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How to Prevent Cavities for Kids

With Christmas coming up, it’s easy to forget some of your stricter rules and let your little ones indulge in candy over this festive period, but it’s important to make sure they are looking after their teeth, even with a few treats here and there. You can still enjoy the holidays and follow a few cavity-prevention tips.

Maintain a routine
Christmas time may mean that routines go out of the window. Kids may be staying up later, sleeping in longer, having friends over, and disrupting their general school habits. No matter what they are doing in their normal everyday life, it’s still important – and easy – to maintain their dental hygiene routine. Brushing first thing in the morning and last thing at night is an essential habit to get them used to, integrating it into their daily life so it’s not seen as a chore, but just a regular activity. It’s may also be good idea to add another tooth brushing during the day if they’re indulging on lots of candy.

Keep up the greens
If they’re eating extra unhealthy snacks during the holiday time, that doesn’t mean they should skimp on the veggies. As long as the sugary snacks are within moderation and everything else is included in their diet, like veggies and protein, their teeth will continue to grow in a healthy, normal way. Keep up the greens to promote healthy teeth, body, and diet, and maybe balance out a little of the chocolate and sweet treats.

Limit sugary snacks
Don’t overindulge in sugary snacks or drinks too much – they should still be a treat, but not an expectation. Fizzy drinks, fruit juices, chocolate, and candy all contain high amounts of sugar that can erode enamel on teeth and cause cavities. It’s a good idea to encourage a quick tooth brushing or at least a mouth rinse with water or alcohol-free mouthwash after a sugary snacking session, to wash away any lingering sugar that may hang around in their mouths.

See your dentist regularly
All of these tips should be enough to encourage a healthy smile and prevent cavities, but you can’t watch your little ones 24/7, so keep up with regular check-ups at the dentist. Your dentist will be able to see any telltale signs of cavities or good habits, and give advice on any potential orthodontic treatment such as braces.

Begin orthodontic treatment early
At iSmile Orthodontics, we recommend children start their orthodontics check-ups from the age of 7. This ensures that we can keep an eye on your child’s teeth and their development, and recommend orthodontic treatment that will help them grow into a healthy smile and even prevent future unnecessary treatment into adolescence and adulthood. Making sure that teeth are growing evenly can make it easier for them to brush and floss, so that plaque and enamel doesn’t build up to cause cavities.

Get in touch here to find out more about orthodontics for children and schedule your first appointment.

What to expect with extractions

The concept of having a tooth pulled can be a scary and daunting one to consider, especially if it’s one you or your children are having to face. Tooth extractions are a common occurrence, and one that our professionals at iSmile Orthodontics are well experienced in. If you’re apprehensive about an upcoming tooth extraction, or are just looking for more information, here are some handy tips to keep your mind at ease.

Why you might need an extraction
Tooth extractions – in children or adults – can be necessary for a number of reasons, often involving the way a tooth is growing in. If the tooth itself is damaged or severely decayed beyond repair, the easiest solution is often to remove it. Other reasons can include severe gum disease, or teeth that are impacted, like wisdom teeth, and prevented from growing through. This can include baby teeth that are removed to make way for the adult teeth to grow through properly.

One of the most common reasons for tooth extraction is overcrowding. Although you may have the normal number of teeth, the spacing of teeth may take up a smaller area and result in a ‘crowded’ appearance in your mouth. This can become uncomfortable and difficult for cleaning and hygiene practices, so we’ll remove one or two teeth in order for the rest to realign themselves. It is good practice to extract the tooth or teeth in younger patients as the teeth will be more adaptable to grow into a more spaced out position, and our iSmile Orthodontics professionals can closely monitor the progress.

How to prepare
To make sure your oral surgeon is up to speed with your medical and dental history, you or your child will need to fill out any forms that outline current and past medications you take or have recently taken, as well as those you are allergic to. This is to ascertain which medications will be most appropriate for during or after the surgery.

In order to prepare you or your child for the surgery, you will have a consultation beforehand to discuss everything in your paperwork, any concerns or questions, and outline the procedure. Then, you will be taken for an x-ray to examine the area, tooth or teeth, and surrounding nerves to confirm there will be no damage to vital parts.

The procedure
If the tooth is visible and easy to remove, you or your child will have a simple local anesthetic to numb the area before extracting the tooth. The process is swift and painless, with little bleeding after. After biting down on some gauze for 20 minutes or so, you will be free to go home with some aftercare information.

For an impacted tooth or more complicated situation, sedation under IV may be required in order to make an incision in the gum to remove the tooth. Any medications can also administered via the IV.

Aftercare
There will be some bleeding after the surgery, which some fresh strips of gauze will take care of. When at home, you’ll be advised to hold ice packs to the extraction site to heal any swelling or discomfort, which should go down after three to five days. For any pain or swelling, simple over the counter pain medication will be fine. Soft foods are advised for the first 24 hours, and a normal brushing routine can continue, avoiding the area of the extraction.

All in all, not such a daunting process! Got any questions? Get in touch here or check out our results page of previous iSmile Orthodontics patients who have had tooth extractions.

How to treat gapped teeth

Perfect teeth are hard to come by, and most people often need a little help along the way. If you notice your child developing gaps between their teeth as they grow, this is a completely normal and common feature of growing teeth. It’s also easy to fix if addressed in childhood with a trip to the orthodontist to help the teeth grow in a straighter, more comfortable way. At iSmile Orthodontics, we recommend starting your children’s orthodontic visits from the age of seven to curb the need for any future treatment.

Why the gap?
Gapping in teeth – also called diastema – is a common growth occurrence in teeth where gapping occurs, most often between the front two teeth, although it can occur anywhere. This can be caused by natural features such as a misalignment in the jaw or a mismatched jaw to teeth ratio. If the piece of skin under your upper lip – the labial frenum – is large than normal, this can also grow between the front two teeth, pushing them apart.

Other behavioural problems that can cause diastema include thumb-sucking or regular occurrences of tongue thrusting, both of which are behavioural traits that can push the front teeth outward.

When gapping occurs between two teeth, often other teeth may try to fill in the space, causing further gapping in other areas. Addressing this problem in childhood is a good way to catch the issue early on, as gaps in teeth can be difficult for cleaning and chewing, not to mention in your confidence.

Braces
In many cases of gapping in teeth, they can be treated with traditional metal braces. These are a popular choice among children and adults at iSmile Orthodontics and will usually be worn on both the top and the bottom sets of teeth for complete teeth and jaw realignment. In cases where there are several teeth far away from each other, or teeth growing to accommodate for the extra space, traditional metal braces are a highly recommended option.

Once braces are applied, the wires will be tightened or changed every 6 to 8 weeks, which may result in some extra pressure against the teeth that quickly goes away within a few hours. Braces are good option for those on a budget, and can often be subtle in appearance and a fast working option for orthodontics for children.

Invisalign
Teenage years can be particularly sensitive, and our Invisalign option offers the top choice in subtlety and confidence boosting. A custom-made, virtually invisible appliance that slots right onto teeth, Invisalign offers the same effectiveness as normal braces to give your child that perfect smile.

False teeth
Sometimes, gapping in teeth can be a result of missing adult teeth. These teeth never grow in, resulting in very large gaps in the smile and causing some difficulty with cleaning and hygiene. In these more unusual cases, false teeth may be required. Our false teeth at iSmile Orthodontics slot in seamlessly with the rest of the teeth, creating that perfect smile that your child will love showing off. Check out our results page for an example of missing upper laterals replaced with false teeth and get in touch here for your complimentary evaluation.

Treatment options for crowded teeth

Whether you’re experiencing crowded teeth as an adult, or you have noticed it in your child, there are lots of different treatment options to explore. Crowded teeth are a very common problem and we see it with many of our patients at iSmile Orthodontics. Let’s take a look at the different orthodontic treatment options available for you or your child.

Maxillary expansion
Also known as palatal expansion, this orthodontic treatment is available for children. It involves an appliance positioned on the roof of the mouth fixed into place by two molar teeth on either side. The appliance is both easy and efficient, working by turning a ‘key’ in the middle to gently exert pressure and expand the upper jaw. This then allows more space for the teeth to reposition themselves, and grow into the extra space. As an added bonus, the appliance is not visible front on, so will not impact their life from a cosmetic point of view. Maxillary expansion can be a standalone treatment, or a preparatory one for braces, which will help reduce the length of treatment time with the braces, and result in a more effective treatment.

Invisalign
At iSmile Orthodontics, we customise and personalise our treatment for each patient. Depending on the crowding, Invisalign may be the option for you. Invisalign is one of our most popular treatments; it’s subtle, removable, highly effective, and easy to clean. It is molded specifically to your teeth for a fit that is comfortable and will help align your teeth in a shorter amount of time to give you that perfect smile with minimal effort. However, this treatment is not available for everyone so please discuss this option with your orthodontist.

Extraction
Tooth extraction may be a term that can raise eyebrows, whether it’s orthodontics for children or adults, but in the right circumstances, it can be the best choice for crowded or crooked teeth. At iSmile Orthodontics, we will only remove teeth when it’s the best option for you, and extraction can often be a preparatory treatment for braces. Crowded teeth can be painful if your jaw or mouth is small in size, and extraction can provide respite for this pain or pressure, allowing the remaining teeth to realign and create a more comfortable and straight smile.

Braces
Braces have come a long way in the last couple of decades, and there are many options available for you, especially if cosmetics are an issue. The classic metal braces are an effective and budget-friendly way to realign crooked teeth in a short time. Adults and teenagers are often drawn to our ceramic braces, which are a subtle treatment that don’t impinge on their daily life as much. If your braces treatment is following a palatal expansion or extraction, you’ll see a dramatic change in the look and feel of your teeth and smile in a very short amount of time.

Check out our results page for examples of successes of all the treatments listed above in both children and young adults. iSmile Orthodontics works carefully to provide personalised treatments that are the best for you to regain a perfect smile, and to work with your personal or social life. Get in touch here to see how we can help you regain your confidence and straight teeth once again.

Correcting an overbite or underbite

Overbites and underbites are very common teeth and jaw issues that can affect eating, breathing, speaking and confidence. Both overbites and underbites are problems that we often see in our patients at iSmile Orthodontics. If you or your child has or is developing either one, keep reading to see what options are available to you and understand more about the condition and its causes.

What is an underbite?
A healthy set of straight teeth are usually aligned in the upper and lower jaw, with a slight overlap of the front upper teeth over the front lower teeth. When an underbite occurs, this alignment is disrupted, with the reverse happening, resulting in a lower jaw that may protrude slightly or significantly past the upper jaw, depending on the severity of the underbite. More often than not, underbites are just part of someone’s genetic makeup and occur naturally.

What is an overbite?
Although the front upper teeth naturally overlap the front lower teeth a little, when this amount of overlap or protrusion is significant – around 30-50% – this is referred to as an overbite, or malocclusion. Recognisable traits can include significant overlapping, protrusion of the upper part of the mouth, and a weak chin or jaw. Overbites are either due to teeth growth or jaw alignment. Crowded teeth are a common reason for an overbite, which can be caused by thumb sucking or chewing on anything that is pushed against the front upper teeth. In skeleton misalignment, this is often genetic and something not caused by habits.

Common problems and symptoms
Both underbites and overbites can cause some discomfort and problems with speaking and chewing. If they are left or worsen, you may experience pain in these activities, as well as aching in the jaw, and even some erosion of tooth enamel, which increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. In a less physical aspect, you may feel a knock to your confidence, which is still a very real symptom, and can affect the way you live your life.

Do you need surgery?
Depending on the severity of your underbite or overbite, you may or may not need surgery. In less significant cases, many patients at iSmile Orthodontics have seen success through non-surgical treatments. If the protrusion or overlap is severe, surgery may be a requirement. We treat everyone on a patient by patient basis, so our treatment is always personalised to you.

How we can help
The good news is the sooner you take action, the lower the risks of severe symptoms. Orthodontics for children with overbites or underbites can mean non-surgical treatments that nip the problem in the bud and curb future issues. You’ll also skip those painful teenage years when self-esteem can really make a difference to their lives. Treatments our patients have successfully undergone include braces on the upper and lower jaw for 1-2 years to fully realign the crooked teeth and give back that perfect smile. Braces include the traditional metal braces as well as the subtle ceramic braces popular with teenagers and adolescents. In some cases, you may be eligible for Invisalign treatment, which is are specially molded, virtually invisible aligners that can be useful for overbites and underbites.

Check out our results page to see previous success stories or get in touch to see how we can help you.

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