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Sports and Braces

Having braces does require some changes to your lifestyle. There are many kinds of food which should be avoided during your orthodontic treatment to prevent damage to the braces themselves and make cleaning easier. If you are a keep sportsperson, there are also some precautions you should take to protect your mouth and minimise the chances of your braces becoming damaged. Take a read of our tips below and if you have more questions, make sure you ask your orthodontist for advice.

Wear A Mouth Guard

Many contact sports require all players to wear mouth guards, irrespective of whether you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. This is predominantly to protect your teeth in general from being broken or chipped in a collision. If you have braces, a mouth guard will protect you from any facial impact. While a football to the face wouldn’t necessarily cause any lasting damage if you don’t have braces, with them is another story. The metal can cut the inside of your mouth badly and healing times are prolonged because of the braces themselves. They can also dislodge the brackets themselves. In the case of extreme damage, orthodontic treatment may even be paused and your entire schedule pushed backwards. If you are at all at risk of receiving impact to the face, wear a mouth guard, just in case.

Your mouth guard should be comfortable, fit you well and not move much once in place. Many professional athletes have custom-made mouth guards. While you are wearing braces, it is not necessary to invest in one of these. A regular ‘braces mouth guard’ or an orthodontic mouth guard can be used which not only accommodates the additional substance in your mouth but can be moulded to fit individuals fairly comfortably. They are made of silicone and connect to your brace using flanges which both hold them in place and protect your lips. You can also get styles called a ‘boil-and-bite’ mouth guard which are made of thermal plastic and are ideal for players with braces. Simply heat them up, bite down and the mouth guard will be the correct shape for your mouth. Ask your orthodontist where to purchase one. If you have dental insurance, it may be worth checking whether your policy covers injuries which are obtained wearing a generic mouth guard because some don’t. In this case, an orthodontic mouth guard would be the best option.

When you’re not wearing your mouth guard, make sure it is cleaned and stored somewhere dry. They can be washed in water and even brushed gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Again, every mouth guard is different so ask your orthodontist for specific instructions. Once you’ve cleaned it, make sure the mouth guard is completely dry before you put it away to prevent bacteria from growing. If your mouth guard becomes damaged, either through a collision or overuse (biting wears the surfaces down), replace it. A degraded mouth guard does nothing.

Try Some Different Sports

Perhaps having braces is the perfect opportunity to try a different sport. Low impact activities which have minimal contact are far safer and can be enjoyed throughout your orthodontic treatment. Swimming, running, and dance are all great examples of sports which are entirely safe for people with braces. Basically, anything without a ball involved will be very low risk.

Don’t allow your orthodontic treatment to dictate your life for two years. You can still enjoy the sports you love as long as you take the correct precautions. For the best protection, speak to your orthodontist about obtaining an orthodontic mouth guard and get back to living life to the full as you work towards achieving that perfect smile.

Advantages of Early Orthodontic Treatment

If you are thinking of orthodontic treatment for your child, we recommend that they first see an orthodontist when they are seven or eight years old. This may sound young but scientific research illustrates there are many advantages to obtaining early orthodontic treatment. Whether your child needs braces or alternative procedures, it is best to consult an expert at a time when treatment may be less extreme and even preventative.

 

When your child first meets one of our orthodontists here at iSmile Orthodontics, we will take the time to carefully evaluate the way in which their jaws are developing, the growth of their permanent teeth and whether there is enough space in their mouth. This is a process which can begin before all the baby teeth have been lost so there is no need to delay. Most early orthodontic treatments can begin once the four front upper teeth have descended. Peace of mind is as easy as booking in for an expert consultation. You don’t need to be referred by your dentist. It may be that your child does not need any treatment or your orthodontist may recommend you wait a few years until all the teeth have grown to have braces fitted. Even if this is the case, consulting with an orthodontist at an early stage means they can identify the optimum time to start treatment for your child.

 

By identifying and addressing any malocclusion problems early, an orthodontist can begin to correct the already grown teeth to make space for those teeth which are incoming. This is commonly called Phase One Treatment and can reduce the risk of your child needing extractions in later life. Treatments can include appliances, expanders and space maintainers and are intended to improve the growth pattern of teeth. Until we are eighteen, our jawbones continue to change shape and harden. Children’s jaws are more pliable and their teeth will accept the movement better than adults, making it more effective and quicker to conduct orthodontic treatment at a younger age. Phase Two Treatments, such as braces, may come later after all of the teeth have descended to correct the alignment of the adult teeth. Some children may not need future work if they attend an orthodontist from an early age because potential problems could have been avoided through early treatment.

 

Common signs your child may require orthodontic attention in the future include:

 

  • Losing teeth either early or late – most children start to lose teeth when they are five and have all of their adult teeth by the time they are thirteen.
  • Speech problems
  • Mouth breathing
  • Problems chewing or biting
  • Sucking their thumb past the age of five – if this persists, the habit can push the adult teeth out of place.
  • A shifting jaw when your child opens their mouth – also known as a crossbite.
  • Crowded front teeth – this is not usually noticeable until they are about eight and many of adult teeth have grown in.
  • Their teeth do not meet properly

 

Even if you do not recognise any of these symptoms in your child, making an appointment with an orthodontist is always recommended. A professional may be able to identify a mild problem or foresee a future issue. Whatever the recommendation, the younger a child visits, the better chance the child has of minimising their need for extreme dental treatment. In some cases, braces may be avoided altogether.

 

Here at iSmile Orthodontics our staff have extensive experience treating children of all ages. We work alongside the child and their parents to ensure everyone involved understands the treatment process, what stages to expect and also to develop an affordable, flexible payment plan. Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly staff members and make an appointment for your child.

Invisalign’s 3D Technology

Invisalign & iTero’s 3D Scanner

Orthodontic services are benefiting from recent technological development. Invisalign retainers can be created using 3D technology based on 3D images; making the process of being fitted for your aligners quicker, easier and more precise than ever before. This technology also enables replacement aligners to be made immediately in the event of one being lost or broken so your treatment time isn’t extended. Comfortable, invisible and removable, no wonder Invisalign is a favourite amongst patients and orthodontists.

Patients like to see a projection of what their smile will look like after they have finished their orthodontic treatment and with Invisalign, this is possible. We can create a digitised graphic of the journey your teeth will take and their end position, so you can see the goal we are all working towards at the start of your treatment with us. This is just one of the great advantages of Invisalign and its digital technology which supports you and your orthodontist throughout the process.

Each Invisalign aligner, of which patients receive 12 to 48, depending on their treatment, is worn for approximately two weeks as it gently coaxes the teeth into their new position. With Invisalign, it is not necessary to sit for hours with uncomfortable and unpleasant-tasting moulding in your mouth to create these aligners. Instead, they are crafted by 3D technology based on 3D images of your mouth. The custom-made aligners are sculpted from a material designed by Invisalign called SmartTrack which is smooth and comfortable to wear. The scanners are also able to create multiple aligners at once so you don’t have to return to your orthodontist more than once every two months. We will give you several sets of Invisalign with instructions on how often to change over the aligners for a hassle-free treatment style.

Invisalign sets can be removed by the patient; a real selling point for this product. Take them out to eat, play sports and brush your teeth so your lifestyle needn’t be impacted by your orthodontic treatment style. However, it is inevitable that removed aligners are occasionally lost or damaged. In the event of this happening, iSmile will replace your aligners quickly and free of charge. We don’t want your treatment time to be lengthened because of a simple mistake. Thanks to Invisalign’s 3D technology, new aligners are quick and easy to make so your teeth won’t have a chance to move back.

Interested in Invisalign? Make an appointment with iSmile Orthodontics today and find out if this technologically superior style of braces is suitable for you. Our orthodontists offer Invisalign through our customised, interest-free payment plans too so they’re affordable for all patients seeking to achieve their perfect smile. Call today to book your free consult in one of our three Melbourne clinics.

What Not To Eat With Braces

If you’ve recently had braces fitted, you may be struggling to eat comfortably. As well as your mouth feeling tender at first and after tightening sessions, it is important to consider carefully the impact hard or sticky food will have on your mouth hardware. Orthodontists throughout Melbourne will recommend types of food to eat and those to avoid with braces. Here’s a list of foodstuffs we really advise you steer clear from whilst wearing braces. Remember, it will be all worth it for the perfect smile.

Firstly, let’s explain why it’s important to be careful about what you eat when you have braces on your teeth. Although sturdy, we don’t recommend you test the strength of your braces by biting into hard food. Similarly, sticky food can cause strain to your braces and all Melbourne orthodontists would recommend avoiding these sorts of treats. This food can get stuck in between your braces and teeth and make cleaning a real challenge. Also, if your braces are of the traditional ‘train track’ variety, the risk of staining to your teeth due to poor dental hygiene is higher. Remember to always clean away any trapped food from around the brace itself to ensure your end result really is a perfect smile. Now let’s take a look at what food Melbourne orthodontists and those all over Australia recommend avoiding:

  • Popcorn – always high on the list because the hulls are a real nightmare for brace-wearers when they get trapped in the wires or between teeth
  • Ice – bad for your teeth enamel and your braces, ice is very hard and can cause some serious damage to your mouth if munched on
  • Gum – really, it’s not worth the clean-up task afterwards
  • Hard food – biting into something hard can damage the metal and dislodge parts of the brace frame, forcing an unscheduled trip back to your orthodontist. Specifically avoid:

– Cookies
– Crackers
– Chocolate
– Lollies
– Whole raw vegetables (carrots and corn on the cob, in particular)
– Corn chips, taco shells and pretzels – the starchy nature of this food has a habit of burrowing its way into the brace frame and making cleaning very difficult
– Nuts

  • Crusty bread and pizza – again, it can damage the braces and can become lodged in the wires. In order to still enjoy this food, cut it up into smaller pieces instead of biting down with your front teeth
  • Sticky food – as mentioned above, food which has sticky qualities can be incredibly harmful to the braces and even disconnect the wires from the brackets. Specifically avoid:

– Caramel
– Gooey chocolates
– Chunky peanut butter
– Chewy lollies (no more gummy bears …)

All Melbourne orthodontists understand the frustration and difficulties which comes with braces but we also know how important it is for our patients to adhere to these rules if they truly want to achieve a perfect smile by the end of the treatment. It can take some getting used to but you need to adapt your diet towards softer foods and ensure you regularly brush and floss between your teeth to minimise chances of decay and any plaque build up. As a general rule, steer clear of all food which requires too much chewing and we can guarantee when you are ready to have your braces removed, you will have the perfect smile you always wanted.

Good Oral Hygiene with Braces

Once you have had your braces fitted, it is very important you listen to your orthodontist’s instructions in relation to maintaining good oral hygiene. With fixed brace types such as metal braces, ceramic braces and even some forms of permanent retainers, cleaning your teeth becomes more difficult and, at the same time, more important. Here are some tips from iSmile Orthodontics to help you keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day – your teeth may become more sensitive and prone to cavities or sores during your orthodontic treatment. Keeping them clean is the best way to minimise this risk. Additionally, if you do require dental treatment, this may prolong the time you need to wear your braces. We recommend you use a soft-bristled brush because your teeth and gums are particularly sensitive at this time. Make sure you clean not only above the line of the braces but also the narrow strip between the brackets and your gums. This can be neglected because of the awkward angle but make sure you are vigilant.
  • Use an inter-dental brush – this will be provided to you by your orthodontist and is a small brush specifically designed to clean around the brackets and wires of braces and fixed retainers. Use it to dislodge all large particles of food before you commence your regular flossing and tooth brushing habits.
  • Floss once a day – the braces do make this a little more awkward than usual but flossing is important for anyone wanting to maintain good oral hygiene. Make sure there is no food lodged between your teeth, especially common if you are undergoing your orthodontic treatment to fix gaps.
  • Rinse – use an antiseptic dental mouthwash to rinse your mouth out after you have finished brushing your teeth. This will help clean the braces and kill any residual bacteria as well as soothing any sores caused by the metal wires and brackets. It is also advisable to rinse your mouth with water after every meal to quickly dislodge any food.
  • Look in the mirror – always keep an eye on your teeth and smile. You can often catch sight of pieces of food or even inflamed gums by looking in a mirror. It can also allow you to note whether your teeth are experiencing any discolouration. If you notice something unusual, speak to your orthodontist.
  • Have a professional cleaning every six months – return to your regular dentist in order for them to not only check on the teeth but also clean them. Although orthodontists are fully qualified dentists, it is unnecessary to return to iSmile for this simple procedure. It is also good for your regular dentist to see you throughout the orthodontic treatment process.
  • Avoid food and drink which can stain teeth enamel – as the brackets of your braces are glued onto your teeth, this covered portion of each tooth does not get exposed to staining food such as coffee, red wine and berries. Excessive consumption throughout your orthodontic treatment, regardless of how often you brush, can lead to a noticeable different in the shade of your enamel once the braces are removed.

People with braces are more susceptible to oral health problem such as gum disease. It is therefore more important than ever that you brush your teeth twice a day, use mouthwash and follow all other advice your orthodontist gives you. That way, when your braces are removed, you will have a perfect, healthy smile to show for your time undergoing orthodontic treatment. To find out more and for specific advice relating to your braces, ask your orthodontist at your next appointment.