braces

Vacation Tips To Care For Your Braces!

SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE and you know what that means–family vacations, impromptu getaways and fun trips! Just like you, we couldn’t be more excited. As dental professionals, however, we want to make sure that when you leave on vacation, you don’t leave your oral hygiene behind, especially if you have braces. Follow these tips to protect your braces and keep your teeth healthy and bright, even when you’re traveling!

 

Have A Checkup Before Leaving Town

You should definitely see your orthodontist before you head out on your fun adventure. At your appointment, we will make any necessary adjustments and ensure that your orthodontic treatment is going forward as planned. If you wear traditional braces, we will check your brackets and wires to make sure they are firmly in place.

Watch What You Eat

One of the reasons that we go on vacation is for the amazing food! But remember, with braces, there are some foods you should stay away from. Nothing will put a damper on your trip like popping off a bracket or bending a wire. Here are the kind of foods you should watch out for:

  • Nuts
  • Hard cookies, candies, or bread
  • Pretzels and bagels
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chewy, sticky, or gummy candy
  • Raw fruit and vegetables that aren’t cut into pieces

Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Vacating your normal life and responsibilities for a short time is what vacations are all about! It’s important that you don’t leave your oral hygiene at home, however. Keeping your teeth healthy is something that requires daily care, so make sure your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are at the top of your packing list!

Quick tip: When packing your toothbrush, make sure to store it in a case or bag that is ventilated. If you use a brush head cover or need to pack it in a bag without any ventilation, make sure it’s completely dry before storing it. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on your toothbrush.

Having trouble packing for your trip? Check out this video for a few helpful packing tips:

You’ll also want to pack an orthodontic travel kit. This will include some over-the-counter painkillers, in case you experience any discomfort, any interdental cleaners that you use besides floss and orthodontic wax. If you use clear aligners and happen to lose your current one, just pop in the previous or next tray and call us when you get home!

Bon Voyage!

We hope these tips will help you protect your teeth, even when you’re on vacation. You’ll have a lot more fun knowing that your teeth and braces are taken care of and your smile is summer-ready. Wishing a safe trip and a wonderful summer to all of our amazing patients!

Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user tiarescott used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Our Team’s Favorite Braces-Friendly Snacks

EVERYONE KNOWS that snack time is one of the best times of the day! Getting a tasty treat in the middle of the workday or grabbing a snack after school can be just the pick-me-up you need to tackle the rest of your day with a smile.

But before you reach for the chips or chocolates, we have a few braces-friendly suggestions! Today we want to share our team’s favorite snacks that benefit your smile and keep your orthodontic treatment on track.

Our Braces-Friendly Snack Picks

From Paula: Smoothies! My current favorite smoothie is pineapple, orange, banana, spinach and kale.
From Shannon: Strawberries, raspberries, bananas and PEANUT BUTTER!
From Becky:  HOT DOGS!!!!  
From Dr. Brandon: Celery with a big bowl of hummus!

In addition to trying out our favorite snacks, keep these tips in mind when planning snacks that benefit your oral health:

Eat More Of These

Leafy Greens: Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens have calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, and magnesium; all essential for healthy teeth and gums.
Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt: Dairy is a delicious source of calcium, which supports strong bones and teeth.
Kiwi, Oranges, And Other Vitamin-C-Rich Foods: Vitamin C boosts your body’s ability to fight infection that causes gum disease.

Eat Less Of These

Soda And Energy Drinks: These acidic, sugary drinks attack and gradually deteriorate your protective tooth enamel.
Sticky Candy, Gummies, And Dried Fruit: These foods stick in your teeth and continue to bathe your teeth in sugar for hours after eating.
Highly Processed Carbs: This includes crackers, white bread, and pastries, which feed decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.

Keep In Touch To Learn More!

Now that we’ve shared our favorite healthy snacks, we want to hear from YOU! If you have any healthy recipes you make make at home, share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page! We’d love to see what kinds of creative snack ideas you’ve come up with.

Thank you for CHEW-sing our practice!

Can I Play An Instrument With Braces?

GETTING BRACES CAN BE VERY EXCITING! The promise of a beautiful, straight and healthy smile at the end of orthodontic treatment is more than worth the minor aches and pains that go along with achieving it.

We understand, however, that you may have some more in-depth questions about undergoing treatment depending on your unique circumstances or lifestyle choices. This is especially true of people who play musical instruments such as the flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone or other brass and woodwind instruments. We hope to answer some of your questions today!

Play An Instrument? Here’s What To Expect

Overall, we can say that there is no reason getting braces should keep you from playing the musical instrument of your choice. There will, however, be an adjustment period when you get your braces on, as well as when you get them off.

The adjustment period will vary from person to person and will differ depending on the instrument you play. Woodwinds, especially those with reeds like the saxophone and clarinet, are generally easier to get used to playing with braces, while brass instruments, like the trumpet and french horn, prove to be more difficult.

There are two things that should help you as you get used to playing your instrument with your new braces: using orthodontic wax and adjusting your embouchure. Put orthodontic wax on each bracket to protect your lips while playing.

As for adjusting your embouchure, we’re no music experts! But from what we’ve been told by patients who have had braces and play instruments, loosening your embouchure–or the way you apply your mouth to the mouthpiece of your instrument–can help make sure there isn’t so much pressure. We recommend working closely with your music teachers during the initial adjustment period so you can adjust your embouchure as needed and be comfortable while playing. And who knows… this experience may even help you become a better musician!

Take Care Of Your New Braces

We know how well you take care of your musical instrument. You clean it frequently and treat it with care and respect so that you can perform your best come concert or recital time. The same care is necessary for your braces and your teeth!

Brush your teeth morning and night and after meals. Don’t forget to floss at least once a day and avoid eating hard foods or candies that could break a bracket. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions and you’ll end up with that gorgeous, straight smile you’ve been waiting for!

Watch the video below for more tips on keeping your braces clean:

Let’s Discuss Your Options

We know getting braces can be difficult, and even more so if you play a woodwind or brass instrument! We also understand that every person is unique. Come into our office and we can discuss all of your options such as other types of braces, like invisible aligners, or ways that our other patients have learned to deal with traditional braces while playing an instrument. It is our goal to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible!

Your smile deserves the very best. Thank you for trusting our practice!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge, North Bend, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Carnation, Duvall, Fall City, and all the surrounding cities!

Top image by Flickr user ACE Foundation used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Why Do Teeth Move Even After Braces?

EVERYONE KNOWS THAT the most exciting day for someone with braces is the day they get them off! The final result of a beautiful, straight smile is what makes orthodontic treatment worth it. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping those teeth straight!


Guess What… Teeth Can Move!

Of course it comes to no surprise to an orthodontic patient that teeth can shift over time–that’s exactly what happened during their treatment! Teeth are dynamic and always moving as pressure and force is applied to them, even after you’ve had braces.

Teeth may shift in response to things such as teeth grinding and clenching, numerous dental restorations, tongue thrusting and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or nail biting. Teeth also move naturally as we grow older and our facial structures change.

Keeping Your Smile Straight Is A Lifelong Commitment

So, what can you do to make sure that your new smile lasts a lifetime? Wear your retainer! It really is that simple. After you’ve finished orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will tell you how often you need to wear your retainer and for how long. Over time, most patients will only need to wear their retainer at night.

It’s especially important to wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist immediately after you get your braces off. Your teeth have a sort of “memory” of the way they were aligned before you got your braces on and are more prone to revert back to their original positions right after orthodontic treatment has finished.

When it comes down to it, every orthodontic patient needs to ask themselves, “How long do I want my teeth to be straight?” Whatever the answer is, that’s how long you’ll need to wear your retainer.

Keep Smiling

We love creating beautiful, healthy smiles that our patients can be proud of. There’s nothing better than seeing our patients’ faces light up when they see their straight, new smiles. So keep wearing your retainer and keep up the good work. And most importantly… keep smiling!

We love our patients! Thank you for trusting us with your orthodontic treatment.
 

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends.  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish, and all surrounding cities. 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions. 

Do Dental Fillings Last Forever?

YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that dental fillings don’t last forever! While they are extremely durable and can last years, there will come a time when they will have to be replaced.


Your Fillings Get Checked At Regular Dental Visits

A question we frequently get asked in our practice is if a person can get braces if they have fillings. The answer is, “Yes!” We do recommend, however, that a patient get cavities filled before getting braces since it can be challenging to have done during orthodontic treatment.

Now you may be wondering, “If fillings don’t last a lifetime, then how long DO they last?” That depends on a number of factors, such as the type of procedure performed, the size or area being treated or replaced, the kind of materials used for the filling and the patient’s level of oral hygiene and care.

At your biannual dental appointment, your general dentist will check your fillings and make sure they are still intact. They will look for early signs of wear and tear so they can replace a dental restoration before it breaks, loses its effectiveness or falls out on its own. They also take x-rays to make sure there is no decay under or around a filling, which can cause it to come loose.

Here For You In An Emergency

Despite your best efforts, a filling may crack or fall out unexpectedly. This is unlikely to occur if you visit your dentist regularly, however accidents can happen. Over time, dental fillings can be weakened by:

  • Tooth decay
  • Frequent jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Chewing on hard items or foods
  • Injury or trauma, such as those sustained during sports activities
  • Time; no filling lasts forever no matter how well kept

Although the following video discusses tooth loss, the same principals apply for a lost filling!

f you ever have a filling fall out just remember, don’t panic and don’t wait. Even if it falls out after hours, call your dentist immediately–most have 24-hour emergency services set in place. In the meantime, keep your filling if you can but don’t try to push it back into place. Make sure to keep the affected area clean and debris-free.

If you don’t experience any pain after losing a filling, it’s still important to get it treated as soon as possible. Not seeking immediate care could result in pain, discomfort and even tooth loss.

Keep Your Smile Healthy

Regular dental visits are imperative to maintaining a healthy smile, especially when you have braces. With that being said, most dentists understand that not every dental emergency happens during normal business hours.

Do you have any questions about dental fillings and your orthodontic treatment? Let us know! Your health and comfort is our number one priority.

Thank you for reading our blog and supporting our practice!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie and all the surrounding cities; North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

Top image by Flickr user Vladimir Pustovit used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Will My Diet Change With Braces?

GOOD NUTRITION IS extremely important to having a healthy smile. It also aids in orthodontic treatment!

By eating right during your treatment, you can make sure your teeth are strong enough to support braces as well as avoid any setbacks.

Avoid Hard, Chewy Foods With Braces

In reality, your diet won’t change much because of orthodontic treatment. There are, however, some foods that you should avoid. Your braces may be sturdy and strong, but they’re not invincible. Do your best to stay away from the following foods while wearing braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Hard candies
  • Chewy, sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc.
  • Hard cookies or crackers

There are also foods that you should eat with caution, such as:

  • Raw vegetables. It is better to cook vegetables such carrots and broccoli before eating them so they are softer and easier on your braces.
  • Fruit. Cut up harder fruits such as apples before eating and chew with the back molars. Be careful with the pits of some fruits as well.
  • Pizza crust and other hard, chewy breads. Bread like baguettes, bagels and pizza crusts are often hard to chew. To soften them, heat them up and cut them into smaller pieces.
  • Corn. Stay away from corn on the cob. First cut the corn off the cob and then enjoy!
  • Tough meats. Some meats are more fibrous than others and can be hard to chew. The best varieties of meat for braces are the tender cuts, meat cooked in a slow cooker, and meat cut off the bone. Chicken and seafood are good protein alternatives as well.
  • Chips. Eat chips carefully and one at a time.

It’s also important to refrain from chewing on pencils, pens and fingernails–this can also do damage to your wires and brackets.

Make Sure You Eat A Balanced Diet

A healthy diet combined with good oral hygiene makes for faster and more effective orthodontic treatment. Unfortunately, some braces wearers resign to a diet of soft foods with little nutritional value because of the above restrictions. Even though you have to be careful with some foods, it’s more important than ever to keep up proper nutrition. Healthy teeth respond better to orthodontic treatment!

In addition, orthodontic appliances put you at a higher risk of tooth decay. Cavities and other oral health problems such as gum disease can prolong treatment time. Maintain a balanced diet as well as a diligent oral healthcare routine to protect your smile from tooth decay and oral disease. And remember, twice-yearly visits to your dentist are just as important for the health and beauty of your smile as your visits to our office!

Have Questions? We Have Answers!

Do you have any more questions about what you can and can’t eat with braces? Call us or send us a message through social media. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!  We proudly serve Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish, and more! 

Top image by Flickr user Loren Kerns used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

3 Orthodontic Tips For Cold And Flu Season

WHEN THE COLD AND FLU SEASON STRIKES, your teeth and braces are probably the last things you’re thinking about as you reach for another tissue! But there ARE some things related to that cold or flu that can affect your oral health.

Since tooth decay and gum disease can be especially risky during orthodontic treatment, we want you to be conscious of these three things:

Tip 1: Avoid Dry Mouth By Staying Hydrated

Dry mouth increases cavity risk. Most colds come with a giant side order of stuffy nose. We respond by breathing through our mouths! Doing so, combined with decreased saliva production during sleep, makes our mouths more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

Tip 2: Keep The Bad Stuff Off Your Teeth

  • Are you sucking on cough drops all day? Most are loaded with sugar. Opt for sugar-free cough drops if possible. AND, be sure not to bite down on those super-hard drops.
  • Cough syrup is loaded with sugar too. If you take cough syrup, rinse your mouth out before going back to bed.
  • Stomach acid is hard on teeth. Sorry to bring this up, but if you’re throwing up, keep your teeth rinsed and clean.

Tip 3: No Matter How Tired…

We know it’s tough when you’re sick, but don’t skip your normal brushing/flossing routine just because you’re feeling really tired. Your oral health while you’re in braces is just too important to neglect.

A Few More Practical Tips For Staying Healthy

Stay healthy this flu season! Remember to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands often to keep viruses from spreading. If you have any more questions about measures you should take for your orthodontic treatment during cold and flu season, let us know! We want to ensure your treatment stays on track, even if the flu pays a visit to your home this year.

If you’re sick, get feeling better soon! And thanks for your trust in our orthodontic practice.  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Make Your Game Day Snacks More Smile-Friendly

MANY FAMILIES AND FRIENDS gather together on a weekly basis to watch their favorite teams go head to head. And while people come to watch the game, we all know what they’re really there for… the food!

Traditional game day snacks may be delicious–think wings, sliders, nachos, pizza–but they are certainly not the healthiest for our bodies, or our teeth for that matter.

Make Healthier Choices On Game Day

October is one of the busiest sports months of the year. For all you sports fans out there, you’re going to have a lot of games to watch and, as a result, a lot of unhealthy finger food you may be planning to eat. Making healthier choices for the big game is easy… and well worth it!

For more smile-friendly snacks, try these healthy alternatives to traditional game day food:

  • Veggie-filled wraps instead of sliders. Leafy greens contain vitamins essential for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Yogurt instead of ice cream. You know dairy is good for your teeth! But watch out for added sugars you can find in ice cream and some yogurts. Make a greek yogurt parfait or a yogurt-based dip for fruit to protect those chompers.
  • Bruschetta instead of pizza. Fresh-made bruschetta, especially with calcium-rich cheese on top, is a great substitute for greasy pizza.
  • Vegetables instead of chips. Refined, starchy foods can be worse for your teeth than sugar. Bake your own kale chips or substitute cucumbers, celery, and carrots for greasy chips. You’ll get that crunch factor you crave as well as protect your teeth from decay.
  • Zucchini or sweet potato fries instead of french fries. Bake your fries instead of deep-fry them. Sweet potatoes have a lot of vitamin C which promotes healthy gums. Zucchini has an extremely high water content which will get your saliva flowing.

You could even try this healthy spinach and artichoke dip at your next watch-party!

Here’s another fun fact: including apples and strawberries in your snack game plan can actually help whiten your teeth! These fruits contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel.

In addition, nuts, celery, carrots and again, apples, are great finger foods that work as natural toothbrushes. That’s right! Because of their abrasive texture, they naturally remove bacteria and plaque. They also increase saliva production, helping to wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth. So the next time you want to just eat the wings and leave the celery, think again.

Eat Right For A Winning Smile

We know you want your team to win the big game, but it’s even more important to have a winning smile! What are your favorite healthy game day snacks? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to get some more ideas!

Happy watching to all our sports fans!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding cities!

 

Top image by Flickr user Abdulla Al Muhairi used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Think It’s Too Late For Braces? Think Again!

THE STEREOTYPICAL IMAGE of a child or teenager in braces is a thing of the past. In fact, more than one million adults in the U.S. and Canada currently wear braces! If you’re thinking it’s too late for you to straighten your smile, we want you to know that no matter your age, orthodontic treatment can change your life.


Why Are So Many Adults Seeking Orthodontic Treatment?

We know that not everyone had the opportunity to receive orthodontic treatment when they were young, even if they wanted to. Some of you may have had braces in the past but for various reasons need them again. Whatever the reason you are seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, we have options for you!

Because of advances in technology, we are able to provide a variety of treatment options. Depending on your unique case as well as your lifestyle and personality, we will recommend one of the following types of braces:

  • Conventional metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Clear plastic aligners (Invisalign)

With more options and more freedom to choose, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted in a way that works best for you.

The Benefits Of Straight Teeth Go Beyond Cosmetics

Having straight teeth and a healthy smile you are proud of are shown to improve self-esteem and confidence. According to 75 percent of adult braces wearers, orthodontic treatment can even improve your career and personal relationships.

But beyond the cosmetic side of things, many adults are realizing just how important straight teeth and an aligned bite are for oral and overall health. Here are just a few of the health benefits orthodontic treatment could provide for you:

  1. Less plaque and tartar buildup: When teeth are crooked and crowded they trap food more easily and are harder to clean. That’s why having straight teeth reduces the risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
  2. Easier eating: Did you know that misaligned or crowded teeth can compromise chewing? It can also cause abnormal tooth enamel wear and increase your risk of cracking or chipping a tooth.
  3. Less headaches: Jaw misalignment and crooked teeth are common contributors to headaches and neck, jaw and face pain, as well as pain associated with TMD.

Talk To Us Today About Adult Orthodontics

It’s no wonder that 92 percent of adults with braces say they would recommend orthodontic treatment to their peers. Braces can beautify your smile and help give rise to a healthier, happier you! So, what are you waiting for? Set up an orthodontic consultation with us today.

We can’t wait to give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!  Call us today for your COMPLIMENTARY Consultation!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding cities.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Chris Hunkeler used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

What Is An Orthodontic Assistant?

PEOPLE ARE COMMONLY CONFUSED about what the exact role of an orthodontic assistant is. We want to set the record straight (just like we do your teeth)! Our orthodontic assistants are an invaluable part of our team and practice–to be honest, we couldn’t get much done without them!


Orthodontic Assistants Are Specially Trained To Serve You

Our orthodontic assistants are specially trained to serve YOU–our valued patients!

Becky, who is also the office manager, is a certified dental assistant.  She attended a 1 year course at the Indiana University School of Dentistry for dental assisting.  After school, she had to take (and pass) 3 board exams to receive her certificate.  She has been working in the orthodontic field for almost 8 years!  She attends continuing education courses throughout the year and also renews her CPR certificate every 2 years.  Becky loves working chair side with patients!

Our Patients Are Our Priority

Our priority is providing the highest quality of care to our patients. And we couldn’t do it without the amazing orthodontic assistants in our office! Do you have any questions for our assistant? Let us know in the comments below!

As always, thank you for choosing our practice. We love our patients!

We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Ridge and following cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Maple Valley, Sammamish, Issaquah.

Caring For Your Orthodontic Retainer

THE DAY YOU HAVE BEEN waiting for has finally arrived… your braces are off. Congratulations! A lot of people mistakenly believe that orthodontic treatment ends after braces, but it’s important to understand that wearing a retainer has an equally essential part in creating and maintaining that beautiful new smile of yours.

Take Proper Care Of Your Retainer

The first step in taking care of your retainer is to clean it daily. Depending on your preference as well as the type of retainer you get, maintenance may vary. Below we’ve compiled our top recommendations on how to clean your orthodontic appliance.

Denture Cleansers

Denture cleansers are a simple and easy way to clean your retainer. Efferdent and Polident are popular brands. If you have a retainer with solder joints, make sure you use a non-persulfate cleansersuch as DentaSoak. Simply soak your retainer for the recommended amount of time, rinse and gently scrub with a toothbrush specifically designated for your retainer.

Dish Soap and Baking Soda

These mild household cleaners also work well to clean your retainer. Scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and mild dish soap. Rinse thoroughly. Or if you’d rather opt for baking soda, wet your toothbrush and sprinkle some on the head. Scrub and rinse well with warm water.

Your Orthodontist’s Office

We can clean your retainers for you! If you feel that over time your retainers need a more thorough cleaning, we have a tool in our office that can help. And, of course, we jump at any opportunity to see our patients!

Protect Your Investment

We’ve all heard the retainer horror stories… throwing it away with your school lunch, leaving it on the table only to find it later, a mangled mess in your dog’s mouth. Here are some tips to help you protect your investment:

  • Do not use toothpaste to clean your retainer (unless it is non-abrasive). The majority of toothpastes contain abrasive substances that can scratch your retainer, damaging its appearance over time and creating places where bacteria can collect.
  • When your retainer isn’t in your mouth, keep it in your case and out of reach of small children or pets.
  • Never boil or use hot water to rinse your retainer. You wouldn’t want it to melt or change shape.
  • Avoid wrapping it up in napkins so it doesn’t accidentally get thrown away.
  • If you choose to place your retainer in mouthwash for that fresh, minty taste, make sure it’s a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol can cause damage to the retainer acrylic.

Keep Up The Good Work

Taking care of your retainer is just as important as wearing it. You’ve worked hard for that beautiful, straight smile–we’re here to help you keep it that way! Do you have any questions about retainer maintenance? Call us or let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for your loyalty to our practice.

Top image by Flickr user richardhe51067 used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Why Is My Mouth Dry?

SALIVA IS ESSENTIAL not only for our oral health, but for our overall comfort. We all experience a dry mouth every once in awhile and know how bothersome it can be. But what does it mean? And what should we do if it persists?

Saliva Has An Important Role In Our Oral Health

Our bodies are constantly producing saliva to provide our mouths with moisture–we generate two to four pints of saliva a day! Saliva aids in digestion and allows us to taste and process food. It also protects our mouths by washing away food debris and strengthening our teeth against cavities!

Dry Mouth Can Be Caused By A Number Of Things

Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands are not working properly resulting in an inadequate flow of saliva. It can leave us feeling thirsty and hoarse and our mouths sticky and uncomfortable. We may have problems speaking or trouble tasting and swallowing. It also causes bad breath. Needless to say, not having enough saliva is no fun!

Our mouths may get dry occasionally due to nervousness or stress. More serious and persistent cases of dry mouth, however, are the result of a number of other things, such as:

  • Certain medications like antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics, among others.
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Illnesses including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, to name a few.
  • Medical treatments that can damage salivary glands, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Dehydration and conditions that cause dehydration such as fever, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss and burns.

Orthodontic Treatment Can Cause Dry Mouth

Even orthodontic treatment can cause your mouth to feel dry, especially after an adjustment. The reason for this is that braces can cause irritation to your gums and the sides of your mouth. This irritation can sometimes cause dryness. Throughout your orthodontic treatment and especially after adjustments, make sure you’re drinking enough water.

Talk To Us About Dry Mouth

More than just discomfort, having a dry mouth raises your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection and should therefore be taken care of as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, we can help determine the best course of treatment. In the meantime, try some at-home remedies such as chewing on sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. And as always, drink plenty of water!

We’re committed to you–our amazing patients!

Proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and the surrounding areas: North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth?

MANY PARENTS HAVE heard their children (loudly) grinding their teeth while they sleep at night, or even during waking hours. You may  worry about the health of your child’s teeth or what their tooth grinding habit means and what has caused it. We hope this blog post answers your questions!


Why Does Teeth Grinding Occur?

Most commonly, bruxism–or teeth grinding–occurs at night. The causes of bruxism are not entirely understood and every child is different. Teeth grinding can occur due to teething in infants, or even when children get their permanent teeth. Others may do it in response to pain, frustration or stress. Some may grind or clench due to improperly aligned teeth. Certain medical conditions as well as genetics may also make people more prone to brux.

Is Bruxism Worrisome?

Bruxism is fairly common among children. In fact, twenty to thirty percent of children grind or clench their teeth at one point during childhood. The good news is, most outgrow it and do not incur any lasting damage to their teeth during a teeth grinding phase.

If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, it’s important to take them to your dental care provider. The symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Grinding noises while your child is asleep
  • Pain when chewing
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Sore jaw or face, especially in the morning upon waking

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or you suspect that they grind or clench their teeth frequently, pay us a visit. Fortunately, most cases of bruxism in children do not require treatment, as it usually goes away over time. However, depending on the cause of your child’s bruxism, we may recommend various treatment options. For example, if your child grinds their teeth in response to stress, perhaps a more calming bedtime routine may help. Or if your child’s bruxism is due to a misaligned bite, orthodontic treatment could be the solution.

During your visit, we will examine your child’s teeth for tooth enamel wear and damage. If there is damage, or your child grinds their teeth very frequently, we may recommend a custom-made night guard to protect teeth and hopefully prevent grinding.

We’re Here To Help

Whatever the reason for your child’s teeth grinding habit, we would love to help! Have any more questions or concerns about bruxism? Come in to see us today!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding cities: Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish

Our patients rock!

Top image by Flickr user Katrina Br*?#*!@nd used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What Is An Orthodontic Expander?

WHEN YOU THINK of orthodontic treatment, the first things that come to mind are braces and retainers. But there’s more to orthodontics than that! Depending on your child’s unique case, we may use other orthodontic appliances to help them achieve a beautiful smile. One of these appliances is an orthodontic, or palatal expander.  We've been delivering a lot of expanders recently and we hope this blog post can help families understand the appliance.

An Expander Helps Widen Narrow Mouths

A palatal expander is a specially made appliance used to widen the palate or roof of the mouth. This appliance is usually used for younger patients whose jaw may be too narrow to accommodate incoming permanent teeth. When the jaw is too narrow for the adult set of teeth, crowding and bite misalignment may develop.

If a narrow upper jaw is left untreated and crowding and bite problems occur, a person may have difficulty with chewing, speech and other functions. It may also cause a need for more dental work as an adult. Put simply, an expander is used to widen a narrow palate early, helping big teeth fit into little mouths!

Here’s a quick look at how an expander works:

 

 

Help Your Child Adjust To Their Expander

The first couple of days with an expander may be an adjustment for your child. They may report some discomfort such as a feeling of pressure in the mouth or behind their nose. This pressure fades quickly on its own but over-the-counter pain relievers can also help.

In addition, your child may speak differently for the first few days or slurp more than usual due to an increase in saliva production. All of this is normal and will go away as they get used to the expander in their mouths.

Since your child’s mouth may be a bit sore and swallowing may be tricky, eating fun foods that require minimal chewing like yogurt, ice cream, jello, mashed potatoes, pudding, etc. may help them adapt. Normal eating should resume within a few days.  Some patient's adjust rather quickly to the expander, but please remember that small bites of food for the first day or two may be best until the child can relearn how to swallow properly.

Keep Up An Oral Hygiene Routine

As with any orthodontic appliance, it’s important for your child to keep their expander clean. They should brush twice a day as well as continue daily flossing. Since food may be more prone to get caught under your child’s expander, we recommend a water jet or syringe after meals and before bedtime to flush out any remaining debris.

Every Smile Is Unique

Everyone is unique and may require a different combination of treatment to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. Our goal is cater to your child’s individual needs to bring about the best results. Do you have any questions about palatal expanders? Give us a call or leave it in the comments below! We always love to hear from you.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

We are proud to serve Snoqualmie and our surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Maple Valley, Preston, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user David Amsler used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

 

The Benefits Of Brushing With An Electric Toothbrush

BRUSHING TWICE A DAY is important to keeping your smile healthy, but what can switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush do for your oral health routine?


Electric Toothbrushes Provide Many Benefits

While a manual toothbrush can get the job done if used properly, an electric toothbrush provides benefits that go beyond simply scrubbing your teeth.

They clean teeth more thoroughly. When we brush by hand, we average about 300 strokes per minute. Electric toothbrushes can average thousands or even tens of thousands of strokes per minute depending on what technology they employ.

They’re easier for those with dexterity issues. Certain conditions–such as arthritis, limited mobility, or involuntary tremors–can make brushing with a manual toothbrush difficult. The larger handles of electric toothbrushes can be easier to hold, while the powered toothbrush head does all the cleaning for you.

They help ensure you’re brushing properly. Many electric toothbrushes feature built-in timers and pressure sensors. These features help ensure you’re not too brushing too hard and that you brush for a full two minutes.

They clean hard to reach spots around braces. Some electric toothbrushes even have special attachments made specifically for cleaning around brackets and orthodontic appliances.

Check out the video below to see how to properly use an electric toothbrush.

 

We Love Brightening Our Patients Smiles!

Electric toothbrushes aren’t just fancy gadgets—they can provide a host of significant benefits for your oral health. If you have questions about how an electric toothbrush can improve your brushing routine, call and make an appointment today! We love helping our patients achieve happy, healthy smiles.

Thank you for being part of our practice family.  We are proudly serving the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding cities: Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Ridge, North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish, and Preston.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Everyday Habits Affect Your Teeth

TOOTH ENAMEL HAS the pretty cool reputation of being the hardest substance in the human body. So it may come as a surprise to know that while enamel is super tough, it can also break quite easily! The truth is that our teeth are not invincible, and a lot of everyday habits can put our oral health at risk.  It's important to avoid all of these habits when you have braces too!


Watch Out For These Tooth-Damaging Habits

Many of these habits seem harmless, but over time they can do a lot of damage to that beautiful smile of yours!

Nail Biting

We may refer to closely-matched sports games as “nail-biters,” but that doesn’t mean we should actually be biting our nails! Nail biting can cause teeth to chip or break as well as lead to enamel damage. The front teeth are often the first to suffer wear and tear from nail biting.

Due to the increased pressure on teeth during orthodontic treatment, biting your nails with braces can put you at greater risk for tooth resorption (a shortening of the tooth roots) or tooth loss. For the sake of teeth everywhere, let’s keep the term “nail-biter” as a manner of expression rather than a label for ourselves!

Using Your Teeth As A Tool

That darn packet of ketchup just won’t open! While your teeth may seem to be the perfect solution, using them as a tool will cause more harm than good. As strong as your teeth may be, they are not meant to be used as pliers or any other sort of tool. Doing so can lead to fractured or broken teeth and even tooth loss. As a side note, tooth damage puts you at greater risk of decay and cavities!

Gnawing On Pens And Pencils

You may be solving a difficult problem or simply thinking. Before you know it, the end of your pen or pencil is in your mouth. This oftentimes unconscious habit is an important one to be aware of. We don’t realize how much pressure we’re placing on our teeth when we bite down on something that isn’t food.

Chewing on your pen or pencil puts you at risk for broken teeth and even damage to existing dental work. Constant chewing on hard objects can compromise dental restorations such as fillings or crowns. When it comes to this bad habit, we say stay away!

Chewing Ice

Are you an ice chewer? Chewing on ice is another huge culprit behind chipped, cracked and fractured teeth. The cold can weaken teeth even further, leaving them more susceptible to breakage.Chewing ice cubes doesn’t just chip teeth, it chips away tooth enamel as well, causing serious damage over time. Even your blender needs special blades to crush ice! So next time you’re tempted, just remember your teeth aren’t equipped to crush ice cubes.

Do Your Chompers A Favor

Your teeth are made to chew food and nothing more. If you’ve got one of these bad habits, do your chompers a favor and work on quitting. 

Our patients rock!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Snoqualmie, Carnation, Duvall, Snoqualmie, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Why Correcting An Overbite Is Important

IT IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION to think that orthodontic treatment is simply for aesthetic purposes. In reality, having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can have lasting effects on your oral health.

So, what if you have an overbite? Fixing your overbite, or any kind of malocclusion for that matter, will not only beautify your smile, but it will also prevent dental problems in the future!

What Is An Overbite?

An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the lower and upper jaws are not aligned, causing the upper teeth to cover the lower teeth. Most often an overbite is hereditary, but it can also be caused by the jaw not forming correctly. Childhood tendencies such as thumb-sucking or prolonged bottle-feeding or pacifier use can cause or worsen an overbite.

Why Is Correcting An Overbite Important?

Fixing an overbite may simply be a matter of wanting to improve the appearance of your smile, but it’s important to remember that an uncorrected overbite can cause a wide range of health and dental problems. Some of these include:

  • Gum damage. In a severe overbite, the lower front teeth can contact the gum line in the back of the upper front teeth, while the upper front teeth may strike the gum line of the lower front teeth, resulting in gum recession. Damaged gums can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
  • Difficulty speaking and chewing. Overbites can make speech difficult, resulting in speech impediments or overcompensation to articulate certain words. Overbites can also complicate proper chewing.
  • Tooth wear and damage. The teeth often rest and hit each other in odd places when the jaw is misaligned, causing enamel wear, tooth decay and even tooth loss.
  • Sleep apnea. People with overbites and a small mouth have a higher likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Jaw pain. A misaligned jaw can result in chronic jaw pain and headaches and may contribute to the development of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).

What Treatments Are Available?

After an examination, your orthodontist can diagnose the severity of the overbite and suggest the best method of correction. For most people, that is orthodontic treatment. Not only will orthodontic treatment fix your bite, it will also straighten your teeth and beautify your smile. In rare occurrences where an overbite is due to a malformed jaw, surgery may be required.

Here’s what orthodontic treatment can do for you:

Love Your Smile

Everyone deserves to love their smile! For most of us, that perfectly aligned smile doesn’t come naturally. That’s where we come in! We are dedicated not only to ensuring your oral health, but also to making sure you walk out of our office loving that gorgeous grin of yours. Call us today for a  FREE consultation!

Thank you to our loyal patients!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Maple Valley, Carnation, and Issaquah.

Don’t Let Gingivitis Keep You From Smiling

YOU’RE SITTING IN THE DENTAL CHAIR, everything going as planned at your checkup, until your dentist tells you that you have gingivitis. If you haven’t heard of gingivitis before you’re probably thinking, “What is gingivitis? Is it serious? Is it treatable?”

We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about gingivitis so you can keep your smile healthy!

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums characterized by gum irritation, redness, swelling and sometimes bleeding. Symptoms of gingivitis are fairly mild and can even be painless. Visiting your dentist regularly is important so gingivitis can be diagnosed, especially if symptoms are not obvious.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum disease, and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to full-blown gum disease, which can lead to receding and damaged gums as well as bone and tooth loss.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque hardens and turns into what is called tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup around the gum line cause gum irritation and inflammation or, in other words, gingivitis.

Other factors may contribute to the development of gingivitis such as hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy), smoking, certain medications or illnesses and genetic predisposition.

Is Gingivitis Reversible?

Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiFVMikAg70

Proper oral hygiene not only prevents gingivitis, but treats it as well. Professional cleanings as recommended by your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, and regular use of an antibacterial mouthwash can keep bacteria found in plaque at bay, effectively preventing and treating gingivitis.

So, yes, gingivitis is reversible! By treating it early and following the instructions of your dental care provider, you can treat gingivitis and smile on!

Keep Your Smile Healthy

A smile shouldn’t only be happy, it should be healthy too! Your oral health is the gateway to your overall health and wellness. So if you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, practice proper oral hygiene care and you’ll have your healthy smile back in no time.

If you have any questions regarding your oral health, call us today or leave us a Facebook message. We’re always glad to address your concerns!

We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and the surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Maple Valley, Duvall, Preston, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

What Causes Stained Teeth?

WE OFTEN TAKE STEPS to achieve that sparkling white smile when we brush in the morning and before we go to bed. The truth is, what we consume throughout the day is often the largest contributor to whether or not our smile will light up a room.

Although there are several causes for tooth discoloration, we can separate them into three basic categories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related discoloration. Here’s how each affects your teeth, and what you can do to ensure a life full of bright, healthy smiles.

Food And Drink Are Large Contributors To Surface Stains

Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the enamel—the outer layer of the tooth—becomes stained. These stains are caused by pigments, acidic content, and other chemical factors (natural or artificial) present in things we enjoy eating and drinking.

A few common culprits for tooth discoloration include:

  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cola
  • Sports drinks
  • Hard Candy
  • Berries
  • Tomato Sauce

Most of these items won’t have an immediate affect on the color of your teeth, but over time, they can begin to wear away and cling to enamel causing unsightly stains. Try to consume these in moderation and always remember to drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after meals.

Here’s a couple of quick tips to help avoid those wine stains!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zYp0b7-b_s

 

Trauma Can Discolor Teeth From The Inside Out

Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth—the dentin—begins to darken or develop a yellow tint. This type of discoloration can develop because of a trauma sustained to the tooth. Sometimes when a tooth sustains trauma during childhood, it can damage the developing permanent tooth beneath it, affecting the tooths color. If a trauma is sustained during adulthood, internal bleeding can potentially discolor the damaged tooth.

Other causes include uses of medication at certain stages of life or being born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta which can cause gray, amber, or purple discolorations. If you have questions about intrinsic discoloration, come in and see us and we can help answer your questions.

Your Smile Can Change Color With Age

Age-related tooth discoloration is a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The dentin inside our teeth naturally yellows as we age. Enamel on the outside of teeth also thins as we get older, allowing the yellow pigment of the dentin to show through. A lifetime of consuming certain foods or smoking cigarettes will also contribute to deep-set stains on the enamel’s surface.

We Can Help Brighten Your Smile

We know just how important it is to provide our patients with bright, healthy smiles. Each situation is unique and we provide our patients with effective solutions for their unique oral health needs. If you have any questions about your smile’s appearance, let us know in the comments below or call and make an appointment today!

Thank you for continuing to be a part of Snoqualmie Valley Orthodontic's family!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley area: Snoqualmie, North Bend, Duvall, Maple Valley, Carnation, Fall City, North Bend, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.