PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
10059 S. ROBERTS RD. SUITE 2A
PALOS HILLS, IL 60465

Palos Hills, IL Orthodontist | Am I too Old For Braces?

dentist in palos hills
dentist in palos hills

Many adults who never had orthodontics but needed them as kids are self-conscious of their smiles; yet they wonder if they are too old for braces. The answer is most likely no. 

Straight teeth can help you bite, chew and, in some cases, speak properly. They also contribute to overall oral health. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent some physical health problems, too. Of course, an attractive smile can also have a positive mental health impact, boosting your social life and self-esteem.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

In most cases, yes! Many adults seek orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles and maintain good oral health. Teeth can be adjusted at any age to create a healthy, straight new smile. Many orthodontic problems can be corrected as easily for adults as for children.

Benefits of adult braces

When teeth are properly aligned, they are easier to keep clean and therefore less prone to decay and gum disease. Straight teeth collect less plaque. Bacteria in plaque feed on the carbohydrates that we eat and drink. These bacteria excrete acids that cause decay. Plaque can also increase the risk of periodontal disease. Why not straighten teeth to lower your risk?  

What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?

Adults and children of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. For children, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends the first visit to an orthodontist around the age of seven. There, the orthodontist can look for any potential issues that may be addressed now or as the child grows. Some orthodontists report seeing patients in their 80s and 90s!

What conditions can braces address in adults?

As an adult, you are no doubt used to your bite. That overbite might prevent you from eating, say, corn on the cob, but you’re long accustomed to cutting the kernels off. That crossbite might make it tough to floss, but you’ve resigned yourself to a less than clean mouth. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the teeth you’ve always dreamed of in a few months? 

It’s not too late to get braces if you live with these conditions: 

  • Crowding
  • Spacing issues 
  • Overbite 
  • Crossbite
  • Under-bite
  • Jaw misalignment

Will braces hurt?

Although braces don’t hurt, in the first couple days after initial fittings and adjustments you may feel a slight discomfort. This feeling is temporary and means that your teeth are being gently and slowly moved into the right place.

If I have braces, do I need to brush my teeth more often?

When you have orthodontics, it is important to brush your teeth around four or five times a day. This means brushing after every meal if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck. You should also floss after meals using special floss threaders and other appliances. It can be a tricky process at first, but you can certainly master it more easily than a child. 

How long does adult orthodontic treatment take?

The duration of treatment can depend on many different variables. However, there are things you can do to make sure the process goes as quickly as possible. If you are required to wear rubber bands, for example, make sure to follow the instructions you receive. It is important to note that orthodontics can’t be rushed, or you risk permanent damage to the tooth nerves.

How often should I visit my regular dentist while I have braces?

It is particularly important to keep up with your general dentist appointments when you have braces. With orthodontics, it is easier for food to build up in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. This means going to see your general dentist regularly for a checkup every six months — or as directed — to ensure your teeth stay clean and decay-free.

Will having braces interfere with playing sports or playing a musical instrument?

No, braces will not prevent you from participating in activities such as playing sports or musical instruments, although it may take a little getting used to at first. However, if you are playing a sport, talk to our orthodontist in Palos Hills to see if you should wear a mouthguard.

Finally getting the smile you have always wanted is easier than you think. Conventional braces and invisible aligners can make a big difference in your life at any age. Contact our Palos Hills Orthodontist to discuss our options. 

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Orthodontist Palos Hills | Make Your Smile Last

Orthodontist Palos Hills
Orthodontist Palos Hills

When most orthodontic treatments end, patients will still need help retaining their new smiles. This is commonly done with a retainer. If you want your orthodontic treatment to have lasting effects, it’s pertinent that you wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist in Palos Hills.

Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, you’ll be given one of three different types of retainers:

  • Traditional Retainers – A removable piece made of acrylic and wire that attaches to the top of your mouth and sits on the front side of your teeth
  • Clear Retainers – A removable, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth
  • Bonded Retainers – A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily attached to the inside of the anterior teeth

How Should I Wear My Retainer?

Our orthodontist in Palos Hills will provide you with solid options suited for your treatment plan. Your retainer should be worn as often as you’re instructed to do so. Even though your teeth have been under constant stress for the past couple years, wearing your retainer right after treatment is necessary. Depending on your dentist’s instruction, retainers should be worn at all times.

How to Clean a Retainer

Because wearing your retainer is a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment, it’s important to keep it clean. Bacteria and plaque can pose a threat to your retainer, just like your teeth. To prevent buildup, make sure you’re cleaning it regularly.

Regardless of what material your retainer is made of, the cleaning process will be nearly the same. Start by wetting your toothbrush and scrubbing the mouthpiece from top to bottom. Be diligent around small crevices. Also remember to regularly disinfect your device by letting it sit in mouthwash or an approved cleaning solution. Before placing the retainer back in your mouth, remember to rinse it with cool water.

Be sure to contact our Palos Hills orthodontic office for more information about your retainer, and protect that smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

60465 Orthodontist | What to do When Your Braces hurt

Orthodontist Palos Hills
Orthodontist Palos Hills

Getting used to orthodontic braces can be an uncomfortable experience. However, loose brackets or wires can also cause pain, an issue that could cause bigger problems if not addressed quickly. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your oral health. Here are a few remedies to help with mild irritation; however, be sure to contact your Palos Hills orthodontist if any of these problems persist.

Irritation and Soreness

When you get your first set of braces, minor discomfort is common for the first few days. Your lips, cheeks and tongue won’t be used to the metal in your mouth, so they might rub against the wires or brackets and become scratched or irritated.

If your braces continue to cause irritation, here are a few things you can do to address it. First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. A dry mouth tends to worsen the irritated areas. Next, be sure to regularly brush and rinse your mouth to limit the food or debris that could contribute to the irritation. Third, remember to use wax to cover the irritating parts of your braces. If the soreness continues, schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Palos Hills to further examine the problem.

Damaged Braces

While unlikely, it’s possible for your braces to become damaged while you are wearing them. Perhaps the most frequent issue is when brackets or wires become loose or dislodged. These issues are no cause for panic, as our team is able to quickly address the problem. Schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Palos Hills soon as possible to have your braces corrected.

Oral Injuries Caused by Braces

While wearing braces, you’re also more likely to become injured when doing physical activity. Try wearing a mouthguard when participating in sports or workouts to reduce the risk of damage to your tongue, lips, and cheeks. You can also apply wax to the parts of your braces that are causing the most irritation to avoid serious cuts.

Of course, not everyone who has braces ends up harming themselves, but there are risks with metal in the mouth. Being proactive against potential injuries is the best form of prevention but if you experience any pain or discomfort when wearing braces, contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills for a fast appointment.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Palos Hills Orthodontist | The Best Way to Floss With Braces

After getting a new set of braces, many people find there’s a learning curve with maintaining their oral hygiene. Flossing through your new brackets and wires, in particular, may take a little more effort, but it’s important: The last thing you want after enduring months or years of mouth hardware is decay on those straight new teeth.

It’s important to heed your Palos Hills orthodontist’s recommendation on products to use for cleaning between teeth and around wires and brackets. He can also advise you on the best brushing and flossing methods for your particular appliance. Here are some basic tips on flossing with braces.

Use a floss threader. This small, plastic, disposable tool allows you to weave strings of floss between your wires and between your teeth. It is an important part of the brace’s hygiene routine, as it allows you to floss your teeth all the way up to the gum line, where plaque can build. Flossing with a threader may require some practice to master, but it can make a seemingly difficult task quite simple. 

Waxed floss or dental tape. Many dentists prefer waxed dental floss for braces because it is less likely to get caught on bracket edges and wires, and it glides easily between teeth. Dental tape, which comes in waxed and unwaxed types, may be helpful for people with large gaps between teeth.

Consider an oral irrigation device. Commonly known by the most popular brand name, Waterpik, this device delivers pulses of water to targeted areas. Although it’s sometimes called a water flosser, it does not replace flossing because it does not eliminate plaque. Still, it can help remove particles of food from between brackets and teeth. It may also help prevent gum disease.  

Don’t floss too vigorously. Braces make gums tender, a problem that can be exacerbated by poor oral hygiene. This can create a vicious circle of pain, avoidance, and more pain. Work slowly and gently, especially at first. Be sure to rinse with mouthwash and water after flossing to dislodge food particles.

Helping children learn to floss. Flossing teeth properly can be a difficult skill for younger children to master, and it’s even more challenging when they are wearing braces. You may need to help them floss at first. To make it easier, tie waxed floss to a floss threader so it doesn’t slide out, and always direct the threader under the arch wire from the gum line toward the tongue. This will avoid poking sensitive gum tissue.

Proper brushing and flossing while wearing braces are vital to sustain long term oral health. Need guidance? Ready for braces? Contact the orthodontist in Palos Hills to schedule an appointment today.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Orthodontist in Palos Hills | How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces

Brushing your teeth after getting a new set of braces can make for quite a change in your daily routine. Your teeth will require extra care with orthodontics, so here are a few tips to help with the daily brushing process.

Start by rinsing

Before you pick up a toothbrush, rinse your mouth with water. The swishing action will loosen some of the remaining debris stuck between your teeth.

Brush away

Start brushing your teeth with the same technique you would use without braces but try angling your brush at the area above your top brackets. Once the gum line has been cleaned, brush around the brackets. Angle your toothbrush so that you’re reaching completely around each bracket. Take your time. After you’ve finished brushing your top teeth, move to the bottom row using the same angle technique. Don’t forget to brush the back and biting surfaces, as well.

Take your time with the floss

Flossing may take a little more time and patience when you have braces, but make sure that you’re getting in between all of your teeth. The best way to get into spaces around brackets and wires is with a floss threader and interdental brushes.

Finish with a rinse

After you’re done with brushing and flossing, remember to finish with a swig of mouthwash. This last step will clear out any remaining food debris that was dislodged from brushing.

If you have any questions or concerns about your oral hygiene, our Palos Hills orthodontist can help you find the best solution. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to learn more about protecting your smile.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Palos Hills Orthodontist | The Advantages of Invisalign®

Invisalign® is offered by many orthodontic offices across the country, and is an alternative to traditional metal braces. While both do the job of straightening your teeth, Invisalign® offers a number of advantages in terms of comfort and aesthetics. 

Invisalign® was introduced to the orthodontic market in the year 2000. Rather than having metal brackets affixed to the teeth, Invisalign® treatment is accomplished with the use of a series of clear, BPA-free plastic aligners designed to subtly and gradually move your teeth. They are made from three-dimensional scans of your mouth to achieve a perfect fit. Each set of aligners is numbered and is worn for a period of time before graduating to the next set. Invisalign® was designed to provide professional, doctor supervised orthodontic care without interrupting your life. 

The timeframe needed for effective Invisalign® treatment will vary substantially from patient to patient. 

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign® is not just one aligner. Rather, it is a series of them designed to shift the teeth a little more into alignment with each successive aligner. Invisalign trays are similar to retainers in that they are removable so you can eat and drink comfortably. With braces, you have to avoid certain foods to avoid damage to the delicate brackets and wires.

What Are the Advantages of Invisalign®?

  • Subtlety – Invisalign® is almost indetectable. Many patients choose Invisalign for aesthetic reasons. 
  • Maintenance – Metal braces require thorough cleaning every day to avoid becoming plaque breeding grounds. Aligners are easy to keep clean. 
  • Foods and eating – Since Invisalign® trays are removable, you don’t have dietary limitations, as you would with traditional braces. 
  • Less prone to injury – Invisalign® trays fit comfortably against your teeth and gums, preventing the irritation that traditional braces can sometimes cause. 

Both braces and Invisalign® are effective at shifting your teeth into proper alignment. Invisalign® is a more discreet system involving less hassle and more flexibility. To learn if you’re a candidate for clear aligner orthodontic treatment, contact us today

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Orthodontist in Palos Hills | Mouthguards For Braces

Braces don’t have to keep you from living an active lifestyle. Many people who are undergoing orthodontic treatment regularly participate in intramural and school sports. Some treatment options like Invisalign can be safely worn through physical activity. Metal braces, however, present a unique challenge. Fortunately, there are mouthguards designed to be worn over your braces to protect them and allow you to participate.

What Are Orthodontic Mouthguards?

Orthodontic mouthguards can help protect your braces and teeth. They are made from a high-strength silicone and are custom-fitted for the shape of your mouth. They also take your brackets and wires into account for a comfortable fit. Orthodontic mouthguards feature rubber flanges that fit under your lips to keep them in place. This way, they’re not too tight against your gums and won’t catch on your brackets.

Things To Consider

Talk with your child’s coach to find out the specifics of team and league insurance. Some sports and teams require double mouthguards: one for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth.

When you’re getting fitted for your custom mouthguard, we’ll ensure the mouthguard fits properly to maximize your comfort and protection.

Your mouthguard will have to be adjusted over time. Most orthodontic guards are easily adjusted by your orthodontist to accommodate the shifting in your teeth. Having us handle both your guard and your braces helps to keep everything working together.

Modern mouthguards can be made to fit over braces, ensuring that those who wear them can continue to participate in the sports they love. Our team can keep you from worrying about your braces getting damaged and your treatment being disrupted. To find out more about orthodontic mouthguards and how they can work for you, contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Orthodontist Near Me | Is Headgear Necessary?

Headgear is used to change the way teeth come together, and in younger patients, to guide the growth of the jaw.

What Are The Different Types of Headgear?

Orthodontic headgear generally combines a series of straps and elastic bands on the outside of the head that attach to braces inside the mouth. Some headgear may incorporate head caps for anchorage or hook directly onto the teeth.

Headgear is often used for one of the following reasons:

  • Cervical pull – Cervical pulls are used to correct a bad bite called an overjet, also known as a malocclusion. This occurs when the top teeth jut out over the bottom teeth. Cervical pulls use straps attached to braces to guide the upper jaw into proper alignment.
  • High pull – High pulls can also be used to correct overbites, but are mainly used to correct open bites. Open bites are when there is no contact between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
  • Reverse pull – Reverse pulls are used to correct underbites, when the lower teeth jut past the top teeth. It often uses rubber bands attached to braces on the top teeth.

When Is Headgear Necessary?

While braces are typically used to shift teeth into proper alignment, headgear deals more directly with the alignment of the upper and lower jaws which can help enhance tooth function and facial aesthetics.

Due to innovations in orthodontics, headgear is not as commonly prescribed as it once was. If needed, headgear may be recommended for 12 to 14 hours daily over the course of 1 to 2 years.

If you have questions about orthodontic headgear, or think you may benefit from this treatment, contact us today at Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Orthodontist in Palos Hills | Understanding the Importance of a Retainer

When it comes to orthodontic care, retainers are an important part of the process. After your braces are removed, retainers help keep your teeth in the new position and help avoid any unwanted shifting.

What Are The Different Kinds of Retainers?

The following are common types of retainers offered after your braces are removed:

  • Hawley retainers – Hawley retainers are made of plastic, or an acrylic material with wire holders. The main piece is sculpted to the contours of the patient’s mouth.
  • Clear retainers – Also known as “Essix” retainers, these retainers are made of a clear material that is less noticeable.
  • Fixed retainers – Fixed retainers are made up of custom-fitted wire that is bonded to the inside of your teeth. These retainers can only be placed and removed by your orthodontist.

Why Wear A Retainer?

Retainers hold your teeth in place while bone tissue rebuilds around them. This process takes time, and your orthodontist will help determine how long you need to wear your retainer. It is important that you follow the prescription your orthodontics provides, or your teeth may move and your retainer will not fit.

Helpful Retainer Habits

Keep A Retainer Case Handy

When you remove your retainer it is important that it always goes in its case. Damaging your retainer can be costly and might affect the progress of your smile. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends never putting your retainer in a purse or pocket, keeping it away from pets and hot surfaces.

Keep Your Retainer Clean

Your Palos Hills orthodontist will provide instructions for cleaning your retainer. Removable retainers may entail brushing with toothpaste before putting them in and after removing, or the using an effervescent cleanser. Permanent retainers may be brushed and flossed, and your orthodontist may recommend an interproximal brush.

Keep Open Communication With Your Orthodontist

Most importantly, keep honest and open communication with your orthodontist in Palos Hills. Depending on the type of retainer, your orthodontist may recommend different cleaning methods, so it is important you follow them.

If your retainer is uncomfortable or if you lose or damage it you must let your orthodontist know. If possible, bring the damaged retainer to your next appointment.

If you have questions about retainers or any of our orthodontic services, contact us today at Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Palos Hills Orthodontist | How Your Smile Changes with age

Our mouths and smiles change as we age. Your teeth and smile are affected by both the natural aging of your body as well as wear and tear from decades of use. It is vital to understand how your smile changes as you age and what can be done to keep your mouth healthy.

Change #1: Natural Wear and Tear

Your teeth are one of the most durable structures in your body. The enamel that covers your teeth is 96% mineral, making it stronger even than bone. However, they aren’t indestructible. Decades of daily use wears down enamel. Without that protection, the underlying dentin layer becomes vulnerable to cracking and breaking.

Another factor that wears down is the sensitivity of our nerves. This can be especially problematic, as when the nerves become less sensitive, people feel less pain. This can potentially cause problems to go undetected for a large amount of time.

The best way to combat wear and tear is to keep up with your brushing and flossing habits no matter your age. Your dental team can recommend a soft bristled, professional electric toothbrush that can help thoroughly clean your mouth. Keep regular dental appointments and follow the recommendations made by your dental team. This will help keep enamel strong and strengthen your teeth to slow down damage caused by wear and tear.

Change #2: Teeth Shifting

Bones gradually lose strength as we age, and jaws are no exception. As the jawbone weakens, teeth can shift in a variety of ways. For some, they shift laterally, either bunching up or growing further apart. Other times they bend inward towards the tongue or outward towards the gums. Not only can this shift be due to weakening bone; other times it’s a sign of periodontal disease, which causes gums to recede.

In some cases, an orthodontic solution may be appropriate. Braces or Invisalign are effective ways to fix your teeth and get them back into proper alignment. If the shift has been caused by periodontal disease, a treatment plan involving periodontal care may be recommended.

Change #3: Oral Cancer

Oral cancers can appear in patients of any age, gender or race. It is, however, more common among older patients. A thorough dental examination will include an oral cancer screening. Never hesitate to ask your dentist for information on this life saving step.

Some oral cancers have no obvious symptoms, whereas some may present as open sores, white patches in the mouth, or changes in the color of the gums and lining of the mouth. Ideally, the cancer is caught in the earliest stages and can be effectively treated.

How can we help?

There are a number of ways that your smile can change as you age. We offer preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our Palos Hills orthodontic team.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Url: http://www.paloshillsortho.com/
10059 S. Roberts Rd. Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465