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What An Orthodontist in Broomfield Wants You to Know About Malocclusion


August 23, 2017

In dentistry, the term malocclusion refers to teeth that are not properly aligned. This is a common problem that can affect your appearance, speech, and ability to eat without experiencing discomfort. Fortunately, an orthodontist in Broomfield will be able to help you correct the alignment of your teeth. Here’s everything that you should know about this problem:

Causes of Malocclusion

Malocclusion is often hereditary, but there are certain environmental factors that can cause this problem as well. Children may develop malocclusion if they suck their thumb, thrust their tongues, or use pacifiers excessively. All of these behaviors can impact the positioning of a child’s teeth and cause malocclusion. Other factors that are out of your control can also lead to malocclusion, including tumors, jaw trauma, and irregularly shaped teeth. If you’ve ever had a cavity filled, it’s possible that the filling does not fit the tooth correctly, which can also cause symptoms of malocclusion.

Different Types of Malocclusion

Orthodontists classify malocclusion cases as class 1, class 2, or class 3 depending on how the upper and lower teeth come together. If you have class 1 malocclusion, it means both rows of your molars are properly positioned, but there is either too much space or not enough space in your mouth. People with class 1 malocclusion may have severe crossbites or overlapping teeth.

Class 2 malocclusion occurs when the lower molars are positioned too far back in the mouth, which pulls the chin inwards. This results in an overbite, meaning the upper teeth stick out much further than the lower teeth. Finally, class 3 malocclusion is characterized by lower molars that are positioned too far forward in the mouth. People with class 3 malocclusion will likely have severe underbites, where the lower teeth stick out further than the upper teeth. Learn more about the types of malocclusion—topic overview.

How to Spot Malocclusion

It’s fairly easy to spot the signs of malocclusion, but even if you don’t notice any of the symptoms, the dentist that you see on a regular basis should. The physical signs of malocclusion include improperly aligned teeth or an abnormal facial appearance. For example, people with class 2 malocclusion may notice that their chin is drawn inwards. People with malocclusion may also have crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth. If you believe that your teeth are not lining up correctly when you bite down, see an orthodontist to determine if you have malocclusion.

You may also notice that it is difficult to eat or chew without experiencing discomfort. Some people that have this problem can start to develop a lisp, but this is rare. If malocclusion is left untreated, it’s possible that you will start to experience headaches and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).

Diagnosing Malocclusion

Most patients who are having dental issues schedule an appointment with a dentist before seeing an orthodontist. The dentist will typically discover malocclusion while performing a routine examination. During the examination, the dentist should pull your cheek out to get a closer look at the alignment of your teeth when you bite down. At this point, he should be able to tell that your teeth are not properly aligned. However, he may need to take X-rays to confirm his suspicions. The dentist will then refer you to an orthodontist who is qualified to treat this dental problem.  

How to Treat Malocclusion

It’s estimated that two out of three adults are born with malocclusion, although some cases are more severe than others. Therefore, there’s no need to panic if your dentist suggests that you see an orthodontist in order to treat malocclusion. In fact, malocclusion is the most common reason why dentists send their patients to orthodontists.

Some cases of malocclusion are so minor that they do not require treatment. An orthodontist will be able to tell you if you need treatment to correct this problem. Some of the most common types of treatment are:
 
  • Tooth Removal: The orthodontist may suggest removing one or more teeth if the malocclusion is caused by overcrowding.
  • Adjusting the Shape of Teeth: Teeth that are irregularly shaped may need to be reshaped by an orthodontist. This often involves capping the original tooth with a mold of a regularly shaped tooth.
  • Braces: The most common type of treatment for malocclusion is braces, which are used to adjust the alignment of the teeth. Braces are typically worn for 18 months to two years. You will be required to wear a retainer after the braces are removed in order to complete the treatment.
  • Surgery: Surgery is looked at as a last resort when no other treatment options will work for the patient. In these rare cases, surgery will be performed to reshape the jaw.

These treatment options are very different in nature, but they all share common goals. The goals of each of these treatment options is to correct the positioning of the teeth, alleviate pain and discomfort, and make it easier for the patient to clean his or her teeth.

When to Seek Treatment

It’s never too late to seek treatment for malocclusion, but it’s always best to visit an orthodontist and begin treatment as soon as you become aware of the problem. The earlier on in your life that you treat malocclusion, the easier it is to correct the issue. This is why orthodontists strongly recommend correcting teeth alignment issues during childhood when the jaw has not fully developed. But, there’s nothing to fear if you weren’t treated for malocclusion during your childhood. Orthodontists are skilled dental professionals who are trained to correct these issues regardless of whether the patient is a child or an adult.

If your teeth aren’t properly aligned, get in touch with an orthodontist as soon as possible. At Prentice Orthodontics, our goal is to serve your needs, improve your health, and make you 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!
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Orthodontist in Westminster Explains What You Need to Know About TMJ Disorders


August 16, 2017

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are a set of conditions that can affect the jaw and facial muscles. It’s imperative that people who suspect they have a TMJ disorder visit an orthodontist in Westminster as soon as possible for treatment. How do you know if you may have a TMJ disorder? What should you expect when you visit an orthodontist? Here’s everything you need to know about this painful condition:

What Are TMJ Disorders?

You have two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of your head that connects the jawbone to the your skull. These joints are considered to be some of the most complex joints in the entire body. Why? Some joints in the body, such as the knee joint, are hinge joints, meaning they link bones in the same way that a hinge connects a door to the wall. Other joints, such as the wrist, move in a sliding motion so they can easily move up and down. But, these joints have very limited side-to-side movement. The temporomandibular joints are a combination of hinge and sliding joints, so they move in a way that is more complex than the movement of all other joints in the body.

A person with a TMJ disorder will experience discomfort or pain in this area, either in the jaw joint itself or the surrounding facial muscles that are responsible for controlling the jaw’s movement.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

TMJ disorders can develop when the cartilage surrounding the joint or the joint itself becomes damaged. These disorders can also develop when the joint becomes misaligned due to a blow to the face or other injury. Unfortunately, orthodontists are often unable to determine the cause of a patient’s TMJ disorders. However, certain people are at a higher risk of developing TMJ disorders than others. For example, if you have arthritis or tend to grind or clench your teeth for extended periods of time, you may develop a TMJ disorder.

The Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

It’s important to know the symptoms of TMJ disorders so you can visit an orthodontist right away if these symptoms appear. The most common symptom is pain, which patients typically will experience in the jaw or in the joint. Some patients have pain in both joints, while others may only experience pain on one side.  It’s also possible that you will feel pain in your ears or in various facial muscles instead of your joints. Patients with this symptom might wrongly assume they have an inner ear problem or sinus infection because they don’t realize the pain is stemming from the jaw joint.

People who are suffering from a TMJ disorder may experience this pain at all times, or only when they chew or talk. As time goes on, you may notice that it is difficult to open or close your mouth without your jaw locking up. Listen closely and you may even hear a clicking sound as you move your jaw.

Sometimes, symptoms may appear and disappear within a few days or a week. However, if the symptoms persist, you will need to see an orthodontist for treatment.

Treating TMJ Disorders

If you have been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, treatment will begin immediately. The orthodontist may suggest you wear a mouth guard or splint, which is typically made out of a hard acrylic material. The mouth guard will reposition the jaw to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort you’re experiencing. If you’re in a great deal of pain, the orthodontist may also prescribe you anti-inflammatories and pain relievers to reduce the swelling and relieve pain.

The orthodontist will continue to evaluate your condition to determine if these treatment methods are effective. If you do not see any improvement with medications and a mouth guard, there are other treatment options that may be explored. Some patients see a significant improvement in their condition with corticosteroid injections to the jaw. In extreme cases, TMJ patients may need surgery, but this is generally seen as a last resort.  Learn more about treatment options for TMJ disorders.

Treating TMJ At Home

Your orthodontist may also go over some techniques that you can use to relieve TMJ pain at home. First, pay close attention to bad habits that could be contributing to the problem. Do you chew on pens or pencils? Do you constantly chew gum or find yourself clenching your teeth? Try to stop these habits to protect your jaw joints and prevent pain.  

If you begin to experience pain at home, the orthodontist can teach you certain stretches that will help alleviate pain in the jaw. There are also other stretches that you can do on a regular basis to strengthen the muscles and prevent pain. Finally, talk to the orthodontist about using heating pads or ice packs for pain relief. This is a great way to temporarily relieve pain caused by TMJ disorders until you can make it into an orthodontist for treatment. These techniques may help, but it’s still important to visit an orthodontist to identify the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder.

What to Expect at the Orthodontist

There is no test that can be performed to diagnose TMJ disorders, so your orthodontist will typically diagnose you after learning about your symptoms and conducting a physical exam of your mouth and jaw. Therefore, it’s important that you be as descriptive as possible when talking about your symptoms with the orthodontist. Some orthodontists may not feel comfortable prescribing medications without first conducting imaging studies to take a look at the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles.

Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you are experiencing discomfort in your jaw, facial muscles, or ears. At Prentice Orthodontics, our goal is to serve your needs, improve your health, and make you 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!
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When to See An Orthodontist in Broomfield


July 26, 2017

Many people are under the impression that as long as they see a dentist on a regular basis, they are doing enough to take care of their teeth. Although seeing a dentist for regular check-ups is important, many patients will also need to see an orthodontist in Broomfield. Here’s when you should schedule an appointment:

A Child’s First Exam

Every child should see an orthodontist for the first time by the age of seven. You may be wondering why it’s necessary to bring a child to the orthodontist at this age since they will still have their baby teeth. Believe it or not, it’s important for a child to see an orthodontist as she is transitioning from a mouth full of baby teeth to her adult teeth. An orthodontist will be able to examine the location of your child’s baby teeth, how they are aligned, and how much room they are leaving in your child’s mouth for the adult teeth. The orthodontist will also check your child’s bite to see if there are any issues that need or may need to be corrected.

By taking your child to an orthodontist at this age, you may be able to take preventative measures to avoid future problems with their adult teeth. An orthodontist may be able to guide the way that your child’s jaw and adult teeth grow, improve your child’s bite, and correct the alignment of your child’s teeth. Read the right time for an orthodontic check-up: no later than age 7.

A Child’s Dental Issues

Although the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends bringing your child to an orthodontist by age seven, it’s possible that your child will need to see an orthodontist even earlier. Parents should keep an eye on their child’s mouths to look for signs of problems. For example, if your child has difficulty speaking or chewing, it could be an issue with his jaw. Children should also see an orthodontist as soon as possible if their jaws make noise when they chew or if they tend to grind their teeth excessively.

Most children begin to lose their baby teeth around the age of six or seven. If your child starts to lose his teeth much earlier or later than this, it’s best to bring him into an orthodontist for an examination to ensure there are no underlying issues causing this problem.

Bad Habits

Parents should bring their children into an orthodontist if they are concerned about how their children’s bad habits are affecting their mouths. Thumb sucking is one of the bad habits that can lead to future dental problems. If your child excessively sucks his thumbs, it could cause problems with the positioning of his teeth. The weight of your child’s thumb could slowly cause the front bottom teeth to tip backwards or the front top teeth to move forward. Fortunately, an orthodontist will be able to identify these problems and correct them before it’s too late.

Orthodontists generally advise parents to get their children to stop sucking their thumbs by the age of five. If the child stops before he turns five, this bad habit should not lead to any serious problems. Likewise, if he only sucks his thumb for about an hour a day, no major issues should develop. However, children who suck their thumbs throughout the day and night past the age of five may have misaligned teeth.

Braces

Do you want a straighter smile? If so, it’s time to see an orthodontist. You may think that children are the only ones who can get braces, but the truth is it’s never to old to straighten your teeth. Treatment is successful at any age as long as you stick to your orthodontist’s plan.

Many patients are naturally drawn to Invisalign braces, since these are easier to clean, removable, and of course, invisible. With Invisalign, patients don’t have to spend months with a mouth full of metal, so this is a very popular choice among both adults and kids. Talk to your orthodontist to see if you qualify for these braces.

Braces don’t just improve the appearance of your smile, they also correct overcrowding, overbites and underbites, and the positioning of your jaw. If these issues are left untreated, patients may experience tooth decay, headaches, and difficulty chewing or speaking.

Choosing an Orthodontist

It’s important to take your time when choosing the right orthodontist. Your dentist will most likely recommend someone, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to him if you feel there are better options available.

How can you find the right orthodontist for you and your family? If you are looking for an orthodontist for your child, it’s a good idea to ask other parents at school to see if they have any recommendations. If the orthodontist is for you, ask family and friends for recommendations. Research each of the orthodontists online so you can read their reviews and visit their website to learn more about the practice.

Then, think about the location of the office. If you are treated by an orthodontist, you will probably need to return on a regular basis for check-ups and adjustments, so it’s in your best interests to find an orthodontist who is located nearby. This way, you won’t feel as inconvenienced when you have to make these appointments.

Once you have narrowed down your list to a handful of orthodontists, schedule free consultations with each of them. This will give you an opportunity to meet the orthodontist in person and learn more about each of their proposed treatment plans. After the consultations, you should have all the information you need to make an informed choice.

At Prentice Orthodontics, our goal is to serve your needs, improve your health, and make you 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!
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Benefits of Invisalign For Adults in Boulder


July 19, 2017

Many people assume that the only time you can straighten your teeth is during your childhood, but that’s not the case. Adults can wear braces to straighten their teeth, too. But, instead of wearing traditional metal braces, adults often turn to Invisalign braces. Invisalign is a set of clear plastic aligners that is molded to fit over your teeth perfectly, making them practically invisible. If you’re considering straightening your teeth, learn about the many benefits of Invisalign for adults in Boulder.

No Food Restrictions

People who wear metal braces may be unable to eat certain foods. Sticky foods could damage the braces, while other foods such as popcorn or nuts could break down into small particles that become trapped within the metal braces. Fortunately, there are no such food restrictions with Invisalign. Every time you eat, simply remove the Invisalign aligners from your mouth, enjoy your meal, and put your aligners back in place as soon as you are finished eating.

More Comfortable

Traditional metal braces can be uncomfortable even when they are positioned correctly inside your mouth. You may need to return to the dentist’s office a number of times to have the wires readjusted if you continue to experience discomfort. However, that’s not the case with Invisalign. Many patients are unable to feel Invisalign aligners inside their mouths because of how they fit tightly over the teeth. As a result, there’s no discomfort associated with Invisalign, so they won’t interfere with your quality of life.

Shorter Treatment Time

Adults typically experience faster results with Invisalign compared to other types of braces. Most adults will only have to wear Invisalign for about 12 months, while traditional braces take around 18-24 months to achieve the same results. This is perfect for adults who want to see quick results—especially if you’re trying to straighten your teeth before a wedding or another major event in your life. See the answers to frequently asked questions about Invisalign.

Easier to Clean

Most braces have to be cleaned with special tools and brushes that look like pipe cleaners. You have to use these tools to make sure you get into every nook and cranny of your braces, but this isn’t necessary when wearing Invisalign. To clean your aligners, the only tools that you will need are your toothbrush and toothpaste. Gently brush your aligners with toothpaste and a soft bristled brush, then rinse them in warm water when you’re complete. This is all you have to do to keep your aligners in perfect condition, and it only takes a minute or so.

Safer

Braces that are made out of metal could have sharp edges or protruding pieces that can scratch or puncture the inside of your mouth. However, Invisalign is made out of a smooth plastic, so there’s no way that you can hurt yourself by wearing these aligners. This is very important for adults who live an active lifestyle. For instance, if you play contact sports, someone may bump into you and cause your metal braces to hit the inside of your cheeks. This could lead to an uncomfortable cut, but it’s something that you won’t have to worry about if you are wearing Invisalign.

Since you won’t experience any sudden mouth injuries with Invisalign, you also won’t have to make any unexpected emergency trips to the dentist. Patients with metal braces may have to take a trip to the dentist when they experience a cut or scratch so he can adjust the braces to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Taking unplanned trips to the dentist is an inconvenience, so this is another great benefit that Invisalign offers.

Preview Future Smile

During your initial consultation, your dentist can scan your teeth using a digital scanning system and then map out how treatment will affect your smile. Patients will be able to see a 3D rendering of what their teeth will look like after they have finished using Invisalign. If you’re on the fence about straightening your teeth, seeing what your teeth will look like in the future can help you make this important decision. Unfortunately, this service is not offered for other types of braces.  

Appearance

Adults often want to hide the fact that they have braces, but this can be hard to do with a mouth full of metal. As you may have guessed from the name, Invisalign aligners are invisible, so no one has to know that you have braces. This makes it much easier for adults to wear braces in professional settings, when metal braces may not look age appropriate.

Removable

Once metal braces have been put in your mouth, there’s no way to remove them without taking a trip to the dentist’s office and having them permanently taken out. Invisalign offers patients much more flexibility since they can be removed and put back in at any time. It’s recommended that patients wear Invisalign for 20-22 hours per day, but the patient can still remove his aligners as needed to eat, drink, or blow into an instrument, for example.

Health Benefits of Better Teeth Positioning

The main goal of Invisalign is to properly align your teeth, but this is about more than improving the appearance of your smile. There are a number of health benefits to properly aligned teeth that you will get to enjoy after using Invisalign. For example, if you’ve ever had red or swollen gums, this could be caused by overcrowding or improperly aligned teeth. Gums will be able to fit more securely around teeth that are properly aligned, which means you won’t experience these uncomfortable symptoms anymore. Improperly aligned teeth can also cause jaw pain and speech difficulties, which can both be alleviated using Invisalign.  

At Prentice Orthodontics, our goal is to serve your needs, improve your health, and make you 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!
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