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Athletes Are More Likely to Have Poor Oral Health – Here’s Why:

Despite an outward picture of wellness and a healthy oral hygiene routine, athletes still tend to have more teeth-related problems than their peers. A recent study, published in the British Dental Journal, found that despite regular brushing and flossing, untreated tooth decay and gum inflammation was still prevalent among elite athletes.

Why?

Because they often refuel with high-acid drinks, gels and energy bars – all of which can weaken tooth enamel and damage teeth due to high sugar content and acidity.

The study found nearly half (49 percent) of elite endurance athletes had untreated tooth decay, and the majority of them had early signs of gum inflammation.

Even despite these same athletes reporting better dental hygiene than the general population – with 94 percent brushing their teeth at least twice a day, and 44 percent flossing regularly.

Let’s break it down (so your teeth don’t).

The acid in sports drinks and gels dissolves tooth enamel, a process called decalcification, and can lead to cavities. Once enamel dissolves, it does not come back. The loss and decay are permanent.

Add the sugar from sports drinks and gels to the mix, and the risk to tooth enamel doubles.

Plaque uses sugar and starches as food and expels acid as a by-product. If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing, the build-up can lead to additional decalcification, cavities, gum disease and loss of the bone that holds teeth in place.

What does this mean for orthodontic patients?

Athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment should be on high alert. Sports drinks are even harder on teeth with orthodontic appliances, such as braces or aligners.

For those wearing braces, visible white marks (decalcification) around your brackets can appear within a couple of months if plaque is not removed. For those wearing aligners, the damage may be amplified and occur all over because the acidic liquid seeps into the aligners and sits against teeth.

Bottom line – skip the sports drinks and gels.

Opt for water or other less-acidic choices. If that’s not an option, consider swishing water after sips, drinking through a straw or brushing and flossing after workouts. A fluoride rinse may also be helpful. See your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and check-up, or more often if recommended.

Be aware that soda, sweet tea, bubbly flavored water and other carbonated beverages can have the same negative effects and should be avoided as well.

Trust an AAO orthodontist (Dr. Ana Ortiz)

You can work with an American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Orthodontist to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at any age. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Find an orthodontist near you at aaoinfo.org/locator.

Call Camelback Orthodontic Studio for a FREE consultation

Give our office a call at 480-284-8663 to schedule a complimentary orthodontic consultation to meet with our team. We look forward to meeting you very soon.

What is a Crossbite?

A crossbite is a type of malocclusion, or a misalignment of teeth, where upper teeth fit inside of lower teeth. This misalignment can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth, involving the front teeth, back teeth, or both:

  1. Posterior crossbite: If the back teeth are affected, upper teeth sit inside of bottom teeth.
  2. Anterior crossbite: If the front teeth are in crossbite, one or more top teeth sit behind the bottom teeth. Not to be confused with an underbite, when all the top teeth, or jaw, are behind the bottom teeth

When teeth are lined up correctly, the upper teeth are naturally wider because they lay on the outside of the bottom teeth.

What causes a crossbite?

A crossbite can occur from genetics, delayed loss of baby teeth or abnormal eruption of permanent teeth, even prolonged actions like thumb sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way can generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place; bone can be distorted.

Why does a crossbite need to be fixed?

A crossbite may reveal an underlying jaw problem that is best addressed at a young age, while the face and jaws are still developing. Possible consequences if not corrected include:

  • the jaw shifting to one side
  • lopsided jaw growth
  • wearing down of outer layer of the tooth called “enamel”

How does an AAO orthodontist correct a crossbite?

Depending on the scope of the crossbite, treatment may involve the use of a palatal expander, a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to make the upper jaw wider. This would be used alongside an appliance designed to move the teeth, such as braces or clear aligners.

A trained orthodontic specialist knows when each method, or both, and can help you determine which is best for you.

Call Camelback Orthodontic Studio to schedule your FREE consultation 480-284-8663

4 Ways Your Smile Changes As You Age

It’s no secret, as you age, so does your smile. Teeth wear down as we chew our way through a lifetime of meals. Did you also know, teeth can move and shift well into adulthood? Here’s a roundup of 4 common changes orthodontists see in patients as they age:

1. Bottom teeth crowding

As you age, your jaw bone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jaw bone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth. Crowding can also occur because other issues such as breathing through your mouth, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting or facial trauma.

2. Front teeth gap

Space between two front teeth is referred to as a diastema, and it can develop for a variety of reasons. Crowding of teeth or unproportioned jaws and teeth can cause spacing to gradually occur. Swallowing, with the pressure of your tongue pushing against your front teeth, rather than positioning itself at the roof of your mouth, can also cause teeth to separate over time. Gum disease is another trigger for spacing, because of the inflammation.

3. Post-orthodontic teeth shifting

Our bodies change our whole life, and our teeth change, too. After orthodontic treatment a retainer is needed to maintain teeth in position. As we age, if teeth are restored or lost, new proper fitting retainers will be needed to prevent unwanted change.

4. Wrong bite

Do you get headaches, clicking and popping jaw joints, grind your teeth or even back pain? You may have a bite disorder, which occurs when the lower and upper jaw don’t align, called malocclusion.

These changes may be completely normal, but that doesn’t mean you just have to live with them. The number of adults undergoing orthodontic treatment is at an all-time high. An estimated 1.61 million adults underwent orthodontic treatment in the U.S. in 2018. That’s one in four adults!

Whether you’re eight or 80, the biological process of orthodontic treatment is the same. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving.

You can work with Camelback Orthodontic Studio to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at any age.

About Orthodontics

Whether you call the process “braces,” “orthodontics,” or simply straightening your teeth, these 7 facts about orthodontics – the very first recognized specialty within the dental profession – may surprise you.

1. The word “orthodontics” is of Greek origin.

“Ortho” means straight or correct. “Dont” (not to be confused with “don’t”) means tooth. Put it all together and “orthodontics” means straight teeth.

2. People have had crooked teeth for eons.

Crooked teeth have been around since the time of Neanderthal man. Archeologists have found Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands wrapped around teeth. Hippocrates wrote about “irregularities” of the teeth around 400 BCE* – he meant misaligned teeth and jaws.

About 2,100 years later, a French dentist named Pierre Fauchard wrote about an orthodontic appliance in his 1728 landmark book on dentistry, The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth. He described the bandeau, a piece of horseshoe-shaped precious metal which was literally tied to teeth to align them.*

3. Orthodontics became the first dental specialty in 1900.

Edward H. Angle founded the specialty. He was the first orthodontist: the first member of the dental profession to limit his practice to orthodontics only – moving teeth and aligning jaws. Angle established what is now the American Association of Orthodontists, which admits only orthodontists as members.

4. Gold was the metal of choice for braces circa 1900.

Gold is malleable, so it was easy to shape it into an orthodontic appliance. Because gold is malleable, it stretches easily. Consequently, patients had to see their orthodontist frequently for adjustments that kept treatment on track.

5. Teeth move in response to pressure over time.

Some pressure is beneficial, however, some is harmful. Actions like thumb-sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place; bone can be distorted.

Orthodontists use appliances like braces or aligners to apply a constant, gentle pressure on teeth to guide them into their ideal positions.

6. Teeth can move because bone breaks down and rebuilds.

Cells called “osteoclasts” break down bone. “Osteoblast” cells rebuild bone. The process is called “bone remodeling.” A balanced diet helps support bone remodeling. Feed your bones!

7. Orthodontic treatment is a professional service.

It’s not a commodity or a product. The type of “appliance” used to move teeth is nothing more than a tool in the hands of the expert. Each tool has its uses, but not every tool is right for every job. A saw and a paring knife both cut, but you wouldn’t use a saw to slice an apple. (We hope not, anyway!)

A Partnership for Success

Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the patient and the orthodontist. While the orthodontist provides the expertise, treatment plan and appliances to straighten teeth and align jaws, it’s the patient who’s the key to success.

The patient commits to following the orthodontist’s instructions on brushing and flossing, watching what they eat and drink, and wearing rubber bands (if prescribed). Most importantly, the patient commits to keeping scheduled appointments with the orthodontist. Teeth and jaws can move in the right directions and on schedule when the patient takes an active part in their treatment.

Camelback Orthodontic Studio is ready to partner with you to align your teeth and jaws for a healthy and beautiful smile.

Call now to schedule a free consultation at 480-284-8663

The Importance Of Wearing Your Orthodontic Retainer

There is nothing like looking in the mirror to see your brand new smile for the first time after completing your orthodontic treatment. Whether you’ve chosen adult braces or Invisalign, the results are the same: Your smile is perfect and beautiful. At Camelback Orthodontic Studio, we love seeing our  patients light up after we remove their braces, and we want to make that joy last a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to wear your retainer.

Your Retainer Post-Orthodontic Treatment

After your braces have come off, or you’ve completed your last set of aligners, your orthodontist will fit you for a custom retainer that you’ll be instructed to wear daily. Your retainer is necessary to keep your brand new smile beautiful for years to come. It’s important to follow these instructions precisely to keep your new smile in perfect shape.

Risks of Not Wearing Your Retainer

If you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist, your teeth will start to drift back into their former positions. The soft tissues in your mouth and bones may also shift, compromising your treatment. Additionally, if you don’t wear your retainer consistently, you may need further orthodontic treatment to fix your smile. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste—keep your smile perfect by preserving it with your retainer.

Contact Your  Orthodontist

At Camelback Orthodontic Studio, we’ve created dream smiles for countless patients, also serving the northwest valley at Greenway Orthodontic Studio. We’re so happy that you’ve achieved the smile of your dreams, whether through braces or Invisalign! We know it will bring you joy for years to come by wearing your retainer. If you have further questions on retention or anything related to orthodontics, we encourage you to give us a call at 480-284-8663.

Can Orthodontic Treatment Cause White Spots On My Teeth?

The most important thing to know about white marks on teeth is that they are preventable. All you have to do to be white mark-free is to keep teeth clean and stay away from some foods and beverages. It’s that simple.

When we say simple, we mean four easy steps simple:

  1. Brush as often as recommended by your orthodontist, including after each meal or snack whether at school, work or home
  2. Floss at least once a day            
  3. Avoid or limit acidic foods and drinks (soda, flavored waters with carbonation, sweet tea, sports drinks etc.) for the duration of your treatment
  4. See your family dentist at least every four to six months for a check-up or more often if it’s recommended

Handy tools like interproximal brushes, floss threaders, floss holders, water irrigators and power toothbrushes can make cleaning teeth convenient, quick and, most of all, thorough. Fluoride toothpaste and/or rinses are advisable, too.

A White Mark Is Permanent

A white mark on a tooth – known as decalcification – is the very beginning of a cavity. Prompted by a build-up of plaque, calcium and other minerals leach out tooth enamel and leave a permanent white mark behind. It can progress to a full-blown cavity if plaque keeps collecting.

Plaque is made of bacteria, food particles and saliva. It feeds on sugars to form an acid that damages teeth. Poor brushing, frequent snacking and intake of sugary and/or acidic beverages contribute to white marks and decay.

Decalcification Can Happen to Patients Using Aligners

It happens to those who drink flavored waters, sparkling water, sports drinks or soda pop with their aligners in. What’s more, it can happen in a matter of weeks. Always take aligners out to eat or drink (except for tap water), and clean teeth thoroughly to remove all traces of food or beverages.

One more thing – decalcification can also happen if patients do not brush their aligners.  Food and bacteria left in the aligners can sit on the teeth and cause decalcification.

Decalcification Can Happen Independent of Orthodontic Treatment

Some people get white marks on their teeth without ever having orthodontic treatment. The marks are caused by too much soda pop or other acidic drinks, along with poor brushing habits.

For A Happy Ending

Patients who are conscientious about caring for their teeth and who limit sugary, acidic foods and drinks should not develop white marks.

Cleaning teeth is not hard. It just takes a commitment to putting in a little extra time, a little extra elbow grease, and using the right tools for the job.

What if my dentist hasn’t sent my child to the orthodontist?

You don’t have to wait for your dentist to refer your child to an orthodontist.

Parents are often the first to recognize that something is not quite right about their child’s teeth or their jaws. A parent may notice that the front teeth don’t come together when the back teeth are closed, or that the upper teeth are sitting inside of the lower teeth. They may assume that their dentist is aware of the anomaly, and that the dentist will make a referral to an orthodontist when the time is right. A referral might not happen if the dentist isn’t evaluating the bite.

Greenway Orthodontic Studio doesn’t require a referral from a dentist to make an appointment with them.

Dentists and orthodontists may have different perspectives.

Dentists are looking at the overall health of the teeth and mouth. He/she could be looking at how well the patient brushes and flosses, or if there are cavities. While dentists look at the upper and lower teeth, they may not study how the upper and lower teeth make contact.

Orthodontists are looking at the bite, meaning the way teeth come together. This is orthodontists’ specialty. Orthodontists take the upper and lower jaws into account. Even if teeth appear to be straight, mismatched jaws can be part of a bad bite.

A healthy bite is the goal of orthodontic treatment.

A healthy bite denotes good function – biting, chewing and speaking. It also means teeth and jaws are in proportion to the rest of the face.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist no later than age 7.

Kids have a mix of baby and permanent teeth around age 7. AAO orthodontists are uniquely trained to evaluate children’s growth as well as the exchange of baby teeth for permanent teeth. Orthodontists are expertly qualified to determine whether a problem exists, or if one is developing.

Camelback Orthodontic Studio offers a complimentary orthodontic consultation

Call now to schedule your FREE orthodontic consultation at 480-284-8663 or click HERE

Does my child need to wait until they have all of their permanent teeth to see an orthodontist?

If someone tells you that your child should have all of his/her permanent teeth before visiting the orthodontist for the first time, that “someone” is incorrect . In fact, putting off a first visit to the orthodontist until all of a child’s permanent teeth are in could do more harm than good. Here’s why:

There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

A child’s mouth is a busy place. Think about a 6-year-old. Everything is growing, including the bones in the jaw and face. At around age 6, the first permanent molars appear. An exchange of teeth begins as baby teeth fall out and are replaced by larger-sized permanent teeth. And it all happens in a predictable, particular order. Unless it doesn’t.

The gums hide about two-thirds of each tooth, as well as all the bone that hold teeth in place. The gums can mask conditions that interfere with the emergence of teeth.

Parents can watch for clues. Early or late loss of baby teeth can signal a problem. So can trouble with chewing or biting, speech difficulties and mouth-breathing. If these indicators are not addressed until a child has all of his/her permanent teeth and growth is essentially complete, correcting the problem may be more difficult than it might have been had treatment occurred earlier.

Orthodontic treatment is about creating a healthy bite – the beautiful smile is a bonus.

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to make sure the bite is right – that upper and lower teeth fit together like interlocking gears. The timing of your child’s treatment is critical and is based on his/her individual needs.

Some children can wait until they have all or most of their permanent teeth. Other children’s orthodontic problems may be better treated while some baby teeth are present. These children require growth guidance of bones in the upper and lower jaws, so there’s enough room for permanent teeth. Their treatment can be timed to predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. Once teeth and jaws are in alignment, a beautiful smile is the bonus result of treatment.

Dentists and orthodontists look at the mouth differently.

Both doctors work in the mouth. But perspectives differ based on the care they provide.

Dentists assess and promote overall oral health. They look for cavities and gum disease. They advise patients on diet and home hygiene care. And they monitor patients for diseases that appear in or affect the mouth. Dentists take “bite wing” x-rays to isolate a particular section of teeth as part of their diagnosis and treatment planning process. Orthodontic evaluations may be a lower priority for dentists.

Orthodontists are laser-focused on each patient’s bite. Orthodontists use “panoramic” x-rays to visualize all of the teeth above and below the gums, and the jaws, all at once. The bite is orthodontists’ area of specialization.

If your dentist has not referred your child to an orthodontist, you need not wait for a referral. Orthodontists do not require a referral for your child to be seen.

Here’s what the experts say: remember age 7.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist no later than age 7. If a problem is detected and treatment is advised, you are giving the orthodontist the opportunity to provide your child with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

To answer the question that headlines this blog, there’s no need to wait until your child has lost all his/her baby teeth before you consult an orthodontist. It’s fine to talk to an orthodontist as soon as you suspect a problem in your child, even if your child is younger than 7.