August 15th, 2018
Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons that range from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral diseases. When extra teeth or abnormally large teeth create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement of teeth), the culprit is usually genetic in nature. Other inherited traits involve jaws that are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth and misaligned jaws that did not form properly in the womb.
Can crooked teeth be prevented?
In most cases, underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are genetically derived and can’t be avoided. Orthodontic treatment with braces will be necessary to correct the condition once the child is old enough to wear them. However, certain early childhood behaviors may also contribute to the development of crooked teeth that can be avoided. These include:
- Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
- Losing baby teeth to decay before permanent teeth have naturally pushed them out of their sockets
- Allowing pacifier use to continue after front teeth have erupted
Permanent teeth underneath baby teeth are directly affected by the health of baby teeth. If baby teeth are prematurely lost due to decay or trauma, permanent teeth will shift when they start moving upward. Baby teeth are like anchors for permanent teeth that help guide them as they erupt through the gums.
In addition, excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having healthy permanent teeth free of discoloration or decay. Harmful oral bacteria can spread into the gums and reach permanent teeth still buried in the gums. Once attached to a tooth’s enamel, bacteria will begin eroding the tooth even before it has a chance to take its first bite!
When to Start Orthodontic Treatment for Crooked Teeth
Dr. Schmidtke and our staff suggest that parents bring your child to Schmidtke Orthodontics around age seven to rule out potential issues with permanent teeth eruption. If problems are discovered, it is not unusual to begin orthodontic treatment at that age. In fact, specific conditions such as crowding and gaps between teeth are easier to correct at an early age.
Early treatment also benefits from the growth process of the jaw, which helps move teeth to normal positions.
August 8th, 2018
Many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Dr. Schmidtke and our team at Schmidtke Orthodontics recommend children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. Early treatment, also known as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment, provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later.
If your child is showing these signs, it may be time to think about early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 12 to 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Sucking his or her thumb
- Speech impediment
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Crowded front teeth
- Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
Early intervention will greatly reduce the severity of your child’s case, and therefore reduce the length of treatment time and cost for a second phase of treatment when all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted. An evaluation at our Hortonville or Appleville office will determine if your child’s dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly or if interceptive treatment is needed. Many times, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated removable appliances instead of traditional orthodontic treatment.
To schedule a consultation for your child to visit with Dr. Schmidtke, please give us a call! We will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.
August 1st, 2018
Most people think braces are all about their teeth. While it is true orthodontics is meant to move your teeth into proper position, there's more to it than that. To safely move your teeth with braces, you're going to need healthy and stable gums (or periodontium—the tissues that support your teeth).
For this reason it's critical to have your periodontal health evaluated prior to getting braces. This applies particularly to adults, since a 2013 study by the Center For Disease Control found that an estimated 47.2% of adults 30 years of age and older had periodontitis (gum disease). If you do have periodontitis, moving your teeth with braces will only make things worse.
Conversely, there is also risk for periodontal disease if you don't get orthodontic treatment. Malocclusion, as well as crooked and spaced teeth, can all contribute to periodontal disease. In these situations your teeth and gums are more difficult to clean and become breeding grounds for disease causing bacteria. Bad oral hygiene combined with these traits can greatly contribute to the development of periodontitis.
So, periodontics and braces have a tricky relationship. On one hand, you shouldn't get braces if you show signs of developing or have periodontitis, while on the other hand, braces can help prevent the possibility of developing periodontitis by correcting the bite and straightening the teeth.
If you are 30 years of age or older and are considering getting braces, it would be wise to first:
- Let Dr. Schmidtke know about your desire to get braces
- Get an exam to make sure you're in good periodontal health and a good candidate for braces
- If you are a good candidate, keep an eye on your teeth and gums and get regular dental checkups throughout your entire course of treatment.
If you are in any doubt about the status of your teeth and gums, it's always best to get them checked before embarking with braces treatment. For more information or to have your periodontal health assessed for braces treatment, please contact our Hortonville or Appleville office.
July 25th, 2018
Most of our patients at Schmidtke Orthodontics will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment. The main reason our patients are instructed to wear rubber bands is to correct their bite. If your teeth do not fit together properly, Dr. Schmidtke will recommend that rubber bands be used. Dr. Schmidtke may also recommend using rubber bands to close or open spaces.
Rubber bands are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as Dr. Schmidtke and our team recommend will help move your teeth into the desired position. Dr. Schmidtke may ask you to wear your rubber bands full time, meaning that they should only be taken out when you brush and floss your teeth three times a day. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part-time, like only during the day or only during sleep.
If you still have any questions about orthodontic rubber bands, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment appointment. Remember, wearing rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Schmidtke is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces. If you lose your rubber bands or run out, stop by our Hortonville or Appleville office and pick up more!