Empty Dentist Chair

Believe it or not, there is a consistent belief that if you are seeing an orthodontist for treatment, such as braces, it shouldn’t be necessary to see a dentist as well. After all, both are doctors that are working on your teeth, so why should you see both? However, while orthodontists and dentists work in the same area of the body, they are entirely different specialties. If anything, having braces means that it is even more important to maintain all elements of your oral health routine, including dental visits.

 

What Is the Role of a Dentist?

 

A good analogy for the role of a dentist in your life is that of your primary care provider in your life. You see your PCP for a regular checkup. Many issues they can treat on their own and you don’t see anyone else and can go about your life. Sometimes, you’ll need to see a specialist, like an ear-nose-throat doctor or any number of specialties. Just because you start seeing a specialist, it doesn’t mean that you should stop seeing your primary care provider. If anything, keeping your regular doctor apprised of any medical issues or treatments from your specialist is a prudent tactic. This is exactly how the relationship between you, your dentist, and your orthodontist should be during treatment.

 

Why Is Seeing Your Dentist So Important?

 

Braces do a lot of good for you during the treatment period, fixing alignment problems and alleviating a host of potential oral health issues. However, like any treatment in medicine, there are side effects. One of the side effects of braces is that it can make your teeth more susceptible to plaque and tartar build-up. While this can be addressed by the rest of your normal oral health routine, getting professional dental cleanings is the only way to remove this buildup from your teeth. You should pay more attention and perhaps even schedule more frequent dental cleanings during your orthodontic treatment just to stay on top of these issues. As a result, many orthodontists recommend that you see a dentist for cleanings more frequently during braces – as much as two to four times per year during the treatment.

 

Maintaining your dental health during an orthodontist treatment is vital. This means continuing diligence with your at-home care routine, including teeth brushing and flossing. In addition, that may mean extra visits with your dentist. Your dentist and orthodontist can help you chart out a treatment plan that ensures you are at your maximum oral health throughout your orthodontics treatment.

 

Contact us today to learn more and gain the smile you want!

Burke + Beckstrom patient smiling

There is the sense that teeth and the jaw are these grand immovable objects, that once we are adults, our teeth are largely set in place. After all, they feel solid and set in place, and it can be a little hard to comprehend how they can move and shift, short of serious trauma. However, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, your teeth and jawbone are an ever-evolving landscape. There are, in fact, a number of ways that your teeth move over time, including the obvious one, orthodontics. This article will go over some of the factors that cause teeth to move and explain them a little bit further.

 

Mesial Drift, A Natural Aging Process

 

Some teeth drifting is relatively unavoidable, but also generally minor. The most common form of this is called mesial drift, which is a natural byproduct of aging. Mesial drift presents itself as your teeth moving forward to the front of your mouth. This happens because as we chew, the sides of the teeth generate friction against each other, which wears down the teeth in that area. Naturally, the teeth seek to always be in contact with one another, so this wear down causes the teeth to shift towards one another. This is one of the most common forms of teeth moving.

 

Odd Habits Can Actually Shift Teeth

 

There are actually some odd behaviors that can impact teeth shifting, as well. Posture and how you sleep can both affect teeth shifting. Sleeping on your stomach, for instance, is actually negative for your oral health, and poor posture can actually cause your teeth to shift as well. These factors are exacerbated for those who work at a desk or a computer for long periods of time.

 

Enamel Loss Can Alter Teeth

 

We all know that enamel is the protective coating around teeth and that proper dental hygiene can protect your enamel. One of the consequences of losing enamel is that it actually alters the shape of the teeth. As the teeth change shape, they can also go out of alignment. These conditions can be worsened if you have naturally overcrowded or crooked teeth, as these factors can create a situation where it’s hard to practice good dental hygiene. This can be another good reason to pursue orthodontic treatment. Speaking of which…

 

How Braces Move Teeth (For the Better!)

 

Of course, not all teeth shifting is a bad thing. Orthodontics purposely move and shift teeth to create better alignment and alleviate a number of oral health issues. Braces work by applying consistent (but gentle) pressure to the teeth. Eventually, the jaw adjusts its shape due to the pressure and moves teeth – at least, for this one, that’s exactly what we want them to do!

 

Teeth are not immovable objects and shifting is bound to happen over time – it’s just a matter of to what degree that this happens. If your teeth are moving, and not in the way you want them to, give us a call!

Crooked Teeth

If there is one thing those of us in the orthodontics world are known for, it’s braces and the fact that they are used to treat cases of crooked teeth (among other things) in our patients. However, one of the more commonly asked questions we get is, why do some people get crooked teeth, to begin with? After all, if you take a look around, most people don’t have the picture-perfect smile we all imagine without some orthodontics help. There are a variety of factors that can cause people to have some kind of crooked teeth.

 

Sometimes You Are Just Born with Them

 

It can be hard to escape your genetics sometimes, and crooked teeth can certainly be one of those genetic factors you can’t avoid. In fact, it is the most common cause of crooked teeth, meaning that there is little to nothing most people can do to prevent crooked teeth. These genes can manifest in a number of ways. For instance, crowded teeth can be caused by smaller mouths, certainly a genetic trait that can cause misaligned jaws or crooked teeth.

 

There Are Some Bad Habits That Cause Crooked Teeth

 

While most people have absolutely no control over their teeth, there are some bad habits that can actually cause this problem. Perhaps the most common is prolonged thumb sucking. While this can be cute in infants for a while, at some point, it actually causes enough of a ripple effect down the line to lead to the development of crooked teeth, which is why some parents struggle to break this habit before it’s too late. The other behavioral traits that can cause this are often subconscious, and they include mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, or reverse swallowing. All of these can contribute to crooked teeth.

 

Baby Teeth Actually Do Matter

 

There is often a joke about whether or not taking care of your baby teeth really matters because you are just going to lose them anyway. However, the health of your baby teeth is directly linked to the health of your adult teeth. If you lose baby teeth prematurely due to decay, it causes the timing of your adult teeth to be off, which can greatly contribute to crooked teeth. In addition, the harmful bacteria that caused the baby tooth to decay can already impact the enamel of the adult tooth before it has even fully emerged.

 

Of course, the good news is that crooked teeth are eminently treatable in the hands of practiced and skilled orthodontists. We can perform treatments at all ages, although the sooner we start, the lower the costs and shorter the treatment times tend to be. However, many people, even the ones with picture-perfect smiles now, had to deal with crooked teeth. We’ll be happy to help you overcome this condition with our professional orthodontics treatments. Contact us now to learn more.

Child Receiving Orthodontic treatment at Burke + Beckstrom Office

It is very important for your child to receive orthodontic treatment for any issues they have at a young age. You may be aware that it is recommended your child receive their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven, and that recommendation is for a good reason, based on the developing structure of your child’s mouth.

 

Once you have taken your child in for an evaluation and are hit with the news that there are orthodontic concerns, you may be tempted to put off treatment for a number of reasons, but early treatment is best, and it is key for good orthodontic results and quicker treatment duration.

 

 

“Early detection for problems will help to shorten the treatment time when it is implemented. Orthodontists can detect early issues with jaw growth, early problems with teeth as they are growing in, and can detect problems that may benefit from early treatment.”–What Age Should My Child Have an Orthodontic Evaluation?

 

Why is it important to begin treatment early?

Early orthodontic treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, is usually performed when some baby teeth are still present. Around age seven, there are enough of the permanent teeth in place for a good evaluation and treatment plan to be developed.

 

The purpose of early treatment is to intervene before the procedures have to be more intrusive and corrective. Your orthodontist can help to alleviate any issues before they become harder to fix.

 

When your child is younger, their jaw structure is still growing and developing, and is easier to manipulate into the correct form. You can prevent problems with greater ease at this age and avoid a more difficult corrective treatment plan as your child gets older. Some orthodontic treatment measures are simply more effective when done at a younger age.

 

Your child’s treatment may include:

 

  • A fixed or removable “appliance” which can move teeth, guide jaw position, and hold teeth in place to get the desired changes to occur.
  • Some baby teeth may be removed to allow for more space where needed for the ingrowing adult teeth to come in properly.

 

The key to getting your child’s orthodontic needs met and giving them the best opportunity for a healthy, radiant smile is to get their orthodontic treatment underway as soon after age seven as possible. Sometimes no treatment is required, but this is best determined with a thorough orthodontic evaluation. The orthodontist can determine treatment but also when that treatment should be implemented for the best outcomes for your child.

 

We are here to answer any questions you may have about your child’s orthodontic care. We look forward to serving you! Contact us with any questions and set up your child’s first orthodontic appointment!

Young Boy Smiling

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your children be seen for an orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven.

 

You may think that your child’s teeth are growing perfectly normal, but an orthodontist can detect issues in your child’s teeth even while they still have their baby teeth. Don’t wait until it is past the earliest time to intervene and prevent future problems with your child’s teeth.

 

You should especially make an appointment with an orthodontist for your child if you have any of the following concerns or notice any of the following: (List from the American Association of Orthodontists)

  • Gain a beautiful smile
  • Gain confidence
  • Trouble chewing or biting
  • Breathing out of the mouth
  • Continued thumb-sucking or obsession with fingers in the mouth
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that move around, make sounds, stick out, or are off set
  • Trouble with talking
  • Teeth that stick out
  • Grating or locking of teeth
  • Inability to completely close mouth or discomfort in doing so

 

Why should your child be evaluated by age 7?

Before age 7 your child’s jaw is still growing, and this early time of growth is the best time for an orthodontist to evaluate how your child’s jaw and teeth are developing and to be sure they are developing normally.

Early detection for problems will help to shorten the treatment time when it is implemented. Orthodontists can detect early issues with jaw growth, early problems with teeth as they are growing in, and can detect problems that may benefit from early treatment.

 

Some dental problems can only be found by an orthodontic examination. It is important to catch these issues early and develop a treatment plan for your child.

 

 

What are the benefits of getting early orthodontic care?

Through early evaluation and risk assessment, an orthodontist can help to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, and correct oral habits. In addition, they can guide the growth of permanent teeth, ensure permanent teeth grow into a favorable position, and improve the closure of the lips over teeth.

 

The earlier an orthodontist can evaluate your child, the better chance they have of developing a preventive or corrective treatment plan to give your child the best smile possible. The orthodontist can decide the best treatment for your child and plan for that treatment to be conducted at the best stage of growth for your child.

 

It’s not too late to have your child examined, even if they are already past the age of 7. We are here to answer any questions you may have about your child’s orthodontic care. We look forward to serving you! Contact us with any questions and set up your child’s first orthodontic appointment!

It’s no secret that some people can be scared or intimidated by the thought of their first visit to an orthodontist. Already, people have nerves about dentists, and orthodontists conjure up similar emotions. We happen to feel that knowledge is a powerful tool in combating these fears and anxieties, so that’s why we wanted to break down exactly what you can expect at your first visit so you can rest your mind and be prepared for the experience.

A Commitment to Positivity and Professionalism

First off, before we dig into the nuts and bolts of what happens in the first visit, we want to establish one thing. We strive exceptionally hard to provide you with unequaled professionalism. However, our commitment to the right attitude doesn’t stop there. We aim to give you encouragement, motivation, positive feelings (we dare you to not smile for your whole visit!). Most importantly, we focus on you and your needs throughout the entire visit.

The Goals of the First Visit

We don’t go into a first visit with an assumption of orthodontics care being necessary. The goal of the consultation is to examine if orthodontics is the right choice for you right now. We do this with a variety of diagnostic tools, primarily a panoramic x-ray (the machine actually spins around your head!) and a complete set of photos, both of you and your natural smile and detailed photos of all your teeth. These diagnostic tools allow us to get the full picture of your bite, smile, and jaw, including things not obvious to the naked eye and allow us to present you with all of the information so that we can determine, together, if orthodontics treatment is the right choice at the moment.

Know All Your Options

One of the great things about orthodontics is that there is rarely ever one course of treatment. Generally, you have a variety of options with various pros and cons, depending on your precise situation. We are dedicated to taking you through all of your options from treatment and financial perspective. When you make the decision as to the course of treatment you’ll take, we want you to feel good, knowing you got all of the information you needed and can accurately budget, with no surprises.

Ask as Many Questions as You Want

Especially as you are going through the options for treatment, you may have questions. That’s great! We will be happy to answer as many questions as you have to throw at us. Again, the more you know, the more comfortable you will feel.

 

Hopefully, this demystifies the first visit to the orthodontist and sets your mind at ease. Contact us today and gain that confident smile.

One of the more prominent images we all have of babies and infants is the fact that they will suck their thumb. And, for a while, it’s absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s a completely natural reflex that helps with self-soothing, an important skill. And, for newborns, it’s honestly adorable. Many kids stop their thumb-sucking habit on their own, but, for some, the thumb-sucking habit gets less cute and more worrisome. We’ll explore why thumb sucking turns from being a good thing to a less desirable habit and how to wean your child away from it as they age.

Why Does Thumb Sucking Become a Problem?

If newborn thumb sucking isn’t a problem, what is the change that causes thumb sucking to become a problematic habit? Simply put, the answer is teeth. As teeth start to come in, thumb sucking can lead to long-term bite problems, specifically open bites and overbites. These issues can cause lasting problems, including added difficulty eating and chewing, narrower airways, and possible speech difficulties.

 

For an open bite, thumb sucking contributes to this problem because the act causes the thumb to press up against the back of the front teeth. This pressure can force the teeth to shift outward, causing the teeth and jaws to not line up, creating an open space between the top and bottom teeth, hence the term open bite. Overbites occur when the top teeth get forced forward but aren’t actually shifted. Preventing either of these problems at the source is an important step!

Tips for Stopping Thumb Sucking

1. Identify the Root Cause: First and foremost, thumb sucking is a search for comfort and security, which is why newborns turn to it in the process of learning to self soothe. Normally, older children who still suck their thumbs have particular emotional triggers that cause them to desire to suck their thumb. It could be fear, boredom, sleepiness, whatever it is, you can try to identify the trigger and substitute the habit, maybe with a new stuffed animal they can snuggle.

2. Knowledge is Power: Kids can understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Explaining that thumb sucking isn’t good for them and can stop them from having a big and strong mouth as they become a big boy or girl can help them choose to make an effort to curb the habit.

3. Utilize a Taste Deterrent: A classic strategy is to put something on the thumbs that kids just don’t like the taste of is a fast (if somewhat unpleasant) way to stop thumb sucking. Obviously, ensure that you use something non-toxic, but there are plenty of options.

4. Consider an Orthodontic Device: For some stubborn thumb suckers, we can help provide a thumb sucking device to kick the habit, especially necessary if your child is getting to the point of losing their baby teeth.

 

Hopefully, these tips can help your child kick the thumb sucking habit to the curb safely and effectively. Contact us with any questions and set up your child’s first orthodontic appointment!

For those who are looking to improve their smile, there are a couple of big names that many patients ask about: Invisalign and Smile Direct Club. Both of these solutions advertise significant results and an affordable cost with not a lot of hassle. Many customers become curious about the efficacy of these products and what the differences are between them

 

How Does Smile Direct Club Work?

 

If you’ve seen any of Smile Direct Club’s many television commercials, the premise is pretty enticing. Get orthodontic treatments at home without having to visit an orthodontist. This works with an initial visit to one of their Smile Shops for scanning to get a 3D image of your current bite and smile. In the likely event that a Smile Shop is not near you, the company will send you an impression kit to allow you to provide the initial information from your home. With this data, a treatment plan is set up, which lasts for an average of about six months. The retainers are then sent to you directly based on this plan.

 

How Does Invisalign Work?

 

The mechanism of Invisalign is actually very similar to that of Smile Direct Club. The goal is to provide clear aligners that will move your teeth into a preferred alignment without the relative inconvenience of braces. However, instead of an at-home impression kit or a visit to one of the retail locations, the Invisalign treatment plan is overseen by your trusted orthodontist. Instead of a follow-up plan of new aligners being mailed to you, an Invisalign treatment involves professional oversight to ensure that everything is moving at the speed intended. While the process is similar, there are a few big differences.

 

What Are the Big Differences Between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club?

 

Smile Direct Club advertises itself as one of the most convenient ways to get orthodontics treatments. However, that convenience only comes if you happen to be near a Smile Shop (as they call them) in your vicinity. Otherwise, the company will have to send you an at-home impression kit, which can cause problems and a mess. In addition, the lack of an orthodontist overseeing the treatment directly can mean it’s a faceless person managing your treatment instead of someone that you know and trust.

 

While the mechanisms are similar between Invisalign and Smile Direct Club, there can be small details that make a big difference. Let us help you through your journey! Contact us now and let us help you gain the smile of your dreams!

Burke + Beckstrom Patient

Some people seem to believe that orthodontics treatments are purely cosmetic and only serve to generate a more beautiful smile. While a nice smile (and the positive self-esteem boost that goes along with it) is certainly a major benefit of orthodontics, looks are far from the only reason to undergo orthodontics treatments. In fact, straighter teeth have a wide range of health benefits and will greatly impact the quality of life you experience as a result. While some of these involve oral health, the impacts may be farther ranging than you expect.

 

Hygiene Routine is Easier with Straighter Teeth

 

The key to a good oral hygiene routine is the ability to clean all the nooks and crannies and space in between the teeth by brushing and flossing. When you are dealing with crooked or overlapping teeth, it can become immensely more difficult to properly clean your teeth. Without proper hygiene, you have a much higher plaque buildup, which can cause numerous problems, including bad breath and gum disease. Beyond oral health, there is also a correlation between plaque buildup and heart disease, so the health benefits are wide-ranging.

 

Your Daily Life Can Also Be Improved

 

There is also a major benefit to your quality of life by having straighter teeth. Poorly aligned teeth place added stress on the jawbone and gums that they aren’t properly prepared to handle. This additional wear and tear on these essential support structures actually can cause chronic headaches, as well as overall face or neck pain. In addition, the adjustments you make to eating food with the out-of-alignment teeth can exacerbate this strain and pain. There are substantial and noticeable benefits to your everyday life that come with having straighter teeth.

 

Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Self-Esteem

 

As mentioned before, orthodontics treatment will give you a nicer looking smile – and that is more than cosmetic. Often, with a nicer smile, you can notice a boost in confidence and self-esteem, both of which can have positive personal and health benefits. A boost in these factors will generally include a somewhat decreased stress or anxiety level. When stress levels are lowered, there are various stress-related conditions that benefit, including cardiovascular health. So, while it may not be a direct effect of the orthodontics treatment, the move to straighter teeth can have wide-ranging effects.

 

Appearances are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many reasons to get orthodontics treatment. The health benefits to straighter teeth are concrete, noticeable, and absolutely worthwhile.

 

We look forward to serving you! Contact us to get your appointment scheduled and begin your journey to a more confident smile.

healthy smile

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has changed life for a while, in more ways than we can count. While we will certainly get through this and come out stronger on the other side (we always have, after all), there are a lot of things that we need to adjust to. On the advice of the CDC, the American Dental Association, and the American Association of Orthodontics, our offices are temporarily closed. However, that doesn’t mean that your smile simply has to fall by the wayside during this time. There are still ways to keep your smile as healthy as possible in the face of this current situation.

 

Don’t Fall Back On Hygiene

 

In the face of stress, often self-care is one of the things that can fall by the wayside. However, in order to protect your smile, it is imperative to continue your regular hygiene routine. That means flossing daily, brushing multiple times per day and avoiding high amounts of foods that are problematic for your teeth. This is true for everyone, but especially if you are in the middle of an orthodontic treatment, like braces, do your best to stick to your food list. This way we can stay on track for the treatment to be completed.

 

Make Minor Fixes At Home

 

Orthodontics hardware naturally requires some maintenance over time. While our offices are closed, minor fixes can be made or alleviated at home using orthodontic wax. For minor issues like a broken brace or wire, this solution should suffice. If your supply of wax is running low, you should be able to purchase some online, and some pharmacies will carry it in-store as well. For minor issues, we will be ready to fix them as soon as we are able to reopen our office and provide service.

 

Follow All Instructions

 

Depending on what stage of the orthodontics process you are in, you probably have instructions from your orthodontist, whether it be regarding elastics, a retainer, or an expander. Be sure to follow the instructions provided at your last appointment. In the case of elastics, continue to use as instructed as the risk of overcorrection is minor. If you run out of elastics, please don’t substitute with any other elastics! These are not designed for orthodontics use, and their differing force may cause more problems than not. Following the guidelines as close as you are able will ensure that your smile stays on track to look and feel amazing when the pandemic has passed.

 

These tips will help keep your smile in tip-top shape while the pandemic is occurring and should keep you able to handle any minor issues. If pain, discomfort, or bleeding becomes more than minor, please seek out medical attention to ensure that you receive any needed care. We look forward to treating you again as soon as our offices are open!