By contactus@bluffcreekdental.com
December 15, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Orthodontic HeadgearSometimes braces alone aren't enough to move teeth into a better position, or correct a problematic bite or misaligned jaw growth. In those situations your trusted dental professional may recommend the use of special appliances, such as orthodontic headgear. Orthodontic headgear is worn partly outside the mouth and applies just enough force to move the teeth properly and guide the growth of the face and jaws.

Types of Headgear

There are several types of orthodontic headgear; each is designed to work best in a specific situation. At Bluff Creek Dental’s Chanhassen office, your family dentist can design a treatment program to address your individual needs, and select the most appropriate type of headgear to meet those needs. In general, there are three main types of headgear:

  • Cervical-Pull 
  • High-Pull
  • Reverse-Pull / Facemask

Cervical-Pull & High-Pull Headgear

Cervical-Pull headgear has a U-shaped wire that attaches to the bands on your back teeth and a strap that is worn behind your neck. High-pull headgear is similar, but it also has a wire connecting to the teeth and a strap that goes behind and over the head.

Both types of headgear are typically used to correct an excessive horizontal overbite (an “overjet”) in children by holding back the growth of the upper jaw. These appliances can also be used for adults who need help maintaining a proper bite and correcting tooth spacing after tooth extraction. Generally, these types of headgear are meant to be worn 12 - 14 hours a day.

Reverse-Pull / Facemask Headgear

This appliance is generally used to correct an underbite. It gently pulls the upper jaw forward (instead of back), which allows it to catch up with the lower jaw. The appliance consists of two pads—one resting on the forehead, the other on the chin, connected by a vertical frame. Elastics or wires, which connect from the frame to the braces, exert the pulling force. It may be necessary to wear this appliance about 14 - 16 hours a day.

The Outcome Depends on You

Whatever type of headgear you're wearing, there are some important things to remember:

  1. Follow the instructions that accompany your headgear. That means putting the appliance on each day for the time specified. 
  2. If you are supposed to wear headgear while sleeping and you forget to put it on one night, you must make up the time the following day. Otherwise, everything you've accomplished in the previous seven days of wear could be wiped out!
  3. It's normal to feel some discomfort when wearing orthodontic headgear. Fortunately, if you wear it faithfully, the discomfort generally goes away after a few days. An over-the-counter pain reliever like Ibuprofen, and/or a soft diet can help you adjust.
  4. From time to time you may also experience some soreness when chewing, or even a little looseness in the first molars. This is normal, and it shows the appliance is working. However, if you have unusual pain, check to see if the anchor band on your first molar (the one the headgear attaches to) has come loose. 
  5. If your headgear suddenly seems to not fit correctly, it could be a sign of a problem. In that case, contact our Chanhassen office right away.

Maintain Your Headgear — Maintain Your Oral Health

To keep your orthodontic headgear working properly, and maintain your oral health, it's important that you follow instructions regarding appliance care and cleaning. It's also vital that you learn to put headgear on and take it off properly and safely. And please remember to bring your headgear with you every time you have an orthodontic-treatment-related appointment at our Chanhassen office, but leave it behind when you're playing sports, or even horsing around in your living room!

Headgear for a Happier, Healthier Smile

Wearing orthodontic headgear may seem like a big adjustment, and nobody would deny that it takes some getting used to. But headgear is just one more way orthodontic treatment can get you the healthy, beautiful smile you want. The team at Bluff Creek Dental wants to work with you to achieve a common goal: a great smile that you'll have for your whole life. So listen to your family dentist’s instructions for wear and care of your headgear and contact us today with any questions you may have!

 

IfYouvehadJointReplacementyoumayNeedAntibioticsBeforeDentalWork

If you’ve had a total joint replacement or similar procedure, you will want your surgeon to decide if you need to take an antibiotic before you undergo dental work. This is a precaution to prevent a serious infection known as bacteremia.

Bacteremia occurs when bacteria become too prevalent in the bloodstream and cause infection in other parts of the body, especially in joints and bone with prosthetic (replacement) substances. It’s believed that during invasive dental procedures bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream through incisions and other soft tissue disruptions.

Joint infections are a serious matter and can require extensive therapy to bring it under control. Out of this concern, the use of antibiotics as a prophylactic (preventive measure) against bacteremia once included a wide range of patients for a variety of conditions and procedures. But after an in-depth study in 2007, the American Dental Association concluded that the risks for many of these patient groups for infection triggered by a dental procedure was extremely low and didn’t warrant the use of antibiotic premedication therapy.

As a result, recommendations for antibiotic therapy changed in 2009, eliminating many groups previously recommended for premedication. But because of the seriousness of joint infection, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons still recommends the therapy for joint replacement patients about to undergo any invasive procedure, including dental work. It’s especially needed for patients who also have some form of inflammatory arthritis, a weakened immune system, insulin-dependent diabetes, hemophilia, malnourishment or a previous infection in an artificial joint.

The guidelines for antibiotic premedication can be complex. It’s best, then, to speak with both your orthopedic surgeon and us about whether you should undergo antibiotic therapy before you undergo a dental procedure. The ultimate goal is to reduce the risks of any disease and to keep both your mouth and your body safe from infection.

If you would like more information on the use of antibiotics in dental care, 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 “Premedication for Dental Treatment.”

By Bluff Creek Dental
November 20, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dry mouth  
HowtoLessentheEffectsofChronicDryMouth

If you were asked to identify the number one mouth problem affecting dental health, what would you name? Toothaches? Poor hygiene? Jaw joint issues?

Believe it or not, the top issue among 15,000 respondents in a recent American Dental Association (ADA) survey was dry mouth. A full one-third of the respondents had experienced chronic lack of normal saliva flow; difficulty biting and tooth pain, took second and third place, respectively.

We’ve all experienced the discomfort of temporary dry mouth when we first wake up in the morning or after eating certain foods. But chronic dry mouth is much more serious with long-term effects on a person’s teeth and gum health. This is because among its other important properties, saliva helps neutralize enamel-softening mouth acid and restores minerals to enamel after acid contact. Without sufficient saliva flow you’re much more susceptible to dental disease.

While there are several causes for dry mouth, perhaps the most common is as a side effect to at least five hundred known medications. Because older people tend to take more medications than other age groups, dry mouth is an acute problem among people over 60 (a major factor for why dry mouth took the survey’s top health problem spot).

You can help ease dry mouth from medications by first asking your doctor about switching to alternative medications that don’t affect saliva production. If not, be sure to drink more water during the day and especially when you take your oral medication (a few sips before and after).

You can help your dry mouth symptoms from any cause by drinking more water, limiting your consumption of alcohol or caffeine, and avoiding tobacco products. You can also use substances that stimulate saliva flow—a common one is xylitol, an alcohol-based sugar that’s used as a sweetener in certain gums and candies. Not only does xylitol boost saliva flow it also inhibits the growth of bacteria and thus decreases your risk of disease.

And speaking of reducing bacteria and their effects, don’t neglect daily brushing and flossing. These habits, along with regular dental cleanings and checkups, will benefit you just as much as your efforts to reduce dry mouth in avoiding dental disease.

If you would like more information on treating common problems with teeth and gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Bluff Creek Dental
November 12, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
CharlizeTheronBackinActionAfterDentalSurgery

When they’re introducing a new movie, actors often take a moment to pay tribute to the people who helped make it happen — like, you know, their dentists. At least that’s what Charlize Theron did at the premiere of her new spy thriller, Atomic Blonde.

"I just want to take a quick moment to thank my dentists," she told a Los Angeles audience as they waited for the film to roll. "I don’t even know if they’re here, but I just want to say thank you."

Why did the starring actress/producer give a shout-out to her dental team? It seems she trained and fought so hard in the action sequences that she actually cracked two teeth!

“I had severe tooth pain, which I never had in my entire life,” Theron told an interviewer from Variety. At first, she thought it was a cavity — but later, she found out it was more serious: One tooth needed a root canal, and the other had to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant — but first, a bone grafting procedure was needed. “I had to put a donor bone in [the jaw] to heal,” she noted, “and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”

Although it might sound like the kind of treatment only an action hero would need, bone grafting is now a routine part of many dental implant procedures. The reason is that without a sufficient volume of good-quality bone, implant placement is difficult or impossible. That’s because the screw-like implant must be firmly joined with the jawbone, so it can support the replacement tooth.

Fortunately, dentists have a way to help your body build new bone: A relatively small amount of bone material can be placed in the missing tooth’s socket in a procedure called bone grafting. This may come from your own body or, more likely, it may be processed bone material from a laboratory. The donor material can be from a human, animal or synthetic source, but because of stringent processing techniques, the material is safe for human use. Once it is put in place your body takes over, using the grafted material as a scaffold on which to build new bone cells. If jawbone volume is insufficient for implants, it can often be restored to a viable point in a few months.

Better yet, when grafting material is placed in the tooth socket immediately after extraction, it can keep most of the bone loss from occurring in the first place, enabling an implant to be placed as soon as possible — even before the end of a movie’s shooting schedule.

Will Atomic Blonde prove to be an action-movie classic? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: When Charlize Theron walks down the red carpet, she won’t have to worry about a gap in her smile.

If you have questions about bone grafting or dental implants, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Immediate Dental Implant.”

By Bluff Creek Dental
October 28, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
FAQInterceptiveOrthodonticsforChildren

Have you heard about interceptive orthodontics? This type of early intervention could benefit perhaps 10รข??20% of children who need orthodontic treatment, making a positive impact on tooth and jaw development, facial symmetry, and overall self esteem. In case you’re not familiar with it, here are the answers to some common questions about interceptive orthodontic treatment.

Q: What’s the difference between interceptive orthodontics and regular orthodontics?
A: Standard orthodontic treatment typically involves moving teeth into better positions (usually with braces or aligners), and can be done at any age. Interceptive orthodontics uses a variety of techniques to influence the growth and development of teeth and jaws, with the aim of improving their function and appearance. Because it works with the body’s natural growth processes, interceptive treatment is most effective before the onset of puberty (around age 10-14), when growth begins to stop. It is generally not appropriate for adults.

Q: What are the advantages of early treatment with interceptive orthodontics?
A: When it’s done at the right time, interceptive treatment offers results that would be difficult or impossible to achieve at an older age without using more complex or invasive methods — for example, tooth extraction or jaw surgery. That’s why the American Association of Orthodontists, among other professional organizations, recommends that all kids have their first orthodontic screening at age 7.

Q: What are some common issues that can be treated with interceptive orthodontics?
A: One is crowding, where there is not enough room in the jaw to accommodate all the permanent teeth with proper spacing in between. A palatal expander can be used to create more room in the jaw and avoid the need for tooth extraction. Another is a situation where the top and bottom jaws don’t develop at the same rate, resulting in a serious malocclusion (bad bite). A number of special appliances may be used to promote or restrict jaw growth, which can help resolve these problems.

Q: How long does interceptive orthodontic treatment take?
A: Depending on what’s needed, a child might wear a device like a palatal expander or another type of appliance for 6-12 months, followed by a retainer for a period of time. Or, a space maintainer may be left in place for a period of months to hold a place for a permanent tooth to erupt (emerge from the gums). Interceptive treatment ends when a child’s jaw stops growing.

Q: Will braces still be needed after interceptive treatment?
A: Often, but not always, the answer is yes. However, interceptive treatment may shorten the period of time where braces need to be worn, and can help prevent many problems later on.

If you have additional questions about interceptive orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.”





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