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Is it Safe to Undergo Dental X-Rays and Orthodontic Treatment While Pregnant?

May 7th, 2018

Expecting a little bundle of joy is an exciting time in your life, and it is important to take every step possible to protect the health of your developing baby. After all, you have already implemented lifestyle changes such as abstaining from alcohol and attending regular prenatal appointments. For this reason, it is common for women to be concerned about having dental x-rays during pregnancy. As you explore your options, here is what you should know about orthodontic care and your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a time when taking care of your health takes on new importance, and this is also true for your oral health care needs. During pregnancy, your increasing hormones can cause your gums to swell and lead to irritation if food gets caught in between. Developing oral health issues, such as cavities, can also leave you vulnerable to infections that could affect your baby. Healthy teeth are also vital for being able to eat a nutritious diet that supports you and your baby’s needs for their development. Since oral health can rapidly change during your pregnancy, it is important to work as a team with Dr. Varghese to identify any changes that need to be made to your treatment plan as soon as possible.

There are many things to avoid while you are pregnant, and your doctor probably already gave you a list a mile long that is filled with things you cannot eat or drink. However, you can rest assured that both the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists typically consider a dental x-ray during pregnancy to be safe when proper shielding is provided. Dr. Varghese can talk to you about the necessity of any prescribed x-rays and show you how our shields work to prevent radiation from reaching your baby. It is also important to note that most orthodontists, including Dr. Varghese, only conduct x-rays when they are medically necessary so the risk of having a rare one performed is very small.

Due to the length of time that orthodontic treatments take, many women wear braces while pregnant. Typically, your braces should not cause you any additional discomfort during your pregnancy, and they should not hinder your ability to eat a healthy diet. You may need to balance your orthodontic appointments with your prenatal visits, however, so be sure to plan ahead. As you progress towards delivery, Dr. Varghese will provide you with more information about maintaining braces during your recovery.

Due to the increased pregnancy hormones that can bother your gums, it is important to follow your oral hygiene routine Dr. Varghese recommends for maintaining braces during your pregnancy. Make sure to avoid eating sticky sweets, even when you are craving them since they increase the risk of cavities. You will also need to brush after meals, and be sure to use interdental cleaners to get around your brackets and wires. If you cannot brush soon after eating, then rinse your mouth out with water to remove any leftover food. If you wear Invisalign, remember to remove your aligners during meals, and clean them according to your normal routine. Schedule your routine dental cleanings just as you would when you were not pregnant, although you may need to go more often if you experience any pregnancy-related problems such as gingivitis.

As you advance in your pregnancy, it can be harder to get comfortable when you are sitting for long periods of time. Make sure to let Dr. Varghese know if you need to have the chair adjusted so that you are not lying flat on your back for long periods of time, and you may need to bring a small pillow to provide additional support. Keep your blood circulating by uncrossing your legs while you are in the chair, and consider bringing some music to serve as a distraction if you find yourself getting antsy. While most braces procedures are short, you can also talk to Dr. Varghese about taking a quick break so you can stretch your legs during longer visits.

Dr. Varghese has experience working with women who wear braces while pregnant, so he will be more than willing to talk to you about any issues that arise during the next few exciting months. While having dental x-rays during pregnancy is generally considered safe, we will be able to work with you if you decide to forgo the procedure. If your braces cause discomfort, we can recommend safe pain management strategies to increase your comfort. When it comes to your comfort, consider Dr. Varghese a partner in your decision to create a beautiful smile, so be willing to let them know about any issues that arise.

Call us today for your complimentary orthodontic exam! ☺

How Do I Care For and Brush My Teeth with Braces?

October 27th, 2017

It's up to you to ensure that your mouth is healthy and your nearly-straighten teeth are clean, Dr. Varghese recommends regular and timely brushing and flossing of your teeth. Braces are specialized appliances placed on your teeth to correct their position and improve your bite. However, one of the famous questions that are asked every day is, HOW DO I BRUSH AND FLOSS MY TEETH WITH BRACES?

Everyone will agree that it can be time consuming and difficult to keep proper oral health and boost self-care habits while in orthodontic treatment. Braces can be the perfect location to hide all food particles, plaque and saliva build-up!

How to Brush with Braces

Brushing your teeth with brackets on isn’t much different to brushing without them. Many of those with braces typically brush their teeth at least twice every day. There’s a lot of information to know, more than brushing after every meal.

Before you begin brushing, swish some clean water around your mouth to get rid of any lying food particle.

A soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste are the perfect components to keep your teeth clean. However, standard orthodontic treatment recommends the best anti-tooth decay product, frequently a fluoride-based. Using a “go-between” brush, commonly called a “proxabrush” is highly recommended as their heads can easily and quickly be replaced, and their bristles are cone-shaped.

When using the proxabrush, carefully move it in small, circular movements to reach all food debris including those trapped under the gum line. Additionally, do not use lots of pressure; hold the brush at an angle while covering all places between the teeth, their surfaces, and between the brackets. It should take you some time to guarantee thorough cleaning of your teeth. Navigate it on the top of all teeth, further to your “wisdom teeth” and in a circular motion.

Flossing with Braces

It’s worth mentioning that unlike the common belief that flossing with braces isn’t possible, it’s equally important. It’s incomplete to brush, hence, failing to floss or improperly doing it can increase the risk of a tooth disease. Flossing is another important step, especially to clean those locations where your brush can’t reach. Reusable floss thread or Super-Floss, will remove pieces of food and plaque in between teeth making it effective and easy.

How Often?

But how often should I brush my teeth? How often should I floss? Dr. Varghese recommends at least four times that include:

After having your breakfast

After lunch

After dinner

Before bed

Gingivitis can form within 48 hours. It is clear that if you miss brushing and flossing for two consecutive days, or even improperly brush, you will be risking exposure to plenty of diseases not to mention the discoloration of your teeth.Oral diseases, including gingivitis and plaque thrive on the germs resulting from pieces of food, not brushed or flossed away. Flossing must be followed, then, we recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash. Dr. Varghese recommends at least 30 seconds of rinsing. Apparently, different from the common belief that braces on your teeth can’t inhibit a thorough cleaning; you can surely maintain the health of your teeth with them on. They will gradually straighten and keep them healthier but if a poor cleaning technique is maintained, the risk of the most common oral diseases can be real.

Please do not hesitate to contact our offices at 630.907.9680 or 847.961.5515 if any questions arise regarding your oral health during your orthodontic treatment.

How To Alleviate Discomfort After Your Braces Are Put On

October 29th, 2016

One of the most common misconceptions about braces is that they are painful to have put on and adjusted. While getting braces placed on your teeth is NOT painful, your gums and teeth will most likely be sore for a little bit. The discomfort after braces can last anywhere from a few days to a week. Discomfort or soreness after new braces, is caused by your teeth and body adjusting. It is very likely that you can experience the braces rubbing against your gums and cheeks. The discomfort is usually mild and there are several things you can try to alleviate, or help any soreness. Try these tips to reduce discomfort and adjust to your new braces as quickly as possible ☺

When your braces are put on or adjusted, our assistants will give you a special wax that can be applied to the braces to act as a barrier or band aide, between the brackets and your cheeks and lips. Applying orthodontic wax to your gums, teeth, and braces can reduce discomfort while preventing gum irritation from the friction between your new braces and your mouth.
Simply break off a small piece of the wax and form a small mold with your fingers before applying it to any area where the bracket irritates your mouth. This wax is non-toxic, but remember to remove it before eating, brushing, or flossing. Apply more wax after each meal or as needed.

Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water a few times a day can help heal sores and cuts on your cheeks and gums while reducing mild swelling and discomfort. Make a simple salt water rinse by mixing one teaspoon of table salt into a glass of warm water. Swish the rinse around in your mouth for about one minute before spitting it out.

Frozen or cold treats like popsicles and ice cream help numb the cheeks and gums to quickly reduce soreness. Frozen foods and ice can also reduce mild swelling in the gums.

Whenever you feel discomfort, try rubbing your gums with an ice cube then rubbing your fingers gently over your gums. This can reduce swelling and numb your gums against mild pain.

Some foods should be avoided when you have braces. Some of these foods can damage your braces while others can get stuck in the brackets or cause discomfort while chewing. The list of foods to avoid include:
▪ Gummy or sticky foods like taffy and soft caramel
▪ Foods with a tough texture or hard surface like apples and bagels
▪ Corn on the cob
▪ Chewing gum
▪ Ribs and beef jerky
▪ Popcorn
▪ Raw carrots

Call Varghese Orthodontics to schedule your complimentary consultation with us in our North Aurora and Huntley areas today. Remember that every beautiful smile begins with healthy, straight teeth, and that is the goal of Dr. Varghese and our team at Varghese Orthodontics ☺

Why Did My Bracket Come Off My Tooth?

September 26th, 2016

There is nothing more frustrating than getting your braces on and then having one come loose. What exactly causes this and how can it be avoided? If there were only one reason that brackets come off (break), this would be a very short blog! Surprisingly, there are at least three variables that must be considered when trying to diagnose the cause of bracket failure, 1) The Tooth 2) The Placement Technique and 3) The Patient.

Ideal bond strength is most easily achieved between normal ivory colored enamel and a new orthodontic bracket. Although there are different orthodontic adhesives on the market, most have at least enough strength to hold a bracket on a normal tooth under regular conditions. When a bracket is attached to any other surface besides normal enamel, there is a loss of bond strength that results in more frequent bond failures. Examples of other surfaces include porcelain, hyper-calcified enamel (usually have a white, chalky appearance), hypo-calcified enamel (usually yellow or brown staining visible), or any number of dental restorations including tooth-colored composite and silver fillings. If a bracket must be attached to any of these surfaces, there will be a loss of bond strength. Another tooth-related cause of loose brackets is a non-ideal bite. If a tooth in the opposing arch hits on a bracket when the patient bites down, or even if a cusp tip in the opposing arch is directly across from a bracket, it is more likely that bracket will become broken during chewing.

The second variable that determines if a bracket stays on is the clinical technique used by the orthodontist. Modern bonding techniques require that teeth are clean, isolated, and dry before they are sealed. This is the reason why we use cheek retractors with built-in suction when placing brackets. Keep in mind that if a bracket breaks off from the tooth due to a bond failure, this will happen in a matter of minutes or hours. Brackets will not break off weeks later do to bond failure!

The patient is the third cause of bracket failure. Although all patients receive instructions about what they can and cannot eat with their braces on, changing eating habits is challenging. Hard and sticky foods must be avoided. This includes ice! Some patients forget that even some healthy foods (like raw carrots) are not good for their braces and must be avoided during treatment. Sports mouth guards are essential, but they can also break brackets and should be reported to our office. Last but not least, any habit that involves foreign objects going into the mouth (i.e. pens, fingernails, etc.) must be stopped.

It is important that you check your braces every night when you brush to make sure that none of the brackets have come loose during the day. Although patients commonly tell us a bracket came off during brushing, in reality it was probably already loose but was merely discovered at that time. You can tell if a bracket is loose by gently pushing on it with your finger. If you notice that it moves but the tooth does not, it is probably no longer attached.

If at any time you suspect a loose bracket, you should call us to schedule an appointment to have it repaired within one or two business days. Waiting longer than that could result in unwanted tooth movement that may lengthen your treatment time.

Call Varghese Orthodontics to schedule your complimentary consultation with us in our North Aurora and Huntley areas today. Every beautiful smile begins with healthy, straight teeth, and that is the goal of Dr. Varghese and our team at Varghese Orthodontics ☺

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