orthodontics

Want To Get Rid Of Bad Breath?

WE ALL KNOW THAT FEELING… you wake up in the morning to sun shining, birds chirping and happily lean over to your significant other to say hello! Instead you are greeted by the horrible smell of morning breath. Or maybe you run into friends after work and suddenly become conscious of that bad taste in your mouth.

We've had lots of questions about it recently (mostly from mother's of teenage boys).  But I want you to know that we’ve all been there! Unfortunately, bouts of halitosis, or bad breath, are pretty much inevitable. Today we’re going to explain why that is, what causes that nasty smell and what you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

It All Starts With Bacteria

We’re not the only ones who need to eat to stay alive, so do the bacteria living in our mouths. When they snack on whatever’s left behind from our last meal, they release foul-smelling odors as a by-product, causing bad breath.

What you can do: Clean your teeth after every meal by brushing and flossing. This will eliminate food debris and bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. Braces can trap a lot of food in them, so you may be more susceptible to bad breath during orthodontic treatment if you don’t clean your teeth frequently and properly. A clean mouth, is a fresh mouth!

Choose Breath-Friendly Foods And Beverages

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can make bad breath more likely, such as sugary foods and drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol.

What you can do: Choose breath-friendly foods and beverages! Water washes away food debris and increases saliva flow in your mouth, protecting your teeth and mouth from bacteria. Healthy food choices such as carrots, celery and apples are high in water content and actually work as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing plaque bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth. Remember to cut these foods up into smaller pieces so as not to risk breaking any of your brackets!

Good Oral Hygiene Can Reduce Morning Breath

Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Why is this? It’s mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check. When we sleep at night, however, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you sleep with your mouth open, it can be even worse.

What you can do: To make your morning breath less offensive, follow a good oral hygiene regimen. By brushing and flossing your teeth before bed, you’re giving bacteria less food to munch on, which will help your breath be better in the morning.

In addition, we highly recommend cleaning your tongue by either brushing it or using a tongue scraper, since this is where most bad breath-causing bacteria are found. Another tip is to keep water by your bedside. When you wake up at night, take a drink! Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We’re Here For You

For the most part, bad breath is manageable. If you feel like your halitosis is severe however, especially if you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease. If this is the case, we may refer you to a health care provider. If you have any more questions, let us know. We are here to serve you!

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.

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley!

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.

Simple Steps To Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment On Track

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

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

THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT is dependent on a number factors, like your orthodontist or how your teeth respond to braces. It’s important to remember however that a lot of it actually depends on YOU! So, what can you do to make sure you finish your treatment on time and finally get those braces off?


#1. Keep Your Appointments

We know it can be hard to have such frequent appointments when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. But the better you are at keeping your appointments, the faster your treatment time will be! Postponing or cancelling appointments can significantly prolong treatment time. We also ask that you come on time to your appointments. Having enough time to perform planned procedures is essential to your smile’s progress.

#2. Avoid Damage To Your Braces

Damage to your braces will also delay the completion of treatment. To prevent breaking off a bracket or bending any wires, be sure to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. In addition, avoid these foods while wearing braces:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Sticky candy, such as taffy and caramel
  • Ice
  • Hard candy, cookies, or crackers

Remember to cut up other foods that can damage braces such as raw fruits and vegetables, pizza crust and other hard breads and corn on the cob.

#3. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

If your unique case calls for orthodontic appliances other than braces, it’s crucial to wear them as prescribed. We most often see patients neglecting to wear their elastics, or rubber bands. In general, you’ll only need to take them off when eating a meal, brushing your teeth or wearing a mouthguard. Failure to wear your elastics consistently can extend your treatment time by a lot! So be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

#4. Be Diligent About Your Oral Hygiene

Healthy teeth are an essential prerequisite for orthodontic treatment. And having healthy teeth during treatment is just as important! Braces can make it harder to keep your teeth clean, so you need to be extra diligent about your oral hygiene when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. Cavities and gum disease can complicate and prolong your treatment. So if you want to get those braces off as quickly as possible, brush, floss and visit your dentist every six months!

It Will All Be Worth It!

Going through orthodontic treatment isn’t an easy process, but it is well worth it. By following these simple steps, you can stay on track and get the smile you’ve always wanted! If you have any more questions, call us today. We’re always here for our amazing patients.

Thank you for letting us be a part of your smile journey!

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR PRACTICE!  WE ARE PROUD TO SERVE SNOQUALMIE AND ALL THE SURROUNDING CITIES: NORTH BEND, FALL CITY, DUVALL, CARNATION, MAPLE VALLEY, SAMMAMISH, ISSAQUAH, ETC.

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. 

Baby Teeth Myths—Busted!

YOU MIGHT THINK that baby teeth don’t matter because “they’re just going to fall out anyway,” but think again!

There are a lot of myths about baby teeth out there, so we’re going to set the record straight: here’s a list of the top four baby teeth myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are extremely important to a child’s developing oral health. Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in straight (preventing crowding and crooked teeth), they also help the face structure develop properly and ensure that young children can eat and receive plenty of nutrition.

Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

You might have heard that babies can’t get cavities at all, or that if they do have them, it’s not a big deal. Both rumors are untrue; not only are cavities painful, they can cause swelling and even infection. In addition, children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. If you think your child may be developing a cavity, marked by discoloration or a small crack, call us right away!

TIP: Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle! Juice and milk are full of bacteria-feeding sugars which cause cavities.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth

You should begin “brushing” your children’s teeth even before their first tooth grows in! Just use a soft, wet cloth or bit of gauze to rub their gums to help reduce bacteria and prevent future cavities. Once teeth come in, help get your children in the habit of brushing twice daily with a smear of toothpaste and flossing regularly. 

Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist

There is a common misconception that children shouldn’t visit the dentist before the age of three, or before they have their full set of 20 primary teeth. The ADA states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one.Early check-ups can identify cavities and help prevent and assess other problems.

Need Any More Myths Debunked? We Can Help!

If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, give us a call! We love any opportunity to help you, our wonderful patients!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie and the surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones 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.

What Parents Need To Know About Thumb Sucking

THUMB SUCKING IS NORMAL for infants, but many parents wonder about its effect on their child’s future dental health. As a parent, you may have questions such as, “When should I be worried about thumb sucking?” or, “What will happen if my child continues to suck their thumb?”

Because thumb sucking is so widespread–it’s estimated that about 75 to 95 percent of infants suck their thumb or fingers at some point–we want to help parents understand why it happens and how you can help your child break the habit if necessary.

Thumb Sucking Is Normal–Up To A Certain Point

If your infant develops a thumb sucking habit, remember, it is completely normal. Some children even begin sucking their thumb in the womb! It’s a natural reflex for babies and provides them with a sense of security and comfort.

In most cases, as baby grows and begins to explore the world around them, thumb sucking will gradually decrease and disappear on its own, usually between the ages of two and four. Past age four, however, thumb sucking should be discouraged.

The reason for this is that prolonged sucking can negatively impact your child’s developing teeth. Depending on the frequency and intensity of sucking, teeth and the upper and lower jaws can be pushed out of alignment and the formation of the roof of the mouth can be changed. It can even affect speech development.

What To Do If The Habit Persists

If your child’s thumb sucking habit persists, recognize when it occurs. Is it an absentminded habit or do they suck when they are anxious, stressed or nervous? The method you use to help break your child’s sucking habit may depend on the reason behind it.For some children, a discussion and goal setting is enough. For more difficult cases, you may need to enlist the help of your dentist.

Here are some general tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Explain. If your child is old enough, help them understand the consequences of thumb sucking and why they need to stop.
  • Make your child an active participant. Help your child come up with their own goals and prevention strategies. They will be more likely to keep their own goals.
  • Take note. Observe times they are more prone to sucking, if any, and try to create diversions.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Offer encouragement and support instead of punishments.
  • Make a progress chart. Help your child see their progress and reward them with a prize at the end of each week and/or month. Have your child be the one to place stickers on the chart and choose the prize.

Involve Your Dentist or Orthodontist

Whatever the methods you choose to help your child break their thumb sucking habit, we are here for you! We can provide advice, support, and if necessary, further treatment options to help your child stop sucking their thumb or finger.

Talk to us about thumb sucking today–we’d love to address your concerns, answer questions and help come up with the best solution for your child.

Thank you for your continued trust in our practice.

We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Ridge and surrounding cities!

Top image by Flickr user Raoul Snyman 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.

Protect Your Smile With A Custom Mouthguard

THE CRISP SMELL OF FRESHLY CUT GRASS on the soccer field, the gleam of the basketball court before a game, the cheering fans at the football stadium, the feeling of the baseball bat, familiar in your hands… There’s no doubt about it–playing sports can be a magical thing.

We love when our patients are having fun and being active, butunfortunately, sports-related dental injuries happen all the time. That’s why we make custom mouthguards in our practice, so you and your children can always play it safe!

Wear A Mouthguard And Reduce Your Risk Of Injury

You may be surprised to learn that up to 40 percent of dental injuries are sustained during sports activities. In fact, not wearing a mouthguard makes you 60 times more likely to sustain an injury to the face and mouth! Wearing a mouthguard during recreational as well as competitive sports activities decreases both the frequency and severity of injury.

A fractured, chipped or knocked-out tooth isn’t the only thing a mouthguard safeguards against. Did you know that wearing a mouthguard can also help prevent more serious injuries such as concussions, jaw fractures, and neck injuries? Not to mention the protection it provides for the soft tissues of the mouth like the tongue, lips and cheeks.

This is especially true for those of you with braces. Not only are your braces an investment you should protect, but those metal brackets can be especially damaging to your mouth if you’re hit by a stray ball or elbow. On top of that, if your braces are damaged, there may be a delay in your orthodontic treatment.

Custom Mouthguards Provide More Comfort And Protection

When it comes to purchasing a mouthguard, you have a couple different options. A custom-fit mouthguard made specifically for you by a dental professional is the most effective and comfortable choice. We can even specially customize your mouthguard for the specific sport you play. Custom mouthguards are:

  • Less likely to be displaced during the action because of their custom fit.
  • Durable and tear-resistant. Custom mouthguards last longer due to the higher quality of materials used to construct them.
  • More fitted and less bulky. This adds to the overall comfort and makes talking, breathing and swallowing easier.

Your Smile Is Worth Protecting

Customized specifically for your smile, the mouthguards we make in our practice provide superior safety and genuine comfort.Your smile is worth protecting. Talk to us today about your own custom mouthguard!

Our patients make our day!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Ridge and surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, 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.

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.

The Professionals vs. The Headlines: What’s Up With Flossing?

WE’VE MENTIONED IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN… Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene. Many people don’t see the need for flossing when they already brush their teeth; others simply hate the task. We understand that it can be tedious! But as your trusted dental professionals, we want to assure you that flossing will greatly benefit your dental and overall health. 

Recent articles stating that flossing doesn’t do any good for your oral health have left many feeling shocked and confused. As your trusted dental professionals, we’re here to set the record straight!

It all started with an article by the Associated Press stating that the benefits of flossing have been unproven. Unfortunately, haters of flossing were quick to take up their torches and pitchforks against the practice. In response to the Associated Press article, the American Dental Association released a statement saying that flossing is “an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.” And we’re going to tell you why.

So, How Does Flossing Benefit My Health?

Did you know that when you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35 percent of tooth surfaces in your mouth? That’s because brushing simply cannot get into those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. Unfortunately, however, bacteria can! Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the spaces your toothbrush can’t.

Regular flossing can:

  • Prevent cavities. Have you ever flossed, even after brushing your teeth, and were surprised to find a remnant of your last meal? Flossing removes food debris and plaque, preventing cavity formation between the teeth, a common place for tooth decay.
  • Fight bad breath. If food or plaque are left in between teeth, they will eventually release a bad smell. Yuck!
  • Inhibit tartar buildup and gum disease. If left on teeth for too long, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. The presence of tartar can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease is associated with other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
  • Improve your appearance. Food debris and plaque make teeth look more yellow and gritty. Clean, healthy teeth always appear whiter and brighter!

From years of experience, we can confidently say that flossing makes a big difference in your oral and overall health.

For Flossing To Work, It Has To Be Done Correctly

To reap the benefits of flossing, it has to be done correctly. In a 2006 study, researchers wanted to see whether flossing at home had the same benefits as having daily flossing done by professionals. The study showed that participants who were flossed professionally had a 40 percent decrease in their risk of cavities than their at-home flossing counterparts. The researchers concluded that flossing, when done properly, has a substantial, positive effect on oral health.

Many people simply snap the floss in between their teeth and pull it back out. The correct way, however, is to curve the floss around the tooth, as if the floss were hugging it. Still curved around the tooth, move the floss up and down to scrape the plaque. Do the same on the other tooth.

We Care About Our Patients

We only recommend flossing because we care about your oral and overall health! Through our years of experience, we’ve seen the difference that flossing can make. So, ignore the headlines and take it from the professionals: flossing works! Keep up the good flossing habits and we promise you’ll feel the difference.

Have any more questions about flossing or your oral hygiene?  Call us or come in today!

We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surround cities:  Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish, and the Snoqualmie Pass!

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 angela n. used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

 

 

 

 

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.