Orthodontics Blog - Dr. Albert Fontaine

Braces with Implants or Fixed Restorations

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA – Although an implant looks like a natural tooth, it doesn’t respond to pressure from orthodontics like natural teeth. In fact, it doesn’t respond at all.

Many adults don’t realize that they are still young enough to straighten their teeth until after they have had some sort of “restorative” work done. This can get complicated when their restorations are “fixed” like an implant.

Teeth Move, Implants Don’t
While an implant is similar to a tooth in the fact that it has a root structure, the difference is that the titanium post of the implant, which is inserted into the bone, eventually fuses, becoming part of the bone. The roots of natural teeth also grow into the bone however; they also have a periodontal membrane. This connective tissue encapsulates the tooth’s roots, creating a pillow of tissue that attaches the roots to the alveolar bone. When pressure is applied to the tooth from an orthodontic appliance, the periodontal membrane stretches on one side and compresses on the other while the bone grows to set the tooth in its new position.

Orthodontics After Restoration?

As a rule of thumb, adult orthodontics should come before fixed restoratives. If the teeth are crooked, it’s easy to put the crown, bridge, etc. in the wrong position. A good restorative dentist knows this and will wait until their patient’s teeth have been moved into their optimal position by an orthodontist prior to performing final restoration. With that said, the majority of cases we encounter often involve adults who had fixed restoratives not knowing that later on down the road they would be unhappy with their crooked or gap teeth and want braces.

“While implants don’t move, it doesn’t necessarily prevent orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Albert Fontaine, a Dunedin invisible braces expert. “It just limits what we can do since we have to accommodate the implant.”

Once implants are in place you cannot move teeth as you may want to and cannot correct an occlusion (bite). In some cases, you can use the implants as somewhat of an anchoring device. This would be rare but an implant that is placed in the back of the mouth can be used to retract front teeth. However, this only works if there is space in front of the implant that will allow natural teeth to move back. The anterior (front) teeth could then be retracted to close possible gaps.

What Types of Braces Can be Used?

When it comes to which style of adult braces can be used with implants, the decision is made based on the same factors as with patients who don’t have implants. Depending on the patient’s level of misalignment, lifestyle and budget, styles such as ceramic, traditional metal, lingual and Invisalign are all possible options.

If you have or are considering fixed restorations and would like to improve your crooked teeth, contact Dr. Fontaine, a Dunedin and Clearwater orthodontist, who can help you achieve the level of alignment you desire. Offices are conveniently located in Dunedin and Spring Hill, Florida and serve patients throughout the surrounding areas as well.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Mouthguard With Braces? Better Safe Than Sorry.

Brooksville orthodontics

SPRING HILL AND DUNEDIN, FLORIDA – For parents and school age kids, fast approaching spring means nice weather, colorful flowers and school sports. But for Clearwater orthodontist Dr. Albert Fontaine, spring often spells disaster since many children fail to wear mouthguards during sports.

“Children wearing braces have slightly higher risk of oral injuries, including mouth lacerations, if their braces are hit by a ball or another player,” says Dr. Fontaine. “In fact, just by wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, many accidents and traumatic injuries could be prevented.”

Mouthguards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year, according to The American Dental Association. Mouthguards should be worn during and after orthodontic treatment and cared for properly to ensure they are providing optimum protection for teeth and appliances.

Wearing Mouthguards During Orthodontic Treatment

It’s important to remember that during orthodontic treatment teeth are constantly moving. Therefore, most custom fit mouthguards are not an option because they restrict the movement necessary to align teeth. This constant movement also makes it necessary to replace your child’s mouthguard every season.

“In general, it is possible to make what I call a semi-custom mouthguard,” says Dr. Fontaine. “A semi-custom guard blocks out the area of the braces and allows for some movement of the teeth. Because of the time it takes to make one, it’s more expensive than a store bought mouthguard, but the added protection and room allotted for teeth to move is worth it.”

Semi-custom mouthguards need to be replaced every six months and are not suggested for severe cases that require a lot of movement.

“I also suggest that my Invisalign patients wear a mouthguard during treatment,” says Dr. Fontaine, who is also a Brooksville orthodontics provider. “It’s a common misconception that Invisalign provides the same amount of protection as a mouthguard and that there is no need to wear one.”

If you would rather go with a store bought mouthguard we suggest asking for suggestions or have the one you purchased approved by you child’s orthodontist before they start using it since an ill fitting mouthguard can interfere with treatment and possibly cause setbacks.

Mouthguards After Orthodontics

A great deal of time, money and effort goes into a successful treatment of gapped or crooked teeth, which makes it a good idea to protect your smile or should we say – investment.

“There is no question that custom guards are better,” says Dr. Fontaine. “I recommend that my patients invest in custom guards by their dentist after their dental braces are removed. It’s a good investment and a quality guard can last up to three years.”

How to Care for Your Mouthguard

- Tempting as it may be, do not chew your mouthguard as you risk altering its shape
- Rinse before and after each use with water or mouthwash
- Brush with toothpaste and a toothbrush or soap and water before storing
- Transport in a durable, vented case
- Protect from extreme temperature – if distorted by excessive heat, replace
- Check for wear – extreme wear reduces the effectiveness of the guard
- Bring it to all dental hygiene appointments for a “check-up”

What to do in the Case of an Injury?

Although a mouth guard helps to protect your teeth and orthodontics from damage and injury it doesn’t always prevent it. If a tooth is knocked out, replace it in the socket immediately. This gives it the best chance of reattaching. If that isn’t possible, place the tooth or pieces – if it was chipped- in milk and call your orthodontist or dentist immediately. If you believe you have incurred any head trauma, it is important to visit the hospital or your family doctor before a trip to the dentist or orthodontist.

If you have any questions about wearing a mouthguard with your braces or how we can straighten your crooked teeth, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at one of our two locations in Spring Hill and Dunedin, Fl.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

 

Eating Disorders Create Serious Complications for Orthodontic Treatment

SPRING HILL, FLORIDA – Feb. 24 will mark the beginning of the 2013 National Eating Disorders Awareness week.

Eating disorders are serious and potentially life threatening illnesses that not only affect physical health, but also have a significant impact on oral health, dental health and orthodontics in Spring Hill. Adults and teens who are wearing Dunedin dental braces and suffering from eating disorders should be aware of these negative implications.

“Eating disorders can affect the dentition and tooth movement in a couple of ways,” explains Spring Hill overbite correction expert and orthodontist Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. “In cases of anorexia, we see very slow movement of teeth. The patient is ingesting too few calories and the brain tells the body to keep the primary functions working. The primary functions would include the heart, lungs, and brain. However, the movement of teeth is a secondary function so you won’t see the body wasting calories on something like tooth movement when it needs to focus on primary functions to stay alive.”

In cases of bulimia, the stomach acids will erode the tooth enamel, says Dr. Fontaine, a Spring Hill and Clearwater orthodontist, who also provides Dunedin Invisalign. This causes permanent damage to the teeth and also causes the braces to loosen from the enamel. The composite glue is eaten away and this will cause the braces to detach from the teeth.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association website, approximately 30 million Americans will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. Eating disorders tend to appear most often during mid adolescent and young adult years. This is often around the same time that orthodontic treatments like braces are being applied for tooth alignment.

There are several types of eating disorders including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is characterized as self-starvation and excess weight loss. 90-95 percent of anorexia sufferers are girls and women. It has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition.

Bulimia nervosa is a cycle of binge eating and self-induced vomiting. Approximately 80 percent of bulimia patients are females. The illness is commonly associated with symptoms of depression.

Many symptoms of eating disorders can go unnoticed. However, the nutritional deficiencies of anorexia and the acidic conditions of bulimic regurgitation can lead to noticeable oral health issues. It is these dental and orthodontic complications that most often cause eating disorder sufferers to seek treatment.

<p>© 2012 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

A Primer On Headgear Alternatives

SPRING HILL, FLORIDA— Headgear is one of those orthodontic appliances patients frequently see as a torture device instead of appreciating its true orthodontic benefit.

Since even the likes of Dakota Fanning- prescribed headgear by an orthodontist- and Katy Perry- who donned it for a music video- are unable to increase its “cool” factor, we’re sharing some headgear alternatives with you, in the event you’re a patient or parent of a patient who may need this Palm Harbor orthodontic treatment in the future. Dr. Albert Fontaine has a great deal of knowledge regarding these appliances, because he has used them all at some point.

First, an explanation of headgear’s purpose: it helps correct an overbite, and it also is used to control jaw growth. It can hinder upper jaw growth and give the lower jaw an opportunity to grow forward.

Herbst Appliance The Herbst is not patient-friendly, but it certainly is the most effective, says Dr. Fontaine. The Herbst takes more time to install however, and is sometimes difficult to remove.

This Spring Hill orthodontist’s opinion is: “You will not win any friends with this one. Patients and parents will hate you for prescribing it.”

That’s because it requires a lot of chair time at the orthodontist’s office, it requires impressions and has to be sent to the lab. That means more costs.

MARA The MARA- short for mandibular anterior repositioning appliance- uses cemented crowns over the molars like the Herbst, but it offers a bit more lateral freedom for your lower jaw.

“The Herbst and MARA are both heavy, hard-core appliances, in my mind,” Dr. Fontaine says. “They work, and they give more predictable results, but I don’t use them due to the discomfort, chair time involved, cost and potential joint problems.”

Jasper Jumper

The Jasper Jumper is like a rubber-covered spring that attaches from the top arch to the bottom. This doesn’t require fitted crowns over the molars. Instead, we just use your regular braces setup. This reduces cost and chair time, since no impressions and lab costs are involved, Dr. Fontaine says. Because the spring is covered by soft material, patients do not get the cheek irritation that is prevalent with other appliances.

“However, I find that these are flexible and will break more often,” he says. “You also get more tooth movement and less jaw movement.”

Our goal in using these types of appliances is achieving skeletal or jaw movement, so an argument can be made that this appliance doesn’t give the desired result.

Forsus

The Forsus appliance is attached to regular braces, so costs and chair time are reduced, says the Dunedin and Spring Hill overbite correction expert. It uses a piston on each side that is attached to the braces. It is metal and rigid, so it is more solid and durable than the Jasper Jumper. It doesn’t have the Jasper Jumper’s lateral movement freedom, but it has more freedom than the MARA or Herbst.

It appears to be a middle ground between the two appliance styles. One negative to the Forsus is that it can come apart, but we teach patients to put it back together because doing so is simple.

“Currently, I use Forsus most often,” Dr. Fontaine says. “It works pretty well and is not super uncomfortable to the patient.”

Twin Force Bite Corrector

This is a new appliance that is getting some good reviews. It is like the Forsus in many ways, but it doesn’t come apart, Dr. Fontaine says. It attaches directly to braces, meaning there is no need for impressions and lab cost.

“All of the fixed bite correctors I have discussed remove most, if not all, the patient compliance factor,” he says. “This is the number one problem for Clearwater orthodontists when trying to correct malocclusion.”

A Word About Headgear

There is no mistaking that good old headgear still does the job. But its success relies upon the patient wearing it nightly, plus a few hours a day.

“I liked the headgear since it was inexpensive, easy to place and did not appear to adversely affect the temporomandibular joint,” Dr. Fontaine says. “The headgear placed pressure on the maxilla only.”

Headgear allows free lower jaw movement and works by holding back the maxilla and allowing the lower jaw to basically catch up. It does not displace the mandible like all of the above bite correctors.

“The bite correctors push the mandible forward, and I have concerns about pulling the lower jaw out of the socket even though I haven’t seen any problems to date,” Dr. Fontaine says. “I guess this is just an orthodontist’s worry.”

In any event, Dr. Fontaine routinely takes X-rays to evaluate the jaw joints before and after the bite correction. Not all orthodontists do this, but he views it as prudent.

Dr. Fontaine cautions patients not to get too caught up in which appliance to use. They all work, and it is more important to use something that works in the orthodontist’s hands. Ask questions and see what is available, but remember it is the orthodontist’s decision, ultimately.

© 2012 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

 

Reasons to Maintain Healthy Gums During Orthodontic Treatment

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA— Many patients like to think of their orthodontic treatment path as the Bonneville Salt Flats- an area where a record waits to be broken. After all, one of the first questions patients ask when they get braces is, “When will I get my braces off?”

While there are limits to how quickly teeth alignment and bite correction can be achieved, Dr. Albert Fontaine says there is an important step you can take to prevent a speed bump on the road to a beautiful smile: take care of your gums.

Following are two reasons why: 1. Patients in treatment are more susceptible to gingivitis. Almost all patients in fixed appliance orthodontics- something other than Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, which features removable aligners- will face gingivitis at some treatment stage, according to a 1992 article in The Angle Orthodontist. This is caused in part by an increase in bacteria around brackets and bands.

“The honest truth is that it’s a bit more challenging to practice good oral hygiene when you have Clearwater Dental braces,” says Dr. Fontaine, Dunedin orthodontist for adults and children. “It can be tough to reach some areas with your toothbrush and dental floss because the brackets and wires are in the way.”

Using floss threaders, sonic toothbrushes and water jet oral irrigators such as a Waterpik or the Sonicare AirFloss can help remove bacteria and keep your gums healthy.

A professional dental cleaning followed by improved oral hygiene and perhaps even antibacterial mouth rinses can eliminate gingivitis. It’s important to get gingivitis under control at this stage, because if untreated, it can progress to periodontitis and eventually lead to more serious dental problems.

2. Teeth don’t align as easily when gums are inflamed. Think of gingivitis as the “stop stick” of the mouth. You’ve seen the cop shows where they place stop sticks in the road to halt a speeding vehicle, right? Well, gingivitis can have the same affect. When your gums are red, swollen or infected, they can nearly bring tooth movement to a halt.

You can help make sure your orthodontic treatment stays on schedule by getting into the driver’s seat when it comes to oral hygiene. Take control of your gum health and you’ll have your braces off before you know it.

© 2012 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Our Spring Hill Location

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA- The year was 1992 and for orthodontic patients in Spring Hill metal braces were still among the most common methods used to align teeth.

That’s not the only thing that has changed in the 20 years since Dr. Albert Fontaine opened his second orthodontic office, but it certainly is among the most noticeable.

October marked the 20th anniversary of Dr. Fontaine’s Spring Hill location. At the time the office opened, University of Florida researchers performing a demographic study had identified Hernando County as the fastest growing county in Florida.

“The area had just one full-time and one part-time orthodontist back then, so I viewed this as an area where we could fill a need for a growing population,” says Dr. Fontaine, who also is an Invisalign Teen provider.

The practice got off to a slow start the first month, Dr. Fontaine recalls, but things quickly picked up and the patient base grew. Today, it is a bustling practice.

In addition to experiencing an increasing number of patients who began asking for more aesthetic treatment options such as Invisalign or ceramic braces thanks to technological improvements, the practice has evolved in other ways. Dr. Fontaine and his staff ushered in digital technology for patient records and X-rays.

The office has undergone renovations a couple of times, too. Today our Spring Hill location features seven flat screen televisions showing movies for our patients, and it has a video game area.

“Our goal through the years has been to maintain an office environment that looks nice and is a place people look forward to coming to,” says the children’s and adult orthodontics specialist. “I feel like we’ve accomplished that.”

We are appreciative of all the families who have chosen us for their orthodontic treatment and contributed to our success through the years. We know that whether you’re from Dunedin, Spring Hill or Clearwater orthodontists are numerous these days, which means you have choices. It means a lot that you have chosen us to make your smile or your children’s smile beautiful. Thank you!

© 2012 Master Google and Griffith & Young. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Griffith & Young are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

It Doesn’t Take A Miracle To Move Impacted Teeth Without Extraction

SPRING HILL AND DUNEDIN, FLORIDA-Do you have an impacted tooth? Did your dentist immediately suggest extracting the tooth and considering dental implants? Clearwater orthodontist Dr. Albert Fontaine suggests another solution for you.

“If you are told to have an impacted tooth removed-other than wisdom teeth, get a second opinion,” says Dr. Fontaine as a spring hill orthodontics pro. “It could save you a lot of time and money.”

Impacted wisdom teeth should be evaluated for removal, but other impacted teeth should be examined and in many cases can be moved without being extracted.

Dr. Fontaine gives you three reasons why you should consider naturally moving impacted teeth before dental implants as a means of orthodontic treatment.

1. It saves money.

“Normally, the cost of a basic implant would range from $1,200 to $3,000,” according to Dr. Sumaiya Khan’s “Dental Implants Average Cost” article. “However, depending on various other procedures involved, the price can shoot up to $30,000! The different factors responsible for the rise in spending include the cost of the material, dentist’s charges and laboratory charges.”

Most of us don’t have $1,000 or $3,000 to spare, especially in addition to the cost of braces or other orthodontic treatment. Dr. Fontaine has moved hundreds of impacted teeth to their proper place without extracting the tooth, saving clients thousands of dollars.

“The moving of the tooth is typically incorporated in the orthodontic plan and budget; dental implants are not and the expense can shock many families and patients,” says Dr. Fontaine, a provider of underbite correction services.

2. It saves time.

“Remember that implants cannot typically be placed until growth has ceased. This can result in a teenager going through their high school years missing a tooth,” says Dr. Fontaine Spring Hill clear braces provider. “I can use metal braces to reposition the impacted natural tooth into it’s place now so there isn’t the psychological impact of going without a tooth until you’re an adult.”

Orthodontists like Dr. Fontaine incorporate moving and erupting impacted teeth into the orthodontic treatment plan. Your impacted tooth can erupt and move to the arch while your other teeth align and create space for the tooth.

3. It works, even in severe cases.

Dr. Fontaine has been an orthodontist for more than 20 years, and during that time he has encountered an array of impacted teeth.

“I have seen lower cuspids erupting through the chin and upper cuspids in the nose,” says Dr. Fontaine. “They have been upside-down and rotated 180 degrees. There have been double impactions that were crisscrossed on the palate and others layered on top of one another. Multiple impactions of four or more teeth may indicate systemic disorders.”

Dr. Fontaine successfully and naturally moved impacted teeth to their proper place, even in the severe cases. Sometimes Dr. Fontaine may have no other option but to request his patient arrange for tooth extraction and dental implants. Despite those cases, he ensures his clients that he only prescribes extraction if natural movement fails to move the impacted tooth.

“We have had surgeons tell us they didn’t think we would be able to erupt the impaction but we have done it,” says Dr. Fontaine, “Unfortunately, the opposite can happen. I have seen fairly simple cases not erupt but this is typically due to ankylosis. An ankylosed tooth becomes fused to the bone and has a poor prognosis for eruption.”

Dr. Fontaine wants you to help you along the path to a healthy, beautiful smile as simply and naturally as possible. If your dentist or orthodontist suggests extracting the teeth from the get-go, you should seek a second opinion to ensure that is the best option for you.

Dental implants are not a bad or unhealthy option, Dr. Fontaine simply recommends preserving the natural tooth for as long it’s healthy.

© 2012 Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Age Is Just A Number: More Adults Improve Their Smiles

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA-Orthodontists want prospective patients to know that braces aren’t just for kids anymore. The Spokesman Review recently announced an intriguing statistic from the American Association of Orthodontists about the increasing rate of adults visiting and seeking treatment from the orthodontist.

“In 2010, the number of adults in braces was up 23 percent from 1989, when the American Association of Orthodontists started tracking patients by age,” according to the Spokesman Review article. “Nearly 1.1 million adults were in treatment in 2010.”

Dr. Albert Fontaine, a Spring Hill orthodontics specialist, has noticed the increase of adult patients in his office.

“Invisalign, clear braces, and other less noticeable orthodontic treatments are more popular among our adult patients and I think they contribute to the growing number of adults undergoing treatment,” says Dr. Fontaine, one of the orthodoontists in Clearwater.

There are certain trends in orthodontics that have led to the increase in adults undergoing orthodontic treatment. Dr. Fontaine gives his top three reasons for this increase and why more adults should take care of their orthodontic issues.

#1. Family Income
The “Great Recession”-beginning in 2007-caused many of us to tighten our belts and take small measures to save money. Unfortunately, one of the measures included many parents choosing to hold off on getting braces for their children due to the expense braces entail.

“Our office noticed a drop in braces patients at the onset of the recession,” says Dr. Fontaine, a Clearwater orthodontist.

How does this correlate to the growing number of adult orthodontic patients? Those teens and young adults who postponed orthodontic treatment are now receiving treatment because they can afford to. Their parents could not afford to begin treatment at the time, but the adult now has an income where they can make orthodontic correction their priority.

#2. More Treatment Options Available
The metal-mouth look isn’t so bad as a teenager, because the majority of their peers have braces too. As adults, patients may not want the traditional fixed metal braces.

“Adults want to look good and many feel that it helps them in the business world to have a great smile. They may not go for braces, but Invisalign gives them the option,” says Dr. Fontaine,
There have been many technological developments in the field of orthodontic treatment. A big development was the Invisalign treatment that debuted in 1998. This treatment corrects minor to moderate orthodontic issues -spacing, crowding, underbite, overbite or crossbite- with an inconspicuous set of clear aligners.

If adult patients require fixed braces for their orthodontic regimen, they can look into clear or ceramic braces. Clear and ceramic braces remain much less noticeable than traditional fixed braces.

“When I sit down with an adult exam patient, we discuss what they want not necessarily what I want,” says Dr. Fontaine. “For example, there are times when I will only place a few brackets for only a few months to align one or two teeth. We don’t have to place full upper and lower braces every time. Limited treatment is an option in many cases, especially for adults.”

#3. More Information About Orthodontic Treatment
“Adults now can expect to keep their teeth longer,” says Dr. Jason B. Cope in an AAO press release. “And many of them recognize the difference a healthy, beautiful smile can make in their dental health, their overall health and their well-being.”

As orthodontists publish more information and data about the benefits of orthodontic treatment, the word gets out to the public. New research can convince doubtful, prospective patients to undergo treatment with the undeniable health benefits orthodontic correction offers.

Dr. Fontaine, a Dunedin adult and children orthodontics specialist, says he thinks this new data for adults seeking orthodontic treatment can help other adults looking into treatment realize they’re not alone. As it becomes more common, adults will become more comfortable receiving treatment. Adults can also take comfort in the new options available for treatment that Dr. Fontaine offers to his patients.

Adults should not fear seeking treatment that can improve their health and confidence. The journey to a brighter, beautiful smile can pave the way to a healthier and better life.

© 2012 Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Three Things to Consider Before Enamel Shaping

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA-Are your teeth chipped or overlapping? Maybe your canines are pointier than you would like. You find yourself resembling a vampire and you don’t like that, despite the recently trending vampire media.

If you can relate to any of these characteristics, enamel shaping may be the ideal cosmetic solution to your chipped or pointed teeth.

“Enamel shaping can be a great way to correct the look of teeth quickly and fix minor cosmetic issues,” says Dr. Albert Fontaine, a DUNEDIN METAL BRACES provider.

Enamel shaping is a quick cosmetic process that merely involves removing a minimal amount of enamel- no more than 1 to 2 millimeters- to create a smooth, even smile. According to WebMD.com, “To reshape enamel, dentists use the same kind of tools used to polish teeth during a routine cleaning.” The procedure is typically conducted without the use of an anesthetic.

Some orthodontists, including Dr. Fontaine, may recommend interproximal reduction for their patients. Commonly called IPR, interproximal reduction is much like enamel shaping because the orthodontist takes off a minimal amount of outer enamel. IPR is used as an aid to better align the teeth.

“There are some things to consider before scheduling an appointment with an orthodontist or dentist to remove your tooth enamel,” says Dr. Fontaine, a BROOKSVILLE ORTHODONTICS and UNDERBITE CORRECTION specialist. “Once you lose enamel, you can’t get it back.”

Here are other things to consider before any enamel reduction:

Age Isn’t Just a Number
If you’re younger, you may want to postpone enamel shaping until your teeth have fully developed. If the patient’s teeth are still developing, they may run into problems later without the enamel that was removed.

“Dentists should be very conservative with younger patients,” says Dr. Fontaine. “When patients are younger their pulp chambers are larger and have less coverage, less enamel.”

Enamel shaping at a young age can also affect future enamel removal. If a dentist recommends enamel removal later on, he or she may not be aware that enamel was shaped once before, because such a small amount was removed. It is difficult for dentists or orthodontists to assess whether enamel was removed based on the appearance of teeth. Patients who have had their enamel shaped previously should make sure to inform their dentist or orthodontist to reduce the risk of losing more enamel than anticipated.

A loss of enamel can lead to increased sensitivity.

On the flip side, an older patient may have “dark triangles” between their teeth as a result of gum recession. These dark triangles are created by large spaces between your teeth. Your teeth haven’t separated or spaced out; it is the result of receding gums. A quick solution to this problem is to remove some enamel at the point where the adjacent teeth touch- the contact point. Once the enamel is removed at the contact point, an orthodontist can pull the teeth closer together and correct spacing issues.

Enamel Loss is Irreversible
Patients must be sure they want to go through with the procedure because the effects are irreversible.

“Once the enamel is taken away, it doesn’t grow back,” says Dr. Fontaine.

Naturally, we lose enamel over time from drinking acidic drinks like soda or coffee and eating acidic foods like citrus, according to WebMD.com. Patients should be wary of enamel shaping and may want to consider enamel bonding instead if they suffer from enamel erosion.

Enamel bonding fills holes or gaps in teeth caused by enamel erosion. Dentists use layers of resin material to match the tooth during an enamel bonding procedure. Each layer is hardened by a light and then smoothed out with an enamel shaping procedure.

As always, you should talk it over with your dentist or orthodontist before any dental procedure.

Keep Your Guard Up
When you discuss enamel shaping with your dentist or orthodontist, make sure they plan on using a tissue guard during the surgery. The tissue guard will act as a buffer between the teeth and the tool used to shape the enamel.

“Essentially, you will have a miniature rotary power tool with a diamond disc, similar to a circular saw in your mouth,” says Dr. Fontaine. “The guard is necessary because your lip and tongue are just millimeters away.”

It does not matter how experienced a dentist is, they should use a tissue guard. This can save time and pain, despite how simple the procedure is.

Enamel shaping and IPR are simple and routine procedures that can be completed in one visit. BROOKSVILLE ORTHODONTIST, Dr. Fontaine, simply wants you to consider all the factors before choosing to go through an enamel reduction procedure.

If you want to lose the “vampire” look or if you just want to correct a chipped tooth, enamel shaping could be a helpful option for you.

If you find that your teeth may need more serious orthodontic correction for issues such as GAP TEETH or crooked teeth, contact Dr. Fontaine’s office to schedule a consultation.

© 2012 Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Braces Hurting? Tips on How to Relieve Pain from Braces

DUNEDIN AND SPRING HILL, FLORIDA-Whether you recently got braces or you’ve had them for a year or more, you’re probably well aware that they can be uncomfortable and sometimes result in pain.

It’ll all be worth it once you see that beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

“I’ve been an orthodontist for many years and I know braces can hurt,” says SPRING HILL DENTAL BRACES provider Dr. Albert Fontaine. “At our offices, we try and give patients pointers and resources to help alleviate the pain.”

Dr. Fontaine, a PALM HARBOR CHILDREN ORTHODONTIST, offers common tips that he gives his patients for relieving the pain that braces can sometimes induce.

For Pesky Wires
In many cases after first getting braces or having them adjusted, one of the wires may stick out into your cheek. If this happens at a time when the orthodontist’s office is closed, here are a few tricks you can use to either fix the problem or at least hold you over until you can schedule an appointment with the orthodontist:

Bend or push the wire back with the eraser end of a pencil.
Use toenail clippers to clip the excess wire, as they are stronger than regular nail clippers.
Apply soft dental wax over the end of the wire.
For an Aching Mouth or Teeth
For the first few weeks of having braces or after an adjustment, you may experience soreness.

According to Crestprohealth.com, “Some research has shown that braces pain may be caused by changes in blood flow that occur when the braces apply pressure to the teeth.” External pain can be attributed to the “physical rubbing of the brackets and wires, which can cause pain in the soft tissue inside the mouth. This type of braces pain usually lessens with time, as the tissues become tougher.”

Fortunately, there are several home remedies you can use to relieve the discomfort that comes with braces.

“One of our favorite sayings in the office is that you get a doctor’s prescription for ice cream,” says Dr. Fontaine, a CLEAR BRACES and INVISALIGN TEEN provider.

Dr. Fontaine recommends eating cold foods as one way of reducing pain. The cooling food can be refreshing to the mouth. Also, soft foods such as spaghetti or mac & cheese are good to eat when you’re experiencing pain from braces.

If the diet change isn’t doing the trick, maybe consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). The medicine should only be used around once every 6 hours until the pain subsides and never more than a week. Also, it is extremely dangerous to have any alcohol with Tylenol. Do not overdose; it could cause serious stomach lining issues. If you’re experiencing serious pain, call your orthodontist. A severe pain will probably be due to something other than braces so we need to check it out.

There are also topical gels that can be applied directly to the mouth to help relieve pain. The SPRING HILL METAL BRACES guide suggests, “Topical anesthetics such as Orabase and Orajel can be effective for temporary pain relief. These gels are placed directly on the tissue and can numb the pain for a few hours. Some people have allergies to these medications, so follow the product label instructions, and the advice of the orthodontist/physician before using.”

For Sores On The Lips and Gums
Sores sometimes develop on the lips and gums because they have not become accustomed to the roughness of braces. If you have sores, the best solution is to rinse the mouth with warm saltwater to reduce inflammation and irritation several times a day. We suggest using wax in the beginning but it is best to reduce the wax usage to allow the tissue to toughen up.

Sometimes a great smile comes with a price. Hopefully, Dr. Fontaine’s tips help ease your journey to the path for a perfect smile. Braces can be uncomfortable at times, but with these ideas, you can manage the pain and be on your way to getting straighter teeth in no time.

© 2012 Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Dr. Albert J. Fontaine are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.