PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
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

Orthodontist in Palos Hills IL | Why Orthodontic Care is on the Rise

There’s been a  growing uptick in orthodontic care in recent years, and research indicates a number of social and lifestyle trends are at the root of this newfound fascination in smile enhancement. A number of factors contribute to this growing trend, but a few of the biggest may come as a surprise. Discover more about this increased demand for orthodontic care, and some of the reasons behind it. 

The Power of a Perfect Smile

In today’s social media-driven world, outward appearances are more important than ever. Having the right look online can boost your followers, views, or likes. Because of this emphasis on physical perfection, many have turned to orthodontic care to help them achieve the smile they want. And, it’s a trend that is not only driven by social media. Job candidates are finding their smiles could be a make or break reason for landing a new position. A research study uncovered that Americans think individuals with straight teeth are 45% more likely to land a job than those with crooked teeth. 

The Convenience of Clear Aligners

A massive spike in popularity for clear aligners has been seen in recent years and is poised to keep growing. The fact that these aligners are clear and removable makes them a popular alternative to braces. You can take out your aligner to eat, brush your teeth and floss, without having to worry about food buildup like you would with braces. The convenience and the aesthetic look of normal teeth versus having metal in your mouth is another reason why more people are choosing clear aligner orthodontic treatment to improve their smile. The next few years show big potential growth for this area of orthodontic treatment.

Treatments that Cater to Adult Smiles

The most surprising jump in business for orthodontic care is the increased number of adults seeking personal orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists has noted that one in five orthodontic patients today is an adult. While both clear aligners and more traditional options like braces are being used, more adults are seeking straighter smiles later in life. Most adult patients are new and are seeking their first treatments towards a straighter smile. Some adult patients have previously undergone orthodontic treatment, and are coming back for additional care. 

Patients both young and old are finding their perfect smiles, and the numbers continue to grow each year. If you have been considering orthodontic treatment for any reason, contact our orthodontic office in Palos Hills today for more information. 

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 | Should You Whiten Your Teeth While Wearing Braces?

Orthodontic treatment and teeth whitening are two of the most common methods for cosmetically improving your smile. The question is, can you achieve straighter and whiter teeth at the same time?

For many patients the answer is yes – it is possible to whiten your teeth while wearing braces. But perhaps a better question is, will you achieve better results if you wait until after your orthodontic plan is completed? Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to help plan the best timing for whitening your teeth.

What Type of Braces Do You Have?

Patients with traditional metal or clear braces have brackets that are glued directly onto their
teeth. Attempting to whiten the surrounding areas during treatment could lead to uneven results
when the braces are removed. Whitening during orthodontic treatment may be a viable option
for those white lingual braces, which are worn on the back of the teeth. Likewise, those with
Invisalign aligners could be candidates for simultaneous orthodontic and teeth whitening
procedures, depending on the overall condition and health of their teeth and gums. A personal
consultation with our team can determine if you can achieve better results by waiting until your
teeth finish moving into their new position, to avoid having to re-whiten newly exposed tooth
surfaces later.

Which Whitening Option Do You Prefer?

There are several effective methods for achieving a whiter smile, including in-office “chairside”
whitening, performed using a high-strength bleaching agent that is activated by a high-powered
light. This technique is performed by our dentists and the best results will be achieved once
orthodontic treatment is finished. Some patients prefer to whiten their teeth over a period of
weeks at home, using custom trays. Since these trays are created in-office to exactly fit your
teeth, waiting until braces are removed is recommended.

Making an investment in your smile is a long-term commitment. If you have already begun orthodontic treatment, the best way to avoid unwanted staining or discoloration is by practicing good oral hygiene habits and maintaining your routine cleanings and checkups. Contact us for a personalized consultation to discuss your smile goals, and find out the best way to achieve a healthy, dazzling 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 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