Your oral health is very important, and too many people don’t visit their Calgary dentist regularly. Regular visits will improve your appearance, sense of well-being and prevent many serious conditions that are linked to poor oral health such as cavities, gum disease, sleeping problems, behavioral or developmental problems in children and the ability to chew and digest food properly.
To minimize risks of oral health issues there are a few simple tasks that can save you a lifetime of pain, discomfort and unhappiness.
- Brush and floss your teeth on a daily basis, as well as using an antimicrobia mouth rinse to help reduce bacteria in the mouth.
- Visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings, book in appointments if you notice any problems.
- Follow Canada’s Food Guide and lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Refrain from smoking any tobacco products, if you do then more frequent visits may be recommended by your dentist.
- Ensure you eat healthy foods and maintain good oral health if you are pregnant, or wanting to be come pregnant.
- Assist your children with oral hygiene, brush their teeth for them until they have the ability to do it them self.
Children and Oral Health
Children learn and form habits from a young age, and you can help get them on the right track to good oral health. Young children are not able to clean their own teeth, they will need your help until they are old enough to do it on their own. The majority of children are comfortable to begin brushing on their own when they can write his or her name.
Even before your child has baby teeth, keeping the inside of their mouth clean is important. Lie your baby in a comfortable place and use a soft baby brush or wrap your finger in a clean, damp washcloth, then brush or wipe your babys gums and teeth. Refrain from using toothpaste until your child has teeth.
It is recommended that your child visits a dentist within 6 months of their first erupted tooth. This will allow for preventative care to take place and the possibilities for tooth decay or other problems to be identified early. If your child requires a filling on a baby tooth, it is recommended to go ahead with the filling rather than waiting for it to fall out. If left untreated the baby tooth can begin to irritate and get worse with time, hurting your child’s health and changing the way your child feels about him or herself.
When To See An Orthodontist
An orthodontists help can be needed for several reasons, for most its to ensure teeth are straight, healthy and that self confidence is restored with a bright, shiny smile! Orthodontic problems left untreated can lead to many problems such as chewing/digestion difficulties, speech impairments, abnormal wear and overtime strain on gum tissue and the bone leading to headaches and neck pain.
Children may begin an orthodontics treatment at age 7, but every individual will be recommended a different start time dependent on the rate at which their adult teeth are growing and how severe their case is.
Reasons for orthodontic treatment (braces) adults & children:
- Breathing or swallowing problems – Mouth breathing can lead to snoring and sleep apnea.
- Crossbite – One or more upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth (towards the tongue).
- Crowding – Involving extra teeth or malpositioned teeth.
- Deep Overbite – The lower front teeth bite into the upper tissue of the upper teeth.
- Disfiguring of the face & mouth – Affects the development of the jaw and position of the teeth.
- Jaw & jaw joint pain
- Missing or extra teeth – Due to tooth decay, injuries, or inherited problems.
- Overjet (protruding upper teeth) – Upper teeth that protrude beyond normal and are usually associated with a short lower jaw.
- Self-image – An attractive smile can boost a person’s self-image and confidence.
- Spacing between teeth – Teeth are missing or may be too small or too large.
- Speech, chewing or biting problems
- Underbite (lower jaw protrusion) – Lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw.
Specific to children:
- Finger or thumb sucking – These habits can cause protrusion of the upper incisor teeth, and mouth breathing.
- Teeth erupting out of position – Can be guided to proper alignment.
What does orthodontic treatment involve?
Orthodontic treatment involves three phases:
1. Planning Phase – Your first couple of visits may include the following:
- A medical and dental history evaluation.
- Castings or “molds” of your teeth.
- Computer generated photograph of the head and neck that will aid in planning.
- Photographs of your face and mouth.
- X-rays of the teeth and jaw.
After careful planning, your general dentist or orthodontist (if you require a referral), will design and apply braces or fabricate custom-made appliances for you.
2. Active Phase – Active treatment involves visiting your care provider on a regular basis for adjustments and following specific treatment requirements to ensure successful treatment.
3. Retention Phase – When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed and a new appliance is made. Usually these retainers are removable and will maintain the changes made to your teeth if worn continuously until the teeth and bone are stabilized in their new positions.