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Elastics for Braces, Explained

September 3rd, 2022

Whether you’ve had orthodontic treatment or not, you’ve seen people wearing elastics or rubber bands as part of the process. But do you know what they’re used for? To help give you a better idea of why rubber bands are used with metal or clear braces, we’ll explain what they are, why they’re used, and how to take care of them during treatment. 

What are Rubber Bands? 

In short, rubber bands are used to help move your teeth along the archwire to aid in tooth movement for your particular treatment plan. There are many different ways to wear rubber bands and how long you wear them is determined by your orthodontist. Dr. Peter Sutton at True Smile Orthodontics will instruct you on exactly how to wear your rubber bands and when and how often to change them based on your personalized treatment plan. Since your rubber bands lose their elasticity with use, patients are normally instructed to replace them at least once a day, especially after eating and brushing. 

Who Needs Rubber Bands?

Not everyone with braces needs to wear rubber bands. It all depends upon your particular problem and treatment plan. Rubber bands come in different sizes and strengths and are typically used to help correct poor bites such as underbites, overbites, and crossbites. Even though your teeth may look straight, if the upper and lower teeth and/or jaws do not line up correctly, it can result in malocclusion (poor bite). Rubber bands are used together with brackets and archwires to correct these types of issues.

Taking Care of Rubber Bands

If you are instructed to wear rubber bands, they are a very important part of your treatment to achieve a better smile and finished result. You can remove your rubber bands while eating, brushing, and flossing. And don't forget to put them back on after you are done!

Forgetting to replace them or failing to wear them as directed could delay your progress and extend your treatment time. So make sure you always have plenty of rubber bands on hand in your pocket or backpack should you need to change them. Packets of replacement rubber bands are given in-office at your appointments, once prescribed. Feel free to contact our office if you notice you are running low in between appointments or lose them. 

If you have questions about how to wear your elastics, contact our office today. Your new smile will thank you later!

Wisdom Teeth After Braces, Explained

August 24th, 2022

You’ve been patiently waiting for your orthodontic treatment to come to an end and your braces to come off. You followed all the oral hygiene instructions during and after treatment, but now your wisdom teeth are starting to come in. Will they ruin your new smile? 

At True Smile Orthodontics, we get this question a lot and rightfully so. With the typical timeline for orthodontic treatment being between about 18 and 36 months, we understand that it would be very disappointing for all that hard work to go to waste. In some very rare cases, the eruption of wisdom teeth can shift the teeth and ruin past orthodontic treatment, but again, this is rare. This is why it is important to maintain a relationship with an orthodontist, like Dr. Peter Sutton, even after treatment has ended. Once your wisdom teeth do come in, it can be determined if they need to be removed or not. 

About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent teeth to erupt and typically occur between the ages of 17 and 25 for most people. While most people have them removed, it is not always necessary. In some cases, many people have plenty of room for their wisdom teeth to develop just fine. In other cases, there isn’t enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to grow - causing them to partially erupt or become impacted. In situations like this, the wisdom teeth should be removed to avoid causing further issues to the rest of the teeth. 

It is important to note that as we age, our teeth begin to shift. Wisdom teeth are often the blame for these shifts, but research at the University of Iowa found that “wisdom teeth do not exert the amount of pressure needed to move the teeth in front of them to cause them to shift.” To find this, researchers placed sensors between patients’ teeth and observed the pressure on them. They did this in patients with and without wisdom teeth present. It was concluded that there was no noticeable difference in either case. 

How True Smile Orthodontics Can Help 

Immediately following orthodontic treatment, we highly recommend wearing your retainer as prescribed after getting your braces removed. It is the best way to keep the teeth in their intended places after orthodontic treatment. For more information on wisdom teeth and braces or to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact our office.

What to Expect From Your First Week of Braces

August 3rd, 2022

You’re getting your braces put on for the first time and you’re not sure what to expect. One thing is for sure; your oral hygiene practices will definitely change. To help prepare you for what’s in store and make the most of your orthodontic treatment, we at True Smile Orthodontics explain what you can expect from your first week in braces:

Placement Day

On the day your braces are put on, the process should be relatively painless. In the hours following placement, you may notice that it will take you longer than usual to finish meals as you get used to wearing and chewing with braces. Stick to softer foods (like soups, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, shakes, etc.) for the first few days while your teeth and mouth adjust. You may also experience slight discomfort or soreness as the teeth begin to move.


Three Days After Placement

The first few days after getting braces are the most uncomfortable due to the teeth beginning to align and the mouth adjusts to the pressure of the wires and elastic ties. We recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication (ibuprofen, for example) to relieve any discomfort. If your wires cause irritation inside your cheeks or lips, a member of our staff will show you how to apply wax or silicone over the braces to reduce soreness.

One Week After Placement

The discomfort you experienced in the first couple days should stop within five to seven days after placement. The teeth will have mostly adjusted and eating with braces will become much easier than before. Don’t rush into trying out harder foods just yet. Give your mouth more time to get used to the braces and stay away from sticky and sugary foods. Foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and sticky foods can get caught between wires and brackets.

Orthodontic Appointments

It is important to schedule and attend regular appointments with an orthodontist Dr. Peter Sutton during the course of your orthodontic treatment. During these appointments, the doctor may make adjustments to the braces, change the elastic ties, and monitor progress to ensure you are on schedule with your treatment plan. The first few days after an adjustment can cause aches in the mouth and on the teeth, but will not last long. Our staff can advise options for remedies to reduce pain.

For questions about orthodontic treatment or braces, contact our office. Your smile is our priority

Do Your Gums Bleed When Flossing?

July 24th, 2022

It’s the start of a new day and you’re going through the motions of your morning routine. As you begin flossing, you notice your gums start to bleed in some areas. Is this normal?

While bleeding gums from flossing does not mean your mouth isn’t clean, it can be a sign that you aren’t flossing enough. According to Colgate, “It's fairly common for gums to bleed when you first begin flossing between teeth, and as long as the bleeding stops quickly, it's not usually considered a problem.” In other words, continue to floss daily and the bleeding should stop over time.

Causes of Bleeding Gums

Several factors can cause gums to bleed. To help narrow down why you may be experiencing bleeding gums, consider the following reasons:

  • Gingivitis

Plaque buildup along the gumline and in between the teeth that is not removed by daily brushing and flossing can lead to gingivitis - which can cause gums to bleed. Symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are swollen, tender and sometimes bleed during brushing. Regular dental checkups and daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to combat this early stage of gum disease.

  • Medications

According to The American Dental Association, blood thinning medications can cause bleeding gums. Blood thinners reduce the blood’s ability to clot, which can cause a patient to bleed very easily. Contact your dentist or doctor if you are currently prescribed blood thinners and experience bleeding gums when brushing or flossing.

  • New Flossing Routine

Haven’t flossed in a few days? Going back to a regular routine of flossing after not having done so in a while can cause gums to bleed once you’re back into the swing of things. Flossing more frequently than usual to remove food and plaque from between your teeth can also cause bleeding gums. If it doesn’t clear up within a week, contact your dentist.

  • Vitamin Deficiency

If your body is lacking enough vitamin C or K, you could be more prone to bleeding gums. Contact your doctor to have your vitamin C and K levels checked to see if you are getting the nutrients your body needs.

For more information on gum disease or if you’re experiencing bleeding gums for more than a week, contact our office to schedule an appointment. Your smile is our priority.

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