Archive for August, 2014

Is Invisalign an orthodontic treatment for adults?

 Invisalign Round RockInvisalign is an alternative to traditional orthodontic treatments, such as braces, available for many patients including adults. In traditional orthodontic treatments with braces, brackets are bonded to the surfaces of teeth and connected by a wire that is replaced and adjusted regularly to achieve the desired movement and results. In contrast, Invisalign uses custom-made aligners that fit snuggly over teeth, gradually shifting teeth to a more functional position without the need for traditional hardware.

Adults that meet criteria for orthodontic treatment can discuss options with a dentist or orthodontist. In many cases, the dentist refers the adult patient to orthodontists for consultation and to learn about the options available for the individual case. When Invisalign is a possibility, the process is explained during the consultation to ensure the adult patient fully understands the process, options, and predicted timeline.

With Invisalign, impressions are taken of the top and bottom teeth to assess current positions and alignments. Custom-made aligners are created using clear plastic, with gradual adjustments to the positions and orientations of teeth for a more functional and aesthetic alignment. The clear aligners provide a virtually invisible treatment option that many adult patients prefer to traditional hardware braces, and the aligners provide a host of benefits and conveniences for only minimal additional effort.

Dentists instruct patients to remove the Invisalign aligners when eating, to prevent damage from pressure and impact, as well as protect the clear aligners from staining. This also protects teeth from staining as food and deeply pigmented beverages can become trapped within the aligners, maintaining contact with teeth. After eating or drinking, teeth are cleaned and aligners are cleaned, then the aligners are replaced over the teeth for continued treatment progress. The ability to remove the Invisalign aligners also enables better oral hygiene and self-care throughout the treatment process.

Unlike traditional braces that come with restrictions regarding certain foods, the Invisalign aligners are removed to eat thereby eliminating restrictions. Although some discomfort is normal as teeth move, regular eating habits are general easy to maintain throughout the Invisalign process. To learn more about treatment options and Invisalign, contact our skilled dental team at Balcones Family Dental today!

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Smoking and Your Dental Health

 north Austin dentistApart from the visual damage caused to teeth from smoking, there are many dental health issues that stem from smoking behaviors and a dentist will encourage smoking patients to quit for improved overall oral health. Visual signs of smoking are hard to conceal, including but not limited to stained and discolored teeth, chronic bad breath, abnormal tartar buildup on teeth, receding gums, and a condition known as “smoker’s lip” that occurs over time resembling a burn.

Receding gums expose the more sensitive parts of teeth that should remain protected by health gum tissue. When the gums recede, teeth often develop sensitivity, especially to hot and cold temperatures, but also to contact. The lost gum tissue can include periodontal disease such as gingivitis, as well. It is estimated that smoking accounts for approximately half of all gum disease cases. These and other related symptoms are observed by a dentist at routine checkups and standout as obvious signs of smoking in a patient. 

Apart from the visual damage caused to teeth from smoking, there are many dental health issues that stem from smoking behaviors…

Smoking increases the bacteria in the mouth, allowing an increase in cavities, sores, bad breath, infection and disease.  While these can occur in non-smoking patients, they tend to occur more readily and progress more rapidly in smokers. Moreover, the taste buds can be altered from smoking, causing a decrease in taste sensation or altered taste sensation. A dentist can discuss these details with individual patients to assess the current state of overall oral and dental health, and help establish a plan to quit.

In more severe cases, oral cancers can occur from the damage caused by cigarette smoking. Teeth shifting or movement, bone loss in jawbones, missing teeth, and slower healing rates are also seen in lifelong smokers. Tobacco products reduce the flow of oxygenated blood to the gums and inhibit the ability to maintain dental and oral health. This is seen in cigarette smokers, but also in users of chewing tobacco, pipe smokers, cigar smokers, and drug users, recreational or otherwise.

For information on smoking cessation and improving dental health, contact our caring dental specialists at 512-200-7422 today.

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