Our Blog

Consumer Alert

March 15th, 2017

The American Association of Orthodontists is urging consumers to beware of Internet videos and websites which encourage people to try and straighten their own teeth. Moving teeth is a medical procedure and needs personal supervision by an orthodontist.

Please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or other objects ordered on the Internet. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the teeth and gums could result in the permanent loss of teeth, which may result in expensive and lifelong dental problems.

Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite. Unfortunately, this person tried to close a space between their child's two front teeth with a do-it-yourself rubber band. It eventually slid up under the gum line and caused permanent damage to the bone and supporting tissues. Be smart and don't let this happen to you or your child!

Retainers - The Key to Success

March 1st, 2017

The big day has finally arrived! You’ve kept your teeth clean, worn your rubber bands and followed all instructions we’ve given you to ensure a beautiful smile. You can’t stop smiling because your braces are coming off! But now… it’s time for the final piece of the puzzle. Retainers.

Since braces are an investment in your smile and you didn’t do all that hard work for nothing, here are some facts to keep in mind when you start to think “Do I really need to wear my retainers?”

First of all, have fun with it by designing your own retainers.  Do you have a special interest or sport? What about a favorite team or hobby? Let your personality shine by designing your own retainer. Art Orthodontic Lab has been creating beautiful custom retainers for our office for over 25 years! Check out their designs at www.artortho.com and let them help inspire your retainer creation.  No two are ever quite alike!

A retainer is a small, custom-fitted device that reinforces the new position of your teeth after your braces are removed. It takes about 60 days for the bone and connective tissue around your teeth to “harden”, so unless the braces remain in place for several months after the completion of treatment, retainers must be worn essentially full time during the stabilization period except while eating and brushing your teeth.

As the bone and gum tissues adjust to their new position, you’ll only have to wear your retainers at night. After about one year of wearing the retainers nightly, you may be able to take a couple of nights off each week. We do recommend that you wear your retainers for years, even if it’s just a few nights a week. This will ensure that your teeth will stay in place for years to come.

If you are concerned about your appearance of your retainers, there are several types that can be worn discreetly. You could choose clear plastic retainers or bonded lingual retainers that are placed on the back of your teeth. Since lingual retainers are not removable, there is the added benefit of not losing them!

Remember to call us or ask Dr. Ross at your next appointment about which retainer options are best for you.

Thumb Sucking and Bite Problems

February 15th, 2017

Thumb Sucking and Your Child’s Teeth

Sucking on a thumb or finger is a completely normal habit that some babies develop even before they're born. It's a soothing and natural occurrence, and it also helps babies make contact with and explore their environment. If sucking habits go on much past the age of 3, however, it's possible that bite problems may arise.

In a normal bite, the upper teeth grow to overlap and touch the lower teeth. But it's possible that pressure from a thumb, finger or pacifier resting on the gums and teeth to interfere with normal tooth eruption and jaw growth. Some thumb-suckers develop an “open bite,” meaning the front teeth don't overlap when a child bites together. That's why sucking habits are definitely something to keep an eye on.

Real and lasting problems can become serious once the permanent teeth start to erupt. Once the permanent teeth develop an open bite, orthodontic treatment becomes certain and can be quite complicated. Treatments can include braces only, but extractions or even jaw surgery may be required to treat an open bite that lasts into adulthood.

Breaking the Habit

It's important to keep in mind that most children break thumb-sucking habits on their own between the ages of 2 and 4. So if you're trying to get your child to stop, the first thing to do is simply ignore it. Pacifiers will usually be given up more quickly than thumbs or fingers. If your child seems unable to stop when it's time, positive reinforcements tend to work better than negative (e.g., putting a bitter substance on the thumb). Here are some things you can try:

• Praise and Reward. Explain to your child why it's so important not to suck thumbs and think of a way to reward them for not doing it. Stickers or an activity they enjoy work well. Always offer gentle reminders rather than scold when you notice a thumb in your child's mouth, and praise them when they stop.

• Comfort and Distract. Children have different triggers for thumb sucking. Does your child tend to do it when stressed or bored? If so, some extra hugs might help, or an activity to keep those little hands busy.

• Get Creative. You know your child best. Maybe there's a method that would be particularly motivating to them. For example, you could tie the pacifier to a helium balloon and send it up to the Tooth Fairy. When she receives it, she can leave a special present under their pillow!

• Let Us Help. If your child sucks their thumb, fingers, or a pacifier, be sure to let us know. If necessary, we can make a special oral appliance called a habit appliance which physically prevents thumb sucking and can usually break the habit in a few months.

Though orthodontics can usually fix bite problems that result from sucking habits, it’s always best to avoid this expense if possible!

Does My Child Need Early Treatment?

February 1st, 2017

Dr. Ross and our team would like to remind parents of the importance of early orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that most children receive an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven.  By this age, we can identify subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while baby teeth are still present. This is important because some orthodontic problems can be easier to correct when found early. Most orthodontic patients begin active treatment with braces between the ages of nine and fourteen.

Early orthodontic treatment can prevent more serious problems from arising and may make treatment at an older age less complicated.  In some cases, we can achieve results, which would not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

According to the AAO, the following are early warning signs, which may indicate that your child needs orthodontic treatment:

Early or late loss of baby teeth
Difficulty chewing or mouth breathing
Sucking on fingers
Crowded or misplaced teeth
Difficulty Speaking
Shifting jaws or tooth grinding
Jaws that protrude or are recessed
Biting the inside of the mouth
Teeth which protrude or don't meet at all
Facial imbalance

If you notice any of these characteristics or behaviors in your child you should schedule an orthodontic evaluation.

By getting early treatment, we can guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve your child's appearance & self-esteem, and improve the way the lips meet. An early orthodontic evaluation will provide your child with the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile. We are fully committed to helping your child achieve a healthy, beautiful smile he or she deserves.

Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, we will provide your child with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. Dr. Ross has over twenty years of experience treating thousands of patients with all types of orthodontic needs. She looks forward to meeting every young patient and will provide you and your child quality care in our friendly, comfortable environment.