Monday, May 29, 2023

How to Solve Emergencies at Home

At Medina Orthodontics, we want our patients to be informed of problems that may occur while in orthodontic treatment and understand how to temporarily solve them until it is possible to return to our office.

If you ever find yourself in what you believe to be an orthodontic emergency, the first step is to determine the severity of the it really a true emergency or is it a less serious issue that you can fix yourself?

Most orthodontic problems are minor although some may irritate your mouth or cause discomfort. In general, the best approach is to try to ease the source of the problem, and then call our office to schedule an appointment.

Here are five common orthodontic problems you may be able to take care of at home, prior to scheduling a visit to our orthodontic office.

1. Loose band or bracket: While a tight band or bracket actually protects a tooth from decay, a loose band or bracket is extremely dangerous and decay can occur under it very rapidly. If a band or bracket comes loose from the tooth and is still attached to a wire, leave it in place and apply wax if there is discomfort. If the band or bracket comes completely out, place it in an envelope and call for an appointment.

2. Poking wire: Sometimes a poking wire can be safely turned down so that it no longer causes you discomfort. Try to tuck the wire back in and out of the way with the blunt end of a toothbrush. If you are unable to take care of a poking wire, apply wax and call our office for an appointment.

3. Loose Teeth and Soreness: It’s natural for teeth to become slightly loose when wearing braces. Sometimes this tooth movement can be accompanied by tenderness, especially immediately after braces are fitted or adjusted. Try taking over-the-counter pain relief. Rinsing your mouth twice a day with a cup of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt can also be soothing. A heating pad or warm washcloth placed on your face may help to relieve tenderness as well.

4. Food Stuck Between Teeth: Use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. If you cut your gums, tongue, or the inside of your cheek, apply finger pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call your family dentist for an appointment.

5. Ulcers or Mouth Sores: Sometimes your gums or mouth may be irritated by contact with your braces; in certain cases, this irritation causes small sores or ulcers. While they can be uncomfortable, they are normal and will go away quickly. Avoid touching the ulcers with your fingers. Cover the irritating bracket or wire with wax and take over-the-counter pain medications if you feel discomfort. You may also find topic gels helpful, as they will slowly and safely eradicate your sores.

And remember…if you are a patient in retention and your retainer cracks or breaks, remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for professional repair or replacement.


Thursday, May 4, 2023

Your Smile Changes as You Age

It's true...your smile changes as you age. Some changes are due to natural biological processes, including bone remodeling and the tendency of the teeth to shift towards each other. Other reasons your smile changes with age may include:

Post-Orthodontic Teeth Shifting - If you had orthodontic treatment in the past, but forgot to wear your retainer, the teeth will naturally begin shifting back towards their old positions.

Wrong Bite - Misalignment of the teeth or jaw, known as malocclusion, doesn’t sort itself out. In many cases, if issues like crowding, spacing or an excessive overbite, underbite, open bite or crossbite aren’t treated, they will get worse as you get older. After years of living with a bad bite, you may also be dealing with the consequences of misalignment, such as tooth decay, gum disease, excessive wear of the enamel. These issues will create further changes to your smile.

Bottom Teeth Crowding - As you age, your jawbone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jawbone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth and this crowding can worsen with age.

Overlapping Teeth - Many people experience what’s known as mesial drift. It’s a slow, natural shifting of the teeth towards the front of your dental arch. As the teeth move towards the midline, they can overlap. It can be worsened by missing teeth, gum disease, bruxism, and decay.

Front Teeth Gap - Referred to as a diastema, space between the two front teeth can be caused by gum disease, the tongue pushing between the front teeth when swallowing, or a discrepancy in jaw size that was never treated.

Collapsing Teeth - If you have gaps in your teeth, missing teeth that weren’t replaced or severe wear of the enamel, the teeth around the spaces can collapse inwardly. This is because the teeth try to fill in the empty spaces. As the teeth tilt or shift into the gaps, it will impact the appearance of your smile, as well as your bite. Missing teeth may also change your face shape.

Changes in the Length or Shape of Teeth - All of the biting and chewing you do causes the enamel to slowly wear down. Teeth grinding and clenching, known as bruxism, can speed up the process. This impacts your smile by making your teeth look shorter. Teeth can also change shape with age as they wear down. Gum recession does the opposite by exposing more tooth surface and making teeth look longer. It can also leave visible black spaces between the teeth as pockets form.

While these changes may be completely normal, that doesn’t mean you just have to live with them. There are ways to minimize these age-related changes and keep your smile looking its best throughout your life.  Whether you’re eight or 80, the biological process of orthodontic treatment is the same. Check out our website to learn more about the options we have for adult orthodontics and then give our Katy, TX office a call to schedule your initial exam.


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