Braces … Again?

A number of our patients are second-timers – adults and even older teens who had braces when they were younger and now need them again. The first question these patients ask is: Can I do this twice?

The short answer is nearly always “yes.” So long as your gums, teeth and mouth are healthy, your bones are strong and your roots are deep, there should be no problem restoring your proper alignment. Early treatment doesn’t in itself preclude later orthodontic work.

Why would a second round of braces be needed? Often, teeth shift simply as a result of aging. Just as your vision, hearing, weight and other aspects of your physical body modify as you mature, so do your mouth, jaws and teeth.

In some cases, injury or dental problems could lead to a braces re-do, but most often, teeth shift because the patient hasn’t followed instructions for using the retainer.

After braces, your teeth need time to permanently fix into their new positions in your jaw. It is the retainer, which your orthodontist will custom-make for you, that holds them in place. Some retainers are temporary but others require a lifetime commitment. As you mature, your orthodontist may periodically need to fit you with new retainers.

Proper care, beginning as soon as your braces come off, can prevent many cases of reversion. But if it’s too late for that, and you think you need braces again, they will likely be successful. After all, adults now make up as much as half the patient load in some orthodontists’ offices.

To clear up any confusion, here are some answers to questions we most often receive:

In some cases, a treatment plan anticipates two rounds of orthodontia.

Generally, orthodontists want to start braces after the permanent teeth have erupted. However, for some conditions, such as a severe crossbite that is best corrected while the jaw bone is still malleable, it is important to start braces by around age 7. Sometimes this initial work will be all that’s needed, but when it isn’t, the second round of braces is often easier and shorter – and less expensive – than it otherwise would have been.

In complicated cases, a two-stage treatment plan may be preferred.

Youngsters with severely misaligned bites or anomalous dental growth patterns may need such a laborious corrective treatment that the orthodontist will split it to give the patient a break.

Wisdom teeth can cause your teeth to shift.

One milestone to watch is the eruption of wisdom teeth, which generally appear in the late teens and even early twenties. These could crowd your other teeth and push them out of alignment. Your dentist can tell you if you should have your wisdom teeth removed.

Your own behavior can affect your bite alignment.

If you bite your nails, thrust your tongue or grind your teeth, for example, you can cause them to move. Specialists can help correct tongue thrust – essential for braces success – and your dentist can make you a guard to protect your teeth from grinding. Your doctor can recommend aids to curb nail biting.

Chemotherapy and similar medical treatments can impact the health of your mouth.

There are many different types of chemo, and everyone reacts differently to them, but chemo can cause problems with your teeth and gums that could result in movement or tooth loss. It’s important to see your dentist regularly during your treatment to make sure your mouth stays as healthy as possible.

Good hygiene is No. 1.

Take good care of your teeth! People who don’t floss and brush regularly and see their dentist at least twice a year risk losing teeth from cavities or gum disease. If you’re missing teeth, the other teeth drift into the open space, changing the alignment of your bite.

Braces may be easier the second time around.

If it’s been a while since you had braces, you will be pleased at the new products available now: Invisalign, which can barely be seen and offers lifestyle advantages; ceramic braces, which can be clear or match the teeth; lingual braces that are attached to the backs of the teeth. Even if you opt for metal, they will be smaller and more comfortable than you would have endured years ago. In many cases, the treatment time will be shortened and the cost reduced.

We can make your smile beautiful again! Call our office for a free consultation.

What is the First Thing You Notice When Meeting Someone New?

February is the month for romance! If you’re looking for love, it may not be your sparkling eyes or shining hair that catches your dreamboat’s attention.

Your grandmother’s adage turns out be true, after all: The first thing people notice about you is your smile. A survey for USA Today by Philips Sonicare found that 47% of respondents chose a great smile as the feature that most attracted them. Second was eyes, with 31%.

People with beautiful smiles have more dates, according to a recent study conducted by Kelton for Invisalign. The same study also revealed that two in five respondents said they would not go on a second date with someone who had unsightly teeth.

One more interesting finding from the Kelton study: Online singles are 57% more likely to contact someone whose photo shows off a pretty smile.

If you’re constantly hiding less-than-perfect teeth, this may be the month to think about creating the smile you’ve always wanted. It’s never too late. And it may be easier and faster than you think.

Don’t pass on braces because you don’t want a mouthful of heavy metal for two or more years. Our office offers options that are comfortable for you and barely noticeable to anyone else. For some patients, we can complete your treatment in six months.

Here are your choices:

Invisalign. By now, everyone has heard of these custom-made, nearly invisible, computer-generated aligners that gradually move your teeth into their proper position. With them, you can eat and brush as you normally would. You’ll confidently say “yes!” to any dinner date.

Clear braces. These braces are transparent, making them almost invisible. They’re also self-ligating, which eliminates the need for pesky rubber bands and metal ties during your treatment.

Hidden braces. We are one of the few orthodontist offices in the area that offer lingual, or hidden, braces. These braces are placed behind the teeth – the lingual, or tongue, side – so they are completely unseen when you smile.

Six-month braces. If you’re a candidate for these high-speed braces, you can have a new smile in about six months. This program is limited to only the front six or eight teeth and is suitable for people who want a prettier smile but don’t need bite correction.

If you need more convincing, consider these findings, also from the Kelton study. Nearly three in five respondents would rather have a nice smile than clear skin. And nearly 90% would give up something they like to have a pretty smile for the rest of their lives.

Not only can a dazzling smile turn heads your way, but it will boost your spirits and self-esteem. If you’ve been thinking about getting braces, contact our office for a free consultation to learn about the possibilities we offer. We’ll have options that will make you smile.

7 Great Reasons to Smile!

At Hello Ortho, we are all about creating beautiful smiles. If you’re shy about letting your joy shine through because your teeth aren’t perfect, braces – invisible or nearly so – will remedy that. From the start of treatment, you’ll never be inhibited from smiling again.

Why do we make such a big deal out of smiling? Straightening your teeth may be necessary for optimum oral health, but one of the most rewarding results of orthodontic treatment is, simply, encouraging your smile. Just the act of smiling – genuinely grinning – confers some surprising benefits to your overall well-being.

Here are seven of them:

1. You’ll not only look happier, you really will be. The act of moving your face muscles into a smile tells the brain to release endorphins – chemicals that make you happier. The smile doesn’t have to be real, either. If you’re blue, put on a fake smile and those endorphins will be stimulated to improve your mood naturally.

2. You may live longer. Smiling has been shown to reduce stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system by producing white blood cells that help fight illness. One correlation study of facial photographs found that smiling subjects had lived an average of seven years longer than grim-faced ones.

3. You will make other people happier. Smiling is contagious. The old saying is true: When you smile, the world smiles with you. Smile at others and they tend to smile back – and then the benefits of smiling are conferred on them, too. Smiling together also helps people bond.

4. You’ll be more attractive. This doesn’t have to do with the shape of your face or the size of your nose but with how others perceive you. A classic 1990 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology showed that people who are smiling are judged more attractive than people who are not smiling. In 2013, a study comparing computerized facial images concluded that less attractive but smiling faces were considered more attractive than the same or prettier faces without smiles.

5. You may feel less pain. Here are those endorphins again, along with serotonin – these two chemicals, released when you smile, work together to reduce the sensation of pain. In what must be the ultimate test, the ScienceNetLinks website reports that people who smiled while getting a needle – even when the smile was forced – said they experienced up to 40% less pain than people who didn’t smile.

6. You will be more productive. It’s been shown that people work harder on tasks after a few minutes of smiling or laughing. A smile also helps you appear more confident and self-assured, which may lead to more promotions and raises. So don’t be afraid to “whistle while you work!”

7. Don’t stop with smiling – once in a while, give into a full belly laugh. Laughing has physical benefits as well as psychological ones. A full laugh expands the lungs, stretches muscles and brings oxygen to your cells. It also helps you release bottled-up emotions. Don’t let embarrassment about your teeth keep you from your fullest enjoyment of life.

If you’re interested in braces, our office offers options that are both attractive and functional. You’ll be pleased with how quickly your new smile will take shape – and pleased with the rewards your perfect smile will bring.

Am I Too Old For Orthodontics?

If you’re an adult who needs braces – for whatever reason: maybe you never had them as a child, your teeth have since shifted, or your dentist has alerted you to bite or jaw problems – there’s good news: You’re never too old for orthodontics.

A generation or two ago, orthodontists discouraged adults from getting braces. At the time, it was thought straightening teeth would be effective and permanent only while a child’s mouth was still maturing.

Now, through improved technology and techniques, orthodontics for adults can, in most cases, give perfect, lasting results.

Nothing is more beautiful than an impeccable, sparkling smile, and an attractive smile is a valid reason to want braces. But prettier teeth is not the only reason to undergo orthodontic treatment. A bad bite can be the result of many problems, or can lead to problems that result in tooth loss in later life. Misaligned teeth can even create medical issues.

Here are some important reasons why you might consider braces at any age. Some may surprise you:

  • You will have healthier teeth and gums. Straight teeth are easier to clean. It’s difficult to remove plaque from all the nooks and crannies of crooked teeth. When plaque remains on your teeth and gums, tooth decay and periodontitis (gum disease) – and worse – can be the result. What’s worse? Erosion of tooth roots and loss of supporting bone. Many adults in their later years are surprised to lose sound teeth because of unhealthy gums.
  • You may prevent your own heart attack. The National Institutes of Health and others report a correlation between dental plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth and some systemic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. It’s thought the plaque bacteria travel through the bloodstream.
  • Your jaw will be healthier. An uneven bite can lead to bone loss in your jaw and may be the cause of jaw joint issues, such as temporomandibular joint disease, familiarly known as TMJ. A bad bite also can cause headaches or jaw pain. Orthodontics can usually correct these problems.
  • Sleep apnea may be reduced. Excessive overbite, where your top teeth protrude – “buck teeth” – can cause your airway to become blocked while you sleep. A partially blocked airway can lead to snoring. If the airway is fully blocked, you could experience sleep apnea, which continually disrupts your rest. Apnea is associated with several health issues, including heart problems.
  • You may experience fewer headaches or less neck pain: Chewing with teeth that are not aligned properly can stress the bones that support your jaw and mouth, possibly causing chronic headaches or neck pain that could require medical treatment.
  • You speech may easier to understand. Misaligned teeth can affect speech patterns. Straightening your teeth could improve your speaking clarity.
  • You may avoid tooth breakage. Misaligned teeth are more likely to chip or break, especially if they are protruding.
  • Your self-esteem and confidence will get a boost – with rewarding results. You may think you’re OK with crooked teeth, but if you always press your lips together in photographs or cover your mouth when you laugh, you are more self-conscious than you realize. A confident smile has been shown to increase self-esteem, which, in turn, can open up new career and social opportunities. In a 2012 Invisalign study, job applicants with straight teeth were 45 percent more likely to be hired over people with similar qualifications but unattractive teeth. In the same study, 38 percent said they would not accept a second date with someone with misaligned teeth.
  • You may be happier. When your teeth are beautiful, you’ll smile more. And the act of smiling has been shown to increase happiness.

If you’re now convinced braces will be a good investment for you, we welcome you to call our office for a free consultation. You will leave with a full treatment plan. You may be surprised to know that you won’t be getting a mouthful of metal. We offer three attractive options: Invisalign (the clear trays); hidden (or lingual) braces (which fit behind the teeth); and clear braces (with clear brackets that are almost invisible).

It’s good to know: If you need braces, it’s never too late to benefit from them!