blogmiamiortho

Straight Talk about Straight Teeth

Does Having Straight Teeth Matter?

braces-mouthThe health of your teeth is always a priority, but we also value your confidence in the beauty of your smile too. Sometimes, the two are more related than you may think. When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there are many more benefits than straight teeth alone (though we know that’s a pretty great benefit!). Treating your smile with braces or an alternative can positively impact the alignment of your bite, decrease your risk of gum disease and cavities, and boost your self-confidence.

The “bite” of your mouth is how we describe the way your upper and lower arch of teeth come together when you open and close your mouth. If you have a “bad bite” (clinically known as a ‘malocclusion’) , the effects can be the source of many physical problems: difficulty chewing, breaking, speaking, headaches, uneven wear on teeth, and sleep apnea. Orthodontic treatment can address not only the alignment of your teeth, but also your entire jaw. We can adjust your upper and lower arches into correct alignment to relieve any uncomfortable symptoms you may be experiencing.

Disadvantages of a Crooked Smile

Misaligned or crowded teeth can spell trouble when it comes to the hygiene of your bite. Crooked teeth provide cavity-inducing bacteria ample room to hide, even if you are diligently brushing and flossing your pearly whites. Untreated, individuals with misaligned teeth have an increased risk of developing dental caries, halitosis, and gum disease. Straight teeth are easier to care for, and facilitate healthier gums and bone tissue, as well as a happier smile!

Misaligned teeth are common sources for confidence and esteem issues. In some cases, individuals may even be ridiculed or bullied due to the appearance of their teeth. Your smile should not be a source of stress, they should be the source of happiness! Making the decision to improve your smile is a big one, but the effects can be profound beyond just a simple straightening.

If you think you may benefit from orthodontic treatment, call us for a consultation! We are always happy to speak openly with you and address your individual needs.

 

Dr. Pedro Alquizar
Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176
early-orthodontic-intervention

Early Orthodontic Intervention

Regarding the usefulness and timing of orthodontic treatment, conventional wisdom tells us to wait until the permanent teeth have erupted for best results. As we are learning, this could not be farther from the truth. Modern research indicates that there is a window of opportunity for effective intervention while the child’s jawbone, teeth, and mouth are still developing. The developmental stages are when the bones and tissues of the mouth are most pliable, ergo most receptive to orthodontic manipulation. We find the best time to intervene is after the age of 7. Essentially, we are taking advantage of the natural growth and plasticity of this stage, instead of fighting the rigidity and strength of a matured mouth.

In addition to the efficacy of early intervention, there are several tangential benefits offered by orthodontic treatment provided at a young age. Restlessness affects people of every age, but most especially growing children. A lack of quantity or quality of sleep can manifest itself in behavioral consequences – such as decreased attention span, lethargy, moodiness, and more. In some cases, we discover that children exhibiting signs of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are actually suffering from restricted airways due to alignment issues in the jaw or teeth, which in turn affects their sleep cycles. In these cases, the use of braces or other appliances can aid in opening the airway, resulting in healthier sleep cycles and resolving the accompanying issues.

The use of orthodontic appliances can take years to achieve beautiful results, with some children wearing them for the better part of their most formative years. With early intervention, we can significantly decrease the necessary time to correct alignment issues, and many times eliminate completely the need for a second round of braces. This means less time wearing braces, less money spent on braces, and it can avoid the need to remove over-crowded teeth by correcting them quickly.

We pride ourselves on offering the most sophisticated treatment plans when it comes to you and your child. Modern methods offer us a broad, new repertoire of tools, such as Invisalign, and avenues for achieving healthy and beautiful results – We love sharing them with our community. Early intervention enables us to efficiently achieve results that are often better than the alternatives available later if treatment is postponed, and in doing so, gives your child a smile to be proud of early in life. If you think your child may be a candidate for early orthodontic treatment – contact us today.

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176
general-feature

This Is How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic, particularly for those of us who sport braces – which we know require a little extra attention and care.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

When brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. For braces, use small circles to clean the brackets and remove any debris that may be nestled in them. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Braces-wearers may need a special floss to thread between brackets. Some floss come in single-use packages with a stiff end that can be guided through the narrow spaces. Or, there are threading tools available that can help accomplish this using normal floss – the choice is yours! Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176
Featured Blog Pic

Keep Calm and Floss On

On August 2nd, this New York Times article was published and caused quite a bit of controversy in both the dental community and with the general public. While it is not conclusive in its findings, the overarching claim is that flossing may not be as beneficial as once thought. As dental professionals, we take very seriously the responsibility we have ensuring our patients receive the best possible education and care regarding the health of their smiles. For this reason, we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the suggestion that flossing may be overrated, and why that’s a harmful position to propagate.

Let’s first look at the article, which uses a lot of language such as:

  • “…flossing may be
  • “…most of the current evidence fell short…”
  • “That flossing has the same benefit is a hunch that has never been proved.”
  • “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known asgingivitis.”

There is a stark difference between something ‘not having been proved’ and something being ‘disproved’. Please know that there is no evidence remotely close to suggesting the latter. In fact whether the evidence is “mediocre” or not, the only evidence the article does mention (quoted above) is in favor of flossing. A lack of ability to prove something is not cause to discourage an entire population from participating in a highly beneficial component of their health care. This is particularly true because evidence is acquired by conducting large-scale studies, which are extremely costly. It would hardly be economical to spend the research funding to prove something we already have no doubt offers a variety of benefit for your oral and overall health.

We do not agree with the article’s brash call to action, or more accurately, call to inaction, and we fear how this may increase the number of people inflicted with preventable damage to their smile. Looking again at the line “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.” Gingivitis is the first stage in periodontal disease – the very condition flossing aims to combat. To reduce gingivitis is to reduce your chances of progressing into advanced gum disease, a condition more than half of Americans already suffer from (CDC).

It is unfortunate the scale of damage this article has the potential to incite; too many readers will take this “lack of evidence” as being evidence to the contrary, and feel it gives them permission to neglect a very essential part of their oral health care.

We can only do our best to keep our patients like you educated and on the path to a lifelong happy and healthy smile – a path that certainly includes consistent flossing.

CDC: “Periodontal Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

 

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176