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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Why You Need a Specialist for Your Orthodontic Care

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

You probably see your regular dentist twice a year for routine exams and preventative care. Perhaps, you have recently begun to consider straightening your teeth using an orthodontic treatment plan. If so, you may wonder whether you actually need to see an orthodontic specialist. The fact is, both general dentists and orthodontists have unique training and perform very specific roles when it comes to managing your overall dental health.

The Role of your Primary Care Dentist

Your primary dentist is almost always a general dental care provider. They’re your first line

of defense when it comes to addressing concerns or offering preventative maintenance

for your mouth. Your general dentist will assess your ongoing oral health and develop a

treatment plan that best suits your needs. Visits to your general dentist typically cover the following services:

  • Cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Root canals 
  • Teeth whitening

When to See an Orthodontist

In some cases, a general may offer limited orthodontic services. Quite often, however, your general dentist will refer you to an orthodontist when you have serious concerns about teeth misalignment.

Advanced Training You Can Trust

Orthodontists are very similar to dentists in that they receive the same amount of initial

schooling. This typically requires four years of undergraduate studies,

followed by four years of medical school. At this point, a dentist may begin to

practice general dentistry. A dentist aspiring to become an orthodontist must continue

on with a specialized residency in orthodontics for an additional two to three years.

During this time, they will learn more about tooth movement and proper jaw alignment.

Making Appearance and Health a Priority 

Achieving a beautiful smile isn’t the only reason why you’d seek out or be referred

to an orthodontist. An orthodontist’s primary focus is addressing any malocclusions or an

“improper bite” in your mouth. Proper bite alignment allows you to chew food more

efficiently and can also minimize tooth wear as you grow older. In some instances, orthodontia may mend speech problems and reduce pain caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) while improving the overall appearance of your teeth. An orthodontist can help if you have gaps in your teeth, overcrowded teeth, an overbite or an underbite. Through nonsurgical means, orthodontists can offer treatments such as braces, retainers, and aligners.

Maintaining a healthy smile is a team effort that starts with your very first visit to the

dentist. It’s also important to understand the specialized role an orthodontist plays when

tackling alignment issues with your teeth. Their expertise can benefit you in several

ways including improved facial appearance, pain reduction and a boost of self-

confidence. To learn more about why an orthodontist might be right for you, contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today.

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | What Patients Can Expect From Their Orthodontic Care

Choosing to receive orthodontic care can be a big decision for you and your child. If you’re looking for a straighter smile, or you have physical issues such as a misaligned jaw, orthodontic treatment can be very beneficial. Thanks to myriad treatment options, more people are seeking orthodontic treatment in the U.S., including adults who want a straight, healthy smile. If you are considering an orthodontic treatment plan for yourself or a family member, read on to learn what to expect.

Begin With a Consultation

All patients from children to adults start their treatment process with a consultation. During this initial visit the doctor will take x-rays and digital photos of your face and teeth, perform an examination, and review your medical and dental history to make sure orthodontic treatment is possible. Based on the information gathered during this consultation, we can outline the recommended orthodontic treatment and the length of time to complete treatment.

Receive Your Orthodontic Appliance

After the consultation, a treatment plan is scheduled including impressions, molds, and the ordering of appliances.  During the appointment when you  receive your appliances (braces, expanders, aligners, etc.) the process can take anywhere from one to two hours. After your appliances are fitted, we’ll plan future appointments in intervals of 4 to 8 weeks apart for adjustments or repairs. These routine appointments generally take about 15 to 30 minutes.

Maintain Your Hygiene Habits

The professional maintenance and care we provide can only go so far after you leave our office. The general care for your teeth and appliances still relies on you. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day are basic steps needed to maintain your teeth and your appliances. Taking care of your teeth goes beyond maintaining oral hygiene. Protecting your teeth and appliances can help you avoid any additional visits to our Palos Hills Orthodontist. We will advise you on foods to avoid while wearing your appliances to prevent potential damage. It can take some time to get used to living by these new rules, but remember it is only temporary and proper care will help you protect the investment you are making in your smile.

Orthodontic treatment is a big decision and you are likely to have many questions. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to initiate a consultation where we can discuss your specific situation. We’re here to help you and provide the care needed to improve your smile.

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

Palos Hills Orthodontist | Should I Still Visit My General Dentist if I’m Seeing an Orthodontist?

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Do I need to go to the dentist if I have braces and am seeing an orthodontist? We hear this question all the time. The answer is yes, absolutely! Whether you’re wearing braces or aligners, we recommend that you see a dentist every six months for regular checkups. Here are just a few reasons why: 

To Remove Plaque and Tartar Buildup

During orthodontic treatment, brackets and wires provide the perfect hiding places for food particles, while plastic aligners create a warm, moist environment where bacteria can grow. When debris isn’t removed during everyday brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can form and cause cavities. A professional hygienist in your dentist’s office can remove buildup on your teeth to prevent this from happening. 

To Protect Your Teeth from Decalcification

When acidic and sugary foods settle into hard-to-reach areas around brackets, bacteria can form and eventually strip away calcium and phosphates on your teeth. This process, called decalcification, results in unattractive chalky white spots, and that’s not something you want to see when your braces come off! Fluoride treatments during regular dental exams can strengthen your enamel, protecting your teeth from bacteria that cause decalcification.

To Prevent Gum Disease

Since flossing between teeth isn’t easy with braces, there’s a higher chance that bacteria will enter your gums and cause infection. During a regular dental exam, your dentist will watch for inflammation in your gums and tell you how to reverse it before it progresses.

To Keep Your Orthodontic Treatment on Track

Most likely, your orthodontist has given you an estimated time frame for how long you’ll be in braces or aligners, but gum disease or tooth decay can delay your treatment. You can stay closer to your original completion goal by receiving professional cleanings and fluoride applications that keep your teeth strong and healthy.

To Love Your Smile When You’re Finished

Remember the reason you started orthodontic treatment in the first place: to achieve a bright, beautiful smile! If you do everything you can to take care of your teeth with braces or aligners on, you’ll be thrilled with the results when you get your braces off!

We’re proud of the wonderful relationships we’ve built with many dentists in the area, so if you’re looking for an Orthodontist to help keep your teeth clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment, contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills. We’ll recommend one of our trusted colleagues who cares about our patients as much as we do.  

 

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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Why You Should Seek an Orthodontic Consultation Early

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

If you’re waiting until teenage years to take your child to an orthodontist, you may want to reconsider. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, seven is the ideal age for an evaluation in order to monitor how a child’s jaws and teeth are developing. When we see a child in our office at a young age, we’re able to determine whether the following potential problems exist, and how to correct them.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Crowding

Without enough room in the mouth, permanent teeth have trouble coming in where they should. This could result in them coming in at an angle, overlapping, or even staying in the gums if there’s nowhere for them to go – and that can be painful. By placing spacers in those crowded areas, orthodontists can guide teeth into a position that will shorten orthodontic treatment time later. 

Oral Habits

After the age of two or three, thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can cause front teeth to protrude, making them susceptible to damage. Either habit can also lead to improper growth of the jaw and misalignment of the teeth which can cause speech problems. We can discuss natural ways to break these habits while children are young and, if necessary, place habit-breaking appliances in the mouth.

Bite Problems

If a child has a jaw misalignment such as an overbite, underbite or crossbite, it can cause chewing and even breathing issues. We can guide the jaw into place as it grows to reduce the chance for surgery later on. 

Missing Teeth and Eruption Issues

Even if your child’s teeth look perfect on the outside, there may be underlying issues you don’t see. By taking X-rays and looking at digital images in the office, our Palos Hills orthodontists can tell where permanent teeth are missing or which teeth may never come in on their own, and then develop a plan to address the issue. 

Being able to detect oral development issues early is important for preventing major problems, but another reason we love to see young patients is to get to know them better – and for them to get to know us. When kids feel comfortable as they begin orthodontic treatment, it makes the whole process easier. Schedule an appointment with Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to introduce us to your child. We can’t wait to meet you both!   

 

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
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