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Adult Braces

If you’ve recently gotten your braces off, you may be wondering exactly how important it is to keep wearing your retainer, day after day, when you’ve already put in all the work of wearing braces.  If you know any adults who are undergoing Round 2 of braces a decade after having first gotten theirs off, then you already know the answer!

Retainers are essential

Getting your braces off is great, but to keep that beautiful looking smile of yours, you need to wear your retainer!

 

Teeth Like Their Original Homes

The truth is, braces alone will probably not keep your teeth where they should be for the rest of your life.  Teeth like to gravitate back toward their original positions, which is why your retainer is so important.

Teeth Move Positions Throughout Life

If you only had minor correction with your braces, you may think you don’t need to wear your retainer.  But the truth is that minor tooth movement occurs in every person’s mouth throughout their lives, regardless of whether they’ve had braces or not.  Braces move teeth into the best possible position for oral health, and wearing a retainer can help minimize or even completely eliminate the natural movement of teeth.

Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions About Retainer Use

The good news is you won’t have to wear your retainer 24 hours a day forever.  Most of the time, one to two years is the recommended period for full-time use, depending on the level of correction.  After that, you’ll only need to wear your retainer at night.  This is the time when people start to get a little lazy about wearing their retainer, but it’s vital that you keep wearing it.

Be Honest with Your Orthodontist

Even ten, twenty, or fifty years down the road, it’s still important to wear your retainer, so if it breaks, it’s important to visit your orthodontist.  If you go through a period of not wearing your retainer and then find your retainer no longer fits it’s very likely your teeth are shifting, therefore, it’s very important to visit your orthodontist.

Whether your teeth have moved enough to require braces or Invisalign, or whether a new retainer can be molded to prevent further movement, it’s important to commit to your oral health by visiting your orthodontist and assessing any level of re-correction that might be needed.  Don’t worry — you’re not going to “get in trouble.”  We just want to ensure you’re getting the best treatment for your teeth!

Orthodontic Care from Elrod Ortho

Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping both teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

Having confidence in your smile isn’t an impossible mission thanks to modern orthodontic technologies.  Even Hollywood’s biggest stars are taking advantage of the benefits braces offer, including megastar Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise's Braces

Even Tom Cruise felt his smile could benefit from braces!

Tom Cruise’s Adolescent Teeth Problems

As a child and a teen, Tom Cruise had a smile that was quite different than the one he sports today.  While Cruise has never spoken about his cosmetic dentistry, most dental experts believe his smile benefited greatly from a set of cosmetic veneers.

Tom Cruise’s Orthodontic Touch-Up at Age 40

Even after achieving mega stardom and becoming one of the most successful actors in Hollywood history, Cruise still wasn’t completely satisfied with his famous smile.

At age 40, Cruise treated himself to an orthodontic touch-up.  For about six months, he wore braces that were mostly invisible thanks to ceramic braces, but you can still see the wire in the pictures from that time period.

Taking the time to have this treatment likely improved his bite and prevented damage from teeth rubbing together and/or cavities due to overcrowding.

Orthodontics is More Than Just Cosmetic

You may not be able to tell a huge difference in how Tom Cruise’s smile looked before and after those six months with braces, but that may not have been the point.  Even minor problems with overcrowding or bite issues can cause major headaches (sometimes literally!).

Orthondontics For All Ages at Elrod Ortho

While we recommend that every child have an orthodontic consultation no later than age 7, it’s never too late to have your first consultation.  If you have concerns about your smile or your bite, Dr. Elrod can help.

Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping both teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

Continuing in our series on orthodontic problems to watch out for in adults, this week we’re taking a look at underbites, overbites and crossbites — and why they’re problematic.

underbites, overbites, crossbites

Read on to find out more about crossbites, overbites and underbites. Image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

The Differences Between Underbites, Overbites and Crossbites

Even if your teeth are straight, you can still have jaw and teeth alignment problems, called malocclusions.  Malocclusions fall into three categories.

Underbites

Underbites are known in orthodontics as Class III bites, and they are categorized by the lower teeth protruding in front of the upper front teeth. They are caused by problems with jaw growth: either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or sometimes both.

Overbites

Overbites are known as Class II bites, and they are categorized by the upper front teeth landing significantly ahead of the lower front teeth.  They are caused by genetics, bad habits such as thumb-sucking, or overdevelopment of the bone supporting the teeth.

Crossbites

Crossbites are a little less standard than the definitions of overbites and underbites.  In short, crossbites happen when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned.  Typically, one tooth or a group of teeth in the upper arch will bite inside the lower teeth in either the front or on the sides of the mouth.

Problems Caused by Underbites, Overbites and Crossbites

Any type of malocclusion can lead to excessive wearing down of your teeth over time, as well as jaw pain and problems chewing.  They can also lead to gum disease and eventually tooth loss.

Treat Bite Problems at Elrod Ortho

Don’t put off having your bite problems diagnosed and putting a plan in place to fix them.  Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping kids, teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

Many people go through life with less than perfectly straight teeth, but there are certain orthodontic problems to watch out for that can lead to more serious problems down the road.  One of those things is gaps between teeth, or diastema.

Gaps Between Teeth: Not Just a Cosmetic Issue

While a number of people, including celebrities like Madonna, have learned to love the small gap between their teeth, gaps aren’t always something that should be embraced.

Madonna's tooth gap

Fixing the gaps between your teeth is about more than cosmetics.

Gaps between teeth can cause the following types of problems:

  • Gaps can cause teeth to shift and become loose because the dental arch is not secure.
  • There is more gum line exposed, which can lead to increased incidence of gum disease because there are more places for bacteria to breed.
  • Poor alignment can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or teeth grinding at night.

Gaps Caused by Genetics and Behavior

Many people are predisposed to gaps between their teeth thanks to their genetics.  Sometimes teeth are missing or undersized.  Other times, the piece of tissue connecting the upper lip to the gum above the two front teeth, called the labial frenum, is oversized.

Behaviors can also lead to gaps between teeth, such as tongue thrusting (an incorrect swallowing reflex), thumb sucking, or gum disease.

Orthodontic Care Can Fix Problems Before They Happen

While you may not have experienced any problems related to the gaps between your teeth, it’s important to know that most of the issues we outlined above are progressive problems.  They don’t just suddenly pop up over night; they appear over the course of years of wear and tear on your teeth and gums.  Getting orthodontic care before the big problems start can save you time, money and pain.

Orthodontic Care for All Ages at Elrod Ortho

Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping kids, teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

We’ve talked about how adults can benefit from braces, too, but there are certain orthodontic problems that we see commonly in adults for which braces are the best solution.  One of the ones we see most often in adults is crowding.

crowding

If your teeth look similar to this, you can benefit from adult orthodontic treatment. Image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontics.

Crowded Teeth Can Be Easy to Hide

Many adults have relatively straight top teeth but over-crowded and sometimes crooked bottom teeth.  Because the bottom teeth are not as visible, many folks reach adulthood without ever worrying about them.  In other cases, both top and bottom teeth are crowded, but the resources weren’t there growing up to have the problems fixed.

Crowded Teeth Cause Problems

But crowded teeth aren’t simply an aesthetic issue.  Improperly spaced teeth can cause the following problems:

  • Increased tooth decay, cavities and gum disease
  • Strain on teeth, jaws and muscles
  • Increased risk of breaking a tooth
  • Inability to chew properly

The Causes of Crowded Teeth

Crooked teeth are usually caused by simple genetics.  Other causes include early loss of teeth, both baby and adult, poor dental work, gum disease, facial injury, and mouth or jaw tumors.  Crooked teeth can also be exacerbated by childhood thumb sucking, or using a pacifier or bottle beyond the age of three.

Straight Teeth Improve Quality of Life

No matter what the cause or when the problem is diagnosed, both adults and children can benefit from orthodontic treatment.  Increased dental function, better ability to keep up dental hygiene, and the confidence that comes with a smile full of straight, properly spaced teeth are just a few of the good things that come with braces.

Orthodontic Care for All Ages at Elrod Ortho

Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping kids, teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

Faith Hill may be best known for her music, but she also has a beautiful smile.  But she didn’t always feel confident about it.
Faith Hill in Braces

Even celebrities like Faith Hill feel more confident with braces!

As a child, she wore braces to straighten her teeth and help her gain confidence in her smile.  Orthodontic care for children can also help with bite problems and prevent speech difficulties — both important whether you make your living singing or not.

High Fashion Braces

When she showed up earlier this year at the Grammys wearing braces, the braces — and her smile — quickly became a hot topic.
While Hill chose to go with a more discrete set of clear braces (or ceramic braces, which are available at Elrod Ortho in case you were wondering!), she was happy to talk about them.

Good Orthodontic Care a Necessity — Even For Celebrities

 
When asked about her new fashion accessory by radio station KNIX, she explained, “I forgot to wear my retainer,” she said, explaining that her teeth had shifted.  She further added, “Kids, wear your retainer!”
It’s possible for your teeth to shift once your braces are removed if you don’t wear your retainer consistently and according to your orthodontist’s instructions, and celebrities are no exception to that rule.  So Faith’s advice is perfect for all our younger patients out there as well as our adults!
It’s understandable that someone on magazine covers, album covers and TV shows would want to look and feel their best when they smile, but it’s important to remember that anyone can benefit from more confidence from his or her smile.
Orthodontic Care for All Ages at Elrod Ortho
Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 30 years and loves helping both teens and adults gain confidence in their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

Invisalign

Dr. Elrod is a board certified orthodontist and has been practicing orthodontics for over 35 years.  Cosmetic alignment has been an interesting and challenging part of patient treatment over the years and is becoming more and more popular.  There have been some unusual options, like braces behind the teeth and even gold braces. The options he has grown to trust and use routinely are cosmetic braces that blend with your enamel and the Invisalign product.

Invisalign is a great product and proves to be an almost invisible way to have your teeth straightened.  However, there are several limitations to this product since it is made of a plastic material.

Invisalign

Dr. Elrod offers a free new patient consultation to see if you are a candidate for this creative and inviting type of treatment.

We Can Give you a a Free Consultation

The consultation includes:

  • Full set of diagnostic photographs of your teeth and facial features
  • Tour of our office
  • Thorough exam by Dr Elrod
  • Detailed outline of treatment options
  • Estimation of treatment time
  • Financial quote for treatment selected
  • Insurance information
  • Payment options
  • Professional letter including photographs to your General Dentist, sharing the plans of treatment as proposed.

Experience

Dr. Elrod has been practicing orthodontics for more than 35 years and loves helping kids, teens and adults gain confidence by improving their smiles.  If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at816-373-6006, or visit Elrod Orthodontics on facebook!

Please give our office a call  if you are interested in adding your smile to:

 Smiles with Style

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ELROD ORTHODONTICS

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