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Orthodontics: From Tooth Fairy to Retainer

March 12th, 2019

You might be surprised to learn that Dr. David Hunter and our team recommend an orthodontic appointment even before your child has had that last visit from the Tooth Fairy. In fact, orthodontic assessments at our Glendale, AZ office can be beneficial at many stages of your child’s life. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

The Right Spaces

There’s a reason why we recommend that every child see an orthodontist by the age of seven. If there’s room enough in your child’s mouth to accommodate all the permanent teeth that will be arriving soon, you’re good to go. But if it looks like there won’t be enough space for those adult teeth, there are solutions we can offer to make the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth a smoother one.

  • If your child’s mouth is small, the permanent teeth might have too little room to fit in when they arrive. We may recommend gently enlarging the upper dental arch with the use of a palatal expander. This device will provide room for the adult teeth, and could potentially shorten second phase treatment time.
  • Too much space can also be a problem. If a child loses a baby tooth too soon, too much space between the remaining teeth can cause them to shift out of position, leaving the wrong spot open for the adult tooth to come in. We might recommend a space maintainer so that there is no shifting of the teeth, and there is room for the adult tooth to erupt in its proper spot.
  • If there is a bite problem, early treatment can prevent more serious problems down the road.

If no treatment is necessary immediately, we can monitor the development of your child’s teeth and bite during periodic visits.

(Stay in) The Right Places

Once your child has achieved that perfect smile, it’s time to maintain it. Teeth actually move and shift throughout our lives, whether we have had orthodontic treatment or not. But with orthodontic treatment, the bone tissue and ligaments around the teeth remodel over time to hold the teeth in their new and improved positions. That’s why it’s often important to wear a retainer constantly for several months after the braces come off, as bone and ligament become a firm, strong anchor for the newly aligned teeth and bite.

But there’s no one expiration date on retainers! Worn nightly as needed, they help teeth stay securely in their new positions for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.

Healthy Smiles Mean Happy Faces

If you think your child is ready for any phase of orthodontic work, give us a call. We will be happy to make sure there is ample room for permanent teeth to erupt in their proper spots even during the baby teeth years. If braces are indicated at a later date, we will analyze any potential alignment and bite problems and present all of your treatment options. Finally, after the orthodontic work is completed, we want to make sure your child knows the best way to maintain that beautiful smile with conscientious retainer wear.

If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or bite, even before the permanent teeth arrive, give our Glendale, AZ office a call. Early treatment can often prevent future problems and might even lead to faster orthodontic results. At each stage of your child’s growth, we are here to provide your best options for healthy, happy smiles.

AcceleDent®: A Safe Way to Expedite Your Orthodontic Treatment

March 5th, 2019

Congratulations! You are already on your way to your best smile now that you have decided on orthodontic treatment. And while any amount of time it takes to create your beautiful smile is worth it, the sooner that process is completed, the better. With AcceleDent®, you can actually speed up the orthodontic process safely and effectively!

What is AcceleDent?

The AcceleDent device is a hands-free, lightweight appliance that is inserted around your braces or aligners and held in place by your teeth. When you turn on the Activator, gentle vibrations, or micropulses, are sent through the teeth and their roots into the bone surrounding them. It takes only 20 minutes each day, and patients notice not only faster tooth movement, but often less orthodontic discomfort as well.

How Does AcceleDent Speed Up My Treatment?

When you have braces or aligners, slow and steady pressure is put on your teeth to move them to their desired positions. This pressure affects the bone surrounding each tooth, and the body responds by changing the shape of the bone tissue. You end up with teeth held securely in their new, aligned position by the remodeled bone. This process is also slow and steady. Changes in the bone take place on the cellular level, and gradually develop over time. The micropulses created by the AcceleDent appliance actually stimulate this cellular activity, which can lead to faster progress in the repositioning of your teeth and therefore a shorter treatment schedule.

How Safe is AcceleDent?

The AcceleDent appliance delivers precise vibrations to the teeth with a patented process called SoftPulse Technology®. These micropulses provide the gentle stimulation that increases cellular activity. The vibrations produce less force than using an electric toothbrush, and 200 times less force than we apply to our teeth with normal chewing!

AcceleDent is available at our Glendale, AZ office. The process has undergone numerous clinical trials, and has been shown to be safe and reliable. AcceleDent has been cleared by the FDA as a single-user prescription device, and has been prescribed to thousands of patients since it was introduced.

Our most important goal is to provide you with a beautiful, healthy smile. Talk to Dr. David Hunter about AcceleDent if you would like to explore a gentle option for achieving this goal as quickly and safely as possible.

Ceramic Braces

February 26th, 2019

Congratulations! You have made the decision to get orthodontic treatment at our Glendale, AZ office. Now it’s time to choose among your various appliance options. Traditional metal brackets and wires, lingual braces, a series of aligners—they all have positives to recommend them. And for some people, ceramic braces are the clear favorite.

Ceramic braces work like regular metal braces. Brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth, and rubber bands surrounding the brackets hold the arch wire that gradually moves the teeth into alignment.

Ceramic braces, however, use brackets made of clear or tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain which blend beautifully with the color of your tooth. The elastic ligatures, or rubber bands, can be chosen to match the brackets or your enamel. There are self-ligating ceramic brackets which don’t use bands at all. Technology is even working on ways to make the arch wire less visible! The end result is braces that are almost undetectable.

If you want a less obvious appliance for professional or personal reasons, talk to us about ceramic braces. As always, there are other factors to consider before you decide, which we will be happy to discuss with you.

  • Ceramic brackets are very strong, but they are still more brittle than the metal model. If you play a contact sport, these might not be for you. (But whatever braces you choose, please wear a mouthguard when playing sports.)
  • Ceramic braces might not be ideal depending on the amount of alignment and bite correction that is needed. They might also take a bit more time to bring your teeth into alignment. We will be able to tell you if ceramic braces will work for you and if they might require a longer period to move your teeth to their perfect position.
  • Brackets can sometimes be somewhat larger (though this isn’t always the case), and, because they can be abrasive, are often recommended for upper teeth only. This way, the lower teeth will not impact, or be impacted by, contact with the upper teeth.
  • Oral hygiene can trickier with ceramic braces. Although today’s brackets aren’t as prone to staining, you still need to be careful to brush away the plaque that can accumulate around the brackets. And the bands are susceptible to staining by the usual suspects—coffee, tea, colas, blueberries, or any strongly colored food or beverage.
  • Costs will differ depending on the treatment method you choose. Talk to us about cost comparisons with other orthodontic treatments.

Ceramic braces, because they are so much less visible, are a popular orthodontic option, especially for older teenagers and adults. If you are interested, talk to Dr. David Hunter about this effective way to straighten your teeth—discreetly. Ceramic might be the clear solution for creating your lasting, beautiful smile.

Electric Toothbrushes vs. Regular Toothbrushes

February 19th, 2019

Convertible or sedan? Downtown or suburbs? Electric or manual toothbrush? As life decisions go, it’s certainly not choosing your next car, or deciding where you want to live. But, even when you are selecting a toothbrush, it helps to make a list of the pros and cons of the contenders before you make that final selection.

  • Efficiency

The most important factor in choosing a toothbrush is finding out which model works best to eliminate bacteria and plaque. And studies have shown that, used properly, both electric and manual toothbrushes do a great job of removing plaque. Some electric models can reach the backs of teeth and the gumline more easily, some manual head designs work better for your individual mouth and teeth, so your particular needs should dictate which style of toothbrush you use. Talk to us about the best methods to brush with your preferred toothbrush, and we’ll let you know if one type of toothbrush or the other might work better for you.

  • Health Considerations

Brushing too energetically can actually harm teeth and gums, causing sensitivity and damage to the enamel and gum tissue. An electric toothbrush should provide a continuous brushing motion without needing any pressure from the brusher. This might be the model for you if you have a too-vigorous approach to brushing, or sensitive teeth and gums.

An electric toothbrush can also be more efficient for older and younger brushers, those with limited mobility, and those with health conditions or injuries that make brushing with a regular toothbrush more difficult.

  • Cost

An electric toothbrush is not a one-time investment. You should change the removable head as often as you change your manual toothbrush (every three to four months, please). But this cost is offset if an electric toothbrush is more efficient in removing your plaque, easier to use, or even if you just prefer it to manual brushing. If you find that you brush better and more often with an electric toothbrush, the added expense is well worth it.

Whichever brush you decide on, the most important part of the brush is the person holding it! A regular appointment with your toothbrush for two minutes of thorough brushing in the morning and two in the evening, daily flossing, and regular visits to our office for checkups and cleanings will keep your teeth healthy and strong no matter which toothbrush you choose.

Questions about your toothbrush choices? Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. David Hunter at our Glendale, AZ office.

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