June 22nd, 2023
What do you imagine when you picture an orthodontic office? Do you see a steady stream of teenagers walking through the doors? Teen magazines in the reception room? Backpacks stowed under every chair? If so, we have an update for you.
In today’s office, you’ll find grade school kids, teens, and adults (and children’s books and games, and even the occasional golf magazine). Today’s orthodontic patients are more diverse than ever before!
Why? Because today, more than ever, more of us can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Even before a child’s adult teeth come in, a visit to Ray Orthodontics is a good idea. In fact, dentists and orthodontists recommend an orthodontic exam around the age of seven for every child.
Early intervention can make sure that there’s enough space for those incoming permanent teeth and can help correct jaw alignment problems for a healthy bite.
- Palatal expanders can gently enlarge a small upper dental arch to make room for adult teeth.
- Space maintainers will save room for an adult tooth to erupt in just the right spot if a baby tooth is lost too early.
- Treatment for malocclusions like overbites, open bites, and underbites while young bones are still growing helps create a more comfortable, healthy bite and may prevent more complicated treatment in the future.
If you’ve always wanted straighter teeth or a pain-free bite, don’t let an imaginary age limit prevent you from getting orthodontic treatment! As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, orthodontic treatment is a terrific way to keep them healthy.
- If you have painful bite issues which have never been treated,
- If you’ve always wanted straighter teeth,
- If your teeth have become more crowded over time,
there’s no time like the present to start working toward the smile you’ve always wanted.
Bonus: new technology in braces and aligners makes orthodontic treatment more subtle and discreet than ever before.
- Traditional braces—brackets are smaller than ever, and come in a choice of several materials and colors, including ceramic brackets and tooth-colored and clear brackets.
- Lingual braces—the least visible treatment, because brackets and wires are attached behind the teeth.
- Clear aligners—a removable and almost invisible way to straighten teeth.
Tweens & Teens
Teenagers still make up the majority of patients in orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists often recommend starting treatment between the ages of ten to 14, because:
- Most of the adult teeth have come in, so problems with crowding, spacing, or crooked tooth alignment can be diagnosed and corrected.
- The jawbone is still growing, and the bone is not as dense, so it can be easier to realign teeth and jaws for straighter teeth and a symmetrical bite.
Today’s treatment choices offer more options and are more effective than ever before. Depending on a teen’s orthodontic needs, Dr. David Ray might suggest:
- Traditional braces or aligners
- Elastics (rubber bands) used with braces to bring the upper and lower teeth into alignment.
- Functional appliances—together with braces or aligners, appliances like the Herbst® appliance, the Forsus™ device, the twin-block appliance, and headgear can work inside and/or outside the mouth to help correct problems with tooth and jaw alignment.
It’s no longer just the middle school and high school crowd you might meet in your orthodontist’s waiting room. Children, teenagers, and adults can all benefit from orthodontic treatment at our Westerville, OH office. If someone in your family is one of those people, give your orthodontist a call to see just what orthodontic treatment can offer. Welcome in!
June 15th, 2023
You’re biting into something delicious, and, Ouch! You bite into something you didn’t mean to—the inside of your tender cheek.
Painful moments like this happen every now and again. But if you find that more frequent cheek biting means that you’re extra-cautious when eating or speaking, if you wake up with sore cheeks in the morning, or if you catch yourself gnawing on your cheeks during the day, it’s time to see Dr. David Ray.
Causes of Cheek Biting
Many of us experience the occasional cheek chomp when we’re eating or talking. No fun! Besides the pain, a bite can cause broken skin, inflammation, a canker sore, or a cyst. Luckily, the discomfort from these accidental bites generally resolves after a few days.
Sometimes, though, biting becomes a more frequent annoyance. Regular bites can be caused by several conditions. One of the most common?
- Orthodontic Misalignment
If you notice that you seem to be biting your cheek a lot when eating or speaking, it could be an orthodontic problem. When your teeth or jaws don’t align properly, if your mouth is small in proportion to your teeth, or if your teeth have shifted over time, your cheeks can feel the consequences! Dr. David Ray can help you discover if a misaligned bite is the source of your biting problems.
But it’s not just orthodontic problems which can cause painful cheek bites. Other causes can include:
Bruxism is a medical term for tooth grinding. If you clench or grind your teeth as you sleep, it’s hard on your teeth and on your jaws. And for some people, that nightly gnashing causes cheek biting as well.
- Wisdom Teeth
Most of us don’t have the room to welcome four new—and large—teeth. As the wisdom teeth come in, they can cause bites, especially if they erupt leaning outward toward your cheeks. They can also push your other teeth out of place.
Why visit our Westerville, OH orthodontic office? A one-time bite can be extremely uncomfortable, and might lead to inflammation or a sore spot inside your mouth. Usually, these reactions fade in a short while.
But what about continuous biting? Regular biting injuries can lead to bigger problems. Tissue can get thicker or erode. Scar tissue can build up inside the mouth. Ulcers and other sores can become larger and more painful.
If you’ve been biting your cheeks more often, your orthodontist can diagnose the cause and offer you treatment options depending on the reason for this frequent biting:
- Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment can improve tooth and bite alignment—and can eliminate those painful cheek bites if misalignment is what’s causing them. Today’s orthodontics offers more options than ever before, for both adults and kids.
- Traditional braces are more effective—and more subtle—than ever, with brackets which are smaller or come in clear and ceramic styles.
- Clear aligners are a convenient, almost invisible way to treat misalignment with a series of trays which gradually improve alignment with each new set.
- Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, so there are no visible brackets and wires.
- Functional appliances can improve and correct bite issues which braces or aligners alone can’t treat as effectively.
Whatever the reason for painful cheek biting, you deserve to eat and speak and enjoy your day without constant “Ouch!” moments affecting your comfort and health. If these moments are happening all too often, visit our Westerville, OH office for the answers to your biting problems.
May 31st, 2023
Whether you’ve chosen traditional braces or invisible aligners, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step on your way to a beautiful, healthy smile. Of course, like every other journey, a good start helps you get where you’re going as quickly and easily as possible. And the best way to start your orthodontic journey at Ray Orthodontics is with a visit to your dentist for a checkup and a cleaning.
Dr. David Ray and our team will want you to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before you begin. A complete dental exam will let you know if you have any dental conditions that need to be addressed before you get braces or aligners. Why be proactive? Because if you need dental work during your orthodontic treatment, it can cause delays in your treatment plan.
Cavities grow over time and can eventually reach the inside of the tooth, causing infection and damaging the pulp. For this reason alone, it’s best to find and treat cavities before you get braces or aligners.
If you’re wearing braces when a cavity’s discovered, the situation gets a bit more complicated. Your dentist might be able to work around your braces if the cavity is easy to reach. But if a cavity’s near your brackets, Dr. David Ray might have to remove a wire or bracket before treatment can start. This means scheduling different appointments to a) remove a section of your braces, b) repair your cavity, and c) replace your bracket and/or wire. See what we mean? Definitely more complicated.
- Gum Disease
While serious gum disease is most common in adults, children and teens can suffer from early-stage gum disease. Your gum health affects your orthodontic treatment—and can be affected by it, too—so your gums need to be healthy before you begin wearing braces or aligners.
Early gum disease can frequently be reversed with careful brushing and flossing habits. Because advanced gum disease weakens the bone under the teeth, patients with this kind of gum disease will need dental or periodontal treatment before any orthodontic work.
- A Clean Start
Once you’ve made sure your teeth and gums are healthy, there’s one more proactive step you can take for a better orthodontic experience. Whenever you’re at the dentist for an exam, it’s always a good idea to get a professional cleaning. It’s especially important when you’re getting—or wearing—braces.
Even with the most dedicated everyday brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up, especially between and behind the teeth. A professional cleaning by an expert is just what you need to remove any plaque or tartar that you’ve missed before you start wearing braces or aligners.
And keep up with professional cleanings while you’re in treatment. It can be difficult to clean around brackets and underneath wires. Your dental team knows how to gently and thoroughly clean plaque from these hard-to-reach spots. In fact, Dr. David Ray and your dentist might recommend that you have your teeth cleaned more often while you’re wearing braces.
- Your Best Bonding Experience
If you’re getting metal brackets, ceramic brackets, or lingual braces, your brackets will be applied to your tooth enamel with a special bonding glue. Applying brackets to teeth that are their cleanest will start you off with the best possible bond.
If you need dental work while you wear braces, we can certainly accommodate that. But why make life more difficult? See your dentist for a cleaning and an exam and get any necessary dental treatment before you get your braces at our Westerville, OH orthodontic office. The easiest journey to a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles begins with a good start!
May 24th, 2023
Orthodontists do everything they can to save teeth, but sometimes, a tooth is so damaged by accident, injury, infection, or decay that extraction is the only option. Or perhaps your child’s wisdom teeth are starting to come in—and starting to cause problems. Or, when this is the healthiest alternative, an extraction might be necessary for orthodontic reasons.
While there are several possible reasons an extraction might be necessary, one thing is true for any extraction: you want to make sure that your child is as comfortable as possible and heals as quickly as possible after the procedure.
Aftercare and recovery time isn’t exactly the same for every extraction. Whether your child’s tooth is a baby tooth or a permanent one, whether it’s a single tooth or several, whether it’s erupted or impacted, whether a local anesthetic or sedation is recommended—these factors and more can make a difference in recovery time.
Dr. David Ray will provide you with clear, specific instructions for helping your child to a speedy recovery after an extraction. We’d also like to offer you some general aftercare ideas to make sure your child is as comfortable as possible while recovering.
Some bleeding is normal after an extraction. Follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s instructions carefully to minimize bleeding at the extraction site. Your child will probably need to keep a gauze pack in place for as long as directed to reduce bleeding and to help a clot form. If bleeding is heavier than expected or goes on longer than expected, call our Westerville, OH office.
Swelling is a normal response to extractions. Your dentist might suggest cold compresses to help reduce swelling immediately after the extraction. If you don’t have an ice pack, ask whether a bag of frozen peas or corn can substitute.
With any cold compress, it’s important to protect your child’s skin from injury. Follow your dentist’s suggestions for application and be sure not to exceed the time limits recommended. And don’t apply a compress directly to your child’s face—wrap a towel or cloth around the bag or pack to protect the skin.
- Careful Cleaning
The area around the extraction shouldn’t be disturbed or touched. The blood clot that forms after an extraction protects the area from irritation and infection caused by food particles and bacteria. If a clot is dislodged accidentally, it can lead to a condition called dry socket, which can be very painful.
This means no brushing near the extraction site, and no heavy rinsing or spitting for as long as directed. If your child is younger, you might need to help with brushing over the days following to make sure those sturdy bristles don’t get close to the extraction site before it’s healed.
- Soothing Foods
Have a supply of your child’s favorite comfort foods handy while healing, such as cream soups, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, gelatin, yogurt, and smoothies. Hot and cold foods can be irritating, so stick to cool or lukewarm foods for the first few days. Encourage your child to drink lots of liquids, but nothing carbonated. And do wait until any numbness wears off before giving your child chewable foods to avoid biting tongue or cheeks.
Remove spicy favorites from the menu, which can be irritating, as well as chewy, crunchy, or jagged foods like crackers, since tiny, sharp bits of food can make their way inside the site. Remind your child to chew on the side of the mouth opposite from the extraction site. And, since suction is an all-too-easy way to dislodge the clot over the extraction site, no straws!
- Schedule Recovery Time
Make sure your child rests and takes it easy after the procedure. Exercise, lifting, even bending over can dislodge a protective clot, so re-schedule any physically demanding sports and activities until your child is given the dental all clear.
If your child has been given a prescription for pain medication or antibiotics, follow the instructions as directed. Dr. David Ray might recommend age-appropriate over the counter pain relievers to have on hand. For severe or continuing pain, call your orthodontist or oral surgeon right away.
- Coordinate Dental Schedules
Orthodontic extractions, if needed, will be scheduled into your child’s orthodontic treatment plan. Treatment can begin or resume when the extraction site has healed.
If an emergency extraction is necessary, call our Westerville, OH office so we can be aware of the situation and can coordinate with your child’s dentist or oral surgeon to keep treatment on track as much as possible.
An extraction can be worrying for both patient and parent, so talk to your orthodontist for the best ways to make this experience a positive one for your child before, during, and after treatment.