciting part about wearing braces is getting to choose the colors of your rubber bands. Orthodontists place elastic bands, or ligatures, over each bracket to secure the archwire in place. These rubber bands may be individual or connected, depending on your mouth’s needs. You have the option of choosing the color of your elastics, which are changed about once every month at every visit. Our office keeps a color wheel handy to help you choose which ones suit you best!
Children and teens often enjoy picking different colors each month to express their creativity and coordinate their braces with outfits. Decorating your mouth with your favorite colors is fun and takes some of the stress out of wearing braces. Adults who wish for subtlety have color options that blend in with the metal brackets and archwire. Common choices for adults include silver, clear, and gray tones (but don't be afraid to go bold and choose color!)
Common Color Combinations for Rubber Bands:
With individual ligatures for each bracket, you may choose different color combinations for special events. You can have alternating colors or place an entire rainbow over your teeth. Here are a few options to consider:
• School spirit colors
• Favorite sports team colors
• Patriotic colors
• Holiday themes
Some patients choose only one color to match their mood, personality, or favorite outfits. The palette of choices allows you to make bold statements with your braces or go for subtler tones that blend in with the metal structures. Keep in mind that bright colors make your teeth look whiter, while lighter shades, such as yellow and white, may cause your teeth to appear less bright.
What Your Rubber Band Color Says About You
• Red tones indicate that you are ready for action and take charge of your life with aggressive, forward-thinking steps.
• Blue tones are calm and relaxing. You are conservative and exhibit integrity when dealing with situations.
• Green tones represent growth and balance. You are level-headed and look for opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually.
• Purple tones attract creative energies. You like to have fun and use your imagination in every aspect of your life.
• Orange tones indicate that you are optimistic and thrive in social situations where communication is open.
• Pink is a romantic color that represents a caring personality. You also enjoy having fun with silly games and endless laughter.
October is National Orthodontic Health Month
Dr. Hughes wants you to Share Our “FLOSSOPHY”
Halloween With Braces Can Be Sweet
Avoid the Treats that Can Play Tricks on Your Braces
Anything that is hard, sticky or chewy — like these:
Hard nuts, hard pretzels, caramel, ice, taffy, popcorn
Enjoy braces-friendly treats —and be sure to brush and floss after indulging.
Find braces-safe recipes on www.braces.org or check out our facebook page where we will be sure to have a couple fun recipes for you too!