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Crooked Teeth Can Cause Speech Problems

September 7th, 2023

LET’S TAKE A look at how orthodontic treatment can overlap with speech pathology. Overbites are common causes of lisps and whistling while talking, as are gaps between teeth. Air can escape through the gap while trying to make sounds that require the speaker to press their tongue against their teeth. Orthodontic treatment corrects these problems and makes it easier to speak clearly.

It Can Be Tricky to Speak Around Crowded Teeth

In order to correctly form words and control the speed of our speech, our tongues need room to move. A small jaw or dental crowding can restrict the tongue’s movement, increasing the chances of a stutter or slurred speech. Braces correct these issues and give the tongue all the space it needs to form the correct sounds!

English Versus Crooked Teeth

The English language contains several sounds that require our teeth to be correctly positioned in order to pronounce them. It’s difficult to say sounds like CH as in “chair,” SH as in “shape,” F as in “feet,” V as in “van,” J as in “jump,” S as in “soup,” the voiceless TH as in “think,” the voiced TH as in “the,” Z as in “zoom,” and ZH as in “treasure” with a bad bite, gaps, or crowding. Braces move the teeth into their proper positions, solving these pronunciation problems!

The Many Benefits of Straight Teeth

Not all speech disorders can be improved with orthodontic treatment, but anyone who struggles to make certain sounds due to malocclusions, crowding, or crooked teeth will likely see an improvement. Clearer speech isn’t the only benefit to straight teeth either — they’re easier to clean, they look great, and they even improve digestion.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Do Braces Do What They Do?

August 25th, 2023

A LOT OF PEOPLE take it for granted that braces can move teeth into their correct positions, but how many people know how that actually works? It’s a pretty fascinating process, and we’re excited to give our patients a closer look at the cellular level of their treatment.

The Components of Your Braces

Each part of your braces serves an important purpose. At minimum, they will include brackets, bands (sometimes called ligatures or O-rings), and archwires, but sometimes they also include extra parts and appliances to help with individual treatment plans.

The Brackets Are the Anchors

You can sometimes tell if someone is new to braces by looking at their brackets. If they aren’t in a very straight line, they’re probably close to the starting position. At that stage, the brackets can even emphasize how crooked their teeth were before braces. We place the brackets in very deliberate spots on the teeth so that they will move into the correct positions.

Archwires Are the Guide Rails

The archwires are what runs through all the brackets, and they can vary in material and thickness depending on the best treatment plan for the patient. The archwires provide gradual, steady pressure in a particular direction as they fight to go back to their original shape. Finally, we use colorful O-to hold the brackets and archwires together.

Elastics for a Bad Bite

The most common extra with braces is elastics, which are used to correct a bad bite or misaligned jaw. They apply pressure towards the proper alignment, but they can only do their job when the patient wears them EXACTLY as the orthodontist instructs. Not wearing them will delay Braces Off Day, but so will wearing too many. Trust us: we have calculated the right amount of rubber bands and the right length of time they need to be worn for the most efficient results.

Your Treatment Goes Down to the Cellular Level

Our teeth don’t simply move. There’s a lot going on with the individual cells that make up the bone of the jaws. Ahead of the tooth, specialized cells called osteoclasts break down the bone cells that are under pressure, making room for the tooth to move. Behind the tooth, osteoblasts are busy building new bone cells to keep the tooth snug in its socket (this part takes longer). The bones are actually reshaping themselves.

Finish Off With Retainers

It takes time for bones to change shape, and until they do, our teeth still remember their old positions. This is why retainers are so important. They help our teeth and jaws get used to their correct positions. They also prevent future shifting that will happen to most people’s teeth with age.

Now You Know How Your Braces Work!

Hopefully we’ve answered a few questions you had about braces, but you should ask us at your next adjustment appointment if you have more! We believe that the better our patients understand their orthodontic appliances, the better they will understand the reasoning behind the instructions we give, and the more confident they will be about their results on Braces Off Day!

We’re looking forward to taking your “after” pictures!


Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Banned Foods List Is There for Good Reason

August 9th, 2023

ONE OF THE LEAST fun aspects of orthodontic treatment is the banned foods list. No more movie popcorn, no more chewing gum, etc. But we don’t just ban these foods to be mean; they pose a serious threat to the complex orthodontic appliance that is there to gradually straighten a patient’s smile.

Crunchy or Sticky Foods are Bracket Kryptonite

All it takes is one poorly angled bite on something hard or pulling back off of something sticky to pop a bracket off a tooth. Every time that happens, it pushes back the eagerly-awaited Braces Off Day. This is why we urge our patients to avoid popcorn, nuts, ice, chewing gum, hard candy, gummy candy, pizza crust, bagels and other hard rolls, whole fruits like apples, hard crackers, pretzels, and chips.

Sugar: Always Bad for Teeth

Those are the ones that are actively risky to braces, but others contribute to problems too, like anything with a lot of sugar in it. It’s harder to keep plaque at bay with braces on, and eating or drinking large amounts of sugar can lead to bleached patches around the brackets and stains after the braces come off. It’s easiest to cut out most of the sugar.

Braces-Friendly Alternatives

Patients can swap puffcorn for popcorn, pudding for caramel, tortilla chips for pita bread, and slice up their apples. If a bracket does come loose, come see us! We’re rooting for our patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

When Is It Time to See the Dentist?

July 26th, 2023

DENTAL PROBLEMS LIKE gum disease and tooth decay can easily sneak up on us if we aren’t careful, which is why regular dental checkups are so essential — even when you’re pretty sure nothing is wrong. For most people, two regular appointments (consisting of professional cleaning and a dental exam) are enough to stay on top of any dental health concerns. In certain circumstances, however, it’s a good idea to come in ahead of schedule.

Any Kind of Tooth Pain or Persistent Mouth Sores

Any amount of tooth pain could indicate that tooth decay has reached the dental pulp. Pain is the body’s warning sign that something is wrong, and tooth pain rarely goes away on its own. An aching jaw or frequent headaches could also indicate a dental problem like a teeth-grinding habit, and the dentist can help. In most cases, mouth sores will resolve on their own, but they can sometimes be a sign of disease or infection, and a dentist should look at those.

Bleeding Gums

Conventional wisdom holds that flossing can result in bleeding gums, but that’s not really true. Being overly aggressive with your flossing technique could cause bleeding (so we recommend a gentle approach, making a C-shape around a tooth with the floss and carefully working down to the gums instead of snapping straight down) or it could be a symptom of gum disease. Brushing shouldn’t cause bleeding either (which is why we recommend soft-bristled brushes and soft brushing motions), and if it is, the dentist should know!

Old Dental Work

If you’ve had dental work before and are having problems with it now, don’t put off a trip to the dentist. The problems will usually get worse, such as a cracked or chipped crown that could lead to infection if it isn’t repaired quickly. A worn-out filling also needs to be replaced to stop bacteria from multiplying in the space between the filling and the tooth.

Serious Medical Conditions

A medical condition like diabetes, gum disease, or an eating disorder can have a serious impact on oral health. Sometimes the treatments for a health condition have effects on oral health, such as medications causing dry mouth. If you are fighting a chronic disease or have started a new prescription, your dentist should know about it.

Chronic Bad Breath

There aren’t many things more mortifying than being in a close face-to-face social situation and realizing your breath is less than minty fresh, but bad breath isn’t always just a superficial issue. It may be a symptom of gum disease or other health problems. If you struggle to keep your breath smelling pleasant, talk to the dentist about it so they can discover the underlying cause.

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Disclaimer: the content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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