What’s in my mouth? A Rundown of Orthodontic Appliances

August 24, 2018

Dr. Tarek Abousheta and Dr. Bahar Ghafouri and our team correct the alignment of your teeth and jaws so that you can speak clearly, chew food effectively, and look attractive when you smile. We do this by putting sophisticated gadgets in your mouth. While many of these dental devices look similar, we use a wide variety of orthodontic appliances to straighten your teeth and repair jaw problems.

Orthodontic appliances are devices that move your teeth, change the position of your jaw, or hold your teeth in their finished positions after your braces are removed. These devices may be attached to your teeth or removable.

Braces straighten your teeth. Brackets, bands, and wires characterize traditional braces. Braces are attached to the teeth, so they are not easily removable.

Spacers are small plastic rings fitted between your back teeth before your braces are placed by Dr. Tarek Abousheta and Dr. Bahar Ghafouri. These spacers create space between your teeth to optimize the alignment your braces provide.

Retainers hold teeth in their finished position after your braces come off. A Hawley retainer is the most common type of retainer; it features an acrylic plate that rests against the roof of your mouth and a wire crossing in front of your teeth. Essex retainers are quite popular, as they are durable and nearly invisible.

Bite plates correct a deep bite, where the upper front teeth come down too far over the lower front teeth to cause bite problems.

Holding arches prevent the back teeth from moving forward to crowd the front teeth. A lower lingual holding arch prevents your permanent molars from migrating forward. The Nance holding arch maintains space between teeth after you lose baby teeth and before the permanent teeth come in.

A palatal expander widens your upper jaw by separating the bones of your palate. This appliance helps your top and bottom teeth fit together better. The Quad Helix widens your jaws to create more room for crowded teeth.

Contact our Irvine, CA office today to learn more about the ways we can improve the appeal and function of your smile.

What causes crooked teeth?

August 17, 2018

Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons that range from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral diseases. When extra teeth or abnormally large teeth create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement of teeth), the culprit is usually genetic in nature. Other inherited traits involve jaws that are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth and misaligned jaws that did not form properly in the womb.

Can crooked teeth be prevented?

In most cases, underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are genetically derived and can’t be avoided. Orthodontic treatment with braces will be necessary to correct the condition once the child is old enough to wear them. However, certain early childhood behaviors may also contribute to the development of crooked teeth that can be avoided. These include:

  • Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Losing baby teeth to decay before permanent teeth have naturally pushed them out of their sockets
  • Allowing pacifier use to continue after front teeth have erupted

Permanent teeth underneath baby teeth are directly affected by the health of baby teeth. If baby teeth are prematurely lost due to decay or trauma, permanent teeth will shift when they start moving upward. Baby teeth are like anchors for permanent teeth that help guide them as they erupt through the gums.

In addition, excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having healthy permanent teeth free of discoloration or decay. Harmful oral bacteria can spread into the gums and reach permanent teeth still buried in the gums. Once attached to a tooth’s enamel, bacteria will begin eroding the tooth even before it has a chance to take its first bite!

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment for Crooked Teeth

Dr. Tarek Abousheta and Dr. Bahar Ghafouri and our staff suggest that parents bring your child to Irvine Orthodontics around age seven to rule out potential issues with permanent teeth eruption. If problems are discovered, it is not unusual to begin orthodontic treatment at that age. In fact, specific conditions such as crowding and gaps between teeth are easier to correct at an early age.

Early treatment also benefits from the growth process of the jaw, which helps move teeth to normal positions.

What’s on your summer reading list?

June 5, 2018

With summer 2018 right around the corner, our staff at Irvine Orthodontics and Children’s Dentistry want to remind all our young patients about the importance of reading. Sure it’s easy to keep putting off reading this time of year, but reading during the summer is a vital step in brain development and warding off the dreaded “summer slide.” Plus, it’s fun!

What’s on YOUR summer reading list? What are some of your all-time favorites? Out of ideas for great summer reads? Ask us for suggestions, we’d be more than happy to provide a few suggestions. You may also ask a local librarian for some ideas or check out these summer reading ideas that we came across, courtesy of Barnes & Noble.

Happy reading from all of us! Be sure to share with us your summer picks or your all-time favorites on our Facebook page!

Vacationing with Braces

May 22, 2018

Summer is right around the corner, and for many of us, that means it’s time to take a vacation.

For those of us in braces, being on vacation also brings up the thought of “what do I do if something happens with my braces while I am on vacation?”

The most common things to occur while in orthodontic treatment is to have a loose wire or a broken bracket.  Some people go through their entire treatment time and never break a bracket, while others are more susceptible to having a bracket break more than once.  If you break a bracket on any normal day, you can simply call our office and schedule an appointment to come in and have your bracket fixed.  But what happens if you’re on vacation?

Here are some simple tips to guide you through your vacation to help prevent compromising on your comfort:

  1. Avoid eating hard foods – they loosen, break, and bend wires and bands! ex: popcorn, apples, chewing on ice cubes.
  2. Avoid sticky foods – like taffy, caramels, and other types of candy.
  3. Don’t be too aggressive when brushing your teeth – incorrectly brushing your teeth or brushing too vigorously can cause the brackets to loosen or break. Make sure when you’re brushing that you hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and use gentle back and forth tooth-wide strokes.

If you happen to break a bracket and do not have access to your orthodontist you can follow these steps:

  1. Assess the extent of your broken bracket and control the issue –  Did the bracket fall off? Is there a wire sticking out?  If the bracket is still attached to your tooth, you can use wax to place onto the bracket to hold it in place until you are able to visit your orthodontist.  If there is a wire sticking out, you can gently use the end of a pencil eraser or a cotton swab tip to move/ tuck it back into place, or you can clip it by very carefully using nail clippers as close as possible to your teeth and use wax over the wire to prevent it from cutting the inside of your mouth or cheeks.
  2. Rinse your mouth regularly – If there is any type of cut or irritation, you can use a salt water rinse or professional mouth rinse to promote healing,
  3. Call your Orthodontist to book an appointment – Drs. Tarek Abousheta and Bahar Ghafouri will want to see you as soon as you’re back from your vacation to fix your broken bracket or loose wire.  Be sure to contact us by phone at 949-786-7800 or on our website by submitting an online Appointment Request.

A broken bracket does not mean an orthodontic emergency, but we do want you to be as comfortable as possible so you can enjoy your vacation and not have a pesky wire or broken bracket interfere with your fun!!

Be sure to ask us at your next appointment for wax to bring on vacation with you so you can be prepared in the event you need it!