Posts for: February, 2016
It’s true — thumb sucking beyond age 4 can cause bite problems for permanent teeth. But prolonged thumb sucking is just one of a number of possible contributing factors for a bad bite (malocclusion). A dentist must identify all the factors involved when a bad bite is present — their involvement is essential for a successful treatment outcome.
A fairly benign habit for infants and toddlers, thumb sucking is related to an “infantile swallowing pattern” young children use by thrusting their tongues forward between the upper and lower teeth when they swallow. Around age 4, though, they usually transition to an adult swallowing pattern in which the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Thumb sucking stops for most children around the same time.
Thumb sucking beyond this age, though, can put increased pressure on incoming permanent teeth pushing them forward. This could lead to an “open bite” in which the upper and lower teeth don’t meet when the jaws are closed. The tongue may also continue to thrust forward when swallowing to seal the resulting gap, which further reinforces the open bite.
Before treating the bite with braces, we must first address the thumb sucking and improper tongue placement when swallowing — if either isn’t corrected the teeth could gradually revert to their previous positions after the braces come off. Besides behavioral incentives, we can also employ a thin metal appliance called a “tongue crib” placed behind the upper and lower incisors. A tongue crib discourages thumb sucking and makes it more difficult for the tongue to rest within the open bite gap when swallowing, which helps retrain it to a more normal position.
An open bite can also occur if the jaws develop with too much vertical growth. Like thumb sucking and improper tongue placement, abnormal jaw growth could ultimately cause orthodontic treatment to fail. In this case, though, surgery may be necessary to correct the jaw structure.
With all these possible variables, our first step needs to be a thorough orthodontic exam that identifies all the cause factors for your child’s specific malocclusion. Knowing if and how thumb sucking may have contributed to the poor bite will help us design a treatment strategy that’s successful.
If you would like more information on the causes of poor tooth position, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Find out what makes invisible braces so unique from other kinds.
You are ready to straighten your smile and you know that getting braces from your Naples dentists Drs. Richard and Maria Linden is the right choice for you. But what orthodontic option will you get? Are traditional braces going to give you the results you want or can you get that straighter smile with a more revolutionary approach like Invisalign? Which is the ideal treatment for you?
Braces vs. Invisalign
When you hear your Naples, FL orthodontists talk about braces more often then not you imagine the metal brackets and wires. However, things have changed for the better when it comes to regular braces. Now patients can get brackets and wires that more closely match the shade of your teeth so they are more subtle and discreet than regular metal. Also, some types like lingual braces can even be cemented to the back of your teeth so they are even less obvious.
Invisalign is created with full discreetness in mind, as it is practically invisible. These clear, plastic aligners are custom-made to fit over your teeth to shift them into the proper position. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks, after which you replace it with the next set in your treatment.
So which one is right for you?
Here are some factors to consider before talking to your dentists in Naples about braces:
Wearing your Braces
Traditional braces are cemented to the front of your teeth (and sometimes the back) so they have to be worn at all times. Invisalign, on the other hand, can be removed to brush and floss your teeth and before mealtimes.
Length of treatment
You will wear your traditional braces all day everyday for an average of 2 years. Of course, this treatment time may be longer or shorter depending on the severity of your condition. Invisalign should be worn for at least a minimum of 22 hours each day and the length of treatment fluctuates between 6 to 18 months.
You will continue to brush and floss normally regardless of the type of braces you opt for. It can be more challenging to clean your teeth with traditional braces and you’ll want to be gentle so you don’t damage anything. Invisalign can be removed prior to brushing and flossing so nothing in your oral care routine needs to change.
Seeing your dentist in Naples, FL
You will see us about every month while wearing traditional braces and about every four to six weeks with Invisalign.
For both Invisalign and traditional braces you’ll need to wear a retainer afterwards to maintain your new smile. After a few months you may only need to wear your retainer at night.
If you are ready to find out which orthodontic option is right for your dental needs then turn to Linden Dental, the smile experts in Naples, FL.
When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.
"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."
As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.
For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.
If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.
If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”