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Tips for Going to the Movies with Braces

November 8th, 2018

Who doesn’t love a fun night at the movies with friends or family? From the big screen picture to the surround sound to the delicious snacks, the immersive experience of the movie theater can lift anyone’s spirits. If you are wearing metal braces or clear braces, however, you’ll need to take a moment to rethink the snacks from the concession stand. Eat one of those large bags of popcorn, and you’ll end up in our chair faster than you can say “extra butter.” So NO Popcorn with Kernels!

This doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun snack while you sit back in the movie theater chair and smile along with your friends.

Here are just a few examples of foods that go great with movies AND braces!

Soft Pretzels: Hot, salty, and buttery, but without the dangerous crunch – soft pretzels are a great alternative to popcorn. Don’t forget the cheesy sauce for dipping!

Hot Dogs: You can’t go wrong with a soft bun and juicy hot dog, and most if not all of the toppings are safe bets, too.

Pizza: Pizza can a good option as long as the crust isn’t overly chewy or crunchy. If it is, that might tweak your brackets or irritate tender gums.

Chocolate Candy: Sticky treats like Skittles, caramel, Sour Patch Kids, gummy worms, and licorice can cause problems with your brackets. Instead, chocolate candies including M&Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kats, Mounds bars, Sno-Caps, and Reese’s Pieces are a much safer bet.

Ice Cream and Other Frozen Goodies: Many movie theaters now carry a variety of frozen desserts, and some luxury outlets even have milkshakes, slushies, and smoothies. Everything from ice cream sandwiches to bonbons to sundaes is fine, but think twice about blended treats with hard candies mixed into them.

Snacks from Home: If your movie theater doesn’t mind you bringing your own snacks, consider packing a few things to bring to the movies that are safe for your braces. Some ideas of what you can bring include soft fruit (bananas, berries, grapes, or orange segments), string cheese, cucumber slices and hummus, rolled up cold cuts, or baked chips and salsa.

This article is not meant as medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to know more about braces, call us at 630.907.9680 or 847.961.5515.

At what age should children see the orthodontist?

November 7th, 2018

This is one of the most common questions we’re asked from parents and dentists. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have their first orthodontic consultation around age 7. Many of the permanent teeth haven’t erupted at that age, but there may be an underlying issue that isn’t obviously apparent. The goal of these early visits is to identify problems before they develop into something more serious.
Orthodontists will evaluate how your child is growing and check for any potential risks to the bone, gums, teeth, or jaws. Some of the things we need to evaluate are crowding, tooth loss, spacing, and the type of bite your child has.

Crowding is a common dental problem and concern for both parents and dentists. It develops when the jaws are too small or the teeth are too big, and can exist simultaneously. If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, other teeth may shift into the vacant space, resulting in not enough room for the permanent teeth to erupt. The gums and bone around crowded teeth could become thin and recede in more severe cases of crowding. In these severe cases, the arches need to be expanded or teeth may need to be removed to create the needed space. On the other hand, large spacing occurs if teeth are small or missing, or if the arches have developed too wide.

The period of development during which the baby teeth are lost and permanent teeth erupt is extremely important. The placement of the primary teeth and when they fall out is also crucial. Permanent teeth should erupt in a fairly specific order. By the age of 7, children should have four permanent molars and two-to-four permanent incisors. Any significant deviation from the normal sequence could indicate crowded, missing, or extra teeth. If primary teeth were lost prematurely, patients may benefit from either an appliance that maintains the space where a tooth was, or the removal of a primary tooth to help minimize issues down the road.

Although teeth can be aligned when patients are older, crooked teeth in children can often lead to problems with chewing and function. Poorly positioned teeth are more susceptible to uneven wear or trauma, and can lead to periodontal (gum) and/or speech issues. Crooked teeth can also have negative social implications in children. Correcting maligned teeth at an earlier age not only improves chewing, but can also have a large impact on a child’s self-esteem.

If the top jaw is too narrow, kids often shift the lower jaw side to side to “find” a functional bite. This lateral shifting (crossbite) can lead to early tooth wear or asymmetric jaw growth. Early expansion of the upper jaw around the ages of 7-11 can eliminate crowding or shifting and improve irregular jaw growth.

Underbites occur when the lower jaw juts out ahead of the upper jaw, often making eating, swallowing, and speaking difficult. The condition is often hereditary, meaning that parents with underbites tend to have children with underbites. While we typically have to wait until the patient has finished growing to complete treatment, early detection is important so that the bite can be normalized to avoid any bite-shifting or damage to the front teeth. Patients with underbites who receive early treatment (between the ages of 7 and 10) are much less likely to need corrective jaw surgery later in life.

Early evaluation by an orthodontist can also identify an overbite, which is when a child’s upper teeth extend too far forward or the lower teeth don’t extend forward enough. The clinical term for this condition is 'overjet', and often indicates a poor bite and/or poor jaw growth. Thumb sucking in children is a common cause, creating flared teeth susceptible to being chipped or knocked out. While it isn’t always possible to completely correct the problem at a young age, early treatment can greatly reduce the severity of the problem and improve dental function and patient self-esteem.

It’s possible to detect vertical bite issues as early as age 7. Openbites occur when the top and bottom front teeth are unable to make contact when the jaws are closed. Often caused by a finger, thumb, or tongue habit, openbites can cause accelerated wear of the back teeth, speech impairments, and make eating and drinking difficult. Deep-bites occur when the top teeth completely cover the bottom teeth, potentially causing damage to the teeth and gums. Vertical problems normally worsen as the patient grows, making early detection and correction important.

While not every orthodontic problem can (or should) be treated at this age, an early screening at the age of 7 allows us to identify serious issues and correct them before they worsen. Many times, the best treatment decision is deciding to do nothing! The majority of kids are simply seen annually so we can monitor their progress if or until they are ready for treatment. If we see a situation that could benefit from early treatment, we’ll discuss the benefits of interceptive treatment. But most importantly, these visits allow us to launch into a fun, relaxed, and trusting doctor/patient relationship.

Halloween candy tips

October 30th, 2018

As a parent with 3 kids, I understand not wanting to ruin the fun of Halloween treats. That being said, there are some easy steps you can take to reduce the chances of cavitites as well as help to instill healthy habits-this goes for aduts too! We know that when any food is eaten, the natural bacteria in our mouths produce acid. It is this acid that eats away at the enamel of our teeth and causes tooth decay. It is possible to minimize the effect of all that sugar.

Start with a discussion before Halloween, thinking of ideas about what the family can do with all the candy from trick-or-treating. Our school typically collects candy for the troops after Halloween. This is a great way to give back to those who serve and reduce the number of those tempations around the house. Begin to establish some Halloween candy-eating guidelines. For instance, tell your own trick-or-treaters that they can pick out 25 pieces (or less) of the candy they most want.

Second, after the candy is brought home, help your children pick their treats they can keep. Sticky, gooey candy and items like lollipops and jawbreakers cause the most damage because they stay in the mouth for a long time compared to other candy treats. Plain chocolate bars or chocolate kisses turn out to be the better choices.

Third, eat Halloween candy (or any candy for that matter) immediately after a meal because the acid production from eating has already been activated. Keep in mind that eating candy between meals is not a good idea because of the extra acid it generates in the mouth.

Fourth, everybody should brush thier teeth after eating. If this is not possible or practical, then drink some water to wash away the sugars and starches. The longer these substances stay on your teeth, the more likely they are to cause cavities.

Last of all, keep the candy stash out of sight so no one will be tempted by it – parents included!

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that our nation consumes more than 7 billion pounds of candy each year and Halloween trick-or-treating contributes to a large percentage of that consumption. If we teach our children to use moderation, to make good choices, and to practice good dental hygiene, then it should be a Happy Halloween!

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.

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 ☺

Are You Visiting Your Dentist During Your Orthodontic Treatment?

January 11th, 2016

If you’re brushing your teeth three times per day and maintaining your daily flossing routine during your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Varghese and our team think that is AMAZING and to keep up the great work! Keep in mind that it’s just as important for you to visit your general dentist (DDS) every six months, or as recommended, in addition to daily brushing and flossing.

Remember: Don't forget to keep your regular visits with us too to keep your treatment on track and on time ☺

Dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health. Your general dentist can check for problems that might not be seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of tooth decay, as well as catch and treat oral health problems early. During an oral exam, your dentist examines the overall health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. Check-ups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing by a Dental Hygienist (RDH).

At Varghese Orthodontics we monitor our patients' oral hygiene and let our patients know if more brushing and flossing is needed! Daily brushing and flossing is so important to keep your orthodontic treatment on track and on time ☺

If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, please let us know during your next adjustment visit, as we can provide a few great references in the North Aurora and Huntley areas!

If you have changed your general dentist (DDS) since your last visit, please talk to Gigi, Jenn or Lindsey so we can update your information. Dr. Varghese keeps dentists updated on our patients' progress throughout treatment.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN…. Do You Know How Halloween Came To Be?

October 31st, 2015

Happy Halloween!! Dr. Varghese and our team wanted to be sure to wish our patients a fun-filled day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the “old days” it wasn’t even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called “Samhain,” as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season’s crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being “devil worship” and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became “All Saints Day,” which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids in costumes. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or Pirate's Booty to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gum.

BE AWARE.... Sticky, Chewy and Gummy candies can break or damage orthodontic appliances.

Remind kids to limit their candy intake and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause tooth decay and aggrivate gum disease. So stay warm, safe and of course, have a fun-filled Halloween!


October 11th, 2015

Orthodontic braces are used to straighten teeth, which not only creates a more pleasing appearance, but also helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Braces are only effective when they are properly cared for, however. Certain foods, for example, are better suited for individuals who have braces, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So what types of foods should you or your kids eat to protect dental appliances?

The best foods to eat with braces are those that are not high in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and a glass of water. If you are looking for some after-school snacks for your kids, consider string cheese with fruit.

A healthy dinner can include most types of vegetables, so long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!

Post-Tightening Foods

As braces begin to adjust the alignment of the teeth, Dr. Varghese will periodically tighten them to continue the alignment process. After tightening, the teeth may be sore and sensitive to certain foods. During this time, it is best to eat soft foods. Examples include:

• pudding
• mashed potatoes
• soup
• ice cream
• cottage cheese
• peas
• pancakes
• pasta

Foods to Avoid

According to the American Dental Association, anyone who wears braces – whether fixed or removable – should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to the braces, such as:

• hard candies
• gum
• nuts
• popcorn
• certain raw vegetables (for example, carrots)

Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing after meals to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth, but it can also cause discoloration.

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

October 4th, 2015

While it’s normally up to you to ensure that your mouth is healthy and your nearly-straightened teeth are clean, orthodontists require regular and timely brushing and flossing of teeth. Braces are specialized appliances placed on one’s teeth to correct their position and improve speech. They come in different sizes for every individual, and are proven to align the teeth to stay in proper position. 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 a real obstacle 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.


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 mere brushing after every meal.
Before you begin brushing, swish some clean water around your mouth to get rid of any lying food particle. It’s always overlooked, but orthodontists typically require that you gently run your finger up and down the brush’s bristles. It’s imperative as it removes any food particle left.
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.

A proxabrush cleans the teeth behind every archwire, in-between the brackets and work well on where flossing is insufficient or where the floss-thread won’t easily clean. It’s critical to use them every time you are cleaning your teeth as getting them isn’t a huge task.

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 energy; 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.


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. Brushing alone isn’t an adequate measure that warrant clean and healthy teeth, thus flossing is another important step, especially to clean those locations where your brush can’t reach. Reusable floss thread, will remove food particles and plaque, this will typically take more time than just brushing. Similar to brushing, little energy as well as careful flossing between the arch wires and braces, and between the teeth and gums is critical.


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, and
▪ Before bed.

Gingivitis can form within 48 hours. It is, thus, clear that if you miss brushing and flossing for two consecutive days, or even adopt an improper brushing technique, you will be risking exposure to plenty of diseases not to mention the discoloration of your teeth.

Ordinary oral diseases, including gingivitis and plaque thrive on the germs resulting from food debris. Flossing must be followed, then, use an antibacterial mouthwash. Varghese Orthodontics recommends at least 30 seconds of rinsing. After a few rinsing and spitting sessions, a bit of water can help restore the freshness.

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.

Research has proven that although absolute abstinence from brushing eventually leads to tooth decay, poor brushing and flossing will also result in the same. Furthermore, an individual with braces, but who seldom brush their teeth and who practice substandard brushing, face the same risks.

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.


September 22nd, 2015

Fall "Tailgate Cooler" PrizeWe hope everyone had a pretty awesome summer and we can't believe that Fall is upon us. This means that Football Season is back, ya'll! So, Varghese Orthodontics has been kicking it into high gear :)

Win this "Tailgate Cooler" filled with some pretty sweet tailgating treats:

* A Frisbee
* Pirate's Booty Popcorn (Totally Braces Friendly)
* A Varghese Orthodontics Beverage Mug
* Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
* Tailgate sized soft cookies

All you have to do is match the mascot to the NCAA Football Team! Please don't forget to write your name and best contact phone number to redeem your prize. Please submit your entries at the front desk.


We wish you the best of luck! Go Chicago!

Fun 4th of July Facts!

July 3rd, 2015

July 4th is the best time to get together with family and friends for outdoor games, fireworks, BBQ's and other celebrations in honor of our country's independence. Here are some extraordinary facts and historical tidbits about some of our country's traditions and symbols, from our team at Varghese Orthodontics. Enjoy :)

The Statue of Liberty

With a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols throughout our country's history. As recognizable as some parts of the statue are, not many recognize the broken shackles on Lady Liberty. These broken shackles represent oppression and tyranny, which lay at Lady Liberty's feet. According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the copper-plated lady weighs 450,000 tons and has been holding her torch for more than 125 years.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Believe it or not, since 1916, people have been gathering at Coney Island every year on July 4th to witness what is called the "Super Bowl of competitive eating." Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest challenges competitors to chow down as many hot dogs as possible in just 10 minutes. The current record holder devoured 68 hot dogs! This event is so huge, ESPN has been broadcasting this contest for several years now, so you can watch it comfortably from your home.


The perfect ending to a great July 4th celebration is the much anticipated gorgeous display of fireworks. Many know these brilliant displays were most likely originated from the Chinese culture. Many historians also believe that fireworks were stumbled upon when the Chinese roasted bamboo sticks over fires and watched them explode. After many years of roasting these bamboo sticks, a group of alchemists created an early form of gunpowder, which they stuffed into the bamboo sticks to create an even more powerful explosion, paving the way for today's elaborate displays.

Whatever you are planning this holiday weekend, Dr. Varghese and our entire team wish everyone a safe and fun-filled Fourth of July Celebration! Happy 4th :)

Summer is Right Around the Corner: Tips for a Bright and Beautiful White Smile!

June 19th, 2015

The official day of summer is just days away! This means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories for our patients and their families here at Varghese Orthodontics.

Everyone wants a radiant white smile and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over summer gatherings. We suggest to try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, dark colored juices and tea. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel, they will also darken your beautiful smile! Another tip is to focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows when busy schedules begin to pick up, getting a good brushing session in tends to be set aside. A great tip for keeping your teeth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth out with water after any meal, when fully brushing is just not quite an option. Trust us! You and your amazing smile will benefit and thank us later :)

Remember! Whether you are headed to the beach, a barbecue or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we would love to hear all about it!

Have a wonderful and safe start to the summer :)

Summer is Almost Here! Tips to do Before Getting Your Braces On :)

May 6th, 2015

The school year is coming to a close way too fast! This is the perfect time to schedule your appointment, as our patients will not have to be taken out of school and will be well adjusted with braces before they go back in the Fall 2015!

So.... Congratulations! You are taking the next step to a beautiful, more functional smile at Varghese Orthodontics. As with anything that is good for you, there are a few things you will have to avoid to get that "Amazing Varghese Smile".

As many of our patients already know from talking to their friends and the like, there are some foods you will have to avoid while in braces :(
Some foods listed below while wearing braces should be avoided:
1.) Beef jerky (anything really tough)
2.) Taffy (anything really chewy)
3.) Pizza Crust (anything really hard)
4.) Popcorn with kernels (Pirates Booty is a really great alternative! Popcorn with kernels and typically the culprit for broken brackets, bent wires and sometime.... infections)

The reason why we say to stay away from these kinds of foods is because the more likely you're going to break a bracket and bend your wires. Ultimately, this can ruin your day by sending you back to repair the broken appliance. Not so much fun :(

Dr. Shaun and our entire staff will go over exactly what you can and can not eat during your treatment, so.... bring all your questions as we want to make your experience with Varghese Orthodontics as enjoyable as possible :)

So, you can indulge now and remember, this won't be forever , so hang in there. We will have a surprise for you at the very end :)

Please call today for your complete complimentary consultation!

Varghese Orthodontics is Now Proud to Offer Our Patients' AcceleDent!

April 20th, 2015

Who would not like to reduce their time in braces?

Dr. Varghese proudly welcomes AcceleDent, an innovative way to reduce treatment time and lessen the discomfort that come with braces.

Dr. V and our team are proud to offer our patients AcceleDent, an innovative device designed to increase your rate of tooth movement as well as potentially decrease your overall treatment time.

AcceleDent is a comfortable, light weight, hands-free device that you bite between your teeth for 20 minutes per day while undergoing treatment. AcceleDent uses micro-vibrations that help stimulate bone movement, which complement the controlled force braces provide to help bring your teeth into proper alignment and occlusion.

Multiple studies have indicated that AcceleDent is an effective treatment in safely increasing bone movement, and can reduce the time our patients spend wearing braces about 38-50% faster than usual.

To learn if AcceleDent is right for you, please give us at call at 630.907.9680 to schedule your complimentary exam with us today :)

Do Braces Cause White Spots on My Teeth?

March 24th, 2015

Getting you braces off is hands down the most exciting time, as we know you have been counting down the days! Once you have that perfect smile you have always wanted, noticing white spots on your teeth can put a damper on your celebration :(
These white spots, also called decalcification or demineralization of the enamel is caused by plaque (the substance that causes cavities). These white and chalky looking marks appear on the teeth when acids created by the plaque remove minerals (demineralization) from the tooth surface and change the way it reflects light. The most common areas of the tooth at risk of decalcification are between the gums and the brackets, where brushing can become a little bit more challenging. When a patient has poor oral hygiene, sometimes these white spots develop under swollen gum tissue, making detection most difficult.
Although brackets (braces) do NOT cause the demineralization of your tooth surface, they do complicate the removal of the plaque responsible.
Can these white spots be prevented? ABSOLUTELY! 1.) A deep cleaning removing all the plaque 2.) Protecting the enamel with a coating and 3.) EDUCATION!
By teaching and giving our patients the proper tools from the very beginning, our goal is to eliminate this issue of decalcification from the first appointment to the very last.
The day our patients get their braces on, we not only go over foods to avoid during their whole orthodontic treatment and successful oral hygiene, be we also prepare the teeth in a way their enamel is being protected with the use of fluoride in our dental cement. Each appointment we monitor oral hygiene and voice to the patient and the parent when improvement needs to be made for an optimal orthodontic and dental result.

Keep in mind, that you still need to be a really good brusher, flosser and visit your general dentist every 6 months :D
For more information, please do not hesitate to call our office at 630.907.9680

Should You Have Your Dentist Remove Your Child's Baby Teeth?

March 13th, 2015

Most baby teeth, also known as primary or "milk" teeth, usually fall out on their very own. There are times, however, when having primary teeth removed by your dentist is not only necessary, but beneficial long term. On the other hand, there are times when one should not have baby teeth removed.
When patients come in for their complimentary examination, Dr. Varghese counts the remaining baby teeth left and how many permanent teeth are present. If our patients have more or less baby teeth for their age, Dr. V will examine the panoramic x-ray, which tells us how close we can be expecting to lose or not to lose the remaining primary teeth.
If the loss of "milk" teeth are slow but in the correct sequence, Dr. Varghese will generally not be concerned as this can be a variation from normal. Conversely, if the primary teeth are still not falling out after being monitored for some period of time, they can adversely affect the eruption path of the underlying permanent teeth.
In many cases, when an adult tooth, also known as a permanent tooth, is erupting behind a baby tooth that is not loose, Dr. Varghese will send an extraction letter to the general dentist to have that primary tooth extracted. Keep in mind that removing primary teeth does NOT prevent teeth from crowding.
In some cases, primary teeth must be removed by your general dentist for reasons such as trauma, infections and the like. When this happens, its important to maintain the spacing until the permanent tooth erupts properly in its path. A "space maintainer" is placed immediately to prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting into its place. If a "space maintainer" is not placed, you will be looking at a longer treatment time at a more costly expense down the road.
Occasionally, we see patients who still have their primary upper canines. The panoramic x-ray image will let Dr. Varghese know if we need to extract the baby canines in order to help the permanent canines erupt properly in its path before they get "stuck" in the roof of the mouth (palate). Unfortunately, once a canine is in the palate, the only way to bring it down is with a small surgical procedure from an oral surgeon, so we can slowly but surely bring the canine into proper alignment.

As you can see, baby teeth serve many important funtions in the development of the permanent or "adult" smile. Every child is unique and the decision to extract primary teeth or not is one that you and Dr. Varghese can make together.
Call our office for a complete and complimentary exam. Remember, age 7 is the optimal age to begin monitoring dental eruption for orthodontics.

Why Flossing is So Important While Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment :)

March 2nd, 2015

Having braces or undergoing any kind of orthodontic treatment is truly an investment, so keeping your teeth in optimal health while in orthodontic treatment is essential to the health of your teeth and gums. Your overall oral health, of course, is important at any stage in your life, orthodontic treatment or not.

Dr. Varghese and our team understand that oral hygiene, especially flossing, is much more time consuming with braces, and sometimes our patients are reluctant to floss each day. Lets face it, even parents have told us, "Really? Thread each tooth? I do NOT have the time!"

The truth is that brackets, hold food, sugars, liquids upon eating. If these sugars are not completely removed on the front of the teeth, on the sides and behind, a cavity will be more prone to form. Having a cavity during orthodontic treatment may mean an extended treatment time and possibly more frequent visits.

When flossing, gently massage your gums in between the teeth. You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to thread each bracket. Remember, when flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you do see blood, that is an indication that you are not flossing as much as you should be. Using an electric toothbrush is a great idea to massage your gums before or after flossing, as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. By adding mouthwash to your routine will help break up any bacteria that has formed.

For a smooth and successful orthodontic experience it is up to you, our patient, to maintain optimal oral health by flossing at least once per day, brushing at least 3 times per day and keeping your regular visits with Dr. Varghese :)

If you have any questions about flossing, hygiene or your orthodontic treatment at Varghese Orthodontics, please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!

Wisdom Teeth...... Not So Wise After All.......

February 24th, 2015

Why are our third molars called "Wisdom Teeth" anyway? The answer is because they usually appear in the late teens/early twenties. The reality is that the majority of people around the world have "impacted" wisdom teeth, meaning their third molars are stuck underneath their jaw bone and sometimes can not be seen without a panoramic x-ray. Many of these "wisdom" teeth erupt at an angle either, vertically, horizontally, mesioangular (most common) and distoangular.

Dr. Varghese monitors our patients' dental eruption, including the formation of "wisdom" teeth during treatment. The last thing our patients' want is their beautiful new smiles to be compromised by pesky third molars! This is the reason why we see every patient every 6 months up to 2 years after their braces come off! When and if the time comes to have your "wisdom" teeth removed, we will send a letter to your general dentist or give you a great referral to an oral surgeon, depending upon the severity of the impaction.

Please contact our office for some more great info at 630.907.9680 or 847.961.5515 :)

What Is A Palatal Expander And Why Use It?

February 4th, 2015

One of the most used orthodontic appliance used in young patients is the palatal expander. At first sight, this appliance may look intimidating to our young patients and the thought of having to "turn" each day frightens many parents as well.

So... What can you expect while your child has an expander in their mouth?

Arch expansion is one of the more common ways to negate crowding and crossbites in our young and growing patients. Successful widening of the upper arch requires that the midpalatal suture at the roof of the mouth is not fused together. So in this sense, we are using our young patient's growth to our advantage, as time is on our side.

The expander is attached to the upper arch by bands placed around the first permanent molars with dental cement, so this is not something that can be taken out by our patients. Although there are removable expanders, Dr. Varghese prefers a fixed expander, as the appliance will not be lost or forgotten.

While there will be some discomfort at the very beginning when an expander is initially placed, our patients report a few day adjustment period before they are more comfortable with their daily activities. During daily turning (usually 21 turns for 21 days), our young patients' may feel a small amount of pressure on the teeth, in the roof of their mouth, behind the nose and sometime between the eyes as their expander is being activated by the person turning it. We assure you that this pressure fades within minutes!

Besides the pressure, your little patient may be speaking a little differently too for the first few days. We recommend reading a book aloud while at home. One of the most visible signs the expander is working, it the space it will make between the two front teeth, so do NOT worry! This is completely normal and expected :)

Due to the possibility of relapse, which is the movement back towards the original position, Dr. Varghese will keep the expander in place for the remaining length of treatment time so the midpalatal sutures fuse together, otherwise the possibility of relapse will be pretty high.

Please call our office to meet Dr. Varghese and our team to learn more about the advantages of a Phase I treatment with palatal expanders.

What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Dentist Who Does Orthodontics?

January 28th, 2015

This is such a great question that we are asked every day!

Did you know that ALL Orthodontists are Dentists, but NOT ALL Dentists are Orthodontists?

Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty dealing with teeth, gums, nerves and the jaw, while an orthodontist, like Dr. Varghese, focuses on correcting a patient's bite and straightening teeth.
Once Dr. Varghese earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree (DDS) he proceeded with additional years of schooling to become an Orthodontist. Even though Dr. Varghese helps our patients with crooked teeth, he also specializes in overbites, underbites, crossbites, spaces between teeth, crowding of teeth and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

While a dentist may be trained to provide orthodontic care, in addition to extracting teeth, TMJ treatments and fillings, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different needs of our patients.

Please call us to set up a complimentary consultation to learn more :)

The Importance of Wearing a Mouthguard During Contact Sports

January 15th, 2015

When participating in contact sports such as football, basketball, soccer, wrestling, karate, etc... you should always wear a mouthguard! Here are 5 reasons below as to what a mouthguard can help protect:

1.) Helps reduce the chance of a concussion
2.) Protects jaw joints against injury
3.) Protects soft tissues from injury
4.) Cushions teeth against impact
5.) Helps prevent injuries to the jaws and neck

We encourage you to inform us if you do participate in any such sports and we will make arrangements to have a mouthguard for you at no extra charge. If your teeth are loose or your appliance is damaged due to an accident, call our office immediately so we may advise you of the kind of treatment required.

Hints for Dealing with Discomfort that Come with Braces

December 9th, 2014

The day you get your braces on, it will feel kind of awkward and you'll salivate a little bit more than normal. This is completely expected! So No Worries :) Typically patients feel a dull soreness 1-3 days after each orthodontic adjustment. Here are a few things YOU can do to lessen your discomfort:

Home Remedies
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will soothe and promote healing. Rinse several times per day or when you feel some soreness from poking wires. Dr. Varghese also recommends Tylenol during these times too. Cold foods like ice cream or yogurt can help dull the soreness, while ice packs help as well. Dr. Varghese stresses the importance of not biting into ice if you choose to place an ice cube directly on your sore, as ices cubes can crack a tooth right in half :(

Products you can use
Products for canker sores can be applied directly to your mouth sores that may develop from your braces. There are also some various mouth rinses that can act as a shield or barrier in your mouth to protect you from sores and further irritation. Dr. Varghese and our team recommend dental wax to apply on abrasive areas to protect your mouth from getting scraped and poked from long wires. Please come in during our business hours and help yourself to our scented wax at our "Good Bye Center" located next to the "Check-In Desk".
Remember that your discomfort will NOT last forever, one day you will wake up not even thinking you have braces on and the next moment, your orthodontic treatment will be complete and you will be braces free and have a beautiful new smile to show for it.
Please call our offices if you have any questions :)

Why it's so Important to Wear Your Retainers for Life!

December 1st, 2014

Nothing is more frustrating than noticing your teeth begin to shift as soon as you get your braces off. It is completely normal for your teeth to "settle" after your braces are removed, and our goal is to minimize these changes. As we get older, our bodies change, resulting in wrinkles in our skin, the thinning of our hair and yes!, the alignment and movement of our teeth. Retainers are the key to preventing tooth movement! The most important time to be faithful with your retainer wear is the first year after your braces are immediately removed. Absolutely everyone is different, as each individual's teeth move differently, so Dr. Varghese encourages our patients to monitor your own tooth movement to get a better idea of how often retainer wear is needed after the first critical year. Typically Dr. Varghese recommends retainer wear every night or every other night for lifetime after the first year. If you are not faithful with your retainer wear, Dr. V guarantees your teeth will move and most likely will need orthodontic treatment once again!
If you notice small, progressive changes in the days or weeks after your braces come off, your retainer may need to be adjusted. The sooner you call our office, the better chance we will have from orthodontic relapse. Otherwise, the longer the changes are left unaddressed, the more extensive the additional treatment will be.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office and our wonderful staff could answer any questions you may have.

Flossing Between Your Permanent Retainer

November 17th, 2014

All of us can agree that one of the most challenging tasks about having a permanent retainer is keeping it clean. Retainers that are bonded behind the teeth look nice and do their job perfectly without your help. Unfortunately, these retainers tend to accumulate plaque and stain, which require more time and effort when flossing.
Dr. Varghese uses bonded retainers because they have proven to be the most reliable when it comes to preventing tooth movement after braces are removed. There are 3 ways to floss your bonded retainer:
1.) "Floss threaders" are thin plastic needles that are used to help direct floss between the teeth and under your permanent wire. Once the floss is under the wire, it can me moved up and down the sides of your adjacent teeth, to remove plaque and stain build-up.
2.) "Superfloss" is a pre cut piece of floss on which one end has been made thicker by the manufacturer. This stiff end makes is much easier to thread your floss between your teeth making flossing a little bit faster than using floss threaders.
3.)"Airfloss or Waterpik" are great to use when you are on the go and do not have the time to spend on threading between each tooth. But don't forget to floss traditionally when you get home :)

Please contact our office if you need to know where to purchase these products or have any questions at 630.907.9680.

Happy Flossing :)

Are You Visiting Your Dentist During Your Orthodontic Treatment?

November 11th, 2014

Dr. Varghese regularly vocalizes how important your regular dental checkups are for maintaining optimal oral health. Even though Dr. Varghese and our orthodontic assistants monitor oral hygiene during each visit, your general dentist can check for problems that might not been seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of tooth decay, as well as catch and treat oral health problems early. During an oral exam, your dentist can also check the overall health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing.

Dr. Varghese recommends dental checkups every 6 months, or as recommended, in addition to brushing 2-3 times per day and flossing daily.

If you have not been to the dentist in the last 6 months, please let us know during your next adjustment and we will provide a few great references :)

Love Your New Smile? We Would Love to Hear About It!

November 3rd, 2014

Varghese Orthodontics proudly treat children, teens and adults; so no matter what your age, you deserve your best smile. Our energetic and welcoming team is know for making your experience personalized as we have been creating beautiful and confident smiles for years. Today we would like to ask: What do you Love about your new smile? How has your smile improved your life?

Whether you've recently come in for an initial orthodontic consultation with Dr. Varghese, or your family has been visiting our office for years, we would love to hear your thoughts about your personalized treatment. We encourage you to leave a few words for us below or on our facebook page :)

We are really looking forward to reading your feedback!


October 27th, 2014

As you already know, you can always connect with Dr. Varghese and Team by calling our North Aurora and Huntley offices, emailing us straight from our webpage or going to our Facebook page, so DON'T FORGET TO LIKE US:) However, if you have recently moved or received a new phone number or even a new general dentist, it is crutial for us to update our records so we can easily connect with you and provide you with the best orthodontic treatment and experience possible!

Halloween “TREATS” May Really be “TRICKS”!

October 20th, 2014

We all know exactly what damage sugar and "sticky" candy can do to teeth, so Dr. Varghese wants to remind our currents patients and future patients to be cautious when choosing candy from your bag at the end of your Halloween adventure of "Trick or Treating". So...go ahead and enjoy your treats. We want everyone to enjoy their Halloween....but we also want you to protect the investment you and your family has made in helping us create your beautiful smile, so please be sure your candy is orthodontic and dental friendly! Here are some examples of "Ortho-Friendly Treats": Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, peanut butter cups, milk shakes, gelatin, peeled, thinly sliced apples and ice cream. Now, here are some examples of "Treats to Avoid":Caramel, nuts, licorice, taffy, jelly beans, hard pretzels, bubble gum, candy corn, lollipops, popcorn with kernels, taco chips and ice. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have specific questions or concerns and of course, DO NOT FORGET TO BRUSH AND FLOSS! We hope everyone has a happy and healthy Halloween!

Back to School with Braces

September 5th, 2014

We can not believe summer flew by once more and it's that time of year again! The temperature is cooling off, fall sports are underway and all the kids are back to school. We would like to offer a few helpful tips for going back to school with braces!
1.) Be sure to follow the 2x2 brushing rule: brush your teeth TWO times a day for TWO minutes each day! It doesn't take much to get plaque off, longer, not harder. This will help keep your teeth and braces clean, which can lead to quicker appointments and healthier smiles :) If you want to brush after snacking or lunch, keep your toothbrush in your backpack for easy access.
2.) Bring a water bottle to school. Drinking water throughout the day helps to keep your whole mouth clean, fight cavities and bad breath, as soft drinks and even sports drinks are pure sugar in a can or bottle, which can lead to tooth decay and cavites. Stick with water and you can never go wrong!
We wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe return to the new school year :) Keep Smiling!

Braces and Playing your Musical Instruments

April 11th, 2014

Worried that your clarinet, trumpet or flute will gather dust while you are in braces? Dr. Varghese says not to worry! Although you will have to adjust to playing your instrument, braces do not usually get in the way of playing your beautiful notes.

Varghese Orthodontics and Toys for Tots

December 4th, 2012

Varghese Orthodontics is teaming up with the US Marine Corps and is a collection site for Toys for Tots.

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

We have a collection box in our front lobby and have started collecting toys for the less fortunate. Thank you to our wonderful patients that donated so far. Any patient that brings in a new unwrapped toy will have their name entered into a drawing for something special themselves as our way of saying "Thank you".

Let's try and make this a wonderful Christmas for as many children as we can!

Top 10 Myths about Orthodontics

November 29th, 2012

Top 10 Myths About Orthodontic Braces
By Stephen Yang, DMD, MS
Board Certified Orthodontist
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In my office, patients usually come in already knowing a lot about braces and orthodontics. However, what they have heard from friends or read online is not always correct. Below, I will share some common myths that patients have about orthodontic braces.

1. Braces have to hurt or feel tight to work—No pain no gain right? Well, not exactly. In the old days, only stiff wires were available. When tied to the dental braces, these stiff wires exerted heavy forces leading to more pain and discomfort for the patient. Now, with new technologies and flexible wires, there is significantly less discomfort associated with tooth movement. These days, you can have straight teeth with minimal discomfort. However, there are always some patients that complain about not having any pain because they think that without pain, their teeth are not moving. Remember, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

2. The tighter the better—A common comment I get from patients is, “Make it tighter, doc. I want to get my braces off faster!” You may think that tighter adjustments and heavier forces will move your teeth faster. While a certain level of force is necessary to move teeth, a force level that is too high may start to damage the bone and surrounding tissues. Orthodontics is a delicate balance of forces. Too much force may cause some teeth to move the wrong way and increase overall time you need braces.

3. Wires need to be changed every visit—Super-elastic wires of the present day can be bent into all different shapes and still spring back into their nice U-shaped form. If you have crooked teeth, the super-elastic wire can be connected to your crooked teeth and prove a steady light force to straighten them without needing to change the wire very often. With the limited wires of the old orthodontia days, if a wire was used that put too much pressure on a tooth, the bracket would either pop off the tooth or the wire would be permanently deformed and not move your teeth at all! That is why in the old days, orthodontic patients got many wires with incrementally higher stiffness, and these wires were changed more frequently.
4. Only braces can straighten my teeth—Not necessarily. With new technology, it is now possible to have straight teeth without ever having to wear braces! Invisalign clear aligners are the most popular way to straighten teeth without braces. However, before you get too excited, know that Invisalign does have its limitations. For example, Invisalign may not be the best orthodontic option for fixing some bite problems or severely crooked teeth. The best way to see if Invisalign can straighten your teeth is to find an Invisalign orthodontist and schedule a consultation.
5. My spaces will start closing as soon as I get braces—Many people who get braces to close gaps between their teeth have the unrealistic expectation that the gaps will start closing as soon as they get braces. Often times, these patients are disappointed after a few months when their spaces have not closed (or have even gotten bigger. The issue with closing spaces is that is takes a controlled system of orthodontic braces and wires to close spaces. Often, the teeth need to be totally aligned before the spaces can begin to close. If spaces open up after getting braces, you may want to kindly ask your orthodontist about the new spaces, but rest assured that many patients get spaces early in braces which are closed later when the teeth are straighter.
6. Once I get my braces off, my teeth will stay straight forever—Getting your teeth straight and your bite right is just half the battle. Keeping your teeth straight after getting your braces off is the rest of the battle. Teeth are connected to the bone by elastic fibers. As the teeth are moved into their new straightened positions, some elastic fibers are stretched and others are compressed. After your braces are removed, these elastic fibers will tend to push and pull your teeth back towards their original position. That is why orthodontic retainers are required when braces are removed to keep your teeth straight.
7. My wisdom teeth are making my teeth crooked—You may think that wisdom teeth cause crowding. However, there is very little evidence to support the fact that wisdom teeth cause crowding. If this was true, then your teeth would never get crowded after your wisdom teeth were extracted. In fact, people who never developed wisdom teeth or who had their wisdom teeth removed may still see their teeth get crooked over time. Teeth just tend to drift forward over time regardless of whether or not you have wisdom teeth.
8. Any overbite is bad—If I had a dollar for every time a new patient complained of having an overbite, only to be told that their overbite is normal, if could probably have bought a car by now...ok, ok I'm exaggerating.  The point is that many patients think that having a mild overbite is a bad thing and this is wrong. People with zero overbite (whose teeth bite together in the front) actually start wearing down their front teeth over time. So a small overbite actually protects the front teeth from wearing down. Of course, a large overbite can be problematic so a small overbite of only two to three millimeters is ideal.
9. The date that I am supposed to get my braces off is set in stone—When patients are told before treatment that they will be in dental braces for a certain number of years, it is very easy to focus on that date. Usually, an orthodontist can judge from his or her experience what the typical time frame is to finish treatment. However this depends on many factors. Some factors that would slow down treatment include: broken braces, not brushing well, not coming in for regular appointments, and having dense bone. If you want to get your braces off on time, make sure you co-operate by brushing and flossing well, wearing your elastics, and showing up for your regular appointments.
10. It is easy to transfer or switch orthodontists—Though it may just look like braces and wires to you, every orthodontist uses slightly different wires, brackets, and appliances. Sometimes, the wires that one orthodontist uses would not even fit in the braces that another orthodontist uses. Each orthodontist also has his or her own technique in treating each case. For example, in creating that beautiful smile, some orthodontists may focus on correcting a bite problem first while other orthodontists may focus on straightening the teeth first. Sorting out the finances is another difficult part of switching orthodontists because different offices structure their payment plans in different ways. If you switch orthodontists, you probably will end up paying more money than if you had just stayed with one orthodontist.

Happy Veteran's Day from Varghese Orthodontics

November 12th, 2012

Happy Veteran’s Day! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the veterans and those currently on active duty who have put their lives on the line for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day--a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans--living or dead--but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime

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