Orthodontics: Within Your Reach

Orthodontics: Within Your Reach

Orthodontics is the art and science of straightening teeth.
Why straight teeth?

For better function and easier cleaning? Yes.

For a more appealing smile and appearance? Definitely yes!

OrthodonticsWhether you are considering orthodontics for your child or yourself, an improved smile is easily within your reach. Orthodontics can upright tilted teeth, bring together spaced teeth, pull in protruding teeth, and align crowded teeth. We would be happy to discuss your particular desires and concerns with you and determine if we can help you or if you would need the attentions of a specialist.

Adults, having discovered braces are not limited to children, are using orthodontic treatment get that smile they’ve always wanted. Don’t hesitate to ask us about what could be done for you!

And we’ve made it so easy to ask. Contact us to schedule a complimentary Orthodontic Opinion and explore the options and potentials for enhancing your smile with orthodontics.

Here are three appointments to get started toward your new smile:

The Orthodontic Opinion

At this appointment, Dr. Ellenwood will provide a general overview of possibilities. The Orthodontic Opinion is at no charge.

The Orthodontic Work-Up

The Orthodontic Work-Up includes an orthodontic examination, two x-rays (Panorex and Cephalometric), orthodontic photos, and impressions of both upper and lower teeth. The Panorex is an x-ray around the head; the Cephalometric is from the side of the head. These x-rays show the relation of the jaws to each other, to the teeth, and to the skull. The Work-Up will provide enough information to correctly diagnose and treatment plan your particular orthodontic problem.

The Orthodontic Consult

The Orthodontic Consult is two weeks after the Orthodontic Work-Up. At this appointment, Dr. Ellenwood will inform you of the results of analyzing your case, recommended treatment, and treatment objectives. If you are a teenager, your parent or guardian will need to attend, also.

This is a great time for answering any specific questions and exploring what in particular will be needed for your teeth. Our staff will review an Informed Consent to discuss any limitations or risks to treatment. The front office staff will help you with payment arrangements for your future braces. The Orthodontic Consult is included in the charge for the Work-Up.

Your beautiful smile is within reach!

What’s the Big Deal about Fluoride?

What’s the Big Deal about Fluoride?

Okay, here’s a dental statement to hang your hat on:

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that when used correctly is both safe and effective in preventing tooth decay.

Safe

Yes, fluoride is safe when used correctly.

So is water.  But too much water is called drowning.

Too much fluoride can make you sick.  This is based on your weight and concentration of fluoride.  But it has to be an awful lot of fluoride before this happens.  This is why we don’t want toddlers swallowing their toothpaste or eating it directly from the tube.

So much for the short term.  What about the long term?

Let me say it again:  Fluoride is safe.  It does not cause a list of diseases or even an item of disease.

It help prevents disease, and the disease it prevents is dental decay, the most prevalent disease among mankind.

Effective

Does fluoride really work to prevent decay?

Yes!

For children, the optimal amount of fluoride – whether in fluoridated water or from a prescribed fluoride vitamin – can greatly lower the risk of tooth decay.  Fluoride-developed teeth are strong and hard.  Ask me your child’s optimum dose.

For teens and adults, a fluoridated toothpaste used regularly can beef up the tooth’s defenses against decay-causing germs.  For those people particularly susceptible to decay, we have a special prescription toothpaste that really helps.

How do I know these things?

One:  Scientific studies.

Two:  More than 25 years of dental experience.

Believe me:  Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that when used correctly is both safe and effective in preventing tooth decay.

Do You Use a Power Toothbrush Different Than a Regular Toothbrush?

Do You Use a Power Toothbrush Different Than a Regular Toothbrush?

The short answer:  Yes.

With an power toothbrush, you only have to move it slowly around all your teeth and let it do the work.  You do not need a lot of pressure.  In fact, many electric toothbrushes have warnings if you are too aggressive.  This is particularly helpful if you have a tendency to saw on your teeth.

That’s about it.  Still, brush for two minutes.  And floss.  Yeah, I know.  But manual or power toothbrushes can’t reach between teeth.

Power Toothbrush

Power Toothbrush photo credit: pau.artigas via photopin cc

How to Brush Your Teeth in 6 Steps

How to Brush Your Teeth in 6 Steps

1.  Correct Brush

Yes Freddie, there is a right sort of brush and a wrong sort of brush.  You should have, whether you want it or not, a soft bristle brush.  We’re not going to fall for the excuse, “But it just doesn’t feel clean unless I have a steel wire brush.”  We’re taking off sticky, soft plaque, but we would like to leave the gums and enamel undamaged.

Toothbrushing

It Is Your Destiny photo credit: _Teb via photopin cc

Change your brush about every three months, more often if it’s showing signs of wear.  If by three months all the bristles are flayed out like a bad hair day, then you’re using too much force when you brush your teeth.  This isn’t isometric exercise.  You can flex those muscles to show off later in the day.

After you’ve been sick, go ahead and change your brush.  If the dog has licked it or the kids have used it to poke around in the flower bed or you’ve dropped it in the toilet, then I’d go ahead and change it immediately.

Do not be deceived, a bad brush corrupts good teeth.

2.  Toothpaste

Okay, now don’t put so much toothpaste on your brush that you’re going to look rabid.  You need about the size of a pea.  For children under six, about a split pea.  I know, the toothpaste commercials show a pretty glob that ends in a curl.  Well, they’re selling toothpaste.  Even the instructions on the tube will tell you about the size of a pea.

Use a fluoridated toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association.  These toothpastes have been proven to be effective in helping prevent tooth decay.  You can get the toothpastes with all the bells and whistles if you want – ones that decrease tartar formation, help with sensitivity, bleach, taste like pumpkin pie, cause members of the opposite gender to swoon, or allow you to sing in perfect pitch – but a good, standard toothpaste is just as good.

Toothbrushing

Table Top photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc

3.  Table Tops

Scrub on the biting surfaces of the teeth, that is, the table tops of the teeth where the grooves are.  You want to get down into those grooves so that means taking your time, not bearing down like your scrubbing a tub.  Easy does it.

4.  Sides of Teeth

First, it’s a brush not a saw.  So don’t scrub on the sides of the teeth.  There are gums down there and they are finicky.  Aim the bristles toward the gums at a 45° angle and rotate slowly.  I said, s-l-o-w-l-y!  Pick up the toothbrush and move on.  Scrubbing at the gums can abrade both teeth and gums.

For brushing the cheek surfaces of the upper molars, bite down just a bit to relax your cheek.  This will allow your toothbrush to get back to those second molars and clean without having to fight a tight cheek.

For the tongue surfaces of the lower molars, do the opposite, that is, open wide so your tongue will have enough room to move out of the way while your aiming the toothbrush bristles down under those molars.

Toothbrushing

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5.  Two Minutes

Yeah, two minutes.  Take your time.  We have two minute timers we can give you to help you brush long enough that everything gets clean.  You can brush your tongue if you want to, but don’t gag yourself.  We like to floss first then brush as the floss loosens the in-between plaque so the toothbrush can carry it off.

6.  Spit and Smile

Now doesn’t that feel and look good?  Yowsa!

For a helpful video, link to the following site:  How to Brush

How to Floss in 4 Easy Steps

How to Floss in 4 Easy Steps

Flossing

Not That Kind of Wrap photo credit: allerleirau via photopin cc

1. Wrap

You can do it!  Take about 12 to 18 inches of floss.  Wrap the floss around the middle fingers of each hand, though more floss on one hand than the other, leaving about 3 inches between hands.  Use your index fingers and thumbs to pinch about an inch of taut floss.  As the floss becomes soiled take it up on the hand that started with less floss and give your teeth the clean floss.

2. Guide

Time to get to the mouth.  Work the floss gently between two teeth.  Watch it!  Don’t pop the floss; this will hurt your gums.  You know floss can cut cake, so misused, it can cut you.  It’s a wonder they let it on airplanes

3. Clean

Now stay with me here.  Once between the teeth, wrap the floss against one tooth in a ‘c’ shape and move the floss up and down in gentle strokes.  Gentle now!  Come back over the gums but not out from between the teeth and wrap around the other tooth.  Don’t shoe-shine the teeth with back and forth motions.  Use up and down strokes only.  Once finished with those two teeth, take a breath and proceed until all the teeth are flossed.

It doesn’t take that long, so don’t gripe.  Remember to floss the back of the last tooth; even though it’s the last tooth, the brush can’t turn the corner, so floss is needed.  Use your fingers to get to all areas and keep the floss tight.  Don’t try to stick your hand in your mouth.  And don’t cross your hands.

It all sounds much more complicated than it is.  Hurray!  You did it!

Flossing

Not That Kind of Floss photo credit: meg’s my name via photopin cc

4. Habit

It takes about a week to get the hang of it, after which your gums should not bleed unless you’re being too aggressive.  Start by flossing only on the days you go to work or school.  Then of course you’ll want to floss for Jesus on Sundays.  If you get six days a week under your belt, we’ll give you the other day as your Sabbath rest from floss.

Bad habits are easy to start, but good habits take a bit of work.  It’s hard to cut out a bad habit, but a good habit is mostly easy to drop.  That said, once you’re use to flossing, you won’t want to go back to furry teeth.

Now for a whole new take on floss check out this blog on my author website:  Do Fantasy Characters Need to Floss?