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

Do I Have to Wear My Retainer? | Orthodontist Palos Hills

Palos Hills, IL Orthodontist
Palos Hills, IL Orthodontist

Keeping your teeth straight is crucial in the period following the removal of your braces. Maintaining the smile you have worked so hard for is best achieved with a retainer worn as directed by our orthodontist in 60465. Wearing your retainer may help keep your teeth from shifting back to their original positions. What can happen if you do not wear a retainer after braces treatment? Learn more in the following paragraphs.

Within one week.

Once your braces are removed, your teeth will move back into their original positions. There are different rates of tooth movement, and even slight shifts in your teeth can affect how your retainer functions. It is essential to wear your retainer at night during the first week to prevent any relapses. 

A month later.

When you don’t wear your retainer for one month, you may find your bite has changed, and your teeth have begun to move back into their previous alignment. A second appointment will need to be scheduled to get you fitted for another retainer at this point. Additionally, you may be required to wear your retainer during the daytime and at night. 

One year later.

If you skip a retainer, your teeth will have returned to their original position, and maybe even be crooked after one year. You might need to restart your orthodontic treatment. You can prevent this from happening if you wear your retainer as instructed. 

Wearing a retainer after removing your braces can help keep your teeth straight. If you stop wearing your retainer, the smile you worked hard to achieve will disappear. In the long run, you will see that it is worth the effort to get into the habit of wearing a retainer.

If you want more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL.

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

Can My Braces Cause Swollen Gums? | Orthodontist 60465

Orthodontist 60465
Orthodontist 60465

No matter how old you are, braces are a safe and effective way to straighten your teeth. Although you cannot see your teeth moving, constant, steady pressure caused by braces causes changes in your gums and jaw bone as your teeth move. Occasionally, some patients may experience minor side effects, such as gum irritation. If your gums are red, sore, or swollen, determine the cause and seek treatment from our orthodontist in 60465 as soon as possible.

It may be difficult to maintain good oral hygiene when wearing braces. This results in plaque building up and causing gingivitis, damaging the gums and causing them to swell and bleed. While wearing braces, if you notice your gums are red, swollen, or bleeding when you brush, this is indicative of infection and an inflammatory reaction. Hormone changes make children and teenagers more likely to develop gum disease. Additionally, it makes it harder to clean teeth and gums.

Swollen gums are a common occurrence when you first get braces. You may feel that your gums are sensitive while wearing braces. In some circumstances, metal brackets and wires can increase gum size due to hypertrophy or hyperplasia. When your orthodontic treatment is complete and your braces are removed, your gums will likely return to normal.

Wearing braces requires you to take dietary precautions. Some dietary habits are known to cause orthodontic appliances to break and increase the risk of dental decay. You should avoid eating anything hard or crunchy, such as raw vegetables and popcorn, which can irritate your gums. While wearing braces, limit foods and drinks that may cause dental caries (cavities). Your orthodontist will inform you of dietary restrictions while you are under their care.

Here are a few steps you can take to alleviate swelling and inflammation in your gums:

  • Get an electric toothbrush with an orthodontic head to thoroughly clean your teeth.
  • Clean between your teeth with a water flosser.
  • Interproximal brushes and floss threaders clean around and under wires better than toothbrushes.
  • You might want to consider mouthwash containing fluoride or antimicrobials.
  • To relieve inflammation in the mouth, rinse with warm water containing a pinch of salt.
  • Smoking and alcohol aggravate inflammation further.

To achieve the best results from your orthodontic treatment, it is important to make a conscious effort to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits. If you have a high risk of periodontal disease, your orthodontist may wait to begin orthodontic treatment until your teeth and gums are healthy. 

We invite you to call our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL and schedule an appointment if you have any questions or would like more information.

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

The Disadvantages of Misaligned Teeth | Palos Hills Orthodontist

Orthodontist 60465
Orthodontist 60465

If you have uneven teeth, you may be considering orthodontic options to improve your smile. Straightening your teeth can do more than just boost your confidence. It is important to consult with your orthodontist in 60465 if your teeth are not aligned properly. 

People often fail to realize how the health of their mouths affects the health of their bodies overall. Poor oral health puts you at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, illnesses, miscarriages, and more. Having misaligned teeth makes it harder to take care of your mouth properly, increasing your risk of oral health problems. The following are some of the most common problems caused by misaligned teeth: Contact our office today if any of these symptoms affect you.

Gum disease

In comparison to straight teeth, it is harder to keep uneven teeth clean. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you are more likely to get gum disease. In many adults, plaque buildup can cause gingivitis and periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss. When your gums are swollen or inflamed, bacteria may be released into your bloodstream, which can cause inflammation and increase your risk of strokes, heart attacks, etc.

Make sure you see your dentist twice a year for dental cleanings and examinations and maintain good oral hygiene. 

Jaw discomfort/TMD TMJ

If you have misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite, your chances of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) may be increased. Even though most TMD cases are caused by teeth grinding and clenching, a misaligned bite can also contribute to the condition. In addition to jaw pain and discomfort, TMD can also cause headaches and other symptoms such as clicking sounds while chewing. 

You may need TMD treatment if you have been experiencing jaw pain. An orthodontist can help determine if this condition requires treatment. By correcting a misaligned bite, TMD patients can experience less pain.

Enamel Erosion

Tooth enamel is a complex and thin coating covering the surface of the tooth that prevents it from being chipped or worn away. Grinding your teeth is a common cause of enamel loss, but various environmental factors contribute as well. Simple actions such as speaking and chewing can grind your teeth together if they are uneven and your bite isn’t aligned correctly. Eventually, this will wear away your teeth’s enamel, making them appear discolored, more sensitive, and more likely to crack and chip. The enamel of your teeth can be protected at home in many ways, including drinking plenty of water, avoiding excessively acidic and sugary foods, and brushing and flossing as directed by your dentist. The alignment of your teeth may limit your ability to prevent enamel erosion on your own.

Orthodontists can help you improve the alignment of your teeth and smile. Please contact our Palos Hills, IL orthodontics office to find out whether orthodontic treatment is right for you.

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

Maintaining Your Retainer | 60465 Orthodontist

Orthodontist 60465
Orthodontist 60465

Are you going days, or even weeks, without cleaning your retainer? A retainer has the same bacteria as your mouth and, if not cleaned daily, is almost equivalent to not brushing your teeth for weeks. You accumulate bacteria throughout the day, which can lead to bad breath, gingivitis, and cavities. If you want to practice good oral hygiene, your orthodontist in 60465 recommends following these tips.

Clean your retainer with toothpaste.

You should brush your retainer at night when you brush your teeth. Once it becomes a habit, brushing it won’t seem like an extra step. To achieve the best results, use non-whitening toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Maintaining the integrity of your retainer acrylic is essential through the use of soft toothbrushes and the avoidance of abrasive toothpaste, as repeated scrubbing can cause it to scratch, allowing bacteria to grow. 

It is not enough to just wash it with water.

A simple wash with water won’t get rid of bacteria. Bacteria can be reduced by using water throughout the day, but distilled white vinegar is the best solution. Combine one part vinegar with three parts water in a cup. Soak your retainer for approximately 15 minutes, then gently brush with a soft toothbrush.

Use baking soda.

Aside from teeth whitening retainers, baking soda restores the pH balance in retainers. A paste can be made by mixing half baking soda and half water. When applied to the toothbrush, it will be similar to a light toothpaste. Gently brush your retainer to ensure it is clean. 

Quick mouthwash soaks

In most cases, orthodontists do not recommend mouthwash as a primary way to clean your retainer. However, you can give it a quick soak to kill bacteria and freshen its smell. Mix equal parts of mouthwash and lukewarm water. Alcohol can damage acrylic, so make sure the mouthwash is alcohol-free.

A retainer cleaner bought at the store is an option.

If you decide to use a cleaner, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. Stores sell cleaners specifically designed for cleaning retainers. Your orthodontics team in Palos Hills can recommend a cleaner, and you should follow the directions on the packaging.

By keeping your retainer clean, you are maintaining your oral health. Maintaining your retainer using the methods we have discussed above will help you avoid potential health problems caused by bacteria. Consult your orthodontist about which cleaning option would be best for you. We invite you to schedule an appointment to our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL.

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

Traditional Braces Versus Clear Aligners | Orthodontist in 60465

Orthodontist 60465
Orthodontist 60465

Whether it’s for purely cosmetic reasons or to improve oral function, many people seek orthodontic treatment to help improve their smile. Braces and Invisalign® (clear aligners)  are both popular options used for straightening teeth. Though both can be incredibly effective, each has their own unique strengths that can help determine which is better for your particular needs.

Benefits of Traditional Braces

Braces are a time-tested method for correcting problems with tooth alignment. As braces have become more comfortable, they are now much less inconvenient to wear. Whether you want fun colors or a more subtle look, braces are a good solution for patients of all ages. Since braces are completely customizable to the needs of your teeth, they are often the best solution for more complex cases where teeth need to be dramatically realigned to create a better bite.

Benefits of Invisalign® (Clear Aligners)

Invisalign® is a newer, less invasive approach to orthodontic care. Unlike braces, which are permanently fixed on your teeth for the duration of treatment, Invisalign® uses a series of custom-made trays to help slowly shift your teeth into a more optimal smile. Invisalign® is a great solution for those needing less intensive treatment. Being able to remove the trays when eating and brushing your teeth reduces the inconvenience of treatment and makes it easier to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Disadvantages

Both treatment options have their disadvantages as well. Traditional braces are a bit more prominent in their appearance. They are harder to maintain and keep clean. Clear aligners may be more subtle, but they can easily be lost when removing them to eat or drink if you are not careful. Our orthodontist in 60565 agrees it can be a hassle to have to take them out in public.

Which Option is Right For Me?

As we have seen, both traditional braces and clear aligners offer great solutions. The best way to figure out the most appropriate treatment plan for you is to consult with our team. We will give you a full evaluation of your treatment needs and help you decide the best treatment plan accordingly. To set up an appointment with our orthodontist, or for any other questions, contact our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL today.

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

The Effects of Fruit Juice on Your Teeth | Orthodontist in Palos Hills IL

Orthodontist in 60465
Orthodontist in 60465

Don’t be fooled by the label “100 percent fruit juice.” Drinks advertised in this way might seem like a healthy choice, but these drinks may be doing more harm than good. In fact, fruit juices contain loads of sugar that can lead to tooth decay. The American

Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reevaluated their recommendations for allowing small children to consume fruit juice. Here’s what you need to know about the new guidelines.

Stick to Water For The First Year

The AAP used to suggest that infants younger than 6 months old should not be given fruit juice to drink. This year, however, the AAP updated these recommendations to suggest refraining from fruit juice for any infant 12 months and younger. Children do not need to be exposed to large amounts of sugar in the juice at such a young age.

A Good Source of Vitamins–And Sugar

Fruit juice can be an excellent source for vitamins and minerals. Many fruit juices contain vitamin C and potassium. However, fruit juices are often very high in sugar content. According to a study summarized by Medical News Today, fruit juice may contain as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar for every 8 ounces.

The Harmful Effect of Fruit Juice

Sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, especially in children. The AAP advises that toddlers and young children should not be served fruit juice in a “sippy cup.” These cups provide greater exposure of decay-causing sugar to teeth, leading to an ideal environment for tooth decay. Our orthodontics team in Palos Hills agree that the amounts of sugar in juice along with the high acidity create a recipe for disaster within the mouth.

According to the updated guidelines set by the AAP, moderation is key. While children under 12 months of age should not be provided fruit juice, small amounts may be permitted for older children. The AAP suggests a maximum of 4 ounces of fruit juice per day for children aged 1 to 3, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children aged 4 to 6, and 8 ounces per day for those between the ages of 7 and 18. You may also consider adding water to dilute the juice before giving it to your child, so they receive less sugar.

Children and adolescents aren’t the only group that can benefit from consuming fewer sugary drinks. Sugar leads to decay in adults as well. Our orthodontist in 60465 suggests trying to limit your own consumption of sugary drinks.

Maintaining regular visits to our office will allow our dental team to ensure your child’s

teeth are healthy. We will provide a comprehensive screening to locate and treat decay. If your child drinks more than the suggested amount of sugary fruit drinks, consider scheduling an extra cleaning with our team at our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL. Together, we can work to promote a lifetime of optimal oral health.

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

Braces 101 | Orthodontist 60465

Orthodontist 60465
Orthodontist 60465

Braces can help create a straight, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Ideally, any corrections to the bite, jaw, or mouth structure should be done during early adolescence while the mouth is still forming. Here’s what you need to know before your child begins treatment with braces.

The Reason Behind Braces

Braces are used to correct improper bites, crowding, and misaligned teeth. If your child has an overbite or underbite, braces may be recommended along with another orthodontic appliance to shift the jaw. Additionally, braces are used to correct gaps between teeth as well as teeth that are growing in a crooked position.

When To Start

Braces are more effective in younger patients because the jaw structure is still forming.

According to the American Dental Association, the majority of orthodontic treatment cases typically begin between the ages of 8 and 14. Your child’s particular course of treatment is going to be dependent on a number of factors including mouth structure and the progress of erupting adult teeth.

The Benefit to Braces

It may be difficult for your child to imagine an extended period of time without being able to eat sticky, gummy foods or chew bubblegum, however there are numerous benefits to your child’s overall health and well-being that can be achieved with braces. By straightening teeth and closing gaps, your child’s gum health will be improved. Braces can prevent dental complications later in life, removing the need for more advanced corrective procedures. Your child’s confidence will also be boosted once they see the results of a straight, beautiful smile.

Braces may be an inconvenience short-term, but your child will thank you in the long run. By starting at a younger age, the treatment is likely to be most effective. Our orthodontist in 60465 invites you and your child to discuss the benefits of having braces with our team. During your appointment, we will provide a complete examination and make a recommendation for a treatment plan that will work best for your child. To schedule your child’s next visit to our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL, please contact our friendly team.

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

How To Handle Common Issues With Your Braces | 60465 Orthodontist

Orthodontist Oak Lawn, IL

How To Handle Common Issues With Your Braces | 60465 Orthodontist

PalosHillsOrtho

Braces are the most popular and effective way to correct the alignment of your teeth. For some orthodontic patients, minor irritation or other issues can occur. Luckily, these issues are often easily resolved. For your reference, we’ve compiled a guide to understanding how to best handle a few issues you might experience.

Discomfort From the Brackets

Minor discomfort for the first few days after placement or adjustment is normal. We advise sticking to a diet of soft, easy-to-chew foods. You may find it helpful to rinse your mouth with warm salt water. You may take ibuprofen if you feel you need it. If discomfort continues beyond the first week, contact our Palos Hills, IL orthodontic team for guidance.

Food Stuck in the Brackets 

It may take some time to adjust to eating with your braces. If food gets caught between your teeth, try using ortho flossers or a water flosser. Creating a small knot in the floss might make it more effective at catching the lodged piece of food. Small toothbrushes or interdental cleaners may also be an effective way to clean out the gaps between your teeth and in brackets. A toothpick may also work, but use extra caution when working around the wires of your braces.

Cheek and Lip Discomfort

Wires and brackets can rub against your lips or inner cheeks causing discomfort. In these instances, use non-medicinal relief wax to cover the problematic area. This can make eating and talking more comfortable. The wax is harmless if accidentally swallowed. You can ask our 60465 team for some orthodontic wax if you need it. 

Loose Wires 

Though not common, wires can shift and protrude into your mouth. Attempt to push the wire back into place against your teeth using a cotton swab or even a clean pencil eraser. Make sure to let us know about the issue during your next visit. If the wire breaks or pops out completely, call our Palos Hills office for an appointment as soon as possible. 

Loose Brackets or Bands 

Any loosening of your braces should be examined by our team. Loosening may occur from eating hard, crunchy foods or from playing contact sports. Your best defenses are avoiding troublesome foods and wearing a mouthguard if you are playing sports. If any part of your braces comes off, please save it and bring it with you to our office.

Adjusting to braces can take some time. Always have non-medicinal relief wax on hand in case your braces become an irritant. If your braces are loose or parts are falling off, please contact us immediately. The best way to keep your braces secure is to avoid sticky, hard, and crunchy foods. Don’t forget to brush thoroughly after each meal to clean out any food particles that may have become lodged between your teeth. For questions about your braces or tips on how to care for them, please contact our 60465 orthodontist.

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

Ways To Care For Your Retainer | Palos Hills Orthodontist

Orthodontist Oak Lawn

Ways To Care For Your Retainer | Palos Hills Orthodontist

60465Retainer

When you first get your retainer it can be easy to forget it or neglect it. Once you get used to having one, it can become second nature to regularly care for it. Your retainer is an important way to maintain the position of your teeth after orthodontic treatment.  We’ve assembled a list of five tips to help you get well-versed in caring for your retainer. 

1. Keep It In, Unless…

Your retainer should be worn for the entire day. Without it, your orthodontic treatment results will suffer. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Do take out your retainer while you eat, clean it, during sports, and as directed by your dentist and our doctor. Otherwise, wear it regularly. You are also less likely to lose it the more that you wear it. 

2. Use Your Case

Your retainer will come with a case to store it in. When it’s out of your mouth, use the case. We’ve heard many horror stories of patients putting their retainer in a napkin while they eat, only to throw it away by mistake. We’ve seen parents digging through the trash for their child’s retainer.  A replacement retainer can be costly, so treat yours with care.

3. Clean it Regularly

Your retainer needs to be kept clean. Like your teeth, plaque and bacteria can build up on it, which can be harmful to your teeth. We recommend cleaning your retainer every time you brush. Rinse your retainer with water, then use toothpaste and your toothbrush to give a gentle scrubbing. Rinse it off one final time before putting it back in your mouth.

4. Be Careful With Sports

Contact sports pose a risk of damaging your retainer. Even non-contact sports may cause you to experience some degree of facial trauma. While playing sports, your retainer should be removed and placed in its protective case. Ask our orthodontist about a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth during these activities.

While receiving orthodontic treatment, we will schedule a series of appointments with you to measure your progress.These visits are important for ensuring your results are maintained. They allow our team to make sure your retainer continues to fit properly, as well.

It may take some time to become comfortable with caring for your retainer. Follow our guide to stay on track. Keeping your retainer clean is just as important as keeping your teeth clean. Don’t forget to remove your retainer while eating, and always use the case to store it when it is not in your mouth. For more tips on care of your retainer or to schedule your next visit to our Palos Hills, IL orthodontist, please contact our team.

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

Every Athlete Needs One Piece of Equipment | Palos Hills Orthodontist

Orthodontist in Oak Lawn
Orthodontist 60465

For every athlete, in every sport, there is always the risk of an injury. Mouth guards are an excellent piece of gear for protecting the mouth, face, and jaw from injury. Our orthodontics team in 60465 can help you find the right mouthguard for you to protect your teeth in the best way possible.

Reasons To Wear a Mouthguard

In most sports, there is always a risk of getting hit in the face, whether it’s with a ball or not. Injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even missing teeth.

The soft tissues in your mouth like your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, and lips can also become injured while playing sports – the mouth, teeth, and face are all at risk.

Does Every Athlete Need a Mouthguard?

The sports that pose the greatest risk for mouth and facial injury are the “contact sports” which include hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing. Even in lower impact sports, it does not hurt to be cautious.

In the event of a fall, gymnasts should wear one for protection. Also, those who play baseball and basketball should wear one for protection from the ball hitting their face, collisions with other players, or equipment. No matter what sport you play, a mouth guard is a critical piece of equipment. 

What is The Best Mouthguard For Me?

There are so many different mouth guards to choose from, our team is here to help you choose the best fit for you. You can buy one at your local sporting store, get a custom-fitted one at our office, or our orthodontist in 60465 may recommend a special kind of mouthguard if you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment.

It is important to find a guard that fits your mouth properly and is as comfortable as possible. Contact our orthodontics office in Palos Hills, IL today to schedule a consultation and find a mouthguard that works best for you. 

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