February is Children's Dental Health Month image

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

At Skelton Orthodontics, we are excited to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health month! We love to provide our patients with information to keep their children’s teeth looking and feeling awesome! This means reminding you how important it is to see a dentist along with an orthodontist.

Dentists are able to clean your teeth even if you have braces, cleaning around brackets and other appliances to keep your mouth healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment. Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a pediatric dentist by age one? Also, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontic specialist, like Dr. Aimee Skelton, for an evaluation by age seven. Regarding oral health, it is always better to catch any possible concerns early on because oral health has a direct effect on overall health.

Looking to try new ways to motivate your kids to brush their teeth? Try our handy brushing chart to help keep them on track!

Be sure to tell your kids about National Children’s Dental Health Month and get as excited as we are about healthy teeth!

Art for The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment can greatly improve your child’s oral health. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, your child should come in to see us by age 7. Why so young? When bite and spacing issues are caught early, we can set your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

So, what is early orthodontic treatment and does your child need it? We’ve compiled a few benefits below.

Preventative Treatment

When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may assume that it involves braces. During early treatment, also called Phase I treatment, braces are rarely the first option. At age 7, children have lost many of their baby teeth and have already started developing adult teeth. This means that it’s easier for us to identify problem areas early on before they become serious issues.

When you bring your child in for their first visit, we will evaluate their teeth and alignment to check for any abnormalities. At this visit, we can determine whether your child’s teeth will correct themselves as more adult teeth erupt and when the best time may be for your child to start treatment. Many children don’t get braces until around the ages of 9 and 13.

Correcting Bad Habits

When children suck their thumbs for too long or can’t give up the pacifier, it can severely affect their bite. When caught early enough, we can give you tips to stop your child’s bad habits and correct potential bite issues that may worsen later in life.

Time and Cost Savings

If left untreated, many minor issues can develop into severe orthodontic problems. When this happens, your child may have trouble eating and speaking properly. Simply scheduling an appointment for your child now can reduce the chance of needing more invasive treatment, like surgery and extractions, later. This can save you months—and even years—of treatment time as well as thousands of dollars.

If your child is at least 7 years old, request an appointment today! We look forward to giving your child a beautiful smile for life.

retainer

Why Wear Your Retainer?

Retainers can help your teeth stay in the positions we prescribe. Most patients don’t realize that when they get their braces off, they’re not actually done with treatment. It’s important to help your teeth “remember” where they’re supposed to be by stabilizing the bones and ligaments. Otherwise, teeth can slowly shift back over time. This phase of treatment is called the retention phase.

Retention Phase

To make sure you get the best results, we advise all of our patients to wear their retainers for the length of time we prescribe. While it may seem like an annoyance when you’re ready to be finished with treatment, it’s imperative that you follow our guidelines. Shifting teeth can cause you to have a longer treatment time if braces are necessary again later on. You will also incur additional costs to re-straighten your teeth and start treatment over again.

When to Wear Your Retainer

The length of your retention phase depends greatly on your individual needs. Some patients may need to wear retainers 24 hours a day for a few years, while others only need to wear them at night for a few months. We can determine the length of your retention phase when you finish treatment.

During the retention phase, you will need to remove your appliances to eat and brush and floss your teeth. To keep them from getting damaged, we strongly encourage patients to keep them in a safe place, like a case, when not in your mouth. A lost or broken appliance may require additional payments.

Keep Your Smile Straight

Orthodontic treatment is a wonderful investment in your oral health, but no one wants to start the process over again. Be proactive and wear your retainers to keep your new, beautiful smile just the way it is! If you have any questions about the retention phase, contact our office.

orthodontic emergencies

Orthodontic Emergencies: Protecting Your Smile

Orthodontic emergencies can happen at any time, no matter how prepared you may be. An orthodontic emergency can be anything from a broken appliance to an unexpected injury to the mouth. Often, these emergencies can happen after eating food that’s too hard for your appliances, during a sports injury or other impact.

Thankfully, you can prevent most orthodontic emergencies from even occurring. We’ve compiled some tips to help you protect your teeth and your braces while you’re in treatment.

Choose Softer Foods

If you love chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard foods, you may need to reassess your meals while you’re in braces. If you bite too hard into the wrong type of food, you risk damaging your appliances and even your teeth and gums. We recommend eating soft foods and taking smaller bites. Instead of a whole apple, cut it into small slices first. Or replace thick, doughy sourdough breads for softer wheat varieties. If you do happen to break a bracket or your wires, call our office immediately to get them fixed.

Stay on Top of Oral Hygiene

When you’re in braces, food can become trapped under your appliances, making it harder to keep your teeth clean. Left untreated, you are at an increased risk for getting cavities and gum disease. In severe cases, it may cause longer treatment time and costs if we need to remove your appliances to fix dental problems. Be sure to brush and floss after every meal to remove food particles in your mouth. If you’re unable to brush right away, rinse your mouth with water and brush at your earliest convenience.

Ask for a Mouthguard

If you’re active in sports, a mouthguard can protect your teeth and appliances from injury and breakage. Without a mouthguard, you risk painful injuries, including concussions. Plus, broken appliances may cost additional fees to replace. The best course of action is to wear a mouthguard when you play sports, every time! Let us know at your next appointment, and we can help you choose the right one for your needs.

Most of all, remember to contact our office if you have an emergency. We can find a way to fit you into our schedule and fix any appliances issues as soon as possible.

retainer

Lost or Broken Retainers

Retainers play a crucial part in your orthodontic treatment. When the braces come off, your teeth will naturally want to return to their original positions. During the retention phase, our goal is to keep your teeth in the positions we prescribe. By consistently wearing your retainers after braces, we can help your teeth “remember” where they’re supposed to be.

Storing Your Retainer

The best way to keep your retainer safe when not in your mouth is to keep them in the case. The majority of the time, patients lose their retainers when they remove them to eat and leave them in a napkin. All too often, they get thrown away on accident! Pets are also fond of playing with retainers accidentally left on a counter or on the floor, so take care of your retainers and keep them in their case if you’re not wearing them.

Getting Replacements

If you lose or break your retainers at any point, it’s important to contact our office to fix or replace them. A broken or lost retainer can mean increased treatment time and costs if you wait too long to get new ones.

Fixing a Bonded Retainer

If you’ve broken a bonded retainer, you will need to contact our office to have it removed for repairs or replacement. At no point should you attempt to remove a bonded retainer by yourself. These are set onto your teeth with dental bonding and can damage your teeth if removed incorrectly.

If you can't come in right away and the broken retainer is causing soreness in your mouth, avoid hard foods and rinse your mouth with warm salt water to lesson discomfort. Even if you think you’ve fixed your retainer, contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment.

brackets

Orthodontic Emergencies: How to Keep Your Smile Safe

Orthodontic emergencies can happen unexpectedly. But what constitutes an emergency? An orthodontic emergency can include problems from severe pain that you can’t control to a broken appliance. If your brackets or wires break, you will need to schedule an appointment to fix them and may incur additional orthodontic fees. Thankfully, most emergencies are completely preventable.

Choose Your Food Wisely

While you may not realize it, eating sticky, crunchy, chewy, or extremely hard foods can damage your braces. We recommend you stick to softer breads, cheeses, protein, and vegetables, and take small bites when you eat. For example, an apple is a healthy snack option, but make sure you cut it first instead of taking a big bite out of the whole apple.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

If you want to keep your pearly whites looking great when the braces come off, continue to clean your teeth. To keep your teeth and braces in good condition, be sure to brush after every meal and floss daily. When food gets trapped between your brackets, plaque can build up and cause gum disease. We also recommend that you continue to schedule regular checkups with your dentist throughout treatment.

Protect Your Teeth

If you play sports, a mouthguard is crucial to protecting your teeth and appliances from injury. We can help you choose a mouthguard that fits your teeth properly so it will be comfortable to wear. You also want to find one that is durable and easy to clean as well. At your next appointment, simply let us know if you are active in sports or other extracurricular activities. We can help you choose one that will work best for you.

Remember: If you experience an orthodontic emergency and have pain that you cannot control or a piece of your appliance that you need repaired, contact our office to schedule an appointment. A broken appliance means lengthened treatment time if left unrepaired.

rubber bands

Rubber Bands and Orthodontic Treatment

Rubber bands are an important part of your orthodontic treatment. Depending on the type of braces you require, Dr. Skelton may prescribe rubber bands as part of your orthodontic appliance. Although they are small, they play a big part in the speed and efficiency of your overall treatment.

Purpose of Rubber Bands

So, what’s their function? Orthodontic bands provide increased force to your teeth to fix alignment and bite problems faster. When worn properly, each band attaches to the brackets and hooks on your teeth. While you may feel increased pressure, rubber bands shouldn’t be painful.

Duration

Unless we tell you otherwise, we highly recommend that you wear the elastic bands every day except while brushing or flossing. You should try to eat with your rubber bands in as well, only removing them after meals to put in new bands. If you’re an athlete, you should continue to wear your bands as instructed. If you have to play sports with a mouthguard, remove your bands while the mouthguard is in and replace them after you take the mouthguard out.

In addition, the elastic loses its strength as you talk and chew. To ensure you’re always applying the maximum amount of force, you should change your rubber bands approximately every 12 hours.

Effects of Misuse

Forgetting to wear your bands may not seem like a big deal. However, if you don’t wear yours, you risk lengthening your treatment time. If your treatment goes over the allotted duration we discuss at your consultation, you also risk accruing more fees to complete treatment.

At Skelton Orthodontics, our goal is to give you the best treatment possible for your smile. With your full cooperation, you can get a healthy smile for life!

If you have any questions about your orthodontic appliances, contact our office!

first orthodontic appointment

First Orthodontic Appointment

The first orthodontic appointment should occur around age 7, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. At this visit, we can evaluate your child’s smile and determine if treatment is necessary. If not, we can continue to monitor your child’s bite and spacing to catch problems early on.

At Skelton Orthodontics, we also welcome adult patients of all ages! If your teeth have shifted over time since your last orthodontic treatment, or if you’ve never been to the orthodontist but want to improve your smile, we can help!

What to Expect

At your first visit, our treatment coordinator will greet you and have you fill out the necessary paperwork. To expedite the paperwork process, we recommend that you print and fill out our new patient form ahead of time and bring it and your insurance card with you to your first appointment.

Then, the treatment coordinator will review your information and health history as well as take x-rays and photographs so that Dr. Skelton can analyze your teeth, jaw bones, and gums from every angle. Dr. Skelton will then perform a thorough exam to assess your individual treatment needs and determine the best treatment plan for you.

After the exam, Dr. Skelton will discuss the treatment plan with you and walk you through the prescribed steps. Your treatment may require multiple appliances and treatments including braces, extractions, or head gear depending on your needs. At this time, we will also discuss the cost of your treatment and the payment investment options available. If you’d like to begin treatment right away, we can even set up your next appointments for digital teeth scan, braces, and a follow-up appointment.

Schedule an Appointment

The best part of your first appointment is that it’s completely free! If you’re ready to schedule your first appointment, contact us today!

Brushing with Braces

Brushing with Braces

Brushing with braces can certainly take some getting used to. When you first get your new braces, your orthodontic appliances can make it hard to clean in and around the teeth, which means teeth cleaning is more important than ever. Food particles can build up and cause plaque to form not only between your teeth but around your brackets and wires.

You want your teeth to be healthy and clean as well as straight when the braces come off. Whether you get clear aligners such as Invisalign® or traditional metal braces, it’s crucial to take the time to clean every surface of your teeth. Be sure to brush and floss consistently and use a mouth wash every day.

Tips for Teeth Cleaning with Braces

So, what’s the best way to clean your teeth while in braces?

Continue to schedule your dental checkups.
Schedule regular dental visits at your dentist’s office every three months. Skipping trips to the dentist while you’re in orthodontic treatment can cause plaque to harden over time and lead to gingivitis. We recommend more frequent visits with your dentist to to keep your teeth as clean as possible.

Brush four times each day.
If it sounds like a lot of brushing, don’t worry. It will quickly become a habit the more you do it. We recommend that you brush after every meal and before bed. To make it easier for you to brush on the go, carry travel toothpaste and a travel brush with you.

We also recommend using a proxy brush to clean all of the areas between the teeth and braces. Super-flossers are also great for removing food that gets trapped in and around your appliances. A WaterPik or AirFlosser is also helpful to help remove plaque buildup.

Rinse with fluoride.
Rinse with a fluoride mouth wash for a minute each night before you go to bed. This will help to ensure your tooth enamel stays strong.

If you have any questions about how to brush with braces or concerns about your appliances, contact our office.

cleaning your retainer

Cleaning Your Retainer

Cleaning your retainer is just as important as brushing your teeth. It keeps bad breath away and ensures your appliance lasts as long as possible. As you wear your retainer, bacteria from your mouth forms on the appliance, causing stains and odor, so remember to practice good oral hygiene.

How do I clean my retainer?

"When you remove your appliance to brush and floss your teeth, debris can harden onto the plastic. So, it's important to begin the cleaning process right away. We recommend placing a small amount of mild soap on the retainer and brushing it gently with an old, soft toothbrush."

"If you discover hard, white spots forming on your appliance, don't panic. These calcium deposits build up over time and are easy to remove. Simply soak your appliance with a retainer cleaning tablet or solution. We also have a retainer cleaning solution that is very beneficial and will keep your retainer clean. However, cost varies depending on the brand."

Can I use hot water to disinfect it?

Extremely hot temperatures can warp the plastic, so we recommend using lukewarm to warm water only. You should never put your appliances in boiling water or in the dishwasher. If you do, the retainer may not fit correctly, requiring you to get a replacement. Orthodontic retainers are costly, so you want to make sure to keep yours in excellent condition. You are responsible for any fees associated with a new set of retainers.

The bottom line: treat your orthodontic retainers as you would your own teeth. Gently clean them every day to keep them free from plaque buildup and erosion. Most of all, remember to wear your retainers continuously to keep your teeth in their correct positions after braces. If you have any questions, please contact our office.