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Looking healthy and beautiful with braces

September 29th, 2022

Patients beginning orthodontic treatment are given a lot of emphasis on hygiene both at home and deep cleaning with their dentist during the process.

Yes, just as you read. Braces do not represent any impediment to remove tartar from the teeth and although many people believe that it is not possible, on the contrary, it is done every 6 months to prevent complications or diseases such as gingivitis and tooth decay.

And when you have braces, it is difficult for the toothbrush to reach some areas and although people are much more consistent in their cleaning, they should still follow the advice given by Dr. Anna Salas regarding professional cleaning to show off a healthy and beautiful smile with braces.

It should be noted that to ensure maximum cleaning of the mouth and remove any tartar (causing inflammation of the gums), resin stains, coffee, among others this professional cleaning is done with ultrasound which is an electrical device that combines vibration with a jet of pressurized water. It is simple and painless, so you can do it with confidence.

For this procedure, it is only necessary to remove the rubber bands and wires. The pressure exerted with the water should not be too strong so that the braces do not come off. This is usually done on one of the days when the patient has adjustments in orthodontic treatment.

Once the cleaning is completed, the orthodontist will replace the wires and rubber bands. If the patient has excellent control and hygiene of her teeth, this procedure should not take more than half an hour.

Only dentists or hygienist are trained to perform this type of check-up, which is essential for the correct application of the treatment.

And just as this cleaning is important, oral care at home is also essential.

It is necessary to put into practice the steps that Dr. Anna Salas taught you to follow when brushing your teeth. Do it when getting up and going to bed, and after every meal and snack.

Keeping teeth in their new position

August 16th, 2022

Many patients wonder why it is necessary to wear retainers permanently after orthodontic treatment is completed. The answer is simple: teeth have a natural tendency to move. So it is advisable to prevent this from happening and to maintain the position of the teeth achieved with braces.

How can you keep your teeth perfectly aligned for years? The best ally is the retainer (which is used in the retention phase, once the orthodontic treatment has been completed). Do you know what it is?

It is an oral appliance, which can be removable or fixed, to prevent the teeth from moving back to their initial position after orthodontic treatment. The idea is to "stop" any movement. This is usually made of plastic and metal and is either removable or a fixed wire attached to the teeth.

It is important that as a patient you follow the instructions of Dr. Anna Salas, to maintain the excellent results achieved with orthodontics.

There is a high percentage of patients who neglect their teeth once the orthodontic treatment is finished. And why does this happen? Simply because they forget to wear their retainers or don't like to be seen wearing them (when they are removable).

At first, these removable appliances will be worn for a couple of months for 24 hours, only to be removed for eating and then only at night. They must be cared for, so it is necessary to store them when they are removed and to wash them often.

It is important to emphasize that it is the patient's responsibility to keep the teeth in their final position and not let them go back to the initial position of the orthodontic treatment. One must be aware of how indispensable it is to use retainers.

In the case of fixed retainers, the situation is simpler as they are a thin sheet of wire that is placed from fang to fang, both in the upper and lower teeth. The cement used does not damage the enamel of the teeth, it is only so that they do not come off. They are aesthetic, are not noticeable and are comfortable. They don’t create sores or wounds. Best of all, they don’t interfere with speech!

And to top it off, a semi-annual or annual visit with Dr. Salas, is the ideal care to continue wearing a proud smile.

Orthodontics in children: from what age?

July 18th, 2022

Detecting an incorrect bite, jaw problems, lack of space and crooked teeth in infancy allows for simple treatment, avoiding tooth extractions.

Just as many mothers do not know the right age to take their children to the dentist for the first time, there is also confusion as to the ideal time to go to the orthodontist. Waiting until adolescence is not recommended.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises to make a first consultation no later than 7 years of age to check for any problems or alterations in the teeth and jaw, explore the first dentition, at what age the teeth began to molt, how the permanent teeth are and how the bite is. This allows us to determine if the space in the mouth is adequate, as this depends on the type of treatment to follow or what orthodontic procedure to start with.

From a young age, as children grow and develop, they show early signs of jaw problems. An overgrown upper jaw or a narrow jaw can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. In addition, if they have crowded and/or crooked front teeth at age eight, early treatment is critical because it can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.

As a specialist I advise not to wait until the child molts all the teeth, as it may be too late. When we perform interceptive or phase 1 orthodontics (at an early age) while the child is growing, we help the jaw to develop properly so that it adapts to the teeth and improves the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. It also improves tooth eruption by increasing the space, corrects bad habits, prevents wear on the teeth, etc.

Each treatment will depend on the age and type of alteration to be corrected.

When Your Permanent Retainer—Isn’t

June 29th, 2022

Even though it’s called a “permanent retainer,” your fixed retainer isn’t necessarily meant to last a lifetime. But with care, it should last just as long as you need it, keeping your teeth perfectly aligned after your orthodontic treatment is complete. Why is this retainer the one to choose for challenging alignments?

A fixed retainer is often used for teeth which were very crowded or had large gaps before treatment, especially along the bottom teeth, which tend to shift more. With a permanent retainer, a custom fitted wire is attached with a bonding adhesive to the back of each of the selected teeth. This design makes sure that the teeth can’t shift out of place while your bones and ligaments strengthen around them.

Occasionally, though, your permanent retainer isn’t quite as permanent as it should be. If you think your fixed retainer is becoming “unfixed,” what clues should you look for?

  • Broken wire

A clearly broken wire can be obvious, or you might discover it when you notice pain or irritation caused by the end of a wire poking around your tongue or mouth.

  • Loose bond

The orthodontic adhesive used to bond the wire to each tooth can come loose as the result of an accident, an unfortunately chewy treat, or simply with the passage of time.

  • Shifting teeth

You might not notice anything wrong with your retainer, but what you do notice is that your once-straight teeth have started shifting back to their old positions. If you see any movement in your teeth, your retainer might need repair.

What should you do?

  • Give our Houston, TX orthodontic office a call! It’s important to act promptly to prevent further retainer damage, oral discomfort, and tooth misalignment.
  • Rinse with warm water if your mouth is irritated.
  • If a wire is poking you, call us for advice on gently pushing it back into place.
  • Orthodontic wax can protect your teeth and tissue from detached wires.
  • If you have a clear retainer, wear it until you can come in. If you don’t have one, and you can’t see us immediately, ask if an over the counter moldable retainer is a good idea to help keep your teeth aligned in the meantime.

One benefit of a fixed retainer is that it’s almost invisible because it’s behind your teeth. But this hidden location can also make it difficult to notice potential problems. Fortunately, there are some proactive steps you can take to help your permanent retainer—and your bite—stay healthy:

  • Avoid foods which are sticky, hard, or chewy. If a food can damage traditional braces, it can damage your retainer.
  • Wear protective gear like mouthguards and helmets when you’re active—they protect more than just your retainer!
  • Ask your dentist to examine your retainer adhesive’s staying power whenever you have a checkup.

If you notice a detached wire or loose adhesive or see your teeth shifting, give Dr. Anna Salas a call. It’s important to act promptly to fix a fixed retainer, because your teeth and bite alignment are in jeopardy when you delay. And always bring your retainer (or retainer pieces) with you in case we can repair it.

Permanent retainers don’t necessarily last forever. But whether your fixed retainer is going to be with you long-term, or whether you’re going to transition to a removable retainer in the future, let’s make sure your permanent retainer is just as “permanent” as it needs to be!