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Orthodontics have become a new tool to recreate our smiles. For the longest time, orthodontic braces was a treatment only for children. Advances in orthodontic materials have led to changes in the appearance of orthodontic appliances, and increased speed of movement of our teeth. Orthodontics have become a treatment of choice for many teens and adults. There are multiple options for orthodontic treatment today to make them as aesthetic as possible with shorter treatment lengths along with more cosmetic appearance. While teeth are being moved, changes occur to the mouth, lips, chin, and cheeks. The million dollar question is…..Can Orthodontic treatment change a person’s facial appearance?

Once orthodontic treatment is completed, many patients will look in the mirror and notice changes in their facial appearance. The bigger change happen when exhibiting a full smile, as this will show off the new found symmetry of your smile. The change will be even more noticeable if there are major corrections during your orthodontic treatment.

 Orthodontic Corrections = Changing Facial Appearance

-Correction Of Overbite.  An overbite can cause the upper lip to protrude otward. In very extreme cases the upper lip is so far advanced that the lips are not able to completely cover and close the mouth at rest. In side profile the upper lip flares and the convexity of the mid face is pronounced. After completion of orthodontic movement, the facial area from nose down to chin flattens and the appearance can soften.

-Correction Of Underbite. An underbite causes the chin to protrude and lower lip to retrude, giving you a “Moon Shape” profile. After orthodontic movement, the face loses much of this concavity. This again helps to flatten and soften the features, bringing the lips together in a more natural look. Underbite correction may in some cases require surgery.

-Open Bite Correction. Prior to correction, the mouth and lips may seem a bit overstretched. In more severe cases the lips do not touch at rest. After movement, The mid face appears more relaxed and the lips come together at rest. Severe open bite may require surgery to be fully corrected.

-Upper Or Lower Jaw Expansion. There are times when a patient has too little space in one or both of their arches.  The middle of the face may be narrow, and cheeks a bit hollow. If space needs to be opened, a device is custom fabricated called an orthodontic expander. If it is used on top jaw it is referred to as a palatal expander and if used on lower jaw it is called a mandibular expander. Expanders are used more often on children but they can also be used on adults in coordination with surgery. The expansion is usually done in very small increments and usually will go unnoticed by many. A more symmetrical smile and wider mid face will be the end result.

Conclusion

Orthodontic treatment can change a person in multiple ways. These changes can include a bigger smile, straighter teeth, and balancing of one’s facial appearance. The changes to a person’s face are usually more pronounced when surgery is involved.  A person’s side profile is what changes most dramatically. When teeth are in proper alignment, the profile of a person will be more in line with the rest of their facial features creating a more symmetrical balanced appearance.

The facial changes can usually be predicted prior to treatment. Ask your dentist what changes you can expect based on your individual smile

Many of us have bad habits that may seem harmless. One of those habits is chewing on ice cubes. You may believe this habit is relatively harmless since ice is just water. However,  the impact of chewing that ice can be devastating to your dental health.  Below are a few of the top reasons why.

Reasons Why Chewing Ice Cubes Harms Your Dental Health

-Increased Pressure On Your Teeth. Our teeth are made up of an outer layer called enamel. This layer is extremely hard and not very flexible. Chewing on an ice cube can wear down the enamel over time or chip and fracture your teeth.

-Chewing Ice Causes A Constant Hot and Cold Change. These sudden and extreme changes in temperature can cause micro cracks in your enamel. Also, your tooth’s enamel expands at a different rate than fillings.  If you have a composite (white) filling, it will expand and contract much faster than the tooth when exposed to hot and cold temperatures.  This could possibly lead to a breakdown of the seal between the tooth and the dental restoration and may shorten the life of the restoration possibly leading to tooth decay, root canal therapy, or even tooth loss.

-Beware Of Chewing Ice With Orthodontic Braces. Chewing ice cubes might break off an orthodontic bracket or move a wire. This can set back your orthodontic treatment until the issue is resolved by your orthodontist. It can also lead to oral trauma.

-Oral Tissue Trauma. Ice chunks are hard and some can be pretty sharp.

Why Does An Ice Chewing Habit Develop?

Any habit can be caused by a variety of reasons. For ice chewing, it could be a sign of stress or a more serious medical condition. Research has shown chewing ice ( also called pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency anemia, although the exact reason is unclear. At least one study indicates that ice chewing might increase alertness in people with iron deficiency anemia.

Odds are you are just chewing on ice cubes because you are bored and still sitting at the table after you have finished your food.  There are also some people who just like chewing ice.

Healthier Options To Beat Ice Chewing Habit

Once you find out why you are chewing ice cubes or chips, you can try to do something to treat the cause of your ice chewing habit.  For example, if stress or social anxiety causes you to chew ice, learn some new techniques to handle these stressful feelings differently.

If you just like chewing ice because of the crunchy noise or the satisfying feeling of chewing through something hard, you can try eating something crunchy, like carrots or apples.

Conclusion

A better option instead of chewing ice cubes is to simply suck on them instead. This can still cause extreme temperature changes in your mouth which could shorten the life of your dental restorations, it is much better to suck on ice than it is to chew on it. If you develop any abnormal sensitivity and are an ice chewer consult your dentist to ensure there is no permanent damage to your teeth.

Your toothbrush is an essential part of maintaining any oral hygiene regimen.Walking down any oral health aisle in a drug  will show you dozens of different toothbrushes and other oral health aids. How do you choose the right toothbrush for you? Also, once you do make that toothbrush selection, do you know how to care for it properly?

Choosing The Right Toothbrush

The best toothbrush for you is one that fits in your hands properly, reaches all areas, is soft, and easy to use. Toothbrushes come in different shapes, softness, and sizes for a reason, we all have different size hands and mouths. You want a handle that is able to allow you to hold it firmly. You also want a properly sized toothbrush head with soft bristles that is able to fit easily into all areas of the mouth. It is critical to be able to reach everywhere to maintain good oral hygiene.

Electric Vs Manual

There is always a question of electric vs manual  toothbrushes. While, the electric toothbrush cleans more effectively, it is not for everyone. Whether it be cost, storage, charging, vibration sensitivity or personal preferences, the electric toothbrush may not be your number 1 choice. Use what works best for you, just brush with proper technique, and thoroughly.  Electric toothbrushes are especially important for those with orthodontic braces, older population, and those who just need a little extra help to keep their teeth clean. It is important to use a light touch when using an electric toothbrush, and to let it do the brushing, not you.  The oscillating heads can be harsher on your teeth and gums than a manual toothbrush when you scrub with it instead of placing it on one tooth at a time.

How Often Should You Change Your Brush?

Keeping a toothbrush too long will lead to an ineffective toothbrush. As a toothbrush gets used, it begins to fray and collect dangerous bacteria. The recommended rate of change is every 3-4 months for both manual toothbrushes and electric brush heads. A good tip is, if you develop a bad cold or the flu in between that time, you should change toothbrushes after the illness is over. This is to avoid reintroducing that bacteria back into your system. Might even consider using a disposable toothbrush while sick.

Cleaning And Storing Your Toothbrush

Proper toothbrush use should include rinsing thoroughly after each use to remove any excess toothpaste as well as any debris that may be left on it. A good tip will be to soak your toothbrush in an antiseptic rinse to eliminate any bacteria they may be harbored on your brush. Do not leave your toothbrush near the toilet area as the bacteria from the toilet can easily travel to your brush  upon flushing. If you keep it in the cabinet, dry it off before putting it away. There are also ultra violet tooth sanitizers that you can use.

Toothbrushes should be stored so that they are able to air dry. This usually means storing them upright either in the medicine cabinet or near the sink. Bacteria generally need a moist environment to grow and prosper. Another good tip is to never share your toothbrush with anyone, as it can lead to transmission of disease and bacteria.

Toothbrush Conclusion

A clean, effective toothbrush is necessary to keep up your oral hygiene on a regular basis. Brushing should be done at least two times per day for a minimum of 2 minutes each time. Keep track of how often you change your brush, and keep the holder clean and disinfected as well. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations, professional cleanings, and new toothbrushes!