PALOS HILLS ORTHODONTIST
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

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Flossing Your Teeth | Dentist in Palos Hills, IL 60465

Why You Shouldn't Skip Flossing Your Teeth
Why You Shouldn't Skip Flossing Your Teeth

Wearing braces means you need to double up on efforts to keep your mouth clean. That means brushing twice a day or after meals, as well as flossing. That last step stumps some people when they first get outfitted with traditional braces, but it doesn’t have to. 

Removing food particles and plaque between teeth requires some adjustments while wearing braces. The wires, brackets, and bands can be trickier to get in between, but it can be done with some patience, extra time, and some simple tips.

  • Use the right amount of floss.  Too much or too little can make flossing more difficult. The American Dental Association recommends using 12 to 18 inches of floss. Ideally, you should use a clean section in between each tooth.
  • Experiment with different kinds of floss. Waxed floss and dental tape slip between teeth more easily than the unwaxed variety, making it less likely that you will damage your wires. Both options are also less likely to shred and leave pieces of floss stuck in your orthodontics. Waxed floss works best for tight teeth while tape is generally easier to use in wider spaces.
  • Use a floss threader. This inexpensive dental tool resembles a tiny lasso and works like a (dull) sewing needle and thread. It lets you pull the floss through the teeth above the wires. This allows you to floss between your teeth at the gum line, which is important for maintaining healthy gums. Floss threaders are available at the drugstore, supermarket or online. They are meant to be disposable, so use a new one each time you floss.
  • Look into other interdental cleaners. Water flossers can help blast away food particles around brackets and between teeth, while interdental brushes can help remove debris when flossing is not convenient. While dental floss is your best defense against tooth decay, our team can talk to you about these adjuncts to proper oral hygiene with braces.  
  • Help younger children with their flossing. Flossing successfully, especially with braces, requires a degree of manual dexterity that younger wearers may not have. Time, practice, and help from an adult are the best solutions. Impress on kids the importance of cleaning every tooth surface to avoid tooth decay and gum problems while they are wearing braces.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene habits while wearing braces will help ensure that when the orthodontics come off, the wearer will have the beautiful and healthy smile they have always wanted. We welcome your questions and are happy to help demonstrate good oral hygiene with braces for your child.  Call our 60465 orthodontist today.

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

Unexpected Uses for Toothpaste | Palos Hills, IL 60465 Orthodontist

Unexpected Uses For Toothpaste |
Unexpected Uses For Toothpaste |

Toothpaste does a great job of keeping your teeth clean but there are many other, unexpected uses that you might not have considered. The same ingredients that help polish teeth can also prove to be a real helper around the house. Here are a few toothpaste tips that go beyond keeping your smile bright and mouth healthy. 

Dry out pimples. This is a time-honored trick that is even used by Hollywood stars. Apply toothpaste to pimples before bedtime and wash the dried paste off in the morning. This will dry out the affected area and speed up the healing process.

Prevent mirrors from fogging. Rub toothpaste on mirrors and wipe it off before your next shower. This will help you save time waiting for the mirror to clear up and streamline your morning routine.

Relieve irritation from bug bites and stings. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to bee stings and insect bites to stop the itching and decrease swelling. The toothpaste dries out the wound and helps it heal more quickly.

Remove crayon and other marks from painted walls. Rub toothpaste on a damp cloth gently on a marked-up wall and watch the marks disappear. The best part is that it won’t remove most types of wall paint.

Make silver jewelry and diamonds sparkle. Rub toothpaste onto jewelry and leave it on overnight. Wipe clean with a soft cloth in the morning. You can also shine diamonds by gently scrubbing them with a very soft toothbrush, some toothpaste, and water.

Remove scuffs from shoes. Apply toothpaste directly to the dirty or scuffed area, then scrub with a brush and wipe clean. Stubborn stains may require another round or two.

Remove scratches on DVDs and CDs. If you have any old CDs or DVDs that you want to preserve or convert to digital, toothpaste can rub out shallow scratches and smudges. Apply a thin coating, rub gently, and rinse. Repeat if needed.

Deodorize hands. Pungent foods, cleaning products, and fragrances can linger on your hands no matter how many times you wash them. Try washing your hands using a small dab of toothpaste in addition to soap and water.

Fill in small nail holes. Squeeze toothpaste into the hole and use a putty knife or your finger to remove the excess. Let the toothpaste dry and your wall will look good as new. If needed, you can also use touch up paint right over the toothpaste.

It doesn’t matter whether you use toothpaste with fluoride or without, but the mild abrasives and drying action of white pastes usually work better than tooth gel. Give some of these ideas a try, and at your next appointment with our 60465 orthodontist, be sure to let us know the unusual ways you used toothpaste.

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

Orthodontist in Palos Hills | 6 Fascinating Facts About Your Toothbrush

palos hills il dentist
palos hills il dentist

Most of us don’t give our toothbrush much thought, but we should. From its fascinating origin to its dirty little secrets, here are six fascinating facts about your toothbrush. 

  • Where Did Modern Toothbrushes Originate?

It is believed that the first modern toothbrush was invented by a prisoner in England. Sometime around 1780, William Addis created a toothbrush from bone and used swine bristles for the brush. The first electric toothbrush in the U.S. was the Broxodont, manufactured by Squibb in 1960. 

  • Ancient Toothbrushes

Long before Mr. Addis invented what we know as the toothbrush, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese crafted tools for teeth-cleaning, including chew sticks that were fashioned from split twigs with a frayed end. It’s believed the Chinese invented the first handled toothbrush, fashioned from bone or bamboo with boar bristles, in the 13th century. 

  • What are Toothbrush Bristles Made of?

Boar bristles were used until the late 1930s, when Dupont de Nemours introduced the nylon bristles we use today. The first toothbrush of this kind was named Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush. 

  • Thank a Soldier for Modern Tooth Brushing Habits 

GIs coming home from World War II carried their fastidious tooth-brushing habits back home, and helped spark the daily oral hygiene trend that we know today. 

  • What Color is Your Toothbrush?

Blue is the most common color for manual toothbrushes. The second most popular color is red.

  • A Home for Bacteria

The average toothbrush carries more than 100 million bacteria. Most are found in your mouth, which is why you don’t get sick. However, you could catch an illness if you don’t change toothbrushes regularly. It is easy to disinfect them. Ask us how. 

Now that you are a toothbrush expert, spread the word about the importance of regular brushing. Be sure to brush for two minutes twice each day. The American Dental Association recommends that you change your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every few months and more often if you have a weakened immune system or have been sick recently. 

For more dental care tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our Orthodontist in Palos Hills.

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

Palos Hills, IL Orthodontist | Am I too Old For Braces?

dentist in palos hills
dentist in palos hills

Many adults who never had orthodontics but needed them as kids are self-conscious of their smiles; yet they wonder if they are too old for braces. The answer is most likely no. 

Straight teeth can help you bite, chew and, in some cases, speak properly. They also contribute to overall oral health. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent some physical health problems, too. Of course, an attractive smile can also have a positive mental health impact, boosting your social life and self-esteem.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

In most cases, yes! Many adults seek orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles and maintain good oral health. Teeth can be adjusted at any age to create a healthy, straight new smile. Many orthodontic problems can be corrected as easily for adults as for children.

Benefits of adult braces

When teeth are properly aligned, they are easier to keep clean and therefore less prone to decay and gum disease. Straight teeth collect less plaque. Bacteria in plaque feed on the carbohydrates that we eat and drink. These bacteria excrete acids that cause decay. Plaque can also increase the risk of periodontal disease. Why not straighten teeth to lower your risk?  

What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?

Adults and children of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. For children, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends the first visit to an orthodontist around the age of seven. There, the orthodontist can look for any potential issues that may be addressed now or as the child grows. Some orthodontists report seeing patients in their 80s and 90s!

What conditions can braces address in adults?

As an adult, you are no doubt used to your bite. That overbite might prevent you from eating, say, corn on the cob, but you’re long accustomed to cutting the kernels off. That crossbite might make it tough to floss, but you’ve resigned yourself to a less than clean mouth. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the teeth you’ve always dreamed of in a few months? 

It’s not too late to get braces if you live with these conditions: 

  • Crowding
  • Spacing issues 
  • Overbite 
  • Crossbite
  • Under-bite
  • Jaw misalignment

Will braces hurt?

Although braces don’t hurt, in the first couple days after initial fittings and adjustments you may feel a slight discomfort. This feeling is temporary and means that your teeth are being gently and slowly moved into the right place.

If I have braces, do I need to brush my teeth more often?

When you have orthodontics, it is important to brush your teeth around four or five times a day. This means brushing after every meal if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck. You should also floss after meals using special floss threaders and other appliances. It can be a tricky process at first, but you can certainly master it more easily than a child. 

How long does adult orthodontic treatment take?

The duration of treatment can depend on many different variables. However, there are things you can do to make sure the process goes as quickly as possible. If you are required to wear rubber bands, for example, make sure to follow the instructions you receive. It is important to note that orthodontics can’t be rushed, or you risk permanent damage to the tooth nerves.

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

It is particularly important to keep up with your general dentist appointments when you have braces. With orthodontics, it is easier for food to build up in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. This means going to see your general dentist regularly for a checkup every six months — or as directed — to ensure your teeth stay clean and decay-free.

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

No, braces will not prevent you from participating in activities such as playing sports or musical instruments, although it may take a little getting used to at first. However, if you are playing a sport, talk to our orthodontist in Palos Hills to see if you should wear a mouthguard.

Finally getting the smile you have always wanted is easier than you think. Conventional braces and invisible aligners can make a big difference in your life at any age. Contact our Palos Hills Orthodontist to discuss our options. 

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

Orthodontist Palos Hills | Make Your Smile Last

Orthodontist Palos Hills
Orthodontist Palos Hills

When most orthodontic treatments end, patients will still need help retaining their new smiles. This is commonly done with a retainer. If you want your orthodontic treatment to have lasting effects, it’s pertinent that you wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist in Palos Hills.

Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, you’ll be given one of three different types of retainers:

  • Traditional Retainers – A removable piece made of acrylic and wire that attaches to the top of your mouth and sits on the front side of your teeth
  • Clear Retainers – A removable, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth
  • Bonded Retainers – A thin, fixed wire that is temporarily attached to the inside of the anterior teeth

How Should I Wear My Retainer?

Our orthodontist in Palos Hills will provide you with solid options suited for your treatment plan. Your retainer should be worn as often as you’re instructed to do so. Even though your teeth have been under constant stress for the past couple years, wearing your retainer right after treatment is necessary. Depending on your dentist’s instruction, retainers should be worn at all times.

How to Clean a Retainer

Because wearing your retainer is a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment, it’s important to keep it clean. Bacteria and plaque can pose a threat to your retainer, just like your teeth. To prevent buildup, make sure you’re cleaning it regularly.

Regardless of what material your retainer is made of, the cleaning process will be nearly the same. Start by wetting your toothbrush and scrubbing the mouthpiece from top to bottom. Be diligent around small crevices. Also remember to regularly disinfect your device by letting it sit in mouthwash or an approved cleaning solution. Before placing the retainer back in your mouth, remember to rinse it with cool water.

Be sure to contact our Palos Hills orthodontic office for more information about your retainer, and protect that smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

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

60465 Orthodontist | What to do When Your Braces hurt

Orthodontist Palos Hills
Orthodontist Palos Hills

Getting used to orthodontic braces can be an uncomfortable experience. However, loose brackets or wires can also cause pain, an issue that could cause bigger problems if not addressed quickly. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your oral health. Here are a few remedies to help with mild irritation; however, be sure to contact your Palos Hills orthodontist if any of these problems persist.

Irritation and Soreness

When you get your first set of braces, minor discomfort is common for the first few days. Your lips, cheeks and tongue won’t be used to the metal in your mouth, so they might rub against the wires or brackets and become scratched or irritated.

If your braces continue to cause irritation, here are a few things you can do to address it. First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. A dry mouth tends to worsen the irritated areas. Next, be sure to regularly brush and rinse your mouth to limit the food or debris that could contribute to the irritation. Third, remember to use wax to cover the irritating parts of your braces. If the soreness continues, schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Palos Hills to further examine the problem.

Damaged Braces

While unlikely, it’s possible for your braces to become damaged while you are wearing them. Perhaps the most frequent issue is when brackets or wires become loose or dislodged. These issues are no cause for panic, as our team is able to quickly address the problem. Schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Palos Hills soon as possible to have your braces corrected.

Oral Injuries Caused by Braces

While wearing braces, you’re also more likely to become injured when doing physical activity. Try wearing a mouthguard when participating in sports or workouts to reduce the risk of damage to your tongue, lips, and cheeks. You can also apply wax to the parts of your braces that are causing the most irritation to avoid serious cuts.

Of course, not everyone who has braces ends up harming themselves, but there are risks with metal in the mouth. Being proactive against potential injuries is the best form of prevention but if you experience any pain or discomfort when wearing braces, contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills for a fast appointment.

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