PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
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 | 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 | Too Busy For Orthodontic Care? Not Anymore.

As busy as you are, it may feel impossible to find the time to get orthodontic care for your crooked or misaligned teeth. But don’t be fooled.

You’re busy with life. We get it. From work, to kids, to anything else that comes your way, you may not be able to remember the last time you had “free time”. As busy as you are, it may feel impossible to find the time to get orthodontic care for your crooked or misaligned teeth. But don’t be fooled.

Your dental health is critical. Not getting the necessary treatment could result in the need for even more time consuming care as later issues arise. While the aesthetic value of straighter teeth is widely recognized, the health benefits are often overlooked. Crooked teeth can increase your chances of having gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. In fact, you may not have the time to NOT receive orthodontic care.

However, if you are worried about the time that orthodontic care requires, there are solutions, one of which is clear plastic aligners. This orthodontic treatment may be the perfect choice for your busy life. Here are some of the most important reasons why.

Aligners Fit Your Lifestyle:

Removable aligners allow you to participate in all your regular activities, from sports and fitness to eating your favorite foods. When it comes to enjoying your favorites, just remove the trays and eat exactly as usual. This saves you the time and energy it may take to prepare “braces safe” meals and snacks.

You also won’t have to significantly change your dental hygiene routine. One complaint we often get about traditional braces is the added time it takes to brush and floss properly. With aligners, simply remove the trays before brushing and flossing to get the same clean you always have. The only difference is that you’ll have to take the few extra minutes to clean your aligners before putting them back in your mouth. 

No More Self Consciousness:

When people say they are too busy for orthodontic care, what they sometimes mean is that they don’t want to have to deal with the hassle and potential embarrassment of wearing braces as an adult. With aligners, you won’t have to worry about trying to hide your smile, both during your treatment and after.

Fewer Emergency Visits:

Traditional braces can sometimes need to be fixed by our office. Either because of a broken wire or another issue, these visits can come at the worst of times for your schedule. With plastic aligners, you won’t have to worry about broken wires, you’ll just need to come in to get your new trays at regularly scheduled intervals. 

While aligners may not be for everyone, it’s worth getting a consultation from our office to see if they may be right for your orthodontic needs. Schedule an appointment today and see the difference that orthodontic treatment can have on your life.

Palos Hills IL Dentist | Simple Tips to Prepare Your Child for Braces

Palos Hills IL Dentist | Simple Tips To Prepare Your Child For Braces

If your child is a candidate for braces, chances are both of you have a least a few questions and potential concerns. Young children and even teens may feel a combination of apprehension and excitement as they begin their journey towards a straighter smile. Here’s what you can do to help them prepare for orthodontic treatment:

1. Include them in discussions about treatment options.

Orthodontia is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. Talk to your orthodontist about all of your child’s potential treatment options and include your child in the conversation. While metal braces are the most popular choice for children and teens, there may be other methods that are equally effective and affordable.

2. Describe what to expect during treatment.

Ask our orthodontic office to help you anticipate common questions. Plan to be as candid as possible and honest when it comes to discomfort – braces take some getting used to, but assure your child that any potential discomfort will ease with time. Also emphasize the commitment needed to keep their teeth clean during treatment; brushing and flossing will take longer with braces, but the time investment is well worth it.

3. Stock up on soft foods.

Your child’s teeth may feel sensitive for the first few days after getting their braces fitted. Keep them comfortable by stocking up on softer foods that will make eating easier. Rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, soups, yogurt, and pudding are all great choices.

4. Invest in orthodontic wax.

Your child may experience some mouth soreness as they get used to the brackets on their braces. Orthodontic wax offers a thin layer of protection between the brackets and their tender gums. Show your child how to use it so they can keep it handy in their backpack for use at school and during extracurricular activities.

5. Focus on the benefits.

Explaining the benefits of braces to your child will reinforce the importance of adhering to their treatment plan. Children are often impatient and want immediate gratification, so remind them that while a year or two may seem like forever, the pay-off will be a beautiful, self-confident smile they can be proud of for years to come.

If you and your child are embarking on your first orthodontic journey together, we’re here to help. Contact our office for additional tips to set your child up for treatment success.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Trust Your Smile to an Experienced Orthodontist

Yet, with the rise in popularity of “mail order aligners” and at-home teeth straightening kits, many people are choosing cost-savings over safety when it comes to their orthodontic care. Here are some facts to consider when comparing at-home teeth straightening with traditional orthodontic care:

Few of us would trust our car maintenance to an unlicensed mechanic, or embark on costly home repairs using an inexperienced contractor. Yet, with the rise in popularity of “mail order aligners” and at-home teeth straightening kits, many people are choosing cost-savings over safety when it comes to their orthodontic care. Here are some facts to consider when comparing at-home teeth straightening with traditional orthodontic care:

  • Orthodontic care is not only about aesthetic outcomes. Misaligned teeth can also lead to health problems best addressed by a trained, licensed orthodontist. For example, patients with crooked teeth are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease, and regular office visits during your treatment plan can ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy as your teeth are being repositioned.
  • Safety and supervision go hand-in-hand. When you get your treatment plan in a traditional setting, our orthodontic team oversees your progress to ensure your teeth are moving at the safest, most efficient rate. Our orthodontists can also adjust your treatment plan as needed based on your overall oral health. This type of personalized care is not available if you choose a mail order aligner service, where you are tasked with managing your own care from home, without scheduled office visits.
  • Orthodontic care is a medical treatment, not just a device or a product. The American Association of Orthodontists strongly recommends that consumers only receive clear aligner treatment plans from an experienced, licensed orthodontist to ensure that they receive the safe, high-quality care they deserve. Some of the risks associated with at-home teeth straightening include poor outcomes, damage to teeth roots and gums, and a poorly aligned bite.
  • Aligners may not be right for you. Although many people are good candidates for treatment plans using clear aligners, some will achieve better results using other orthodontic methods like metal braces. Since mail order kits only offer clear aligners, you will not have the benefit of a trained orthodontist who can assess your teeth and your bite to make sure aligners are the preferred approach for you.

Orthodontic care has evolved in recent years and there are more methods than ever to help you achieve a straighter smile. While the less expensive price tag associated with mail order aligners and at-home teeth straightening may seem alluring, the caliber of care offered in a traditional orthodontic office remains the best choice for the long-term health and beauty of your smile. Contact our office today for a complete smile evaluation.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Take Care of Your Braces So That They Can Take Care of You

Take Care of Your Braces So That They Can Take Care of You

So you’ve invested in a set of braces to beautify your smile. Although most of the work will be done for you by your orthodontist and the braces themselves, you still have a part to play in keeping your smile healthy and beautiful by taking care of your braces on a daily basis. The care that you put into your daily brushing, flushing and flossing will make all the difference for your oral health as well as how beautiful your smile will look once your braces are removed.

What Gets Caught In and Around Your Braces?

Orthodontic hardware can become a breeding ground for germs if not cleaned properly on a daily basis. Although we know them simply as braces, when disassembled into parts they include brackets, bands, wires, springs, screws, and elastics, meaning there are quite a few pieces of hardware that stubborn food particles and germs can reside in. When braces aren’t cleaned properly, the germs can linger and multiply in the various nooks and crannies of your orthodontic hardware. Those germ colonies then develop into plaque biofilm, which presents itself as a chalky patch on the tooth around the braces. If these patches are not properly cleaned off of the tooth, the risk of tooth decay is drastically increased. Sugary and acidic foods increase the chances of developing plaque biofilm around your braces if they are not being cleaned daily and properly.

Cleaning Your Braces at Home

The good news is that keeping your braces clean at home is a quick and easy process when done consistently. For great orthodontic health, remember the BFF acronym – Brush, Flush, and Floss.

Brush: Be sure to put some extra time and care into your brushing with braces. Brush your teeth at different angles to get to those hard-to-reach places between brackets. It may even be beneficial to physically hold your lip up to get every last spot. Remember to remove and elastic or bands before brushing, as they can block your brushing efforts and contribute to the development of plaque biofilm.

Flush: Oral irrigation systems, or simply flushing your mouth with water, are necessary for optimal oral health with braces. Water can dislodge food particles from the various parts of your orthodontic hardware, reducing your risk of developing tooth decay or plaque. At-home oral irrigation systems are specialized tools that push a thin stream of water to flush in between your teeth, and are available at local drugstore and retail stores. Oral irrigation systems are recommended but not required for optimal oral health with braces. SImply swishing water in between your teeth after meals and snacks will do the trick, as long as you keep it up regularly.

Floss: Flossing is especially important to keep your braces and mouth clean. OFtentimes a piece of floss or an interdental cleaner is the only tool that can reach in between wires and brackets. It is important to thread floss under the wires of your braces every day in order to stay clean and healthy.

Don’t let the excitement of having your braces removed be overshadowed by dirty or decaying teeth. By learning how to effectively clean your braces, you’ll be sure to end up with a healthy and confident smile.

If you’d like us to show you how it’s done, or need to see us for a follow up appointment, contact our office to schedule a visit. We’ll be happy to provide you with any help or support that you may need in order to ensure you have a beautiful new smile by the end of your orthodontic treatment.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Malocclusion: More Than Just a Bad Bite

Here, we’ll discuss some of the most concerning effects malocclusion can have on your health and explain why orthodontic care is necessary, and potentially life saving care.

We all know of the aesthetic issues misaligned teeth and jaws can have. However, the issues of malocclusion extend far beyond the aesthetic, negatively influencing both your oral and total body health. Here, we’ll discuss some of the most concerning effects malocclusion can have on your health and explain why orthodontic care is necessary, and potentially life saving care.

Hygiene:

When teeth are not aligned properly, it can make it extremely difficult for your toothbrush to reach all the places that it needs to. When this occurs, it allows plaque and tartar to build up on teeth, potentially leading to tooth decay, periodontal disease, and therefore an even worse bite. Beyond the unenviable prospect of losing teeth due to tooth decay or periodontal disease, this condition also leaves your remaining teeth open to decay in a domino like effect. Avoid this fate and get the orthodontic care you need.

Speech:

In addition to proper hygiene, your teeth and jaw can have serious impacts on your ability to speak properly. From speech impediments to proper breathing, a malocclusion can be a serious hindrance on your life.  

Diet:

This may be one of the effects of a misaligned bite you haven’t thought of. When your bite isn’t working the way it should, it can impact your ability to eat the foods you need to remain properly nutritioned. When this happens, patients can start to eat foods they shouldn’t, gaining serious weight, or not eating at all and losing too much weight.

The huge host of health issues that come from malnutrition and the resulting fluctuations in weight are far too innumerable to list out in this short blog, but you can certainly imagine the damaging impacts for yourself. Among the many are high blood pressure, stroke,  osteoporosis, depression, and some types of cancer.

The good news is that professional orthodontic care can prevent all of these negative effects from occurring in the first place. Our team is dedicated to giving you the healthiest smile possible so that you can enjoy your life to the fullest. To get the care you need, schedule an appointment with our office today.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | The Importance of Post Orthodontic Care

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | The Importance Of Post Orthodontic Care

When your braces or aligners come off for the last time, the active phase of your treatment has come to an end. This is fantastic news and we’d love to congratulate you. However, if you want your treatment to last, your orthodontic care is not over. The next step is retention.

What is Retention?

Teeth aren’t set rigidly in place. Rather, they’re held by periodontal ligaments that take time to adjust to the new position of your teeth. After you finish with your braces, your teeth still need help to remain in their new position. Without this help, those ligaments will want to move your teeth back into the position they were in before orthodontics. Typically, this help involves wearing an orthodontic appliance called a retainer.

Which Retainer is Best For You?

Each of the three basic retainers available today are best in certain situations for certain needs.

The most common retainer is known as a Hawley retainer. This is probably what you first think of when you hear the word retainer. It involves a thin piece of acrylic molded to fit your mouth and a wire that holds your teeth in position. These retainers are simple, easy to wear and extremely durable.

Another popular retainer is the clear aligner-type. This looks similar to an Invisalign ® tray and is also custom made. Thin, and transparent, this style of retainer is nearly invisible and is easy to put on and take off. While the plastic is durable, it is not as strong as the Hawley retainer and is not recommended for people that grind their teeth.

The last kind of retainer we’ll talk about here today is the fixed retainer. These retainers are not removable and are instead placed in the mouth for years. Put behind the teeth, they are not visible at all and are commonly used for lower front teeth.

Usually, you will only have to wear your retainer 24/7 for 3 to 6 months, although it could be different depending on your individual needs. If you have any questions about post-orthodontic care, contact our team. We will be happy to help you achieve your perfect smile.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Will Braces Impact My Speech?

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Will Braces Impact My Speech?

When beginning your orthodontic treatment, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. One that we get all the time is about the effect braces will have on your ability to talk properly. In short, there are a few changes that you may notice for a short time, but these effects are not at all permanent and are not nearly as noticeable as you may think.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Will Braces Impact My Speech?

When are changes most noticeable?

In the first few days or weeks of your orthodontic treatment there may be temporary changes in how you form words. With the appliance in your mouth and the swelling that occurs because of it, your tongue and mouth will need time to adjust. It is likely that you’ll notice the most difference on your “s” and “th” sounds.

But don’t worry.  

Your tongue and mouth are extraordinarily adaptable. In a short time, they will learn how to function with orthodontics to have you sounding like normal again. However, if you are very worried about the effects, there are some treatment options available to reduce them.

For instance, lingual braces installed on the back of the teeth help to minimize any differences in speech. Plastic aligners such as Invisalign™ are also a great option, as they are perfectly shaped to fit your teeth and create little interference with your tongue.

The only drawbacks to these particular appliances is that they tend to cost more than traditional braces. If your budget is an issue, you still have options. Dental wax can be used on traditional braces to help make speaking slightly easier.

There are also big benefits in the long term that are worth the short struggle.

Straighter teeth play a big role in better speech. When your teeth are misaligned, it can cause lisping, whistling and other major speech impediments. Orthodontic treatment can help correct all of those issues while giving you a healthier, happier smile.

Schedule an appointment with our office today and learn more about which orthodontic treatments are the best fit for your lifestyle. We’ll also be sure to answer any other questions you may have.

Palos Hills IL Orhtodontist | Key Tips on Safely Removing Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Palos Hills IL Orhtodontist | Key Tips On Safely Removing Your Child's Baby Teeth

One of the near-infinite range of small, peculiar challenges young parents face is their child’s baby teeth. When should they come out? Do you need to remove them? And if so, is there a safe, painless way to do so? Let’s take a look at baby teeth and the long, occasionally unpredictable process children go through in losing them.

Palos Hills IL Orhtodontist | Key Tips On Safely Removing Your Child's Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth

By the time a child is around three years old, he or she usually has a full set of primary teeth. These are also known as baby teeth or milk teeth. Children hold on to these primary teeth for several years before they start to lose them, at around age six. The process of losing baby teeth and gaining a full set of 32 adult pearly white can take years. In fact, some kids don’t have all their permanent teeth until the age of 13. The long timeline for losing primary teeth and gaining permanent ones can sometimes be confusing or even frustrating for parents.

Should You Remove Your Child’s Baby Teeth?

The short answer to whether or not parents should actively participate in removing their child’s primary teeth is no. Baby teeth are meant to fall out by themselves. The roots gradually disintegrate, loosening their hold on the gums. In due time, they should drop off completely. Under most circumstances, there’s no need for a parent to hasten this process. Further, primary teeth are important to the formation of the jawline and also assist permanent teeth coming in properly. Messing with primary teeth unnecessarily could have unintended consequences.

Consult a Dentist if Complications Arise

Most baby teeth should adhere to the natural process of falling out on their own. Primary teeth that don’t seem to be loosening, are causing your child recurring pain, or appear to be triggering an infection are all causes for concern. If for any reason you suspect there’s an issue with one of your children’s baby teeth, it’s best to reach out to our dental practice. We know exactly how to safely address whatever’s going on with your child’s teeth and can help get them enjoying being a kid again. Schedule an appointment with our office today.