Tag Archives: Invisalign

Smiling It Forward with Invisalign: Enter to win $500 for you and $500 for a friend! #InvisalignMAB

Smiling It Forward with Invisalign: Enter to win $500 for you and $500 for a friend! at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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When should you start seeing an orthodontist? #InvisalignMAB

orthodontistLast month, my nine-year-old daughter, Lucie had a check up with our orthodontist. She goes every six months so he can check to see how well her adult teeth are coming in. I’ve been taking her to the orthodontist for two or three years now, even though she’s years away from braces. For us, this was a matter of convenience since we already had her older brother, Nathan going to the orthodontist for check ups.

It made me wonder at what age or under what circumstances should you take your child for his or her first orthodontic evaluation. Should you wait until it’s really obvious that their teeth are coming in crookedly? Or is there a certain age? Not knowing for sure, I consulted two sources - mouthhealthy.org (a site run by the American Dental Association) and mylifemysmile.org (run by the American Association of Orthodontists).

Per mouthhealthy.org:

Since abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, orthodontic treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results.

Mylifemysmile.org states:

If you recognize any of these signs in your child, it might be time to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist.

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of
    proportion to the rest of the face)
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Inability to comfortably close lips

Both websites have terrific information on braces and dental health, so check them out!

How to get started on orthodontic treatment

If you think your child may need braces, the first thing to do is check with your insurance to see what they cover so you can budget accordingly. You may need to find an orthodontist covered by your plan, too.

If you’re looking into getting Invisalign teeth straightening treatment,  go to invisalign.com and take the Invisalign Smile Assessment. Then use their Invisalign Doctor Locator to find an orthodontist near you. Make an appointment for an evaluation and ask if the visit is free (it usually is). Then after you meet with your doctor, you’ll know for sure if it’s time for braces or not.

Nathan had almost two years of checkups before starting treatment since we had to wait for more adult teeth to come in. Along the way he had five teeth pulled and his sister had four. Every child is different, so it’s best to get an evaluation to find out what you’ll be facing. The whole process of getting your child’s teeth straightened and getting braces sure seems like it takes forever, but having a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth is worth it!

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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.

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

new-years

Looking back, 2012 was a busy year for us when it came to getting our teeth straightened! I continued my Invisalign teeth straightening treatment in Georgia with my new orthodontist. My son, Nathan had three more teeth pulled, a Herbst appliance installed to help with his overbite, and had the upper band of his conventional braces put in. Even my youngest, Lucie, got into the act by having four teeth pulled to help her adult teeth come in straighter.

It was a very busy holiday season, so I’m glad that we didn’t have to go into see the orthodontist either for my Invisalign or my son’s braces. I go to the orthodontist next in mid-January for my final series of aligners – yay! Both my kids go in at the end of January – Nathan to get his braces tightened and Lucie for a orthodontic check up to see how her teeth are progressing.

Make dental health part of your new year’s resolutions!

I’m sure you have a few healthy eating and exercise resolutions for 2013. But don’t forget to make some dental healthy resolutions, too! Before you forget, make an appointment to see your dentist for a cleaning. If you’re thinking about having Invisalign treatment, check out Invisalign.com, and make an appointment for a consultation. (You can find a Invisalign orthodontist by using the Invisalign Doctor Locator.)

You may also want to get the whole family in the act! Encourage them to take their dental health more seriously by supplying them with electric toothbrushes, anti-plaque mouthwash, floss, toothpaste, etc. (Santa brought my kids new electric toothbrushes, so I already have that handled!) Also, if you have young kids, look into downloading a tooth brushing app on your smart phone to encourage them to brush properly and for enough time. The Brush DJ app plays two minutes of music from your library while you brush your teeth. The Star Teeth app lets your son or daughter choose a tooth brushing buddy to brush along with for two minutes.

Finally, when you’re making an effort to eat healthier, look for foods that will help with dental health. According to WebMD:

The best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).

Other food choices include firm/crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables. These foods have a high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain, and stimulate the flow of saliva (which helps protect against decay by washing away food particles and buffering acid).

The best beverage choices include water (especially fluoridated water), milk, and unsweetened tea.

Here’s to a healthier smile in 2013!

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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.

Two million Invisalign smiles and an update #InvisalignMAB

2 million Invisalign smiles

Imagine walking into your orthodontist office for Invisalign braces and being told you were the two millionth patient worldwide! That’s what happened to 18-year-old Tessa Dyer when she went in to see Drs. Rachel Polgrean and Patricia Timmeny at Apple Tree Orthodontics in Londonderry, New Hampshire to get Invisalign braces. To celebrate, Tessa’s Invisalign Teen treatment will be completely covered by Align Technology, makers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen.

“I’ve wanted to correct my teeth for a long time and the time was right. Really right,” said Tessa. “I can’t believe I’m the two millionth patient and that my treatment will be free. Of all the braces options that Drs. Polgrean and Dr. Timmeny presented to me, Invisalign Teen best fit my lifestyle and, best of all, hardly anyone will be able to tell I’m straightening my teeth. I was excited about Invisalign Teen before, but now I can’t wait to get started with my treatment.”

When Invisalign was introduced by Align Technology in 1999, it was viewed as one of the most significant innovations in orthodontics. Ten years later, Invisalign celebrated the treatment of its one millionth patient. Since then, the treatment’s popularity amongst adults and teens has accelerated! Only three years later, one million more patients have chosen Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Approximately 260,000 tweens and teens have been treated with Invisalign since Invisalign Teen was introduced in 2008.

A family update - Nathan

Nathan got his upper row of traditional braces put on a couple of weeks ago. He had a full week and a half of soreness. I made a lot of soups and smoothies and Nathan managed to eat some of the softer, mushier things at Thanksgiving like mashed butternut squash and stuffing. He couldn’t have any pecan pie – no eating nuts with traditional braces – poor kid!

Nathan's new braces

Also, Nathan plays trumpet, so he had to adjust his playing style to the new braces, too! His trumpet teacher said it was a good thing as he’d have to concentrate more on his breath than on his mouth. All this made me wish he was eligible for Invisalign braces, since he could pop them out when eating or playing music. Oh well.

My update

I’m about a third of a way through my refinement process. My aligners kept tearing on the bottom right side because of the way I had to remove them around a retention bump. It wasn’t happening until the last couple of days of wearing them, so I didn’t pay much attention. However, I was in Dallas at a blogger conference and my bottom aligner tore all the way through!

I called Dr. Waugh’s office when I got back home. Dr. Waugh decided the retention bump wasn’t necessary and had the hygienist remove it. Now that my aligner doesn’t get stuck on that bump when I remove it, I don’t have anymore problems with tears.

Also, since my week three aligner was toast, I was put on week four early so I wouldn’t have buy a new week three aligner. (I was told it was $68 to replace the aligner.) I’ll have to wear it for three instead of two weeks so I can be back on track for my Invisalign braces treatment. No biggie and I’m glad everything worked out!

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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.

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

bratsI bet you didn’t know it’s National Orthodontic Health Month. It’s a great time to remind your kids with traditional bracket and wire braces to avoid Halloween treats that are sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy. However, there are other times that other foods can mess up your braces – as we found out last week.

The other night we were eating brats in big (but soft) rolls. My son, Nathan, has a tendency to shove way too much food in his mouth. It’s something we yell at him about all the time. Well, he took a HUGE bite out of his brat and ended up unhinging his Herbst appliance. I don’t know how he managed it, frankly. Plus, he put a big gauge in his cheek in the process – ouch!

After much trying, my husband was able to force Nathan’s jaw open wide enough to get the hinge back in place. It wasn’t pleasant for Nathan, though I think my husband thought he deserved any discomfort he got for being a pig-boy and taking such a huge bite of food. And, yes, we had to try to fix it ourselves since it happened on the day the orthodontist’s office is closed and everyone was out of town at conference. Figures, right?

This just points out the advantage of Invisalign over traditional braces. If your Invisalign aligner broke, you’d just go on to the next set – after checking in with your orthodontist, of course. Maybe it’s comparing oranges to apples since Nathan is not eligible to get Invisalign. Yet for teens and adults who could get either, there’s no need to worry about broken brackets or wires with Invisalign!

A quick update on my treatment

I’m finally undergoing Invisalign refining treatment for the next nine weeks! I’ve been wearing a retainer at night since the end of May and was amazed how easy it was to start wearing the aligners again. Actually, I like wearing aligners for several reasons:

  • I’m brushing my teeth more. Always a good thing.
  • I’m not snacking between meals or at my desk.
  • I’m drinking more water.
  • I’m not biting my nails as much.

Honestly, it’s like I was never out of the aligners as there’s been no discomfort at all.

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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.

An update from the orthodontist’s office #InvisalignMAB

teeth

I thought I’d update you on what’s going on with my Invisalign treatment as well as Nathan’s traditional braces. We’ve had a big learning curve this month and I hope some of our experiences help you prepare for when you or your children get braces.

Location, location, location

I’m really glad our orthodontist’s office is only five minutes from home and 15 minutes from the kids’ schools, because we spent a lot of time at Dr. Waugh’s office in the last six weeks. I’ve always told people that the location of your orthodontist’s office is important, since you’ll be spending a lot of time there having x-rays and impressions made.

With Invisalign, your follow up appointments are spaced out farther than with traditional braces. Even so, your orthodontist’s office should be near work for you and school for the kids, depending on how you schedule things – either early morning appointments or end of the day appointments so you won’t miss out on too much school or work. You should also consider how close the office is to home in case you have to make an emergency visit during the holidays or weekends.

Nathan’s appointments

Nathan had a grand total of four appointments with Dr. Waugh since starting his treatment. He had impressions taken (see the picture above – they let him take them home after they were done with it). Then spacers – rubber bands around the back molars – were put in. Being fitted for the Herbst appliance took two visits, since Dr. Waugh wasn’t happy with part of it and had to have it remade. We go back to the orthodontist in mid-November for a check up.

Nathan’s been a trooper during all of this since the Herbst appliance cuts up the inside of his cheeks and makes his mouth and jaw sore. (You can see a picture of Herbst appliances here. I find them rather medieval, don’t you?) I’ve been giving Nathan ibuprofen for the pain and encouraging him to apply an ice pack to his face since his cheeks seem puffy and a bit swollen. I’ve also been making a lot of smoothies, soups and mushy foods, too. He’s been using orthodontic wax, too.

The only plus side to all our visits is that Nathan gets points for every visit as part of their kids’ club. So far, he has enough to get a $10 gift card, but I think he’s shooting for the $50 one.

My appointment

In comparison, I only had one appointment to have impressions taken of my teeth. Dr. Waugh’s office uses a different technique than Dr. Goings’ office used. They take a “glue gun” and apply this purple stuff to your teeth. Then they slide on the impression trays. It’s a two step process that’s kind of yucky, especially when they had to do my lower jaw twice. Still, no biggie.

I’m not sure when I go in next as they’re probably waiting to get new aligner trays from Invisalign. Can’t wait, as I’m looking forward to getting my refinements done and wrapping up my Invisalign treatment!

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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.

Want to know how to “Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling?” #invisalignMAB

positive-parenting-solution

Yes, you can get kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling! To learn how, join me on Thursday, August 16 at 9 PM EST when I’ll be co-hosting a FREE PARENTING WEBINAR with Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. Just RSVP here! (You can also sign up for a 2 PM EST webinar if you can’t make the evening one. However, I won’t be co-hosting that one.)

If you’re like me you NEED THIS WEBINAR. I can’t tell you how many times I tell the kids to do something and they just don’t listen. It drives me crazy! I’m tired of being tuned out and I’m sure you are, too.

Who Should Attend: Frustrated parents of kids ages 3 to 16 (Please encourage your spouse or other caregivers to attend. Parenting is a lot easier when everyone is on the same page!)

What You’ll Learn: Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and a TODAY show contributor, will present a strategy-packed, interactive, LIVE online webinar designed to teach you:

  • why kids really misbehave – it’s probably not what you think!
  • how your personality may actually fuel misbehavior
  • the 5 R’s of Fair and Effective Consequences so kids listen the first time you ask
  • training resources to reduce your parenting stress and stop nagging, reminding and yelling

Get ready to end the cycle of remind-nag-yell-repeat as you try to get them to listen! To learn more, RSVP at positiveparentingsolutions.com/invisalign-teen.

I can’t wait to attend this seminar and use some of Amy’s techniques and strategies. Hope you can join me!

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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. Invisalign is sponsor of the Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling webinar.

The family trip to the orthodontist #invisalignMAB

nathan-ortho

Since I took Nathan to the orthodontist over a  year ago he’s been dying to get braces. Needless to say, he’s been looking forward to our appointment with our new orthodontist, Dr. Waugh, since I made it. I found Dr. Waugh through the Invisalign website and will be continuing my treatment with him. I just have a few refinements that have to be made and I’ll be done with my Invisalign journey. However, my kids’ orthodontic treatment is another story.

Getting a Herbst appliance

After getting x-rays and photos done, we found out that Nathan isn’t a candidate for Invisalign. In fact, he needs extensive work and three teeth pulled since his adult teeth are coming in so crooked that they aren’t pushing out the baby teeth.

Nathan will also be getting a Herbst appliance, which will move his jaw and teeth forward. He took the news very well, but I was rather horrified by the huge piece of metal that will be placed in his mouth to correct his overbite and weak chin. (You can see a picture of Herbst appliances here.)

A Herbst appliance is made up of four stainless steel crowns covering the back molar teeth, one on each corner of the mouth. Attached to the upper crowns are two metal sleeves. Attached to the lower crowns are two metal bars running parallel to the lower back teeth, and two metal rods or arms that slide into the sleeves hanging down from the upper crowns. The appliance may also have an expansion screw located in the middle of the palate, which is used to expand the palate. (I’ve had several friend’s whose children had these just for that reason.)

The appliance works by using the metal sleeves and rods to hold your lower jaw forward to correct an overbite. The lower jaw will grow into this new correct position, and your overbite will be fixed. Nathan will have his Herbst appliance in for 8 to 10 months.

After he gets his jaw in better shape, he’ll have conventional braces. Total treatment should be about two years.

Lucie’s turn

lucie-orthoNot to be outdone by her brother, Lucie is our oddity. She’s missing several adult teeth – why we don’t know, but the x-rays clearly show it. So Dr. Waugh will be working to save as many of those baby teeth as he can by making sure there’s plenty of room for the adult teeth she does have to come in properly. Lucie will be getting four teeth removed since, like Nathan, her adult teeth aren’t pushing her baby teeth out of the way since they’re coming in so crookedly. With all this in mind, Lucie will be getting braces in a few years and maybe some dental implants when she’s an adult.

Nathan and Lucie have a long trip ahead of them. Thanks goodness Dr. Waugh’s office is so close to the house!

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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.

Why can’t these kids get along? Join me for a FREE webinar about ending sibling squabbles #invisalignMAB

sibling-rivalry

You know why I send my kids to summer camp? Sure, it’s for them to have fun with kids their own age and to keep them busy during summer vacation. However, it’s really to give me a break from the constant fighting that Lucie and Nathan engage in from the time they wake up until they fall asleep.

Their fighting makes me sad as well as frustrated, which is why I’ll be joining TODAY Show parenting expert, Amy McCready and Invisalign Teen as a co-host for a FREE webinar, “Why Can't These Kids Get Along? Solutions to End Sibling Squabbles” this Thursday, June 21 at 9 PM ET. (You can also attend at 2 PM ET).

If you’re interested in joining us, please RSVP  here. 

In this interactive webinar, parents of children ages 5-17 will learn:

• why siblings make the best rivals

• how well-meaning parents make sibling rivalry worse

• three top strategies to minimize sibling rivalry in your home

I’m looking forward to co-hosting as well as learning some tips. Hope to see you there!

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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.

Having a nice smile makes a good first impression #InvisalignMAB

Invisalign Smile Study Infographic

I’m excited to announce that I’m done with my initial Invisalign treatment – all 19 aligner trays – just in time for our move to Georgia! I’m wearing a retainer at night, which is comfortable and easy to manage. However, I’m bummed that I will have to continue treatment after my move as two of my bottom teeth are still crooked. Ironically, these were always the teeth that I hated most. (You can see a picture of them here. They’re the crooked teeth on the right side of the picture about midway down the post.)

It’s not because Invisalign didn’t work, because it did. My other teeth are gorgeous, straighter and better aligned than after I got my  braces off when I was in high school. It’s just that there refinements need to made, as Dr. Goings told me could happen. This is where the art comes in after the science.

On a positive note, it does give me an opportunity to check out a new Invisalign orthodontist in Georgia before both my kids need to go through treatment. Otherwise, I’m a bit disappointed because I had wanted my smile to be perfect as possible since first impressions are everything and I’ll be meeting many new people soon.

First impressions are everything

A recent perception study conducted by Kelton for Invisalign, proves that your smile is a catalyst for assumptions regarding success, popularity, intelligence, and general health.

“Whether we like it or not, we are often judged by our appearance,” said Dr. Michelle Callahan, renowned TV host, relationship expert, coach, and development psychologist. “The results of this Smile Survey prove what I've always believed, which is the importance of an attractive, healthy smile, whether you're socializing and networking face-to-face or virtually.  Your smile has more of an effect on what others perceive about you than you think.”

I know I often notice how nice people’s teeth are and make snap judgments based on how they look. For example, I have a friend (let’s call her Kay) who has awful teeth but a lovely home, fancy car, designer purses and takes her family on expensive vacations. I often wonder why Kay doesn’t put “her money where her mouth is” and get her teeth straightened.

I also have several friends who have gone through conventional braces later in life because they’re ashamed of how crooked their teeth were. They put up with the dorky look of silver bars and wires just to have nice teeth. Too bad they didn’t know about Invisalign and how most people don’t even notice you’re wearing aligners!

The positive affect of a beautiful smile

The perception study found that nearly one-third (29%) of Americans say the first aspect of someone's face they typically notice is his or her teeth, and 24% say this is also the facial aspect that they remember the most after meeting someone. That’s why getting your teeth straightened is an investment in your future or your child’s future. You see, Americans perceive those with straight teeth to be 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience.  They are also seen as 58% more likely to be successful, as well as 58% more likely to be wealthy.

Also, when it comes to attracting a possible mate on a dating site, those with straight teeth are seen as 57% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a date based on their picture alone.  Sure it’s superficial, but first impressions lead to first dates. In fact, nearly two in five (38%) Americans would consider not going on a second date with someone who has misaligned teeth!

There’s the trust factor, too. Nearly three in four (73%) Americans would be more likely to trust someone with a nice smile than someone with a good job, outfit, or car.

People also connect more positive descriptions with men and women who have straight teeth than those who have crooked teeth. Those with straight teeth are 21% more likely to be seen as happy, 47% more likely to be viewed as being healthy and 38% more likely to be perceived as smart.

All I want is a nice smile

Finally, the study showed that having an attractive smile is something important to many Americans as nearly three in five (57%) Americans would rather have a nice smile than clear skin. If you’re one of them, check out my how to pick an orthodontist post to find out how Invisalign might be right for you or your child.

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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.

Finishing up the journey to an amazing smile #invisalignMAB

smileI’m just a few weeks away from finishing up my initial Invisalign teeth straightening treatment. I’m very happy with the results I’ve gotten using Invisalign, except for a couple of teeth on the bottom front of my smile. I don’t believe that the teeth will straightened out and fit into place in the next three weeks, so I’ll be working with my orthodontist to fine tune things. Dr. Goings had told me that we’d go through this period, but until I see him in a couple of weeks, I won’t know how long it’ll take.

Taking the southern route

My biggest concern now is that I’m moving in less than four weeks to Athens, Georgia and will be looking for a new orthodontist. Like so many of you, I’ll be learning how to pick an orthodontist from scratch since Dr. Goings was assigned to me by Invisalign as part of the process of working with the company.

I’ve checked the Invisalign website and found an Invisalign Premier Preferred Provider and an Invisalign Preferred Provider right in Athens. I’ve already checked out their websites and both offices look terrific and the orthodontists outstanding.

Since Nathan will probably start Invisalign next year and Lucie will need braces in a few years, I’ll be making an appointment for the three of us the first week we’re in Georgia. That way the orthodontist I choose can keep an eye on both kids’ dental development to see if anything needs to be done before they get braces, like having teeth pulled. (Nathan’s already had several teeth pulled on the advice of Dr. Goings and our previous orthodontist.)

The continuing journey

While I’m finishing up my Invisalign treatment, my kids will be starting their own teeth straightening journeys soon. I’m so thankful that as a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board, I was able to try out Invisalign before my kids will. The process to getting a gorgeous smile has been easy and fairly painless. I bet the rest of my family will think so, too.

Are you considering starting your own journey to straighter teeth with Invisalign? If so, comment below. I’d love to hear your story or answer any questions you may have!

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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 stress affects your oral health

Family Fighting

It’s been a stressful few weeks for me and my family due to a home sale and move. While things are finally calming down, I was surprised how much I suffered physically due to the stress and lack of sleep. My skin broke out and I’m sure everything I ate went straight to my thighs. But I was surprised what happened to my mouth. I developed a canker sore on the back of my tongue. It was so painful that I had to stop wearing my Invisalign aligners for two days since the bottom aligner was constantly rubbing against it.

Luckily for me, the canker sore went away on its own after a few days of healthy eating and a a couple of nights of decent sleep. But it got me thinking about how stress can affect your oral health.

Canker sores

There are a lot of misconceptions about canker sores. First, they are NOT the same as cold sores, though cold sores can also appear due to stress. Instead, a canker sore is a type of ulcer inside the mouth, on the gum, on the tongue, or even in the upper throat. They are NOT contagious, unlike cold sores which are. If you have a large canker sore or a few of them, you may also experience fever and swollen lymph nodes.

At least 10% of the population gets canker sores, and women are more often affected than men. About 30-40% of people with recurrent canker sores have family members who also get canker sores. That’s true of my family, and my daughter seems to have one most of the time, poor thing.

No one knows why people get canker sores. For me, I get them when I’m emotionally stressed, not getting enough sleep, or am getting sick. Some people get them as a reaction to spicy or acidic foods. If you have an autoimmune disease, you may be more susceptible to getting canker sores. Sometimes braces or dentures can cause them, too.

Treating canker sores

There are many products on the market that treat canker sores or help relieve the pain. I find it helpful to dip a cotton swab into hydrogen peroxide (the kind for first aid, not the kind for coloring your hair) and dabbing the canker sore with the wet swab. The peroxide will bubble on the sore, which may help it start healing. It’s rather nasty tasting, but I find it helps.

Some physicians recommend sucking on zinc gluconate lozenges or using a sage and chamomile mouthwash.  Others recommend using a toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate as it can cause canker sores in some individuals.

Gum disease

According to WebMD, stress caused an increase in dental plaque, bleeding gums, and gingivitis in a study of caregivers of dementia patients who were under a lot of stress. WebMD also cited a study showing that depressed patients have twice the risk of an unfavorable outcome from gum disease treatment compared to those who aren't depressed.

Now, I’m not sure if it was the stress and depression causing oral health issues or if stressed out people were less likely to have the time, desire or energy to brush and floss regularly. However, I can personally attest to a time I was very stressed out at colleege, and my gums started bleeding and receding. My gut feeling is that it’s a combination of factors – not taking care of your oral hygiene and stress affecting your body.

Bottom line: if you can avoid stress, you’ll have a healthier and happier mouth!

How does stress affect your oral health?

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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.

Hollywood teens put the spotlight on straight teeth #invisalign

Invisalign Studio members - Tiffany Espensen, Ciara Bravo, Jimmy Bennett, Jasmine V, Lauren CimorelliYou know how celebrities are the ones who spot the trends first, whether it’s the coolest fashion, the best places to vacation, or the latest technology to make them look more attractive? Well, Hollywood teens are no exception. Many of them are foregoing traditional wire and bracket braces and using Invisalign to straighten their teeth, says orthodontist Dr. Gilbert Snow of Snow Orthodontics, who treats a number of young celebrities as part of the Invisalign studio program at his offices in Southern California.

His patients include actor Jimmy Bennett, who just celebrated his “Rockin' 16th birthday” with an Invisalign Teen sponsored party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood. (See the picture above of Invisalign Studio members Tiffany Espensen, Ciara Bravo, Jimmy Bennett, Jasmine V, and Lauren Cimorelli and the picture below of Jimmy and Jasmine.) He also works with 12-year-old film star Bailee Madison, Zendaya Coleman from Disney’s hit television show “Shake It Up,” and Cameron Quiseng from the band Allstar Weekend.

Why celebrity (and non-celebrity) teens like Invisalign

Celebrity teens like Invisalign because of their near invisibility and the ability to take them off when working in front of the cameras or when singing. According to Jimmy Bennett, “I chose Invisalign because if I were to get braces it would kind of interfere with my singing and acting career, so I decided clear would be the best choice.”

Jimmy Bennett and Jasmine V

Invisalign isn’t just for celebrities either. Many teens and tweens like Invisalign because you can remove the aligners when playing sports or an instrument.

Actress Bailee Madison says, “Invisible braces are for any active kid nowadays, whether competing in sports, performing on stage or video chatting with your friends. For me, Invisalign has been a non-painful, non-interfering treatment.”

In addition, to Invisalign’s near invisibility, there are no forbidden foods since you remove the Invisalign aligners when eating. Plus, the aligners make it easy for tweens and teens to keep up their brushing and flossing. Also, parents like Invisalign treatment because it’s affordable and much more convenient than traditional braces since you only have to see the orthodontist every six weeks.

Helping your teen decide on Invisalign

While teens may be embarrassed by a less than perfect smile, considering braces can be an anxiety provoking process. Since all kids want to fit in and look their best, celebrity teens can share their experiences with Invisalign and help your child decide if Invisalign is right for them.

First, send your child to the Invisalign Teen Facebook page to check out all the photos they have of celbs who have had their teeth straightened with Invisalign.  Then have them check out these celebrity teen interviews and articles about their experiences with Invisalign:

To learn more about Invisalign and how to get a Hollywood smile, take the self assessment at Invisalign.com.

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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.

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.