Unhealthy Habits to Avoid this Summer

Summer writing on sandSummer is a time for fun; it shouldn’t be a time for sickness or nights of pain. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when we slip into unhealthy habits that tend to come with summer. Here’s what to avoid this summer so you don’t remember this summer for all the wrong reasons (like mouth pain and emergency doctor visits!).

Drinking a lot of soda

During summer, sodas seem to be everywhere you go—at every cookout, every company picnic, every concession stand. It’s really easy to grab a soda at every meal (and in between meals). It’s also really easy for the sugar from the soda to combine with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. The resulting acid can decay your tooth enamel, causing cavities.Scientific studies have shown a strong connection between soda consumption and tooth decay.

 What to do: Try to avoid drinking soda this summer, or limit the amount of sodas you drink. If you do drink a soda, use a straw and drink water after you are done with your soda. Brush and floss afterward (and regularly!). Try to avoid sodas right before you head to bed, and sipping the soda for a long time. Schedule a dentist appointment and cleaning to keep your teeth healthy and avoid a painful mouth.

Lack of sleep

All the late night grill outs, camping trips, and no school leads to an unhealthy side effect: not getting enough good quality sleep. The amount of sleep each person needs is different for everyone, and so are the side effects. Eventually, a lack of sleep can lead to illness, injuries, and decreased productivity.

What to do: If tracking your activities helps keep you accountable, use an app or tracking device to monitor the amount of sleep you’re getting. Some tracking devices can also tell you how much deep sleep you are getting each night to make sure your sleep time is quality. Try to maintain a schedule throughout summer with a regular bed time (for you and your kids).

Smoking

Smoking affects every part of your body, including your oral health. It’s also really easy to keep smoking—or smoke periodically—during social gatherings or while you are spending a lot of time outside in the beautiful weather. In addition to bad breath, smoking causes discoloration of your teeth, an increased chance of gum disease and oral cancers, longer healing times after dental procedures, bone loss in your jaw, and a host of other oral problems.

What to do: The best way to avoid the side effects of tobacco is to quit—which, as a lot of past smokers will tell you is easier said than done. Quitting smoking takes a commitment every day, and a lack of temptations. Throw out your cigarettes, and avoid routines where smoking was part of the activity. Focus on the positive effects of smoking: a healthier body, saving money, more time to hang out with your kids. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or research aids that can assist you during this difficult process.

No flossing

Summer is a busy time, and it’s easy to cut corners to try to keep up, especially when you’re in a rush in the morning or at bed time. It’s really easy to forget to floss in the morning or at night. Unfortunately, that can lead to negative consequences later: bad breath, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease (plus a few other downfalls).

What to do: Use these tips to teach your kids to brush and floss, and use some of those tips for yourself. Establish a healthy routine and stick to it. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after you brush, as long as you do it.

All Your Questions About Invisible Braces Answered

Close-up of man with big smile holding orthodontic braces tray in dental officeAfter the news that a patient needs braces wears off, the barrage of questions usually starts coming.  “How long do I have to wear braces?” “What are my options for braces?” (That answer is here.) If the patient chooses invisible braces, another list of questions usually follows.  We’ve done our best to answer some of the most common questions about invisible braces; our answers are specifically about Invisalign, which is the brand that we carry and recommend for anyone who wants to use invisible braces to correct their orthodontic issues.

How do invisible braces work?

Invisible braces are custom made for each user.  Invisible braces correct orthodontic problems with a series of removable clear trays that need to be worn for 20-22 hours a day.  Invisible braces can be removed for normal brushing and flossing, which helps keep teeth clean and your breath fresh.

How do I care for my invisible braces? 

There is a specific cleaning system that can be ordered for invisible braces or the user can brush and rinse the aligners in water.

Do I have to be careful about what I eat while I have invisible braces?

There are no food restrictions if you choose invisible braces. The aligners can be removed so you can eat and drink what you want.

Will it correct my alignment issue? Who can use invisible braces?

Invisible braces can correct a number of alignment issues; your dentist or orthodontist can tell you if invisible braces are the right option for you.  These braces are only available for teens and adults, and require less orthodontist visits than traditional braces.  To find out if invisible braces are right for you, schedule an appointment.

How much do invisible braces cost?

The cost for traditional braces and Invisalign are the same at Watertown Area Dental Clinic.  To find out the exact price of braces, schedule a free consultation.

Does insurance cover invisible braces?

It depends on the type of insurance you have.  Some dental plans completely cover the cost of invisible braces, while others only cover only partial or none at all.  The best way to find out is to contact your insurance provider to find out whether and, if so, how much of the cost is covered under your insurance plan.

Everything You Should Know About Your Sensitive Teeth

Close-up of a pretty girl enjoying an ice-cream cone even with sensitive teethSensitive teeth.  Just the mere mention can make you shudder, and anyone familiar with painful sensitive teeth can tell you how much it hurts.  If you’ve started turning down your favorite foods because of sensitive teeth, the first step to making the pain go away (or at least lessening it) is getting all your questions answered about sensitive teeth (if you have any more, just ask).

How do I know if I have sensitive teeth?

Before you assume you have sensitive teeth—and just have to put up with the pain—visit your dentist.  Sometimes what seems like pain from sensitive teeth can really be caused by another problem that needs attention.  Or the underlying reason that causes your sensitive teeth may need treatment to halt the progression, such as a damaged tooth, loss of tooth enamel, receding gums, or teeth grinding.  If teeth grinding is the source of your problem, it’s best to find out early because teeth grinding can cause a host of problems if not treated early.

Why do I have sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth are caused when the protective layer of enamel wears down.  The result is pain in your teeth, especially when you eat acidic, sweet, cold, or hot foods.

How can I make the pain go away?

Don’t brush too hard. Once your dentist has examined you and confirmed you have sensitive teeth, head to the store for a new soft-bristled toothbrush.  Use circular strokes when brushing, and don’t brush your teeth and gums to hard.

Consider using a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. Ask your dentist for their recommendation for a sensitivity toothpaste which can help with the pain, but be patient.  It can sometimes take 2-4 weeks to feel the effects of sensitivity toothpaste.  You may also have to try several different kinds of sensitivity toothpastes to find the right toothpaste that works for you.  If you don’t want to keep heading back to the store for a new brand, ask your dentist for recommendations and samples of different brands he or she suggests.

Stay away from anything that makes you hurt. If you find something that makes your teeth hurt, avoid it as much as possible.  Common causes of sensitive teeth pain include acidic foods, sweet foods, hot or cold foods. Keep a food journal if needed, and mark down when your teeth hurt.  Look for patterns that may give you a clue of what foods to avoid.

Look for fluoridated products. Fluoride can be a powerful ally in your fight against painful sensitive teeth because fluoride strengthens the enamel of your teeth.  Ask your dentist for recommendations of fluoridated products that can help, such as mouth rinses. Once tooth enamel wears down, you can’t replace it but you can strengthen what enamel you do have.

8 FUN Non-Candy Easter Basket Stuffers that Everyone’ll Love

Happy child with Easter eggs and other non-candy easter giftsWe know everyone (well, almost everyone) loves a chocolate Easter bunny in their Easter basket, but the truth is that sweet hare is not the best for your teeth.  If you’re looking for Easter gift ideas that are fun and tooth-healthy, fill your baskets with these fun (and dentist-approved!) gifts:

Seeds

Give your Easter recipient a head start on their garden this year by giving them flower or vegetable seeds for their garden.  To give them a huge head start, add a small pot that they can use to start their plants in the house before they transplant the seedlings outside when the weather gets warmer.  Or give them an indoor garden that they can watch grow long after Easter is done.

Melted crayons

A melted crayon craft is sure to be a hit with your littlest Easter gift recipients.  If you have pieces of crayons around the house, remove the papers from your crayons and melt down your leftover crayons into one of the cutest—and coolest—Easter gifts.  (Here are the exact directions on this website with times and oven temps).

IOU

Think big with your IOU; not in dollars and cents, but in time.  Include an IOU (or the actual tickets) to the theater, a play date at your favorite little one’s museum or playground, or a ball game.  Take your IOU gift a step farther by making it a themed basket. For example, stock your basket full of sports-themed items for a big fan.  Give your little one a playdate delight with an IOU to a children’s museum, bubbles, water toys, and other toys your little recipient can’t wait to play with.

Piggy bank

A piggy bank is going to be appreciated by anyone: a small child just starting to save up their pennies; a wanna-be homeowner trying to save for a down payment; an experienced traveler who is scrimping so they can head out on their next trip.

Puzzles

Puzzles are great for gift recipients of all ages.  They are also easy-to-find in many designs so you’re sure to find the right one that your gift recipient’ll love. If you have a very experienced puzzle nut, look for a 3D puzzle challenge that’ll make them look forward to tackling their next puzzle.

Coloring books

Before you think this suggestion is just for little kids, you can find adult coloring books for anyone who needs quiet de-stressing or really enjoys art.  Either way, a coloring book is the perfect gift for any age gift recipient.

Craft supplies

Jewelry-making kits, sun catcher painting, scrapbooking supplies, fabric and sewing notions….your youngest or most experienced craft fanatic is going to be your biggest fan after you give them another project to tackle.  Have fun with your Easter basket stuffers because you know your craft lover will.

Silly straws (perfect for drinking sweetened drinks)

Everyone loves silly straws, and including silly straws in your Easter basket has an added bonus: it’s perfect for someone trying to keep a healthy smile.  Straws are helpful for anyone who wants to indulge in an occasional soda; using a straw, rinsing with water afterward, and these other tips for drinking soda and sweetened drinks can make Easter more fun—especially when you still have a healthy smile after it’s all done.

My child has a cavity! What do I do?

little kid at dentist getting cavity treatedEven though we like to believe that our kids can’t get cavities, the truth is that pediatric cavities are far more common than we think.  The CDC estimates that 42% of all children ages 2 to 11 have a cavity in their baby teeth—-making tooth decay in children five times as common as asthma, and seven times as common as hay fever.  So what do you when you think that your child may have a cavity?

When you suspect a cavity

  • Treat the pain the best you can. Remember you can’t always see the cavity in your child’s mouth.  Even if the cavity is in a baby tooth, make an appointment so the dentist can treat the cavity.  Untreated cavities can result in long-term damage, and can even affect their adult teeth.
  • Make an appointment with the dentist. Get your child into the dentist as soon as possible.  Make sure you choose a dentist that’s good with kids and talk to your child about the appointment so they are not afraid.  Let the dentist know if you have a high incidence of tooth decay that runs in your family.
  • Ask your dentist how future cavities can be prevented.  Your dentist may have suggestions that can help prevent future cavities or recommend more frequent appointments to monitor and prevent future tooth decay.

How to prevent a cavity

  • Get your kids to the dentist early. The American Dental Association recommends kids see the dentist by their first birthday. Don’t put off that first appointment.
  • Start teaching your kids good brushing habits and flossing early. Make brushing and flossing fun! Take your kids shopping and have them pick out toothbrushes, toothpastes, and flossers. Use a chart so your kids can track each time they brush and floss.  Stay with them in the bathroom to make sure they brush—and brush long enough.  Show kids these fun videos or download one of these cool apps to make brushing for two minutes fun.
  • Don’t stray from a regular hygiene routine. When life gets busy or you’re on vacation, it can be really easy to forget to brush and floss.  Once you have set a routine twice-a-day brushing schedule with your kids, do everything you can to stick to it.  Set alarms with cool ring tones to remind them to brush twice a day and make sure other caregivers (i.e. babysitters, nannies, grandparents, etc.) are helping your kids brush as well.
  • Choose a good dentist and make your kids look forward to the appointments. Make your kids look forward to seeing their dentist.  Be very selective and choose a dentist that’s good with kids.  That dentist doesn’t have to be a pediatric dentist; a “regular dentist” (for adults and kids) can be their friend and dentist for life.  Talk to your child about the dentist before you go (and what’s going to happen). Practice the dentist appointment with your child at home to make them more comfortable.  Read books about the dentist before you head in, and watch videos about healthy teeth to make them look forward to it.
  • Don’t skip a dentist appointment. We’re going to state the obvious: life can get really, really busy. Schedule a cleaning for you and your kids twice a year, and make sure you keep the appointments.
  • Minimize sodas and sweetened drinks. Sweetened drinks contain sugar which can mingle with bacteria in your child’s mouth to form acid. The acid from this reaction attacks teeth and can decay outer and interior tooth enamel.  Avoid soda and sweet drinks as much as possible; when your child does have a sugary drink, have them drink water after and make sure they brush and floss to keep cavities at bay.

Why do my teeth hurt?

young woman with pain in head and teeth“My teeth hurt.”  “It’s like a throb that won’t go away.” “The pain in my mouth just pounds and pounds.” There are a lot of ways to describe when your teeth hurt, and a lot of reasons why your teeth (or tooth) could be hurting. We listed some of the most common reasons your teeth can be hurting—and how you can find some relief.

Sinus Infection

What it is: A sinus infection is just what it says: an infection of your sinuses.  Because your sinuses are located so close to your teeth, one of the most common symptoms is painful teeth.  Other symptoms include sinus pressure, congestion, fever, tiredness, and coughing.

What to do:  Most people suffering from sinusitis (sinus infection) can find relief with over-the-counter medications to decrease the inflammation and decrease the pain.  If the sinus infection worsens, contact a doctor who can prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.

Cavity

What it is: A cavity is really the product of a perfect storm involving bacteria, food, saliva and the resulting acid. Bacteria in your mouth combine with food that sits on your teeth and creates plaque which includes acid. The acid in the plaque eats holes in your tooth (tooth decay) called cavities.  You can usually tell if you have a cavity because of pain, sensitive teeth, or a hole in your teeth.

What to do: Schedule an appointment with the dentist.  A dentist can examine your teeth and tell you if you have a cavity.  Pain relievers can help with the pain, but make sure that not feeling the pain doesn’t delay your visit to the professionals and that you follow all label directions.

Toothache

What it is: A toothache is pain in the tooth that occurs because of several different reasons.  Toothaches can be very painful.

What to do: DO NOT apply heat to your mouth as treatment, even if it brings temporary relief, as heat can cause swelling and make your toothache worse. Instead, apply an ice pack on the side of the toothache. Avoid anything (i.e. food, vibration, pressure to that side of your mouth, etc.) that worsens the pain. Use over-the-counter medications to treat your toothache, but be careful to follow directions—and only use medications that won’t counteract anything you take on a regular basis.  Contact a dentist as soon as possible to get an appointment and treatment that can relieve the pain.

Gum disease

What it is:  Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that hold your teeth in place.  Other symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, bad breath, sores in your mouth, and a receding gum line.

What to do:  Schedule an appointment with the dentist.  Your dentist can recommend treatments that can help keep your gum disease from progressing.

Sensitive teeth

What it is: Sensitive teeth are caused when dentin, the material that makes up the majority of the interior of your tooth, is exposed and becomes irritated or sensitive.  The result is a painful condition that tends to flare up when eating hot or cold foods.

What to do:  Visit your dentist to find out if your sensitive teeth could be caused by a number of other conditions, such as a damaged tooth, loss of tooth enamel, teeth grinding, or receding gums.  Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which can help alleviate your pain.  Don’t brush too hard, and do circular strokes when brushing.  Ask your dentist at your next appointment for recommendations and samples of sensitivity toothpastes and fluoridated products that can help.  Avoid acidic foods, extremely sweet foods, very hot or cold foods—whatever foods and drinks causes the pain.

Injured tooth

What it is: A cracked or chipped tooth may not hurt at all.  However, whenever the nerves are damaged or exposed, an injured tooth can be a source of pain or discomfort.

What to do:  Rinse your mouth with warm water.  Hold a cold compress to your cheek to lessen the pain and swelling.  If you have any pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication if there is pain, but make sure to follow the label directions. Avoid biting down on the tooth until you can schedule an appointment with your dentist.

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Cavity Free

happy group of kids in a circle without cavitiesNo one wants to get a cavity, and we certainly don’t want our kids to get bad news (or any more bad news!) from their dentist.  That’s why you should make these lessons about healthy teeth as important as learning their colors and ABC’s.

Start early.

The American Dental Association recommends kids see the dentist by their first birthday.  By the time they are two, your kids can start brushing on their own to feel independent (though you should do a quick check and help regularly).  Don’t wait.  Schedule a dentist appointment ASAP and start teaching your kids good brushing habits and flossing early on to make sure they continue for a lifetime (hopefully a cavity-free lifetime!).

Teach them to brush.

If you want your kids to brush for the rest of their life, make brushing and flossing fun!  Let them pick out their own toothbrushes, toothpastes, and flossers. Make a chart that your kids can mark each time they brush and floss.  Stay with them in the bathroom to make sure they brush (no faking!).  Give them incentives (non-sugar) for brushing twice a day—and brushing well.

Floss, floss, floss.

Regular flossing removes plaque which causes tooth decay and cavities (and can prevent gum disease!).  Unfortunately, some statistics say that close to 80% of Americans never floss; that doesn’t mean your kids should join them.  Find fun-colored flossers at the store, and use a chart to make sure your kids become one of the 20% that floss—and have healthier mouths as a result.

Use technology to make brushing fun.

Most kids love to play on tablets and computers; now it’s time to use that fun to make sure they brush their teeth well. Use these fun videos or download one of these cool apps to make brushing for two minutes fun.  You can also set alarms with cool ring tones to remind them to brush twice a day.

Set a healthy hygiene routine, and keep it.

If you want your kids to brush and floss for the long term, make it part of a regular hygiene routine—and do your best to stick to it.  We know how easy it is to fall out of routine on the weekends, during summer vacation, and on trips.  Try to establish a routine with twice daily brushing and flossing. Create a checklist of things your kids need to do every morning (and evening) with the basic “must do’s,” such as brushing and flossing teeth, changing clothes, etc.  Keep everyone watching your kids in the loop about their routine and checklist, such as babysitters and nannies, for a consistent and healthy routine.

Set a good example.

If you want your kids to brush, show them that you do it—and do it well.  Brush your teeth twice a day, one of those times with the kids, and floss on a regular basis.  Schedule dentists’ appointments regularly, and talk to your kids about why it’s important to visit the dentist.  For parents who are normally nervous about a visit to the dentist, seize this opportunity to overcome your fear (we’ve given you tips to overcome your fear of the dentist in this blog post) so your kids don’t pick up on your anxiety.

Pick a good dentist.

If you want your children to want to go to the dentist, be very selective about your dentist.  Choose a dentist that is good with kids. It doesn’t have to be a pediatric dentist; a “regular dentist” (for adults and kids) can be their friend and dentist for life.  Choose a good dentist (ask your friends for recommendations or check social media reviews) who is a good listener that can answer any questions you have about your kids’ teeth.

Help them want to go the dentist.

If you have a child is worried about going to the dentist, take steps before you go to the dentist to make them feel at ease.  Talk to your child about the dentist before you go (and what’s going to happen). Practice the dentist appointment with your child at home to make them more comfortable.  Read books about the dentist before you head in, and watch videos about healthy teeth to make them look forward to it.

Don’t miss a cleaning.

When the family calendar gets full, it’s scarily easy to cancel a teeth cleaning—or not schedule one at all.  Make sure you schedule a cleaning for you and your kids twice a year, and make sure you keep the appointments. A dental cleaning rids your kids’ mouths of any built-up plaque that can lead to cavities and catches any issues that could become a problem.

Minimize your kids’ sodas.

While an occasional soda is okay (especially if followed by a good brushing), try to minimize the sodas your kids have on a daily basis and at parties and gatherings.  Sodas, even diet sodas, contain sugar which can mingle with bacteria in your kids’ mouth (and yours) to form acid. The acid from this reaction attacks teeth and can decay outer and interior tooth enamel.  If you’re really concerned about possible cavities, use these tips to make sure the next soda doesn’t turn into the next cavity.

Parents: 10 BIG Questions About Your Children’s Teeth Answered

laughing little boy with nice teethAs parents, we love to see our kids smile—and we do everything to make sure they keep that beautiful smile from the moment they get their first tooth.  As dentists, we care about that too—and we’re here to help keep their smile beautiful, both in the office and at home.  To help you with the latter, we’ve compiled this list of questions you might have when you’re not in our office—and a few questions that you might not want to ask in front of your kids at the dentist’s (like about the tooth fairy!).

How soon should my kids see the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends kids make an appointment with the dentist by their first birthday. By age two, your kids can start brushing on their own to establish independence (though you should do a quick check and help regularly).

How can I teach my children to brush (well)?

If your kids love to play on the tablet or computer, use it to make brushing fun!  To make sure they are brushing long enough, use these fun videos or download one of these cool apps to make brushing for two minutes fun.  You can also set alarms with cool ring tones to remind them to brush every morning and evening.

How often do my kids need dental cleanings?

Kids usually need to have their teeth cleaned twice a year, though your dentist may recommend more appointments if there is cause for concern.

How can I help my kids if they are afraid of the dentist?

If you want your children to (hopefully!) enjoy a lifetime of dentist appointments, choose a dentist that is comfortable with kids. A good dentist should be good with your kids, and a good listener that can answer your questions: two keys to helping your kids love (and not fear!) the dentist.  If you have a child that doesn’t like surprises, make sure you talk to your child about the dentist before you go. Practice the dentist appointment at home to make them more comfortable, and read books that can help put them at ease and make their experience positive.

How can I prevent cavities if my kids have deep pits and grooves in their mouth?

Your doctor may recommend dental sealants for your kids as another way to protect their teeth.  Dental sealants are painted on your child’s teeth, forming a barricade against unwanted invaders, such as plaque and food. The sealants don’t take very long to apply, and the benefits are long-term.  Dental sealants can last for many years. Your dentist can check the quality of the dental sealants at regular dentist appointments.

Does soda cause cavities?

While an occasional soda is okay (especially if followed by a brushing), try to keep your kids’ soda intake to a minimum.  Sodas, even diet sodas, contain sugar which can mingle with bacteria in your kids’ mouth (and yours) to form acid. The acid from this reaction attacks teeth and can decay outer and interior tooth enamel. If your kids do have a soda, have them follow the drink with water once they are finished.  If you have any questions about sodas and your kids’ teeth, make sure you follow up with your dentist at their next dentist appointment or with a quick email.

When should my child get braces?

The answer to this question depends on the severity of your child’s alignment issues.  Talk to your dentist at appointments about any issues they find, and ask them for the name of an orthodontist they recommend.  If you don’t want to have to schedule appointments at two different offices, choose a dentist that is certified to provide orthodontic services (like Dr. Thomas and Dr. Gibson!).

How long are my kids going to need braces?

The amount of time varies from child to child, dependent upon their specific condition.  Some kids need to only wear braces for 6 months, while others may need braces for 24 months.

How much does the tooth fairy give for each tooth?

The average amount given by the tooth fairy is about $4 for each tooth (per surveys and polls done in 2014).  Interestingly, there is a discrepancy in the amount given by mothers and fathers, with dads tending to be more generous.

How do I answer “what does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth?”

There are a few theories we’ve heard about when it comes to this question.  One theory is that the tooth fairy is using the teeth to make a town.  If you want to give it a royal twist, we’ve read that she’s building a royal castle.  Some of the teeth are ground down for different uses, hence the difference in payment from family to family (or tooth to tooth).

8 of Your Most Frequently Asked Questions about Braces Answered

Close-up of man with big smile holding orthodontic braces tray in dental officeWhen we tell patients they may need braces, they have a million questions.  While we can’t list all of the questions here, we can list the most frequently asked questions and answers that you’ll want to know when you hear “you need braces.”

Are braces only for crooked teeth?

No. While braces have always been associated only with crooked teeth, braces are also helpful for correcting any number of issues such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and crowding of the teeth.

What are my options for braces?

There are typically four options for patients who need braces:

  • Traditional Braces use stainless steel brackets and rubber bands that move your teeth by applying pressure. Today’s braces are thinner than older versions and can correct the issue quickly (faster than invisible braces).  Traditional braces need to be cleaned carefully, and do require some maintenance.  Patients cannot eat some foods while they have braces on.
  • Ceramic Braces work the same way as traditional braces, without the stainless steel. These braces are made to blend in with your teeth and use white and clear bands. Usually these braces are less obvious than traditional braces but require more maintenance by patients before they are not as durable.
  • Lingual Braces are traditional braces that are installed behind the teeth, which makes them virtually unnoticeable. Because of this, lingual braces take longer to put in and can impact a person’s speaking.  Lingual braces can be hard to clean.
  • Invisible Braces (Invisalign) correct orthodontic problems with a series of removable clear trays that need to be worn for 20 hours a day. Patients can eat any food while they have invisible braces.  Invisible braces are only available for teens and adults, and require less orthodontist visits than traditional braces.

Do braces hurt?

Our patients have reported some discomfort while wearing braces, most commonly after tightening appointments.  If you do experience some discomfort, your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter medication to help manage the discomfort.

Does Invisalign cost more than traditional braces?

Not at Area Dental Clinic in Watertown.  The cost for traditional braces and Invisalign are the same.

Where can I get braces?

To find out if you need braces, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist or a dentist certified to provide orthodontic services (both Dr. Thomas and Dr. Gibson are certified).  The dentist or orthodontist examines your teeth, takes x-rays if needed, and discusses the options for braces with you.

How long do I need braces?

Every person is different, and so is the time they need to wear braces to correct their problem.  Some patients need braces for only 6 months, while others may need treatment for 2 years to correct their issue.

Does insurance cover the cost of braces?

It depends on the type of insurance you have.  Some dental insurance does cover braces, others cover a part of the cost, while others do not cover the cost in any way.  The best way to find out is to contact your insurance provider to find out whether and, if so, how much of the cost is covered under your insurance plan.

Where can I find out more about braces?

If you have any questions about dental braces, contact one of our Area Dental Clinic dentists, Dr. Gibson or Dr. Thomas. Both dentists are certified to provide orthodontic services to adults and children, including Invisalign, and can answer any questions you have. Schedule a consultation to get an exam and information so you can find out more about your specific condition and braces.

5 Ways to Keep Your Mouth Healthy in 2017

young girl having fun because her mouth is healthyThere are a lot of options that come to mind for being healthier in the New Year: eating healthy, working out, taking daily walks. What doesn’t usually come to mind is that gateway to your body: your mouth.  However, the health of your mouth is important. Studies have come out linking poor oral health to health problems like heart disease. With your mouth being the gateway to your body, it’s no wonder that bacteria gain entrance to your body through your mouth.

What is surprising is that poor oral health can create a climate ripe for bacteria to enter and cause problems in other parts of your body. And that same cause-and-effect also works in reverse: your dentist can tell if you have conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure simply by looking in your mouth. So how can you keep your mouth as healthy as the rest of your body in the New Year?

Keep a regular brushing schedule.

Cavities occur because of a combination of bacteria, food, saliva, and the resulting acid.  If you want to keep harmful bacteria and food in check this year, make sure you brush several times a year.  Ideally, you should brush after every meal. At the very least, brush twice a day (usually in the morning and night).  If you want to make your tooth brushing more effective, use these tips.

Floss, floss, floss…did we mention floss?

Statistics have shown that most people don’t floss their teeth, and that’s a shame.  Flossing is your next line of defense after brushing—or vica versa.  It doesn’t matter what order you floss and brush; it only matters that you do both.  Flossing catches all the plaque and harmful bacteria that is missed during flossing.

Minimize the soda you drink.

Scientific studies have shown a strong connection between sodas (even diet ones) and tooth decay.  Minimizing your soda intake can prevent tooth decay and cavities and keep your mouth healthier.  If you do enjoy an occasional soda, use a straw. Swish water gently in your mouth after you are done to rid your mouth of sugar that can mingle and cause any number of unhealthy conditions.

Research sealants.

Even with brushing and flossing, sugar can still cause cavities and tooth decay in deep grooves and pits (especially on your back teeth).  If you want another line of defense, ask your dentist if sealants are right for you.  Sealants are another line of defense, covering your teeth and protecting your teeth from harmful bacteria and sugars.

Make a dental cleaning a regular priority.

If you want to keep your mouth healthy, schedule a regular deep cleaning with your dentist—and keep it.  Your dentist can tell you how often a cleaning is right for your mouth, and together you can make a plan for a healthier mouth in the New Year and into the future.