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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | 4 Common Misconceptions About Orthodontic Care

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

It’s not surprising that some patients are a little unsure about how orthodontic treatment works. To clear up some misconceptions you may have, we’d like to set the record straight on some of the most common myths we’ve heard.

Only Kids Need to See an Orthodontist

While it’s true that a lot of teens and adolescents wear braces and aligners, there are actually over one million adults in America currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. Whether they didn’t receive orthodontic care as children, their teeth have shifted since having braces, or they suffer from jaw joint disorders that cause headaches and chewing problems, patients at any age can benefit from visiting an orthodontist.

The Reason People Wear Braces or Aligners is to Improve Appearance

Many of our patients come to us in search of a beautiful smile, but the truth is that wearing orthodontics delivers multiple other benefits including:

  • Making it easier to brush and floss between crowded teeth, which reduces the possibility of future oral health problems.
  • Fixing jaw alignment problems to alleviate speech and chewing issues.
  • Eliminating teeth grinding.
  • Reducing the risk of injury from protruding front teeth.

Orthodontic Treatment Fixes Teeth Permanently

Did you know that your teeth can remember where they were before? It’s true! After braces or aligners come off, teeth try to return to where they were before treatment began. This is why it’s really important to wear your retainer for as long as we recommend. At first, you’ll need to wear it throughout the day and at night, and as time progresses and your teeth start to feel comfortable in their new “home,” you’ll be able to wear it only at night.

Children Shouldn’t See an Orthodontist Until They’ve Lost All Their Baby Teeth

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should actually have an orthodontic consultation at the age of seven. We like to examine patients while baby teeth are still present to see how permanent teeth are erupting, and to evaluate how the jaw is growing. After examining a young child, we may recommend early orthodontic treatment if we find issues such as:

  • Irregular Jaw Structure. Intervening while bones are still soft can prevent oral surgery when they’re older.
  • Bite Problems. A crossbite, underbite or overbite can cause chewing problems, speech impediments, and other major issues. Early orthodontic care can address these before they become bigger issues.
  • Potential for Crowding. By making plenty of room for permanent teeth to come in, we allow space for thorough brushing and flossing, reducing the chances of oral disease as they grow.
  • Dangers of Protruding Teeth. Young kids can sometimes be clumsy, and if their front teeth aren’t protected behind the lips, they’re likely to be damaged during a fall. Early treatment can pull the teeth back into a safer position.

Confused About Orthodontic Treatment?

If you have any questions about how orthodontics works, we’re always happy to answer them. Just give us a call or make an appointment with Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills and we’ll be glad to address your concerns.

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Healthy Smile, Healthy Body

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Healthy Smile, Healthy Body

Good oral hygiene habits are essential to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. What

you might not know is that research has found the health of your mouth actually mirrors the

overall condition of your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a direct

relationship between gum disease and many serious health conditions, including heart disease,

stroke, and diabetes. The good news is, research also shows that good oral health may actually help prevent certain diseases from occurring.

Understanding the mouth/body connection

Poor oral habits can cause bacteria to build up on your teeth, making your gums more prone to

disease and infection. When that happens, your immune system goes to work attacking the

infection, leading to inflammation and gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis and chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on the rest of your body, leading to a host of health problems. Thankfully, this “worst-case-scenario” is easily preventable. Here’s what you can do to elevate your oral hygiene habits and keep unwanted health concerns at bay:

  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes using a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to choose a toothbrush that is the right size for your mouth so you can reach back teeth easily. If you have any questions about which toothbrush we recommend for you, you can ask our office during your appointment.
  • Remember to replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
  • Choose an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth free from decay.
  • Floss daily to remove tooth decay-causing bacteria that tend to linger between teeth. Regular flossing also helps remove plaque under the gumline and minimize your risk of contracting gum disease.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products, which are known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.

In addition to maintaining good daily oral health habits, seeing your dentist regularly is one of the best ways to keep your mouth – and your body – healthy. These exams allow our Palos Hills Orthodontist to monitor any changes to your teeth and gums and make recommendations that will help you avoid future health problems. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to schedule an exam.

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Time Is On Your Side: Orthodontic Treatments

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

The search for straightened teeth or an aligned bite has challenged patients and dental professionals alike. With increasing demands on our time, patients want to be assured that they can commit to the duration of their treatment.

Today, not all orthodontic treatments are created equal. As patients explore their treatment options, they learn to understand that each involves a different investment in time. Generally, orthodontic treatments for malocclusion (imperfectly positioned teeth), fall into two categories: those that can be addressed with clear aligner therapy, and those that are treated with wires and brackets. Let’s take a look at some of these options.

Clear aligner therapy refers to a series of clear dental trays (think of an athletic mouthguard), that are formed to the shape of a patient’s teeth. Clear, transparent aligners gradually improve appearance and function by applying gentle, steady pressure to a patient’s teeth, which encourages the breaking down of bone (osteoclastic) and the building up of bone (osteoblastic) activity. The patient wears the aligner or tray for a period of about twenty-two hours a day for a period of about two weeks. This process is then repeated for the length of the clear aligner therapy which, on average lasts a little more than a year. Once the treatment period ends, the patient will wear a retainer at night. The clear tray is designed to be removed for eating, drinking hot liquids, flossing and brushing your teeth.  Most, but not all types of malocclusion can be improved with clear aligner therapy and many tooth movements are possible with clear aligners.

Wires and brackets, or braces as they are more commonly known, are often regarded as the traditional approach towards gaining that perfect smile. Braces work by providing constant pressure and force on the teeth. They are comprised of brackets, bonding components, wire, and elastic bands. The constant pressure of the wires on the brackets demands that the teeth be loosened and rebuilt through bone growth in its new position. After extensive prep-work that often includes x-rays, molds, and impressions, the braces are fitted to the patient’s teeth. Regular adjustments to the braces occur about once a month and the duration of the treatment can last anywhere on average from one to three years. The length and specificity of treatment depend exclusively on the needs of the patient’s teeth.

Improving your smile and overall oral health is a commitment not to be taken lightly. While there are several orthodontic treatments that exist, not one method is appropriate for everyone.

As always, speaking with our orthodontic office is your best source for information with regard to which orthodontic treatment is best for you. Talk to Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to better understand which option best suits your needs.

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | How to Research Your Orthodontic Treatment

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Embarking on orthodontic treatment requires an investment of time and money. Researching your options is always a good idea, to make sure you choose the orthodontic treatment plan that is right for you. As you begin compiling a list of questions to ask during your consultation, here are some things to consider:

Types of braces

Gone are the days when a mouth full of metal was the only way to achieve a straighter smile. Depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, in addition to metal/traditional braces, you may be able to select from:

·         Ceramic braces. These braces are preferred by some patients because they are less noticeable than metal braces. Keep in mind, ceramic braces may require more diligent maintenance as they tend to become stained when not properly cared for.

·         Lingual braces. This choice is most similar to traditional metal braces, except that the wires and brackets adhere to the inside of the teeth, making them invisible from the outside. Because the brackets are behind your teeth, these braces can be more challenging to keep clean, and the treatment time may be longer than with traditional braces.

·         Clear aligners. These clear plastic aligners are popular with adults of all ages and can be removed for eating and drinking, just like a retainer. With this treatment plan, you will wear a series of custom-made aligners that you swap out every few weeks until you achieve your treatment goal. Clear aligners may not be suitable for children and in some cases, can be significantly more costly than metal brackets. They also require a higher degree of compliance, since failing to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day can significantly compromise your results.

Treatment time

One of the first things many people wonder when it comes to getting braces is, “How soon can I get them off?” The answer to this question is going to depend on many factors, including your age, the condition of your teeth, and the type of treatment plan you choose. Most orthodontic plans range between 12 and 24 months.

Out-of-pocket costs

If you have dental insurance, inquire about your covered benefits prior to your orthodontic consultation. Be sure to mention the type of braces you are considering, and ask if there could be additional expenses for retainers and aftercare.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Doing your homework and researching your options is a good first step, and meeting with our experienced orthodontist is the best way to find out what types of braces will help you achieve the confident smile you’ve always wanted. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to schedule your consultation with our Palos Hills Orthodontist and get started on your new smile.

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Easy Flossing Alternatives to Preserve Your Healthy Smile

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Easy Flossing Alternatives To Preserve Your Healthy Smile

If there is one recommended dental habit that many people struggle to embrace, it’s flossing. Whether you find traditional thread flossing challenging to maneuver, messy, or just time consuming, you are not alone. However, The American Dental Association (ADA) and our Palos Hills orthodontist wants you to be able to floss regularly and thoroughly. Consider these effective alternatives to remove unwanted plaque from the places your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

1.) Disposable Floss Pick

These convenient little tools have plastic handles and Y-shaped prongs that come pre-threaded with floss. No measuring, snipping or finger threading required. Ideal for travel and on-the-go use, simply grab the handle, insert the floss between your teeth, and when done, toss the tool away.

2.) Non-Disposable Floss Picks

Fashioned with a longer handle than their disposable counterparts, these picks may be an excellent option for patients with small mouths and/or crowded teeth. They also help to make reaching back teeth a breeze.

3.) Water Flossers

Electronic flossers use streams of pressurized water to clean between your teeth. There are many different models to accommodate price preferences, and most offer adjustable pressure settings to ensure your comfort during use.

4.) Interdental Brushes

Designed to look like tiny toothbrushes, interdental brushes are especially effective for those who wear braces. They are also a nice option for patients with mobility issues who struggle with traditional flossing. Another plus? Like toothbrushes they can be used repeatedly – simply ask our office when we recommend replacement.

5.) Air Flossers

These high-tech tools use air pressure combined with a small amount of water to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. Considered to be less messy than their water-based cousins, air flossers offer easy point and click instructions – just aim the flosser between your teeth and a blast of air does the rest.

Keeping the spaces between your teeth and gums free from plaque and tartar is essential to your oral health. Finding tools and techniques that work for you is the first step towards establishing lifelong habits that lead to a lasting, healthy smile. Consider any of these flossing alternatives or contact our Palos Hills orthodontist for a recommendation. Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills will be happy to evaluate your unique needs to help you find the solution that is right for you.

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Facts You May Not Have Known About Oral Cancer

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

According to The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, oral cancer claims one American life every hour of every day. Unfortunately, most cases go undetected until it is too late, making the need for regular examinations of even greater importance. Those who are proactive and seek treatment early have the best chance of beating the disease and living a long, healthy life. Below are some facts you may not have known about oral cancer, including warning signs, trends, and more.

1.) Oral Cancer Affects More Men Than Women

No matter your gender, you should be aware of the very real dangers of oral cancer. While studies conducted by the Oral Cancer Foundation have shown that oral cancer is one the rise among women too, a 2:1 incidence ratio between men and women still remains. This correlation may be due to the fact that, statistically speaking, men smoke and drink more than women. Regardless of your own habits, remain aware of the signs and symptoms and ask your doctor to perform a regular oral exam if they do not already.

2.) Each Year, 450,000 New Cases Are Discovered

As such, it is likely that oral cancer has affected someone in your life. Whether you know someone who has had, or is currently dealing with their own struggle against oral cancer, you should know that they are not alone.

3.) Alcohol and Tobacco Increase Your Risk

Among the many risk factors, your lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the likelihood of you developing this cancer. It is estimated by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America that roughly 80% of people with oral cancer are heavy smokers, while 70% are heavy drinkers. Add this unfortunate statistic to the list of reasons why you should leave the cigarettes behind.

4.) When Detected Early Enough, Oral Cancer has a Cure Rate of 90%

According to many experts, part of the reason why oral cancer can be so destructive is because it often goes undetected for long periods of time. Don’t overlook or ignore any suspicious new developments in your mouth and call your Palos Hills orthodontist or oral surgeon as soon as you notice anything amiss.

The best way to overcome oral cancer is to stay informed and catch it early. As something that is important to all dental professionals, we hope you will take this disease just as seriously as we do. We look forward to helping you stay healthy and protecting your oral health throughout your life. If you have any questions call or contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today and we will assist you however we can. 

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Am I a Candidate for Clear Aligners?

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

More people than ever are discovering the amazing benefits that clear aligners, such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect can bring to their orthodontic treatment. If you’ve been considering this orthodontic option, but still want to know whether or not you would be a good candidate for the treatment, read through this list and see if aligners might be right for you.

1.) If you’re looking for a nearly invisible orthodontic treatment, aligners are probably a great option for you. Made of clear plastic that forms to your teeth, aligners are all but unnoticeable to most of the people you interact with. Many may not even know you are undergoing orthodontic treatment unless you tell them yourself.

2.) If you want to be able to remove your treatment occasionally in order to enjoy the same foods and beverages that you always have, aligners may be a great option. Beyond the benefits when it comes to food and drink, the removable nature of aligners also make it much easier to keep your teeth and gums clean, beautiful, and healthy.

3.) If you’re trying to reduce your treatment time, aligners can also help you do so in some cases. Aligners can sometimes speed up your treatment time when compared to that of traditional braces. While this may not always be the case, you can talk with our orthodontic office about your own circumstances, and which treatment option may be best for you. 

What Makes Me a Poor Candidate For Aligners?

Unfortunately, there are some sets of circumstances that can disqualify you from receiving aligner orthodontic treatment.

If you have untreated tooth decay, it is likely that our team will need you to be assessed and treated before moving forward with aligners.

If you are currently suffering from gum disease, you may also be disqualified from aligners. If your gum disease is active and causing you to have loose teeth, any attempt at aligner orthodontic treatment could be detrimental to your health.

If you have dental implants that won’t move, TMJ issues, or dental bridges that are long, these may also disqualify you as a candidate for aligners.

While these are all matters of concern, always discuss the options you have with our Palos Hills Orthodontist. We can offer you further guidance on whether or not your own circumstances prevent you from experiencing the amazing benefits of this particular orthodontic treatment. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills to schedule your consultation appointment and join the millions of people who have achieved straighter, healthier smiles with clear aligners.

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | How to Choose The Best Orthodontic Treatment For You

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Orthodontic care is one of the most important investments in your health, your appearance, and your confidence that you can make. That being said, you don’t want to rush blindly into your treatment without knowing that you have the best option for you. Follow this three step process and be sure that you have done everything you can to get the best orthodontic treatment you can.

Step 1: Do the Research & Know What’s Available

As the research and technology of orthodontics continues to progress, your list of available treatment options is only going to grow. Knowing all of these choices is the first step in deciding which one is right for you. Today, there are

  • Traditional metal braces
  • Ceramic braces, which are tooth colored, and less visible
  • Lingual braces that attach to the back of your teeth and are nearly invisible
  • Clear aligners that are removable and also nearly invisible
  • And many others

Step 2: Weigh the Pros & Cons

After you have found all the potential options that appeal to you, it’s time to discuss them with our orthodontic office. We know the best features of each, as well as the possible shortcomings they may have in addressing your needs. For example, not all alignment issues can be properly solved with clear, plastic aligners.

However, whatever your needs may be, our office can help make sure that your choice in orthodontic treatment is going to meet them all. 

Step 3: Find an Office That Cares

If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve already completed the third and final step in this important process. Our Palos Hills orthodontist truly cares about you as a person, not just your treatment. We’re going to help you choose the right care and follow through with it until you have the smile you’ve always wanted.

Begin the process and get started on your healthier smile today. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills and schedule your appointment with us today for quality orthodontic care you know is the best choice for you.

 

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

Palos Hills IL Dentist | How Orthodontics Can Alleviate TMJ Symptoms

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Your temporomandibular joint serves as a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull’s temporal bones (located just in front of your ears). This joint allows you to move your jaw up and down and from side to side, motions that are necessary when you talk, chew and or even yawn. Problems with this joint can lead to a condition known as TMJ disorder that is characterized by an array of troubling symptoms, including:

•           Tenderness in the jaw area or near the ears

•           Discomfort in the neck or shoulders

•           Difficulty opening your mouth wide

•           Clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your mouth

•           Facial tiredness or fatigue

•           Trouble chewing or an uncomfortable bite

•           Facial swelling

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, contact our office to schedule an evaluation. If TMJ is the culprit, your treatment options will vary, but many patients may find relief after embarking on an orthodontic treatment plan. Depending on the root cause of your TMJ, our office may suggest several options to address your symptoms, including the use of a night guard, the placement of a TMJ appliance, or teeth straightening using some type of braces or aligners.

A night guard is exactly what it sounds like: a mouthpiece that is worn while you sleep to guard against sleep-induced teeth grinding and jaw clenching. The night guard works to alleviate TMJ symptoms by easing the pressure exerted on the temporomandibular joint. Night guards are custom molded for you by our orthodontic team so they can realign your jaw and relieve your discomfort.

Unlike a night guard, a TMJ appliance, also known as an orthodontic splint, is worn 24 hours a day. Fashioned from acrylic resin, a splint is designed to fit on top of the upper or lower teeth and helps to stabilize the teeth and/or jaws to alleviate discomfort.

If your TMJ is caused by tooth misalignment or bite problems, braces may be the most effective method to shift your teeth into the proper position. Correctly positioned teeth will ultimately help realign the temporomandibular joint, reducing or even eliminating TMJ symptoms. 

If you have been experiencing jaw pain, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, or any other symptoms associated with TMJ, a consultation with our team may be the best first step in identifying a solution. Our orthodontic office has extensive knowledge regarding how tooth alignment impacts your face and jaw muscles, and is uniquely qualified to make treatment recommendations that will keep TMJ symptoms at bay. Call our orthodontic office and schedule a consultation to learn more today.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Fax: (708) 430-5979
10059 S. Roberts Road Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Orthodontist Palos Hills IL | Adult Orthodontics Myths and Facts

If you are considering orthodontic treatment as an adult, chances are you have a few misconceptions about your treatment options. The field of orthodontics has come a long way in recent years, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that adult braces can be discreet, convenient and surprisingly affordable. Let’s debunk some common myths:

Myth: “I will need a mouth full of metal.”

Fact: While metal braces are always an option, there are many non-metal alternatives that are ideal for self-conscious adults. One of the most popular are the virtually undetectable Invisalign™ aligners that are completely clear and conveniently removable. Simply pop them out to enjoy a meal and put them in again to keep your new smile moving in the right direction.

Myth: “Braces will hurt.”

Fact: While there may be some discomfort when you first begin orthodontic treatment, most patients become accustomed to the pressure on their teeth. Regardless, the potential discomfort does not detract from our patients’ quality of life, nor does it prevent them from doing many of the things they love to do. If you still have concerns, you can talk to our orthodontists about the options you have and how to best stay comfortable during your treatment period.

Myth: “Treatment takes too long.”

Fact: Depending on your recommended treatment plan, you may find your new smile can be achieved in a much shorter time than you expected. From digital X-rays and in-office impressions, to ordering retainers and everything in between, modern tools, techniques and technology offers faster-than-ever results for patients of all ages.

Myth: “I don’t have time for office visits.”

Fact: It may seem daunting to try and fit orthodontic appointments into your already busy schedule. Thankfully, the same improvements that have significantly shortened treatment times have also made it possible to potentially extend the intervals between office visits, depending on your own personal needs.

Myth: “Adult braces are not covered by insurance.”

Fact: As with nearly everything else in the world of orthodontia, dental insurance coverage has evolved, too. There are now many dental insurance providers who will cover adult orthodontics, and not just traditional metal braces.

Think braces are just for kids? Think again. More and more adults are choosing to straighten their smiles, using an array of grown-up treatment options that are both innovative and discrete. Schedule a consultation with our Palos Hills orthodontic team today to determine which treatment plan that is right for you.

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics
Phone: (708) 930-5941
Fax: (708) 430-5979
10059 S. Roberts Road Suite 2A
Palos Hills, IL 60465