What to Know Before Getting Braces

Braces are considered an unofficial rite of passage among teenagers. However, some adults struggle with the awkwardness whenever they have to receive this orthodontic treatment. So before you get braces, you have to consider a few things. This will help avoid common mistakes and poor timing.

You need to address other dental problems first.

Before your dentist puts the braces on, he or she will have to resolve pre-existing dental issues first. This includes removing and filling cavities, extracting wisdom teeth, and treating gum problems. Your dentist needs to complete all this dental work first, so it won’t interfere with the lengthy orthodontic treatment.

You need to commit

Braces are uncomfortable and awkward, but you have to commit to realize results. This treatment usually lasts for 18 to 24 months, depending on the severity of your teeth’s misalignment. Following your dentist’s visit schedule will help speed up the process.

You will adjust your diet

Eating with braces on is a challenge. You have to avoid certain food items, especially hard and chewy ones. Basically, you need to avoid biting on food that could loosen the brackets or break the wires.

For those who love eating, this is the hardest part of wearing braces. Many people who had braces experience weight loss in the first few weeks due to the discomfort of eating.

It could be expensive.

Braces aren’t the cheapest dental work, so you have to prepare a budget. Severe teeth misalignment will usually cost more to fix. This is aside from other dental work that needs to be done to prepare your mouth.

It will help a lot if your dental insurance covers the treatment. Still, every dollar is worth it for a beautiful smile.

Initial discomfort is normal.

For the first few weeks, your mouth will feel sore. This is due to the constant pressure the braces put on your teeth. It would be hard to chew and eat, but this should pass as your teeth get used to the sensation.

Your dentist will ask you to come back monthly for brace adjustments. The process involves replacing the wires with thicker ones to increase the pressure on your teeth.

You’ll have a minor lisp.

Due to the metal brackets and wire, you may have a slight lisp while the braces are on. You don’t have to worry because this will be gone once the braces are removed after the treatment. If lisp is a major concern, you can explore other options like Invisalign.

It will be hard to floss

Flossing is challenging when you have braces. It’s difficult to get the floss through the teeth because of the wire. The solution here is using a dental threader to get the floss past the braces. Overall, this will require more effort and patience, but you should never skip flossing.

Conclusion

Preparing yourself before the braces application is important, so you’ll know what to expect. You’ll have to make some sacrifices, but it’s nothing compared to the benefits you’ll enjoy. A few months of awkwardness and discomfort is just a small thing compared to years of confident smiles.

Types of Dentists

Over the years, the word ‘dentist’ has become an umbrella term for all dental care practitioners. Still, it’s important to know that there are different types of dentists in the medical field. Each one of them provides a specific set of services for various dental problems.

Just like there are different types of doctors, the following are the types of dentists you will encounter:

General dentists

General dentists often have the titles DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). These dentists have earned their doctorate, which is additional four years of study after their undergraduate degree.

Usually, DMD and DDS dentists studied the same thing. They only differ on the schools they attended as well as their preference.

Both of these dentists conduct general dental care treatments. Some of them are cavity fillings, root canals, crowns, and other preventative care.

Overall, general dentistry is the most common practice in the field. You can easily find them in a local clinic in your area.

Still, general dentists can acquire further studies to be specialists, which leads us to the next type.

Dental specialists

You’ll need a dental specialist if your condition requires special treatment. Usually, general dentists will refer you to a specialist for various procedures. Here are the different types of dental specialists:

Pediatric dentists. These dentists exclusively provide dental care for children. However, unlike other dentists, pedodontists also study child psychology as part of their expertise.

Orthodontists. Orthodontists focus on correcting teeth and jaw misalignments. They are the ones licensed to provide braces, retainers, and other corrective treatments. Nevertheless, they can also provide the services a general dentist performs.

Endodontist. This practitioner is trained to perform root canals and other procedures involving the inside of the teeth. Their name came from the word ‘endo’, which means inside.

Periodontist. A periodontist works on maintaining gum health and other structures of the teeth. They are the experts in treating periodontal disease. Aside from that, periodontists can also provide dental implants to replace missing teeth.

Prosthodontist. If prosthetists provide artificial limbs, prosthodontists specialize in replacing lost or damaged teeth with artificial materials. Their job is to improve the aesthetic of the teeth, so you’ll have a confident smile. In addition, prosthodontists can provide bridges, dentures, implants, and more.

Oral surgeon. These surgeons specialize in the extraction of teeth and other surgical procedures in the mouth. This includes, but is not limited to, wisdom teeth, dental implants, and even biopsy if a general dentist suspects a suspicious condition.

Hospital dentists. Hospital dentists can be any of the specialists above. The difference is that they work in hospitals to complement the treatments other medical practitioners perform. They also provide specialist advice on complicated dental situations related to other conditions.

Conclusion

By identifying the different types of dentists, you’ll know who to look for. Nevertheless, your general dentist can refer you to specialists if need be. The goal here is to receive the best dental care to keep your teeth, gums, and jaw healthy. Just remember that you should only trust licensed dentists at all times.

The Medical Benefits of Braces

Orthodontic braces are one of the most common dental treatments. It’s often performed during teenage years, but adults can also get braces to correct poor teeth alignment. While braces are uncomfortable and initially painful, it’s a small sacrifice to enjoy the following benefits:

Improved bite

The main goal of braces is to correct the alignment of crooked teeth. It does so by putting constant pressure on your teeth to push them in the right direction.

Once your upper and lower teeth are properly aligned, you’ll find it easier to chew food. This benefit also means better digestion as you now have the ability to break down the food efficiently.

Improved jaw alignment

One of the biggest benefits of braces is improving your jaw alignment. In addition, it’s possible as braces fix teeth overcrowding or malocclusion.

Braces can also alleviate the risk of lockjaw observed to those with poor jaw alignment. As the jaw is aligned properly, you’ll notice less snoring, better breathing, and fewer ear issues.

By aligning the jaw, braces will also reduce teeth grinding or bruxism. This procedure is also crucial in reducing jaw pain due to temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) problems.

Better smile

After braces have corrected the alignment of your teeth and jaw, you’ll be more confident to smile. For many people, such benefits can be life-changing.

Easier dental care

Braces will also promote better dental care. First of all, the dentist will conduct fillings and cleaning as necessary before putting the braces on.

Once your teeth are aligned, it will be easier to brush and floss. It will also prevent food from getting trapped on crowded teeth.

Proper dental care is necessary to prevent tooth decay, pain, and gum disease. It will also reduce your visits to the dentist.

Reduction of speech impairment

One of the lesser-known medical benefits of braces is reducing speech impairment. Some people tend to have a lisp or difficulty pronouncing some words due to their crooked or crowded teeth.

After bracing, some patients reported that their speech impairment has greatly reduced. Still, this happens if the impairment is due to dental issues.

Reduced risk of periodontal disease

Since it’s easier to brush once your teeth are aligned, it will also reduce your risk of having periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is a gum problem that damages the soft tissues. If not treated, this condition will soon destroy the surrounding bones of your teeth. It will ultimately result in tooth loss, bad breath, and severe pain.

The good thing is that aligning the teeth and observing proper dental care can prevent this. Visiting your dentist regularly is crucial to diagnose the onset of periodontal disease before it erupts into a major problem.

Conclusion

Braces provide a myriad of benefits across ages. It’s a popular orthodontic treatment with proven results if done properly. While it comes with a level of discomfort, it’s only a small thing compared to the permanent perks it will bring. The important thing is that you visit a licensed orthodontist to receive the proper brace treatment for your condition.

The Importance of Dental Health for Men

Much has been said about manscaping, but one thing is often left on the side notes: dental care for men. Oral care is an integral part of men’s health as much as everybody else’s. It’s crucial for the gents to pay attention to dental care to prevent uncomfortable and expensive problems.

Problems associated with poor dental health

Dental health goes beyond your mouth since it can also affect other body systems. If neglected, it could also increase your risk of the following health conditions:

  • Prostate problems. Men who neglect their dental health will have a higher risk of developing prostate problems. It can be an infection or dreaded cancer. A few studies have established a connection between inflamed gums and inflammation on other body parts like the prostate.
  • Impotence. Studies showed that men under 30 and over 70 had an increased risk of impotence if they have periodontal disease. This is because extensive gum inflammation will affect your blood vessels.
  • Heart disease. The association between poor dental health and heart problems has long been the subject of various research. Since pathogens can enter through infected gums, it’s likely to trigger heart problems in the long run.

There are other health problems tied to poor oral health. Still, these alone are enough reasons for men to take dental care seriously.

Tips for health dental care among men

Healthy teeth and gums will reduce your risk of various health problems. It will also make it easier for you to eat, speak, and smile.

For men, it’s important to adopt healthy dental care habits. The following tips are a good start:

  • Visit your dentist. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep your dental health in check. Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your mouth. In addition, it will allow your dentist to treat dental problems while it’s still minor.
  • Brush daily. Brushing twice a day can greatly improve your dental health. It will remove plaque, bacteria, and dirt from your mouth to prevent gum disease. Make sure that you use the right brush and toothpaste.
  • Quit smoking. Tobacco products ruin not just the color of your teeth but also your gum health. It will also increase your risk of developing cancer.
  • Floss. Flossing is very important to remove food bits stuck between your teeth. You should consider bringing flossers in your pocket or suitcase anywhere you go.
  • Chew gum. Chewing sugar-free gum will help freshen your breath and remove food stuck on your teeth. It will also help increase your saliva levels, which is crucial in keeping your mouth clean.
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks are packed with sugars that will allow bacteria to thrive in your mouth. The acidity of this beverage will also break down your tooth’s enamel. Over time, excessive drinking will fuel cavities and periodontal disease.

Conclusion

Establishing healthy dental care habits are crucial not just for men but for everybody as well. This is to prevent other health problems associated with gum disease. Above all, healthy gums and teeth will make you more confident to talk and smile.

Missing Teeth Problems

Missing teeth are both an inconvenience and a confidence booster. It makes chewing difficult, and you would be hesitant to flash a big smile. While missing teeth at the back won’t be a big problem, the one in front can make a huge impact on your looks. The good news is that there’s a way to fix it with the help of your dentist.

Problems associated with missing teeth

Everyone can lose a tooth at some point. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 17.7% of Americans lost at least one permanent tooth. All of these cases are due to tooth decay.

When you lost a tooth, the following problems will arise:

  • Shifting teeth. The gap due to a missing tooth will cause your remaining teeth to shift. Over time, they will crowd each other, which will lead to more dental problems. Some patients with this problem can also develop a painful bite misalignment.
  • Chewing difficulty. Once you lose teeth, there will be fewer biters to chew food. This will make it hard to break down hard food items like apples, nuts, corn, and so on. Over time, this will cause the person to eat less and even suffer from weight loss.
  • Speech issues. Missing teeth can result in a lisp. The person will feel embarrassed to talk and will often cover his or her mouth to hide the tooth gap.
  • Low confidence. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), around 23% of their study respondents say they are not confident to smile. This can greatly impact a person’s social skills, with some becoming withdrawn.
  • Missed job opportunities. This may come as a surprise, but missing teeth can also lead to missed job opportunities. About 28% from the same ADA study mentioned above said that their missing teeth affected their chance to land a job.

How to fix missing teeth

As much as missing teeth are problematic, there are many options to fix them. It’s important to visit your dentist to discuss your options. The following are some of the common solutions that your dentist may recommend:

  • Implants. Dental implants are the most secure replacement for missing teeth. It’s designed specifically for the size and color of your missing tooth. A screw will be implanted in your jaw bone, where the crown will be installed. However, this option is invasive and expensive, too.
  • Dentures. For those who lost multiple teeth, dentures are the last resort. It’s also the best fix if the patient isn’t suitable for dental implants. However, dentures can be uncomfortable, and early aging can still occur.
  • Bridges. Dental bridges are suitable for those who have lost one or several teeth. There should be surrounding teeth to support the bridge. Otherwise, it will just fall off. Overall, this solution is the middle ground between implants and dentures.

Conclusion

Missing teeth shouldn’t become a life sentence. There are dental solutions you can explore to bring back your confident smile. Your dentist is the best person to consult, so you can finally break free from the emotional toll of your missing teeth.

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth?

Brushing is the quintessential method of dental care. But do you know how often you should brush your teeth? In this post, we will discuss how often you should brush and how to do it properly.

How often should you brush your teeth?

Dentists recommend brushing our teeth at least twice a day. In case you forget it, you should brush as soon as you remember.

Those who are wearing braces should brush after each meal. This is to remove stuck food on the brackets and to prevent canker sores.

Can I over-brush my teeth? As much as brushing is good for your dental health, overdoing it can have adverse effects on your teeth.

First, excessive brushing can wear down your teeth’s enamel. This is the outer layer, which makes your teeth appear whiter. When this layer gets stripped, you’ll notice your teeth looking yellowish or faded.

Moreover, it’s best to let a professional check your teeth twice a year. It’s important to visit your hygienist or dentist so that they can perform regular or deep cleaning as necessary.

Tips to remember to brush your teeth

Many of us have forgotten to brush our teeth at least once. If you keep on forgetting, the following tips will help:

  • Set a timer. It’s very helpful to set a repeating timer that will remind you to brush your teeth. Over time, you’ll get used to the routine and won’t need the timer anymore.
  • Make it a habit. You’ll not forget brushing if it’s integrated as a part of your regular grooming routines. For example, you should brush right after showering in the morning and after dinner.
  • Post a note. It will also help to post a note in your bathroom to remind yourself of brushing. You can also place the note on a spot where you can easily see it.

Tips for proper tooth brushing

To make sure that you’re cleaning your teeth properly, you should keep these points in mind on your next brushing:

  • Choose the right toothbrush. You should match the size of the brush head to the size of your mouth. Consider getting soft-bristled brushes since it cleans better and doesn’t wear the teeth down than hard ones.
  • Harder isn’t always better. One of the most common mistakes is brushing your teeth too hard. Scrubbing too hard will ruin your teeth’s enamel. Remember, your teeth aren’t grout on a bathroom tile. Go easy and aim for a massaging motion.
  • Don’t rush it. Tooth brushing should be done at least two minutes each time. This is enough time to brush the teeth and the back of the mouth. Hot tip: your brushing should be as long as your favorite pop song.
  • Don’t forget the gum line. Aside from your teeth, it’s also crucial to brush your gum line. Holding the brush head at 45 degrees will allow the bristles to penetrate the gum line properly.

Conclusion

Brushing your teeth twice daily is crucial to maintain healthy oral care. Still, it’s not just about the frequency. You should also practice proper brushing habits to prevent the formation of plaque. Visiting your dentist periodically is also important.

 

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

Dental insurance is a must-have, but it can also be very confusing for many. Terms like maximums, deductibles, networks, and so on can leave you scratching your head. So, instead of second-guessing, you have to know the following points I discussed below.

What is dental insurance?

Like any type of insurance, dental insurance covers dental work expenses. It helps individuals pay for their dental care, so they can have the perfect smile without breaking the bank.

Moreover, this includes a set of covered conditions and procedures. It has but is not limited to dental X-rays, surgery, fillings, cleaning, and more. The coverage range depends on your chosen policy.

Some of the most comprehensive dental insurance policies will include orthodontic treatments, root canals, and expensive gold fillings. However, this also entails a higher premium cost.

Take note that many policies will dictate how many times you need to go to the dentist. It’s important to take advantage of your coverage to get the most out of your money.

Terms used in dental insurance

To help clear up your confusion, the following are some of the terms you’ll encounter in a dental insurance policy:

  • Deductibles. This is the set amount you must pay before the insurance company starts covering the expenses. For example, if you have a $100 deductible, your insurer will only start paying the excess at $101 forward.
  • Coinsurance. This clause will require you to pay a percentage of the cost based on the indicated procedure. This kicks in once the deductible is met.
  • Waiting period. This is the period of time before certain procedures are covered.
  • Preauthorization. Under this clause, you have to seek approval from your insurer before a specific treatment is performed.
  • Annual maximum. This is the amount your insurer will pay for a year. Once you reach this limit, you’ll have to pay for all dental costs thereafter.

Type of dental insurance

There are three common types of dental insurance plans. These are the following:

Discount plan. For those on a budget, a discount plan is the most pocket-friendly option. However, the plan only grants you discounts, and they don’t pay for anything.

Preferred provider organization (PPO). PPO dental plans have a roster of dentists who will accept the insurance. With this, you can only go to an in-network dentist to enjoy all the perks of the plan. It also provides the biggest savings.

Health management organization (HMO). Similar to PPO, HMO has a network of dentists that accepts the insurance. This plan requires you to pay a set fee.

If you already have a dentist, you can look for an insurance plan where they are members. This way, you no longer have to look for another dentist.

Conclusion

Understanding dental insurance will let you enjoy the benefits even more. Feel free to talk to your insurance agent and your dentist to find the best plan for your needs. The best thing is that most dental teams are willing to help you realize the full perks of your plan. This way, you can flaunt a beautiful smile without digging into your savings.

Elderly Dental Care: Why It Matters

Our bodies change as we grow older, especially our teeth. This is why elderly dental care should be part of the overall senior care. In addition, seniors are at such a high risk of heart disease and diabetes, which also increases the occurrence of dental health problems.

Proper senior dental care can prevent simple problems like gum disease, toothache, or cavities. But beyond that, the following are the critical benefits of dental health care for the elderly:

Reducing the risk of pneumonia

Older adults are at a high risk of developing pneumonia. It can be due to poor hygiene, smoking, or bacterial infection through the mouth. The bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia can enter through an opening in the mouth and travel up to the lungs.

Good dental health among seniors can easily prevent this from happening. A dentist that specializes in elderly dental care can address and curb this risk.

Reducing the risk brought by diabetes

Around 33% of adults over the age of 65 have diabetes. This metabolic disorder can wreak havoc on the body and cause a slew of dental health problems.

The excessive levels of glucose in the saliva allow bacteria to proliferate in the mouth. When not addressed, this can lead to gum disease, inflammation, and progressive tooth decay. It will also increase the risk of other infections.

Preventing further tooth loss

Tooth loss is common among seniors, but it can be prevented with proper dental care. This will avoid the loss of all the teeth by the time the person reaches 65 years old.

Take note that total tooth loss will affect the senior’s nutrition since it will be more difficult to eat. It will be harder for them to eat nutritious food like fruits and veggies.

Curbing the risk of oral cancer

Seniors that smoke cigarettes or pipes are at a high risk of oral cancer. The damage smoking does to the teeth makes the gums weaker and prone to infection. In addition, the chemicals in tobacco can cause genetic changes in the mouth cavity cells that will trigger oral cancer.

Reducing dry mouth

Many seniors complain of dry mouth as a side effect of the medications they take. This is very uncomfortable, not to mention that lack of saliva will allow pathogens to thrive in the person’s mouth. Regular dental care can help reduce this discomfort.

Poor brushing technique

Elderly individuals tend to neglect their oral hygiene to physical pains and aches. In addition, some would forget to brush their teeth or won’t be able to do so due to poor mobility.

Caregivers should ensure that they include dental care for seniors on their checklist. This will help prevent common mouth problems associated with poor brushing.

Conclusion

Elderly dental care is often overlooked and not integrated as part of overall senior care. This is why caregivers and health care providers alike should provide focus to dental health as with other health needs. While tooth loss and gum disease are common among seniors, it shouldn’t be a life sentence. Instead, proper care can prevent or delay these problems.

Do I Need Deep Teeth Cleaning?

Deep cleaning can save your teeth and gums from the wrath of periodontal disease. But what is it and do you need it? In this post, we will explain this procedure and if you need to get it at your next dental appointment.

What is a deep teeth cleaning procedure?

Deep teeth cleaning is a procedure that involves the teeth and gums. It also goes down to the roots to eliminate dirt that could cause gum disease. Also known as gum therapy, this procedure is performed by dentists and hygienists alike.

Moreover, the dentist will clean the gum line, tooth, and sides of the teeth. After that, the cleaning will continue to the roots of the tooth to remove tartar buildup.

Deep teeth cleaning may require multiple visits to your dentist to finish the entire procedure. It’s extensive and would cause more discomfort than regular teeth cleaning. Also, it would cost more.

Regular vs. deep teeth cleaning

Regular teeth cleaning is performed as a preventative procedure. Routine cleaning will help prevent the formation of tartar and plaque. This is usually part of routine exams but optional based on the patient’s liking. And unlike deep cleaning, regular cleaning is less intensive and would hurt less.

On the other hand, deep teeth cleaning includes root planing to remove plaque that has reached beyond the gum line. In addition, removing the tartar on the roots will prevent bacteria from proliferating and damaging the teeth.

Aside from that, your dentist will likely administer a local anesthetic to numb your gums during deep teeth cleaning.

After deep teeth cleaning, you should expect your gums to swell, hurt, and suffer from minor bleeding. Your dentist would prescribe analgesics and antibiotics to manage the discomfort.

Who needs deep teeth cleaning?

Most of the time, your dentist will recommend deep teeth cleaning once you need it. But if you’re yet to get a routine dental exam, the following conditions often point to deep teeth cleaning:

  • Unusual pocket depth. If your gum’s pocket depth is more than 4 mm, it calls for deep cleaning. This is a sign that you have a potential case of periodontal disease. You need to undergo immediate deep cleaning to stop the progression of the gum problem.
  • Loosening teeth. If your teeth are loosening accompanied by gum redness, swelling, and bad breath, you should consider getting deep teeth cleaning.
  • Stubborn tartar. Tartar that’s hard to remove requires deep cleaning. Usually, this condition means that the plaque has hardened and dug past the gum line.
  • No cleaning for a long time. If you haven’t visited your hygienists for more than six months, you likely need deep teeth cleaning. This is to remove tartar deposits within your gum line. This will reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Conclusion

Deep teeth cleaning is a tooth-saving procedure. Your dentist will perform a thorough exam of your mouth to determine if you need this treatment. If you want to avoid the discomfort deep cleaning brings, you should visit your dentist at least twice a year. This will keep your teeth and gum health in check.

Cavity? Now What

Have you discovered a cavity on your tooth? What are you going to do now? It’s a fairly common question since more than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with cavities each year. Cavities are also the leading reason why kids miss school days.

While cavities could ruin your beautiful smile, there are ways to fix it. Here’s what you need to know:

Go to your dentist

If you suspect that you have cavities, the best person to talk to is your dentist. At the clinic, your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth. Dental X-rays may also be necessary to assess your situation fully.

Once the dentist confirms the presence and location of the cavity, he or she will proceed with treatment. The treatment depends on the severity of the cavity. Nevertheless, all treatments for the cavity involve the removal of the decay.

To remove the decay, your dentist will use a drill. In some cases, an air abrasion instrument and laser can be utilized.

Most cases of cavities are treated using dental fillings. This acts as a replacement for the removed portion of your teeth that has decayed.

Once the filling has been placed, the dentist will harden it using a special light. This light speeds up the curing of the filling material.

After that, your dentist will check the shape of your teeth. Then, the dentist will polish the filling to ensure that it aligns well with your bite. Polishing is also important to remove rough parts that could be irritating for your tongue.

Types of dental fillings for cavities

There are several types of dental filling materials. Each one serves a special role, and it varies on longevity. Here are some of the most common options:

  • Composite. This is the most common dental filling dentists use. Composite fillings are a combination of acrylic resin and glass, which are often color-matched to the teeth. This material bonds well to the tooth and can last for 5 to 10 years.
  • Ceramic. Ceramic or porcelain fillings give a natural appearance, though they can be pricey. Also, this material requires more than one visit to your dentist to achieve the best results.
  • Amalgam. This filling is made of a metal combination, including tin, copper, zinc, and more. It has a silver color and will last longer than composite or ceramic types. Amalgam fillings are cheaper than others, but the color will make it look like there’s food stuck on your teeth.
  • Gold. Gold is the most expensive dental filling for obvious reasons. Still, it lasts for a long period. However, many insurance companies aren’t willing to include them in the coverage due to the expensive cost.
  • Glass ionomer. This filling is rarely used since it can’t be placed on a spot used for chewing. Still, it’s an option dentists consider for children and decay located along the gum line.

Conclusion

Cavities are easy to fix if diagnosed early. This is why you should visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist will determine the best approach to the cavity depending on your specific case.