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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 ☺

USE ORTHODONTIC WAX
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.

SALT WATER RINSES
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.

ENJOY SOME COLD TREATS
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.

MASSAGE YOUR 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.

AVOID CERTAIN FOODS
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 ☺

Preventing Delays During Orthodontic Treatment

May 12th, 2016

Our patients dislike the thought of delaying their treatment and often ask us what they can do in between their adjustment visits to help. Today, Dr. Varghese and our team thought we would provide some tips on how you can stay ON TRACK OR AHEAD of your scheduled treatment time.

The first thing is to keep your adjustment appointments! Each visit with Dr. Varghese is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way, and in a certain time frame. It’s important to note that missing an appointment can add weeks or months to your treatment time.

Next, we want you to let our team know right away if you experience any problems with your braces or appliances. A missing wire, rubber band, or broken bracket can delay treatment, so we ask that you please call right away to report any issues rather than waiting until your next visit.

Make sure you wear your rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Varghese! Most, if not all, of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. Not wearing the bands or elastics, or not wearing them enough, can slow down treatment time. Rubber bands are critical in aligning your bite and are important for correcting the way you bite.

Finally, we want you to maintain optimal oral hygiene, just as you did before your treatment began. In addition to flossing regularly, we encourage you to brush your teeth several times a day. Not brushing will allow sugar to wear away the cement on the braces, making them less effective in moving your teeth, as well as elevating your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay, which will inevitably delay treatment time.

If you have any questions about any of these tips, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our North Aurora or Huntley locations.

Does Your Retainer Fit?

March 10th, 2016

An orthodontic retainer is an appliance that Dr. Varghese delivers to our patients to keep their teeth as straight as possible, after braces are removed. We even see patients that have been out of orthodontic treatment for years that have lost their retainers, and now they need a replacement, so their teeth do not continue to shift more than they already have.

We deliver retainers to our patients' on the same day that patients’ braces are removed ☺ Dr. Varghese makes certain our patients' retainers fit comfortably and correctly before they leave our office. We expect retainers might feel snug at first, but they will surely loosen up the same way that a new pair of slip-on shoes loosen up with wear. If a retainer doesn’t fit right when first delivered, we will either remake it or change the kind of retainer completely.

When a patient reports that his or her retainer is no longer fitting, there are two things that could have happened. The first occurs when a patient does something to his or her retainer that distorts its shape. This can happen when a clear plastic retainer, known as an Essix retainer, is cleaned in water that is too hot. Washing or soaking retainers in water that is too warm can cause the heat sensitive plastic to “relax” and lose its shape allowing teeth to move. Retainers with acrylic and wires, also known as a Hawley retainer, can be deformed by being inserted or removed incorrectly (using the front wire as a handle for example) or by being stepped on or slept on.

The second and most common cause of retainers not fitting properly, or not at all, is that the retainer is simply not being worn as prescribed by Dr. Varghese. There are different regimens for maintaining straight teeth, so we can’t dictate here what is appropriate for you. After 1 full year of being out of braces, we suggest to our patients' to go from full time retainer wear, to part time retainer wear. We recommend going a couple nights without your retainer (after the first year),then, insert your retainer. Does your retainer feel tight? If so, you may want to wear it more frequently than not. We can say, that if your retainer fit when you left our office, but it no longer fits, chances are you have not worn it enough and your teeth have moved. If the change is recent and minimal (and your retainers still fit but are tight) you can try wearing them full time to see if the teeth will move back where they were before. If the teeth don’t realign within a couple of days however, you’ll need to see Dr. Varghese as soon as possible. If you stopped wearing your retainer more than a few days and your retainer won’t fit at all, you’ll also need to see Dr. Varghese. Waiting too long will only allow more movement and increase the likelihood that you’ll need braces once again to correct the shifting.

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