Posts for: March, 2020

March 18, 2020

 

Given the outbreak of COVID-19, your orthodontist may have made the difficult, but important, decision to postpone any non-emergent appointments. You can be assured that this decision was not made lightly but was made to protect patients, staff and families.   

Given the closure, you may have a few questions.  

Will this delay my treatment? 
We know part of successful orthodontic treatment is showing up for your appointments. If that’s not an option under these unusual circumstances, it’s okay. Don’t panic. Though your appointments are scheduled out to achieve maximum success, this hiccup shouldn’t have much of an impact on your overall treatment plan. Given the situation, your orthodontist will work hard to get your treatment plan back on track when they reopen.  
You can help keep treatment on track by following your orthodontist’s directions, avoiding hard and sticky foods and keeping your teeth clean.  With limited appointments available, now is not the time to be breaking brackets, and keeping your teeth clean will ensure the best possible result.
What now?  
Make sure to stay in contact with your orthodontist about when they plan to reopen and get any appointments you’re going to miss rescheduled. For many offices, information regarding this is available on practices’ Facebook pages and/or websites.
A timeline as to when they reopen may be up-in-the-air, but you can rest assured they are making decisions with your best interest in mind.  
My orthodontist said they will continue “essential dental care.” What does that mean?  
If you have an urgent need during this time, such as pain or injury, your orthodontist will likely be available for emergency appointments. Please contact their office to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. 
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, but what’s one thing we know for sure?  
Your orthodontist looks forward to seeing you back in our office soon! 
For more information on AAO guidelines during this unprecedented time, visit aaoinfo.org/virus.  

By Varble Orthodontics
March 24, 2020
Category: Oral Health
WearingaRetainerWillProtectYourNewSmileAfterBraces

After living with braces for a couple of years, the “big reveal” finally happens and you see your new smile for the first time. But then you’re told you have to wear another mouth appliance—around the clock to start and then just at night. After all the new smile excitement, wearing a retainer can be a little anticlimactic.

But this part of your orthodontic treatment is as important as the earlier tooth movement phase. That’s because your new “forever smile” doesn’t necessarily come with a “forever” guaranty. In fact, your teeth could quickly begin moving back to where they were before braces if you don’t wear a retainer.

The reason why is because of a tough but elastic gum tissue called the periodontal ligament. This ligament lies between the teeth and the jawbone, attaching to both through tiny extending fibers. The periodontal ligament actually does most of the anchoring work to hold your teeth in place.

The ligament is also why we’re able to move your teeth to different positions: As braces apply pressure to the teeth and jaw in the direction of desired movement, the ligament remodels itself to allow the teeth to take up these new positions.

The tissues involved, though, still retain a kind of “memory” of where the teeth used to be. This creates an immediate tendency for the teeth to revert to these old positions. To prevent this, we use a retainer that when worn keeps or “retains” the teeth in their new positions until they’ve stabilized and the old tissue “memory” fades.

There are different types of retainers, some removable and some fixed in place. Choosing the best one for a particular patient will depend on the complexity of the bite treatment, the patient’s age and level of self-responsibility and the preferences of the orthodontist. Whichever type of retainer you eventually use, it’s important you wear it to preserve all of the time and effort that went into transforming your smile.

Wearing a retainer might not be high on your “exciting things to do” list. But it’s the best way to guarantee you’ll enjoy your new smile for years to come.

If you would like more information on keeping your new smile after braces, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”


March 15, 2020
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

In light of what is going on in our community and the world, we want to let you know what we are doing to protect our patients and staff.  Our offices are currently open on our normal schedule.  However, effective immediately, we would like to limit the amount of traffic coming in and out of the office.

• To minimize the number of people in our office, we request that you not bring siblings, friends, or relatives to your orthodontic appointment.

• When parents are accompanying children, we ask that only one parent, rather than both, attend with your child.

• Some families desire that their children be seen without an adult present in the office (for example, a parent may wait in the car).  We strongly encourage you to do so.  Please assume that no treatment update from us is good news and that your child’s treatment is advancing normally. We will contact you as needed for any treatment updates.

• If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, please do not come to the office.  Please call us and we will gladly reschedule your appointment.

• If you have traveled to a high-risk area known to have COVID-19 or have been on a cruise in the last 14 days, please call the office to reschedule your appointment until after you have at least 14 days of being symptom free.

• If you have known exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, please call to reschedule your appointment. 

Unlike many public environments, our office remains a very safe space to continue administering care, as we are constantly disinfecting our facility and equipment by following CDC, and State of Illinois regulations and recommendations pertaining to dental care settings.

In addition to our standard levels of sterilization and disinfection after every patient visit, our team is disinfecting common areas frequently, including waiting room chairs, front desk and brushing station.

Fortunately, routine orthodontic care seldom carries with it any urgency.  Please rest assured that should the changing environment require a deferring of appointments, or our office hours require alteration, your orthodontic treatment will not suffer any significant delay.  Although we are hopeful that it will not be necessary, should it become prudent to delay office operations for any reason, we will be able to continue your treatment unabated as such time that operations return to normal.

We thank you for your time in reviewing this update, and remind you to keep calm and wash your hands.  We will get through this together.

Sincerely
Dr. Varble and the entire team at Varble Orthodontics.


By Varble Orthodontics
March 14, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay   gerd  
ManageYourGERDSymptomstoPreventEnamelErosion

Most dental problems arise from tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. But they aren't the only source of danger to your teeth—gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) could be just as damaging to your tooth enamel as dental disease.

GERD usually occurs when a ring of muscles at the top of the stomach weaken, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This resulting acid reflux can make life unpleasant and pose potential health dangers—over time it can damage the lining of the esophagus and cause ulcers and pre-cancerous cells. It can also erode tooth enamel if acid enters the mouth and raises its level of acidity.

This can be a problem because acid can soften and dissolve the mineral content of tooth enamel. This is the primary cause of tooth decay as acid produced by oral bacteria attack enamel. The more bacteria present, often thriving in dental plaque, the higher the potential levels of acid that can damage enamel. Stomach acid, which is strong enough to break down food, can cause similar harm to enamel if it causes higher than normal acidity in the mouth.

There are some things you can do to protect your teeth if you have GERD, namely manage your GERD symptoms with lifestyle changes and medication. You may need to avoid alcohol, caffeine or heavily acidic or spicy foods, all known to aggravate GERD symptoms. Quitting smoking and avoiding late night meals might also ease indigestion. And your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription drugs to help control your acid reflux.

You can also boost your teeth's enamel health by practicing daily brushing and flossing—but not right after a reflux episode. The enamel could be softened, so brushing can potentially remove tiny particles of mineral content. Instead, rinse with water mixed with or without a little baking soda to help neutralize acid and wait about an hour—this will give saliva, the mouth's natural acid neutralizer, time to restore the mouth's normal pH level.

And be sure you're using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens enamel—in fact, your dentist may recommend topical fluoride applications to boost the effect.

These and other tips can help minimize the effects of GERD on your dental health. With an ounce of prevention, you can keep it from permanently damaging your teeth.

If you would like more information on managing your dental health with GERD, 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 “GERD and Oral Health.”


3TipsforHelpingYourChildFeelMoreComfortableGoingtotheDentist

There’s really no secret to keeping your child’s teeth healthy — good, daily hygiene habits, regular dental visits and early treatment for emerging problems. It’s a lot easier for those things to happen if your child feels comfortable with dental care and visiting the dentist. Sadly, that’s not always the case: many children develop an unhealthy fear of the dentist because the initial relationship may have been mishandled.

Here, then, are 3 tips that will help you foster a healthy relationship between your child and their dentist.

Visit the dentist before their first birthday. From a health standpoint, dental visits should begin soon after your child’s first teeth emerge (erupt) in the mouth. Visiting the dentist by their first birthday also improves the chances they’ll develop a sufficient level of comfort with the visits, more so than if you waited a year or two longer.

Choose your dentist with your child’s sense of security and comfort in mind. When you’re looking for a dentist to care for your child, think of it as looking for a “new member of the family.” It’s important to find an office environment that’s kid-friendly and staff members that work well with children. Some dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry and many general dentists have additional training in working with children. The key is a dental team that has a good, trust-building rapport with children.

Set an example, both in the home and at the dentist. Children learn quite a bit watching what their caregivers say and how they react in potentially stressful situations. If dental care is important to you personally, it’s more likely to become important to your child. And when you visit the dentist with your child, be sure to project calm and a sense that it’s routine — if you display tenseness or nervousness your child may take that as a sign that visiting the dentist is something to fear.

You want your child to learn that the dentist is their friend who’s there to help them. That lesson should begin early with the right dental team — and by making dental care a priority in your own life.

If you would like more information on dental care for your child, 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 “Taking the Stress out of Dentistry for Kids.”