Everyone wants a bright, dazzling smile highlighted by perfectly straight teeth. To achieve that goal, some young people are following the advice of YouTube videos that feature people promoting DIY tooth-straightening tutorials. Although some of these people may have fixed gaps in their teeth using everything from hair elastics to paper clip wires to 3D printers – DIY dentistry is not the safest way to obtain straighter teeth.
What Are DIY Braces?
Since about 2012, mostly preteens and teenagers have been using YouTube videos to promote homemade, or DIY braces, to close gaps in their teeth. For instance, one particular video featuring a young woman who claims to have closed a gap in her teeth with hair bands got more 100,000 views. Yet dentists strongly caution kids to avoid following these tutorials, which can be downright dangerous.
What Can Happen If I Use Homemade Braces?
Dentists and orthodontists caution teens that using DIY methods to straighten their teeth can cause damage to their teeth and gums. One of the main problems is that everyday objects you find around the house are full of germs and are not designed to put in your mouth. Additionally, using wires or fishing line on your teeth can cut your skin and gums, causing infection. As tempting as it may be for you to try straighten your teeth with inexpensive materials with no medical appointments, the risk is too great. DIY braces cause the following problems:
- Permanent tooth damage
- Loss of teeth
- Pain due to tooth wear or bone damage
- Damage to the gums and jaw bone
- Infection due to foreign objects in the mouth
- New tooth gaps
- Need for costly dental repair
Why Should I See an Orthodontist for Braces?
Orthodontists undergo years of training to learn about tooth and jaw anatomy and have specialized expertise on the correct application of orthodontic devices for teeth straightening and other conditions. When you visit an orthodontist, you’ll receive the following care:
- An initial consultation to see if braces are necessary
- X-rays, photos, and models of teeth to determine an appropriate course of treatment
- Thorough discussion of braces treatment plan
- Application of braces
- Ongoing checkups to verify progression of treatment and to change or replace parts of the braces as needed
- Removal of braces and fitting of retainers if necessary
- Follow-up visits to ensure good outcomes
What Are My Options for Braces?
Under the care of an orthodontist, you’ll find out if your unique case requires traditional metal braces or can be corrected using Invisalign, also called plastic aligners. If you have a jaw misalignment or severe overbite or underbite, you’ll probably have the best outcome with traditional metal braces. If you have crowded or crooked teeth, Invisalign might be your best option.
Save the DIY trend for arts and crafts. Never entrust a YouTube video to give you accurate, safe medical advice for straightening your teeth. Remember, only a trained orthodontist can do that for you. If you’re ready to learn how to straighten your teeth the right way, make an appointment today with the highly trained team at Amazing Smiles Orthodontics. We have convenient offices located in Long Island, Brooklyn, and Forest Hills to serve you with professional, compassionate care.
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The FDA approved Invisalign in 2000. Since getting approved by the FDA in 2000, invisible plastic aligners, Invisalign, have become a game changer in the way kids and adults alike choose to straighten their teeth. Although traditional metal braces are still recommended for those who have significant problems with jaw alignment, Invisalign is a great option for those who want to transform crooked, crowded teeth into an amazing smile.
How Does Invisalign Work?
If your orthodontist decides you’re a good candidate for Invisalign, you’ll go through a quick and painless process to obtain your aligners. First, your orthodontist will take photos and impressions of your teeth that they analyze and send off to the company to make your custom aligners.
Within two weeks, you’ll receive your first box of aligners that your orthodontist will insert and examine to ensure they fit correctly. Depending on your unique case, you’ll wear one set of aligners for one or two weeks, discard them, and repeat the process with the remaining aligners in your box. You’ll see your orthodontist regularly to track your process and make necessary changes. You’ll continue this process (about a year for teens and two years for adults on average) until your treatment is complete.
What Can I Do with Invisalign?
One of the biggest advantages of wearing Invisalign is that you don’t have to alter your lifestyle as much as you would with traditional braces. While using Invisalign, you should do the following:
Eat What You Want
Since you can take out your aligners at any time, no food is off limits during treatment. Chew gum, eat caramels, and enjoy popcorn, apples, and other crunchy or gooey snacks that are off limits with traditional braces.
Smile A Lot
Invisalign aligners are completely clear. You shouldn’t be self-conscious when wearing them because nobody will be the wiser.
Clean Your Aligners
Because you’ll wear each set of aligners for 22 hours a day, you’ll need to put in the effort to take good care of them. That means brushing them with water and a soft toothbrush, soaking them in denture or retainer solution, or soaking them in a homemade water and vinegar solution. These cleaning methods remove food and bacterial buildup that can stain or damage your aligners.
What Can’t I Do with Invisalign?
Wear Them While Eating
Eating or drinking anything but water while wearing your aligners is off limits. Biting into food could break your aligners while drinking coffee or dyed sodas can permanently stain them. For best results, put your aligners in your carrying case, eat or drink what you want, then brush your teeth thoroughly before re-inserting them.
Forget to Clean Them
Invisalign are designed to be invisible. Don’t defeat the purpose by forgetting to clean them regularly. Neglected aligners become cloudy, stained, and can trap bacteria that is harmful to your mouth. Clean your aligners regularly as directed by your orthodontist.
Treat Them Gently
Invisalign is strong enough to move your teeth, but carelessly grabbing or pulling them off can cause them to bend or break. Brushing your aligners with regular toothpaste can also damage them. Treat your aligners with care so they can do the job right.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Invisalign, make an appointment today with the skilled team of orthodontists at Amazing Smiles Orthodontics of Forest Hills, Brooklyn, and Long Island. We offer Invisalign treatment in addition to all kinds of orthodontic services.
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Broken braces can hurt your mouth and extend the time you’ll need to achieve your perfect smile. Learn what common problems you might face while wearing braces, and how you can handle these problems at home before your next orthodontist appointment.
What Are the Most Common Problems Affecting Braces?
You’ll probably face one of these common problems if you wear braces:
- Broken brackets
- Broken or protruding wires
- Loose bands
- Broken rubber bands
- Loose spacers
If you notice a problem with your braces, call your orthodontist immediately. Depending on what went wrong, you may need to see your orthodontist right away for repairs.
How Can I Take Care of My Broken Braces Until My Next Appointment?
Learn how you can temporarily fix certain problems with your braces, until your next appointment. Always remember, that even the smallest issues with your braces need to be seen by your orthodontist, so schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Broken or Loose Brackets
Your orthodontist attached metal brackets to each tooth when you first got braces. The brackets are affixed to each tooth with a sticky material called resin. Over time, resin breaks down, causing a bracket to painfully rub against your mouth. If you notice a loose bracket, apply a coating of orthodontic wax over the sharp edges of the bracket.
Broken or Protruding Wires
Wires connect all of the brackets and are the driving force in straightening your teeth. Wires often break due to the pressure placed on them for teeth straightening and from eating. If a wire breaks or protrudes, use a clean pencil eraser to push it into a comfortable position where it can’t hurt your cheeks or gums. Don’t cut the wire since you may accidentally swallow it. If you already have irritation from a broken wire, make a salt-water rinse of a half teaspoon of table salt dissolved into eight ounces of water. Swish this solution around your mouth to soothe discomfort as needed. You can also apply an over-the-counter oral numbing agent like Anbesol. If you don’t get relief, make an appointment immediately.
Bands are pieces of metal that encircle most of your back teeth and some of the front. They add strength to your braces to help keep them secure. Like brackets, they’re attached with resin, which can break down over time. If you have a loose band, try not to touch it. If it falls off, don’t try to put it back in place or throw it away. Make an appointment immediately and bring the band to have it reattached to your tooth.
A spacer is a rubber ring that’s inserted between teeth to open up room. Usually, spacers are only supposed to stay in place for a few days before your orthodontist removes them. If your spacers become loose or fall off, that’s a sign that you’re ready to proceed with band placement. Call your orthodontist for an appointment.
Broken Rubber Bands
Rubber bands that are placed over brackets occasionally break. If you notice a broken rubber band, call your orthodontist and tell them exactly which rubber band broke. You can usually wait until your next scheduled appointment to replace rubber bands, but your orthodontist may want to replace it sooner.
If you need help with your broken braces, book an appointment online today with Amazing Smiles Orthodontics of Forest Hills, Brooklyn and Long Island. Our team is dedicated to giving you the best and brightest smile possible.
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Very few of us are blessed with a perfect smile. When permanent teeth start to come in, many of us will notice problems like overcrowded teeth, overbites, gaps, and other dental problems. The big question is if the problem is only cosmetic, or if there are bigger issues that need to be corrected. Luckily, orthodontists provide several safe, effective, and affordable types of braces for you to achieve a dazzling smile.
What Are Braces?
Dental braces are orthodontic devices designed to straighten and align a patient’s teeth to correct their bite and promote overall dental health. The most common types of braces include:
These use metal or plastic brackets that are bonded to the front of the teeth and are connected by wires.
These utilize the back of the teeth for bracket and wire placement to keep them hidden.
Also called Invisalign, these are a custom-made series of removable plastic retainers designed to straighten teeth for a short period of time before replacing with a new aligner.
With traditional and lingual braces, the wires that are attached to each bracket are tightened periodically to promote the straightening process.
How Do I Know if I Need Braces?
Your dentist evaluates your bite, jaw alignment, teeth spacing, and more during your annual dental checkup. If your dentist thinks you would benefit from braces, you’ll be referred to an orthodontist, who specializes in correcting dental misalignments, to start your treatment. You may consider getting braces if you have:
- Crooked teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
- Misaligned jaw
- Other jaw disorders
What Is the Right Age for Braces?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, it is recommended that a child has their first consultation with an orthodontists at age 7. Although patients of any age can benefit from braces, starting treatment between the ages of 10 and 14 is ideal. During this age, your head and mouth are still growing and your teeth are more receptive to straightening. Parents should talk to their child about their fears or concerns about getting braces and discuss these with the orthodontist before making a decision.
Also, you do not necessarily need a referral from you dentist – patients can book an appointment with an orthodontist directly.
What Type of Braces Should I Get?
Your particular dental problems dictate the kind of braces you need. If you have a severe overbite or jaw misalignment, you’ll get the best treatment outcome with traditional braces. If you have mildly crooked teeth, you could be a good candidate for Invisalign.
How Long Will I Have to Wear My Braces?
The severity of your dental problem will ultimately determine how long you’ll need braces. Most patients can expect to wear their braces between 18 and 30 months. After your braces are removed or you’ve finished all of your plastic aligners, your orthodontist will suggest you wear a customized retainer for few months to keep your newly straightened teeth from reverting to their original position. You may need to wear the retainer at night for a couple of years or more for optimal results.
Hoxw Can I Take Care of My Teeth While Wearing Braces?
It’s important to continue practicing good oral hygiene while wearing braces or plastic aligners. Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss with the special tool your orthodontist provides you if you’re wearing traditional braces. You’ll need to avoid certain foods while wearing braces to avoid breaking the brackets or wires. If you wear aligners, brush them every day or soak them in a special solution designed to clean aligners and retainers.
Do you think you need braces or want to learn more about them? Make an appointment today with Amazing Smiles Orthodontics. Our experienced, caring team of orthodontists are committed to offering the best care available to give you a winning smile.
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Braces are often associated with teenagers, but they’re becoming very popular with adults as well. For adults who have a smile that they’ve always been dissatisfied with, braces represent a chance to correct years of frustration while improving your oral health.
Why Would An Adult Need Braces?
Adults need braces for similar reasons that adolescent patients do. Yet, if you didn’t have orthodontic treatment as a child, your issues may have gotten worse over the years, as you have aged, you are experiencing symptoms such as tooth decay and headaches. You may also find it difficult to keep your teeth and gums properly cleaned and may be at greater risk for developing gum disease.
A few common reasons adults get braces include:
- Crooked teeth
- Misaligned jaw
Are Braces for Adults Different Than Braces for Kids?
Braces for adults work in the same way they do for younger patients, but your treatment may last longer. Since your teeth are set and are no longer growing, they take more pressure – and often more time – to move. As an adult, you may wear braces for a period ranging from 18 months to three years.
Although the results may take longer, if you’ve lived with dental issues that you’ve always wanted to change, it’s worth exploring your options.
What Choices Do You Have for Adult Braces?
It’s important to choose an orthodontist that has options to fit your needs and preferences. Such as:
- Traditional Metal Braces: Stainless steel brackets are applied to the front of your teeth, and adjusted using a small wire that’s connected to each bracket
- Ceramic Braces: Also known as clear braces, function like traditional metal braces but are made from a material that matches the color of your teeth.
- Invisalign®: This set of aligners is almost invisible and can be removed when you eat and brush your teeth, which allows you to not have dietary restrictions that are associated with traditional braces.
- Lingual Braces – Similar to regular metal braces, but the brackets are attached to the back of each tooth rather than the front, making them less noticeable
- Self-ligating Braces – A small slide mechanism is used instead of bands of ties, that create the appearance of less metal.
How to Decide Which Adult Braces Option is Right for You?
Your orthodontist will explain your options to you, including information about whether any choices are likely to be more effective than others. In addition to this recommendation, price and appearance may also be considerations. As an adult, you may opt for a less noticeable type of braces, such as Invisalign or ceramic braces.
If you’re an adult who would like to learn whether braces are a good option for you and determine which types may be appropriate, make an appointment today for a consultation with Amazing Smiles Orthodontics. We’ve taken care of our patients’ smiles and oral health for more than 30 years and pride ourselves on being committed to providing high-quality, affordable care.
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Retainers are a popular orthodontic treatment that provides many benefits.
What Are Retainers?
A retainer is a custom-made orthodontic device that fits over the top of the teeth and mouth. It’s made of plastic or plastic and metal, and it’s very common for kids and adults to have to wear a retainer.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Retainers are often used for the following reasons:
- After you get your braces off – A retainer can help your teeth stay in their new positions. Especially for kids who are still growing, a retainer helps control teeth that could shift as you grow. Some people have to wear a retainer all day and then only at night, while others have to wear it only at night.
- To close a space between your teeth or to move only one tooth – Since retainers can do a good job in these cases, they can help you avoid having to wear braces.
- To help with a medical problem – Retainers can help correct conditions such as tongue thrust, which causes your tongue to come through your teeth when you talk. It can also help with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), a disorder that’s usually caused by teeth that don’t fit together as they should when your jaws are closed. Retainers can also help keep your mouth from closing completely at night so you don’t grind your teeth (bruxism).
What Are Signs That You May Need One?
You may need a retainer if you have braces and your teeth have slightly shifted. Your orthodontist may also recommend them to prevent the chance that shifting will occur.
You may also benefit from wearing a retainer if you have gaps in between your teeth, overlapping teeth or crooked teeth. And if you grind your teeth or have “bite” problems, meaning your teeth don’t fit together properly when your jaw is shut, you may also need a retainer.
What Are the Benefits of Wearing a Retainer?
Recommendations now suggested by the American Association of Orthodontists is to wear a retainer for the rest of your life once orthodontic treatment is completed and at night – after initial stabilization period of full time wear. The following are some benefits you’ll receive when wearing a retainer:
- More comfortable and less bulky than many other orthodontic treatments
- Maintains positive changes achieved by braces
- Effective for treating a wide variety of issues
- Easy to wear and clean
- Less noticeable than other treatments
- Custom-designed for your teeth and mouth
If you’d like to find out whether a retainer could improve your smile, make an appointment today with Amazing Smiles Orthodontics PC. We have convenient offices located in NYC boroughs and have provided high quality, affordable orthodontic care throughout the New York metro area for more than 30 years.
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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is characterized by pain in the jaw joint. A wide range of medical issues can cause TMJ syndrome.
The TMJ joins your lower jaw – called the mandible – to your skull’s temporal bone that’s located at the front of your ear. Your facial muscles that handle chewing are also connected to your lower jaw.
Problems in your lower jaw region may lead to:
- Head & neck pain
- Facial aches
- Ear pain
- Difficulties opening the jaw
- Jaw clicking
- Biting problems
- Popping sounds when you bite
Your TMJ is designed to move both up and down as well as from side to side, making it one of the most complex joints in the body. These complex movements allow you to coordinate these actions so you can talk, chew, and yawn. This complexity makes severe TMJ disorders difficult to treat effectively.
TMJ syndrome is also known as temporomandibular joint disorder.
TMJ Disorder Causes
TMJ syndrome can be caused by trauma, disease, wear & tear as you get older, or oral habits.
Trauma: Trauma can happen from the inside, such as teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching. The continuous pressure put on the temporomandibular joint can change your teeth alignment. The muscles involved in these movements can inflame the membranes surrounding the joint. Trauma can also happen externally when the jaw is injured by an impact, such as a fall or a punch. These types of injuries can cause TMJ dislocation, damage to the cartilage disc of the joint, or can break the jawbone. Also, TMJ pain can be the result of dental work where you have your mouth stretched open for long periods of time.
Disease: Osteoarthritis can affect your jaw bone just like any other joint in your body. Degenerative joint disease causes a slow and steady loss of cartilage and new bone can form at the surface of the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes joint inflammation and can affect your TMJ. As RA progresses, it can cause cartilage destruction, bone loss, and eventually lead to joint deformity.
Wear & Tear: The usual wear and tear of normal aging can cause bone/cartilage loss, joint inflammation that can ultimately cause jaw deformity.
Oral Habits: Habits such as biting your nails and other items, like pencils and toothpicks, can cause TMJ syndrome. Gum chewing, ice crunching, and biting hard candy can also contribute to TMJ syndrome. When you do these activities over long periods of time, they can unevenly load one side of the jaw, leading to muscle overuse and pain.
Orthodontics: A TMJ Syndrome Treatment Option
Orthodontics is the type of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of conditions affecting the alignment of the teeth and jaw. Orthodontists can correct TMJ syndrome through the use of braces, appliances or Invisalign.
TMJ orthodontics uses these methods to slowly change your bite and jaw alignment by pushing your teeth into the proper positions to fill any gaps. These types of orthodontics can help relieve wear and tear on your teeth, headaches, grinding, and clenching.
To create a custom dental appliance, your dentist takes impressions of your teeth which is used to mold an appliance that fits over your existing teeth. You can tighten or loosen the appliance easily and quickly, and you probably will experience little to no discomfort.
For More Information on TMJ Syndrome Treatment
To find out more about TMJ disorders and how a dental appliance can help, or you want to find out more about other treatment options, contact us for a personal consultation.
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