March 20th, 2019
You've made an investment on spending money on getting braces, so why not keep your teeth in good health while undergoing orthodontic treatment? Dr. Richard Elliott and our team at Elliott Orthodontics will tell you it is just as important to develop a regular hygiene routine while you're wearing braces as you did before proceeding with treatment.
Flossing is essential to the health of your teeth and gums when you're wearing braces. Because braces may hold food, sugars and liquids upon eating, it is very important to keep on top of your brushing and flossing, as well as visiting our office for regular adjustments.
While we know it's tough enough to get kids to floss daily without braces, that battle becomes even tougher when braces are involved. Remember that by not flossing, you will become more prone to cavities and gum disease during your treatment.
When flossing, remember to gently massage your gums in between the teeth. You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to weave the floss through each bracket. When flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you see blood, you are not flossing enough or properly.
Using an electric toothbrush is also a good idea to massage your gums before or after flossing as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. And don't forget to add a mouthwash to your routine to break up any bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your treatment.
If you have any questions about flossing or your orthodontic treatment at Elliott Orthodontics please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!
March 13th, 2019
Great question! Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time (usually two years). Braces work by using brackets that are glued onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where Dr. Richard Elliott and our team insert orthodontic wires. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape to them, as do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.
Not long ago, orthodontists had stainless steel wires and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.
When you first get your braces on, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, Dr. Richard Elliott will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.
Every time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move.
As for rubber bands and elastics, most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatments. These elastics typically go from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, and pull on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite.
If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our Highlands Ranch office.
March 6th, 2019
If your pre-teen or teenager is home for the summer, it’s easy to provide braces-friendly lunch options. The school lunchroom, though, presents another challenge altogether. What menu selections are most compatible with braces? And what can you put in that lunch box or brown bag to provide a tempting, healthy lunch during school hours? Let’s look at some options!
From the Cafeteria
Encourage your student to stick with soft foods that don’t require biting into. Some good choices include:
- Soup, either creamy or with soft vegetables
- Salads without crunchy vegetables or croutons
- Soft, shredded chicken or beef
- Egg or tuna salad
- Macaroni and cheese
- Soft casseroles
- Steamed vegetables
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft breads or tortillas
Bringing a Lunch?
There are many great options for packing a lunch bag! Just remember to keep foods at the proper temperature, with insulated containers for hot foods and two cold sources, such as two frozen gel packs, for cold foods.
- Sandwiches with soft filling (no chunky peanut butter!) on soft bread. Thinly sliced, easy to chew cold cuts will work, but cold cuts like salami are too chewy. Cut the crusts off if necessary. Cutting sandwich wedges into smaller portions will also make them easier to eat.
- Hard boiled eggs
- Hummus and soft pita wedges
- String cheese and soft crackers
- Soft fruits such as berries or bananas
- Jell-O or other gelatin dessert cups
- Pudding cups
When to Say “No, Thank You”
If you have to bite into it, if it’s chewy, or if it’s crunchy, it’s best to choose something else! Here are some common culprits when it comes to broken brackets and wires:
- Hard candy
- Whole carrots
- Whole apples
- Hard rolls
- Corn on the cob
And remember to send your child to school with a brush and floss to clean teeth and braces after lunch. Dental hygiene is very important now, because brackets and wires can both trap food particles and make brushing them away more difficult. This can lead to increased plaque, cavities, and staining around the area of the braces. If it’s impossible to brush, be sure to remind your student to rinse thoroughly with water after eating.
Lunch hour should be a time to relax, get together with friends, and recharge for the rest of the school day. Talk to us about the most (and least) braces-friendly foods and recipes. By learning what foods to avoid and adjusting some old favorites, your school-age child can continue to enjoy healthy, tasty lunches. Most important, visiting Dr. Richard Elliott at our Highlands Ranch office for an emergency repair will not be on anyone’s list of afterschool activities!
February 27th, 2019
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around age seven. Dr. Richard Elliott can evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs early on to see if orthodontic treatment is recommended for your son or daughter.
Below, we answer common questions parents may have about the benefits of early childhood orthodontics.
What does early orthodontic treatment mean?
Early orthodontic treatment usually begins when a child is eight or nine years old. Typically known as Phase One, the goal here is to correct bite problems such as an underbite, as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. This phase also helps make room in the mouth for teeth to grow properly, with the aim of preventing teeth crowding and extractions later on.
Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?
The characteristics and behavior below can help determine whether your little one needs early treatment.
- Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
- Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
- The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
- The child is a mouth breather
- Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
- Protruding teeth, typically in the front
- Biting or chewing difficulties
- A speech impediment
- The jaw shifts when the child opens or closes the mouth
- The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb
What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?
Jaw bones do not harden until children reach their late teens. Because children’s bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces are easier and often faster than they would be for adults.
Early treatment at our Highlands Ranch office can enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Talk with Dr. Richard Elliott today to see if your child should receive early orthodontic treatment.