At Ocean Orthodontics, we ensure that all team members are educated, trained and perform excellent standards of infection control and hygiene control to prevent the spread of infection and diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
We have created protocols that allow infection control procedures to be implemented effectively and efficiently. By having regular training sessions to update our skills in infection control, we make sure that each team member is up-to-date and performing these dental hygiene tasks to the best of their ability.
At What Age do I Bring My Child to the Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists suggests, as do we, that parents take their child to an orthodontist around age seven to rule out potential issues with permanent teeth eruption. If problems are discovered, it is not unusual to begin orthodontic treatment at that age. There are a range of problems that can be corrected even as early as this.
How did my teeth get crooked?
When patients come to our office for their first orthodontic assessment, we’re often asked, “How did my teeth get crooked to begin with?” Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons, ranging from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral conditions.
Your Dental Hygiene and Diet While Wearing Braces
Straightening your teeth can have a world of benefits. It can give you more confidence in your smile, make it easier to keep your teeth clean, and improve the alignment of your front and back teeth so that chewing is easier.
However, since orthodontic treatment often takes over a year, it is important to know how to care for your smile during that time.
Healthy or Not?
While they may sound refreshing after exercising, energy and sports drinks may do more harm than good. The high level of sugar and acid found in many of these drinks can cause damage to tooth enamel, thus elevating your risk for tooth decay.
What are the health benefits?
Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavoured waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C, minerals, and other antioxidants. These drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. That stated, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. Many of these drinks contain a lot of sugar and this sugar gets converted to acid by the bacteria in our mouth. This leads to tooth wear cavities, sensitivity and eventually tooth loss.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces. When your braces are removed, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here are a few tips to help you keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:
Learn Proper Brushing Techniques
Now that you have your braces, it is just as important to maintain good oral health for the length of your treatment and this is all dependent on your oral hygiene regime at home. The braces, wires and bands can trap food particles and plaque, and make it difficult to brush and floss. However with a careful hygiene regime at home, preferably after every meal and snack, it is possible to prevent plaque build-up, white marks, tooth decay and gum disease.
Brush after Every Meal
It is important to take your time when cleaning your teeth. It should take you at least 3 minutes. You can use an electric toothbrush with a sensitive head, however you must ensure that you move it around very slowly and still have the correct angles for a thorough clean. The quicker you move the electric toothbrush around, the less it cleans. If you prefer a manual toothbrush, make sure it’s a soft bristled toothbrush and follow the instructions below.
Straight teeth mean healthy teeth and healthy teeth promote healthy gums
There are three main reasons people consider orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth. The first and perhaps the most important reason is functional concerns. This is because sometimes teeth come through into the wrong positions and this can cause interference to the way the teeth and jaws work. Sometimes teeth become impacted or stuck inside the jaw. These impactions can in simple cases make teeth hard to clean, predispose to decay and gum problems. In more serious cases the action can lead to damage to the adjacent teeth.
Braces have come a long way in the last twenty years
Sometimes patients joke about the future where machines or robots might straighten teeth using some program. Fortunately there is still a fair bit of art in the science of orthodontics. Certainly at this point in time we don’t have the capability to genetically engineer the elimination of crooked teeth and we don’t have the technology to straighten teeth without the hands of orthodontists and dentists.
Technology though pervades nearly every area and orthodontics is no exception. For decades brackets and wires have been improving in a never ending progression. Modern braces are a far cry from the early examples of bands and wires tied to the teeth with ligatures.
Brackets and braces..
When it comes to brackets, while there are arguments about which bracket is “the best”, in general I think it is fair to say that brackets have become much smaller. The resins (glues) that bind them to the teeth are much stronger and so the comfort and functionality of modern braces is quite superior to in the past. Wires have also improved greatly. Especially the early alignment wires are super flexible and have a long range of action and this has helped to enable appointment times to move out from the traditional four week visits towards eight to twelve weeks.
In some cases it is possible to treat patients who are quite distant because they only need to come every ten to twelve weeks. Typically though visits are more like six to eight weeks apart these days.
Computerised treatment solutions..
One of the most interesting areas of technology in orthodontics right now however is the use of computerised treatment simulations. This has been used with Invisalign for some time now and is starting to become used in braces systems as well.
The way it works is that general instructions are provided to the computer technicians who then use sophisticated programs to manipulate the teeth to what they feel is an ideal outcome. The “set up” is sent back to the orthodontist for review and adjustments are made. This process can continue for as long as it takes. In complex cases the set up may be send backwards and forwards a half a dozen times before a final arrangement is agreed upon. In simple cases it might only be once or twice.
In the case of sequential plastic aligners such as Invisalign once the final arrangement of the teeth (the goal or outcome desired) is set then the complete set up for plates are constructed and sent back to the orthodontist. With the braces system the brackets are custom manufactured to that patient’s specification and a set of wires is also custom fabricated. The idea is that allowances are made for individual variations in tooth shapes and special adjustments are made to facilitate the best positioning of the teeth with the maximum amount built into the basic appliance.
What does this mean for you?
In other words the idea is that all the thought going into the case is put into the set up so that the minimum amount of extra work is required by the orthodontists at the end of treatment to finalise the tooth position. If the technology worked perfectly theoretically it would mean that at the end of the archwires the teeth would be perfectly straight. While this is a magnificent result if it can be achieved in practice there is still some tweaking to be done in virtually any case but it should greatly reduce the amount of effort required and therefore time required to complete orthodontic cases.
This system is fairly new but I expect that systems like this will become common place over the next five years or so in orthodontics. Just now it costs significantly more than regular orthodontic systems but like all technology I expect that will improve as well. Technology does indeed provide advances both from the patient’s perceptions of orthodontic treatment and also in the ability to deliver better outcomes more predictably in the minimum possible time.
The future of orthodontics remains exciting!
To find out more about our orthodontic treatment, or to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The decisions of an orthodontist
Most of an orthodontists day is spent dealing with the most types of orthodontic problems. One of my favourite sayings is protrusion plus crowding equals braces. One would have to say that this is the “bread and butter” of the average orthodontist. Treatment however has come a long way and the leading edge of available options are the multidisciplinary cases. Most commonly these are cases involving adults but increasingly they involve young teens. What I’m talking about is people that have missing teeth in particular. In young teens this is most commonly because the permanent tooth just never formed. We call this congenital absence. There is nothing you can do to make a tooth form if it wasn’t there in the first place!
There’s a breed of people who drive a stick shift, use a push mower and prefer sailboats to motorboats. When faced with the choice of a toothbrush, that purist will certainly choose the dependable, disposable, do-it-yourself toothbrush. But what about those of us who swear by their smartphones, DVRs, and tablet computers? We want the latest and greatest gadgets and tend to be adopters of new technologies.
It is better for the treatment to be done properly the first time
Your smile is totally unique, so the time you’ll need to spend undergoing orthodontic treatment will also be unique. Generally, orthodontic treatment will take between 12-24 months, and this is for good reason. During this time, your teeth will slowly move into their desired positions, leaving you with a great smile with as little discomfort as possible. Rushing treatment can result in a less than perfect smile with a greater chance of tooth movement after your treatment is complete. After all, we don’t want to waste your time with treatment that won’t retain your smile for the rest of your life.