For many children, October means one thing: Halloween candy. For orthodontists, it is a month for embracing a beautiful, healthy smile in honour of National Orthodontic Health Month.
Dr. Jennifer Tan, Orthodontist of Barrhaven Orthodontics & Periodontics, offers patients and the entire community five timely tips to protect braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances while protecting teeth from decay.
Avoid sticky situations with your braces and aligners. Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy candies and snacks. These include caramel, gummies, licorice, taffy, bubblegum (even the sugarless kind) and jelly beans.
Scream “BOO” to hard treats – including hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels). And whether in orthodontic treatment or not, Dr. Tan cautions that no one should ever chew ice.
Brush Up! Sweets can cause cavities, which means that both brushing and flossing are more important than ever during the Halloween season! Orthodontic patients should be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing after consuming sugary or starchy foods.
SPOOKtacular news: Not all Halloween candy is off-limits! Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties.
Make a commitment to oral health. Deciding to avoid hard and chewy sweets before the Halloween season increases your rate of success – and reduces the likelihood that you’ll break braces.
“It’s okay for orthodontic patients to enjoy some treats at Halloween,” says Dr. Tan. “We want everyone to have fun on Halloween. At the same time, we encourage patients to enjoy acceptable treats in moderation and take that extra couple of minutes to brush and floss. When orthodontic treatment is complete, and patients see their healthy and beautiful new smiles in the mirror, they will know all of their efforts were worthwhile.”
JENNIFER TAN, CERTIFIED ORTHODONTIST, RECOMMENDS ORTHODONTIC CHECK-UPS FOR CHILDREN NO LATER THAN 7 YEARS OLD
When should I be concerned about my child’s bite? For many of us, the need for orthodontic assessment and treatment tend to be associated with adolescence. Dr. Jennifer Tan, Orthodontist of Barrhaven Orthodontics & Periodontics, says that orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth or with the teeth at a much earlier age, even while the primary or baby teeth are still present.
Parents may feel that they must wait until their child has all of their permanent teeth before bringing them to see an Orthodontist. However, Dr. Tan and the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) recommend a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7, before children get all of their adult teeth.
“I cannot emphasize how important it is that parents understand the value of an orthodontic check-up,” says Dr. Tan. By age 7, there are enough permanent teeth that have erupted for an orthodontist to evaluate the bite, or the manner in which teeth and jaws meet and work together, and how that special relationship affects a child’s ability to eat, chew and speak effectively.
At the check-up, Dr. Tan may see that your child’s bite is fine. She may recommend careful monitoring of your child’s continued growth and development. Or she may identify an early developing problem. If indicated, appropriate treatment will be planned at the right time for your child. Sometimes a problem that can benefit from an early intervention may be detected right away and corrected to achieve the best outcome possible.
Early detection may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make additional treatment at a later time shorter, less painful, less complicated, and less costly. In some cases, with early treatment, we are able to achieve desired results that may not be possible once your child’s face has finished growing. We can sometimes even avoid more complex treatment such as multiple teeth extractions or even jaw surgery.
Some of the conditions that indicate the need to see an Orthodontist include:
Early or late loss of baby teeth
Difficulty in chewing or biting
Crowding, crooked, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
Jaws that shift or make sounds
Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
Teeth that meet abnormally, or simply do not meet at all
Facial imbalance or asymmetry
Jaws that are too far forward or back
Protrusive (projecting) front teeth that may be prone to injury
Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Early treatment gives your Orthodontist the chance to:
Guide jaw growth
Correct harmful habits
Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
Guide erupting adult teeth into a more desired position
Improve the way the lips meet
With a simple visit to the Orthodontist, you will be giving your child the opportunity for a healthy and beautiful smile!
Dr. Jennifer Tan has practiced as an Orthodontist in the Ottawa region since 2007. She completed her four-year dental degree (DMD) from McGill University and then an additional two-year specialty advanced educational program and Masters degree (MSc) in Orthodontics from the University of Detroit Mercy. In 2008, Dr. Tan and her husband Dr. Martin Lin, a Periodontist, moved to Barrhaven and opened their combined specialty clinic Barrhaven Orthodontics & Periodontics
Some of the services offered at their clinic are:
Early preventative orthodontic treatment
Invisalign and Invisalign Teen Invisible braces
DamonSmile Braces for children, teens, and adults
Clear or Ceramic braces
Digital 3D models
Treatment of gum disease, bone loss, and loose teeth
Treatment of gum recession
Treatment of excessive gums
Laser Gum Therapy (LANAP)
Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who correct improperly aligned teeth and jaws (bad bites). They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this formal education may call themselves “Orthodontists.”
For more information or to schedule an orthodontic check-up, please visit our website at www.OrthoPerio.ca, or call (613) 482-0882. Though we work closely with many dental clinics, a referral from your family dentist is not necessary. Our office is located at 3171 Strandherd Drive, Unit 200, at the corner of Strandherd Drive and Woodroffe Avenue in the Metro/GoodLife Fitness mall.