Tag Archives: dental health

The facts about Invisalign vs. traditional braces

The facts about Invisalign vs. traditional braces @Invisalign #InvisalignTalk At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com #ad

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When should you start seeing an orthodontist? #InvisalignMAB

When should you start seeing an orthodontist? #InvisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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An Invisalign year in review and healthy dental resolutions for 2013 #InvisalignMAB

When should you start seeing an orthodontist? #InvisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Two million Invisalign smiles and an update #InvisalignMAB

Two million Invisalign smiles and an update #InvisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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An exciting way to end National Orthodontic Health month! #InvisalignMAB

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An update from the orthodontist’s office #InvisalignMAB

An update from the orthodontist's office #InvisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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The family trip to the orthodontist #invisalignMAB

The family trip to the orthodontist #invisalignMAB at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Finishing up the journey to an amazing smile #invisalignMAB

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How stress affects your oral health

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Can straightening your teeth improve your health?

dental cleaning We all know that going through a teeth straightening treatment like Invisalign or traditional braces improves your appearance. However, did you know that having straighter teeth can also improve your overall health?

Malocclusion

When your teeth are improperly aligned in your mouth it creates what dentists and orthodontists call “malocclusion.” Left untreated, malocclusion can lead to periodontal disease, stress on teeth and jaws, and  premature wear of your teeth.

Crowding - If you have crowded teeth, it’s more difficult to brush and floss properly. This may cause gum inflammation and periodontal disease. In turn, it can lead to soft tissue damage, receding gums, the formation of pockets between teeth and gums, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss.

My husband has crowded teeth and has had to undergo painful gum scrapings in the past. To prevent gum disease, he gets his teeth professionally cleaned four times instead of twice a year. He also makes sure to brush and floss several times a day and uses a dental water flosser on a daily basis. He makes a lot of effort to make sure his teeth and gums are healthy. However, it’s a lot of work and something many people aren’t willing to do.

Spacing between teeth - If you have wide spaces between your teeth, food may lodge between your teeth and cause sore, tender gums, which could result in periodontal disease.

Deep bite - If you have a deep bite, your over-erupted lower front teeth can damage your palate. Also, a deep bite can cause premature wear and chipping of the lower front teeth.

The benefits of straight, properly aligned teeth

Properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss than crowded or crooked teeth. Properly positioned teeth can help gums “fit” more tightly around them, which may lead to better periodontal health. Since you’re able to brush and floss more effectively, the chances of having plaque build up, tooth decay, and periodontal disease can be reduced.

Properly aligned teeth also mean that you reduce the risk of expensive procedures required to repair the effects of abnormal force, such as tooth chipping, breaking, or wear. There’s also less stress on your jaw joints when your teeth are properly aligned.

Dental health affects overall health

According to the Mayo Clinic, your oral health may contribute to various diseases and conditions.

  • Gum disease may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system or a damaged heart valve, this can cause infection in other parts of the body such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
  • Some research suggests that cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly due to chronic inflammation from periodontitis.
  • Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Osteoporosis may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
  • Tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health. Isn’t it worth getting braces or Invisalign to feel good as well as look good?

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Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

All I want for Christmas is…some straightened teeth! #invisalign

woman smiling santa hat 1 It’s been nearly four months since I’ve started my Invisalign treatment and wanted to give you an update. So far everything is going very well. I’ve had no problems with the aligner trays and there hasn’t been any discomfort. But I’ve noticed a few things as well that I wanted to share:

  • Since my bite is changing with my Invisalign treatment, I’ve found that I’m frequently biting the inside of my lower lip when I eat. I try to be very careful when I chew, but still – ouch!
  • It’s a bit tricky to keep the Invisalign aligner trays clean. I brush them with a little toothpaste in the morning and at night. However, this means specks of toothpaste goes flying everywhere. You may want to keep some glass and sink cleaner under the sink along with some paper towels for a quick wipe down of your mirror and sink area.
  • I’m obsessed with toothpaste – really. It has to be Arm & Hammer Advance White. I received a sample of this at a blogging conference last year, and I love how fresh it makes my mouth feel. That fresh feeling is so important when you brush your teeth as often as I do!
  • It’s so nice to have to see my orthodontist only every six to eight weeks. Since moms and teens are so busy with work, school and sports this is such a time saver.
  • The changes in my teeth so far are pretty dramatic and things are straightening out nicely.

I’m looking forward to watching my smile change and completing my Invisalign treatment in 2012.

All I want for Christmas – great gifts for Invisalign and braces patients

Are you looking for some inexpensive gifts for teens and adults who are getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign or traditional braces? Many of these would make cute stocking stuffers and most are relatively inexpensive.

  • A cool pencil case or small makeup bag for their dental hygiene gear. Teenagers may want to have several – one for their locker, one for their backpack or purse, and maybe one for their gym bag if they do sports. Target and Walmart have cute makeup bags for girls. For boys, soft pencil cases work well or even small travel shaving kit bags. Check your dollar store, too!
  • Additional Invisalign cases. If you can’t get another set from your orthodontist, look into the cases athletes use for their mouth guards like these on Amazon.
  • Speaking of cases, your teen may want to personalize their case by gluing on rhinestones or pasting on stickers. If they’re crafty this could be a fun project to do over winter break.
  • Extra toothbrushes including a small travel sized one for a purse or backpack.
  • Small tubes of their favorite toothpaste. Travel sized toothpaste is fine to keep in a backpack or purse. But look for small regular sized tubes for lockers and gym bags where storage room isn’t as much of a concern. Those mini tubes are expensive for the amount of toothpaste you get!
  • Extra dental hygiene stuff like dental picks (for wearers of traditional braces) and floss for the Invisalign patients.
  • Lip balm. My mouth and lips get drier now that I’m wearing Invisalign at night. I keep some on my night stand, some in the car, and some in my purse.
  • Nail polish or a manicure gift certificate for former nail biters. I can’t bite my nails when I’m wearing my Invisalign aligners and actually have longish nails for the first time in years!
  • A gift certificate for a professional portrait once their braces are off or their Invisalign treatment is over. Show off that smile!

New Year’s resolutions

If you or your teen considering Invisalign or traditional braces, maybe that’s your present to them (or yourself) this year.

  • Make it your New Year’s resolution to book a consultation with an orthodontist. (See my post, How to pick an orthodontist, for tips in finding a good one in your area.)
  • If you have dental insurance, look into your benefits. Do they cover braces and how much will they pay? (Every plan is different!)
  • If you’re self-insured, talk with your insurance agent to find a dental plan that covers braces.
  • If you have a health savings plan at work, discuss with your HR person how it can help you cover the cost of braces.
  • And while you’re at it, make sure to make an appointment with your regular dentist for a cleaning!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012 and big, straight smiles!

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Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

How to pick an orthodontist

orthodontist Finding an orthodontist that’s a good fit for your family’s needs and budget is crucial. After all braces are a big commitment and you’ll be seeing this person for months if not years.

So what’s the best way to pick an orthodontist?

Ask for a referral

Don’t just ask your dentist for a referral. Ask for orthodontist recommendations from everyone you know! Start with relatives, coworkers and neighbors. Try friends and acquaintances from scouts, church and the PTO, too.

Go ahead and ask the parents of your children’s friends where they go for orthodontic treatment. Don’t be shy asking them questions about everything from costs to their doctor’s professional manner. Inquiring minds want to know!

Check out the orthodontic practice before you make an appointment

Most orthodontists have websites these days. Look for details about the practice such:

  • Office hours – Are they convenient for you?
  • Location – You may want to choose a practice close to your work or to your child’s school since you’ll be going there every four to six weeks depending on what type of braces you get. However, if you pick one close to school or work, how will you handle emergencies on the weekends and appointments during school vacations?
  • Staff – Is it a small or large office? What do you prefer?
  • Board certification - Orthodontists are dentists who have undergone extra years of training, clinical experience and peer review. They may also have additional training to become certified Invisalign providers.
  • Treatment options – The website should mention the types of braces and treatment the practice offers. Do they offer only traditional braces or other services such as Invisalign?
  • Community awards – Many local newspapers and magazines give out “best of” awards based on editors’ and readers’ votes.
  • Testimonials – Does the website feature client testimonials and before and after pictures?
  • Financial information – Do they offer month to month payments? Do they accept credit cards and your insurance plan?
  • Personality – Does the orthodontist share pictures of his or her family? Do they mention community involvement, charitable work or hobbies? Their website is a great place to get to know them before you meet them.

You should also check online review and consumer protection websites like Yelp.com and your local Better Business Bureau.

Make an appointment for a no-obligation orthodontic consultation

Consultations with orthodontists are usually free, but make sure to ask when you’re making the appointment. Your initial meeting is the time to discuss what you hope to get out of treatment as well as the various treatment options you or your teen has.

While you’re there, ask to meet with the office manager or treatment coordinator to discuss payment options and insurance policies. Many practices offer discounts if you can pay for the full treatment up front. Others offer the convenience of month to month payments taken from your bank account or charged to your credit card.

Also, while you’re in the office, look around. Is it clean and organized? Is the waiting room snazzy or shabby? Is the dental equipment in good shape or does it seem old and beat up? Is the restroom clean?

Get a feeling for the orthodontist’s personality. Is he friendly or all business? Does she answer all your questions or brush off your concerns? Do you (or your child) feel comfortable with him or her?

What about the office staff? Are they helpful and friendly? Or do they seem too busy to take time to answer questions or to get to know you or your child?

Hurry up and wait

Your doctor should take full head and mouth x-rays during your initial consultation to determine the course of action. (For adults, mouth x-rays are usually enough.)

If you’re seeking treatment for your teen, an orthodontist may recommend that they have some teeth pulled before getting braces. They may also recommend that your son or daughter wait a few more months or even years before they start treatment depending on if they’ve lost all their baby teeth yet and how their jaw is developing.

Some adults I know have had to get cavities filled, teeth crowned, or root canals done before getting their braces. Not only did this delay treatment, but it was an additional, unexpected expense. However, it’s important to make sure your dental health is in tip top shape before attempting to get braces. So be glad when your consultation uncovers some hidden dental issues that send you back to your regular dentist. It all goes toward having a healthy, beautiful smile!

Get more than one opinion

Since there are so many options when it comes to braces, you should compare different treatment approaches as well as prices and office atmosphere. Doctors may recommend different treatments for you or your child’s teeth straightening needs. Some doctors are into newer treatments like Invisalign, while others only offer old fashioned, wire and bracket braces. What kind of treatment are you looking for?

If you’re looking into getting Invisalign, use Invisalign’s Doctor Locator to find an certified Invisalign orthodontist who treats adults and teens near you. When you meet with your orthodontist for the first time, ask how many patients they’ve treated with Invisalign.

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Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.