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Posts for tag: braces

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
March 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Orthodontists are able to achieve attractive results with traditional braces moving several teeth into a better position. In a way, braces are the original “smile makeover.”

But orthodontic treatment can also be useful if only a few teeth (like the two upper front teeth) need to be moved slightly. A treatment known as minor tooth movement takes only a few months as opposed to years for traditional multiple teeth movement, and with removable appliances that may use small springs or elastics to place gentle pressure on teeth to move them.

So, what constitutes a minor tooth movement scenario? As with any dental condition, the first step is a complete dental examination, particularly the bite. We also need to determine if enough room exists to close any space without compromising the bite with the opposing teeth, and if the teeth and their roots are in a good position to allow minor movement — otherwise, more extensive treatment may be called for. The surrounding gum tissues and bone also need to be healthy and disease-free, especially in adults.

We may also need to look more closely at the actual cause for a front tooth gap. If the gap is the result of the tongue habitually pressing against the back of the teeth and pushing them forward, it may then be difficult or impossible to close the gap with minor tooth movement techniques. The cause may also originate from the frenum (a thin, muscular tissue that rises up from between the upper front teeth toward the lip) if it has extended too far between the teeth. In this case we may first need to surgically remove some of the frenum tissue before attempting orthodontics or the teeth may gradually move back apart after closing the gap.

Although minor tooth movement normally doesn’t take as long as braces, it may still require several months. And just like with braces, you will need to wear a retainer for several months afterward until the bone stabilizes around the new position. Still, minor tooth movement could have a major impact on your smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Minor Tooth Movement.”

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
September 22, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.

He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”

Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.

There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.

The Science Behind the Magic

There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.

The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.

How’s that for a disappearing act?!

If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
September 06, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign   braces   orthodontics  

Would you like to do something about your crooked teeth, as long it doesn't require wearing metal braces? Many people feel the same invisalignway. Metal and ceramic braces may be effective, but they aren't exactly attractive. Lynchburg, VA, dentist Dr. Kevin Midkiff discusses Invisalign, a metal-free alternative to traditional braces.

How will Invisalign straighten my teeth?

Clear, removable aligner trays take the place of wires and brackets in the Invisalign system. When you visit our Lynchburg office, we'll design a series of trays that will cover your entire course of treatment. Each set of trays applies the gentle pressure needed to realign teeth and is worn for about two weeks. We'll take digital images and impressions of your mouth during your visit and combine them with X-rays to create a digital 3D representation of your teeth. Dr. Midkiff will use the 3D image to design upper and lower aligner trays that not only fit snugly and comfortably but also achieve your straightening goals.

Is Invisalign the right choice for me?

Invisalign is an excellent choice whether you are a teenager or an adult. As long as you're prepared to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, clean them regularly and follow a good oral hygiene routine, you'll benefit from Invisalign. The system is recommended for people who have a range of mild to moderate orthodontic problems, including spacing and crowding issues, overbites, underbites, crossbites and open bites.

Will anybody be able to tell I'm wearing Invisalign aligner trays?

Invisalign aligner trays are made of transparent plastic and are designed to be virtually unnoticeable. They offer the easiest way to improve your smile without affecting your appearance during the straightening process.

Will I have to give up my favorite foods?

Food restrictions are a fact of life for people who wear metal or ceramic braces. Taking a bite of a hard food can break the wires, while sticky foods can become stuck around wires and brackets. There are no food restrictions with the Invisalign system. You'll remove the aligners when you eat, then rinse and replace them at the end of the meal. Although you can drink water without removing your trays, it's a good idea to remove the aligners when you drink other beverages that may stain your aligner trays.

Straighten your smile with Invisalign. Call Lynchburg, VA, dentist Dr. Kevin Midkiff at (434) 239-8133 to schedule an appointment.

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
January 13, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign   braces   orthodontics  

Learn more about Invisalign from your Lynchburg dentist

Have you avoided straightening your teeth because you assume that metal braces are the only option? Innovative Invisalign aligner invisaligntrays are virtually invisible and don't draw attention to the fact that you're straightening your teeth. Dr. Kevin Midkiff, your Lynchburg, VA dentist explains how you can benefit from Invisalign.

No wires needed

The Invisalign system uses a series of clear aligner trays to gradually move your teeth into alignment. The comfortable trays are custom-made to fit your mouth. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are removable. You'll generally wear them for about 22 hours a day and take them out when you eat. There's no adjustments needed when you wear the aligners. Instead, you'll insert a new set of aligners every two weeks.

Your dentist designs your trays using photographs, impressions and X-rays of your teeth. Special Invisalign software enables him to view a 3-D representation of your mouth, which he uses to create trays for every phase of your orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is a good choice if you have a mild to moderate orthodontic issue, such as an overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, crowding or gaps between teeth.

Invisalign fits your life

If you play sports, you'll need to wear special mouthguards to protect metal or ceramic braces. A blow to the face can still break a wire and can cut your mouth, even with the extra protection provided by the mouthguard. When you wear Invisalign aligners, you'll remove your trays to play sports and can wear standard mouthguards. The aligners can also be removed for a few hours when you attend special events, like weddings and proms.

Food restrictions are one of the things that people who wear traditional braces dislike. Any types of food that can either break wires or brackets or become caught in them is off-limits. Since you'll remove your Invisalign aligners to eat, you won't have to worry about food limitations.

Cleaning your teeth is much easier, too. You'll simply remove your trays, brush and floss as usual, rinse the trays and reinsert them in your mouth.

Transform your smile with Invisalign! Call Dr. Midkiff, your Lynchburg, VA dentist at (434) 239-8133 to schedule an appointment.

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
June 27, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   braces  

Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.

“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:

  • Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
  • Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
  • Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.

Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”