How Do I Floss With Braces?

Dr. Ana E. Castilla and the Castilla Orthodontics staff take the time to instruct each of their orthodontics patients in Salem, OR how to floss while they are being treated with braces. Wearing braces on the teeth can make good oral hygiene habits difficult to perform, can create spaces where food debris can collect, and they provide an environment for bacteria to thrive. Good brushing and flossing techniques and habits while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces is often a challenge, but flossing with braces can be accomplished effectively once equipped with a little advice.

Why floss with braces?

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) advises that flossing is just as important as brushing in a conscientiously applied regimen of good oral hygiene. Toothbrushes are great for cleaning plaque from the fronts and back surfaces of the teeth, but they simply cannot reach the sides, in between the teeth, and along the gumline. Food debris in the mouth feeds bacteria. The bacteria in the mouth creates acid that causes bad breath and breaks down tooth enamel. Flossing removes most of this acid-causing food debris to keep teeth healthier and breath fresher. All of this becomes even more prevalent while undergoing treatment with braces because the brackets and wires can often be a catch-all for food and bacteria.

Get in the game.

A floss pick is an instrument that is effective at keeping braces clean and clear of food debris. A piece of dental floss spans a space at one end, kind of like a harp. The other end is a tapered point that can be used to force food debris from behind the wires, around the brackets, and in between the teeth. Floss picks are available for both children and adults and may be either reusable or single use. A floss threader is a thin piece of plastic with a loop at the end to hold the floss. The plastic piece is threaded above or below the wires to access the spaces between teeth.

Up your game.

There is actually a technique for flossing that is proven to help effectively remove plaque from teeth. Carefully manipulating the dental floss between the teeth and into a “C” shape is a good method to clean the back surfaces of the teeth, including down by the gumline. Make an up-and-down motion against the tooth, keeping the floss tight against the surface. Floss each tooth individually and move in sequence. Keep going until each tooth has been flossed. A Waterpik® water flosser is an oft recommended method of flossing. It may be more effective than dental floss and works with a pulsating stream of water to flush out food or particles stuck between teeth and gums and to remove the plaque that can build up on braces.

Stay on the scoreboard.

A conscientious oral hygiene regimen including a fluoride toothpaste, anti-plaque mouthwash, and thorough flossing is the program patients in Salem, OR can rely on to keep their mouth after braces clean, healthy, and in the best condition possible. Dr. Ana E. Castilla and the team at Castilla Orthodontics coach their patients to a winning treatment outcome every time. They are important teammates in their patients oral health care. For more information about how to floss with braces, or to schedule an appointment, contact Castilla Orthodontics in Salem, OR today at: 503-399-0721

What Does an Orthodontist Do and How Do They Differ From a Dentist?

Dr. Ana E. Castilla of Castilla Orthodontics has some tips to help patients near Keizer, OR to distinguish between a dentist and an orthodontist. The difference between an orthodontist and a dentist may be indistinguishable to some people. Something that many folks don’t know is that all orthodontists can be dentists, but not all dentists can be orthodontists. They are both certified oral health care professionals, both treat and maintain the health of your teeth and gums, and both have the education and experience to be called doctors. In these areas, they are pretty comparable. However, there are more differences than similarities.

What’s the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

All orthodontists require further schooling and more experience in their specialty (orthodontics) beyond their dental school training. A similar example would be if a medical doctor elects to take special training to become a surgeon. So, if a dentist has a patient with a dental malocclusion, they will refer them to an orthodontist for treatment.

What services do they provide?

Braces

One of the main treatment approaches orthodontists use to align and straighten teeth are traditional metal braces. Traditional braces are comprised of brackets, wires, and bands that straighten your teeth and which are continually tightened over a prescribed amount of time. Dr. Castilla also offer patients near Keizer, OR treatment with light-colored ceramic braces (for patients who do not want their braces to be noticeable) and even fun clear-colored bands for his youngest patients. Braces can also be indicated for patients with overbites, underbites, or overcrowded or gapped teeth. Braces are used by many patients to achieve a perfect-picture smile.

Space Maintainers

When baby teeth are lost earlier than normal, space fillers are used so that the neighboring teeth do not grow into the space meant for the adult tooth to grow into. These space maintainers are used to keep the gap open until more childhood teeth fall out and the adult teeth begin to grow in. Fixed space maintainers work with a band that is attached to one tooth and a wire that is extended across the gap to the tooth on the other side to stretch and keep the gap open.

Aligners

Like braces, aligners help to straighten and align teeth. Invisalign is one of the most often employed aligner systems, and is often indicated in cases of:

  • underbites
  • overbites
  • open bites
  • cross bites
  • crowded teeth

Aligners like Invisalign are clear plastic trays that fit around your teeth and apply consistent pressure to straighten your teeth and contribute to your perfect smile.

Jaw Repositioning Appliances

Jaw repositioning appliances, sometimes called splints, are used to adjust either the upper or the lower jaw so that the whole jaw structure performs more naturally. Most often, this appliance is prescribed for patients with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Lip and Cheek Bumpers

Sometimes, patient’s lips and cheeks can put pressure on their teeth and cause pain or discomfort. Castilla Orthodontics recommends lip and cheek bumpers for these patients to help keep the lips and cheeks away from the teeth and thus reduce or eliminate the pressure, pain, or discomfort that the patient is experiencing.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is used to widen the curve of the upper jaw. It is a plastic tray which fits on the roof of the mouth and helps to better align the bones and joints in the mouth.

Removable Retainers

After orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign, using a retainer to keep the teeth from shifting back to their original positions is often indicated. Retainers are a plate that is placed on the roof of the mouth; a wire runs across the outside of the front teeth. Retainers may also be constructed as a plastic aligner. More often than not, these aligners are worn during the night.

Headgear

Headgear, usually, is a strap placed around the back of the head which is attached to a metal wire in the front of the mouth. An orthodontist prescribes headgear for patients who need to slow the growth of their jaw and to make sure that the patient’s teeth are in the right place and fit nicely within the jaw.

Any Questions?

Dr. Ana E. Castilla and the team at Castilla Orthodontics can help answer any questions you might have about orthodontics near Keizer, OR. If you still have questions about the differences between dentistry and orthodontics, or to schedule an appointment, contact Castilla Orthodontics near Keizer, OR today at: 503-399-0721