Perfect Smiles Orthodontics Blog

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What happens if I stop wearing my retainers?

This is a commonly asked question as patient are overjoyed when braces are removed at the end of their treatment plan.  So why do I have to wear a retainer right after?

Retainers are needed to hold your teeth into their new positions.  After your braces are removed, teeth position will creep out as there is nothing holding them in place anymore.  Your bone and teeth tissues need time stablised into their new position which takes up to a year.

Straight after treatment, you'll wear retainers, full-time every day for the first 6 months.  The first month is very important as you have a higher risk of relapse meaning it'll take more time to stablise after treatment and you'll have to wear your retainers for longer period of time.  After six months, retainers can be worn at night time for a few more years.

As with braces, it takes time to get used to your new retainers.  After a month, the discomfort and difficulty in speaking will pass by so don't get discouraged.

Will retainers last a lifetime?  No, but it can take a few years to 10 years depending on the type of retainer and the condition of your teeth/gums.  Keep in mind, as we grow older, our faces mature and the teeth will continue to push forward.   Adult patients tend to wear retainers for the rest of their life to keep their perfect smile.

So is it worth slacking in wearing your retainers?  No.  You've made the investment for a perfect smile and endured throughout the treatment plan.  Wear your retainers to keep the perfect smile that you've always wanted.  

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Braces for Adults - Are They Right for You?

Middle school was usually synonymous with getting braces (which might've also induced bullying among kids). However, the trend right now sees a growing number of adults getting braces with some even starting in their 60s or 70s!

If you are considering getting braces as an adult, fear not for you are not alone. According to Oral-B, around 20% of those getting their braces right now are adults and this trend is still likely to grow. Some of the reasons braces are gaining ground in the older age brackets are because it takes a shorter period of time to finish treatment and a lot of today's braces are more aesthetically pleasing.

Traditional/Metal Braces
Old school metal braces are still fairly popular and if you're not too concerned with having "metal mouths" these are the braces for you. These classic variants are no doubt more noticeable but they still do get the job done very well and if you are on a tighter budget or want to save more, they are more on the lower price ranges compared to let's say lingual braces of Invisalign. 

Lingual Braces
These are somewhat like the metal braces but they differ in where they are placed. The brackets are on the back of your teeth and are effectively out of sight when you smile. However, lingual braces may cause some discomfort since they do come in contact with the tongue often. Treatment completion can also be a little longer compared to metal braces and they are also at a relatively higher price point.

Ceramic Braces

If lingual or metal braces aren't up your alley, there's also tooth colored or clear brackets that are almost unnoticeable. The wires used for this brackets are still metallic and will make them seem like retainers from afar. These type of braces are also at higher price points (with some brackets made from synthetic sapphires!) but they are nonetheless more aesthetically pleasing. 

Invisalign

For those who absolutely do not want brackets on their teeth but still want braces, clear aligners like Invisalign are gaining widespread attention because of how invisible they seem in the mouth. This system uses multiple sets of what look like clear nightguards and are successively changed every few weeks. What's good about this type of braces is that it can be removed when you eat or drink which means easier cleaning of your teeth. Be reminded however, that you need to strictly change each set of aligners at the recommended time in order to get the desired results in a timely manner. 

Surprisingly, the cost of braces have gone cheaper. If getting braces when you were a kid was one of your frustrations, now is your chance to redeem yourself and experience brackets on your teeth. Health insurance schemes are available that cover partial or complete payment for braces and a lot of dental clinics can also accommodate a payment scheme that will not stretch your budget too much. >

Getting braces during adulthood might make you feel a little hesitant but what is a few years of awkward looking bracket-y smiles to decades of perfectly aligned teeth? If you feel like adult braces are for you, you can get a consult with an orthodontist (a specialist in the alignment of teeth) to help you with your questions.

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Ways to improve your smile before your wedding day

There's a lot of hustle and bustle for couples who are about to get married - cue in the dress fittings, the cake tastings, the somewhat daunting task of making seat plans and of course readying the picture perfect smile for those wedding photos you'll be looking back for the years to come.

Lucky for you, we're giving you some great tips on how to improve your wedding day winning smile!

During the wedding preparations, try to slip in orthodontist appointments on your wedding calendar. It is best to start getting consultations many months ahead of the big day. Why? Certain gum or tooth conditions have treatments that might take time to finish in order to produce great looking teeth (especially for those on the front teeth).

Crooked teeth can make any groom or bride feel self-conscious and most orthodontist will suggest braces to correct this. However, conventional braces can take a lot of time or the metal brackets are very noticeable upon smiling.

A new type of braces removes the use of "train track" looking brackets in front of the teeth and placing them on the back surfaces instead. This new system is called Incognito which offers a very comfortable and seemingly invisible braces experience. Brackets used in Incognito are fully customized for each individual patient and promises great results in a short period of time. It also doesn't do any damage on your teeth's front enamel which is crucial for great looking natural smiles. Even if the treatment is still not completed on your wedding day, you never have to worry about them showing on your photos. 

For those who'd like to flash pearly whites on their wedding day, one appointment teeth whitening procedures are available as well as veneers that will only take a few returns to the dentist. Veneers can also be your go-to option if you'd like something that will last longer as teeth whitening can diminish in time.

While most of these treatment options achieve great aesthetics, we must not forget to keep our gums healthy. Healthy gums are also a crucial part of making teeth feel and look great so set up a dental cleaning appointment if you haven't had yours in the last six months!

Once all your needed orthodontist/dental treatments are done it is time to practice that perfect wedding smile worthy of dozens of Facebook likes. Try smiling in front of a mirror and always remember to relax. A helpful tip would be to tip your head up a bit and have your upper and front teeth separated by a bit of space to make it look more natural and a little less stiff. Pay attention to how much teeth you are showing and practice the most complimentary look until you can do so without thinking.

Lastly, it is important to know your photographer well. You can preview their portfolios to look at their photography style and if it jibes with what you are looking for. Being comfortable with your photographer will also make you at ease during the photo shoot and will make you smile more naturally.

Also, if you have any insecurities about certain camera angles you can tell your photographer about this so he/she could take note of it on your wedding day. Seasoned and great photographers no doubt can work with you in producing the best smiles you want and would like to request for. All that grinning during the big day will definitely pay off well in the end as you flip through the pages of your future wedding album in the years to come.

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Health Benefits of Having Braces

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the payoff of getting braces is having a great smile once they are removed. However, the aesthetic advantage of braces is just one of the many benefits that might not be known to a lot of people.

Correct alignment of teeth not only looks good but it also feels good to chew with them as they are more effective in gnashing food into tiny pieces. This easier and more effective way of breaking down what we eat also leads to easier digestion and is very helpful to those who might have nutritional or chewing problems.

Proper positioning of teeth also helps in speech through correction of certain speech impediments or lisps caused by gap/spaces and improper alignment of teeth that might make it hard to pronounce certain sounds or words. The correction of tooth positions also aids in the proper closing and opening of our jaws and can address jaw problems and/or prevent grinding that tend to wear away certain teeth.

The achievement of this alignment also makes cleaning of the teeth and gums easier. Food tends to get trapped in between teeth and they become more difficult to remove upon brushing and even flossing. The build-up of plaque and bacteria in these areas promotes the occurrence of gum disease. If this is not addressed properly it can ultimately lead to the destruction of bone that supports our teeth through the condition called periodontitis. This loosens the teeth in time and can make them mobile; in their advanced stages, the tooth involved will have to be removed since they have become non-functional.

Medical Experts has also led to believe that poor oral health can lead to various health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and respiratory infections.This is due to the fact that your teeth provides a direct path to your bloodstream where the infection can enter.

The presence of braces becomes a great reminder of how important it is to properly brush and floss our teeth because the brackets themselves are potential food traps. This reinforcement of dental hygiene will be carried out even after the removal of the braces and helps maintain healthy teeth.

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Do Braces Hurt?

Thinking about getting braces?  Most people's concern about braces (and most orthodontic procedures) is,  if it's going to hurt.  If you are considering getting braces, it will be helpful you can get an overview of what it will be like when you have them on,  so you won't get too surprised of how they will feel in your mouth.

Getting braces will admittedly be, not a walk in the park especially during the first few weeks.  However, the discomfort will lessen in time and before you know it, it'll feel as though you never have them in the first place.

So what can be expected during the first appointment?  Your orthodontist will initially clean your teeth and place the brackets with the arch wires (Invisalign an exception). The process usually last for about 1-2 hours and no pain or untoward sensation is expected.  However, you will most likely start to experience a dull ache/uncomfortable feeling a few hours after the braces have been placed.  This pain is due to the force exerted by the wires/brace on your teeth in order for them to start moving in their ideal positions.

Try pressing hard on your fingernail and this feeling will most likely be the same sensation you will start feeling on your mouth.  Take note however, that pain tolerance and pain sensation will be different for each person and if the pain gets a little too much, you can take pain medication provided they are of the correct dosage.  You will also be advised to go on a soft diet as your teeth might feel tender during the first few days.

Mouth sores can also be experienced in the next few days as your mouth is still adjusting to having brackets inside.  Patients are advised not to move their lips too much to avoid rubbing of the inside of the cheek against the brackets. Some surfaces of the brackets are not exactly smooth to the touch and the areas that contact these become sore - you can place orthodontic wax (to be given by your orthodontist) on the brackets to address this.

It can be tempting to pick on your brackets after they've been placed but try to fight the urge as you might further irritate the areas that rub against them (also, it could prolong treatment if brackets get dislodged).

Most of the uncomfortable feeling will be at its peak a few hours after placement of brackets but will expectedly taper off within the first month.

Every month, your braces will be adjusted by your orthodontist to continue moving your teeth to their desired position.  Unsurprisingly, you will feel some dull pain or discomfort afterwards but this sensation is relatively milder than when brackets and arch wires that were first placed.  Tension caused by tightening of the wires for each adjustment is the major culprit for the discomfort but rest assured, this is tolerable and will eventually disappear.

Ideally, braces are worn for about a year or two before they are removed and you can finally rejoice in knowing that no pain is expected during removal (hooray!).  If you're still squeamish about getting braces, just think about the payoff of a great smile once treatment is done and that will make it worth it.

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