Dental Emergencies: How to Care for Your Teeth When Wearing Braces and Participating in Winter Sports

Whether you live in an area that gets snow and ice, or you travel to vacation spots to engage in winter sports, you need to be mindful of oral injuries, particularly when you are wearing braces! It’s always important to wear a mouth guard when engaging in potentially hazardous sports like basketball, lacrosse or football as they often lead to oral injuries. It’s just as important when you are skiing, snowboarding or playing hockey as orthodontic emergencies tend to crop up more frequently during these activities.

Oral injuries can be serious and perhaps more so when you are wearing braces. With extra hardware in your mouth, they can damage oral tissues during sudden contact. Of course, there are times when your braces can also protect your teeth from being knocked out during an oral injury as the braces and wires fortify your teeth, providing extra stability.

The good news is, there are typically few true orthodontic emergencies! That said, you’re going to want to seek care should you sustain an injury.

When to Seek Care for Dental Emergencies

– Sudden injury or trauma to the face, mouth or teeth
– Experiencing swelling or infection on the face, mouth or gums
– Severe, unmanageable pain in the mouth, teeth or face

An emergency room visit may be your best bet if you’re looking for immediate treatment for severe pain and injury. To treat tooth damage and oral injury, a trip to the dentist may be required. When it comes to your braces, you can give our team a call to see when we can get you in to make adjustments and fixes. You want to address the immediate cause of your pain, swelling or injury, and then see our orthodontist.

Emergency Orthodontic Treatment

If your braces are hurting you can do the following:

Fix a Loose Wire, Bracket or Band: Press the loose wire gently backward using a spoon, tweezer or cotton swab. You can carefully cut the wire with clean scissors or clippers if you can’t push it back beneath the archwire. You can also place a small ball of wax over the wire until you can be seen by our orthodontist. Wax pressed against a loose bracket can also keep it from wiggling around.

Fix a Loose Expander Appliance: If you are wearing a rapid maxillary expander to widen your upper jaw and teeth, you will need to call our orthodontist if it comes loose or falls out, and follow our recommendations.

For a Lost or Broken Retainer: Unless you have been out of braces for a long while and your teeth are in a relatively stable position, you’ll want to see our orthodontist for a replacement retainer.

Swallowing Braces and Appliances: Although this doesn’t happen a lot, if your braces or appliance come loose from a tooth, contact our office right away. While braces and rubber bands are small enough that they shouldn’t harm you if you do swallow them, you’ll still want to get them replaced as soon as possible.

Orthodontic emergencies are fairly rare, but our team wants to make your treatment as smooth and comfortable as possible! Wear a protective mouth guard whenever you are engaging in sports, whether you are on the slopes, hitting a hockey puck, or playing basketball. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office for help and whenever you come in for adjustments and routine appointments. This winter, keep your smile safe while aligning your teeth for a healthy, beautiful smile!

Today’s Modern Orthodontic Marvels Give You More Options For a Better Smile

With the new year around the corner, why not consider taking the next step to create a more beautiful smile? Orthodontics was initially a treatment that folks considered to be limited to children and teens, but today it is increasingly popular with adults. No matter what your age, orthodontic treatments can transform your smile by straightening your teeth and aligning your bite!

According to The American Association of Orthodontists, braces weren’t always the modern marvels they are today. In fact, they originally used crude devices to straighten crooked teeth, close gaps and correct bite problems.

Then: A Blast From the Past

– When the ancient Greeks used braces, they used gold wires. And it wasn’t just the Greeks; ancient Romans also laid to rest their dead with crude dental appliances.

– Egyptian mummies reveal that back in the day they straightened crooked teeth with bands made of catgut (you guessed it, animal intestines!).

– In the 18th Century, thanks to a resourceful Frenchman, Pierre Fauchard, a “bandeau” was created to straighten teeth, made of metal attached to gold wires and shaped like a horseshoe.

– The early 1900s found dentists using a variety of materials to straighten their pearly whites; platinum, gold, silver, copper, steel, brass, rubber, ivory and wood. You also saw the development of bands, wires, loops, clasps, spurs, ligatures and hooks to fix the teeth.

– In the 1970s, you started seeing modern braces taking hold of the orthodontic industry. No more bulky wires and headgear! Instead, a dental adhesive was used to directly bond or glue brackets made of stainless steel to the teeth. This period in history also saw the usage of lingual braces where the hardware was attached to the back of the teeth instead of prominently in front as had been the custom. Also, tooth-colored brackets were being used now.

Today: Modern Advances in Orthodontics and Bite Correction

– The 1990s in the U.S. found dentists focusing on bite corrections and developing malocclusion classification systems.

– The early 2000s, dentists used a discrete form of orthodontics called clear aligners. Not only were these “braces” virtually invisible, but they were removable, too. This meant you could eat and drink all your favorite foods, and you could brush and floss your teeth without maneuvering around orthodontic hardware. No more wires or food particles getting stuck in brackets!

Today’s Invisible Braces

– When it comes to orthodontics for today’s patients, orthodontic systems that use clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth have become a treatment of choice, and with good reason.

– Other discreet options include ceramic braces, which use tooth-colored brackets that blend in more naturally into your smile.

– Archwires have also evolved from using stainless steel to nickel- or copper-titanium versions. These are temperature-sensitive, so they shift the teeth using your natural body heat.

– Lingual braces work their teeth straightening magic while worn on the back instead of the front of your teeth.

We don’t know about you but seeing how orthodontic treatment has evolved over the centuries has helped us appreciate the modern options available today! If you are ready to tackle your teeth and bite issues, we welcome you to reach out to our skilled and experienced team to schedule a complimentary consultation.

With the various orthodontic treatment options available to you, you no longer have to be embarrassed about your smile. Let us help you start out the New Year by creating a straighter, more beautiful smile!

Taking Care of Your Retainer and Your Aligned Smile

Once the hard work of straightening your teeth is completed, the next phase of your orthodontic treatment begins: keeping your teeth aligned with a retainer! You don’t want any setbacks after taking the time to get them straightened. This means wearing your retainer as prescribed by our orthodontist. It will allow bone tissue to rebuild around the teeth and keep the teeth from shifting when you bite, chew, swallow and speak.

Whether your removable retainer is made of acrylic or clear plastic, it will need care and protection. That is if you want to keep your teeth in the aligned position your orthodontic journey left them. If you have a fixed retainer, this is typically a metal wire bonded to the back of your front teeth that never comes off. A Hawley retainer is molded to fit in the roof of the mouth with a wire that holds the retainer in place on the front of the teeth. You will be wearing your retainer at night while you sleep and need to keep it clean when it’s not in your mouth.

Retainer Care

Wear It

This simple step can’t be overemphasized. Wearing your retainer is the only thing that will keep your teeth from shifting back into their pre-treatment, unaligned position. Whether you need to wear it all day or just at night, be sure you follow our orthodontist’s instructions.

Keep It Clean

It’s not just your pearly whites that need cleaning; your retainer needs to be germ- and bacteria-free! You can brush it with your soft-bristled toothbrush when you brush and floss your teeth. Cleaning solutions to rinse or soak the retainer can be done using a denture-cleaning tablet. If you have any questions, check with our team for specifics.

Take It Out Before Eating

You will need to wear your removable retainer as prescribed, except when you eat. Retainers are not made for chewing (unless they are permanent). This allows you to eat your favorite foods without harming the appliance and keep oral debris from hiding behind your retainer and getting stuck there.

Protect It

Keep your removable retainer in its container when it’s not in your mouth. You don’t want to lose it (that’s expensive), nor do you want to accidentally throw it away after eating out, or putting it someplace where it will pick up germs and bacteria, like letting your dog chew it.

Avoid Heat

Because of the material, an acrylic or plastic retainer can be warped or damaged by high heat. That means cleaning it with warm – not hot – water. Do not clean it in boiling water, the dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, dryer, or leave it in the car on a hot day.

Wear a Sports Guard

Don’t wear your retainer when you’re playing contact or high impact sports. Wear a sports guard to protect your teeth and oral tissues. Just be sure to put your retainer back on after playing.

Bottom line: always wear your retainer and take good care of it, and it will take good care of you! If you have any problems with your retainer, let our orthodontic team know right away. It shouldn’t be loose or tight but should fit just right. Whenever you come in for follow-up visits, bring it with you to be checked. Enjoy your beautifully aligned smile!

Orthodontics Awareness Month: How Orthodontic Treatment Can Help You

October brings visions of ghosts, ghouls and goblins for children, but for adults, it is also National Orthodontic Health Month. Orthodontists around the country (including us) like to celebrate this time by spreading awareness about the benefits of straight teeth and an aligned bite.

Orthodontic Fun Facts

– There are about four million people wearing an orthodontic appliance in the U.S. and 25% of which are adults, often in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

– NASA created the wires used for braces (using nickel titanium for the space program) which are thin, elastic and flexible which use body heat to maintain their shape on the teeth.

– Braces have been around for almost 300 years since they were designed by Pierre Fauchard (the Father of Dentistry) in 1728 using flat metal material connected by a thread to the teeth. Later, the dentist Edward Angle developed more advanced and modern orthodontic hardware including brackets to straighten teeth and correct misaligned bites.

– According to archaeologists who studied mummies, ancient Egyptians tried to straighten their teeth using cords from animal intestines to simulate wires (gross, right?).

– Orthodontic appliances like braces straighten teeth, but retainers keep them aligned after the appliance comes off. Not wearing the retainer post treatment often means having to have orthodontic treatment again.

Today’s Treatment Options

Crooked teeth that don’t fit together like they should are harder to clean, making them more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. People straighten their teeth for a variety of reasons, mainly for aesthetics (who doesn’t appreciate an aligned smile?) but also for correcting a misaligned bite like an overbite. This is important, because an aligned bite makes it easier to bite, chew and speak. For decades this meant wearing traditional braces but today’s orthodontic patients have more choices!

– Traditional metal braces: These use wires, brackets and rubber bands on the front of teeth to correct misalignment.
– Clear braces: These are like traditional braces only using clear ceramic brackets to straighten teeth.
– Lingual braces: These braces have the hardware (brackets and wires) attached onto the back of teeth instead of the front.
– Clear aligners: Typically plastic trays such as Invisalign® or ClearCorrect™ worn over teeth to shift gradually them into the desired position.

Not Just a Pretty Smile

Straight teeth have benefits beyond your oral health. When you have an attractive smile you will feel good about it, boosting your self-esteem which is good for your psychological health!

Aligned teeth also allow you to bite and chew food properly which helps prevent digestive issues. Other health benefits from aligned teeth include pain relief from headaches, bruxism (habitual teeth grinding) and jaw problems like TMJ.

Chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching also interrupt a good night’s sleep and can worsen sleep apnea symptoms. Even sinus problems can be alleviated using orthodontics to help open up constricted airways. As you can see, orthodontics goes way beyond just a pretty smile!

Creating awareness for National Orthodontic Health Month is important because orthodontic treatment can give you a healthier mouth and body while preventing health problems from developing. To learn more about how orthodontic treatment can help you we invite you to give our team a call today!

Keep Your Teeth and Braces Safe With the Foods You Eat

When you are wearing braces, nothing feels quite as important as what kinds of food you can eat. The wrong food can damage your braces or stain your teeth, particularly berries, curry sauce or grape juice. Protecting your new bands, archwires and brackets along with your teeth and gums quickly rise to the top of your priority list!

Your teeth are vulnerable when you eat a lot of sugary and starchy foods because they produce plaque acid that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Your braces make it easier to trap food particles between them and your teeth, so it goes without saying (but we’re going to say it anyway) that brushing and flossing are more important than ever in braces! Cavities are bad enough, but plaque and tartar can also leave your teeth with unsightly stains on areas that were not covered by braces.

Foods to Avoid

Sticky foods easily collect onto your braces and are nearly impossible to get out. Caramel, jelly beans, licorice, taffy, toffee and other sticky, hard candies can break off brackets. Gummy candy can bend your archwires and become trapped under the braces attachments. Chewing gum can get trapped in between all of your wires and is almost impossible to get off.

There are other foods so hard they can break your brackets and wires; toffee bits can break brackets and bands, and fibrous meat from the bone like chicken wings and ribs can even pop off a bracket. Beef jerky, pizza crust, chunky nuts and seeds, and raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) require a strong biting force, which can ultimately harm braces. Steam or cook your veggies, and if you’re eating hard crusty bread like bagels, soften it with a soup or sauce and cut into bite-sized pieces.

There is also a small list of inedibles that can damage braces, so keep them away from your teeth! Ice is the most common reason braces components sustain damage, so don’t chew it. Even chewing absentmindedly on pens and pencils, paper clips (yikes!), and biting your fingernails can cause damage to braces. The main goal is to keep your braces and smile safe, align your teeth and not prolong your time wearing them.

Foods to Eat
Eat a balanced diet so that your teeth are healthy and strong when your braces come off and get your daily requirements of protein, calcium, vitamins, iron and fiber. Soft textured foods are always good for your braces, particularly right after your braces are tightened.

Soft fruit: ripe pears, nectarines, tangerines, kiwis, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, applesauce, and fruit that is diced and chewed with the molars
Vegetables: steamed or cooked vegetables keep your smile healthy
Dairy: low-fat milk, yogurt, smoothies, and soft cheeses feel good in your mouth
Eggs: scrambled, hard-boiled, sunny-side up or made into omelets are “eggs-cellent” choices
Meat: tender choices like meatloaf, fish, chicken, and turkey or tofu are healthy and safe
Grains: soft-textured grains like pasta, rice or quinoa are good for you
Soft bread: muffins, pancakes, tortillas, and biscuits are gentle on your chompers

If your braces-friendly foods seem bland or boring, mix things up a bit and find recipes that will help keep your taste buds and your teeth happy. Be mindful with the holidays coming up as many traditional favorites (candied apples, peanut brittle and candy canes) are bad for your teeth and braces! Give our orthodontic team a call if you have any questions.

Head Back to School With the Right Tools!

It is that time of year again where your children are headed back to school with their new backpacks, notepads and pencils! If they have braces, they will need some extra items in their backpack and locker. Our team wants to make sure your children are equipped with the tools they need to have a healthy and strong smile, so it’s important they have them available when they’re away from home.

Orthodontic Tools

Here is a list of cleaning and protection tools your child with braces will want to keep on hand:

– Individual case: This is for orthodontic tools and keeps them clean from other objects in their backpack or locker.
– Toothbrush: Purchase an extra one so there is no need to worry about losing the one from home.
– Toothpaste: Pick a travel-sized tube in case their backpack gets squished.
– Floss: This is an important tool for removing debris between the teeth and gums.
– Flossing threads: With a full set of metal braces, it is sometimes difficult to get between metal wires and teeth. This tool helps floss underneath braces and between the teeth to clean the gums.
– Interdental cleaning brush: Metal braces can get food stuck underneath the wires and corners of brackets, so this tool brushes between nooks and crannies to remove debris.
– Extra elastic or rubber bands: If needed, these help align the bite. Keep extra at the ready when it’s time to replace dirty or broken elastics.
– Rubber band hook: This assists in hooking rubber bands to braces.
– Wax: If your child’s gums and oral tissues need protection from sharp edges, broken wires or brackets, then wax can cover those spots on their braces. They can even help prevent extensive mouth sores.
– Mouthwash: As an added defense against bacteria, this is a quick way to kill bacteria while your child is busy in school. We recommend a travel-sized bottle.
– Chapstick: Sometimes newly applied braces or new elastics can cause chapped or irritated lips.
– Pain relievers: In case your child’s teeth and gums get sore, a pain reliever can help alleviate the pain or discomfort.
– Orthodontist information: For emergency care, have our information on hand in case of an emergency.
– Pocket mirror: Sometimes a mirror is needed to clean out food debris and put in rubber bands, so a small compact mirror can be handy.
– Mouthguard: If your child is active in sports or other physical activities, we strongly recommend purchasing a mouthguard to protect their teeth and gums. This is a safeguard against impact and deep cuts in their mouth.

By having these items on hand, you can help your child have a great orthodontic experience as school begins. A few other tips we have for your child wearing braces include eating soft foods, avoiding sticky and hard foods with high amounts of sugar, brushing and flossing each day, and seeing our team regularly.

Give us a call today if you have questions on what to store in your child’s backpack and how they can take extra preventative steps in their orthodontic care today. We are always happy to help!

Problems That Can Arise From a Misaligned Bite

Did you know there is a lesser-known cause for headaches that can be attributed to malocclusion? Malocclusion occurs when the jaws and teeth are misaligned due to abnormal positioning of the teeth when the jaws close. This can cause an overbite, underbite, crossbite or teeth crowding. While people often try to get their malocclusion treated for cosmetic reasons, it’s important to correct the issue for medical reasons as well if you want the teeth to function and last for years to come.

Why Fix Malocclusion

Unless the malocclusion is severe, orthodontics can readily correct these issues. If a child has a malocclusion, a combination of orthodontics and orthognathic surgery may be needed. If a child’s malocclusion has more to do with the jaws being off and they are still young, an orthopedic headgear can often correct the problem.

Straightened teeth help prevent tooth decay and gum disease since they are easier to clean, making brushing and flossing a breeze. An aligned bite also deters speech issues so you can speak and chew normally. It is vital so your body can break down and absorb the necessary nutrients from your diet.

Correct teeth alignment also keeps the wear and tear on the teeth and TMJ discomfort to a minimum. Conversely, untreated malocclusion strains the jaw and jaw muscles, resulting in tenderness, jaw and neck pain, and of course, headaches.

– Overcrowding happens when teeth are overcrowded, creating crooked or overlapping teeth.
– Gapped teeth or diastema occurs when teeth don’t fill up the available space between teeth or teeth that are lost.
– Overjet arises when the top teeth extend too far over the bottom teeth, interfering with normal speaking and eating.
– Overbite is when the increased pressure allows the front teeth to go more forward and bite down on the gums.
– Crossbite happens when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth and damage front or back teeth.
– Underbite arises when the lower teeth extend outward farther than the upper front teeth.
– Open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth don’t come together when the mouth is closed, leaving a gap or opening between the rows of teeth when the mouth is closed.

How Braces Help

Retainers and braces worn over teeth can help realign them into their proper position and keep the teeth and jaw in their ideal place. A retainer may be worn for years or even for life to maintain this aligned position.

Clear aligner treatment can effectively treat class 1 malocclusion and some underbites and overbites, while braces can fix big gaps and crooked teeth as well as underbites and overbites. Braces are especially helpful for children and teenagers since malocclusion most often impacts these ages. Baby teeth may need to be removed to make room for the eruption of the permanent teeth. Then braces can correct the jaw problems and misaligned teeth through gentle pressure applied on the teeth and followed up with a retainer to keep teeth in position.

If you have problems with your bite and find yourself with a persistent headache, we welcome you to call us today to schedule a consultation with our orthodontist for an evaluation. We look forward to helping you achieve the healthy bite and aligned teeth you deserve!

Traditional Braces for Your Teeth

Traditional braces have come a long way when it comes to straightening crooked teeth. In fact, they are ideal for a variety of tooth issues, not just crooked teeth. They can effectively close gaps for crowded or overlapping teeth, fix misaligned or protruding teeth, align a bad bite, and match up dental midlines to overcome jaw problems.

For those struggling with any of these issues, traditional braces can help you eat, speak and even clean your teeth better while giving you a straighter smile. And if the idea of wearing traditional braces for straighter teeth doesn’t appeal to you, you might be pleasantly surprised because you could actually love wearing them!

How Have Traditional Braces Evolved?

Like everything else under the sun, modern traditional braces have evolved, thanks to modernized dental technology. Metal bands no longer wind around each tooth. Today, they are only placed on the back of specific teeth and slid into a tube on a band for support.

Today’s braces aren’t just sleeker, smaller and less obtrusive but more comfortable and cost-effective as well. How long these braces are worn depends on your unique needs, but it typically ranges from one to three years after which a retainer is worn to keep them in position.

What Do Braces Look Like Today?

– Modern braces come in durable stainless steel and high-grade titanium. They work with brackets, an archwire and ligature elastic.

– Depending on who manufactures them, the silver-colored brackets come in different shapes and sizes and are bonded to the front of each tooth’s surface.

– The teeth are then connected to each other with a metal archwire that puts pressure on the teeth being aligned to guide them slowly into their corrected position.

– A ligature elastic or metal band can be used to hold the orthodontic wire and braces together, and the wire is what moves the teeth while the bracket is an anchor on each tooth. The wires are changed out or tightened during routine orthodontic checkups to keep up the necessary pressure that aligns the teeth (and even the jaw).

Who Needs Them?

Traditional braces are a great option for all ages: kids, teens and adults. Particularly popular with kids, they are both durable and cost-effective. Kids also adjust to wearing them fairly quickly as the oral tissues toughen up, so they barely notice them. This is all thanks to today’s metal wires and brackets which aren’t as irritating to soft tissues.

Plus, the elastic that fits around the brackets come in fun colors that can be changed out at each appointment. This can give children something to look forward to as they show off their personality, celebrate holidays or display team spirit. For teens and adults who prefer a more subtle appearance, the bands are available in neutral silver, gray and white.

How Do You Maintain Your Braces?

You’ll want to follow the guidelines our orthodontist provides to keep teeth healthy while wearing braces. This means eating approved foods and brushing and flossing faithfully after meals. You want to protect your teeth against damaging plaque buildup around brackets and prevent permanently stained teeth from lack of oral care.

When it comes to orthodontic therapy, today’s traditional braces are an excellent and common choice when seeking to straighten smile issues. Give us a call today if you would like to know more or want to schedule a visit with our skilled orthodontist.

Boost Your Teen’s Confidence This Summer With Braces

Summer is almost here and with it the start of fun recreational activities coupled with a slower pace. For teens today, braces are pretty much a rite of passage. The end result? A straightened smile they can flash proudly! Especially since a smile is one of the first things people notice. Of all the ways we can impress people, a healthy smile says we care about our appearance while exuding confidence. This summer, why not take advantage of the extra recreational time to get your teen’s smile on track?

While wearing braces might seem overwhelming at first, summer is a good time to let our orthodontic team help your teen make this process simple and easy to navigate. The first step is having our orthodontist examine their teeth and bite to determine the extent of work that will be needed for correction. Treatment time varies, and in some cases, extra steps may be taken to ensure proper spacing with orthodontics. We have the tools, tips and experience necessary to make their treatment time as comfortable as possible for beautiful results.

-Breaking in braces: It takes time to break in the orthodontic gear so that your teen can eat and speak with ease again. Summer allows them to do that without keeping up with schoolwork, peer pressure and the extracurricular activities they may normally be engaged in. Summertime gives them leeway to ease into their new oral care habits so that by the time school starts up again they will be comfortable with their orthodontic routine.

-Ease of appointments: Your teen can start wearing braces without having to worry about missing classes or other school year obligations. By the time school starts up again, their orthodontic appointments are slowing down as they adjust to the appliance. In fact, the school year is a busier time for orthodontists, so getting their braces applied in the summer months is the best for both parties timewise.

-Cleaning made easy: Wearing braces involves adjusting their oral hygiene routine. Your teen will learn how to care for their teeth, gums and braces to repel tooth decay and gum disease. Summer’s relaxed schedule allows them to create these new habits and ease into their routine before they get busy with the school year again.

Our skilled team is ready to make your teen’s orthodontic experience a positive one from start to finish. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get ready to boost their confidence for a successful school year!

Benefits of a Better Aligned Smile

water floss

Spotting and treating tooth alignment issues early on is very beneficial for your teeth. This allows time to make repairs and align the teeth into their correct position. Your teeth are something you use to eat, smile and communicate with others, so it’s important to take care of them as soon as possible, no matter your age. Whether making them more aesthetically pleasing or for the betterment of your health, we all need to take advantage of orthodontic benefits.

A straighter smile can improve you or your child’s self-confidence as it makes a more attractive smile (helping one feel more self-assured, especially for those navigating through insecure teen years). Along with the aesthetic improvements braces can provide you, studies have shown that a smile with aligned teeth can boost your career in addition to your social status. This is due to people feeling more confident with their smile knowing they have straight teeth.

When it comes to oral hygiene, one of the main benefits of straighter teeth is that they are easier to clean thoroughly. When your teeth are misaligned, this can create crevices where it’s difficult for your toothbrush and floss to clean. It ultimately prevents cavities and gingivitis, which alone is a big deal if you want to keep your natural teeth. Other problems may arise if gingivitis is not taken care of; periodontal disease may occur and even lead to heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

Another issue that may come up is bone and gum erosion. Without proper support, pressure is put on the jawbone and gum tissues. Braces help correct this and move your teeth into a proper place to support themselves, which in turn can help avoid periodontal issues as well as prevent tooth loss.

Another benefit of wearing braces is correcting your speech. As you age, teeth can shift out of their normal alignment due to a condition known as tongue thrust or if you have experienced oral trauma. A few more commonly known reasons are thumbsucking, gaps in the teeth (can cause whistling), an underbite or an overbite. By repositioning the teeth, speech impediments can be corrected, and the pronunciation of words sounds better.

Other advantages to having straight teeth include a lower risk of lip and gum injury as well as better digestion. Better alignment allows you to chew foods correctly. You can also prevent fewer headaches, teeth grinding and TMJ by correcting a bad bite.

Are you interested in benefiting from orthodontic care? Give us a call today to set up a consultation. We’ll be happy to help you get the full benefits of straighter teeth today!

What Are the Risks of DIY Braces?

water floss

Ever since YouTube began helping people learn and execute do-it-yourself (DIY) projects with accuracy and success, it’s become tempting to take on more challenging projects to save money. While this strategy works for learning how to crochet or paint your home, straightening your teeth should not be on that list any more than performing surgery or juggling fire.

Whether you are reading articles or watching videos on the Internet all about the DIY braces trend, at-home orthodontics using “equipment” like hair or rubber bands, elastic strings, earring backs, paper clips, glue or 3D printer technology is a dangerous practice. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reports that 39% of their orthodontists who saw patients using DIY braces needed corrective and restorative treatment afterward!

Potential Damage

Whether you want to align your teeth or close a gap between them, DIY braces raise your risk of gum infection as well as damage to the teeth and bone. Moving teeth is a biological process, and if it’s not done properly, a healthy tooth’s root can absorb back into the body and dissolving, causing you to lose the tooth or even multiple teeth.

Without the guidance of a trained orthodontist who understands your oral anatomy, wearing DIY braces allows no control over the pressure levels to shift teeth into position. Your teeth are connected not only to the gums but to the blood supply that makes you vulnerable to infection, particularly if you tear gum tissue that doesn’t heal correctly. This can damage the attachment between them while support is lost. If you’re using a rubber band that slides up and accidentally cuts the attachment, you lose the needed support.

DIY braces can not only cause gum infection and tooth loss but also jaw and bite problems as well as lifelong dental issues. Some folks who have experimented with DIY braces have found themselves experiencing bruxism (grinding and clenching their teeth), shooting pain, and issues with their jaw joints and muscle spasms.

Orthodontic Treatment

Using household items don’t work the same as braces designed for the task. Certified orthodontists use equipment that has passed rigorous testing standards to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Orthodontists complete education, training and hands-on experience, so they can accurately diagnose, supervise and implement the orthodontic process. By understanding how the jaw, mouth and tooth movement works together, they can avoid harm and ensure the teeth remain in place after straightening to prevent relapse.


An orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and gums to determine the alignment process needed to straighten your teeth without harming the gums or bone structure. This typically includes an oral and facial analysis, review of your dental records, taking images (intraoral and facial) and X-rays (panoramic and cephalometric), and taking impressions to create models of your teeth and bite.

Developing a formal treatment plan ensures that the straightening process leaves your mouth in better, not worse, shape when you are done. Replacing damaged/lost teeth is costly and not worth the risk to save some money now. Protecting and investing your healthy smile is as crucial as a healthy heart to your well being.

Visit Us

The good news is you don’t have to risk your health or your smile by doing it yourself. Working with our orthodontist is more cost-effective to fix crooked, crowded teeth and align your bite. This ultimately leaves you with a winning smile and increased self-esteem. With a variety of braces options available from the traditional to the nearly invisible, our skilled orthodontist can safely straighten your teeth and correct your bite for a brilliant smile. Call our office today to learn more!

Consider Water Flossing for Your Dental Flossing Needs

water floss

When it comes to caring for your teeth in or out of braces, you already know how important it is to brush twice a day. Cleaning your teeth daily helps get rid of harmful bacteria or plaque in the mouth that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. But brushing alone won’t do the job, because you still need to clean sticky bacterial film and any stray food particles off your teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach. That’s where flossing comes in and not the dancing kind.

Struggling With Dental Floss?

Most people know how to use traditional dental floss but some struggle with it. This can include people who have problems with their hands, such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or Parkinson’s disease. To clean with dental floss, you need to be able to insert the string between the teeth to get at oral debris, plaque and food particles. It takes some skill to maneuver the floss around the teeth, and you need to have some manual dexterity. The last thing you want to do is avoid flossing because it’s too difficult. If you struggle with flossing, an alternative such as a water flosser might be the right tool to help you floss daily!

ADA-Approved Flossing Alternative

This handheld interdental cleaning device works by emitting a thin jet of water to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth and along the gumline. Waterpik is one of the most well-known brands, and since it carries the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, it has been proven to be both safe and effective at getting rid of plaque and keeping gingivitis at bay.

To use a water flosser, you simply fill it with water and place it in your mouth, aiming the stream of water between each tooth and around braceware. These are great to use for anyone struggling with gum disease, xerostomia or dry mouth, have difficulty with manual dexterity or are wearing braces.

Backed by Research

If you need more reasons to consider using a water flosser, in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, water flossing was determined to be 29 percent more effective than traditional flossing. A different study also published in this journal affirmed that using a manual toothbrush along with a water flosser was better at removing detrimental plaque than using a manual toothbrush and an interdental flossing brush.

Water Flossing for the Win

Waterpik’s own research found that its flosser is 51 percent more effective at lessening gum disease and three times more effective than dental floss when cleaning around braces. This means using a water flosser in addition to your daily tooth brushing is an excellent way to keep your teeth and gums healthy! Your water flosser can effectively clean behind your wires and wash away food fragments that are caught behind the braces.

If you need help flossing while wearing braces, feel free to give our experienced team a call and we can help you find the best tool for your needs. We are here to support your oral care efforts as you straighten your teeth and look forward to helping you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve!

Early Orthodontic Treatment Benefits Your Child’s Growing Smile

braces young boys

When your child comes in for early orthodontic treatment, it’s usually not just because their teeth are not aligned. Because of this misalignment, this can lead to poor facial development or other health problems. If your child’s developing jaws and face don’t grow correctly, there may be health issues that affect their sleep quality and consequently impact healthy brain and body development.

Tooth eruption is yet another issue, but our orthodontist can monitor and guide your child’s teeth to fix problems early on. This is also why the American Association of Orthodontists® advises that your child has their first orthodontic screening by the age of seven to assess their need for orthodontic treatment. The goal is to begin treatment early to fix issues before they grow into more costly and time-intensive concerns.

Treating your child’s dental issues earlier can help create the room needed for erupting teeth that are crowded, allow space for the teeth which are yet to erupt, lessen the need for tooth extractions and guide their jaw growth for facial symmetry. If your child snores or breathes through the mouth, wakes up frequently, grinds their teeth, wets the bed or has trouble falling asleep, orthodontic treatment can even help with these problems. Other issues that can be resolved with orthodontics are speech impediments, chronic headaches, colds, sore throats or ear infections.

If baby teeth are lost too soon or too late, this may lead to crowding of the permanent teeth. Your child’s smile or bite can also be affected by thumb-sucking. A crossbite can also influence your child’s teeth and lead to gum disease, chronic pain in the jaw, neck and shoulder areas. This can even affect your child’s self-confidence leading to behavioral issues.

Early orthodontic treatment is done in two stages, Phase I and II. This allows your child’s permanent teeth to come in correctly and help prevent extractions down the road. Phase I is generally done around the age of eight or nine, while Phase II is done around age 11 to 15.

Phase I focuses on helping your child learn good oral hygiene habits, resolving dental issues, correcting their bite and jaw development while shifting their permanent teeth into the proper place. The goal of this phase is to start improving your child’s alignment and lessen the risk of dental issues in the future.

In Phase II, braces are employed to guide your child’s permanent teeth into position and stabilize them. Having orthodontic treatment done at this age can prevent the need for braces as an adult (which often involves tooth extraction or oral surgery), so wearing braces as a child prevents this and reduces the length of time they need to wear braces.

If you would like to have your child’s oral development checked, our orthodontist is happy to determine whether treatment is needed and designing a personalized treatment plan for the best results. If you would like to find out more or want to schedule your child’s orthodontic consultation with us, please call or visit us today!

Tips for Caring for Your Teeth and Gums While Wearing Braces

The number one goal for your oral health is maintaining healthy teeth and gums. This means practicing diligent daily oral hygiene habits; specifically, brushing and flossing to remove plaque along with routine dental visits to remove tartar (hardened plaque), polish your teeth and have your gums checked.

When you opt for orthodontics to straighten your teeth, your oral care becomes even more important. In the case of braces, food and bacteria can become trapped easily in the brackets and hardware. To lower the bacteria in the mouth, you can also rinse with mouthwash when you brush and floss every day.

Removing plaque helps prevent cavities, swollen gums, halitosis and permanent stains on your teeth from wearing braces. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal or snack. If you can’t brush, at the very least you can do is rinse with water to wash away particles and bacteria. Also, be sure to floss at least once a day.

What happens if you neglect your hygiene in braces? You can find yourself with gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. As this is caused by plaque along the gum line, you’ll want to brush those areas and massage your gums gently whenever you brush. If gingivitis isn’t properly treated, the gums can become infected around the bone and ligaments holding your teeth. This can cause gum pockets to form, which harbor even more bacteria and plaque.

But the gums aren’t the only part of your mouth that can be harmed if you don’t take care of your teeth and gums when wearing your braces. You can also end up with white spots around the braces. These are permanent stains from decalcification, and they can’t be removed when the braces are taken off. To avoid these dental issues, take care of your teeth and braces by practicing the following:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste, and be sure to replace your toothbrush every two months. This is especially important while wearing braces. Usually, it’s every 3-4 months, but the wear from the metal brackets affects the bristles. Be sure to brush after every meal and before bed.
  • Floss once a day. There are a variety of flossing tools available for you depending on your needs. The most commonly used flossing tool is waxed floss with a floss threader. Another popular flossing method is an oral irrigator. Water flossers flush out bacteria and food particles around the gums and in the small spaces of the teeth and braces. Find something that works best for you and then use it!
  • See your dentist every six months to check for issues and provide you with a professional dental cleaning. Along with keeping all of your scheduled orthodontic appointments, you will be optimizing your oral health while straightening your teeth with braces.
  • Rinsing daily with an oral rinse can help prevent decalcification on the teeth (these are white spots on enamel) and also demineralization (this arises from acids left on the teeth that break down enamel). We can also prescribe an oral rinse tailored to your oral condition.

If you would like more information, we invite you to give us a call to find how to take care of your teeth while wearing braces. We want to help you achieve the healthy, straightened smile you deserve!

What Type of Orthodontic Retainer Will You Be Wearing?

Now that you have undergone orthodontic treatment and your teeth are finally aligned, you will want to make sure they don’t slip back into their previous positions. To prevent this from happening, retainers are used to anchor your teeth into place. Retainers are fashioned to fit your mouth with the correct alignment by taking a mold, or impression of your aligned teeth and gums. The retainer is created in a lab using wire and or/acrylic material (depending on the type of retainer) from your impression.

Fixed Retainers

These are simply a thin wire that is cemented onto the back of the upper or lower front teeth. This permanent bonding replaces the brackets if you wore braces. This permanently placed wire effectively keeps your aligned teeth in place around the clock so you don’t have to worry about keeping your teeth straight.

Removable Retainers

Unlike the fixed wire retainer, these are removable devices that are made of a combination of wire and an acrylic base with hooks or clasps that hold onto your upper teeth to keep them in position. They hold onto the front of the lower or upper teeth in the front of the mouth around the back teeth. Initially, you may wear this retainer every day for at least three months. Once you get the go-ahead, you will eventually need to wear it at night. Removable retainers do have some disadvantages; they can be accidentally tossed in the trash if you are taking them out to eat and you are away from home. If you drink or eat hot items it can warp the acrylic base. This means when you are not wearing your removable retainer you should keep it in an appropriate case and in a safe place.

Retainer Care

Now let’s take a look at how you should care for your retainer to make sure it continues to serve you as it should. When it comes to cleaning your retainer, you’ll want to disinfect it daily to remove oral debris (plaque and food particles).

Cleaning a fixed retainer requires pulling floss that can be inserted into the interproximal spaces between the teeth and rub it up and down and sideways to remove oral debris – similar to how you flossed while in braces.

Cleaning your removable retainer can be done in various ways:

  • Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mildly abrasive toothpaste
  • Soak in denture cleaning tablets containing antibacterial ingredients
  • Rinse with a disinfecting oral rinse
  • Soak in vinegar and water to remove bacteria

In addition to taking good care of your teeth and gums by brushing daily and also cleaning your retainer every day, you will want to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. You want to make sure that cavities are taken care of and your newly aligned teeth cleaned (removing hardened plaque and tartar) and polished. We will also check out your teeth and gums as well as your retainer to make sure everything is working correctly and is in healthy condition.

As you can see, keeping your teeth in their aligned position after your braces come off is just as important as when you straightened them with orthodontics. If you would like to know more, please reach out to our team and we will help you with your orthodontic needs!

Brace Yourself, the Holidays are Coming!

Children holding hands in the snow.

Straightening your teeth with orthodontics can help you achieve a more healthy, aligned and attractive smile. With the upcoming holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the month of December and New Year’s (to name a few), around the corner, your orthodontics treatment won’t take a holiday, so it’s up to you to remember why you are wearing braces. With proper care, you can enjoy all the festivities by following a few helpful tips that can keep your teeth and braces safe to ensure that your treatment time stays on track. Along with seeing our orthodontist for routine appointments, keeping rubber bands, toothpaste, wax and retainer cases on hand is a great way to start the season.


This holiday is all about the scary costumes and the candies but you can still keep your braces safe while you celebrate. It’s not just the frightening amounts of sugar that come at you during this time, but the texture and hardness of the treats that can damage braces parts and make them difficult to clean. Avoiding hard, chewy candy, gum and bubble gum, and nuts can help. This means holding off on candied apples, popcorn balls, caramels, taffy and blow pops. Safer sweets include chocolate, soft cookies, muffins, cupcakes, and soft, sliced fruit. Don’t forget to rinse well with water after eating and brush and floss if you can.


This warmth-filled holiday is all about comfort food and get-togethers with the people you love and care about. Thankfully, this occasion in braces can still be celebrated much easier than Halloween with its tasty traps. Snacking on soft cheeses, deviled eggs, bite-sized turkey pieces off the bone, creamy mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potato casserole, your grandmother’s green bean casserole, corn casserole, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie won’t pose a problem for braces brackets and wires. Forgo the crunchy, nutty toppings and avoid pecan pie or anything with caramel and follow up your scrumptious feast with careful brushing and flossing. Remember, you won’t always be in braces so the day will come when you can indulge in your seasonal favorites again.

Winter Holidays & New Year

Decorating your home, giving and receiving gifts, attending parties and downing eggnog, hot chocolate and champagne with friends, family, and co-workers, can all still be done with mindful care to protect teeth and braces. You want to make sure you don’t damage parts or invite cavities and tooth discoloration around the brackets. You are wise to skip the candy canes, peanut brittle, fudge and chewy candies. Festive alternatives include fresh seasonal fruits – kiwis, oranges, clementines, grapefruit and tangerines, which are rich in vitamin C that can help you fight gum disease and seasonal colds. Soft-cooked vegetable offerings are safe, as are soft cheeses like brie and cheese balls (without nuts), soft cookies, bread puddings, cakes, muffins, and soft fruits like jarred fruits, fresh berries and seedless grapes.

Caring for your Braces During the Holidays

No matter what the holiday, be sure to remain diligent when it comes to your daily oral hygiene because neglecting it can set your treatment time back. Brush after each meal, using a toothbrush (or interdental toothbrush) and fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least twice a day, or after meals whenever possible. Floss threaders can make cleaning between teeth, brackets, and wires easier, and many patients find using an oral irrigator easy and effective. Don’t forget to bring your oral hygiene necessities if you are traveling over the holidays, including extra elastics, or other materials as needed.

Being mindful and taking good care of your teeth in braces during this hectic, busy time can help you avoid dental problems and orthodontic emergencies. This holiday season, whether you are dressing up in a spooky costume, basting a tasty turkey, kissing loved ones under the mistletoe or making good on your resolutions for the new year, be sure to put forth your best smile by taking good care of your braces!

How Orthodontics Can Correct Your Bite Pattern

A couple smiling standing together in a park

By now you are likely aware that keeping your teeth and gums free from tooth decay and gum disease should top your list of oral health priorities when it comes to maintaining your healthy smile. But did you know that a malocclusion is another common dental issue that often needs to be addressed? Your original occlusion is how your upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite down or chew.

A normal bite means the teeth meet evenly, but if your teeth and jaw alignment is off and you have a bad bite or malocclusion, your mismatched bite can create severe dental problems. Fortunately, orthodontics can solve your bite pattern issues. Our team is happy to assist you with your bite pattern problems. We start by examining your bite pattern to determine which treatment is the best solution for you and your smile.

Here is a list of common bite patterns:

Overbite: Overbites happen when the upper teeth stick out farther than your lower teeth.

Open bite: Open bites occur when the top and bottom teeth do not connect when you bite down.

Underbite: Underbites are when the lower front teeth stick out past the upper teeth in your jaw.

Crossbite: Crossbites happen when your lower jaw is longer than the size and length of your upper jaw.

Overcrowded teeth: This arises when there is not enough space for your teeth, which can cause them to crowd together.

Misplaced midline bite: Misplaced midline bites happen when the center of your upper front teeth doesn’t match with the center of your lower teeth.

If you have any of the above bite patterns, remember, the sooner you have it treated, the greater your chances of avoiding oral problems later in life. Timely orthodontic treatment for a malocclusion can effectively restore a proper bite pattern to help you avoid the following problems:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Crowded or shifting teeth
  • Uneven wear and tear on your teeth
  • Headaches, jaw pain, clicking, popping and jaw deterioration
  • Periodontal disease including gum recession and bone loss around teeth
  • Problems with your speech, eating or chewing abilities
  • Reduced self-confidence from the appearance of your smile

So how can your occlusal problems be fixed? There are a variety of treatments, including replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges, or fixing bad teeth with dental fillings or crowns. The jaw and jaw muscles can be stabilized with the help of bite splint therapy, and you can protect your teeth with the help of a dental mouth guard.

Orthodontics can correctly adjust and align the teeth, and that’s where we come in. We specialize in fixing malocclusions with the help of braces or other alignment methods. To fix overcrowding, you may need to have one or more teeth extracted first. We might use a space maintainer to keep your teeth from shifting if one is missing or hasn’t yet come in. These problems can even be prevented from the start with an evaluation. After you complete your time in braces, you will simply wear a retainer (removable, permanent, or combination) until your teeth stabilize in their new position.

Do you have a unique bite pattern you need to correct? Do you have teeth that are too crowded, overlapped, or suffer from frequent headaches? If so, our orthodontic team is ready to help! We can help treat your misaligned bite pattern through the use of specialized orthodontic appliances. If you have questions about your teeth and alignment issues, please call us today to schedule your appointment or receive a consultation. We are ready to help you create your healthiest, aligned smile!

Orthodontic Care for Adults

adult braces

Your smile is the first thing people notice when they see you. Crooked, crowded teeth or a misaligned bite can make you feel self-conscious no matter what your age. The good news is, with today’s advances in orthodontics, straighter teeth aren’t just for kids and teens anymore.

Now more than ever adults are successfully straightening their teeth for a healthier, aligned smile. Whether you’re looking for a cosmetic fix or wanting to improve your dental health, orthodontics can be used to overcome multiple issues that you may have had for years or have developed over time. This is because teeth can shift over the years even if they are healthy otherwise and affect your bite.

Changes in alignment can evolve over the years and leave you with inadequate blood supply between tooth roots because of diminishing supportive bone material or gum infections. By the time you are in your twenties, many of your bones have hardened and no longer grow. This also causes your tissue to take longer to adjust to new positions.

For those who have overbites or underbites, orthodontic treatment can be an effective treatment. This is important because misalignment makes it harder to clean teeth and sets the stage for oral bacteria and plaque to build up.

Of course, as an adult, you may not want to have metal braces visible in your smile. But there are other options available to you, including lingual braces (these are placed onto the back teeth if the teeth are long enough), ceramic braces (instead of using metal, a transparent ceramic material is used), and clear plastic aligners.

Clear aligners are one of the more popular options many adults and teens use to straighten their teeth and they are highly effective when fixing minor issues. Aligners work by wearing clear plastic aligner trays which gradually shift the teeth as you switch out the aligners every two weeks until the teeth are aligned according to the treatment plan.

Today, orthodontics is more affordable than ever, and having a healthy smile is vital for your health and it doesn’t hurt to have a great looking smile. So if you have been wanting straighter teeth and are ready for a change, we are here to help! To find out what your orthodontic options are, please give us a call today and schedule a consultation with our orthodontist. Join our team of satisfied patients by creating the straighter smile you have always wanted!

How to Care For your Retainer

After you’ve undergone orthodontic treatment, you’ll want to do all you can to make sure that you keep your smile straight and perfect afterward. That’s when you’ll receive a retainer, and instructions on how to wear it and clean it.

But wearing a retainer comes with its own requirements. If you don’t take care of it the way you’re supposed to, you’ll end up with quite a few potential problems.

Why you need a retainer
The reason that an orthodontist will tell you to wear a retainer is to prevent your teeth from shifting after braces, or other orthodontic treatment, are completed. A retainer simply keeps your teeth in place after they’re no longer being forced into place with braces.

Retainer care
Here at South Hills Dental Specialists in Riverton, UT, we see quite a few cases where improper retainer care results directly in oral health issues. These oral health issues can be minor, or they can result in severe tooth decay.

This happens when a retainer isn’t cleaned properly, causing a buildup of bacteria and other debris. Dr. Skanchy sees a majority of retainer-related issues stemming from dirty retainers.

To rectify that, make sure to clean your retainer every day. You’ll likely be wearing it just at night, so washing it once in the morning, and once before bed, will do wonders to help keep your teeth straight and healthy.

Don’t let your retainer end up harming your teeth. Practice proper retainer care today. If you have other questions, call us today at 385.210.111 to see how we can help.

Orthodontic Treatment Includes a Tooth-Friendly Diet

It’s very important to the progress of your orthodontic treatment that you follow any instructions provided by Dr. Tony Skanchy and our team when you are using braces to realign your teeth. We are here to help you enjoy successful treatment so that you can have your braces removed as soon as possible. One important component of caring for braces is to eat a diet recommended by your orthodontist to protect your appliance.

We encourage a careful and healthy diet that is intended to help you maintain your orthodontic appliance and keep it fully functional so that you can have a beautiful smile. If you eat foods that can damage your appliance, you may experience broken or loose brackets, bent wires and other damage that delays your treatment. Braces that have been worn down or broken cannot effectively improve your smile. So, we encourage you to eat a healthy diet that is safe for your braces to align your teeth faster and reduce the time of your braces journey.

Another reason to eat healthy and non-harming food is because it promotes a strong and healthy smile. The same foods that can damage your teeth and appliance may also increase your risk of cavities, gum disease and loss of tooth enamel, causing a lot of complications and delays for your orthodontic progress.

Call South Hills Dental Specialists at 385.210.1111 today if you have any questions for our orthodontist about how to eat a diet that is good for braces in Riverton, UT. We look forward to hearing from you!

Oral Hygiene Rules When You Have Aligners

If you are aligning your teeth with orthodontic aligners, then our orthodontist, Dr. Skanchy, strongly encourages you to properly care for your teeth, gums and appliance. This is important if you want a successful and convenient orthodontic treatment. To help you care for those things, our orthodontist encourages you to follow the oral hygiene rules set for the treatment. Those rules are:

  • Brush often: It’s important to brush after every time you eat. This is because if food particles and bacteria remain in your mouth when you put the aligner back over your teeth, then they can be trapped in the aligner and promote cavities.
  • Floss regularly: It’s best to floss at least once a day. If you can floss more, do it. Flossing helps you remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth, which can help you prevent dental issues.
  • Rinse daily: Rinsing with mouthwash can clean your mouth, strengthen your teeth and more. This can keep the smile and aligners in tip-top shape.
  • Clean your aligners: It’s important to rinse your aligner every time you take it out of the mouth. It’s also important to brush your aligners gently and use the cleaning tools included in the treatment kit every night.

If you have any questions or if you would like to know more about oral hygiene rules when you have orthodontic aligners in Riverton, UT, please reach out to our orthodontic team. We will be more than happy to help you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to South Hills Dental Specialists at 385.210.1111.


Provide Your Smile Extra Support With Braces

The process of building a straighter smile can be achieved through the use of orthodontic appliances. One of the most effective forms of orthodontics is braces. Braces are designed to help straighten teeth and improve oral health. If for any reason your teeth are out of alignment, it is important to visit your orthodontist to discuss the possibility of braces. Here are some of the benefits:

  • If you have braces, they will help improve your oral health via a straighter set of teeth. This is because teeth that are straight are at a lower risk for tooth decay and gum disease, as they are easier to clean and less likely to harbor plaque and bacteria.
  • By having your teeth in their proper alignment, they will be able to function much more effectively. This includes improving your ability to eat and speak.
  • Your self-esteem and self-image can receive a dramatic boost if your teeth are in their proper alignment.
  • Straight teeth lower your risk of jaw misalignments, bruxism, and TMJ disorders. This is because teeth that are straightened are less likely to rub and wear against each other.
  • Teeth straightened through the use of orthodontic braces bring about lower risk factors for splits, fractures, cracks, or any other wear that is caused by teeth grinding together.

If you would like to set up an appointment with Dr. Skanchy at our orthodontic office in Riverton, Utah, for orthodontic care via braces, please call us at 385-210-0000 today. Our team at South Hills Dental Specialists looks forward to straightening your smile!


How to Have a Healthy Smile When You Have Braces

When you’re aligning your smile with braces, it’s very important to take good care of your teeth and gums. This is because cleaning the smile can be a bit difficult when working around the hardware. If you don’t properly clean the teeth and gums, you can be subject to dental issues. So, our orthodontist, Dr. Tony Skanchy, encourages you to maintain a healthy smile when you have braces by doing the following things:

-Keep up on oral hygiene: It’s recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day. However, if possible, it’s even better to brush after each meal and snack. It’s also recommended to floss frequently throughout the day, like after you brush. If this isn’t possible, make sure to floss at least once a day. Lastly, it’s recommended to rinse your mouth daily with antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash.

-Visit your dentist regularly: Your routine dental cleaning and exam appointments are very important. The treatments provided remove plaque and tartar from your smile and braces (which helps you prevent gum disease), strengthen your teeth (which helps you prevent cavities), and treats any dental issues if necessary.

Do you have any questions about how to maintain a healthy smile when you have braces in Riverton, Utah? If so, please contact South Hills Dental Specialists at 385-210-0000 when you have the chance. Our orthodontic team will be more than happy to help you, and we look forward to your phone call!


I’ve Had Braces for a Week. How to I Relieve the Soreness?

If you have just installed braces on your smile, you’re most likely feeling a bit of discomfort. This is normal and to be expected. Your teeth, mouth, and jaws are sore because they aren’t used to having metal brackets cemented to the smile. They also aren’t used to the pressure applied by the braces. The good news is that the soreness will gradually subside. Until then, our dentist, Dr. Tony Skanchy, is happy to give you tips on how to relieve the soreness.

-Numb the mouth with an oral anesthetic you can apply directly to the teeth and gums, like Orajel®. This can provide instant relief.

-Take pain-killing medication if necessary.

-Use an ice pack to ice your mouth and jaw.

-Only eat foods that are soft. Eating hard and tough foods will only make the pain more substantial.

-Chew often. Even though this hurts, it can help you get over the soreness faster.

-When it comes to eating and drinking, choose to consume cold foods and drinks.

-Be patient. Even though your teeth and mouth hurt now, they won’t hurt in a few days. So, do everything you can to relieve the pain now because it won’t bother you soon.

To learn more about how to relieve soreness with braces in Riverton, Utah, please reach out to South Hills Dental Specialists at 385-210-0000 and talk to a member of our dental team. We also welcome patients from Herriman and Bluffdale. We are here to help you in any way we can, even if it’s just by answering your questions, so please feel free to contact us!


An Athlete With Braces Might Need a Custom Mouth Guard

The new set of orthodontic braces installed in your child’s mouth incorporate a series of metal brackets, wires, and other hardware components. If some element of their braces is loosened, damaged, or bent it will need to be repaired as soon as possible to keep from harming their mouth. It could also release the progressive tension required to correct the alignment of their teeth fully.

Youth athletes with braces might be at heightened risk of suffering these adverse complications from a blow to the face. This is especially true if you participate in a contact sport.
In many of these cases wearing a mouth guard can help protect their mouth and braces.

Unfortunately, many of the stock mouth guards and some of the thermoplastic mouthpieces sold in sporting goods stores rarely account for braces hardware.

If your child participates in a contact sport or other vigorous athletics Dr. Tony Skanchy can help fit them into a custom mouth guard. It is a soft, durable plastic mouthpiece designed to match the contours of their teeth and braces. This will provide their mouth with maximum protection and ease of breathing.

If you have a youth athlete with braces in the Riverton, Utah, area and you need help protecting their mouth, you should call 385-210-0000 to explore the braces options available at South Hills Dental Specialists.

Brushing Tips for Those Who Have Braces

If you have braces, you most likely know how important it is to properly care for and clean your smile and braces. You probably know that you should brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. To help you have a better brushing routine, our orthodontist, Dr. Tony Skanchy, has some tips for you.

First, try to spend about 10 seconds cleaning each tooth. Make sure to clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces as well as around the brackets. Also, use the same cleaning technique for each tooth so every tooth has the same amount of cleaning.

Second, use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush as you scrub. These oral hygiene products will clean and strengthen your teeth. They will also care for your tooth enamel and gums.

Third, gently brush the braces. Press the toothbrush against the appliance so the bristles spread into the gap between the wire and the tooth as well as around the brackets. Brush in and around every piece of hardware. An electric toothbrush might make this task a bit easier.

If you have any questions or if you would like to know more about how to brush when you have braces in Riverton, Utah, please contact South Hills Dental Specialists at 385-210-0000 when you have the chance. Our orthodontic team is happy to help you, and we look forward to hearing from you.

You Will Need to Use a Retainer After Your Braces Have Been Removed

Your routine adjustment sessions were very important for the process of realigning your teeth with braces. Each of these appointments apply successive tension to the periodontal ligaments that anchor your teeth into your periodontal tissues. Now that your teeth have attained their ideal position, Dr. Tony Skanchy can uninstall them from your mouth.

It’s important to understand that there will still be a moderate amount of residual tension in the periodontal ligaments that hold each of your teeth in its socket. If it’s not adequately addressed the lingering tension could cause your teeth to relapse out of alignment.

To prevent a problem of this magnitude, Dr. Tony Skanchy will fit you for a removable retainer immediately after your braces have been removed. The most common type is known as a Hawley retainer.

This is a fully removable mouth piece made from a special dental acrylic. It includes wires that lock the retainer in place with specific teeth. You will need to use your removable retainer for a specific amount of time each day.

If a specific area needs significant realignment, Dr. Tony Skanchy might recommend cementing a metal fixed retainer behind the teeth. This sturdy metal band cannot be removed and will need extra focus in your daily oral hygiene routine.

If you are due to have your braces removed and you have a question about the retention process, you can always call 385-210-0000 to speak to one of the staff members at South Hills Dental Specialists’s orthodontic clinic in Riverton, Utah.


When alignment issues with your teeth go uncorrected it can do more than leave you with an unappealing smile. As time goes on the unhealthy angle that your teeth meet at can cause you to suffer problems with dental fractures and dental attrition. Once these teeth have been compromised they will also be at increased risk of suffering severe cavities.

Fortunately, most orthodontic alignment issues can be corrected by having Dr. Tony Skanchy provide you with some form of braces. The type he recommends for you will be based on your personal preference as well as the severity of misalignment.

Traditional braces incorporate small metal brackets that are cemented onto the faces of your teeth. This style of braces also includes wires and other orthodontic hardware components.

If you aren’t comfortable with visible braces or hardware appearing on the teeth in your smile Dr. Tony Skanchy can apply a ceramic glaze to the components. This is a special dental porcelain material that can be shaded to match natural tooth enamel. Once it has been applied the braces hardware will have less visual impact.

If you only need a minor amount of realignment, Dr. Tony Skanchy might suggest a brand of clear plastic braces like Invisalign®. These clear plastic aligners will be designed to match the shape and orientation of your teeth. Every two weeks you will need to switch to another set of aligners. Each set is tuned one step closer to the ideal alignment of your teeth.

If you live in the Riverton, Utah, area and you are contemplating braces, you should call 385-210-0000 to set up a consultation at South Hills Dental Specialists.


If you are in need of orthodontic care, contact our office for an appointment. Our highly trained team looks forward to straightening your smile and giving you a smile makeover you’ve always wanted. We have a multitude of orthodontic treatments to help correct and fix whatever misalignment may be plaguing your smile.

For a list of guidelines concerning orthodontics, consider these facts:

• In many cases, people often think braces and aligners are only for young people, but they are just as helpful for adults as well and can be used to straighten teeth at any age.
• By frequently wearing orthodontic aligners, retainers, and braces, achieving a set of straight teeth is possible.
• Orthodontists have an immense amount of knowledge given that their training extends well beyond regular dental school to allow them plenty of information to administer treatments that extend beyond the realm of traditional dentistry.
• Given society’s quest for straight teeth, along with its oral health benefits, Orthodontics focuses on doing just that, straightening teeth.
• A straight smile is the goal of orthodontics via modifying malocclusions and any bad bites or disorders that contribute to crooked teeth.

Whichever orthodontic services you feel would best suit your needs, Dr. Tony Skanchy and our team here at South Hills Dental Specialists in our orthodontic office in Riverton, Utah are committed to providing you the service you require. We can be reached at 385-210-0000. Your smile is our business!


Orthodontics can be used to treat malocclusions. Malocclusions are bad bites that are the result of irregular teeth and jaw misalignments. Teeth that are out of alignment can grind against each other and wear down over time, as well put you at risk for other oral health problems. There are different types of malocclusions:

• If your upper incisors fail to align with your lower incisors, misplaced midlines occur.
• When your upper incisors stick out past your lower incisors, overbites, also called buck teeth, occur.
• In cases in which your lower jawbone sticks out past your upper jawbone, crossbites occur.
• When your lower incisors stick out past your upper incisors, underbites, also called bulldog teeth, occur.
• If teeth are not in their proper location and position, rotation malocclusions occur.
• Teeth that erupt above the gum line in the wrong space are known as transposition malocclusions.
• Overcrowded teeth, too many teeth, and irregular gaps between teeth are known as spacing malocclusion.
• When your upper and lower incisors failed to connect when biting down, open bites occur.

If you are suffering from malocclusions, Dr. Tony Skanchy and the team here at South Hills Dental Specialists in our office in Riverton, Utah are committed to providing you the service you need. We can be reached at 385-210-0000. Your smile is our business!


What’s the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

We get this question all of the time! When choosing a dental provider, it’s important to understand the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist to make sure you are receiving the highest quality care for your specific situation. Orthodontists and dentists both help their patients improve the quality of their oral health, but their focus is upon different aspects of oral health.

What is a dentist?

General dentists are doctors who receive four additional years of schooling after completing their undergraduate degree to earn either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Some dental programs use DMD while others use DDS, but both use the same curriculum and they are basically interchangeable. Once in practice, dentists treat a wide variety of issues dealing with your general oral health. Some of the DENTIST’S RESPONSIBILITIES include:

• Preventitive treatment
• Fillings
• Crowns
• Gum care
• Veneers
• Bridges
• Teeth Whitening

It is recommended that you visit your general dentist twice a year (and in some situations more oftent) to make sure you maintain the best dental health possible.

What is an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists who receive the same dental degree as their dentist peers, but only 4-5% of dentists go on to become orthodontists. An orthodontist is a licensed dentist who receives an additional 2-3 years of orthodontic-specific education and training, following dental school. Qualifying to be an applicant for an orthodontic program is very competitive. Some orthodontic programs offer a masters degree in dentistry often called a Master of Dental Science (MDS). Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align the jaws and teeth. Some of the common problems that orthodontists treat are:

• Crooked teeth
• Overbite
• Underbite
• Open bite
• Spacing
• Crowding
• Jaw growth problems
• Dental habits

As dental health providers, dentists and orthodontists alike know that you hope to make the best possible decisions for yourself and for your family. We all agree that going to the dentist is an essential part of health and happiness. That being said, if you are hoping to treat issues surrounding jaw problems, crooked teeth, crowding, and so on, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends trusting your smile to a specialist who has been specially trained to help you gain your best smile and receive the highest quality care. Dr. Skanchy is a certified orthodontist as well as a board certified orthodontist through the American Board of Orthodontics. He is also an Elite Invisalign Provider. Visit our office today to let us help you start your journey to straighter and healthier teeth!

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post! If you have any questions regarding treatment please don’t hesitate to ask. To schedule a free evaluation please call (385) 210-1111. Dr. Tony Skanchy is a board certified orthodontist, serving the Riverton, Bluffdale, and Herriman community.


Choosing the right provider for your orthodontic care is an important task. To help simplify things, we have compiled a list of items that you should consider when making your decision. Hope this helps!

1. Is the doctor a specialist? Orthodontists are dental specialists who complete an additional three years of training and education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align teeth. When it comes to your smile you should choose the best! Choose a specialist recognized by the American Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Skanchy is a certified Orthodontist.

2. Is the orthodontist at the office full-time? At South Hills Orthodontics we have one convenient location. You can find comfort in knowing you will have access to the same Orthodontist at the same location throughout your orthodontic treatment.

3. Is the orthodontist a board certified orthodontist? A board certified orthodontist must demonstrate judgement, skills and knowledge that’s required for providing the highest level of patient care. Dr. Skanchy is a board certified orthodontist, a designation held by only 30% of orthodontists.

4. When should I have an evaluation? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends seeing an orthodontist for the first time at age seven. Although many children will not require treatment at this time, others may strongly benefit from simple procedures that minimize the need for tooth extractions and surgical interventions in the future.

5. Does the orthodontist treat adults? Approximately twenty percent of our patients are adults. For many adults, an attractive smile is important to their health and self-esteem. Dr. Skanchy offers a variety of cosmetic approaches to straightening teeth and is a Preferred Invisalign Provider and trained in Clarity clear braces.

6. How much does the first visit cost? At South Hills Orthodontics, your orthodontic evaluation will always be free of charge.

7. Are there family discounts? Yes! Ask about our family discounts when you come and visit.

8. What does the quoted fee include? Here at South Hills Orthodontics there are no hidden fees. Your quoted fee includes everything outlined in your individualized treatment plan, including retainers and follow-up retainer visits up to a year after treatment is completed. You will never be charged for missed appointments, broken brackets, or emergency appointments.

9. Does the practice offer flexible financing and handle insurance? We offer in-house financing, no down payment options, and extended payment plans. We also accept a wide variety of insurance plans, flex spending accounts, and health savings account payments.

10. Does the office have reward programs and contests? We value our patients and sponsor reward programs and contests to show them our appreciation and promote good oral hygiene.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post! If you have any questions regarding treatment please don’t hesitate to ask. To schedule a free evaluation please call (385) 210-1111. Dr. Tony Skanchy is a board certified orthodontist, serving the Riverton, Bluffdale, and Herriman community.