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Ortega Orthodontics Blog

6 Essential Vitamins for a Healthy Mouth

March 21, 2016

As your Jacksonville orthodontist, we care about your overall health as much as we care about your straight smile and pearly whites. Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body and keeping it healthy is an important job. Maintaining your oral hygiene and a proper diet is key to a healthy mouth, but having straight teeth and a properly aligned bite is a large part of it too. Just like the rest of your body, your teeth and gums rely on certain nutrients to keep them strong and infection free, which is why what you eat is important for both your overall and periodontal health. Here are 6 vitamins that your mouth needs to stay in it’s best shape:

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Five Reasons to Keep Up With Your Oral Hygiene

March 7, 2016

During your orthodontic treatment, maintaining proper oral hygiene is one of the most important pieces to achieving your dream smile. You’re on your way to a healthier smile, but if you ignore cleaning your braces you’ll be selling yourself short. Having braces may make it more difficult than usual to brush and floss, but there are tools to help you keep up! Letting your oral hygiene routine fall to the wayside can result in serious dental problems and can also hinder the results of your orthodontic treatment. Here are five reasons to maintain outstanding oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment:

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Seven Tips For Loving Your Braces This Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2016

Whether you’re a pre-teen, high schooler, or adult with braces, undergoing orthodontic treatment can be a big change! Though the new hardware in your mouth may not be your favorite Valentine’s Day look, you should be happy knowing that you’re taking proactive steps towards improving your smile and oral health. Straight teeth not only boost confidence and project friendliness, but what most people don’t realize is that straight smiles are healthy smiles.

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Stress and Your Smile

February 3, 2016

We all encounter stress in our lives, whether it’s from school or work, stress can have damaging effects on your body. Your mouth is not immune to the effects of stress and sometimes it can even have an impact on your orthodontic appliances. Researchers have found significant links between stress and oral health, which helps us to better understand how anxiety and depression can exasperate dental problems. As your Jacksonville orthodontist, we know that limiting your stress will improve your overall well being and the success of your orthodontic treatment.

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Malocclusion and Your Oral Health

January 27, 2016

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, occlusion is the relationship between your upper and lower teeth as they come into contact with each other. When you chew, bite, and close your jaw, the contact between your teeth affects your jaw muscles, gums, head, neck, and oral health. Since your jaw alignment affects so many aspects of your overall health, your orthodontist ensures that by the end of your treatment your jaw is aligned and your teeth fit together without causing any unnecessary force in your mouth. Here are the various classes of occlusion that your orthodontist will asses throughout your treatment:

Class I Occlusion: This class is considered the “ideal” occlusal fit and is identified by the lower anterior incisors sitting just behind the upper anterior incisors when biting down.

Class II Malocclusion: This class is typically considered an overbite and is identified by the lower lower anterior incisors being positioned significantly behind the upper anterior incisors.

Class III Malocclusion: This class is usually called a crossbite and is identified by the lower anterior incisors being positioned edge to edge with the upper anterior incisors.

Although your teeth may appear normal, an offset bite can lead to a series of oral health issues, such as:

  • Teeth injury
  • Tooth wear
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chronic headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Muscle pain
  • Tooth movement
  • Tooth loss

At Ortega Orthodontics, we will make sure that your jaw is aligned during your treatment so that you can have proper bite function and a lifetime of healthy teeth. There are several options for treating a misaligned jaw and as your Jacksonville orthodontist, we can determine what treatment option is best for you! Contact us today to schedule your appointment for achieving the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

What Swollen Gums May Be Telling You

January 13, 2016

While on the road to your perfect smile, it’s not always all fun and games. Making sure you’re keeping up with your oral hygiene and protecting your teeth is important for ensuring the result you’re looking for when the braces come off. If you’ve just gotten your braces on or tightened, you may find that your gums are more swollen than usual – rest assured that this is normal. But, if your gums remain swollen for a long period of time, it may be a sign of other problems.

When your teeth are moving, bone is dissolved and new bone is formed as your teeth are repositioned. This causes the expected discomfort and swelling that comes with the territory of orthodontic treatment. But, if you haven’t had your braces adjusted recently and find that your gums are swollen and sore, it may be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a result of plaque buildup on your teeth and can lead to more serious gum disease if left unattended.

Keeping up with your oral hygiene is a critical part of orthodontic treatment and is the best way to ensure the perfect smile you’re looking for. Although braces can make it difficult to reach certain spots, brushing and flossing after eating will help keep your teeth clean and gums healthy. If you’re struggling with swollen gums or could use some extra advice on maintaining your oral hygiene, talk to your orthodontist at your next appointment.

Protect Your Hardware with a Mouth Guard

January 6, 2016

Whether your sport is soccer or football, basketball or skateboarding, the American Dental Association recommends the use of a mouth guard for 29 different sports and activities. A good-fitting mouth guard is extremely important for anyone with braces, dental work, or just wanting to protect their smile. A mouth guard will protect your teeth, brackets, appliances, and cheeks from soft tissue damage.

If you’re on the market for a good mouth guard, you should make sure that it stays in place during activity, doesn’t limit your breathing, is comfortable, easy to clean, and durable. Although most mouth guards only protect the top teeth, many dentists and orthodontists suggest that athletes, especially those with braces, wear a lower mouthguard as well. A mouth guard may not be the most attractive addition to your uniform, but it will protect your teeth from chipping, root damage, and tooth loss.

Whether you choose a stock mouth guard, mouth-formed guard, or custom-fitted guard, any option will be instrumental in protecting your teeth. As your Jacksonville orthodontist, we love to cheer on our patients, but we also love when they keep their smile safe! If protecting your orthodontic hardware and teeth during your sport is a concern, talk to us about different options at your next appointment.

Rubber Bands and Your Smile

December 23, 2015

Many people don’t realize the importance of the small rubber bands that work to straighten your smile throughout treatment. Though they are small, both ligatures and inter-arch elastics are key players in aligning your jaw and straightening teeth. Ligatures are the small elastics that are placed around each bracket and hold your arch wire in place. You can choose to make these ligatures almost any color and they work to push or pull teeth in a certain direction.

Rubber bands (inter-arch elastics) are somewhat larger and work to align your jaw by applying pressure to reduce an under or overbite. While your ligatures work to move teeth along your gum line, rubber bands pull your jaw forward or backward to align your jaw for a more comfortable bite. Brackets with hooks are used on the side of your mouth so you can hook your rubber bands to correct any malocclusion that exceeds the acceptable measurement.

Wearing your rubber bands as advised by your orthodontist is extremely important for keeping your treatment on schedule. Though they may cause discomfort initially, wearing them as often as advised will only make them more comfortable. If you have any questions about your orthodontic appliances or treatment, simply ask at your next appointment or give us a call to learn more.

Surviving Holiday Eating with Braces

December 16, 2015

With the holiday season upon us, so are the dinner parties, sweets, and celebratory snack foods. Whether your favorite part of the holiday meals is the pot roast or stuffing, there’s something for everyone to look forward to. If you have braces this winter, you may find an extra challenge from tempting treats that could damage your braces. Though you may not be bobbing for apples or munching on caramel corn this year, there’s still plenty of holiday treats to enjoy! Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to help your braces survive the holiday season:

Good to go:

  • Ham, turkey, pot roast
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Jello
  • Cheesecake
  • Green bean casserole
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin pie (no crust!)
  • Hot chocolate

Not this year:

  • Candy canes
  • Hard cookies
  • Pecan pie
  • Toffee
  • Peanut brittle
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Hard pretzels
  • Meat on the bone
  • Caramel apples
  • Corn on the cob

Even with braces, there are plenty of sweets for you to enjoy this winter! To prevent tooth decay, remember to brush extra and keep up on your flossing – especially after sugary and sticky meals. From your Jacksonville orthodontist, we hope you have a happy (and delicious) holiday season!

What to Expect at Your First Visit

December 9, 2015

If it’s time for you to begin orthodontic treatment, you may be nervous about the process and road ahead. As your Jacksonville orthodontist, we want you to rest easy knowing that orthodontics is one of the best investments you can make for the overall dental and wellbeing of you or your children. To get started at the time of your initial visit, please provide the following information:

  • A completed health history form
  • Your insurance information
  • Any recent x-rays from your general dentist

If you don’t have a panoramic radiograph from your general dentist, our office will take one to be thoroughly reviewed to determine your best course of treatment. If orthodontic treatment is recommended, one of our staff members will discuss our flexible payment options, fees, and appointment schedules with you to get started. After your initial exam, a complete diagnostic record will be compiled to include photographs of your face and teeth, necessary x-rays, impressions or an iTero scan, and bite registrations. You can complete your diagnostics during your initial exam if you choose.

After your diagnostic records have been compiled and analyzed, you’ll meet for your consultation with the orthodontist. Here you will be able to discuss treatment options designed specifically for your case and ask any questions you may have about your orthodontic treatment plan.

Beginning your orthodontic treatment and your road to a healthier and more confident smile doesn’t need to be complicated. At Ortega Orthodontics, we’re here to help you along every step of the way. Give us a call to schedule your first appointment today!

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