Office Blog

Top 5 Questions Teens Have About Getting Braces

It’s clear that we’re all living in the age of information right now.  Anything you might want to know is available literally at your fingertips; all you need is a smart phone and the internet.  Despite this wealth of information, we find a lot of our patients (especially teens) have similar questions when they come in for an orthodontic consultation.  Of course we’re always happy to answer their questions, but we thought it could be helpful to put some of this info in writing. That’s what motivated us to write this blog highlighting the 5 most common orthodontic questions among teens.

Do I Have To Get Braces?

It’s important to keep in mind that any orthodontic treatment is always first and foremost up to the patient and their parents.  However, it’s important to remember that getting braces is about a lot more than just building a nice smile. They’re also intended to improve your oral health so that you can avoid cavities and other serious tooth and gum problems down the road.  Even though your teen may not be thrilled about getting braces, treatment at this stage will be worth it in the long run.

How Long Will I Have To Wear Braces?

This is perhaps the most common question among children and young adults.  It’s also the most difficult one for us to answer in general terms. Every patient is different and will receive a personal orthodontic correction plan based on their needs.  The length of treatment will also depend on what type straightening appliance is used and how tightly you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. With that said, the average length of an orthodontic treatment for our patients in Buffalo is around 18 months.

Do I Have To Get Metal Braces?

No!  Though traditional metal brackets used to be the only option on the market, that is no longer the case.  Orthodontic technology has made some major improvements in the last couple of decades. Here’s a short list of the most popular types of metal braces alternatives.

  • Ceramic Braces:  They work the same as the metal ones but are made to blend in with your teeth.  If your teen is feeling self conscious about getting braces, these may be able to help.
  • Incognito Braces:  This is another option that works the same traditional braces.  The catch is that they’re positioned behind the teeth so that nobody but you will know they’re there.
  • Invisalign:  These clear plastic aligners are becoming more and more popular because of their convenience.  Not only will they be hard to notice, but they are removable which makes eating and teeth maintenance a breeze.

What Restrictions Will I Have With Braces?

It’s no secret that eating and braces don’t always go hand in hand.  The purpose for restricting certain foods is to avoid damaging your braces so that can do what they need to.  Avoiding eating any foods that are hard or sticky is a general rule thumb but your orthodontist near you will give you a more specific list.  It’s also possible that you may have to avoid certain contact sports to make sure that you don’t damage your braces or your mouth.

Do I Have To Wear My Retainer?

This one is a doozy.  Most patients are so excited when they get their braces removed that forget to be diligent about their retainer in the aftermath.  To put it simply, retainers need to be worn as instructed!  Failure to do so can result in your teeth moving back to their original positions.  It would truly be a pity if your teen had to have another round of orthodontic treatment because they were a little too lax with wearing their retainer.

At West Seneca Orthodontics, we’re proud to be your family orthodontist in Buffalo.  We know it’s natural to have questions about your orthodontic treatment and we hope this information has been helpful to you.  Give us a call today and schedule an appointment so that we can start you on your journey to the perfect smile!

Orthodontic Emergencies | What You Can Do Before Your Next Appointment

Dealing with discomfort is a common occurrence for those undergoing orthodontic treatment for the first time.  It usually takes a few days or weeks for a new patient to feel comfortable as their mouth adjusts to wearing braces.  Eventually, discomfort will reach a minimum and patients tend to not even notice it anymore.

However, there are certain orthodontic emergencies that pop up and can bring a sudden wave of discomfort.  Most cases need only a simple repair but can still be troubling as you wait for your local orthodontist to fix the issue.  We thought it’d be a good idea to pass along some tips for dealing with common orthodontic emergencies until you can make it in for an appointment.

Dealing With General Soreness

This is a typical complaint, especially among new patients, but is rarely an emergency that your family orthodontist needs to fix.  If you’re experiencing general soreness it’s a good idea to stick to soft foods for a few days to see if the discomfort persists. Another good way to reduce pain is to rinse your mouth with a mild saltwater solution.  In addition to reducing soreness, a saltwater gargle has also been shown to reduce mouth bacteria as well, so it’s a win-win.

Temporary Fixes

Occasionally, patients encounter situations where their straightening appliance malfunctions and cause problems.  Here’s a quick look at 3 of the most likely issues you’ll encounter and how you can deal with them.

Loose Bracket

Broken brackets happen from time to time with traditional braces.  If the broken brace has fallen off completely, the only thing you can do is put it in a safe place and make sure you bring it to your next appointment.  If the bracket is still attached it’s best to leave it in place and wait for your WNY orthodontist to fix it. If a broken bracket is still attached but protruding, you can cover it with some dental wax to reduce irritation.

Loose Wire

Usually the best thing you can do is try to readjust its position with a pair of tweezers or pliers.  If you can get it back in place great! If not, just try and move it to a more comfortable position until you get into your orthodontist’s office.  If you’re unable to move the wire to a better location, you can clip off the troublesome section to get it out of the way. This should only be used as a last resort if the pain becomes too much until your next appointment.

Poking Wire

Similar to dealing with a loose wire, you can simply try to push a poking wire back in place or out of the way.  A pencil eraser makes a good tool here that won’t hurt you or damage your braces if it happens to slip. If a protruding wire is too uncomfortable, you can add some dental wax to it to help avoid cuts, scrapes and bruises on the inside of your mouth.

Knowing how to deal with minor orthodontic emergencies can make your child’s braces experience a lot easier.  While these tips can be a great help, they are all meant only as temporary solutions. As soon as you notice any braces issues, the best thing to do is to call your local orthodontist and set up an appointment as soon as possible.

When Should You See An Orthodontist?

We all know how important orthodontic treatments can be.  Yet, many people still struggle with answering the big question: How do I know when it’s time to see an orthodontist?  If you’ve ever asked this question about yourself or your child, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Knowing how to answer this question is crucial because you don’t want to risk further damage by getting your teeth checked out too late.  

Here are a few of the most common indicators that orthodontic correction may be needed.  Overcrowding teeth, bite misalignment, pain when chewing, and sometimes even difficulty speaking.  You can use these signs as a good rule of thumb, however, orthodontic needs vary greatly between children and adults.  We’ll identify some of the differences and explain why you should take your child for a visit with your local orthodontist in Buffalo NY sooner rather than later.

Orthodontics For Kids

Tooth development and jaw growth can be quite diverse among children.  That’s why knowing when your child might need braces can be difficult. Did you know that the American Academy of Orthodontics recommends you take your child for an orthodontic consult by age 7?  If you feel this sounds too early for a child to get braces, you’re right. Most children don’t get braces until 3-5 years later, but it can still be beneficial to get a clear picture of your child’s oral health.

An early visit with your family orthodontist in WNY gives you an expert opinion while growth is still occurring.  This will help identify whether tooth discomfort or misalignment is a real problem or something your child will simply grow out of.  Additionally, problems are easier to resolve earlier in the development. For example, some minor issues might be correctable with an early retainer so that you can avoid full blown braces entirely.  Either way, it’s always better to know your options early.

Orthodontics For Adults

As an adult, your teeth and jaw are done growing so there are no preemptive benefits to seeing an orthodontist.  However, getting treatment can be a huge quality of life upgrade if you’ve been living with oral discomfort years.  After all, it’s better late than never right? Unfortunately, many adults opt to forego treatment because of how braces will make them look. 

Luckily, this is becoming less common with recent improvements in braces technology.  Thanks to new stealthy braces options, the percentage of adults among braces wearers is up to 20 percent.  Whether it’s Invisalign, ice clear braces or incognito braces, you have options to get your teeth straightened without anyone even knowing.

There’s no time like the present to get an orthodontic opinion.  Whether you feel you or your child may need dental correction or not, it doesn’t hurt to visit an orthodontist near you.  If you have any more specific questions about when to see an orthodontist just give our office a call.

How To Know When Your Child Needs Braces

Braces have become pretty commonplace nowadays.  Did you know that an estimated 4.5 million Americans currently have braces on their teeth?  There’s no doubting how effective braces can be when looking to solve teeth placement issues.  The big question is how to tell when you should consider an orthodontic treatment for your child.

This month we wanted to help you understand when/if you should be getting an opinion from an orthodontist.  We’ve put together some questions to help you diagnose if your child is likely to need braces. If you find you answer yes to some or all of these questions it might be time to drop by West Seneca Orthodontists for a consultation.

Did They Lose Their Baby Teeth Early?

Children typically lose their baby teeth when they’re somewhere between 5 and 7 years old.  However, losing them even earlier isn’t that uncommon. The only problem with this is that it could take longer before the adult teeth come in.  In some cases, this can lead to the permanent teeth not coming in properly and needing correction.

Do They Experience Pain or Difficulty Chewing?

If chewing food becomes uncomfortable for your child, it may be time to look to orthodontics.  The most common cause for this is a misaligned bite. Even if your child’s teeth look straight, the two rows may not meet correctly.  When this happens, eating can become a chore and your child may find themselves biting their cheeks often.

Do They Experience Jaw Discomfort?

Jaw pain, protrusion/ recession, shifting or even noise can be an indicator of a common jaw disorder known as TMD.  Most of these problems stem from issues with jaw alignment. Braces have actually been shown to reduce the strain on the jaw’s joints as they redirect teeth to the appropriate positions.  Of course every case will be a little different so be sure to consult your local Buffalo orthodontist.

Do They Often Breath With Their Mouth Open When Sleeping?

Mouth breathing often flies under the radar and doesn’t seem like much of a concern.  However, it can lead to teeth and jaw problems down the road if it isn’t corrected. An orthodontic treatment will correct teeth placement and make it more comfortable for your child to sleep with their mouth closed.  The sooner this problem is corrected the better off your child will be long term.

Was Your Child An Avid Thumbsucker?

Most parents know that thumbsucking is not good for their child’s oral health.  There is plenty of evidence showing that excessive thumbsucking behavior can affect tooth placement and orientation.  Many children who don’t grow out of this behavior will require braces for correction. It’s always a good idea to encourage your child to break this habit sooner rather than later.

Are Their Teeth Looking Crooked Or Crowded?

This can lead to serious oral health issues in severe cases. Yet, a lot of the time parents or children look to braces for the aesthetics over the health benefits.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get that perfect smile to help boost your child’s confidence.

If you answered yes to any of these questions it may be time to seek the opinion of an orthodontist in Buffalo NY.  Contact our staff or visit our website to set up a consultation appointment with our orthodontist Dr. Kathryn Rand. For more information on orthodontics and the types of braces options available, stay tuned to our blog.

Incognito Mode | What Are Lingual Braces?

In past blogs we’ve talked a lot about the different teeth straightening options available to you.  There’s metal brackets, ceramic braces, clear braces, removable braces and even hidden braces.  If you aren’t too familiar with orthodontics you probably had no idea there were so many different kinds of braces!

This variety is great and allows orthodontic patients the ability to select what type of braces will be best for them.  This month we wanted to talk a little about lingual braces because they seem to be the least well known option out there.  If lingual braces don’t sound familiar, you might recognize them by another name as they are more commonly referred to as incognito braces.

What Are Incognito Braces?

Just like the name implies, incognito braces are made for stealth.  It’s hard to hide traditional metal brackets because they are right out in the open on the front of your teeth.  The term lingual braces refers to any straighteners placed behind the teeth where they are concealed from view. Functionally these braces do the same thing as traditional brackets.  They are secured to the backs of the teeth and apply consistent pressure to reach the desired alignment.

How Do Incognito Lingual Braces Compare?

Since incognito braces work the same as traditional braces, it makes sense that they yield similar results.  Of course the length of treatment will vary from case to case but on average lingual braces will take around 12-18 months.  Lingual braces will be uncomfortable at first and may take some time to get used to. It’s also important to stick to a thorough teeth cleaning regimen as it can be easy for plaque to build up if you aren’t careful.

Who Are They Right For?

Like any of our treatment options, lingual braces have their own pros and cons.  For the most part, patients who opt for incognito braces do so because they think normal braces will be too noticeable.  This can include adults who think braces are for kids, teens who think braces will ruin their social life, and kids who can’t be trusted with removable braces like Invisalign.  Whatever your reasoning might be, incognito lingual braces will keep your treatment a secret.

Here at West Seneca Orthodontics we pride ourselves on the variety of treatments we offer.  Whether you’re looking for traditional braces or stealthy options like incognito braces or Invisalign we’ve got you covered.  To get started with an orthodontic treatment, give us a call today or fill out an appointment request on our website!

What Happens If You Stop Wearing Your Retainer?

Wearing braces is hard work, especially for teens.  Regardless of what type of braces you have, it still takes some time and patience to get used to the new feeling in your mouth.  On top of that, you have to adopt a whole new routine as your teeth will need extra maintenance during this time. But at the end of the day it’s all worth it because your teeth will be in better shape for the rest of your life.  That is, so long as you follow your orthodontist’s instructions about wearing your retainer.

It’s a momentous event when braces get removed but it isn’t the end of your straightening process.  Wearing a retainer for some time will almost always be required after treatment. However, it can be difficult to convince patients of the importance of wearing a retainer as prescribed.  That’s why we wanted to answer one of the most common questions in our business.

What Happens If You Stop Wearing Your Retainer?

Wearing a retainer is essential to keeping your teeth in their new positions.  Braces are designed to do all the heavy lifting and then retainers help keep your teeth in place until your mouth fully adjusts.  Even though it might not seem all that significant, it’s important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to the letter.

In the worst case scenario, limited to no retainer use may undo all the work done by braces re-aligning your teeth.  This could make the months or years of braces amount to nothing and put you right back to square one. Even when retainers are worn but not as regularly as they should, you’re still likely to find your teeth shifting in small amounts.  Any movement can be enough to raise health concerns and may lead to bite misalignment or overcrowding.  

Without regular use you might also find your retainer is uncomfortable or won’t even fit anymore!  This is dangerous because it can easily discourage you from wearing your retainer at all, making you susceptible to more serious complications.  Additionally, most retainers are made from plastic and wire and can be easily broken if not cared for. If you find yourself in this situation it is essential to get a replacement right away from your family orthodontist.  

At West Seneca Orthodontists we understand that it might be annoying to have to wear a retainer when the end of your treatment is in sight.  However, we know how important this phase is and we want to encourage you finish strong. If you have any questions regarding your retainer requirements or if you need a replacement, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.  We look forward to helping you achieve your perfect smile!