Research tells us that about 80% of Americans have some level of gum disease ranging from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis. Severe gum disease causes bone deterioration and tooth loss. Gum disease is, in fact, the main cause of adult tooth loss in our nation. A dentist or hygienist can diagnose gum disease, but symptoms are sometimes so mild, patients overlook the condition. However, gum disease is a chronic condition. It will only worsen if left untreated.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Clinically known as periodontal disease, gum disease usually results from plaque and tartar buildup at the gumline. It is a bacterial infection in
which bad oral bacteria erode the connective tissues between gums and teeth. As the condition becomes more severe, pouches of infection, called periodontal pockets, form at the base of teeth (between the jawbone and gum tissues) and bacteria thrive in this warm, wet, dark environment. (more…)
Let’s face it: wearing braces is complicated. Orthodontics are designed to move your teeth into proper spacing and alignment to improve the look and health of your entire mouth. Yet, without proper care throughout your treatment period, braces actually heighten your risk for gum disease and tooth decay because the brackets and wires provide plenty of space for particles of food and plaque to hide. Luckily, you have options when it comes to keeping your braces – and your teeth – clean and healthy while wearing braces.
1. Interdental Brushes
As the name implies, these tiny handheld brushes are designed to fit between teeth and were originally intended as an alternative to traditional dental floss. Incidentally, they also fit nicely in those hard-to-reach places around brackets and behind wires to dislodge trapped food and sticky plaque. Talk to your orthodontist about which brand and size of interdental brush might work best for your unique needs.
2. Water Flossers
Water flossers first hit shelves in the 1960s and have been gaining popularity ever since. A number of well-known brands promote water flossers as a better way for you to clean between your teeth and, surprisingly, around brackets and wires to keep your mouth exceptionally clean while you undergo orthodontic therapy. “Sonic” or electric flossers consist of a handheld flossing wand that shoots a jet of water from an attached reservoir. Faucet-powered flossers connect directly to the faucet and propel a jet of tap water between the teeth, exactly like the electric/sonic versions. Faucet-powered versions do not require the use of electricity, batteries, or a reservoir. Both types of water flosser come with attachments specially designed to reach tight spaces between brackets and wires.
3. Fluoridated Mouth Wash
If your orthodontist believes you might be at a higher risk for developing tooth decay during your orthodontic treatment (risk factors include age, history of dental hygiene at home, diet, etc.), he may prescribe a high-concentration fluoridated mouthwash or suggest you use an over-the-counter brand of fluoride mouthwash (such as ACT®). The extra fluoride will neutralize acids and remineralize your enamel to keep them strong while the swishing action will remove any bits of food or plaque that you may have missed while brushing and flossing.
About Dr. Cabal
Dr. Ciro Cabal is a dedicated family orthodontist whose lifelong passion for providing exceptional dental care continues to this day as he serves patients of all ages from Ft. Worth, Azle, Saginaw, Springtown, Weatherford, Haslet, and the surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment to discuss invisible braces at our Ft. Worth orthodontist office, call Lake Country Orthodontics today at (817) 236-7846.
Flossing your teeth can be tricky when you have braces, but there’s no need to be discouraged. With some patience and practice, Dr. Cabal says you can easily get the hang of it. (more…)
The Federal Occupational Health unit of the US Department of Health and Human Services has declared April “National Stress Awareness Month.” The organization hopes that this campaign will help individuals learn to recognize the causes of stress and take steps to control anxiety in their daily lives. The FOH also warns that stress can have a major impact on your overall health, affecting you in ways you may never have imagined. While the organization does not specifically mention TMJ, dentists have long known about the link between stress and this condition. If you suffer from TMJ Disorder, your Fort Worth dentist can provide effective orthodontic treatment. He also encourages you to learn more about stress and how you can control your tension. (more…)
When thinking of what braces can accomplish, the first thing most people think of is their ability to straighten teeth. However, modern orthodontics, including Invisalign® clear braces, can do so much more. Invisalign is a system of clear acrylic aligners that are custom-designed to fit over your teeth, instead of being bonded to them. Dr. Ciro Cabal is a certified Invisalign provider, and our team uses innovative 3D imaging software to tailor the aligners to your mouth’s specific orthodontic needs. An Invisalign laboratory will fashion your set of aligners to gradually straighten your teeth as each aligner is changed. Because the aligners are crafted from clear plastic, they’re virtually undetectable, and are a cosmetically-appealing option for adults who want to maintain their smile’s aesthetic integrity. (more…)
How do you feel about your smile? Many people go to great lengths to hide their smile, covering their mouth when they laugh or even ducking out of pictures. Misalignment can cause a person to feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth. Crooked and crowded teeth also increase the risk of serious dental health problems. Fortunately, braces offer quality smile correction, improving the health and appearance of your smile.
On occasion, your orthodontist might work with a younger patient who just can’t wait to get braces. If that’s your child, you’re in the minority. Usually, school aged patients dread the thought of braces because they’re afraid braces will make them look funny or because they’ve heard terrible tales from friends about how much braces hurt. As a parent, you play a huge role in helping your child feel better about orthodontics by creating an understanding environment and helping them manage fears and expectations. Today, we’re offering a few simple – but often overlooked – ways you can help ease your child into orthodontics and help them stick with it. (more…)
You’ve had enough of the sore jaw, sore neck, aching back, and frequent headaches. You’ve visited your orthodontist and he has diagnosed you with TMJ disorder. He’s developed a treatment plan that might include orthodontic therapy or an occlusal splint as well as a few lifestyle changes that can alleviate some of the pain associated with TMJ. (more…)
For the right patient, invisible braces like Invisalign are a breath of fresh air compared to fixed metal or ceramic braces. Made from clear, smooth plastic, these aligners gently move the teeth into their proper place without irritating or pushing out the lips. Invisalign is almost completely unnoticeable, even from close distances and wearers appreciate being able to remove the aligners to eat and care for their teeth. However, this level of freedom comes with a greater need for patient responsibility. Failing to follow your treatment plan will result in disappointment, longer treatment times, and frustration. (more…)
Perhaps the better question would be: Should you whiten your teeth while wearing braces? Using whitening strips, trays, or brush-on gels might seem like a quick fix for teeth that start to look dull and yellowish after several months in braces. This can actually do more harm than good because:
- Teeth whitening agents will not penetrate the tooth enamel under bonded brackets. While your teeth will look nice while the braces are on, your teeth will look uneven and mottled after the braces have been removed.
- If you opted for cosmetic braces with ceramic brackets, you should (more…)