What Kind of Braces Are Right for Me?

Braces - are they right for me?

Many of our adult patients feel self-conscious about their smiles. One common reason is that that may have crooked teeth that were never straightened during childhood. Do you count yourself in this group? Have you ever considered having braces, even as an adult? If the thought of orthodontic braces immediately brings you back to junior high, where half the kids had metal “train tracks” on their teeth, you might be surprised to learn that there are now many options when it comes to getting your teeth where you want them. Here are some of the products available:

  • Metal Braces  These are similar to the type worn by pre-teens 20 or 30 years ago, but today’s metal braces are actually quite a bit smaller. They tend to be the least expensive type and are still a very popular choice, particularly for teens and young adults. Kids in particular usually like them because the bands can be just about any color they can think of, so they might choose their school colors, orange and black for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, and so on.
  • Ceramic Braces  Many adults who decide to get braces choose those made of ceramic. They are the same size as metal braces, but a lot less noticeable because they are either clear or tooth-colored. In some cases, you can see the wires, but in others, they are made to match your teeth. These are more expensive than metal braces, but the extra price can be worth it if you don’t want everyone to notice your braces right away. Another potential drawback is that if you drink red wine or coffee frequently, they can become stained.
  • Lingual Braces  Lingual braces are metal braces that are attached to the back side (or lingual surface) of your teeth. You will be able to smile at everyone, and no one will know that you have braces unless you tell them, or unless you open your mouth wide to show them off. These are not appropriate for every type of bite; if you have a rather severe misalignment, then lingual braces might not be an option. Also, your orthodontic therapy might take longer, and adjustments may be more difficult as well as more painful than if you went with traditional metal or ceramic braces.
  • Invisalign  You may have heard of Invisalign, which are touted as invisible braces. Instead of being fixed to the teeth, Invisalign braces can be taken in and out. The way it works is this: A mold is taken of your teeth, and your orthodontist will fabricate your first set of Invisalign braces to move your teeth slightly. You wear the plates for at least 20 hours per day, taking them out only to eat when you are brushing and flossing your teeth. After about three weeks, you return to the orthodontist to get your next set of Invisalign, which will move your teeth a bit more, and so on. If you have a severe misalignment, Invisalign might not be for you, but they are quite effective for mild crookedness. These are great for people who want nearly invisible orthodontic therapy. On the other hand, they are quite a bit more expensive than fixed braces, and because they can be taken in and out, there’s sometimes the temptation to leave them out too much, rendering them ineffective. Of course, as with any removable appliance, they can also get lost or accidentally thrown away, which would raise the cost substantially.

If you want to have your teeth straightened, talk to us about all of your options. We can refer you to an orthodontist if necessary. We want you to be proud of your smile, so don’t hesitate to get dental braces simply because you don’t want to have a “mouth of metal.” With so many options available, there is one that’s just right for you. Call us if you have any questions about how you can enjoy straighter teeth as an adult.

Why Do I Have Bleeding Gums?

why do i have bleeding gums?

Do you experience bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth? You might be tempted to just ignore it, particularly if you don’t have any swelling or soreness at other times. The American Academy of Periodontology cautions against having a laissez faire attitude however: Up to 80% of adults have periodontal disease, ranging from mild gingivitis to periodontitis, a more severe condition that could lead to bone recession and tooth loss. Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you have bleeding gums.

Brush and Floss Properly

It’s very possible that you are brushing your teeth too vigorously and injuring your gums, leading to the bleeding. It might be more likely that you are not brushing or flossing effectively or often enough to remove the plaque that can lead to the bacteria which causes gingivitis.

Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to go over proper technique with you. Many adults don’t know how to floss properly, so there is no shame in asking for help. Your dental health professional wants to help you to successfully keep your gums in great condition.

Use a soft or medium toothbrush, being sure to choose one that will allow you to get into the nooks and crannies of your mouth, behind your last tooth and against the inner surfaces of your front teeth. Ask your hygienist for a recommendation for a dental floss type that will work best for your dental anatomy; some patients do better with thicker or thinner floss, depending on how close together or far apart their teeth are from one another.

Check Your Diet

Do you have a sweet tooth? The fact is that overindulging on cookies, doughnuts, candy and other sweet treats can wreak havoc on more than your waistline. In order to keep your gums healthy, you need to crunch and munch on fruits and veggies each day. For good overall health, you should be getting five servings of produce per day; raw fruits and vegetables will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. In addition to your daily green (and yellows and purples!), concentrate on filling your diet with whole grains, low-fat dairy products and sensible portions of protein, like eggs, chicken and fish. Your gums and teeth will thank you!

Have a Check-Up

It goes without saying that you should see your dentist twice yearly at a minimum, and more often if you are experiencing bleeding gums. In addition to your dentist, however, you should also make an appointment with your doctor if you are having dental problems that don’t clear up easily with good oral hygiene.

Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to swollen and bleeding gums. So can hormonal changes during pregnancy and around the time of menopause. In addition, some medications can make your gums more susceptible to bleeding and soreness.

Take bleeding gums seriously. When you get the proper care for your condition, you can turn mild gingivitis around before it turns into periodontitis. See your dentist regularly, and if you have any concerns, give us a call to schedule an appointment.