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

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Why You Should Seek an Orthodontic Consultation Early

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

If you’re waiting until teenage years to take your child to an orthodontist, you may want to reconsider. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, seven is the ideal age for an evaluation in order to monitor how a child’s jaws and teeth are developing. When we see a child in our office at a young age, we’re able to determine whether the following potential problems exist, and how to correct them.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Crowding

Without enough room in the mouth, permanent teeth have trouble coming in where they should. This could result in them coming in at an angle, overlapping, or even staying in the gums if there’s nowhere for them to go – and that can be painful. By placing spacers in those crowded areas, orthodontists can guide teeth into a position that will shorten orthodontic treatment time later. 

Oral Habits

After the age of two or three, thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can cause front teeth to protrude, making them susceptible to damage. Either habit can also lead to improper growth of the jaw and misalignment of the teeth which can cause speech problems. We can discuss natural ways to break these habits while children are young and, if necessary, place habit-breaking appliances in the mouth.

Bite Problems

If a child has a jaw misalignment such as an overbite, underbite or crossbite, it can cause chewing and even breathing issues. We can guide the jaw into place as it grows to reduce the chance for surgery later on. 

Missing Teeth and Eruption Issues

Even if your child’s teeth look perfect on the outside, there may be underlying issues you don’t see. By taking X-rays and looking at digital images in the office, our Palos Hills orthodontists can tell where permanent teeth are missing or which teeth may never come in on their own, and then develop a plan to address the issue. 

Being able to detect oral development issues early is important for preventing major problems, but another reason we love to see young patients is to get to know them better – and for them to get to know us. When kids feel comfortable as they begin orthodontic treatment, it makes the whole process easier. Schedule an appointment with Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to introduce us to your child. We can’t wait to meet you both!   

 

Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills
Phone: (708) 930-5941
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 | 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 | How to Research Your Orthodontic Treatment

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist

Embarking on orthodontic treatment requires an investment of time and money. Researching your options is always a good idea, to make sure you choose the orthodontic treatment plan that is right for you. As you begin compiling a list of questions to ask during your consultation, here are some things to consider:

Types of braces

Gone are the days when a mouth full of metal was the only way to achieve a straighter smile. Depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, in addition to metal/traditional braces, you may be able to select from:

·         Ceramic braces. These braces are preferred by some patients because they are less noticeable than metal braces. Keep in mind, ceramic braces may require more diligent maintenance as they tend to become stained when not properly cared for.

·         Lingual braces. This choice is most similar to traditional metal braces, except that the wires and brackets adhere to the inside of the teeth, making them invisible from the outside. Because the brackets are behind your teeth, these braces can be more challenging to keep clean, and the treatment time may be longer than with traditional braces.

·         Clear aligners. These clear plastic aligners are popular with adults of all ages and can be removed for eating and drinking, just like a retainer. With this treatment plan, you will wear a series of custom-made aligners that you swap out every few weeks until you achieve your treatment goal. Clear aligners may not be suitable for children and in some cases, can be significantly more costly than metal brackets. They also require a higher degree of compliance, since failing to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day can significantly compromise your results.

Treatment time

One of the first things many people wonder when it comes to getting braces is, “How soon can I get them off?” The answer to this question is going to depend on many factors, including your age, the condition of your teeth, and the type of treatment plan you choose. Most orthodontic plans range between 12 and 24 months.

Out-of-pocket costs

If you have dental insurance, inquire about your covered benefits prior to your orthodontic consultation. Be sure to mention the type of braces you are considering, and ask if there could be additional expenses for retainers and aftercare.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Doing your homework and researching your options is a good first step, and meeting with our experienced orthodontist is the best way to find out what types of braces will help you achieve the confident smile you’ve always wanted. Contact Paul DiFranco Orthodontics of Palos Hills today to schedule your consultation with our Palos Hills Orthodontist and get started on your new smile.

 

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 | The Importance Of Dental Specialists Working Together

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | The Importance Of Dental Specialists Working Together

If you’ve spent any amount of time with missing teeth, you know just how detrimental it can be to your quality of life. You may be ready to finally do something about it and restore your smile with a dental implant. However, if you’ve spent too much time with those teeth missing, you may have a problem.

Teeth have a natural ability to move due to periodontal ligaments and a thin layer of bony-like material called cementum. When you have a full smile, this ability for teeth to shift is not all that noticeable as the pressure from surrounding teeth tend to help everything stay in place.

However, when there is a gap from a missing tooth, the surrounding teeth suddenly have a lot more room to move, and will take up the space quickly. As a result, if you’ve gone a long time with missing teeth, your remaining teeth may have moved into the vacant area, blocking the place where your dental implant restoration needs to go.

In order to remedy this situation and get your mouth ready for your implants, it may be necessary to correct your alignment with orthodontics.

Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, is used to incrementally change the position of your teeth to get them back in place. When your teeth are back in place, your doctor will be able to place the implant. While orthodontics are an extremely effective method of correction, traditional metal braces can be quite noticeable in the mouth.

For those adults who may need orthodontic treatment, there are multiple options to choose from that can fit your lifestyle and your needs. If this is the case, one possible option may be found in the form of clear aligners.

While there are many aligner systems on the market today, many know about Invisalign or have seen a commercial for the system. Changed roughly every two weeks, these plastic trays are worn consistently to achieve the same effect as braces, but with a lower profile.

Regardless of which option works best for your needs, this process speaks to the interrelatedness all dental professionals must share in order to give you the smile of your dreams.  Our office is happy to play its part in helping you smile with confidence again.

If you need to schedule an appointment, or want to ask us any questions about your current treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you smile and look forward to doing so.

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Why Should I Brush More Often With Braces?

Palos Hills IL Orthodontist | Why Should I Brush More Often With Braces?

Your braces are made up of many different parts, all of which can possibly hinder your ability to reach the entire tooth surface while brushing. The Wires, brackets, bands, and screws can trap food particles after every meal, even if you feel as if your mouth is perfectly clean. Giving your mouth a quick rinse and brush after meals not only helps to keep your teeth and brace clean, but can also help you sustain great oral health throughout the period of your orthodontic treatment and beyond.

The Best Way To Brush:

Your braces themselves can become a hotspot for bacteria buildup if you aren’t diligent in making sure no food is left behind. When brushing with braces, make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies, as there are many. Brush your teeth at different angles to target the spots between brackets and bands. Remember to take your time – you should expect to be brushing for longer amounts of time and more thoroughly with braces.

It is also important to be regularly rinsing your mouth with water to dislodge anything lingering in your bands or brackets. If you find yourself without a toothbrush after a meal, this rinsing could help remove stubborn food particles left in your braces and protect your from plaque build up or tooth decay.

Brush, But Don’t Overdo It:

Should you be brushing more often with braces? Absolutely, but don’t overdo it. Having braces doesn’t require you to be brushing upwards of ten times a day. It also doesn’t mean that you should be brushing aggressively.

Be gentle on your mouth. You should never be brushing to the point of feeling any pain or discomfort. A thorough rinse and brush in the morning, at night, and after meals will leave you with the healthy smile of your dreams once your braces are removed.

For more tips on optimal oral health, or to schedule an appointment contact our office today. We are here for you.