hank you for your continued to support of Skelton Orthodontics.

Skelton Orthodontics October Construction Update

We would like to update all our Skelton Orthodontics family as we continue to navigate through our office construction project. We are continuing to provide our excellent Skelton care at alternative locations. The entire Skelton team wants to thank all of our patients and families for being flexible with us throughout this process. As a reminder, our phone number remains the same so please call or text (256) 844-8221  at ANY TIME with questions or concerns.

Still Accepting New Patients

We are happy to say that, despite the construction, we are still accepting new patients. If you or someone you know is needing to start their orthodontic journey, don't hesitate to give us a call! Thank you for your continued to support of Skelton Orthodontics.

filing teeth

Filing Your Teeth

Recently, a trend circulating TikTok featured a young girl using a nail file to file down their teeth so that they would appear "straighter". This trend took off on social media as many others joined her. Any DIY trend can be dangerous, especially when it involves your health. As dental professionals, we want to throw up a big red flag and warn against the trend of filing your teeth.

Possibility of Permanent Damage

Here's the scoop, your teeth are bones made up of living material and you only get one set to last you through adulthood. Most changes made to the physical structure of your teeth are irreversible. Enamel and other parts of teeth do not grow back. That is why it is so important to have a professional take care of your teeth. Doing your own dental work, including filing your teeth, could have many negative results. You could cause your teeth to be super sensitive, be prone to cavities, and even cause them to yellow.

Payment Options & Complimentary Consultations

We understand that dental procedures and orthodontics can be expensive. However, the damage filing teeth could cause would cost even more to fix. Dr. Aimee Skelton and the Skelton Orthodontics team have many financial options to fit your budget. Our consultations are complimentary as well! Give us a call or fill out our online appointment request form to get more information.

brushing

Sweets, Treats & Brushing Deets

It is important to follow your orthodontist's instructions while in orthodontic treatment for many different reasons. First of all, orthodontic treatment is an investment and you want to get the most out of it. Second of all, if you do not take care of your teeth while in treatment you could actually damage your orthodontic health instead of bettering it.

What to Eat & Avoid with Braces

The best rule of thumb to follow is to stay away from anything that is sticky or hard. Although things like caramel apples are very tasty, biting into something like that could break your appliances. A broken appliance then leads to delayed treatment time. In addition, the damage to the appliance could also damage your teeth or other parts of your mouth. Here is a list of candy you can and cannot eat from the American Association of Orthodontists.

If you have ceramic brackets, we also suggest avoiding liquids or sauces that could stain your brackets like mustard, ketchup, wine and coffee.

Brushing with Braces

With braces, it is best to brush your teeth as soon as you are done eating. This will limit the amount of time that food and bacteria sit on your appliances. When brushing your teeth with braces, make sure to take your time. You should brush all surfaces of both your teeth and the brackets and wires. If you happen to notice food caught in the wire or bracket, use a toothpick or flosser to get it out.

We understand that you are often on the go and it can be difficult to brushing immediately after eating. Check out some suggestions from the AAO on brushing while on the go by clicking HERE.

Have Questions?

As always, if you have questions about brushing or eating with braces please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help!

pacifers

Pacifiers & Thumb Sucking

Did you know that pacifiers and thumb sucking as a child can impact your oral development? Although sucking is a natural reflex in babies and infants, long-term sucking of a thumb or pacifier could cause a child's jaw to grow around whatever it is they have in their mouth. This is often called "pacifier teeth". The result can lead to orthodontic problems like protruding front teeth, an open bite or a cross bite.

Pacifier Use

From an orthodontic perspective, it would be great if a baby used a pacifier the least amount of time possible. However, we understand that pacifiers can be lifesavers for some parents and there are some positives to using them. If you decide to use pacifiers, we recommend that you choose a brand marked "orthodontist approved" and follow the age suggestions that are on the box. Most credited organizations recommend that children stop pacifier use by age two, or earlier if possible. If you need assistance or ideas to help ending pacifier use, refer to this brochure from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry or reach out to your pediatric dentist.

Thumb Sucking

In a similar sense, thumb sucking also affects oral and jaw development. Long term thumb sucking can lead to an open bite and the need for early orthodontic treatment. However, unlike pacifiers, you obviously cannot remove a thumb from the child. Most kids will stop sucking their thumb on their own, but if they do not it is important to help them end the habit. Again, your pediatric dentist can provide you with options and assistance.

Schedule an Orthodontic Exam

If you have a child who used pacifiers or sucked their thumb, do not worry. Dr. Aimee Skelton is trained in correcting any issues that the habit may have caused. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that children see an orthodontic specialist at age seven for an exam. Your child may or may not be ready for treatment at that time, but Dr. Skelton can check for development problems like the ones caused by pacifiers and thumb sucking. We will begin treatment at the optimal time for each unique case. Call today to schedule your complimentary exam!

smile changes

How Your Smile Changes as You Age

As a child, one of the things you look forward to is losing your baby teeth. Maybe you even got a visit from the tooth fairy. Did you know that your smile changes even after you get all of your permanent teeth in? In fact, your smile changes all throughout your life, even after orthodontic treatment!

Primary (Baby) Teeth

Although all 20 primary teeth are present in the jaw when you are born, most human babies will get their first tooth somewhere between 6 and 10 months. Many times, getting teeth causes babies to feel uncomfortable and sick. This is a big change that occurs in your mouth as you transition to being able to chew food. Typically all teeth have erupted by the time a child is 3 years old.

Permanent (Adult) Teeth

As kids start losing their baby teeth, permanent teeth will start to come in. Usually, this happens between ages 6 and 7. This change is why it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists to have an orthodontic exam at age 7. As the 32 adult teeth begin to come through the gums, orthodontic specialists like Dr. Aimee Skelton can determine if a patient would benefit from early orthodontic treatment. Most people have all adult teeth, except molars, by age 13. Your molars can come in anytime from age 17 to 21. Orthodontic treatment is beneficial during this time because an orthodontist will make sure there is plenty of room for the teeth to naturally come in where they should or they can create a treatment plan to shift the teeth as needed. Who knew there were so many smile changes going on during this time?!

Smile Changes After Treatment

Your smile can and will continue to change after you have braces or Invisalign® treatment and transition into adulthood. As you age, your jaw bone begins to lose density and can shrink. This can cause your teeth to become crowded. In addition, every day activities like swallowing, breathing, and eating can create spacing in your teeth. Gum disease can also contribute to spacing in teeth. This is why wearing your retainer is so important after you complete orthodontic treatment. A retainer will keep your teeth from shifting too much and correct any movement you may experience.

If you find that your teeth have moved too much for your retainer to fit, reach out to us! We can schedule an exam to see what would be your next step. Sometimes we can create a new retainer for you and other times you may need another round of orthodontic treatment. Either way, we are here to help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful as it changes  in all stages!

malocclusion

What is a Malocclusion?

Did you know that if you need orthodontic treatment you have a malocclusion? "Occlusion" is a term that is used to refer to the alignment of your teeth and the prefix "mal" means "bad" or "incorrect". Therefore, malocclusion is the medical term for a misaligned teeth or the "imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed" according to Google Dictionary. Orthodontics is often seen as cosmetic and unnecessary, but fixing the alignment of teeth is actually more medically necessary than one might think.

Malocclusion Types

Very few people are gifted with perfect teeth at birth. Malocclusions are most often caused by genetics. However, habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and nail biting have can impact tooth alignment over time. There are four main types of malocclusions which we list below.

Front Teeth Protrusion

This type of misaligned teeth happens when the upper two front teeth jet out too far over the bottom teeth. This could cause abnormal wear on the teeth and possibly lead to TMJ problems with the jaw.

Crossbite

This form of malocclusion is when your upper teeth cross over your bottom teeth when you bite down. A cross bite causes jaw misalignment and irregular wear of the teeth. You could even break a tooth due to the misalignment!

Openbite

An openbite occurs when the top teeth do not sit on the bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. Besides tongue thrusting and speech impediments, open bites hinder proper chewing because the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap. This type of maloclussion is often caused by thumb sucking and pacifier use.

Overbite

In an overbite, the upper front teeth extend out over the lower ones. While many people have top teeth that extend over their bottom teeth slightly, it is ideal for them to not be too far over. Occasionally, an overbite is so severe that the lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth!

Fixing a Malocclusion

In addition to the common malocclusions listed above, there are other orthodontic problems that can develop. It is important to have your jaw and tooth alignment checked by a doctor to ensure that any issues are found and that they will not evolve into more complicated problems. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that kids first see an orthodontic specialist at age seven for an exam but it is never too late!

Luckily for you, Dr. Aimee Skelton and the Skelton Orthodontics team specialize in fixing all types of malocclusions! We offer unique treatment plans tailed specifically for you. After coming in to the office for a complimentary consultation, Dr. Skelton will create your plan and get you started on the path to a healthier (and straighter) smile. Call us or fill out our online appointment request form to get started!

orthodontic appliances

Common Orthodontic Appliances

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontic specialist, like Dr. Aimee Skelton, at age seven. Why age seven? This is the transitional period where kids are losing their baby (primary) teeth and have started getting their permanent teeth. This is the optimal time to see if a child will need early orthodontic treatment to avoid a more severe case once their adult teeth come in.

Why Orthodontic Appliances?

If Dr. Skelton feels that your child will benefit from early treatment, the first phase often includes orthodontic appliances. The appliance will prepare the mouth and create the best possible environment for permanent teeth to come in. Common orthodontic appliances are expanders, headgear and Herbst appliances.

What is an Expander?

An expander is an orthodontic appliance that is typically for younger patients. Cases that call for an expander usually involve a narrow roof (palate) that needs widening to create more space for teeth to come in. The widening of the upper and/or lower jaws help avoid common problems like crowding, impacted teeth or a crossbite. An expander is placed in the mouth for all day wear and uses a key to turn a device that widens the jaws over time.

What is Headgear?

Another type of orthodontic appliance is headgear. Headgear is used with patients who still have growing jaw bones. This appliance is normally recommended for patients who have a severely misaligned bite, usually an overbite or protruding front teeth. Headgear is worn partially outside and inside the mouth. It supports proper jaw development, alignment and growth. This orthodontic appliance can also help with aesthetics of the face and profile as well as create space for permanent teeth.

What is a Herbst Appliance?

A Herbst Appliance is also common in younger, growing patients. This appliance enhances lower jaw growth and moves the lower jaw forward to help correct an overbite. It is a fixed appliance, meaning you cannot remove it until treatment is complete. The Herbst appliance functions similar to headgear but is often more comfortable for patients.

Appliances Can Prevent More Severe Cases

No matter what type of appliance you or your child may need, it is important to follow your orthodontist's directions for wearing and cleaning. All orthodontic appliances are designed to help prevent a more severe case later in life. In many cases, appliances help to shorten time in braces and can even help prevent the possibility of surgery.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic appliances. We are here to help!

virtual exam

Virtual Exams & Consultations

Have you been told that your child needs to see an orthodontist? Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids see an orthodontic specialist, like Dr. Aimee Skelton, by age seven for an exam?

The team at Skelton Orthodontics understands that many of us only leave home when absolutely necessary to with all that is currently going on in the world. We want to go the extra mile to make sure that our patients feel comfortable and protected. That's why we want to give you the option for a virtual exam. It is quick, easy and can be completed from inside your house!

What is a Virtual Exam?

With a virtual exam, Dr. Aimee Skelton will talk with you about orthodontic treatment and what all it includes through your computer or smart device instead of in person. This is a great time to ask initial questions and learn what all is included with treatment. You will speak with Dr. Skelton herself and be able to discuss treatment options. Please note that at some point, we will have you come into the office to begin with orthodontic treatment with traditional braces or Invisalign® or for a more in depth evaluation. We do all we can virtually, but of course we have to have the patient in office for actual treatment. However, the virtual exam saves some in office time and begins your journey toward the smile you have always wanted!

Set Up Your Virtual Exam Today!

To schedule a virtual exam, simply text us at 256-202-6773 or fill out an online appointment request form. Mention that you are interested in an virtual exam in the message and we will call you to schedule. We can't wait to meet you!

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Pandemic

Treatment Questions

I have a scheduled appointment, what should I do?
If we have not already spoken to you to reschedule your appointment, please know we will reach out to you as soon as we are open to serve patients again. We do want to make sure you have no current issues or concerns with your appliance, so if you have any questions, please call our after-hours number.

What about my account? Do I owe you money for this month?
This is a great question and understandable in these times. When we contract with you for your treatment, we estimate the time it will take to COMPLETE your smile and base your total treatment cost on that estimate. Just like car payments, the total cost of treatment is divided up over agreed time frame. In the unfortunate event that this virus service interruption causes your treatment time to be longer than stated, it will not cost you any additional amount for this delay.

How will this affect my treatment to have a large gap in between adjustments?
Our patients are family to us and not seeing you for a few extra weeks will be challenging possible to prevent any delays in your completed smile transformation. Treatment should not be greatly altered by a few extra weeks. If you have any concerns, or even if you want to know if you can stop wearing a certain set of rubber bands or Invisalign trays, we can setup a video chat to discuss and advise accordingly.

What happens if I have a wire poking or something is causing me pain?
No matter what is going on in the world, we never want our patients to be in any discomfort! Please keep this after-hours emergency number in your phone and text us if you have anything that is concerning you. We will make arrangements to care for any urgent needs that cannot be resolved on the phone (or via video chat).

What if I need more supplies or appliances?
If you are in need of rubber bands, please email or text us so that we can mail some to you. If you need wax, it can be purchased at any drugstore (CVS/WALGREENS).

If you are currently wearing Invisalign and reach the end of your set of trays, please email or text us to set up a video chat. Please also reach out if you lose or break an aligner or retainer so that we can advise accordingly.

How long will you be closed?
This is an evolving situation and changing daily. We are following the guidelines as they come out from both the CDC and the State Health Department. Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our patients and our team. Please stay tuned for continued updates in the coming weeks via our social media, where we will do our best to keep you posted. We will be in touch to reschedule any missed appointments when we know our office will be reopening.

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!