PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
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 | 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.

Orthodontist Palos Hills, IL | The Positive Impact a Straighter Smile Can Have on Your Life

While it may seem like a strange idea, a healthy smile can truly have a monumental impact on our lives. Beyond the obvious health benefits of straighter teeth, investing in your smile can make a difference in how you live day to day. Below are just a few of the ways that a properly aligned smile can have a positive impact on our emotions, our relationships, and our lives.

Confidence

Confidence plays a key role in just about everything we do. It’s on display when we’re at our jobs, socializing with friends, dating, and pursuing our biggest goals in life. In many ways, our level of confidence controls how much we can achieve­.

Having a straight smile improves our appearance—and how we feel about the reflection we see in the mirror every day—significantly enough that it provides a permanent confidence boost.

How Others See You

Having a straighter smile doesn’t just affect how you see yourself. A great deal of research speaks to just how influential teeth are in how other people evaluate your appearance.

According to one study, individuals with straight teeth are 45 percent more likely to get a job than those with crooked teeth. Another found that people with straight teeth are nearly 60 percent more likely to be seen as successful than those with crooked or misaligned sets.

Desire to Smile

There’s no denying it: if you’re self-conscious about your teeth, you’re going to be far less willing to smile in public. This apprehensiveness, in turn, affects your overall mood and limits how much you can enjoy yourself in social settings.

On the other hand, people that love to flash their straight teeth are going to smile more often. It’s a drastic conclusion, but it’s possible that having straighter teeth will positively impact your happiness simply by virtue of making you want to smile more.

Our practice knows that the power of a smile is not to be underestimated. Though it’s just a single facial feature, your smile has a staggering level of influence on your life. Make sure that influence is positive and schedule your next appointment with our office today.

Orthodontist Near Me | Types of Orthodontic Appliances

Malocclusions, or irregularities in the way teeth are positioned in the mouth, are fairly common, and many cases do not require dental intervention. But for those that do, orthodontists have a strong repertoire of appliances to draw from. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common, and their benefits.

Braces

Braces are easily the most well-known and recognizable orthodontic appliance. They’re usually made from stainless steel, titanium, and rubber, and they apply gentle pressure to teeth over time. This pressure gradually nudges the upper and lower sets of teeth into greater alignment. Over the course of anywhere between one to three years, patients will have straighter, better-aligned teeth that are more aesthetically pleasing and less likely to create complications later in life.

Retainers

Orthodontists rely on retainers to keep teeth straight and in place after braces have been removed. They’re a kind of post-treatment that helps cement the gains made by braces and ensure that teeth don’t shift back into misalignment.

Headgear

Headgear is generally reserved for the most serious cases of malocclusions. If someone has either an underbite or an overbite that an orthodontist feels will not be adequately addressed by braces, he or she may consider headgear.

Headgear can manipulate jaws in a more holistic way than braces by pulling a person’s upper or lower sets of teeth back with elastic bands and coils to achieve greater alignment. Adolescents with severe malocclusions like overjet, underbite, and crossbite may be candidates for headgear.

Aligners

As an alternative to traditional braces, aligners are a safe, effective, and discreet option for straightening misaligned teeth. Removable aligners are worn over the teeth and can be removed to allow you to eat, brush, and floss normally during your orthodontic treatment. Made of clear plastic, this appliance is nearly invisible and can be more comfortable than traditional braces.

This is by no means a conclusive list, and to determine the correct solution for your own orthodontic needs it is always important to converse with your doctor. To do so, schedule an appointment with our office today and achieve a healthier smile. 

Palos Hills Orthodontist | Conventional Braces or Clear Aligners?

Deciding to straighten your teeth is likely a good idea. Not only will it improve the appearance of your smile, but it also helps your teeth and jaw function properly. If you’ve decided that you want orthodontic treatment, the next step is to decide which kind will work best for you. Here we’ll look at some of the benefits of conventional braces and clear aligners in order to get you started on making the right decision.

Conventional Braces:

Is the original still the best option? There are a lot of great things about traditional braces, but not among them is a slim profile. Braces are often clunky and draw attention to themselves. However, as technologies become better, braces have become much more discreet than in the past.

Braces apply a steady pressure to your teeth through a system of brackets and wires. You’ll have to schedule appointments with your doctor to get the wires tightened as the treatment starts to work your teeth into place. The good news is, braces get the job done quickly and efficiently as long as you maintain excellent oral hygiene.

Clear Aligners:

Clear aligners are nearly invisible and are removable. They may not be as effective on extreme cases of misalignment, but they work well on mild to moderate cases. Similar to conventional braces, you’ll have to schedule regular appointments with your doctor to ensure everything is progressing smoothly.

In general, clear aligners provide great results. However, your success is directly dependent upon you. The aligners are designed to be removed, but you should still be wearing them as often as possible. If you decide to not wear your aligners as often as you should, the process will be either extended, or your results will suffer. Remove the aligners only when you are eating or brushing your teeth.

If you want to learn more about which of these solutions is right for you, contact our office today. Our doctor will be happy to schedule an appointment with you where you’ll come up with a dental solution that fits your goals and your lifestyle together. We look forward to hearing from you.

Orthodontist in Palos Hills | 3 Tips on Retainer Care

Palos Hills Orthodontics

So, you’re finally done with braces. Great job! It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely worth the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve achieved. To make sure that smile lasts, it’s important to wear your retainer. Taking care of your retainer is just as important as taking care of your teeth themselves. With that in mind, here are three of our best tips for retainer care.

1.) Just In Case

There are really only two places that your retainer should ever be: in your mouth, or in its case. Easily damaged, it’s important to store your retainer in a proper case to help it last. When in the case, you can help prevent your retainer from being damaged, thrown away, or eaten by a curious pet. Batman stores his tools in his utility belt when he’s not using them, you should store your oral health tools just as securely.

2.) Keep It Clean 

If not taken care of properly, retainers can become pretty gross pretty quickly. You should always remove your retainer when you eat. Eating with your retainer in means you’re exposing your retainer to the potential for bacteria or plaque build up, or even physical damage caused by food and drinks. Make sure you remove it from your mouth and clean your retainer properly according to your orthodontist’s instructions.

3.) Avoid Harsh Heat and Chemicals

If left in a hot car, or near some other heat source, your retainer can easily become deformed, rendering it useless. Also avoid using products like bleach or alcohol based mouthwash to clean your retainer. It may seem like a great way to keep your retainer clean, but these products can actually damage the plastic.

It’s up to you to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. In addition to taking excellent care of your retainer, keep up with your regular hygiene routine and professional cleanings and exams. Schedule your next appointment with our office today to make sure your smile stays bright.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Even Mummies Wear Braces: A Look at Ancient Orthodontics

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Even Mummies Wear Braces: A Look At Ancient Orthodontics
Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Even Mummies Wear Braces: A Look At Ancient Orthodontics

It’s natural that your braces may seem annoying, or even painful at times. While they definitely take some getting used to, you should know just how far braces have come since teeth straightening technology began in Ancient Egypt. That’s right, egyptian mummies have been found with metal bands wrapped around their teeth. Instead of wire or elastic, the Egyptians used a natural cord made out of animal intestines called catgut to tighten the metal. But that’s far from the strangest technique humans have used to straighten their teeth.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans were also concerned with creating straighter smiles. A Roman writer called Pliny the Elder, who is responsible for the famous line “home is where the heart is,” recommended pushing on teeth with your fingers and filing them down regularly.

In the 18th century, a french man named Pierre Fauchard, often referred to as the Father of Dentistry, began experimenting. Using a giant pair of metal tweezers called forceps, he would realign teeth by hand and tie them together so they would stay in place while healing- all without any modern anesthesia. Thankfully times have changed.

Braces are advancing faster than ever as the use of plastics and 3D printers begins to develop. Technology such as plastic aligners, lingual braces and retainers help straighten teeth with ease, not to mention much less painfully.

While braces may not be your favorite accessory, we want to ensure that you have as comfortable a process as possible. Contact our office to schedule your next appointment.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Do you Think You are Too Old For Orthodontics? Think Again.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Do You Think You Are Too Old For Orthodontics? Think Again.

Most of us associate braces with early teen years, along with highschool algebra and acne. If you’ve been wondering what “could have been,” wonder no longer. Adult orthodontic treatment is an option for most adults, and don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of company.

 Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Do You Think You Are Too Old  For Orthodontics? Think Again.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists over 1 million adults are wearing braces in the United States. Popularity of adult braces has grown by over 40 percent since 1989 and is showing no signs of slowing down. Our physical appearance has become increasingly important to us as social media thrives and our life span increases. Orthodontics  can also help people who are struggling with headaches because of their misaligned teeth. In short, having braces as an adult is nothing to be embarrassed  about and can help you become healthier and more confident.

Adults getting braces today will find that there are significantly more options than there were when they were children. Our team will work with you to ensure that you choose the option that works best for your lifestyle and smile. If the appearance of traditional braces is a concern, there are alternatives.

Aligners 

Common brands of aligners include,  Invisalign and ClearCorrect. . Aligners are clear trays that are worn for 20-22 hours per day, and only removed for eating and cleaning. They don’t add extra hassle to your oral hygiene routine. While certainly less visible than traditional braces, aligners aren’t completely invisible. They also require a certain level of discipline to ensure that they are in for every possible moment. If you go with this option, you’ll also be in charge of adhering to a schedule of changing your liners every two weeks. Without diligence, this option may take longer to complete than traditional braces. 

Lingual Braces

You may also consider lingual braces. Similar to traditional braces, lingual braces are cemented to the back side of the tooth making them virtually unseen by anyone but your dentist. While they work just as quickly as traditional braces, they are custom made and typically cost more than any other option available to you.

Regardless of the type of orthodontic care  you choose, we will work with you to help you achieve a beautiful smile. . For more information or to schedule an appointment contact our office today.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Make Your Life Easier: Our Top 6 Hacks for Braces

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Make Your Life Easier: Our Top 6 Hacks For Braces

While current technologies have made braces easier and less painful than ever before, they can still take some getting used to. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of six easy ways you can make having braces no big deal. Go ahead and try these out to keep your mouth healthy and beautiful.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Make Your Life Easier: Our Top 6 Hacks For Braces
  1. The Super Hero of Toothbrushes

Believe us, we know you’d like to be done with your braces as soon as possible. We’d love to help make that happen. The best way to speed up your treatment is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Teeth move more efficiently in a healthy oral environment and issues like cavities can become unnecessary bumps in the road that add time to your treatment. Braces tend to trap food and plaque, making your brushing routine more important than ever. To keep your teeth clean, consider investing in a high quality electric toothbrush.

  • Waterpik  Flosser

Speaking of effective and efficient alternatives, a waterpik flosser is ideal for patients with braces as it can get hard to reach places and blast away stubborn buildup. They are also great for sensitive gums after getting your braces tightened.

  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Braces can make your mouth feel like a pretty crowded place. Some areas may be difficult for a normal brush, electric or not, to get to. To help you keep those small spaces  clean we recommend using an interproximal brush. These tiny brushes make a great addition to your oral health tool box. They’re available in travel packs as well so you can bring one with you wherever you go.

  • Braces On the Go

School, work, a tropical vacation: oral hygiene is important no matter where you are, which is why we recommend creating a travel kit that you can easily bring with you on your adventures. There’s no need to get fancy, but you’re certainly welcome to customize your kit however you see fit. We recommend carrying a travel toothbrush, a small mirror, floss, and your orthodontic wax in a toiletry bag that you can easily keep in your backpack, desk or vehicle.

  • Braces Friendly Snacking

We recommend stocking up on braces-friendly food before getting your braces on. Your teeth will be sensitive when you first get your braces and after each adjustment, so go for soft foods. Some of our favorites are mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup, smoothies and steamed veggies. Getting the food you need before hand makes sure you don’t have to think about it afterwards and will help cut back on your temptations for the hard, sticky and chewy foods you know you should avoid.

  • Protect Your Mouth

And last, but certainly not least, sharp metal edges in your mouth can cause some serious damage if the proper precautions aren’t taken. If you play a sport, make sure you invest in a protective mouthguard that will prevent your braces from cutting into your soft tissue.

As always, our experienced dental team is here for you. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have, or to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Palos Hills Dentist | Caring for Your Retainer: 5 Helpful Tips

Dentist in Palos Hills

Dentist in Palos Hills

Dentist in Palos HillsWe understand how easy it can be to forget about your retainer. Once you get used to having one, it can become second nature to regularly care for it. For those who are new to retainers, however, it can be tricky to remember to take care of your new appliance. We’ve assembled a list of five tips to help you get started in the right direction.

  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, keep it in!

  1. 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. A replacement retainer can be costly, so treat yours with care.

  1. 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 a final time before putting it back in your mouth.

  1. Be Careful of 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 about a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth during these activities.

  1. Visit Us

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 retainer care tips or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team.