Sporting Smiles
A Great Dentist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

When it comes to your child's health, being engaged matters. We are here to answer your questions and help you feel confident in the decisions you make. 

We've collected some of the questions we hear most often here at Sporting Smiles. If your question isn't on this list or you need more information, please don't hesitate to call our office. 

Other

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

Pediatric Emergencies

Absolutely! 

Your child's first teeth, called primary or "baby" teeth, are crucial to your child's early dental development. These teeth help your child as he or she develops speech and learns to chew solid foods.

Additionally, baby teeth create a sort of "pathway" for the permanent teeth to follow, which usually starts happening around the age of 6. The root of the baby tooth begins to dissolve, causing it to become wiggly and eventually fall out, which leaves a space for the permanent tooth to erupt.

When a tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth that eventually erupts may come in crooked or in the wrong place, which can lead to a need for orthodontic correction later in life. Alternatively, if a baby tooth becomes damaged, the root may not dissolve properly, which can lead to the tooth failing to fall out on time. In this situation, the permanent tooth may erupt in an incorrect place or fail to erupt completely and become impacted, raising the risk of abscess or infection. If your child takes a fall and injures his or her tooth, please notify us so that we can keep an eye on that tooth and make sure that everything is still developing as usual. If the tooth fails to fall out on time, we may recommend a simple extraction to allow the permanent teeth to erupt correctly.

 

If a tooth breaks, whether or not it can be saved depends how severe and where the break or fracture is. It ultimately depends on if it is an enamel fracture, dentin fracture or pulp exposure or crown/root fracture, root fracture, alveolar fracture. It is not necessary to save the broken piece of a tooth, but can assist in determining extent of damage. However there may be chance it cannot be bonded back to the injured tooth. Treatment varies depending on the injury. However, do treat the area with ice and pressure to reduce swelling and stop any bleeding if any. Then reach out to local Pediatric Dentist to determine next steps of treatment. It is recommended to take pictures on parents cell phone to help diagnose extent of injury and if emergency care is needed.

If child has suffered a serious injury call 911. If child has suffered a concussion call pediatrician or visit local Emergency Room.

We know that this can be a scary situation for both parents and kids! The most important thing to do right now is to remain calm. This is a problem that can be solved.

Find the tooth, if you can. Make sure that you are holding it by the crown (the visible portion of the tooth) and not the root. Gently rinse it off, without disturbing any attached tissue, and try to reinsert it. One side of the tooth is flatter and wider than the other. This is the side that faces the lip and not the tongue. If it's not possible to reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a container of milk. 

Bring your child (and the container with the tooth) to our office right away. The sooner we can see your child, the greater the chance we have of saving the tooth. 

If your child knocks out a primary (baby) tooth, don't attempt to reinsert the tooth. Call our office. We'll ask you the questions necessary to schedule an appropriate appointment for your child. Sometimes, if a tooth is lost too early, we may need to consider spacers to hold the space open for the developing permanent tooth and prevent the other teeth from drifting into the space. Other times, we can simply let nature take its course! An evaluation will help us determine the best approach for your child.

Orthodontic Emergencies

It takes some time for the skin inside your mouth to adjust to the new appliances on your teeth. In the meantime, though, we can help you feel more comfortable. 

One of the tools we'll provide you with is orthodontic wax. Here's how the wax works: 

  1. Pinch off a small piece of your wax and roll it into a tiny ball. 
  2. Flatten this ball and then place it over the spot on your braces that is causing the irritation. Press it into place and mold it around the bracket. 
  3. If the wax falls off (or you don't have any handy), you can also use a small piece of wet cotton. Even a little piece of orange peel is often enough to smooth out the uncomfortable area. 

The wax will help you eat more comfortably, speak more clearly, and just plain feel better since it provides a sort of buffer between the edges pf your brackets and the soft tissues of your cheeks and lips. If you swallow the wax, don't worry. Wax is perfectly harmless! 

One thing to remember about wax, however, is that it's designed to be a short-term solution. If the irritation persists, please call our office so we can look at other options or whether adjustments need to be made to your brackets. 

Some soreness is normal for about a day or two following the placing of new braces or an adjustment appointment (what patients often refer to as "tightening"). While this isn't an emergency situation, we do recognize that it can be quite uncomfortable, especially when you are trying to eat! 

During this time period, it can be helpful to stick to soft foods, like soups, stews, and macaroni and cheese. Smoothies, yogurt, puddings, and eggs can also be good choices. Stock your pantry accordingly so that you are ready for any soreness after an appointment. A lot of patients enjoy a frozen treat like a frozen fruit bar following an adjustment! 

Most patients also find that over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are helpful as well. Follow the directions on the package and, of course, avoid any medications that contain ingredients you are allergic or sensitive to. 

It might be helpful to know that this soreness is occurring because the braces are loosening up the ligaments that hold your teeth in place. Once the ligaments are loose, the discomfort will stop and the teeth will be able to move. In other words, the soreness means your braces are working and your beautiful new smile is on its way!

Traditional bracket-and-wire braces can sometimes be associated with sore spots on the soft tissues of the mouth, like the insides of your cheeks and lips and sometimes the tongue. While this is a fairly common problem, we know it doesn't feel good. 

Fortunately, we have a few solutions to help you get through this until the skin inside your mouth adjusts to the new braces. Topical anesthetics like Ora-Gel and Orabase are usually helpful for relieving the discomfort. Plus, they include ingredients that will help the sore spots heal! You can reapply this medication as frequently as you need to. Just make sure that you are using a cotton swab to apply it and not your finger since you don't want to accidentally introduce bacteria to the sore and cause an infection. 

We can also look at options like wax to cover the corners of the brackets, but we don't recommend that you use this too frequently because it won't allow the skin to adjust to the braces. If your braces continue to cause discomfort after a couple of days, please let us know. We can double check that there aren't any sharp areas on your brackets and adjust them if there are. 

Brackets serve as handles to hold the wire of the braces in place. Brackets are generally bonded to the teeth with adhesive. They are tough, sturdy, and stable. But if you eat hard, crunchy, or sticky types of food, the brackets can indeed loosen. If you get hit in the mouth, the brackets can loosen, too. That’s why you should ask your dentist or orthodontist about wearing a mouth guard during any and all types of physical activity.

The best thing to do if a bracket breaks or comes loose is contact your orthodontist. They will want to examine your mouth and decide the best course of action to fix the bracket. Plus, they have all the tools and expertise to make the fix. If you can’t get to your orthodontist right away, you can do a temporary fix to alleviate discomfort and avoid further damage by using sterile tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it’s between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the proper position then slide it back to the center of the tooth. Again, this is just a temporary fix to get you by until you can see your orthodontist, which should be as soon as possible.

The arch wire of braces fits in the horizontal slots in each bracket. The wire is secured to all of the brackets, and occasionally, simply by the act of biting and chewing, the end of a wire will work itself out and cause irritation.

The best way to alleviate the discomfort is to push the wire back down. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire back so it’s flat against your tooth. If you can’t get the wire back to a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax to have a buffer between your braces and the area of your mouth that’s irritated.

In an extremely bothersome situation, and as a last resort, clip the wire. Reduce the possibility of swallowing the snipped piece by putting a folded tissue or piece of gauze around the area. Use sharp clippers and snip off the wire. Use relief wax if the area is still irritated.

Make a follow-up appointment with your orthodontist to make sure the braces are still secure and to get a different wire if necessary.

The rubber band that stretches around your bracket is known as the "bracket ligature band." It has an important purpose. The band holds the wire to the bracket, creating the pressure that moves your teeth. In some cases, a type of twisted wire will be used, but rubber ligatures are the most common. 

If the ligature does come off, you can try to replace it with a pair of sterile tweezers. You can sterilize metal tweezers by boiling them or soaking them in rubbing alcohol. A wire ligature can be removed with the sterile tweezers. 

If you have a wire ligature that is sticking out and poking your lip, you can use either a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to try to bend it back into place. 

We'll need to check a loose or lost ligature, so if this happens, please give us a call so you can be seen. Once one ligature is lost, it's likely that you may lose others. Without the ligatures in place, your braces won't do their job properly. We will likely need to replace any lost ligatures, and you may need an adjustment as well to make sure that your treatment stays on track.

It can certainly be embarrassing to get a piece of food stuck between your teeth and behind your braces! Not to mention, it's usually pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately, it's an easy fix. Just a single piece of dental floss is all you need.

To prepare the floss, tie a knot in it. This knot is going to be what you actually use to remove the food. Thread the floss between your wire and your teeth and gently run it so that the knot pushes against the piece of food and pops it out. 

No floss handy? You can also use an interproximal brush (a type of brush with a long, slender tip that can be used to clean between teeth) or even a plain old toothpick. Just be gentle so that you don't injure your gums or damage your braces by bending the wire. 

If you still can't get the piece of food out (or you've accidentally bent your wire), please call our Gainesville orthodontic practice today so we can help. You don't want to leave food trapped. It can lead to bad breath, decay, and even gum disease. Avoid eating extra crunchy foods or sticky foods, since these can damage your braces.

Infant Oral Health Care

Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Primary teeth are “place holders” for permanent teeth that are expected to erupt around 11 and 12 years of age.

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children will stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or using a pacifier past the age of three, the doctors at Sporting Smiles can review methods of cessation with you – this may even include an appliance to prevent the habit from continuing.

At Sporting Smiles, a child’s general health and well-being is our top priority. We support breastfeeding but also recommend that mothers take the steps necessary to prevent ‘nursing caries’ from developing in their children.

The World Health Organization strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should be introduced and complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more.

Breast milk gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses. Breast milk also contains sugars similar to those found in the sweet beverages that lead to decay.

Our recommendation is to avoid nursing a child to sleep. If a child does fall asleep, simply wiping their teeth, gums, and tongue with moistened gauze, cloth, or a silicone rubber fingertip toothbrush can greatly reduce the chances of developing decay.

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

Baby bottle tooth decay (also called early childhood caries and nursing caries) occurs when a baby’s teeth are in frequent contact with sugars (fruit juices, milk, formula, flavored water, soda, or any other sweet drink). The bacteria in a baby’s mouth break down the sugar in these liquids, producing acid that causes tooth decay.

If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and make it difficult to chew and eat. If baby teeth are decayed, become infected, or are lost early, they can cause harm to developing teeth and can’t help guide the permanent teeth into their proper position. Badly decayed baby teeth can become severely infected with the possibility of that infection spreading elsewhere.

Children should not be permitted to take a bottle to bed. Ideally, children should be weaned from the bottle by 12 months of age. Additionally, a ‘sippy cup’ should only be used to transition your child from the bottle to the cup. Scheduling your child’s first dental visit at Sporting Smiles by their first birthday is a great opportunity to learn how to keep your child happy, healthy, and cavity free.

At Sporting Smiles, we stress the importance of starting healthy habits early. From the moment you bring your baby home, start cleaning your baby’s mouth even if he/she doesn’t have teeth. You can clean his/her gums and tongue with moistened gauze, cloth, or a silicone rubber fingertip toothbrush during bath-time.

When your child’s first tooth erupts, a toothbrush will remove bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least twice a day, but especially at bedtime. Children often do not have the manual dexterity needed to effectively clean their teeth. For this reason, we recommend brushing for your child until they are 8 years of age and flossing for them until they are 10 years of age.

Speak to the doctors at Sporting Smiles to learn more about fluoridated toothpaste and supplements. Supervised home care is essential in maintaining your child’s optimal oral health.

Lactation Counseling

At Sporting Smiles, a child’s general health and well-being is our top priority. We support breastfeeding but also recommend that mothers take the steps necessary to prevent "nursing caries" from developing in their children.

Like the World Health Organization (WHO), our doctors recommend that moms exclusively breastfeed children for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should be introduced and complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more.

Breast milk provides infants with all the nutrients they need for healthy development. The antibodies contained in breast milk help protect infants from common childhood illnesses. But it's important to recognize that breast milk also contains sugars similar to those found in the sweet beverages that lead to decay.

Our recommendation is to avoid nursing a child to sleep. If a child does fall asleep, simply wiping their teeth, gums, and tongue with moistened gauze, cloth, or a silicone rubber fingertip toothbrush can greatly reduce the chances of developing decay. We know for many new moms how tempting it can be to simply fall asleep as your baby does, but the fact is that the few moments it takes to clear away traces of milk from your baby's mouth can prevent a great deal of trouble in the future. 

We also recognize that not every parent has the option of breastfeeding. If your child drinks from a bottle, the same concerns apply. Do not allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle of formula, milk, or any other liquid. This also contributes to early tooth decay.

Plan to feed your baby 1-2 hours before the start of your appointment. To best access your baby’s latch, feeding ability and feeding position they will need to be willing to eat. Any supplies used at home for breastfeeding, such as nipple shields, support pillows and breast pump flanges must be brought with you.

Pediatric Dental Care

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

Sealants work by filling in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This prevents food particles from getting caught in the grooves and causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

At Sporting Smiles, we recommend sealing all permanent molars with deep grooves once they are fully erupted. If a child is very high risk for developing cavities, we may also recommend sealing baby teeth. Each child’s individual needs are taken into account when deciding on a plan for treatment. The sealant material used at Sporting Smiles is completely BPA free.

Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water (this may be from home or school). If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your pediatric dentist or pediatrician may prescribe fluoride supplements.

A routine check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems from developing. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

There is very little risk in dental x-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

At Sporting Smiles, we feel parental presence is very important. However, we also encourage older children to develop a strong one-on-one relationship with the dental team. We find this develops confidence and encourages positive behavior and attitude toward future dental visits.

You can explain to your child that the dentist wants to be a friend and help care for his or her teeth.

At the first visit, explain to your child that the dentist will count their teeth, clean them with a special tickling toothbrush, and take some pictures. Avoid using terms such as needles, shots, pain, or hurt – this may never have entered your child’s mind as a possibility! Instead, reassure your child that the dentist is friendly, helpful and kind.

The sooner the better!

Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush.

Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

Adolescent/Teen Dental Care

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

The chewing surfaces of your teeth, particularly the ones in the back, have a number of deep grooves. These grooves have a tendency to trap food particles, which makes them prone to cavities.

We apply sealants to fill in these grooves, a fast, comfortable, and effective preventive treatment that protects the teeth for several years. Sealants are a thin plastic coating that we paint onto the surfaces of the teeth and then cure to harden into place. Because they are tooth-colored and usually placed on the back teeth, they are mostly unnoticeable and don't interfere with your child's dental development or ability to speak and chew foods. Your child's safety is important to us, so at Sporting Smiles, we provide sealants that are 100% BPA free.

We typically recommend sealants on all permanent molars with deep grooves once they are fully erupted. If a child is at very high risk for developing cavities, we may also recommend sealing baby teeth.

Each child’s individual needs are taken into account when deciding on a plan for treatment. Call our Gainesville pediatric dental office today to schedule a visit. We'll discuss your child's needs with you and determine the best way to protect their teeth throughout their childhood.

Mouth guards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sport-related injuries. While ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards are effective, a custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will ideally protect your child from injuries to the teeth and face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head, including concussions.

Baby bottle tooth decay (also called early childhood caries and nursing caries) takes place when a baby’s first teeth are frequently in contact with sugar. This sugar often comes from sweet drinks like fruit juice, milk, flavored water, and formula.  

As the bacteria in your baby's mouth break down the sugars, they produce acid, which eats away at the teeth, causing tooth decay. If left untreated, decayed teeth are quite painful, and your baby may try to avoid chewing and eating.

If baby teeth are decayed, become infected, or are lost early, they can prevent the permanent teeth from erupting into their proper positions. When baby teeth are badly decayed, they can become severely infected with the possibility of that infection spreading elsewhere.

Children should not be permitted to take a bottle to bed. Ideally, children should be weaned from the bottle by 12 months of age. Additionally, a "sippy cup" should only be used to transition your child from the bottle to a regular cup.

Scheduling your child’s first dental visit at Sporting Smiles by their first birthday is a great opportunity to learn how to keep your child happy, healthy, and cavity free. We are your partners i health and will work with you closely to keep your child's smile in great shape!

At Sporting Smiles, we stress the importance of starting healthy habits early.

From the moment you bring your baby home, start cleaning your baby’s mouth before he or she even develops those first few teeth. Your baby's gums and tongue can be effectively cleaned with moistened gauze, a soft cloth, or a silicone fingertip brush while you are giving your baby a bath. Developing this habit early makes it easier for both you – and your child – to stick with it.

When your child’s first tooth erupts, you can make the switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. These are available for infants, and we are happy to provide a product recommendation if you'd like. Use this brush at least twice a day, and particularly at bedtime, to remove the bacteria build-up that leads to decay.

Children often do not have the manual dexterity needed to effectively clean their teeth. For this reason, we recommend brushing for your child until they are 8 years of age and flossing for them until they are 10 years of age.

To learn more about fluoridated toothpaste and other recommended products, please call our Gainesville, VA dental office today. A diligent approach to home care now will help your child maintain optimal oral health. 

 

Active patients at Sporting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Family Orthodontics can request to have a custom form-fitting mouthguard for a fee. Our staff will take an impression to create a custom mouthguard and will make adjustments to ensure the best fit.

Our doctors may also recommend off-the-shelf mouthguards that can be purchased at local sporting goods stores.

Special Needs Dental Care

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

Orthodontics

Foods You Can Eat with Braces:
Milk based soft foods and drinks such as cheese, pudding, etc.
Soft Breads such as pancakes and soft tortillas.
Cooked Grains such as pasta and rice.
Meats such as meatballs, deli meats and cooked chicken.
Seafood such as crab cakes, salmon and tuna.
Cooked Vegetables such as mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and cooked beans.
Fruits such as bananas, applesauce and cut fruit.
Treats, but limited, milkshakes, Jelll-O, soft cake and simple ice cream flavors.
 
Foods to Avoid with Braces:
Sticky Foods such as caramel, chewing gum and chunky peanut butter.
Hard Foods such as nuts, hard candies and granola bars.
Hard Breads such as bagels, hard rolls, and pizza crust.
Crunchy Foods such as popcorn, chips or ice.
Other Foods: apples, carrots and corn on the cob.

When wearing braces, it is even more important to brush and floss daily! We want to keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment. Prior to starting Dr. Vahab will discuss the proper way to brush and floss while wearing braces. Daily brushing and flossing will reduce the risks of cavities, decalcification (white spots), and gingivitis/periodontists (gum disease) during your orthodontic treatment. Patients with poor oral hygiene may require more frequent visits to perform additional check-ups, and/or cleanings with the Pediatric Dentist.

Brushing Instructions

To get started, remove elastics, bands or removable parts or orthodontic appliances.

1. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Take the brush and sweep or roll away from the gumline.

2. Brush teeth and gums gently in a circular motion.

3. Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth and along the gumline.

4. Use the tip of your brush to brush the inner surface of your teeth and gumline using short back-and-forth strokes.

5. Lastly, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

It does not hurt to put braces on.  However, for the first few days you may feel mild to moderate tenderness and aching of your teeth. This discomfort will not affect your day to day experience, and you can continue to go to work, school or socialize events as normal.

Yes.  It is recommended that you continue your regular hygiene visits every six months. This is very important to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy during treatment.

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

In the event you need to transfer your orthodontic care prior to the completion of treatment, it is recommended that you visit your current orthodontist right before you leave. Your records will need to be prepared for transfer and an AAO (American Association of Orthodontics) active patient transfer form must be completed as well, this allows the new office to legally resume care.

Your first appointment at a new office (or at our office if you are transferring care to us), will include a consultation with the orthodontist, the patient, and their parent or legal guardian if the patient is a minor. During the first appointment, the orthodontist will review the initial records taken at the beginning of treatment, any progress notes or progress records and discuss with you the orthodontic plan of care moving forward. After this first visit with your new provider, you will likely resume routine visits every 4-6 weeks or as recommended at the discretion of the orthodontic provider.

When in braces brushing 3x per day for a full two minutes and floss once per day is all you need to keep your teeth healthy.  Electric brushes and water piks are great, but they are not required.  We will evaluate your hygiene at each visit to make sure you are brushing correctly and to keep you on track.  

After your braces have been placed, you will be placed on a 4-6 week recall schedule. Before you leave the office is it important to set up your next periodic orthodontic treatment visit, this will help keep you current with all of your appointments. Scheduling and keeping your orthodontic treatment visits up to date allows our office to maintain an accurate record of your orthodontic treatment needs and progress. This also allows us to monitor your oral hygiene and any additional concerns, or unexpected necessary repairs during the course of treatment. 

Maintaining optimal oral hygiene and following the dietary guidelines set forth during orthodontic treatment are two very large contributing factors in staying current with orthodontic treatment. While it is common to require a few slight repairs to your brackets, wires, and/or appliances; frequent broken brackets, misplaced wires and/or loose appliances can have a large impact on the duration of treatment. Frequent, unexpected repairs or replacements can set back the patient in their care - following directions along the way will allow your treatment to progress the way it should. 

Orthodontics can range from 6-36 months. The average treatment time for realignment of the “occlusion” or bite is 18-20 months. However, if the bite is already in good function, a dramatic aesthetic improvement of the front teeth can be achieved in 6-12 months.

You will need to be seen every four to six months for adjustments. On average these appointments are 30 minutes long.  Invisalign appts are every 6-8 week and are 15-20 minutes.

There is no age limit for achieving the smile you always wanted.  I see a lot of patients that come in for a consultation and say, “I have been wanting straight teeth my whole life!”

At any moment, there are over more than 5 million children and adults in the US currently wearing braces. At Sporting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Family Orthodontics we want to make the experience of wearing braces a positive one. Therefore, we want to dispel many of the popular, weird and myths about braces:

Can Braces Rust?

NO – Braces are made of high grade medical metals, like titanium alloy, and therefore will NOT rust.

Can I Play Contact Sports Wearing Braces?

YES – Wear a mouth guard! Mouth guards are for everyone, whether they wear braces or not. Mouth guards not only save teeth, but may also protect against jaw fractures.

Am I Able to Play A Musical Instrument While Wearing Braces?

YES – Of course you can.

Can Braces Become Locked Together if Two People with Braces Kiss?

Almost Impossible – It is extremely difficult to lock braces while kissing as today’s braces are much smaller and sleeker.

Do Braces Set Off the Metal Detectors at The Airport?

NO – The amount of lightweight medical grade metals used in braces will not affect metal detectors.

Do Braces Interfere with Electronic Devices or Radio Signals?

NO – Braces are not magnetic nor do they interfere with popular electronic devices or your favorite radio station.

Orthodontic specialists have 2-3 years of advanced clinical and academic training in addition after becoming a dentist. They specialize in aligning teeth and Jaws, establishing healthy bites, and improving the function of your smile.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends having an orthodontic exam by age 7 to baseline dental development and screen for indicators of future problems. Dr. Vahab has a conservative approach, and recommends starting orthodontics when all the adult teeth have erupted (11-13 years old) whenever possible.  “Early” treatment between 8-10 years old, is reserved for severe space deficiencies and other problems that cannot be corrected later. 

Orthodontics is not limited to children and teens.  1 on 5 orthodontic patients are above the age of 21.  So, it’s never too late to get the smile you have always wanted.

Yes! Dr. Vahab was a trumpet player in high school so we love musicians in our office.  Invisalign is always the best choice for serious musicians, because they can be removed while playing.  You can certainly play with traditional braces; however, it may take some adjusting so practice, practice practice!!!

Sporting Smiles is our name and we love sporty kids! Dr. Vahab recommends using a mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaws from injuries.  Dr. Vahab will assist help you choose the best customizable mouthguard for you. He will also adjust them so that they do not interfere with your braces.

Clear Aligners

Most orthodontic benefits provide coverage towards clear aligners. There is typically an upcharge with converting traditional orthodontic treatment to the clear aligner treatments. We recommend contacting your insurance to determine what your individual orthodontic benefits are. Our team is available to discuss any other questions you may have.

Most patients are candidates for the clear aligners. We recommend scheduling an in office consultation to be evaluated. During the evaluation we will discuss all options for your treatment needs. 

Both clear aligner systems have the same treatment philosophy; however, Invisalign is more widely advertised.

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