PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
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 Dentist | 6 Things You Never Knew About Braces

Oak Lawn orthodontist

The desire for straighter teeth goes back thousands of years. We’ve come a long way in improving our smiles. Braces have evolved over time to become more comfortable and efficient. Here are six things you probably never knew about braces.

  1. Ancient Egyptians May Have Wanted Straighter Teeth

Archaeologists have found mummies with cords wound around their teeth, likely to straighten them. What were these ancient braces made from? Animal intestines. Thankfully, our orthodontist has more modern materials to work with!

  1. You’re Not Alone

An estimated 4 million people in the US currently are wearing braces or another device to correct their teeth. That’s a little more than the number of people living in Los Angeles.

  1. Getting Braces is a Little Like Rocket Science

NASA scientists were looking for a flexible material for solar panels and turned to a metal called nitinol 60. As nitinol heats up, it reverts to its original shape. Today, nitinol is used in braces. The heat from your mouth makes the metal return to its original shape, helping guide your teeth to where they should be.

  1. Wear Your Retainer!

Did you know that an estimated 25% of braces wearers neglect to wear their retainer? Many end up needing a second set of braces. Don’t be one of the 25%. Wear your retainer for lasting results and a perfect smile.

  1. Braces Are Older Than America

If you consider 1776 to be the birth year of America, braces have another 48 years on the United States. The first modern braces were developed in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard. He used flat metal brackets and connected the teeth using thread.

  1. Busting Braces Myths

You don’t have a greater chance of being struck by lightning when wearing braces. Your braces also can’t interfere with any radio signals. Take some comfort in knowing not everything you’ve heard about braces holds true.

Though braces have been around for hundreds of years, today’s braces are more efficient and comfortable than in the past. Our experienced orthodontic team will help you get the results you desire. If you are ready for your perfect smile, set up a consultation with us today.

For more information about braces or to schedule your orthodontic consultation, please contact our Palos Hills orthodontic office.

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

Orthodontics in Palos Hills, IL | Healthy Teeth for Sick Kids

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Along with cooler weather and the end of year school break, winter brings the return of cold and flu season. When you are focused on a child with a fever, cough, or vomiting, it can be easy to question getting them out of the sickbed to brush their teeth. However, keeping mouths clean and teeth healthy can be even more important during illness. Here are some useful tips for protecting your child’s oral health when they’re sick.

Brush and floss

Brushing and flossing helps prevent build-up of harmful germs and bacteria in your child’s mouth. This helps keep their immune system focused on fighting the cold or flu virus. If your child’s illness includes vomiting, their teeth are exposed to acids that can weaken teeth. Help them rinse thoroughly and brush their teeth to avoid damage.

Hydrate

When your child is sick, they need plenty of water to stay hydrated, soothe a sore throat, and keep sinuses moist. In addition, dry mouth can occur during illness and increase risk of tooth decay. Drinking water helps combat dry mouth and congestion.

Watch out for sugars

Cough drops and cough syrups can contain high amounts of sugar to improve the medicine flavor. However, this can leave sugary residue on the teeth. Look for sugar-free options when possible and rinse well after any medicine with sugar.

Disinfect dental appliances

If your child has a dental appliance, such as a retainer, athletic mouth guard, or night guard, be sure it is cleaned thoroughly between uses. Contact our office for information on the type of cleanser that is appropriate for your child’s device.

Follow-up

When your child is well again, replace their toothbrush. Even a clean toothbrush may retain some bacteria or germs following use. To help protect your child from reinfection, discard the used toothbrush in favor of a new one.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy through an illness, contact our office.

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

Orthodontist 60465 | Solutions for Malocclusion

Your mouth’s ability to function is a vital part of your oral health. In orthodontics, a patient’s “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together when the mouth is at rest. When teeth meet improperly, or don’t meet at all, it is known as a malocclusion. If malocclusions are left untreated, it can cause lasting damage to the mouth’s ability to function.

What Types of Malocclusion Exist?

There are many different types of malocclusion, including:

  • Open Bite – Occurs when the front teeth meet but the back teeth do not. This problem generally occurs from excessive thumb sucking or mouth breathing during infancy and adolescence. If not properly treated, it can lead to issues swallowing and speaking.
  • Underbite – Underbite occurs when the lower jaw remains in front of the upper jaw while the mouth is closed. This problem can lead to excessive tooth wear and stress on the jaw.
  • Crossbite – Crossbite occurs when the upper teeth rest inside of the lower teeth. This leads to excessive wear on tooth enamel and uneven jaw growth.
  • Deep Bite – Deep bites are when the upper teeth cover the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. Like crossbites, deep bites can cause excessive enamel wear and damage to teeth.
  • Crowding – Crowding refers to the jaw having inadequate room for teeth to properly grow in. This leads to an increased risk of gum disease as the teeth are much more difficult to clean.
  • Spacing – Spacing is the opposite of crowding, occurring when there is too much of a gap between teeth. Spacing can also lead to gum disease if not properly addressed.
  • Protrusion – Protrusion refers to the front teeth moving out farther than others.

How Are Bite Problems Treated?

There are various kinds of treatment utilized for malocclusion, depending on the type and severity. These can include:

  • Braces – Made of either metal or clear plastic and linked with wires, these gradually shift teeth into the correct position.
  • Tooth removal – Sometimes a malocclusion results from a crowded jaw, and removal of a tooth will be recommended.
  • Reshaping teeth – Using veneers and bonding, orthodontists may alter the shape of teeth to fit together better.
  • Jaw surgery – This may be recommended if necessary.

If you have any questions about malocclusion or would like to schedule an appointment, 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