Thursday, January 24, 2013

What is an Observation Appointment?

We understand schedules are hectic and picking your children up from school and bringing them to an appointment at the orthodontist is sometimes no small task. Sometimes the appointment is very short and may seem meaningless. One such appointment is an observation visit, which is normally only about 15 minutes long. Here are a few reasons for observation visits...

Observation appointments are scheduled for orthodontic patients who are either not quite ready for treatment, are undergoing some type of interceptive treatment, or are waiting for their remaining permanent teeth to erupt. The orthodontist may take a progress x-ray at this appointment to help evaluate your child's dental development. Three things that are normally evaluated at this appointment are:

First, if the patient has had any type of interceptive treatment, the first order of business is checking the stability of the correction. It may be a retainer check, appliance check, or growth check.

Second, the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of the permanent teeth is monitored. If the doctors notice that a primary tooth is not falling out on time, or identify in an x-ray that the permanent teeth are headed in the wrong direction, extraction of those primary teeth may be recommended. If so, we will refer that back to your family dentist. Evaluating the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of permanent teeth does not take much time, but is very important. Ignoring the development problems, however, could potentially add months of treatment time to a patients orthodontic care.

Third, to discuss with the family about the timing of the possible future treatment is necessary. We will never begin treatment before a patient is ready. This might mean staying under observation a few months, or possibly years. If treatment is started too early, your son or daughter may have the braces on too long. If we wait too long to begin treatment, the opportunity to keep treatment time short may be missed, which can extend treatment into the later high school years.

Following your children's development will help them receive the care they need at the appropriate time. Although these appointments are short and sometimes seem like a wasted trip, Dr. Sondhi and Dr. Biggs know exactly what to look for at an observation appointment and will make sure that your child is progressing as expected.

If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask any one of the Sondhi-Biggs team members to explain your child's progress in the treatment process.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can my toothbrush make me sick?

The dreaded cold and flu season is here again! This raises a common question around the office: Should we replace a toothbrush when we have been sick?

Since the flu is a viral infection, antibodies are developed once you have been infected, which helps prevent you from catching the same illness twice. Even for bacterial infections or minor illnesses like the common cold, the likelihood of becoming re-infected from your toothbrush is fairly slim. Also, toothpaste frequently contains antibacterial compounds, which further decrease the chances of becoming re-infected.

The American Dental Association recommends the following tips for toothbrush care:

  • Do not share toothbrushes, especially if you are sick.
  • Allow the brush to air dry after each use.
  • Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Worn bristles are less effective in properly cleaning your teeth, and can actually be damaging to teeth if used too long!

We hope these tips help! Feel free to give any one of our Sondhi-Biggs Orthodontics team members a call if you have any questions!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

As a Follow Up...

With reference to last week's blog regarding the differences between crossbites, overbites and underbites, we hope the information was helpful, and wanted to expand just a little bit further.

Crossbite, overbites and underbites are only a few of the types of problems we look for and identify at an early age. Certain orthodontic problems benefit from early intervention and respond to treatment while a child is younger, and growing. Not all children require early intervention, but those that will benefit, need to be screened and evaluated early. Therefore, it is the American Dental Association's recommendation that children should be screened by an orthodontist as early as age 7. Because of this, our doctors are able to identify, diagnose, and treat some of these more severe types of issues, therefore avoiding the extraction of permanent teeth. Certain discrepancies, if caught early enough, can help to avoid further jaw surgeries. Finally, because of the techniques used by our doctors, we never use Herbst appliances or headgear in our practice. That is not true in all offices.

Through early intervention and proper screening, Sondhi-Biggs Orthodontics continues to provide "Smiles Above the Rest". If we can answer any questions for you, or be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact our office via e-mail or phone.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Crossbite, overbite, and underbite... What's the difference?

As you know, your overall health is connected to your oral health. When your teeth and jaws are not properly aligned, your breathing, speech, and overall appearance could be affected. As a result of malocclusion, also commonly referred to as a "bad bite", your teeth may become worn, or have other effects of long term damage. The only way to properly address and correct your malocclusion is with orthodontic treatment, usually with braces.

A malocclusion may also be referred to as an underbite, crossbite or overbite. The difference in the 3 types of malocclusions are explained below:

  • Crossbite: This could be one single tooth or an entire section of your mouth in which the upper and lower jaws are misaligned, usually causing one or more upper teeth to bite inside the lower teeth. Crossbites can happen on the front or along the sides of your mouth and are known to cause wear on the teeth, gum disease and/or bone loss.
  • Overbite: The upper teeth overlap the lower teeth excessively. Overbites can lead to gum issues or irritation and even wear on the lower teeth, and can potentially cause jaw pain or possible jaw joint problems. An overbite can be caused by oral habits, such as thumb sucking.
  • Underbite: The lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. This can be caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or a combination. Underbites can also be caused by missing upper teeth, which can prevent the normal function of the front teeth. This, in turn, leads to unfavorable wear on teeth, and possible TMJ issues.
Fortunately, we are able to treat these bite problems.  If you suspect you or your child has a bite misalignment, we encourage you to contact any of our Sondhi-Biggs staff members to address your concerns. By initiating an orthodontic consultation at the ADA recommended age of 7, you can help your child avoid years of unnecessary problems and/or self-consciousness about their teeth. Our doctors will evaluate your child to determine whether treatment now or later is in their best interest.