Cosmetic Dentistry: How Braces Improve Oral Health

Salt Lake BracesIn our society, it is almost impossible to escape going to the dentist for our oral hygiene. A dentist is needed to relieve the pain caused by cavities, or to provide treatment that alters our smile. Many people choose to see an orthodontist to change their smile with braces. Braces are commonly seen on teenagers, but have become popular among many adults as we are seeking ways to correct crooked teeth. Cherry Creek Dental is an Invisalign Premier Provider in Utah. We can assist in selecting the best treatment plan for your needs.

What Are Braces?

Braces are a small tool (bracket) that is attached to the teeth with bond or glue. The bracket will have a wire placed over it to guide the teeth into the desired position. Then, a small rubber band in attached over the top of each bracket and wire to keep them in place.

For those with crooked teeth, the brackets may look out of place, however, this is a strategy used by your orthodontist to change your smile. Typically, the first-time braces are placed on your teeth, they will not look perfectly aligned, but they are working hard to straighten your teeth. In the end, the brackets will end up on the same level and in a straight line.

Depending upon how crooked your teeth are your orthodontist could have you keep your braces for a few months to a few years. It typically takes about 5 to 6 weeks before you begin to see any results from the braces working. In the beginning weeks, or months of your treatment, your orthodontist will use loose wires to help your teeth adjust to the pressure placed on them by the braces. Your braces will start to align your teeth during the first phase, after which your orthodontist will start working on the bite or jaw position.

You will return to your orthodontist for several visits during your treatment period to have the wires and brackets changed. Your teeth begin to aligned from the light, continuous pressure provided by the braces. Since you are moving bones, it takes a long time and is a process that cannot be hurried. Like any medical procedure, no two people respond alike. One person may finish their treatment plan well before someone with a similar problem.

Studies have shown that patients who make the most progress are those that closely follow the instructions given by their orthodontist. The elastics are usually changed at the orthodontist’s office; however, some patients are told to change them at home and are given elastics and tools to do so. The oral hygiene of a patient can also affect the movement of the teeth. Patients who do not properly care for their teeth run the risk of infection and teeth do not move well in the presence of infection.

Patients are also told what foods to avoid, as they can slow the progress of your alignment. Patients who lip, finger suck, and tongue thrust are also asked to break these habits as they can defeat any effort made by the orthodontist.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a form of braces, but clear. The braces are a mold taken of your mouth at different stages of treatment. As your teeth shift into a straight position, patients will be given the next set of tooth molds to wear. The braces fit tightly over all your teeth, looking like a clear plastic shell on the teeth. Patients should not eat or drink while wearing Invisalign.

Dental Work

Most people go to the dentist for basic dental work such as check-ups, cleanings, or cavities. To understand how these procedures work, we will look at each one individually.

Dental Check-ups, Cleanings, and X-Rays

Good oral hygiene is important for the general health of our teeth. Poor oral hygiene leads to gum disease, infection, bone loss, cavities, strokes, and other problems. It is estimated by the Oral Cancer Foundation that someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States. Each time you go to the dentist for a check-up, you are screened for oral cancer by your dentist. Gum disease is another cause of tooth loss and painful infections in your mouth. By noticing the early stages of gum disease, your dentist can treat this early and reverse the process from becoming a more serious issue. Studies have also shown that heart attacks and strokes are linked to gum disease resulting from poor oral hygiene. By having a cleaning every 6 months, you are reducing your chances of a stroke or heart disease.

Most people want to keep their teeth where they belong, in your mouth. By going to a dentist for a regular checkup and cleaning, they can give you fluoride treatments or apply sealants on your teeth to prevent against cavities. Early detection of cavities can save you from painful procedures down the road, but it will save you money as you will be paying for a smaller procedure versus a root canal or oral surgery. Your dentist will also take regular x-rays of your teeth that allow them to see problems that are not visible to the naked eye. They are also able to examine the roots of your teeth and check for infection below the roots.

At Cherry Creek Dental, we will establish a treatment plan at your regular check-up that can protect against cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. If you have visible stains on your teeth from tobacco, coffee, or tea, your dentist can remove these stains and whiten your teeth providing you with a whiter smile.

Bad breath is another reason to visit your dentist. Studies have shown that 85% of people with persistent bad breath suffer from a problem called halitosis. Your dentist can prescribe or recommend toothpaste and oral hygiene procedures that will fight bad breath.

Cavities

Cavities are one of the most common procedures done in a dental office. A cavity (also called dental caries) develops when the tooth decays or breaks down. The decay in your tooth will eventually turn into a hole. Plaque clings to your teeth and eats away the outermost layer of your tooth. Once the plaque has eaten thorough the enamel, it will begin to eat at the insides of your tooth, causing cavities.

Typically, we will catch cavities in their early stages when you go in for your regular check-up and cleaning. We will also examine x-rays to determine how far into the tooth the plaque has eaten. A cavity is repaired by removing the rotten portion of your tooth with a drill and replacing that portion with composite material. Some cavities that are small will not require an anesthetic. Other cavities that are larger, or are in the nerve will require an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling any pain. If you continue to have cavities, over time, your dentist may need to crown your teeth because there is not much left of an actual tooth.

Cavities left untreated can cause further problems and end up turning into a costly procedure called a root canal. A root canal is when a dentist or endodontist will remove all the nerves in your tooth and replace them with medication and composite. This procedure is costly and you will need to crown your tooth after the treatment is complete.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening procedures are normally done to patients who have stained or discolored teeth. A smile is worth a thousand words and many patients are opting to use this procedure to brighten their smile.

Crowns

If you have ever broken a tooth to a large degree, chances are you have a crown. Crowns are often referred to as caps and are designed to fit over your whole tooth after your dentist has prepared the tooth. If you have a root canal, you must crown the tooth within 6 months to one year to prevent further infection to that tooth. Crowns are usually made of metal and covered in porcelain. Many dentists will use crowns to replace teeth that are poorly shaped, decayed, broken or cracked, or have had large fillings.

Bonding

This is when a dentist applies tooth colored material to the tooth. Typically a dentist with use bonding on a tooth that is badly stained, broken or chipped. Patients who have had braces and did not take proper care of their teeth often have bonding done to fix the decay spots on the front of their teeth.

Implants

Dental Implants Cherry CreekA dental implant is a metal device designed to replace a missing tooth. It is a surgical procedure that places a metal device in your jawbone where the tooth is missing. Unlike a dental bridge, a dental implant is permanent. It is designed to act as a normal tooth and can even anchor a bridge or a crown.

Veneers

Veneers are a thin shell made out of porcelain or composite material. They are custom made for your teeth and cemented to the front side of your tooth. Many general dentists can perform this procedure if you have a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth. Veneers are also recommended for patients who have a gap in their teeth.

The best thing you can do for your teeth is to practice good oral hygiene. Floss, brush, and rinse your teeth at least 2 to 3 times a day. Use mouthwash with fluoride, to help prevent decay to the enamel of your teeth. Visit Cherry Creek Dental to coordinate a treatment plan that will fit your oral health needs.

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