• The Evolution of Braces

    November 30th, 2012

    Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? We think of modern orthodontic appliances as sleek, efficient technology, but this was not always so! Take a look at the highlights in the evolution of braces.

    Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome

    •  According to The Angle Orthodontist, Aristotle and Hippocrates first thought about methods for straightening teeth between 400 and 300 BC.
    • The Etruscans, in what we now know as Italy, buried their dead with appliances that maintained spaces and prevented collapse of their teeth and jaws during life. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains in various locations that have metal bands wrapped around the teeth.
    • A Roman tomb has also been discovered in which the teeth were bound with gold wire, including documentation on the wire’s use as a dental device.

    18th Century: A French Development

    • The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged as the father of modern dentistry. In 1728 he published a book that described various methods for straightening teeth. Fauchard also used a device known as a “blandeau” to widen the upper palate.
    • Louis Bourdet was another French dentist who published a book in 1754 that discussed tooth alignment. Bourdet further refined the blandeau and was the first dentist to extract bicuspids, or the premolar teeth between canines and molars, for the purpose of reducing tooth crowding.

    19th Century: Orthodontics Defined

    •  Orthodontics started to become a separate dental specialty during the early 19th century. The first wire crib was used in 1819, marking the beginning of modern orthodontics.
    • During this period, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite, and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, and copper were used — as was brass in the form of loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures.
    • Edward Maynard first used gum elastics in 1843 and E. J. Tucker began making rubber bands for braces in 1850.
    • Norman W. Kingsley published the first paper on modern orthodontics in 1858 and J. N. Farrar was the first dentist to recommend the use of force over timed intervals to straighten teeth.

    20th Century: New Materials Abound

    • Edward Angle developed the first classification systems for malocclusions (misaligned teeth) during the early 20th century in the United States, and it is still in use today. Angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which was renamed the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930s.
    • By the 1960s, gold was universally abandoned in favor of stainless steel.
    • Lingual braces were the “invisible” braces of choice until the early 1980s, when tooth-colored aesthetic brackets made from single-crystal sapphire and ceramics became popular.

    Today

    As we arrive in the present, you need only look at your own braces to see how far we’ve come. Your treatment plan was probably created with a 3D digital model, and we’ve likely used a computerized process to customize your archwires. Perhaps you have clear aligners, self-ligating brackets, or highly resilient ceramic brackets with heat-activated wires.

    Orthodontics has come a long way from the days of Aristotle, and even the bulky wrap-around braces of just 60 years ago. Regardless of your specific treatment plan, the development of high-tech materials and methods has made it possible for your orthodontic experience to be as effective, efficient, and comfortable as possible.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 19th, 2012

    With Thanksgiving almost upon us, it’s a great time to ask ourselves what we’re thankful for. With our friends and family around us, we celebrate the blessings given to us in the past year. Our staff thought we’d ask: What are you thankful for this holiday season? Do you have any Thanksgiving wishes or recipes you would like to share?

    Our entire team would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It’s a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat with those braces! If you have any stories or photos to share with us, we’d encourage you to send them along or post them below or on our Facebook page!

  • How to Protect Your Braces During Sports Activities

    November 14th, 2012

    Proper mouth protection is recommended when you participate in any sports activities.If you wear braces, this protection becomes essential. Injuries to your mouthcan not only damage your teeth, but your braces could break and cut openyour lip.

    Full Facial Guards

    Full facial guards are often used in football or hockey, and offer protectionto your mouth from most injuries. Even with full facial protection, you maybenefit from additional mouth protection. While your face is protected fromoutside impact, you could still suffer from cuts or damage to your bracesfrom internal impact.

    Mouth Guards

    Mouth guards referred to as boil-and-bites can be purchased at many retail stores.As the name implies, these guards are boiled in water to heat and softenthe material. While the guard is still warm, you place it in your mouth andbite down gently. This causes the guard to form to the shape of your mouth.Unfortunately, these guards do not necessarily offer the best protectionor fit.

    Custom fitting of mouth guards ensures you of better protection and a comfortablefit. Custom guards are also built in layers for durability. The AmericanDental Association recommends custom guards for orthodontic patients. Yourmouth guard will be designed to provide proper protection for both your teethand your braces.

    No matter what type of sport you participate in, a mouth guard can protect yourbraces. Even an activity as seemingly harmless as table tennis can resultin a contact injury. The Academy for Sports Dentistry states that a properlyfitted mouth guard should not interfere with any athletic activity.

    Our office will provide you with information on how you can get properly fittingmouth protection, in order to ensure the safety of your braces and your teeth.We will be glad to answer any questions you have so you can continue theactivities you enjoy with little concern. If you do suffer any injuries toyour mouth or braces during sporting activities, please contact us immediately.The sooner we can care for your mouth, the better the results will be.

  • Avoiding Common Problems Associated With Braces

    November 05th, 2012

    While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouthand teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing themthat are common and can be easily treated.

    Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As yourteeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and yourjaw to develop soreness.

    If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth,or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence whenbraces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reducethe pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. If you experiencea sore mouth or any of the following problems, call our office to schedulean appointment.

    •  Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic waxto the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between thebraces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
    •  Loose bands: These must be secured in place by our dentist.Try to save the band for repair.
    •  Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencilcan be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If youare unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth soredevelops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
    • Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned andsometimes replaced.
  • When Should I Start Wearing My Retainer?

    November 02nd, 2012

    Braces are an investment in your smile. When your teeth reach a desired straightness, you’ll have a beautiful smile, but it’s important to keep it that way! You can accomplish this with a retainer.

    A retainer is a small, custom-fit device that reinforces the new position of your teeth after your braces are removed. But for many patients, especially the youngest ones, wearing a retainer may seem like an annoyance. So exactly how long after your braces come off should you wear your retainer?

    Graduation of Wear Time

    When we remove your braces, we will evaluate the condition of the bone structure surrounding your teeth and determine how well it is adjusting to the new position of your teeth. For the first few months, we may require you to wear your retainer both day and night, except during meal times and for brushing and flossing.

    As the bone and gum tissues adjust to your new smile, we may determine that you need to wear your retainer only at night. After about one year of wearing the retainer every night, you may be able to take a couple of nights off each week.
    However, we do not recommend ever stopping permanently. To best secure the position of the teeth, especially through future extractions and oral health changes, wearing your retainer a few nights a week will be necessary for many years.

    Considerations

    If you are concerned about your appearance when you wear a retainer, there are many that can be worn discreetly. You could choose a clear plastic one that is less obvious during the months immediately following removal of your braces. When you change to night wear only, clear wire retainers are available for minimal visibility as well.
    Another option is a lingual retainer. It is placed on the back sides of your teeth so no one will ever know it is there! Lingual retainers are also permanent, so there’s no risk of losing them.

    Remember, wearing your retainer is an investment in your smile. If you fail to wear it consistently, the tissues that support your teeth will be unsupported, and you may begin to experience noticeable shifting. You’ve worked hard to get that beautiful smile — your retainer will let you keep it!