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Common Problems

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Treating Malocclusions

Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves a “bad bite” (malocclusion). A malocclusion occurs as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment, and it can affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth, or feel about your smile.

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.

  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.

  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.

  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

  • Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.

Underbite

In an underbite, the lower jaw extends out, causing the lower front teeth to sit in front of the upper front teeth.

Spacing

Spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth or they may be only a cosmetic issue.

Upper Front Teeth Protrusion

The appearance and function of your teeth are impacted by upper front teeth protrusion, which is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.

Crowding

Crowding occurs when teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gum. Crowding can often be corrected by expansion, and many times, tooth removal can be avoided.

Crossbite

In a crossbite, the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which may cause tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.

Overbite

In an overbite, the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.

Openbite

Proper chewing is impacted by an openbite, which occurs when the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. Openbites may be caused by habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.

Dental Midlines Not Matching

Dental midlines that do not match are evident when the back bite does not fit and match appropriately. This may negatively impact jaw and proper dental function.

Early Treatment

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Children’s Orthodontics

Though Dr. Palasz can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment that ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but we can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
 

Benefits of early orthodontic evaluation

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, Dr. Palasz can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
 

Age 7 is considered the optimal time for screening

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, Dr. Palasz can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
 

Two-phase Treatment

The best time to start treatment truly depends on the problem. In children, treatment may be done in two phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 orthodontics most often occurs between ages 6 to 11 and takes between 1 to 1.5 years to complete. An initial evaluation to determine if early Phase 1 treatment is needed may be recommended by your family dentist. Early orthodontics for children may achieve results not possible once the face and jaw have finished growing. After the adult teeth have erupted between ages 11 and 13 years of age, Phase 2 orthodontic treatment may be recommended if the teeth are not properly aligned. This treatment usually takes between 2 and 3 years to complete.

 

Direct Results of Early Treatment

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Early treatment (Phase 1) offers many benefits, often achieving one or more of the following goals:

  • minimizing future jaw surgery

  • minimizing removal of permanent teeth

  • helping prevent fractures to buck teeth

  • enhance self-esteem by improving appearance of teeth

  • shortening or improving the results of the Phase 2 treatment

  • create more stable, long-term results for those with severe bite problems

  • allowing treatment at an age when children are more cooperative

Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.

 
 

Adolescent Treatment

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The most common time for orthodontic treatment occurs between the ages of 11 and 15. By the age of 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps and bad bites can easily be detected. These problems will rarely correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.

This is also a good time for orthodontic treatment because most children are influenced by their peers, and braces are extremely popular for this age range. Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age are growing rapidly, and Dr. Palasz can usually take advantage of these growth spurts to help shape the bite and teeth correctly. Children at this age have high metabolisms, which can help shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.

Adult Treatment

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You are never too old for a beautiful smile!

Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.

Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the teeth, headaches, and jaw pain (TMJ/TMD).

Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time, and may allow you to choose from several cosmetically pleasing options for treatment. These options may include smaller traditional metal braces, clear braces, lingual braces (on the inside of the teeth), Incognito and Invisalign, all of which will improve cases of misaligned teeth.

During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. We will outline the treatment plan, length of treatment time expected, and the approximate cost.

Many of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset – their smile.

 

When You Finish Treatment

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Completed orthodontic treatment does not guarantee perfectly straight teeth for the rest of your life. You will need to wear retainers to protect your investment in a beautiful smile! 

When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention stage lasts for a minimum of 6 months during which you will wear retainers. Your final orthodontic result depends on you wearing your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far, and wear them as prescribed by the doctor. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

If you lose or break your retainer, call us immediately to schedule an appointment to have a new set of retainers made.

 

Foods to Avoid

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)

  • Licorice

  • Sugar Daddies

  • Toffee

  • Tootsie Rolls

  • Caramels

  • Starburst

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Ice

  • Nuts

  • Hard taco shells

  • French bread crust/rolls

  • Corn on the cob

  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)

  • Bagels

  • Chips

  • Jolly Ranchers

  • Pizza crust

  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Minimize Sugary Foods Like:

  • Cake

  • Ice Cream

  • Cookies

  • Pie

  • Candy

Only Once a Day (at most):

  • Soda

  • Sweetened tea

  • Gatorade

  • Kool-Aid

  • Drinks with sugar

It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately at 626-0600 to arrange an appointment for repair.

 

Hygiene

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The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces, and over time, turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth and gums to ensure you will have the best possible result.

 

Brushing

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:

  • In the morning after breakfast

  • After lunch or right after school

  • After supper

  • At bedtime

You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.
 

Flossing

For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.

Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.

If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.