Braces for Kids

Early Orthodontics May Mean Less Treatment Later

Look at yearbook or prom pictures from the 1950s or ’60s and you’ll see many smiles framed with heavy metal braces. It’s a sight that’s less common in high schools today. Why the change? Children today tend to get braces at a much earlier age. Some patients with special problems begin orthodontic treatment at age 7 or younger.

“The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children receive an orthodontic screening by age 7,” says Thomas Cangialosi, D.D.S. “Permanent teeth generally begin to come in at age 6 or 7. It is at this point that orthodontic problems become apparent.

“Because bones are still growing, it’s an ideal time to evaluate a child,” Dr. Cangialosi says. “Then we can determine what orthodontic treatment, if any, may be needed either now or in the future.”

Dr. Cangialosi is chairman and professor of Orthodontics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Making Braces Hip

To make braces more acceptable and fun for young people, manufacturers have made brightly colored elastics. These are the tiny rubber bands that hold the wires to the braces. Children can choose elastics with their school colors or a holiday color scheme, such as orange and black for Halloween.

Choosing the color of the elastics allows patients “to feel that they are more involved in their treatment,” Dr. Cangialosi says.

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Does My Kid Need Braces

Does My Child Need Braces?

It seems children today get braces or other types of orthodontic treatment earlier than their parents did. Is that the case and, if so, why?

Perhaps one can say there was a paradigm shift in the early ’80s. There is better understanding today of the underlying causes of orthodontic problems, many of which begin in early childhood. As a result, orthodontists pay greater attention to the ideal timing of treatment. We have learned that early intervention may, in many cases, lead to better outcomes.

Orthodontists do much more than just straighten crooked teeth. Orthodontists make sure the top and bottom teeth fit together properly. They are trained to guide and influence the eruption of teeth, as well as growth of the bones in the face and jaw, which can be achieved before an individual stops growing.

The older model – waiting for all the baby teeth to fall out and all the permanent teeth to come in before seeing an orthodontist for the first time – resulted in what today would be considered missed opportunities in many cases. Delaying treatment until adolescence increased the incidence of extraction of permanent teeth because, as the bones became more rigid and growth ceased, the window of opportunity for expansion or growth modification closed. Many correctable habits or skeletal mismatches were allowed to continue, while earlier intervention could have led to a more stable, and less invasive correction. In addition, as a result of increased public awareness of dental and orthodontic health, many more young children are seen by pediatric dentists than ever before. Pediatric dentists have additional training in growth and development and recognize developing dental and skeletal problems in young children. This has led to an earlier referral of their younger patients for an orthodontic evaluation.

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Braces or Invisalign?

Which is Better, Invisalign or Braces?

Article by Dr. Darren Flowers | Featured on Dentistry IQ

Orthodontic treatments that use either braces or Invisalign are just few of the many techniques used by dental professionals in straightening the teeth of their patients. They straighten teeth to give them an ideal position, improve their look, and promote proper function. Invisalign utilizes a set of clear plastic trays as a means of achieving the position. Traditional braces, on the other hand, usually make use of metal wires with an aim of getting the most ideal movement or position for the teeth.

The good thing about orthodontic dental treatments that use braces or Invisalign is that they do more than just straighten the teeth. These are also valuable in correcting bite issues that often require special diagnosis and treatment.

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How to Tell if you have a Cavity

Do I Have a Cavity?

Article featured on The Schulhof Center

Do you remember the old-fashioned cartoons your dentist used to show you as a child, like the one meant to scare you into brushing by showing little men with drills pounding holes in your teeth as you slept? While that may not be the most scientific explanation for this common oral problem, the basic concept is essentially correct. Your teeth do have little enemies that can and will try to destroy them, if allowed.  Some of the bacteria that live in your mouth thrive on sugars, and when they’re fed, they produce an acid that can literally eat a hole in your tooth enamel. Those pits and holes in your teeth are called cavities, and if they’re not treated, they can cause you to lose a tooth.

Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body. It can withstand extreme conditions and will probably outlast you, but even it can be worn down by acid. If you have a diet that’s high in the starches and sugars that acid-producing bacteria love, you need to be especially diligent about brushing twice a day and flossing every night to deny them the chance to produce that acid.

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Dental Health Facts

Six Important Dental Health Facts You Should Know

by Dianne L. Sefo, RDH, BA | Featured on Colgate

Not taking care of your mouth can lead to many dental problems: bad breath, gum disease, cavities, sensitivity and even tooth loss. But the good news is these issues are preventable.

For ideal dental health, there are numerous good habits you need to adopt. Here are six dental health facts you should know.

Healthy Lifestyles Make Healthy Smiles

Research from the Journal of Periodontology suggests regular exercise and a healthy diet decreases the chances of developing gum disease. A poor diet filled with sugary foods and liquids can lead to cavities.

Good Oral Hygiene Takes Time

A white smile doesn’t happen overnight. Several small positive changes in your routine will contribute to this gradual process. Plaque, the sticky film of bacteria constantly forming at the gum line and on the surfaces of your teeth, can take time to remove. Brush your teeth two to three minutes at a time, and twice daily. Consider using a timer to help ensure you’re spending enough time at the sink, or play a song of the same length encouraging everyone in the house to do the same. Interdental tools such as floss reach many areas of the mouth that your toothbrush can’t and should be used at least once daily before bedtime. Finish your routine by rinsing with mouthwash according to label directions to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

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Orthodontic Mouth Guard

Can I Play Sports with Braces on My Teeth?

by DR. JOSEPH THOMPSON | Featured on Ask an Orthodontist

A lot of people enjoy watching sports and participating in sports activities.  It’s exciting when we see our team or the underdog come back and win the game.  Some parents are concerned about their children playing sports while they have braces on their teeth.  The question often asked is, “Are there any limitations or sports that my child can’t participate in?”  During orthodontic treatment with braces, a child can play any sport.  However, we have to be careful to protect our lips and teeth from injury.  The best way to protect our teeth is with an orthodontic mouth guard.

Orthodontic mouth guards are different from a regular mouth guard.  First the regular mouth guard is thermoplastic.  Before using it, you have to heat the regular mouth guard and bite into it to create imprints of your teeth.  This is a problem with orthodontic treatment.  As the orthodontist moves your teeth, the regular mouth guard will try to move the teeth into an old position going against the tooth movement we want.  Or eventually the teeth will move so much that the regular mouth guard will not fit any more.

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Oral Health

Why Don’t We Treat Teeth Like the Rest of Our Bodies?

Article Featured on The Atlantic | Written by Olga Khazan

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland—Kira Adam was tired of waiting. When she first noticed the cavity about six months ago, she tried to book a dentist’s appointment, but she had trouble finding a practice that would take her Medicaid insurance.“Every time I tried to schedule it, it was a two to three month wait” for an appointment, she told me.

The cavity got worse. When she finally did get seen, the dentist told her she would need a root canal. It would cost $1,000, and her insurance would pay nothing.

“He told me to come back when I had the money,” she said. As a baker at Panera Bread, she knew it would be a while before she did. She applied for and received a loan through CareCredit, a medical financing company, but it was a few hundred dollars short. So she waited some more—and tried to ignore the pain that was now shooting through her jaw.

One recent Friday, the wait was over. Or at least, most of it was. She was sitting in the stands of the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland and looking down on the basketball court, where rows and rows of people were tipped back in dental chairs, getting their teeth fixed as part of a large dental charity event. Adam works at night, so her husband stood in line outside the building from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. to secure her spot. Adam drove over straight from work, taking the orange bracelet from her husband’s wrist. The bracelet meant she was in.

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Hormones & Oral Health

Hormones and Oral Health

Articled Featured on WebMD

Women may be more susceptible to oral health problems because of the unique hormonal changes they experience. Hormones affect not only the blood supply to the gum tissue but also the body’s response to the toxins (poisons) that result from plaque buildup. As a result of these changes, women are more prone to the development of periodontal disease at certain stages of their lives, as well as to other oral health problems.

When Are Women More at Risk for Oral Health Problems?

There are five situations in a women’s life during which hormone fluctuations make them more susceptible to oral health problems – during puberty, at certain points in the monthly menstrual cycle, when using birth control pills, during pregnancy, and at menopause.


The surge in production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone that occurs during puberty can increase the blood flow to the gums and change the way gum tissue reacts to irritants in plaque, causing the gum tissue to become red, tender, swollen, and more likely to bleed during brushing and flossing.

The monthly menstrual cycle

Due to the hormonal changes (particularly the increase in progesterone) that occur during the menstrual cycle, some women experience oral changes that can include bright red swollen gums, swollen salivary glands, development of canker sores, or bleeding gums. Menstruation gingivitis usually occurs a day or two before the start of the period and clears up shortly after the period has started.

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3 Surprising Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Your toothbrush isn’t the only weapon capable of protecting your teeth — your diet helps too!

In addition to brushing and flossing, a healthful diet (with natural or added fluoride) protects teeth from decay and keeps the gums healthy. Read on to discover how to keep your smile safe and strong.

Tooth decay (cavities and dental caries) and gum disease are caused by colonies of bacteria that constantly coat the teeth with a sticky film called plaque. If plaque is not brushed away, these bacteria break down the sugars and starches in foods to produce acids that wear away the tooth enamel. The plaque also hardens into tartar, which can lead to gum inflammation, or gingivitis.

A well-balanced diet provides the minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients essential for healthy teeth and gums. Fluoride, occurring naturally in foods and water, or added to the water supply, can be a powerful tool in fighting decay. It can reduce the rate of cavities by as much as 60 percent.

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Vitamin C

Keep That Smile! Calcium and Vitamin D Prevent Tooth Loss

Article by  | Featured on WebMD

If you’re supplementing your diet with calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone loss, you may be more likely to hang onto your pearly whites, according to a report at this week’s meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Toronto. Even so, older adults need to floss their teeth and see the dentist regularly because with increased age come increased risks for losing teeth.

“Studies have shown that calcium and vitamin D decrease bone loss in the hip and forearm, but we weren’t sure if they had an effect on tooth loss,” says lead author Elizabeth Krall, MPH, PhD, a researcher at Boston University Dental School and Tufts University Nutrition Research Center. “Now we know that supplementation may also improve tooth retention, along with routine dental care and good oral hygiene,” she tells WebMD.

To explore the role of supplementation on tooth retention, the researchers followed more than 140 older adults for five years. Participants took either a placebo or 500 mg of calcium plus 700 units of vitamin D daily for three years. Both during and after the trial, their teeth were examined periodically.

For those who took supplements, the likelihood of losing one or more teeth was 40% less, even two years later. Tooth loss was also linked to the number of cavities, frequency of flossing, and use of thiazide diuretics, a type of medication that helps lower blood pressure.

Not surprisingly, dentists applaud the new findings. “Tooth plaque is a problem for everybody, but some older adults are getting cavities at twice the rate of teen-agers,” says Boston dentist Richard Price, DMD, a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association. “This is because the root surface becomes more exposed as we age.” Unfortunately, many prescription drugs are also to blame.

“We need saliva to wash away bacteria that causes plaque, but there are up to 400 medications that dry the mouth out,” Price tells WebMD. “That’s why it’s so important for older adults to brush and floss regularly,” in addition to taking supplements.

Swallowing a vitamin tablet is not that difficult to do, but for some older people, brushing and flossing can be a difficult process because of joint pain. If that is the case, Price has these following suggestions:

  • Look for dental floss that has a handle
  • Get a toothbrush with a bigger handle
  • Attach a rubber ball around the handle of your toothbrush
  • Switch to an automatic toothbrush

Another reason for tooth loss is that the jawbone loses its mass faster than other bones, according to Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “But for many people, it’s hard to get enough calcium through diet alone. And because vitamin D enhances calcium absorption, the two nutrients are often taken together as dietary supplements,” she explains.

As a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, Rosenbloom tells WebMD that you can also supplement too much. “The recommended upper limits are 2,500 mg a day for calcium and 1,000 units a day for vitamin D. Any more than that could be toxic to your kidneys, liver, or heart,” she cautions. In selecting a brand, here’s what Rosenbloom advises:

  • Try calcium citrate, it may be easier to absorb than calcium carbonate
  • Choose a combination product that contains vitamin D, too
  • Look for the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) symbol, indicating that it will dissolve properly
  • Avoid bone meal and dolamite, which often contain lead or arsenic
  • Consider good-tasting chews that contain both nutrients

Looking for an orthodontist in Beaverton, Oregon? Biermann Orthodontics is a cutting-edge orthodontic practice that serves Beaverton and Molalla, OR, and focuses on providing world-class customer service and efficient treatment. We strive to create stunning smiles in the shortest amount of time without ever sacrificing quality.

Visit our Locations page to find a clinic near you, or schedule an initial consultation.

Biermann Orthodontics

17885 NW Evergreen Parkway, Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006