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Your Thornton Orthodontist Tells You What Malocclusion Means for Your Oral Health

April 11, 2018

If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, you might feel self-conscious about showing your smile. But did you know that aesthetics are not the only problem with a smile that is not even and straight? Your Thornton orthodontist wants you to know that it can also impact your oral health. Teeth that are crowded, crooked, or otherwise misaligned are harder to take clean, which might mean you are more prone to tooth decay and other oral health problems. If your teeth are not properly aligned, which is also referred to as “malocclusion,” this can affect much more than your self-confidence.

Let’s take a look at everything you never knew about malocclusion—but should know!

What Is Malocclusion?

A malocclusion happens when the teeth and jaw are mismatched, so they don’t meet properly when the person bites down. It is believed that about two-thirds of Americans have some level of malocclusion.

When this disorder is not addressed, it can lead to crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth, as well as periodontal disease and tooth decay.
There are varying levels of malocclusion, which orthodontists classify as class 1, class 2, or class 3. Each has a different meaning.

Class 1: Your molars are positioned properly, but you might have a crossbite or teeth that overlap, depending on whether there is too much space or not enough space in your mouth.

Class 2: This level of malocclusion means the low molars are too far back and the chin is being pulled inward. This causes the upper teeth to protrude or stick out. This is also called an overbite.

Class 3: This level of malocclusion means that there is an underbite, because the lower teeth jut out further than the top teeth. With this classification, the lower molars are too far forward.

What Are the Origins of This Odd-Sounding Word?

The word seems like a strange word until you pull it apart. The base word of “malocclusion” is “occlusion,” which is a description of the way your teeth in the upper and lower jaws meet when you bite down. The “mal” part is from the Latin word mal, which means “bad.”

Malocclusion has more common terms to express it as well: overbite, crossbite, underbite, and so forth.

What Causes Malocclusion?

You might have malocclusion as a result of genetics, although there are environmental factors that can cause it as well. Childhood habits such as thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting can cause malocclusion. So can excessive use of the pacifier. Sometimes jaw trauma can also be the cause of malocclusion.

If you are looking for ways to get your child to stop sucking his or her thumb, this article by a pediatrician has some tips: Thumb Sucking and Finger Sucking: 11 Ways to Break the Habit Without Breaking Your Budget.

How Is Malocclusion Treated?

Malocclusion is treated in a number of different ways:
  • Teeth might be removed if there is overcrowding in the mouth.
  • One of the most common treatments for malocclusion is braces. Braces to correct malocclusion are usually worn for about two years, followed by the use of a retainer to prevent teeth from slipping back into an undesired position.
  • If irregularly shaped teeth are the cause of malocclusion, crowns might be recommended to improve the shape so the bite meets properly.
  • In the most extreme cases of malocclusion, surgery might be recommended to reshape the jaw.

Do All Cases of Malocclusion Need to Be Treated?

Sometimes the malocclusion is very minor, so treatment is not necessary. The only way to know for sure, however, is to see your orthodontist.

Can Adults Be Treated for Malocclusion?

You are never too old to correct your bite! It is easier to treat when you are younger, but adults can be treated as well. Your Thornton orthodontist can recommend the best treatment for you, whether it is braces or some other treatment.

What Are the Benefits of Malocclusion Treatment?

If braces are your treatment option of malocclusion, you might instantly think that the advantage is that you’ll have straight teeth, which can be a boost to your self-confidence. Your crooked teeth or bite problems can be a source of shame and embarrassment, impacting your personality and social life. A straight, even smile has also been shown to lead to more career success in later life.

While this is important, there are other reasons why it’s a good thing to have straight, even teeth and a proper, matched bite.
  • Straight teeth are easier to clean. Teeth that are crowded or overlapped are tough to brush. Your toothbrush simple cannot reach these small spaces. Flossing can be difficult too—especially if you can’t get the floss into a tight space. This not only puts you at risk for developing cavities, but you will be at higher risk for developing gum disease. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can impact your entire body’s well-being because it puts you at higher risk of developing serious health issues such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
  • When you have a better bite, you won’t be putting undue pressure on your teeth every time you chew. Over time, a bad bite can cause other problems with your teeth, such as abnormal wear. A bad bite can also be the culprit behind headaches and jaw pain.
If your teeth are not properly aligned, you might be dealing with malocclusion. Don’t let this have in impact on your oral health. Contact an orthodontist immediately for an examination so you can find out what your best options are for getting a straight, evenly spaced smile. Whatever your age, it’s never to late for treatment!

At Prentice Orthodontics, our goal is to serve your needs, improve your health, and give you smile you love to show off! Our well-trained and friendly staff that is eager to welcome you into our offices and assist you with your dental needs. Call 303-468-7722 for a free consultation or contact us using the form on our website today!

Traveling this Spring? Your Westminster Orthodontist Has Tips for Taking Care of Your Braces

March 28, 2018

Spring is upon us, and plenty of families will be hitting the road, now that the days are warmer, for some much-needed rest and relaxation. While the R and R is good for us physically and mentally, this doesn’t mean that all of our good habits have to go by the wayside while we’re taking a break from the day-to-day grind. Your Westminster orthodontist will agree that this is true for our oral care as well—particularly if your have braces.

Take good care of your oral health and your braces on your next trip by putting together a travel kit for yourself and by following some additional guidelines.

What Dental Tools to Bring When You Hit the Road

Just about the only thing you can count on when you go on vacation is that you will not be able to stick to your normal routine. The times when you are accustomed to cleaning your teeth will probably be different, and even bathrooms where you can do it might not always be readily available. One thing to make sure you do is to clean your teeth whenever you get the chance to do it because you might not know when your next chance will be. It may not be convenient, but your Westminster orthodontist will thank you when you go in for your next checkup!

Be sure to have these dental tools in your travel arsenal:
  • A toothbrush. Bring a full-sized toothbrush if you have the space. If you are limited on space, a travel-sized toothbrush will also do the trick. Just don’t forget to bring one! Do your research for suggestions for the types of toothbrushes you might want to try with your braces, both on the road and when you are home.
  • Dental floss, including floss threaders. Regardless of the length of your trip, you’ll need both of these to get those tough-to-reach places between the wires of your braces. (Obviously, if you have Invisalign, you won’t need to worry about the threaders.) Because floss threaders aren’t readily available everywhere, be sure you pack plenty for the entire time you’ll be gone.
  • A small mirror. Depending on where you are traveling to, mirrors might not be readily available. A small, compact mirror will come in handy when you need to do a quick check and make sure a piece of spinach isn’t caught up in your braces.
  • Orthodontic wax. Just in case you are feeling discomfort from a wire rubbing your cheek the wrong way or any other issue, orthodontic wax is useful. If you are new to braces, irritation is common, so be sure pack this important item.

Foods to Avoid When You Are Traveling

Most of these foods should be avoided in general if you have braces—unless you have Invisalign, of course, which are removed for eating. But it’s especially important to avoid them when you are far from home. You don’t want to eat something that causes a bracket to pop off. In general, it’s best to stick to foods that are easy to clean off your teeth. This will make your oral care that much easier while you are on the road.

Here are some foods you will want to avoid while you are on your trip:
  • Any candies that are chewy, sticky, or gummy
  • Corn on the cob
  • Cookies or candies that are hard
  • Ice of any kind
  • Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Bagels

What to Do When a Braces Emergency Happens

Sometimes in spite of our best efforts, emergencies happen—and this can be true of something happening to your braces while you are traveling. Often an “emergency” has more to do with your comfort than ruining your treatment success.

Here are some of the common issues that might pop up while you are traveling as well as some suggestions as to what you can do about them. (Of course, you are always welcome to give our office a call and we can give you some suggestions as well.)
  • Food lodged in your braces. This is one of those situations that is definitely more about your comfort than anything else, but it can be a problem when you are away from home. Threaded dental floss will do the trick, but if you don’t have a threader handy, you might be at a loss as to how to handle this. What you can try is to very carefully use a toothpick to get rid of the stuck food, then rinse your mouth with water thoroughly.
  • Wire from your braces that is poking you in the cheek or gums. If you don’t have any dental wax with you, you can use a cotton swab or pencil eraser to try to gently push the wire out of the way. If the wire is extra long, you can take a nail clippers that has been sterilized and cut the excess wire. Be very careful in doing this. Be sure to call our office right away as soon as you get home so we can take a look at the spot and make any needed repairs.
  • One of your brackets broke off or has gotten very loose. If the bracket has completely come off, don’t panic! You can cover it up with dental wax to keep it in place for the moment. This will also help your gums from becoming irritated. Use a sterilized set of tweezers to slide it back into place first. Call our office when you get home so you can come in for an appointment.
  • If you have lost one of your Invisalign aligners, let us know right away and we’ll order a new set for you so it’s ready when you get back. Don’t automatically switch to your next set of aligners without talking to us about it first.
If you are interested in finding out more information about orthodontics or just about taking care of your braces, contact Prentice Orthodontics and one of our team members will be happy to assist you. We look forward to serving you and providing you with top-notch orthodontic care. Call us today!

Older Teen and Adult Treatment at Your Erie Orthodontist

March 13, 2018

There are many older teens and adults who are living with crooked or misaligned teeth. Perhaps they didn’t have the opportunity as adolescents to have braces. Others may have had braces when they were younger, but their teeth have slid back into a less-than-optimal position. When contemplating a trip to an Erie orthodontist, thoughts of a mouth full of metal brackets and wires is probably not terribly appealing.

The good news is that there are other options available for older teens and adults that don’t involve metal in their mouth for months or even years of treatment. One of the best options for older teens and adults is Invisalign invisible braces. Invisalign is a flexible treatment that fits any lifestyle—from teens who don’t want to feel embarrassed by a mouth full of metal to adults who don’t want the distraction of metal braces to harm their career.

Why Straight Teeth Might Mean a Healthier Mouth

When most people think about braces for straightening their teeth, they usually only consider the esthetics of orthodontic treatment. But there are other advantages to having straight teeth that many people don’t consider.

Straight teeth are much easier to brush and floss than misaligned or crooked teeth. This can mean fewer cavities. It can also put you at a lower risk for developing gum disease or for needing dental treatments such as root canals.

When people like their smile and feel proud of it, they have a tendency to take better care of their teeth. They are more apt to be diligent brushers and flossers. They are also more likely to take the time out of their schedules for regular visits to the dentist for examinations and professional cleanings. As does the American Dental Association, we recommend that you visit your dentist twice each year for optimal oral health.

Why Orthodontics Might Mean More Self-Confidence

Let’s face it: It’s tough to feel self-confident if you don’t like the way your smile looks. You may find yourself avoiding showing your smile at all if your teeth are crooked. It might make you feel less attractive. It might even make you feel less happy if you feel self-conscious about showing your smile.

It’s also tough to feel good about yourself when you are in pain, which is another issue with traditional orthodontics. When wires are adjusted as they are with metal braces—often on a weekly basis—the result is painful! Invisalign gently moves teeth into their optimal position, meaning there is very little pain associated with the movement.

With today’s options for orthodontics, such as Invisalign invisible braces, older teens and adults everywhere can now get straight teeth without a mouth full of metal. Not only are the Invisalign plastic aligners virtually undetectable—even someone sitting across from you would be hard-pressed to see them—but they can be taken out. If there is an important occasion, whether it’s a school event such as a prom or homecoming, or a life event such as a wedding, the aligners can actually be removed for a few hours.

Because they are removed for eating, there is no worry about embarrassment from pieces of food getting stuck as there is with traditional braces. Teens who are active in sports will not have to take any special precautions with Invisalign.

Another way clear braces can boost self-confidence is particularly unique. Because the aligners are see-through, wearers can actually observe their teeth moving into the correct position as the treatment process goes on. This can provide a much-needed boost as they can see their beautiful straight smile coming through as it is happening.

The Invisalign Process

Although it might seem pretty high-tech to think of plastic aligners moving teeth into the desired position, the Invisalign process is pretty simple. Patients will wear a set of plastic aligners every day for a minimum of 22 hours (or whatever is recommended by your orthodontist). The aligners gently move crooked teeth into a straightened position.

Patients will receive a couple sets of aligners at a time, switching them out as directed by their orthodontist. This means there are fewer trips to the dentist to check progress. And it means there are no painful appointments where wires need to be adjusted.

It’s easy to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy with Invisalign because the aligners are removed for eating and for brushing and flossing. Because of this, you can eat whatever you’d like during treatment, unlike with traditional orthodontics where there are likely to be some restrictions on foods that can be eaten.

The Length of the Treatment Process With Invisalign

Another of the great perks that go along with the Invisalign process is that treatment is generally quite a bit shorter than with traditional braces. Most patients who opt for Invisalign will find that treatment time is only nine to fifteen months. This is almost half the time that most traditional braces wearers experience.

The Cost of Treatment With Invisalign

Older teens and adults who opt for Invisalign are often pleasantly surprised at the lower cost. There are quite a few reasons for this. With Invisalign, there are no delicate parts that can break and need fixing. Treatment time is also less, which is reflected in the cost because there are simply fewer visits to the dentist necessary over the course of the process.

Patients are given a few sets of aligners at one time, so they can switch out the aligners themselves on the prescribed schedule. The treatment process continues, but there aren’t as many trips to the orthodontist.

Find Out More About Older Teen and Adult Orthodontics at Prentice Orthodontics

For more information on Invisalign or other adult treatment options, talk to the experts. At Prentice Orthodontics, our goal is to serve your needs, improve your health, and make you love your smile! We have a highly trained and friendly staff that is eager to welcome you into our offices and assist you with your dental needs. Call 303-468-7722 for a free consultation or contact us using the form on our website today!

Broomfield Invisalign: You Can Have Straight Teeth Without the Metal

February 28, 2018

Do you hide your smile behind your hand because your teeth are crooked or misaligned? Or worse, do you avoid smiling altogether because you are unhappy with your teeth? If you are a Broomfield adult or older teen, you need to find out more about Invisalign.

If you have been living misaligned, crooked, or gapped teeth for your entire life, you may have felt resigned to the situation. After all, traditional orthodontics can mean many months—or even years—of metal wires and brackets and frequent trips to the orthodontist. Today’s modern dentistry has changed all that!

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an innovative system for straightening your teeth. The system is made up of clear plastic aligners. These fit over your teeth to gently nudge them into a better alignment over a period of time. The clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible. Even someone seated across a table from you would have a difficult time seeing them.

Treatment is generally quicker than that of traditional metal braces. Plus, you can see your progress as it happens!

How Does Invisalign Work?

Once you talk to your orthodontist and it is determined Invisalign will enable you to reach your goals, we will take an impression of your teeth. Then we will discuss the ultimate goal for how you would like your smile to look. The impressions will be sent to a laboratory where custom aligners will be made just for you.

These aligners, also called trays, will be swapped out every two weeks for a new set as your teeth begin to move into the desired position. You’ll be able to get a few custom aligners at a time, so visits to your orthodontist will be less frequent than with traditional metal braces. Most of our Invisalign patients come to our office every six to twelve weeks for appointments.

As you change aligners, you’ll be able to monitor your progress and see your smile become straighter and straighter. You will need to wear the aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day to ensure the you get the results you want. But the good news is that your teeth will be straight in mere months rather than years!

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?

Or course the greatest advantage of Invisalign is that they are clear. This is a tremendous advantage for adults who don’t want to wear braces for professional reasons. There are other benefits as well:
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth is the same as if you didn’t have braces at all. The aligners are removed for teeth cleaning.
  • There are no food restrictions with Invisalign since the aligners are removed when you eat or drink.
  • Metal braces can be irritating. Brackets can break and wires can poke at the inside of your mouth. The clear plastic of Invisalign is completely comfortable.
  • You can smile and speak without having to feel self-conscious because they clear plastic aligners are practically invisible.
  • If you have an event, such as a wedding, you can remove the aligners for a couple of hours for photographs.
The greatest advantage to Invisalign can also be its greatest drawback: Because these aligners are removeable, it is important to commit yourself to wearing them for the minimum required hours each day. If you don’t, you might be disappointed with your lack of results.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Invisalign?

We have found that older teens and adults make the best Invisalign patients. Those who have teeth that crowded, gapped, or overlapped benefits most from Invisalign treatment. The only way to know for sure that Invisalign is right for you is to come in for a consultation.

Will I Need to Wear a Retainer After Invisalign?

All patients who have their teeth straightened, whether with traditional braces or Invisalign invisible braces, need to wear a retainer after treatment. The length of time you will need to wear the retainer will depend on your unique situation, and it’s best to ask your orthodontist for a recommendation. Be sure to follow instructions if you want your straight teeth to stay that way!

You will have options as to the type of retainer you will have to wear. You can get a wire retainer or a plastic retainer. Wire retainers have a plastic piece that is held in place on the roof of your mouth with wires that fit over the front and sides of your teeth. The plastic retainers look very similar to the Invisalign plastic aligners, but they are made of a stronger material.

Many patients who have already undergone Invisalign treatment find the plastic retainers to be more of a seamless transition. Care for these retainers is similar to caring for the Invisalign trays, so patients are already comfortable with this. They also tend to be more comfortable in the mouth than the wire retainers.  

The same rules that apply to the Invisalign custom trays—removing them for eating and drinking as well as brushing and flossing—apply to your plastic retainer.

The Health Benefits of Straight, Even Teeth

Granted there is an esthetic component to having a straight, even smile. After all, having a smile you love to show off can be a real confidence booster. But did you know that there are health reasons to straighten your teeth? Straight teeth are easier to clean than teeth that are crowded or overlapped.
Your toothbrush cannot reach these spots easily. Flossing properly can also be difficult. If bacteria settles in and is not eliminated, this can put the health of your entire mouth at risk.

Teeth that are widely spaced make it easy for food particles and bacteria to get stuck, causing bad breath or even tooth decay.

Whatever your age, there is no reason to live with a crooked smile. For more information on Invisalign invisible braces, talk to the experts at Prentice Orthodontics. We can answer all of your questions about Invisalign and help determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment. Our highly trained and friendly staff is eager to welcome you into our offices and assist you with your dental needs. Call 303-468-7722 for a free consultation or contact us using the form on our website today!

What to Ask Your Broomfield Orthodontist if You Need Services For Your Teen

February 14, 2018

The prospect of bringing your teenager to an orthodontist can bring about a sense of dread. Often, a visit to your Broomfield orthodontist can evoke an image of discomfort in a person’s mind, as they think about the many painful procedures that await them.

However, this no longer has to be the case, as orthodontic care has improved dramatically over the last few years. Concerns and fears about orthodontic treatment, while certainly understandable, no longer have to be an intense and overwhelming experience. If you are considering bringing your child to an orthodontist, here are a few facts that can be of use to you as a parent.

Emotional Concerns

Clearly, one of the largest barriers to receiving treatment is the irrational fear of treatment, whether because of discomforting thoughts about treatment, the invasiveness of treatments in the past, or due to social fears from having to wear an orthodontic device for an extended period of time.

While certainly understandable, there have been a large amount of advances made in the orthodontic field that have resulted in a reduction of these concerns. Invisalign, the treatment that allows an individual to straighten their teeth using a discreet, practically invisible device. Utilizing a device that is clear and removable allows you to reassure your child that orthodontic care doesn’t need to be a gigantic burden upon their lives.

Many teenagers feel insecure and self-aware about their smile, specifically if their teeth are crooked. In the past, braces were seen as something to dread, as metal wires would need to be affixed to a person’s teeth for extended periods of time. The advent of invisalign has given parents a valuable tool in their reassurance arsenal, as they are not able to provide their children with straight teeth without the added anxiety and stress of traditional braces.

Effective and Discreet Treatments for your Teen

One of the first questions people often ask in regards to the Invisalign treatment system is: it is as effective as traditional braces. The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Evidence has shown that the Invisalign is just as effective as traditional braces in most moderate to severe cases.

If you child is experiencing issues such as an underbite, an overbite, or general overcrowding in the mouth, Invisalign is able to provide the same level of adjustment that traditional braces would offer. If you would like to make sure that this will be the most effective treatment for your child, visiting your local Broomfield orthodontist is a great starting point.
Length of Treatment and Advantages of Invisalign for Your Child

Typically, you can expect Invisalign treatment for your child to take about as long as traditional braces. It is also important to keep in mind that the length of treatment is always dependent on your child’s unique situation and treatment concerns. In order to gain the best idea of how long treatment will take for your child, it is a good idea to speak with your orthodontist to find out an estimated time for your child’s treatment schedule.

The benefits for opting for Invisalign treatment over traditional braces are many. Your child will be able to have their smile corrected without having to suffer through the inconvenience of having wires affixed to their teeth. They will be able to remove their invisalign aligners for special occasions, which may include practicing their musical instrument, or removing their aligner for their school’s formal dances.

By deciding to go with Invisalign instead of traditional braces, you will also be opting with a treatment that will require dramatically less cleaning and maintenance. With traditional braces, eating things such as popcorn can become a chore, whereas Invisalign aligners are easy to clean and are removable. Invisalign offer a system that makes brushing and flossing a breeze, and eliminates the hassle that is typically associated with teeth-straightening devices.

Affordability Concerns and Solutions

As a parent, seeking orthodontic treatment for your child can bring on an added layer of stress, as people are often afraid to find out the total cost of the treatment. However, there are a number of ways you can ensure that having your child’s smile straightened and perfected is not only attainable, but is possible without having to break the bank and drain your savings account in the process.

If your employer or dental insurance offers a health saving and flex spending account, it can be a great way to save on your child’s orthodontic care. Adjusting your health savings account for the upcoming year to account for teeth-straightening treatment for your child can be a terrific way to make the process more affordable.

Health savings accounts allow an individual to have money deducted from their paycheck every month in order to pay for medical treatment tax free. Utilizing this option can be a great way to create a 12 month payment plan from your untaxed earnings.

You can also prepare for treatment by adjusting your dental coverage to a plan that will cover more of the cost of various procedures. During open enrollment, it is a great idea to investigate the various ways you can upgrade your plan to ensure that you maximize your coverage, reducing your out of pocket cost in the process.

Additionally, if you require more time to pay your child’s orthodontic bills, negotiating a payment plan that fits your budget is a fantastic way to make treatment an affordable option for almost every situation. You can talk to your orthodontist to see if they offer any discounts for your particular circumstances, and to discuss if they have any current promotions that could also lower the total cost significantly.

If you are interested in finding out more information regarding Invisalign treatments for your child, or have any questions regarding orthodontic services, contact Prentice Orthodontics and one of our smiling associates will be happy to assist you. We look forward to serving you and providing the best care for your teeth in the new year.