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October is National Orthodontic Health Month

In Give Back on October 13, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Maybe not all of us have braces, but we surely know someone who does. And perhaps not everyone is as celebratory about orthodontics as we are.

Keeping with our October  dental awareness series over the past week or so, we wanted to also promote a little ortho love.

How many degrees of separation are between you and your nearest orthodontic overachiever?

Give a hoot this October, and pass along some beneficial social local dentistry as it relates to orthodontics and braces.

School is back in full swing, and orthodontic options for everything from our favorite sports team colors to ultra-thin invisibility, are available right at our local dental or ortho office! october_national_orthodontic_health_month

Our orthodontists and dentists have many fashionable ways to straighten our crooked teeth, correct our bad bites, and realign any misalignment of our jaws.

Just don’t tell your teenage…of course, with advanced options comes increased cost.

In honor of National Orthodontic Health Month, here are some more orthodontic FAQs, courtesy of braces.org.

Kids

Can I play sports while wearing braces?

Yes, but make sure you wear a protective mouth guard.

Can I play musical instruments while wearing braces?

With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of wind or brass instruments.

What are my options if I don’t want braces that show?

Should your case warrant it, you might want to consider lingual braces, which feature brackets that are bonded behind the teeth. Ceramic braces are another option to lessen the visibility of braces; they blend in with the teeth for a more natural effect. Additionally, the use of a series of invisible aligner trays (invisible braces) instead of traditional braces may be used to correct some problems.

Will a stud in my tongue interfere with orthodontic treatment? october_national_orthodontic_health_month

Exercise caution with tongue-piercing jewelry. It can contribute to breakage of braces appliances and to tooth and gum damage from contact with the stud.

Parents

If my teeth have been crooked for years, why do I need orthodontic treatment now?

It’s never too late! Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can restore good function, and teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter your age.

Can I afford orthodontic treatment?

Most orthodontists have a variety of convenient payment plans. Many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits.

I am pregnant and want to begin orthodontic treatment. Is this OK?

Discuss this question with your medical practitioner/physician and orthodontist before you start any orthodontic treatment, as pregnancy brings on bodily changes that may affect the mouth. Soft tissues such as gums become much more susceptible to infection.

Do teeth with braces need special care?

Yes, clean, healthy teeth move more quickly. Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods, or hard objects, such as pens, pencils and fingernails. Keeping your teeth and braces clean requires more time, precision and must be done every day if the teeth and gums are to be healthy during and after orthodontic treatment.

I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. Will that give me straight teeth?

Quick-fix veneers temporarily cover crooked teeth. Teeth straightened by an orthodontist are good for life. That’s because only orthodontists receive an extra 2-3 years of education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.

How may I distinguish an orthodontist from a general dentist?

Visit our Find an Orthodontist section to find AAO-member orthodontists near you. AAO membership is the best way to confirm a doctor’s status as an orthodontist because the AAO only accepts orthodontists for membership. Additionally, visit the Questions for Your Orthodontist section for questions that you can ask to help determine if you’re getting your tooth-alignment procedure from an expert.

For more national health awareness days, weeks, or months, click here.

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A Horse Walks Into a Dental Office…

In Dental Humor - Oxymoron? on June 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Dentists get a bad rap, plain and simple. When it comes to maintaining our optimal health we think of a properly balanced diet, a regular exercise regimen, and minimum indulgence in all things contradictory to that end.

Boring!

You can’t argue with results, and keeping our regular dental appointments does yield results. Rarely do we make the connection between optimal health, and going to the dentist.

But the facts are in; keeping up our regular dental appointments is one essential ingredient in attaining and maintaining optimal health and wellness.

Who’d a thunk the same holds true for horses; wouldn’t mass quantities of hay, vegetables, water, and a salt lick do the trick?

Not so according to Ernie Kilby. What follows is an American success story right out of Dateline NBC, or 48Hours, or 20/20…or whatever major network news slash entertainment come current events production du jour you favor.

As the York Daily Record article on Equine Dentistry points out; for 30 years Kilby raised his family, cared for his handful of horses, and worked various supervising jobs in manufacturing. Then at age 52 he found himself out of work with minimal prospects.

He suffered through bouts of questioning his self-worth, worked his fingers to the bone, and finally decided to finance his equine dentistry training by mowing lawns and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.

Although it was slow going at first, his commitment remained unflappable. He has a gift, and now Kilby has corralled his son-in-law into the business to lend a hand.

As the YDR.com article goes on to mention, Kilby has an innate talent for dealing with horses.

We figured we could use that opportunity to draw some awfully thin correlations between equine dentistry and our walk on two legs kind. Read on, this is a direct excerpt from the York Daily Record article:

For as long as he can remember, he’s been able to reach horses in a way that stuns onlookers. Unapproachable stallions, looking as if they might kick their way through a wall, are disarmed by his presence.

He tries to explain it but can’t quite.

“The main point is he cares. A lot of dentists will come in and think it’s just a job and don’t really care,” said Star Lawson of Rushing Winds Farm.

“I just think he can speak to them. He has a more relaxed atmosphere with them. He pets the horses, he touches them, he kind of gets to know them.”

Are you picking up what we’re putting down?

The moral of this lead a horse to the dentist story is this; if our dentists take an active role as a partner in maintaining our overall health, we need to throw them a carrot once in a while!

Talk to your dentist, get to know them, and if they go above and beyond the call of duty – let them know about it. In this everyone connected world, a kind word still goes a long way.

And an online review, comment on Facebook, or website testimonial all represent an enduring opportunity to extend a carrot to our superstar dentists. If you think your tooth jockey is a dental derby favorite, let them know!

According to YDR.com, there are probably fewer than 50 equine dentists in Pennsylvania. Kilby and his partner, son-in-law Doug Siegrist, are two of only about 150 dentists anywhere certified by the International Association of Equine Dentistry.

To hear it from the horse’s mouth, click the link to watch Kilby’s interview on equine dentistry.

Check back often for the next installment of domesticated dentistry, our next focus is the ubiquitous Canis Majoris

Dentists Against Drowsy Driving

In Sleep Apnea on April 28, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), motor vehicle accidents due to “drowsy driving” account for $48 billion in medical costs each year. Sleepiness in today’s workplace causes another $150 billion in lost productivity and mistakes. A 2006 report released by the Institute of Medicine estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders.

That was about 5 years ago, do you think that number increased or decreased?

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine established “Dentists Against Drowsy Driving” to raise awareness among healthcare communities and the public about the dangers of untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). As stated by the AADSM, obstructive sleep apnea, like snoring, is a sleep-related breathing disorder. Snoring occurs when the airway is partially constricted. The snoring sound is a result of a collapsed airway. The reduced size of the opening causes the tissues to vibrate, producing the sound.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway partially or completely collapses. This can happen hundreds of times a night, reducing a person’s blood-oxygen levels. When a collapse occurs, the brain wakes the person up to breathe, but they may not even know it. This fragmented sleep pattern can lead to daytime sleepiness – and drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. A new study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety credits drowsy driving with one in six deadly crashes.

“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger.

But can snoring really be a sign of something more serious?

It can be.

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. But not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. According to the AASM, habitual snoring affects an estimated 24 percent of adult women and 40 percent of adult men. Approximately one-half of people who snore loudly have sleep apnea. OSA patients often make choking or gasping sounds when they wake up to breathe. This noise can help spouses recognize a breathing problem.

Anyone can have a sleep related breathing disorder. Risk factors include obesity, large neck sizes, alcohol, tobacco smoke, and Down Syndrome. Risk increases with age and weight. OSA is more common in men.

Dangers of Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders

Sleep apnea can cause hypertension, stroke, heart attack, and sudden death during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases one’s risk for diabetes, obesity, and depression. It can also cause memory problems, morning headaches, irritability, decreased libido, and impaired concentration. And while the American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that 18 million Americans have OSA.

Unfortunately, an alarming 80 to 90 percent of these people are undiagnosed and untreated.

We can all take some preventative measures to limit sleep disorders, and we can all communicate more with our doctors and dentists to diagnose any possible symptoms of sleep apnea before things progress to unhealthy or dangerous levels. If you or someone you love snores or experiences any level of sleep disorder, don’t continue to ignore it. Go see your doctor, schedule a diagnostic test with a sleep specialist, and talk to your dentist about readily available and easily affordable sleep disorder solutions.

Don’t Drive Drowsy!

Pass it on.