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

What You Should Know About Sensitive Teeth and Braces | Orthodontist Near Me

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist
Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

There are many conditions can cause teeth to become sensitive. Receding gums, tooth decay, exposed roots, and thinning tooth enamel are just a few. All these factors can cause teeth to become extremely sensitive to temperature changes, or sweet and acidic flavors.

Even worse, If you have sensitive teeth and are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you are at risk of developing even sensitivity.

One in eight people with braces will experience some tooth sensitivity. The level of discomfort varies from patient to patient, and each level of discomfort is due to the pressure that is placed on the teeth by braces. This sensitivity is not permanent and will usually only last a few days. 

Factors Impacting Sensitivity

What causes teeth to become sensitive? The most common reason is over brushing your teeth.  You can brush away your gum line exposing the sensitive root area by brushing your teeth too aggressively.

Teeth will become extremely sensitive if the gum line recedes, as it exposes porous root surfaces. Brush your teeth in soft and even circles (especially if you use a battery-powered brush) to protect your gums and avoid pain and discomfort.

Another reason for sensitive teeth resulting from braces is not brushing regularly or taking care of your oral hygiene properly. When you are not practicing correct dental hygiene, plaque and buildup are likely to form on your teeth, weakening the teeth and raising the chance for sensitivity.

Patients with braces are prone to plaque and buildup because debris gets trapped in between the teeth and braces. In the long run this will make it more likely to develop sensitive teeth.

Steps To Be Taken

There are several things you can do to help stop pain and sensitivity. Start with a good dental hygiene routine by brushing with a soft toothbrush in a small up and down motion while making little circles. Add flossing to your daily routine. Last, combine all this with an over-the-counter anti-sensitivity toothpaste.

If your sensitivity is caused by scheduled orthodontic adjustments, you can take over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.

If these things do not provide you relief, our dentist can offer other treatment options. Contact our orthodontist office in Palos Hills, IL today to schedule a consultation and we will be glad to discuss what’s right for you.

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

6 Quick Facts About Braces | Palos Hills Orthodontist

Orthodontist in 60465
Orthodontist in 60465

Since the beginning of recorded history, people have yearned for straighter teeth. Over the centuries, dental care has evolved exponentially. Traditional braces have become more comfortable and efficient than ever before.

Follow along for six things you might not know about braces:

  1. The Ancient Egyptians Wanted Straighter Teeth Too

Some Egyptian mummies have been found by archaeologists with cords wound through their teeth, possibly in order to straighten them. What were these ancient braces made from? Animal intestines.

You will be thrilled to know that our orthodontist uses far more modern and sanitary materials.

  1. Many People Have Them

Did you know that an estimated 4 million people in the US are currently wearing some form of braces or aligners to straighten their teeth? If braces are recommended to straighten your teeth, you can feel confident knowing that you are definitely not alone.

  1. Getting Braces is Like Rocket Science

Nitinol 60 is the flexible material used in braces. Believe it or not, NASA scientists use this material on the International Space Station. The heat from your mouth makes nitinol return to its original shape, gently guiding your teeth to where they need to be. 

  1. Don’t Forget Your Retainer

An estimated 25 percent of those who wear braces don’t wear their retainer. Don’t be one of the people that ends up needing a second set of braces. 

  1. Braces Are Older Than You Think 

Braces have been around since the year 1728, when Pierre Fauchard developed them by using flat metal brackets and connected them to the teeth using thread. That means braces are 48 years older than the United States of America.

  1. Myths About Braces Debunked 

Is there a greater chance of getting struck by lightning when wearing braces? The answer is a huge no.

Also, there is no way your braces will interfere with any radio signals.

As time and technology have progressed, braces have become more efficient and far more comfortable than ever before. If you are ready for that perfect smile, our experienced orthodontic team is ready to work with you to achieve the results you are looking for.

If you have any questions about braces, contact our orthodontics office in Palos Hills today and schedule an orthodontic consultation.

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

Why You Should Avoid DIY and Mail-Order Braces | Orthodontist 60465

Orthodontist 60465
Orthodontist 60465

For some, the idea of DIY braces and mail-order aligners is attractive because they cost less than dentist-guided orthodontics. However, some solutions can damage both your teeth and your bank account. Before taking matters into your own hands, schedule an appointment with our orthodontic office to discuss your options.

What are DIY Braces?

The internet is filled with videos and “tutorials” on alternatives to traditional braces. Small rubber bands are the most common DIY orthodontics advice. Please understand this does not work and is, in fact, dangerous. It does not provide you with a safe, long-lasting solution for misaligned teeth. 

Why are Rubber Band Braces Dangerous?

Moving your teeth without professional guidance can cause a blockage of blood supply to teeth, resulting in discolored and infected gums, root damage, and even tooth loss. Obviously, missing teeth, bleeding gums, and serious infections are not the results you want to see from braces, but these risks are inherent in DIY orthodontics. 

Another danger is that your teeth can shift back if you move them too quickly. The amount of damage you can do to your teeth will require further professional help, likely in the form of costly restoration.

The Risks of Mail-Order Aligners

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have issued consumer warnings against mail-order braces. Without a proper diagnosis and direct supervision by a dentist in an office, you risk tooth loss, infection, and permanent bite problems using at-home aligners. Many patients have underlying problems such as tooth decay, gum infections, or abscessed teeth that can be aggravated by orthodontic treatment.

Furthermore, some conditions call for treatment with traditional braces instead of aligners. A salesperson in an office can’t make that call; only an in-person examination by an orthodontist can.

The Case for In-Office Treatment with an Orthodontist

The AAO explicitly states that moving teeth is a healthcare procedure that requires the professional experience of an orthodontist. It must be done very gradually so teeth and gums will not be damaged.

Our office is staffed with a knowledgeable, experienced orthodontic team devoted to improving smiles in a proper, hands-on manner. We pride ourselves on working with each patient in a safe, professional environment.

DIY braces pose a significant danger, especially to children and young adults who, surveys show, take healthcare advice they find on the internet seriously. However, the pain, irreparable damage, and costly fixes are not worth it. When it comes to dental care, leave it to the professionals.

 For more information about braces or to schedule an appointment, please contact our orthodontic 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

How to Brush Your Teeth When You Have Braces | 60465 Dentist

Orthodontist in Palos Hills
Orthodontist in Palos Hills

If you or your child is getting braces, you know how important it is to step up your oral hygiene game. Of course, this can be tricky, especially for kids, so we have compiled some of the best tips to make it easier.

Practice Patience

Allow extra time to brush and floss. Taking extra care with oral hygiene is important to avoid tooth decay and gum inflammation. Adopt the mindset that these normal routines will just take longer for a while. For children, consider adding a reward system for using proper oral care techniques.   

Begin Your Routine with Rinsing

Before you begin brushing, vigorously rinse your mouth with water. This will help loosen food and debris stuck between teeth, in bands and brackets, and in other nooks and crannies. 

Brush in Stages

Use the standard brushing technique but divide it into two stages: Above brackets and below. Angle your brush head at 45 degrees and brush gently at the gumline. After that, move from the gums to the edge of the brackets, making certain to reach all the way around each bracket. Repeat the process for the other half of the teeth, angling the brush from the bracket edges toward your lips. While it might be more difficult to thoroughly brush the interior surfaces (facing the tongue), take extra time with this step. Finally, focus on chewing surfaces.

Master Flossing with Braces

Flossing can be a bit trickier with traditional braces, since the arch wires bisect the teeth. Many patients find that using a floss threader makes this process easier. In a short time, you will get used to placing the pointed threader end between both “halves” of the teeth. Always angle floss up into the gumline to thoroughly remove debris.  

 Swish Again

Follow your brushing and flossing with a second rinse of water or mouthwash. This step will help sweep away any remaining food particles. Mouthwash will make your mouth feel fresher and cleaner. Children can use water or special alcohol-free rinses. Our orthodontist can recommend specific rinses.

The rewards of orthodontics include a more attractive smile and better functioning teeth. Ensuring proper oral hygiene during treatment is worth the extra effort. Contact our orthodontic office in Palos Hills, IL to discuss any questions or concerns about oral care, or to schedule your next visit. In the meantime, keep up your good hygiene habits.

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics | Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Orthodontist In Palos Hills

Orthodontist In Palos Hills

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics | Orthodontist In Palos Hills

Braces can be life-changing for people who would benefit from a straighter smile. Here are answers to your most common questions about orthodontics. 

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

Straight teeth can improve the way you bite, chew, and even speak. Properly aligned teeth are easier to keep clean. They collect less plaque and promote healthier gums. A straight smile can also contribute to self-confidence at almost every age. 

When should I consider braces?

Primary reasons for getting braces include teeth crowding and spacing issues, an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, and jaw misalignment.

Will braces hurt?

Although wearing braces usually doesn’t hurt, you may feel slight discomfort the first few days after getting them or immediately after periodic adjustments. Your teeth are simply adjusting to the pressure needed to move them into an optimal position. 

Can adults benefit from orthodontics?

Yes. Adults account for one in four new orthodontic cases, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Teeth can be treated at any age to create a healthy, straight smile. Many orthodontic problems can be corrected as easily for adults as for children.

What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?

The AAO recommends that children get an initial evaluation at age seven. If you bring your child to our orthodontic practice, our doctor will monitor their bite and begin treatment later if it’s needed. 

Do I need to brush my teeth more often when I get braces? 

When you have braces, it is important to brush your teeth after every meal, if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck between teeth or in the hardware. It is also vital to floss frequently. Rinse vigorously with water when you’re on the go and can’t brush.  

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

It depends on the individual. Teeth must be moved very slowly to avoid damaging the roots. However, you can keep the process on track by following our doctor’s instructions. If you are required to wear rubber bands, for example, make sure to wear them as directed.

How often should I visit my general dentist while I have braces?

When you are wearing traditional braces, it is easier for food to get stuck in places where your toothbrush can’t reach; so even with good oral hygiene at home, it is important to keep up with general dentist appointments as directed. 

Will having braces interfere with playing sports or a musical instrument?

Not at all. Braces will not stop you or your child from participating in either activity. However, if you are playing a contact or ball sport, talk to our orthodontist to get fitted for a [protective mouthguard.

If you have more questions about traditional braces, clear aligners, or other forms of orthodontic care, please give our Orthodontist in Palos Hills office a call. 

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

6 Ways to Combat Bad Breath | Palos Hills Orthodontist

Orthodontist Near Me
Orthodontist Near Me

6 Ways To Combat Bad Breath | Palos Hills Orthodontist

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can be caused by something you ate or drank, or from a health problem. While foul breath related to food resolves on its own, a chronic problem requires more investigation by your dentist. Fortunately, there are solutions.

Halitosis that is not caused by food is often related to bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are frequently found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. They can also accumulate on orthodontic appliances. Here are ways to keep your breath sweet. 

Be Rigorous About Oral Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day and after a spicy meal. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day or after a meal if you feel food particles lodged in your teeth. Those particles can break down and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush or Scrape Your Tongue

Even after brushing and flossing, bacteria can remain on your tongue. Talk to our doctor about using a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently remove tongue film when you brush. Aim for the back of the tongue.  

Keep Orthodontic Appliances Clean

If you wear conventional braces, carefully clean brackets and beneath wires each day to remove food particles after you eat. Removable devices such as aligners, mouthguards, and retainers need to be rinsed after meals. We can also recommend a special cleanser. It’s important to prevent invisible bacteria buildup on these appliances.   

Stay Hydrated

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent bacteria growth and reduce the risk of bad breath.

 Sugar-Free Mints and Lozenges

The ADA recommends chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating to boost saliva production. However, gum is off-limits when you have braces. Instead, look for sugar-free mints or lozenges. Just be sure to suck them and not crunch. Keeping your mouth moist slows or prevents bacteria growth, minimizing your chances of bad breath. 

Keep Up with Dental Appointments

In addition to your orthodontic checkups, maintain routine hygiene appointments and examinations. If you are still experiencing signs of halitosis, we can check for underlying causes. Some cases have underlying medical causes unrelated to oral health, and we might recommend a visit to your physician.

For more information about halitosis with orthodontic treatment, contact our Palos Hills orthodontics office.

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

Medications That Can Affect Your Oral Health | Orthodontist Palos Hills

Orthodontist in Palos Hills IL
Orthodontist in Palos Hills IL

If you have braces, you know how important it is to take extra care of your oral health. This is even more critical if you also take medications. 

Orthodontist in Palos Hills IL

Nearly half of all Americans take prescriptions for a medical condition, and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, you may experience medication side effects that can impact your oral health.

Here are a few side effects of common medications and supplements

Gum Tissue Enlargement

Overgrowth or enlargement of gingival (gum) tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. These include anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, and calcium channel blockers. Patients taking these medications must pay special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation.

Dry Mouth

Some medications reduce saliva production, including certain antidepressants, muscle relaxants, diuretics, antacids, decongestants, and antihistamines. When your mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood-thinning medications may lead to excessive bleeding during treatment for periodontal conditions. Tell our orthodontist if you are taking this kind of medication or a blood-thinning supplement before scheduling treatment.

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or soft tissue discoloration can be a side-effect of some medicines. These include minocycline to treat acne, some oral contraceptives, chemotherapy medications, immunosuppressive agents, and certain blood pressure medicines. If you experience this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen to alleviate your discomfort.

Fungal Infection

Oral candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect people who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler. Other medications that cause oral yeast infections include antibiotics, steroids, and chemotherapy drugs.  

Tooth Decay

You already know to avoid sugary foods while wearing braces, but did you know that many medications contain sugar to improve flavor? This is especially true for children’s medications. When sweet liquids, chewables, and lozenges are used over time, the sugar left on the teeth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Whenever possible, choose capsules or sugar-free versions of medications, or rinse well after taking sweetened medicines. 

If you have concerns about the effects of medications while wearing braces, contact our Palos Hills Orthodontist for advice. 

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

The Benefits of a Retainer After Orthodontic Treatment | Orthodontist Palos Hills

Palos Hills Orthodontist
Palos Hills Orthodontist



Most orthodontic treatment consists of traditional braces or aligners. Both move teeth slowly into new positions to correct misalignment. This ensures both a straight smile and an even bite. However, once braces have been removed or the last aligner used, you will most likely need an orthodontic retainer. 

It is vital to follow through with the retention phase to maintain your newly straight smile. Proper retainer use will yield the results you have waiting a long time to achieve.   

Palos Hills Orthodontist

How Orthodontic Retainers Work

The process of shifting teeth with braces involves the subtle building and breakdown of bone in the jaw. Once your teeth have been moved into their final place, bone must harden around them to keep them in position. Your retainer does that job.   

Types of Retainers

Here are three types of retainers that orthodontists typically recommended:

  • Traditional retainers – This removable appliance is made of acrylic and a wire arch that sits on the front side of the teeth.
  • Clear retainers – This is a removable, clear plastic tray that fits over the teeth.
  • Bonded retainer – Also called a permanent retainer, this is a fixed wire bonded to the lingual (tongue) side of the teeth. It may be worn for months or years.

Our orthodontist will provide the best retainer option for your orthodontic treatment plan. If yours is removable, be sure to wear it as directed. Keep in mind that your teeth have been in active treatment for months, or perhaps years. Wearing your retainer right after treatment for the designated amount of time is critical to successful treatment.  

Caring for Your Retainer

Regular cleaning is an important part of retainer care. When it is not in your mouth, keep your retainer in its case. Bacteria can build up on it just as they do on teeth, making the appliance less hygienic and possibly affecting the fit.

Clean your removable retainer with a wet toothbrush. Thoroughly rinse it with water before placing it back in your mouth. If it is removable, disinfect it regularly by soaking it in a cleansing solution our doctor will recommend. 

Bonded retainers need to be handled like braces. That means twice-daily brushing and flossing in a way that thoroughly cleans all interdental surfaces.  

For more information about your retainer, or if yours gets lost, contact our orthodontist in Palos Hills office. 

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

The Safest Way to Eat with Braces | Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Orthodontist In Palos Hills
Orthodontist In Palos Hills

Wearing traditional braces calls for making some changes to the way you eat. What you consume and what you avoid will directly affect the condition of your teeth during orthodontic treatment and after. Here are some types of foods to steer clear of when you are wearing braces, and tips to carefully enjoy some of your favorites.

Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Eating Hard Foods with Orthodontics

Eating harder foods can be harmful during orthodontic treatment because they can bend or break wires and even displace brackets. Try to avoid them after you have had your wires changed, since teeth are most tender at this stage.

Here are foods to avoid and careful ways to eat solids:

  • Avoid chewing on ice. You can suck on ice cubes but never bite them. Cubes and chips can easily dislodge orthodontics.
  • Before eating meaty foods like ribs or chicken wings, carefully check for and remove the bones. This prevents you from accidentally chewing on a bone and dislocating a bracket.
  • Fruits are an essential part of a balanced diet, and you should continue to eat them. However, instead of biting into apples, peaches or pears, cut them into small pieces first.
  • If you enjoy eating peanuts, almonds, or cashews, consider grinding them and adding the nut meal to cereals and yogurt.
  • Avoid eating corn on the cob; instead, cut the kernels off to help prevent damage to your braces.

Sticky and Sweet Foods

Sticky foods are one of the worst things you can eat while you are wearing braces. They can get stuck to your teeth and hardware and can even result in the braces getting pulled off. Another reason to avoid things like taffy and sugary gum is that they promote tooth decay. 

If you must have a sweet treat, here are a few tips:

  • If you enjoy eating candy, try sucking on pieces instead of chewing them. Stick to sugarless candies. If you do indulge in sugary treats, be sure to rinse your mouth with water to avoid plaque buildup on your teeth. Brush and floss as soon as possible.
  • Avoid chewing gum. Whether regular or sugar-free, it can stick to braces and may be difficult to get off. It can also loosen wires and brackets.

It is best to eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoiding soda, candy, and other sugary and acidic foods can help prevent tooth decay and keep you healthier overall. Contact our Orthodontist Palos Hills IL office for more helpful information on life with braces or to schedule an appointment.

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

First Aid for Broken Braces | Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Orthodontist in Palos Hills
Orthodontist in Palos Hills

Orthodontic braces come with an adjustment period as teeth begin to move into their optimal positions. Occasionally, some patients may experience minor discomfort from the braces themselves. Left unaddressed, some of these issues can lead to larger problems. 

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

The majority of problems with braces can be avoided or remedied by practicing proper oral care at home. However, if the issue persists, it might be time to make an appointment with our team.

Soreness or Irritation from Braces

When getting used to braces, a period of minor discomfort is to be expected. The new sensation of the metal on your lips, cheeks, and tongue can sometimes cause irritation or soreness. If you have any existing injuries or sores in your mouth, continuous contact with your braces might exacerbate the problem, leading to increased discomfort and longer healing times.

If your braces continue to irritate your mouth, here are a few steps you can take to quickly address it:

  • Be sure to exercise proper oral care to limit the chance of food or debris contributing to the irritation 
  • Drink plenty of water, as a dry mouth will only worsen the irritated areas 
  • Use orthodontic wax to cover any parts of your braces that are poking or causing irritation
  • If the problem continues, schedule an examination with our office today to see how we can help

Damaged Orthodontic Wires or Brackets 

Although braces are built to withstand daily wear and tear, there is always a slight chance of damage occurring. The most common issues you might experience are a broken or loose wire or a bracket that has come off of your tooth. While neither of these is a particularly serious issue, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible to have the problem corrected. Your braces can’t work properly if damaged.

Mouth Injuries with Braces

There is a risk of increased damage if you sustain a mouth injury while wearing braces. It is recommended that you wear a mouthguard when participating in any sort of physical activity to reduce the risk of damage to your lips. Using non-medicinal wax on the parts of your braces that are particularly irritating can also help protect against injury.

Many people go through their entire orthodontic treatment without any major irritation or damage. However, being aware of the potential problems you might have can help you prepare for them. If you experience any pain or discomfort when wearing braces, don’t hesitate to contact our Palos Hills Orthodontist office.

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