Ask an Orthodontist

This week’s featured Smile Generation Dentist is an Orthodontist!  In case you were wondering, orthodontics is the dental specialty and practice of preventing and correcting irregularities of the teeth. Think braces and retainers.

Dr. Sergio Ferreira is the orthodontist at San Clemente Dental Group, a member of the Smile Generation family.  He has been practicing orthodontics since 1997. His jovial personality helps him form relationships with patients. You get a sense of his pleasant disposition in his answers to these two questions posted on our Facebook page.

Q. From Alicia Johnson:

“I had braces for 2 years when I was about 11-12 or 13 (don’t remember exactly). I wore my removable retainer (top teeth) nightly until about freshman year of college and stopped. I have since put in my old retainer a few times and it is tighter- would it hurt to start wearing it at night again to make my teeth as tight together as they used to be? ( I am now 25, so I haven’t worn it for about 6 years) THANKS!!!”

A. Hello Alicia!!!!!

The biggest mistake orthodontic patients can make after treatment is not wearing their retainer. A lot of patients need braces again for not wearing retainers properly… It looks like you did follow the instructions. Regarding your question about whether you should start wearing your retainer again,

Well, it all depends on how your teeth look. If they look good, and  if you do not present any crowding or spacing, and if your wisdom teeth are erupted or extracted, you do not need to go back to the retainer. 

Wisdom teeth may be responsible for shifting of  teeth. It is normal for your retainer to feel tight after 6 years because teeth always shift a bit. If you see spacing or crowding, “Yes”, you should start to wear the retainer every night again. If the retainer feels very tight, it means that your teeth are moving or moved a lot. If it feels a bit tight, this is normal after 6 years.  Retainers are like “money in the bank”.  More is better. If you start to wear it again, your teeth will feel tight for a few days until you get used to it again.

I always tell my patients: Wearing retainers to sleep does not bring any inconvenience to you. They are the “pajamas for your teeth.” I am much older than you and I still wear mine! I had treatment as an adult and stability is harder.

Q. From  Katee Afshar:

“ What is Phase 1 and why do most dentists think it’s so important?” 

A. Hello Katee!!!!!

This is a very important question!

Phase I treatment in Orthodontics is an early treatment performed when the child is in mixed dentition (from 6 to 9 years of age). It is very important to understand that the child may need to go to phase II of treatment. It is necessary to make this very clear to the parents. 

A lot of doctors do not explain that and when phase II is needed, parents do not have money or the insurance was used already… Parents must ask the doctors what will be accomplished on phase I. I’ve seen many cases where patients just had four brackets and nothing was accomplished. I do perform phase I,  but only when it is really necessary. In lots of cases, I’d rather wait for full treatment. 

Here are some cases when Phase I  is recommended:

- Posterior or anterior crossbites. Basically, a crossbite is when one or all of the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth when you bite.   It is much more difficult to treat when one is an adult. Sometimes, only surgery can correct some cases.

- Extreme flaring of upper incisors.

- Severe crowding. Expansion of the arches or serial extraction of deciduous teeth may be performed in an early age to open spaces for erupting teeth.

Depending on the age, I usually combine both phases of treatment and perform full treatment for about 3 years. It is more cost-effective that way. I do not like the idea when phase I is finished and parents are charged again to go to Phase II. A detailed treatment plan must be always reviewed by the parents. Lots of problems presented in mixed dentition can be easily treated in full treatment case.

Ask A Dentist

        This week’s question comes from one of our Twitter followers  @gotspawn also known as Stashia. She asked “Why are my gums receding, was it really from using a medium toothbrush for so many years?”

Our Smile Generation expert, Dr. Charles Rodgers, replied:

"There are a large number of different reasons why gums will recede.  Using a particular type of toothbrush for a time period can contribute to this.  Typically a hard brush will have more impact than a medium brush.  Ironically, even a soft brush can contribute to this, because it is also a matter of brushing style and pressure exerted as well as the stiffness of the bristles.  A bigger concern for most dentists and their patients is the wear on the teeth themselves from the hard and medium brushes.  Over time, and with side to side brushing, a notch can actually be worn into the teeth at or below where the gum line was.  This happens most often on the canines (cuspids – the pointy eye teeth) and the teeth right behind these called the premolars (also called bicuspids).  These may become sensitive and if large enough, usually need to be filled, although not truly a decay type of cavity.  In fact we call them abrasions, since they have been worn down from brushing."    Dr. Rodgers adds, “ Now, even though I’ve said all this, don’t give up on brushing.  The benefits of brushing far outweigh the negatives, and with proper brushing, the risk of damage is minimal.”

Thank you very much Dr. Rodgers! Post your questions on our Facebook page or email us at media@smilegeneration.com Subject line:  Ask a Dentist

In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Smile Generation offices in Arizona took to the schools.  In Queen Creek, fantastic dental assistant, Storrie engaged about 50 kindergartners in an oral hygiene presentation that featured “Kanga” the kangaroo.  Every Kid’s Dentist handed out a dental acitvity pack to each of the students.

Meanwhile, at Toltec Elementary School, Ellen from Smile Generation’s Casa Grande EKD office, gave a presentation to 180 kids (!) on proper brushing, and healthy eating, along with her buddy “Dudley the Dragon.”  Toltec kindergartners were all smiles after the visit - they also received dental activity packs loaded with goodies.

In honor of the Super Bowl, Kids Bowl was held on Sunday at  The Wildlife Experience, an educational and fun museum that connects visitors with wildlife and habitats  in Parker, Colorado. Lone Tree Dentists – a member of the Smile Generation family, were on hand to join the festivities which included a mascot scavenger hunt, face painting, games and crafts and other fun activities. 

Give Kids a Smile

GKASToday, February 4th is GIVE KIDS A SMILE day - a program that provides access to free dentistry for kids ages 4-17 on this day. First come first serve, you must book an appointment 1-800-SmileGen (764-5343). The following Smile Generation offices are participating:  Pleasant Grove Dental Group in Roseville, CA; Gateway Dental in Folson, CA; Green Valley Dental Group in El Dorado Hills, CA; Sierra Smiles in Auburn, CA. On February 11th,  San Clemente Dental Group in San Clemente, CA.

Ask A Dentist

Smile Generation dentist Dr. Charles Rodgers, DDS answers questions from our Facebook followers.

Q. When should a child first see a dentist

A. Typically for a general practitioner, the age is 3.  But if a parent sees something suspicious, they should get the child in sooner.  In cases like this, the child will usually end up being treated by a pediatric dentist.  In fact some insurance plans require a referral from the general practitioner in order for the patient to be seen by the pediatric dentist.  So, the patient needs to first visit the GP, even if no treatment can be done by the GP, just to get the referral.  It is also common for patients between the ages of 3-5 (and sometimes much older) to also need to see the pediatric dentist, most notably when they are uncooperative with the GP or require significant amounts of treatment that are better suited to be done under some form of sedation.

Q. What should we be looking for in a toothpaste?  What is the best toothpaste for children

A. There are many choices here, but most manufacturers use the exact same ingredients.  Almost every company has a form of Tartar Control, Whitening-type toothpaste.  For a majority of patients, this is the best choice, but when it comes to children, the real bottom line is “do they like the flavor?”   If they don’t like the flavor, then the tooth brushing experience is miserable and much less effective at cavity prevention.  For very small children, the parent should assist with the brushing process, the same as they would help a small child brush their hair, or tie their shoes.  A limited number of manufacturers make “healthy” or “eco-friendly” type toothpastes.  They may have ingredients like baking soda, green tea oil, etc.  Many of these are not ADA approved, but that does not mean they are not effective.  Almost any material can be effective for tooth brushing if the brushing is done properly.  As far as the extra benefits promoted by some of the types of toothpaste, a lot of it is debatable and has not always been officially tested.

Thank you very much Dr. Rodgers! Post your questions on our Facebook page or email us at media@smilegeneration.com Subject line:  Ask a Dentist

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Coloring Contest

Calling all kids! Win a Smile Generation gift pack and $25 Target Gift Card. 10 winners will be chosen.

HOW TO JOIN:

Children  ages 10 and under are invited to either color in our printable drawing sheet or draw something that interprets  the  phrase “A Healthy Smile is Pretty as a Picture.”

If your child chooses to draw instead of color, he/she may use any medium on paper that is no bigger than  8 x10”

Parents are instructed to TAKE A PHOTO of their child HOLDING their FINISHED work.

Photo must be emailed to media @smilegeneration.com with child’s name and age, as well as the parent’s contact information (email, address and phone number). Please use subject line: CONTEST

CONTEST RUNS FROM February 1st to February 26th. Winners will be drawn on February 28th at 3pm.

OFFICIAL RULES:

One entry per child, but multiple children per household allowed.

Submitted artwork becomes the property of Smile Generation/PDS.

Must have valid contact information to participate.

Each entry will be posted to our Facebook.com/smilegen page .  The winners will have their artwork posted on the Smile Generation BLOG!

By submitting their photo, entrants agree that the photo may be posted online on the Smile Generation website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.

We reserve the right to post entries on the Smile Generation blog, website and Facebook Page with child’s first name and age only. This contest is open only to those who live in the U.S.

Contest Entry must be submitted by parent or guardian 18 years of age or older

Must be the child’s actual work

PRIZES:

10 Artworks will be chosen by random drawing and will be awarded a Smile Generation gift pack and a $25 Target Gift Card.

DOWNLOAD THE COLORING PAGE! 

Ready to submit your entry? Email us media@smilegeneration.com SUBJECT: CONTEST

6 tips to cure bad breath

Who doesn’t want fresh breath? @GuyKawasaki shares some tips from HowStuffWorks.com on Alltop.com

10 Oral Health Questions Answered

How many times should you REALLY visit the dentist? How often should you floss? And other questions answered in this article by Sarah-Reistad-Long from Woman’s Day.

Read the article here.

Our Smile Generation offices in Nevada are conducting a Jacket Drive tobenefit the Communities in Schools of Southern Nevada. Donate a coat, jacket or sweatshirt and receive $50 off any dentistry.* *Cannot be combined with any other offer, limit 1 per patient, see office for details.
Here are the participating offices:
Rocksprings Dental Group, Shadow Mountain Dental Group and Orthodontics, Rainsprings Dental Group and Orthodontics, Montecito Town Center Dental Group, Ranch Plaza Dental Group, Alexander Dental Group and Orthodontics, Durango Dental Group, Canyon Pointe Dental Group, Stephanie Dental Group, Diamond Dental Group and Orthodontics, Henderson Dental Group and Orthodontics, Flamingo Smiles Dentistry and Mountain Dental Group.

Our Smile Generation offices in Nevada are conducting a Jacket Drive tobenefit the Communities in Schools of Southern Nevada. Donate a coat, jacket or sweatshirt and receive $50 off any dentistry.* *Cannot be combined with any other offer, limit 1 per patient, see office for details.

Here are the participating offices:

Rocksprings Dental Group, Shadow Mountain Dental Group and Orthodontics, Rainsprings Dental Group and Orthodontics, Montecito Town Center Dental Group, Ranch Plaza Dental Group, Alexander Dental Group and Orthodontics, Durango Dental Group, Canyon Pointe Dental Group, Stephanie Dental Group, Diamond Dental Group and Orthodontics, Henderson Dental Group and Orthodontics, Flamingo Smiles Dentistry and Mountain Dental Group.