Top 3 Tips To Getting Healthier Teeth As Fast As Possible
When you choose an orthodontist and begin orthodontic treatment, you put a lot of trust in your provider to ensure that you achieve the best possible result. While your orthodontist is certainly the expert and is mainly responsible for making sure your treatment is successful, there are several steps you can take yourself to help your orthodontic treatment be as beneficial as possible. Here are a few ways that you can take responsibility in your orthodontic treatment, and get the most benefit out of it, from the beginning to the end of your treatment plan.
1) Start Orthodontic Treatment as Early as Possible
Life is busy. There are always things to do, places to go, schedules to keep and deadlines to meet. With the hustle and bustle of life, orthodontic care is one of those things that’s easy to put off for a more convenient time. However, the “I’ll get around to it” mentality can end up putting off vital orthodontic treatment for years, allowing problems to worsen in the meantime. When it comes to diagnosing and treating dental and oral health problems, NOW is always better than later.
While braces are generally thought to be for teenagers, there is no one right time for orthodontic treatment for everyone. For both children and adults, orthodontic treatment achieves optimal results when begun as early as possible. Getting an early start is undoubtedly the best thing you can do to make sure your orthodontic treatment is as beneficial as it can be. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of starting orthodontic treatment early.
- Easier and Quicker Treatment for Children
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children be seen by an orthodontist before the age of 7, ideally earlier. The reason is that this gives time for their jaw and palate to be evaluated and, if needed, a palate expander used to create room for the adult teeth to grow in. This can help the adult teeth grow in properly, without becoming crowded, which helps prevent crooked teeth.
Also, early detection and treatment of jaw alignment issues in children, such as overbite or underbite, can be more easily corrected early before they cause further problems. According to the AAO, orthodontic treatment before the age of 7 can “guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve appearance, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position, [and] improve the way lips meet.”
If your children have already passed the age of 7, don’t worry. Just make an appointment to have them evaluated by an orthodontist as soon as you’re able. Better late than never!
- More Successful Treatment
As well as making for a quicker and easier overall treatment, those who see an orthodontist at the first signs of problems statistically have better end results with their treatment. When your teeth first start shifting into crooked, crowded, or gapped positions, it’s much more effective to catch them early on and reposition them before they get further out of alignment.
Whether you’ve been struggling with orthodontic issues for years or had issues occur recently, the sooner you seek treatment, the better. You will likely be more satisfied with the end result of your orthodontic treatment, either for yourself or for your children.
- Avoid Side Effects
There are many side effects that can come about from dealing with orthodontic problems for long periods of time, if left untreated. For example:
- Jaw misalignment can lead to headaches, muscle tension, speech delays, etc.
- Overbite or underbite can worsen and cause problems with bite patterns and chewing
- Food can become caught between teeth gaps, leading to tooth decay or gum disease
- Psychological effects of a crooked smile, such as self-consciousness and low self-esteem (especially in the formative years of childhood)
When orthodontic treatment is begun early, these more serious side effects can be avoided entirely, or fixed before they develop into more serious issues.
2) Follow Proper Maintenance and Hygiene Routines
Dental hygiene is always important for the health of your teeth and mouth, but during orthodontic treatment there are specific steps you should add to your dental hygiene routine. Proper care of your orthodontic device is crucial to the effectiveness of your device and the success of your treatment. Always consult with your orthodontist about the ideal hygiene routine of your orthodontic device and follow it carefully. You should also meet with your orthodontist regularly for check-ups and maintenance. In general, here are the steps we recommend for each type of device:
- Avoid sticky, sugary foods like gum, gummy candies, or taffy
- Avoid popcorn, tough meats, and other foods that have a tendency to get stuck in teeth (these can easily get food particles stuck in your braces or retainer)
- Brush longer and more carefully to ensure all food particles are removed from braces
- Consider using an electric toothbrush
- Floss every day, using a hand-held floss threader
- Use a fluoride-based, anti-cavity mouthwash
Retainers and Invisalign Braces:
- Remove retainer or invisaligners before chewing gum or eating
- Remove invisaligners before drinking hot or sugary drinks
- Brush your retainer or invisaligner carefully each time you brush your teeth (soft bristles are recommended) and rinse them with warm water
- When not in use, keep your retainer or invisaligner stored in a mixture of cold water and mouthwash
3) Be Consistent With Follow-Up Care
Once you’ve undergone orthodontic treatment and achieved a straight, healthy smile, you may be tempted to leave your orthodontic care behind you. However, many times orthodontists recommend certain steps to maintain your smile for the long-term. For example, braces are often followed up with a few months or years of wearing a retainer, which can be tightened as needed, in order to keep teeth in place. Usually retainers only have to be worn at night while sleeping.
Whatever type of follow-up care is needed in your case, make sure to listen carefully to the guidance of your orthodontist, and follow through with the regimen that he or she suggests. All too often, patients disregard this last step, and end up with crooked or crowded teeth all over again just a few years later.
Don’t Wait: Schedule Your Orthodontic Check Up Today
With summer break upon us, it’s the perfect time to bring the whole family in for orthodontic checkups and get started on any needed treatment. Don’t put it off—there’s no time like the present to make sure your orthodontic treatment is as quick, easy, and successful as possible.
Kimbrough Orthodontics is a local orthodontics office in the Kingwood and Humble area. We’re a trusted member of the American Association of Orthodontists, and pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest research to ensure that our patients receive the most successful orthodontic outcome possible. We review each case, and each patient, on an individual basis to provide careful treatment options to fit each person’s needs. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you, or your child, achieve the perfect smile of your dreams.