Although we usually think of braces as a hallmark of teenage years, there are many reasons that adults could benefit from a straighter smile. The perks of aligning your pearly whites go far beyond vanity. Braces align your bite, enhancing your ability to chew food and even alleviating some speech impediments. Straight teeth are much easier to clean; better brushing and flossing reduces the potential for cavities and periodontal disease.
However, for many adult patients, the idea of wearing braces carries a sort of stigma. The team at Falmouth Dental Arts encourages all of our patients to have a healthy smile. We want to help you at every step of the journey, no matter your age! Let’s take a look at the three major types of dental braces:
- Conventional: Conventional braces consist of a single bracket, mounted to the front of each tooth with dental cement. Wire is strung through the brackets, and the shape and tension of the wire gradually moves teeth to the desired, aligned shape. Brackets can be metal, clear, or ceramic. Conventional braces boast the shortest average treatment time. However, they also are the most noticeable of the three types of braces, which can be a deterrent for some patients. With customizable rubber band options and shiny silver, conventional braces can add some extra sparkle and flair to your smile. A healthy mouth is the best accessory of all!
- Lingual: Lingual braces apply the same general concept to orthodontic alignment: brackets are cemented to the teeth, and metal wires work to straighten teeth. However, lingual brackets are cemented to the back of the tooth, not the front. This option eliminates the immediate image concerns. However, because they require a little more customization and time than conventional braces, lingual braces are typically the most expensive brace option.
- Aligners: Like a perfect mold of your teeth, aligners are customized clear trays made from an elastic thermoplastic material. Aligning treatments consist of multiple removable trays and enamel-colored “buttons” which are affixed to your teeth. The buttons allow the trays to snap into place and gradually leverage your teeth into the desired configuration. Typically, trays are switched every two weeks. However, aligners require the highest degree of patient discipline because their success relies on the patient remembering and keeping the trays in place for most of the day (typically 20-22 hours per day). Since they require more responsibility, aligners are a good option for adults. Many adults prefer aligners because the clear material is much less visible than conventional options.
Invisalign is the most recognizable brand of dental aligners. Falmouth Dental Arts now offers Invisalign treatment for our patients. If you think that you could benefit from braces of any kind, discuss the options with your doctor during your next visit. They’ll be happy to discuss the pros and cons of each option with you. If you are a candidate for Conventional or Lingual braces, you will be referred to one of the trusted local orthodontists.
Please note: our office opened on June 1 with new protocols and procedures in place to keep you and our staff safe. You can also read the full list of these updates on our COVID Protocol Page, easily found in the top menu bar of our website, so you know what to expect before your next appointment. If you are overdue for your appointment, rest assured we will be in touch soon as we catch up with our backlog. We do look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for being our patient!
Brushing your teeth serves a variety of important functions. It clears away plaque that can build up and lead to tooth decay. It keeps your gums healthy and lowers your chance of developing gingivitis. It may even reduce your risk of developing dementia. However, it cannot fully fight off tooth stains. Yellowing of the teeth is common even in the most assiduous brushers.
Stains on the teeth are not necessarily the result of ill health. They are more likely an indication that you enjoy teeth-staining foods and beverages (like coffee). While brushing your teeth can help, it is typically not enough to totally prevent yellowing. This is true even if you use whitening toothpaste.
Fortunately, Falmouth Dental Arts offers treatments that can revitalize your smile. Don’t go another year feeling embarrassed of your yellow teeth. Spend just one hour in our office and you’ll leave with pearly whites. Would you rather whiten in the privacy of your own home? We also offer at-home tooth whitening solutions. Call us today at 207-781-5900.
George Washington was plagued by dental disease almost his entire life. His adult teeth began falling out in his early 20’s. Others had to be extracted due to advanced decay. By the time he became president only one remained.
Because of this, Washington frequently sought out the help of dentists. During the Revolutionary War he became close to Franco-American dentist Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur, who became a lifelong friend. Later, during his presidency, Washington relied on dentist John Greenwood to fashion him several sets of false teeth. However, none were made from wood. One set was made from ivory and held together with gold springs, which is a bit more presidential than a hunk of wood. One pair of Washington’s dentures survives and is on view at his home in Mount Vernon.
George Washington’s story is a good reminder of how far we’ve come in dentistry. Despite the best efforts of Revolutionary Era dentists, Washington still suffered a lifetime of discomfort and regularly took laudanum (an opiate painkiller) to deal with the pain. His poor teeth also hurt his self-esteem and made him reluctant to give speeches.
Although there are many ways you should inspire to be like our nation’s first president, having unsightly teeth is not one of them. At Falmouth Dental Arts we offer dental solutions that fit your specific needs and budget for your complete comfort both physically and financially. Most importantly, we will get your teeth functioning properly and looking beautiful once again. Call today to see how we can improve your smile.
Many believe that losing their teeth and eventually ending up with dentures is inevitable. Others think they’re “too old” for certain procedures. There are many myths that need to be debunked about our dental health as we age. Here are seven of the most common of them:
1. I’m going to lose my teeth anyway. Why put money into them?
Having a great smile and being able to eat anything you want is an investment, not a cost. Many of us will now live to be over 90 thanks to modern medicine. There are many procedures to save teeth, so you don’t have to be doomed to a future of gumming your food or ill-fitting dentures for 20+ years.
2. I’m too old for orthodontics. My teeth can’t be straightened now.
As we get older, unfortunately our teeth become more crooked and overlapped. Orthodontics work at any age as long as the teeth have good bone support and are in fair shape. Many times, orthodontics are used before cosmetic procedures, so the results can be beautiful.
3. My dentures will never be tight enough.
There have been many advances in helping people with loose dentures. One of the most cost-effective methods is the placement of “mini-implants,” which can attach to the inside of the existing dentures in order to give patients a tighter fit. For those who want to get rid of their dentures completely, there are “implant supported bridges,” where slightly larger implants are placed and a bridge that looks like normal teeth is cemented permanently over them.
4. Teeth whitening is only for the younger crowd.
Teeth whitening works no matter what your age. Done properly, it can make your teeth (and you) look much more youthful. Just be aware that whitening will not work on old fillings or crowns.
5. I’m too old for veneers and crowns.
Some of our favorite patients are those over 70 who have had cosmetic veneers done on their aging and yellowing teeth—it gives them much more confidence in their smiles and can help with self-esteem.
6. Implants won’t work in my mouth so I’m stuck with what I have.
Dental implants are changing so fast that it’s hard for even dentists to keep up with the advances. Just a few years ago, if your jaw couldn’t accommodate implants, your options were limited. Now, there are many procedures that allow us to place implants almost anywhere in the mouth. Biting into an apple is a wonderful thing you can do again with the help of the proper procedures.
7. The health of my teeth and gums doesn’t matter at this age.
Gum disease, or “periodontal disease,” is the number one disease in the world. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as we age, and it’s entirely preventable! There are now a vast number of studies showing how important healthy gums are to our heart and joints. If you’ve had joint replacements, you know how strict surgeons are about healthy gums before surgery. The mouth is a window to the health of the rest of your body.
It’s never too late for the beautiful smile and functional teeth you’ve been dreaming of for years. With the advances of modern dentistry, your dreams can become a reality.
Teeth and health change over time. Different stages of life have very different and specific issues that may arise. With the help of the ADA, we have comprised a list of 5 concerns that a mature mouth might encounter.
1.) Gum disease. We know you’ve heard this one before, but the older you get the greater risk you are at. Brushing and flossing (the right way like we outlined in our 8 Common Brushing Mistakes article) combined with regular dental visits and periodontal exams is the winning combo to keep you healthy. Gingivitis is bad enough, but it is the reversible stage of gum disease. If your gum disease reaches periodontitis, it is irreversible.
2.) Missing teeth. Did you know that the average adult between the ages of 20-60 has three or more decayed or missing teeth? You may not think this is a big deal, but missing teeth can affect the way you eat and speak. Additionally, the missing tooth leaves an open space in your mouth that may cause your other teeth to move around or shift, and the vacancy in your mouth can also cause bone loss in that area where the tooth is missing. There are a handful of different solutions to solve this problem. Three of the most common are bridges, dentures, and implants. Call or visit us to discuss your options and together we can decide which option is best for you.
3.) Sensitivity. If you are experiencing discomfort when consuming hot and/or cold foods and beverages, then you may have sensitive teeth. This hyper-sensitivity could be caused by a number of things including tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, and/or an exposed tooth root. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated. Treatment may be as simple as desensitizing toothpaste, or maybe a more intense treatment is necessary for more extreme cases – treatment oftentimes depends on the cause of the sensitivity.
4.) Dry mouth. Dry mouth can be experienced by anyone, but if your mouth is constantly dry, then it may be time to seek treatment with us. Many things can cause dry mouth – medications, certain health conditions, and alcohol are a few of the more common causes. If you have constant dry mouth, it is important to get it checked because the reduced flow of saliva creates an environment where bacteria can thrive and decay becomes a real problem. Dry mouth itself is not a serious health problem, but making sure you take extra special care of your oral hygiene when/if you experience dry mouth is extremely important to maintaining a healthy mouth.
5.) Oropharyngeal Cancer. This can affect any area of the mouth – lips, gums, cheek lining, tongue, jaw, hard or soft palate, and throat. It can start as an unsuspecting white spot or inflamed area, so make sure to take it seriously if you notice something like this in your mouth. We regularly screen for oral cancers at your check ups because, as with all cancers, early detection is key to rapid recovery, prolonged health, and easier treatment options. Symptoms and warning signs of oral cancer may be, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
- A thick/hard spot or a lump
- A roughened or crusted area
- Numbness, pain, or tenderness
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, and/or moving your tongue and jaw
We hope this information is helpful. Don’t neglect your oral health. It is extremely important to stay on top of these concerns so they do not progress as you age and become more difficult to deal with and correct. We are here to help! If you have any questions or concerns call us just to talk, or schedule an appointment.
Click here to take a 5 question (true or false style) quiz about your oral health. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/adults-40-60/fact-or-fiction/
That is a pretty high statistic if you ask us. Especially because you have some control over that. Over our many years practicing dentistry, we have found that most people visit us for any one of these three distinct reasons.
Fear – some people are just plain petrified of the dentist. It the fearful ones have had some traumatizing experiences in the past, and even if they didn’t, they know how old school dentistry did their work – fill, drill, and bill. That philosophy is a thing of the past, and something we never, ever, ever bought into here at FDA. We know some people have pre-appointment nerves and apprehensions, and we take every single one of those into account no matter how irrational those fears may be. We are here to calm your nerves and fix your teeth!
Personal Image – people want to look good. Of course it is true, and why wouldn’t it be? Your smile is a focal point of your face and people notice it, so it is normal to want a great smile. Whether that means veneers, whitening, tooth replacement, or orthodontics, we can help you get to where you want to go and get you that beautiful, confident smile of your dreams.
Function – some people have such a serious problem that it impacts the way that they are talking and eating. People often wait until they are in serious pain and discomfort before they visit us, and although we are glad to see that they finally come in to fix the problem, waiting around often complicates things further. The sooner you come in, the easier it is to treat the problem, the more treatment options we will likely have, and the faster your recovery will be. So if you’re hurting or uncomfortable, or something just doesn’t feel right in your mouth, then don’t wait around forever, come visit us! Our promise is to solve the problem and lay out a treatment plan together – one that you are completely comfortable with.
We know how to help even the most fearful patients who have the most complicated issues. We talk and formulate a treatment plan together that fits your lifestyle and budget. The most important thing to understand is that we are a team, and we have the same goals that you do to get you your perfect smile.
If you know a person who is so fearful of the dentist that they haven’t been in ages, then please share this blog post with them and tell them about us. We would love to talk with them.