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July 2018

Can Crooked Teeth Cause Cavities?

By Blog

Crooked teethCrooked teeth can make you feel embarrassed. You may try to hide your smile, deliberately not smile, or be self-conscious when you do. While an imperfect smile can negatively affect your self-confidence in social and professional circles, the fact is, crooked teeth can also wreak havoc on the health of your entire mouth.

Are crooked teeth nagging you? Schedule a consultation with Markham Orthodontics of Sacramento, CA so that we can help. Contact us at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.

How crooked teeth affect oral health

Crooked teeth may be crowded and/or overlapped. In such cases, it is difficult to remove plaque and food particles from between teeth, with a toothbrush or dental floss. The plaque not removed with daily brushing hardens into tartar, and tartar must be scraped from teeth by a dental hygienist. The build-up of bacterial plaque and tartar ultimately leads to gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the USA. It has been connected to systemic health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes complications, to name a few.

As a certified and experienced orthodontist, Dr. Markham can determine whether straightening your teeth will help deter gum disease and other related health problems.

Occlusion is also an issue. If teeth on your upper and lower arches don’t meet properly when you close your mouth, your dental health may suffer. Upper and lower arch misalignment is called malocclusion. This condition contributes to teeth grinding (called bruxism), which in turn will cause tooth wear and cracking. Malocclusion also causes TMJ disorder, a painful condition of the jaw joints.

By correcting dental alignment, bruxism, TMJ disorder, and related tooth trauma may be avoided.

What causes crooked teeth?

There are several reasons that people develop crooked teeth, including genetics. If your mouth is simply too small to allow all of your teeth proper space for development, the teeth will become crowded and crooked. Oftentimes, this issue can be detected in children as young as seven years of age, at which time phase one or interceptive orthodontic therapy may be advised. Dr. Markham may employ expanders to widen the arch and space maintainers to keep permanent teeth in their proper place as neighboring primary teeth fall out.

In the case of adults, previously straight teeth can shift and become crooked or overlapping when wisdom teeth erupt. These giant third molars in the back of our mouths can affect the appearance of a smile, as well as occlusion.

Not replacing lost permanent teeth leaves room for teeth to shift out of place, too. Most often, teeth move into the empty space to compensate for the lost tooth, but in some cases, shifting leads to crookedness.

What can be done?

X-rays and a complete oral exam will help Dr. Markham and our team determines whether your dental alignment needs to be addressed and if your oral health has been affected by it. Depending on your condition, we may suggest orthodontic treatment. Today, many types of orthodontic braces are available, from inconspicuous, clear, removable aligners to clear or tooth-colored brackets and wires to traditional braces.

If you or a member of your family want straighter teeth for a more attractive smile or experience difficulty or discomfort due to crooked teeth, schedule a consultation with Markham Orthodontics of Sacramento CA, so we can help. Contact us at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.

teen braces, Sacramento CA

The Unique Challenges (and Benefits) of Teen Braces

By Blog

For most kids, the right age for braces is usually somewhere between ages 9 and 13. Sometimes misalignment or crowding develop later, when a teen is well into high school. Both braces and Invisalign are great choices for teens and adults with mild-to-moderate malocclusion, so deciding to pursue a course of orthodontics can be beneficial at any age. However, wearing braces as a teen can present some unique challenges.

Are you interested in a consultation for teen braces, Sacramento CA? Visit Markham Orthodontics for a consultation. Call us at (916) 924-8970 for an appointment.

Independent Teens and Oral Hygiene

One of the benefits of an orthodontic patient being younger is that it is easier for parents to monitor their oral hygiene and eating habits. The older a child, the less control a parent tends to have over both diet and daily brushing and flossing. No teens want a parent looking over their shoulders when they floss their teeth! However, oral hygiene becomes doubly important when one is wearing braces, as there are more surfaces to hide bacteria and more opportunities for food to get stuck in the teeth.

If your teen is starting a course of orthodontic braces, we highly encourage parents to assist and monitor their teens closely during the transition period. After a healthy routine is established, feel free to encourage independence-as-usual. This can mean buying your teen a variety of orthodontic flossing tools and letting them try different products before they decide which works best. You may even want to buy your teen a water flosser (oral irrigator) if they struggle with managing flossing picks.

It’s also important to discuss the new dietary restrictions that come with braces. Have a discussion about foods that may damage braces, make a list of “banned” items or activities, and discuss why it’s important to comply with the changes.

If your teen starts wearing Invisalign, help him or her put together an oral hygiene bag that includes: a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a case for the aligners. This bag must now go everywhere with your child, as he or she will need to brush and floss the teeth after meals and beverages (everything except plain water).

Scheduling Office Visits

Teen braces require visits every four weeks, which can be a challenge for a teenager with a busy schedule of graduation credit classes and after-school activities. If a teenager is already driving himself to and from school, however, this can be a plus for parents. Independent transportation allows a patient to schedule and maintain appointments without affecting a parent’s schedule. If your teen wears braces and does his office visits solo, we can follow up with parents to make sure lines of communication stay open. If any problems develop, we will let you know so you can discuss them with your teen. For example, if we see signs that oral hygiene may be slipping, we will let you know.

Choosing Between Braces and Invisalign

If your child qualifies for Invisalign, you can bet he or she will vote for clear aligners over braces. However, Invisalign requires a high level of patient compliance. If your teen has struggled with changes to his/her routine in the past, or has been lax in their oral hygiene, Invisalign may not be the best choice.  A patient who can’t adjust to wearing the aligners 20-22 hours of the day should consider braces instead.

Speed Up Your Treatment with Accelerators

If your teen is in a hurry to complete their course of braces or Invisalign faster than the initial treatment plan requires, we have accelerators that can usually achieve this. AcceleDent and Propel provide gentle vibrations that stimulate the bone and encourage faster movement of the teeth. If this is of interest to you, ask about it during your consultation and we will explain the treatments.

Are you interested in a consultation for teen braces in, Sacramento CA? Visit Markham Orthodontics for a consultation. We will examine your child and take x-rays to diagnose any alignment or bite issues and explain your options for treatment. Call us at (916) 924-8970 for an appointment.

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