What Do Orthodontic Retainers Do?

by Dr. Joseph Thompson

Fix Lower Lingual RetainerMany orthodontic patients are excited to have their braces removed.  You think, finally I’m done with braces.  Not so.  You are half way through treatment.  You must wear retainers to keep your teeth straight.  All patients must go through a period of retention.  The retention phase of treatment is just as important as the braces.  Your orthodontist wants to keep a close observation of your teeth and keep the proper alignment made by the braces. [click to continue…]

How Do You Floss with Braces?

by Dr. Joseph Thompson

Superfloss and floss threader

Many patients understand that extra care is needed when brushing and flossing with braces in place.  After they think about flossing, they wonder, how do I floss with the wire in the way?  The simple fact is you have to get the floss under the wire so you can floss.

One of the ways of getting the floss under the wire is with a floss threader.  A floss threader is a stiff plastic that has a loop where the floss is placed through.  Once the floss threader pulls the floss under the wire, you can then floss.

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How Long Will My Braces Hurt?

by Dr. Joseph Thompson

Wax on BracesWhen a patient initially gets their braces placed on their teeth, they will have some discomfort or sore teeth.   The normal period of time to get use to braces, right after they are placed, is about one week or less.  The majority of discomfort is the day after the braces are placed.  That day is the hardest.  With subsequent monthly appointments, after initial placement, your teeth may be sore for just a day or two or not at all.  So the first week is the hardest.

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What are Tooth Mamelons?

by Dr. Joseph Thompson

Tooth MamelonsWhen your child’s permanent incisors erupt, you may notice, on the top of the teeth, the incisal edges, has bumps. These bumps are called tooth mamelons.

Tooth mamelons vary from patient to patient.  Some patient’s mamelons are very prominent and some look like the tooth has an indentation.  The edges are rough and makes the teeth look uneven.  Mamelons are usually seen on the upper and lower, permanent central and lateral incisors.   [click to continue…]

Retainers-with-Peace-SignOrthodontists use retainers to help keep your teeth stay in their new position after braces are removed.

A standard retainer that is used often is a hawley retainer. This retainer is made of acrylic and wire. It is very durable and can last a long time.  It will have a labial bow and usually two ball clasps. The ball clasps are used to hold it into position. The labial bow is used to apply pressure on the anterior teeth to keep them from moving.

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What Colors Do Braces Come In?

by Dr. Joseph Thompson

Elastomeric Ligature TiesA part of orthodontic treatment that is exciting for patients is the colors of their braces.  Braces come in a variety of colors from clear, pastel to bold.  All the colors of the rainbow can be placed on your braces.

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What are Impressions for Braces?

by Dr. Joseph Thompson

Maxillary Upper ImpressionWhen a patient starts orthodontic treatment there will be some preliminary steps that are taken before braces are placed.  One of the items performed are impressions.

Most young patients have never had impressions before and they are nervous about going through it.  Parents need to explain to their child that impressions are easy and they shouldn’t worry about having them taken.

Orthodontists take many impressions during the work day.  We take impressions before braces are placed and after braces are removed and for appliances, like retainers.

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Ankylosed Primary Central IncisorYoung children fall all the time when they are playing and starting to learn to walk.  When a young child falls, they could hit their front primary teeth causing a primary tooth to become ankylosed.  Usually the traumatic event is not noticed by the parent because the tooth does not bleed or is knocked out of position.  However, as the child grows, the parent will notice a distortion of the jaw bone.  This is usually due to an ankylosed primary tooth.

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What is Tooth Fusion & Gemination?

A rare genetic abnormality that can occur with tooth buds is Fusion and Gemination. Tooth Fusion is when two tooth buds fuse together to make one large wide crown.  The fused tooth will have two independent pulp chambers and root canals.  The fusion will start at the top of the crown and travel possibly to the […]

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What is a Rapid Palatal Expander?

A Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is an upper appliance that places pressure on the upper jaw (maxilla) by turning a midline screw.  The pressure separates the mid palatal suture thus making the maxilla wider, which can correct crossbites and creat space.  RPEs are used often to correct posterior crossbites.

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