Gum disease is one of the most significant threats to the integrity and health of your smile. It starts when you let dental plaque accumulate on the teeth and along the gum lines. You’d think that as someone undergoing orthodontic treatment, patients would be hyper aware of teeth cleanliness, but unfortunately, sometimes the braces themselves can serve as a deterrent for getting squeaky clean teeth because they can make it harder to maneuver a toothbrush within the mouth.
Gum disease, if it progresses, can cause patients who wear braces to have to interrupt treatment. We do this to stop the disease before extensive damage occurs. After all, we want you to finish treatment with a smile that makes a splash, but not a belly flop!
At OBC, Dr. Crutchfield’s team helps educate patients on maximizing oral hygiene to keep their smiles healthy while straightening their teeth. We do this in our “Brush Talk” where we teach you about the things that will help you maintain a healthy smile throughout treatment.
Stop Those Mouth Germs
Smiles rely on daily attention to remain clean and healthy. Brushing and flossing are essential to controlling the buildup of sticky dental plaque. Some of those germs pose serious, specific threats to your oral health, such as targeting sensitive gum tissue through harmful toxins and excessive inflammation.
As a progressive issue, gum disease gets worse until treated. In its most severe form, it can destroy the tissues and structures that support healthy teeth. This means tooth loss. This spells more trips to the dentist, unnecessary pain, and extra healthcare costs. We understand how challenging it can be to stay on top of your kid’s brushing behaviors, but it really is important for you to take an active role in supporting habits. It’s for them AND for you!
What to Watch For
As bacteria infects your gums, the first sign is often bleeding gums while brushing. Other indications are redness and swelling. Gum disease generally starts with a quiet progression. As the disease continues, the infection and inflammation can destroy the gums that protect your teeth’s roots, and eventually it could reach the jawbone leading to tooth loss in the most severe cases.
Improve Your Oral Hygiene
Traditional braces involve brackets attached to each tooth and connected by arch wires. The components can often make your usual brushing and flossing more challenging. Without proper care, you increase the risk of developing gum disease and other dental health issues.
Your team at OBC provides case-specific instructions for proper hygiene while wearing braces, as well as an interdental cleaner to reach around, between, and behind the brackets and wires. Don’t forget, we also have clear aligners too!
When you have braces, you need to be even more vigilant with your oral hygiene. If you take care of your teeth, your new smile should last a lifetime.
If you are experiencing bleeding gums or any discomfort, please come in and let us take a look. Call our office at 703-263-0575.
Fighting Plaque in Braces
Today we have access to an impressive array of technological and dental advancements. There are few oral health issues that cannot be effectively corrected with early, appropriate treatment.
Prevention is Key
Unchecked dental diseases can cause a LOT of damage. Prevention remains the most effective method for preserving your smile. Good oral hygiene at home is the foundation of excellent dental health, but without regular professional care and maintenance, brushing and flossing could fall short of protecting you from dental diseases.
Patients who wear braces to correct malocclusion are especially at risk for dental issues, which stem from plaque that can hide between braces. Taking extra care of your oral hygiene while wearing braces is a vital part of successful orthodontic treatment.
Put Up a Fight
Tooth decay and gum disease can be quite destructive in their severe stages, but they begin as minor bacterial infections resulting from excessive plaque buildup. Brushing and flossing usually helps control plaque and bacteria buildup, but spots that hide behind and around the components of braces can be difficult to remove.
We Can Help
Dr. Crutchfield can quickly spot early signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Early detection and diagnosis allow for fast, preemptive treatment to prevent the damage that progressing dental diseases can cause. Don’t forget, you still need routine, professional cleanings while your braces are on. It’s super important to let a professional dentist help you reach the spots your toothbrush can’t easily clean.
If you have questions or concerns, please come in for answers. Call our office at 703-263-0575
While traditional metal braces may be fine for teen-agers and young adults, at this stage in your adult life, metal braces may not be a viable option. But proper balance lets your jaw move smoothly along its joints, and allows teeth to evenly disperse the pressure of your bite to minimize impact and avoid damage.
Occlusion describes the manner in which your teeth fit together. When your jaw is closed, your upper front teeth should protrude ever so slightly in front of your lower front teeth. The chewing surfaces of your teeth should also align comfortably with the chewing surfaces of their opposites.
Malocclusion describes teeth that aren’t aligned properly. When imbalanced, teeth can become excessively worn. The jaw’s joints can also become damaged, leading to debilitating discomfort in the form of TMJ disorder.
Ideally, teeth grow straight up and down in their sockets and are properly aligned. But that is not always the case. Determining the nature of your malocclusion is the first step to effective orthodontic treatment, and will determine the extent of treatment you’ll need.
Upper front teeth should naturally extend between 3-5 mm in front of their bottom counterparts. Patients whose front teeth extend above 5 mm suffer from a condition commonly known as an overbite.
If the lower teeth extend in front of the upper teeth, then the patient suffers from an underbite.
A crossbite describes when one or more teeth grow diagonally (at an angle) instead of vertically.
Discrete Braces for Adults
Many adult patients hesitate to start braces because they don’t want to wear metal brackets and wires on their teeth. Orthodontics by Crutchfield offers discreet adult orthodontic options, including OBC Clear, Suresmile Clear aligners, and Invisalign clear braces that trade brackets and wires for clear plastic aligners.
All clear aligners consist of smooth, comfortable acrylic. This allows patients to participate in sleek and virtually invisible orthodontic treatment. To make these braces, technicians create a set of aligners that fit over teeth like a retainer. Each custom-made aligner should be worn for approximately two weeks and will move your teeth in increments. Total treatment can take 6-18 months.
Clear aligners are virtually invisible and can be removed for easy eating and daily hygiene.
Damon System is another revolutionary orthodontic technology that creates beautiful smiles in less time. No elastic or metal ties, the Damon Brace uses a passive, less friction system that facilitates faster tooth movement and enhances facial aesthetics without extraction or surgery.
Damon clear braces, on the other hand, are completely inconspicuous and use tie-less braces that don’t require tightening. They are gentler on the teeth but work just as fast, if not faster, than traditional braces. Because they require fewer adjustments, Damon clear braces require fewer visits and shorter treatment time.
The Damon Smile System is a great option offering clear, discrete brackets for some patients.
Don’t let your age discourage you from balancing your bite. We are happy to talk with you about your treatment options!
If you are curious or ready for braces, please come in for answers. Call our office at 703-263-0575.
We get it; everyone likes to save money where it makes sense, and good braces are not cheap. However, the do-it-yourself aligners advertised by mail can deliver unexpected results… and by unexpected, we mean potentially dangerous and painful.
But Really, Would You Tattoo Yourself?
The promises are alluring—a beautiful smile at a fraction of the cost – no office visits required. It sounds like a good deal - freeing up your time and your money. Why not give it a try?
Here’s why... we’ve all seen the awful tattoo fails on social media. People who have tried to save money on tattoos that are left with some pretty unattractive artwork decorating their body - forever. Tattoos, like orthodontia, can be fixed but it is a costly mistake to repair.
A perfect smile and some extra cash in the bank isn't always the result you get with DIY aligners. You might actually end up needing additional, expensive procedures to repair unwanted results.
Teeth are for Chewing and Biting
We’ve seen a few “oh no” patients since the “braces by mail” fad took off. The most common complaint, after trying these aligners is that the teeth just don’t seem to work properly anymore. Meaning, they are not properly aligned for biting and chewing. This is what teeth are for! (Well, besides a splashy smile!) But what’s scary is that in some cases, teeth actually become loose, requiring an immediate dentist visit.
Long-term problems can show up much later (such as tooth loss). It’s a big deal; saving now could cost you thousands later.
What you’re being advertised, isn’t always what you’ll get! If you read through the offer completely and you review the limitations and qualifications, you could discover that they only cover a reduced treatment period or a certain number of trays. It might not include retainers or check-up appointments during the retention phase of treatment. This matters because shortcuts, especially unsupervised ones, are less expensive, but only in the short term.
Remember, they think you value your dollars and time above quality and durability. Is that true?
Love Your Smile
A good orthodontist works with you until the malocclusion is corrected, the bite is aligned, and you have a smile you love.
At OBC, patients understand that orthodontics is an investment in your oral health, your smile, and your self-confidence. It’s definitely not the best idea to take your smile and your dental health to the lowest bidder.
Aligners by mail don’t allow for any “special case scenarios” - and let’s face it, we’re all a little unique. When you decide to orthodontically treat yourself, you’re unaware of the circumstances your orthodontist might see immediately in an office visit that could alter your treatment regimens. An in person exam allows the orthodontist to inspect the condition and general health of your gums, tissue, and bone that could impact the success of the aligners. Also, office visits include an inspection of your mouth and allow your doctor to see how your jaw functions throughout treatment - not just at the end when we have to potentially “undo” damage - if possible.
The End Goal is a Functional and Beautiful Bite
Orthodontia involves more than pretty, straight teeth; it includes a healthy and functional bite. If your back teeth no longer touch properly, a posterior open bite occurs making chewing difficult and uncomfortable. Can you see why we think it’s a bad idea?
If you still think DIY aligners are a good idea to save time, call us about OBC Express. We can get you started quickly and send you on your way with reduced, but crucial check-ins. This works especially well for adults who have finished growing.
Do-it-yourself aligners carry risks that you need to be aware of. Remember, DIY teeth straightening may cause irreversible damage that you can’t cover up with long sleeves, like you can a bad tattoo.
If you have questions, please come in and let us take a look. Call our office at 703-263-0575.
A healthy diet is one of the primary concerns of most parents, and can go a long way in helping children keep their teeth healthy. Unfortunately, some of your child’s favorite drinks at the coffee bar are packed with sugar, and terrible for their teeth.
Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes. Unfortunately, most of your kid’s favorite drinks from places like Starbucks are absolutely LOADED with sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends that children limit their daily sugar intake to less than 26 grams per day, and adults should have less than 36 grams per day. Unfortunately, most of the items on the coffee bar menu far exceed 30 grams of sugar – even if the drink is a “small” (tall) on the menu.
1 – Any Frappuccino
Frappuccinos come in a variety of flavors, but each of them contains far more sugar than your child needs to consume in one day.
2 – Iced White Chocolate Mocha
Another iced drink, is Iced White Chocolate Mocha contains 54 grams of sugar per drink, which is far too much sugar for one drink to contain.
3 – Cinnamon Dolce Crème
The Cinnamon Dolce Crème doesn’t have caffeine, but it is loaded with sugar at 28 grams of sugar in a tall drink, and 37 grams in a grande.
Visit Our Office
We suggest that your tweens and teens avoids visiting coffee bars, and instead focuses on drinking more water and real fruit juices. Drinks from coffee bars are loaded with sugar that can cause cavities, and lead to other oral health issues.
Visit our office for more information about a mouth-healthy diet that can help your child grow a healthy smile. Call our office at 703-263-0575.
Orthodontic treatment will last from 18 months to three years. Any normal person is bound to crave a chocolatey caramel bar or sugar fix during treatment. Don't give in; sugary treats will compromise your progress and they are never good for your teeth, braces or not.
Sugars are fuel for the acidic bacteria that destroy teeth. For teeth without braces, candy is a threat, but when you add in the brackets, bands, and wires, tooth decay becomes an almost certainty. There are just too many places for bacteria to hide.
You have probably heard that the type of candy makes a difference in the overall effect on the teeth. NOT TRUE. Hard, soft, sticky or crunchy, it’s all bad for your brace covered teeth.
The problem with eating candy while undergoing orthodontic treatment is that the sugar has so many different places to hide. It can hide under the wires, in the brackets and around other components of the system.
Hard and chewy candies are particularly damaging, as when you bite down on them, your tooth becomes stressed by the force. With brackets and wires on your teeth that additional force may break or pop off a component of the orthodontic system.
Better Sugar Fix Alternatives
These are some of the better choices you can make while undergoing orthodontic treatment:
If you want us to break the news to your child, please let us know! Call our office at 703-263-0575.
Yay! Your Braces Are Finally Off
It’s finally time for your orthodontist to remove your braces and take your ‘after’ photo with your stunning new smile.
But that does not mean that your orthodontic journey is complete. You are now entering the retention stage, which begins as soon as your primary treatment phase ends. This stage is key to the success of the entire orthodontic process.
Back in School... Remember
Don’t throw your retainer away with your school lunch! But if you do, call the office right way so you aren’t without it for long.
Your teeth are not rigidly set; you need to consistently wear your retainers for around the next two years. Your retainers are designed to keep your teeth in place and prevent them from shifting. This is applicable for all our patients who have just removed their braces or aligners.
Retainers are an important part of your orthodontic treatment. Once phase one is complete, you want your teeth to stay aligned in the correct position. Retainers keep your newly straightened teeth in the correct position. If you do not consistently wear your retainer, your teeth will shift back to their original positions and will require further orthodontic treatment to realign them.
Retainers are used for all patients, both teens and adults, and are necessary after both traditional braces and Invisalign.
Just Wear It
Here are a few reasons to keep wearing that retainer:
To Stabilize Your Bite: The soft tissues in your mouth and bones still need time to adapt to their new position. By continually and consistently wearing a retainer, your tissues and bones will stabilize and any shifting that occurs will be minimal.
Wisdom Teeth: For most patients, they will receive braces during their preteen and teen years, meaning right around the time that wisdom teeth show up. By wearing your retainer, you will ensure that the eruption of wisdom teeth don’t move your straight teeth out of their new position.
Bones & Gums Are Aligned: Retainers not only straighten your teeth and keep them in the desired position, but they also align your bones and gums with your teeth. Your retainer will strengthen and stabilize your teeth along with your bones and gums.
Prevent More Orthodontic Treatment: By wearing your retainer every day and night, you will prevent your teeth from shifting, preventing more orthodontic treatment. You’ve put in effort and time wearing your braces. You don’t want to let those efforts go to waste. Your smile will be beautifully straight and your teeth will stay in the correct position by wearing your retainers. Removing your braces got you closer to the finish line, but wearing your retainer will allow you to cross it.
If you have questions or concerns, or you lost your retainer at school, please
call our office at 703-263-0575.
What’s for lunch? If your child got new braces this summer, the answer just got a little more complicated. Once kids return to school, you’ll have to take into consideration the challenges they will face when eating with new braces without your guidance.
Our team has been giving that some thought and here’s what we’ve come up with to help keep your kid on the fastest track to a straight smile:
Healthy Tooth Snacks
Teeth need a steady supply of calcium, phosphate, vitamin D, and other minerals and nutrients, which can be found in foods like:
Each of these are also easy to brush off the dental surface before they need to get to their next class.
Post-Tightening Appointment Lunches
Immediately after your child’s braces tightening appointments, their teeth may be more sensitive than normal. Sandwiches and foods that require a lot of chewing should be avoided for a day or two. Foods that require minimal chewing and discomfort include:
What Not to Pack
Foods that can stick to or damage your child’s braces should be avoided, such as;
Plan Ahead for Braces-Friendly Lunches
Surf into the new school year. You might need to get a little more creative, but packing a lunch that works with your child’s new braces is less difficult when you plan ahead. Need some inspiration? Check out Calla’s recipes for some braces friendly meals!
If you have questions or concerns, please come in for answers. Call our office at 703-263-0575.
Life is busy, and sometimes families need to snack while away from home. But, you don’t have to sacrifice your oral health just because you’re snacking on the go. Here are some ideas for healthy snacks-on-the-go!
Nuts are rich in protein that helps to build stronger teeth. Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave. With braces, it’s best to use nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter. You need to avoid chomping down on hard foods.
Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue, help fight plaque buildup, and help remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits. Cut the apple into slices; don’t risk biting into an apple. Like Snow White, you will regret it.
Cheese is high in calcium and promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. String cheese is a healthy FUN snack that everyone loves to eat!
Always Bring Water
Water is one of the best tools for keeping mouths clean. When preparing a snack for your child on the go, grab a water bottle instead of a juice box. Encourage your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’re done snacking- it helps remove food bits that get caught in their teeth and can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup.
Healthy Diets Mean Happier Teeth
A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We can discuss healthy, delicious dietary options that kids love, and strengthen teeth.
If you have questions, we are here to answer them! Call our office at 703-263-0575.
Summer is winding down, and that last trip to the beach is behind you. It’s time to gather together your football equipment, hockey sticks, lacrosse gear and all that other stuff you’re going to need for the new school year. Be sure to check out your mouthguard. Clean it up, inspect it for damage, and get a new one if you need to. If it was not cleaned and packed away right, it might not be something you want to put in your mouth, but you can’t play without it.
Almost any sport or activity can be made safer when you use your mouthguard. While you’re playing sports at school or at home, remember to look out for your smile.
Biking, skateboarding, rollerblading—it only takes one fall to make you realize that roads, sidewalks, and concrete are not ideal landing pads. If you do take a spill, using a mouthguard, along with your helmet, will help protect your teeth and jaw.
If you wear braces, we can customize a mouthguard -in our office- that will be a perfect fit for your teeth and bite.
Call our office at 703-263-0575 if you are interested in a custom mouthguard
SCHEDULE A VISIT