Thursday, May 26, 2022

Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

True orthodontic emergencies are incredibly rare. However, orthodontic issues may arise while you are at home. While true emergencies, such as trauma to the mouth may require visit the emergency room, there are many issues that can be managed from home until you are able to make it into our office.

At TSL Orthodontics, we want our patients to be informed of problems that may occur, and understand how to solve them, at least temporarily. With the tools and supplies listed below, you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues at home.

  • Dental Floss 
  • Interproximal Brush 
  • Non-prescription Pain Reliever 
  • Orthodontic Wax 
  • Q-tips 
  • Salt 
  • Topical Anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) 
  • Tweezers

Below are some typical orthodontic issues and how you can solve them at home.

Sore Teeth or Gums - It is normal to have some initial discomfort during orthodontic treatment as your teeth move. Rinsing your mouth with a cup of warm water and half a teaspoon of salt and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may alleviate this discomfort. If the discomfort lasts longer than a couple of days, give our office a call.

Minor irritations and canker sores will heal more quickly if you apply Zylactin or Orabase according to the manufacturer's directions. Zylactin or Orabase can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies.

If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. If you cut your gums, tongue, or the inside of your cheek, apply finger pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, call your family dentist or our office.

Poking Archwires - If a wire is causing irritation, push the wire away from the irritated area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball until you are able to make an appointment for an adjustment.

If the main wire has come out of the tube on the back tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of tweezers. If the wire is sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. As a last resort, if you cannot come into our office, the wire can be cut with fingernail clippers close to the back of the last brace.

Loose Brackets - If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little colored rubber ring or a small steel ligature tie. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office and inform us of the problem. If a piece of your braces break, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit.

Even though you are careful, you may occasionally damage your braces or orthodontic appliance. While there are steps you can take to temporarily fix or alleviate discomfort and prevent additional damage, you should always notify our office if you have any issues or concerns.

There will be normal, day-to-day discomfort associated with wearing braces, if you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, or if you think you may have a true orthodontic emergency, don’t hesitate to call our Greenville, MS orthodontic office…We are here help!


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Chewing Ice Can be Dangerous

Chewing ice is an incredibly common habit. Some people chew on ice after finishing a drink, while others do it to cool off in the summer heat. No matter what the reason people chew ice, just like many other hard foods, chewing ice can cause a myriad of oral health issues, and even cost you an expensive trip our office or your general dentist.

If you wear braces, use a retainer, or have expanders, chewing ice makes you particularly vulnerable to tooth damage.

Why Chewing Ice Can be Dangerous

  • Broken or Fractured Teeth - Teeth are not designed to crunch extremely hard objects like ice. Chewing ice can easily lead to a cracked or chipped tooth, which will require an emergency dental visit to repair the broken tooth.
  • Cracked Tooth Enamel - Tooth enamel is the first line of defense against cavities. If tooth enamel is damaged by chewing ice, it can leave a tooth more vulnerable to acid attacks and tooth decay. That’s because acids produced by bacteria can penetrate the softer layer of the tooth, the dentin, much more easily and cause tooth decay. Cracked tooth enamel can also lead to hot and cold sensitives and tooth pain.
  • Damaged Dental Fillings - Chewing ice can damage existing dental work like fillings, crowns, and veneers. Damaging your dental work will require an immediate trip to your dentist for a repair. Something as simple as filling a cavity may be the solution, but other times root canals and crown replacements are necessary to repair the damage done from chewing ice.

As with any habit, the first thing you should do is make yourself aware. If you are concerned about your oral health or if you chew on ice frequently, make sure you schedule an appointment with your general dentist to have your teeth and gums evaluated. If your teeth are damaged, your dentist will know exactly what to do to help.

Did you know? The intense craving to chew on ice is sometimes categorized as pagophagia. Pagophagia, or compulsive ice chewing, is a particular form of pica that is characterized by ingestion of ice, freezer frost, or iced drinks. It is usually associated with an iron deficiency, a calcium deficiency, dry mouth, or an eating disorder. Not everyone who loves chewing ice has pagophagia. If you occasionally enjoy crunching on ice cubes after you finish a drink, that is not pagophagia. Chewing on ice only becomes pagophagia when the drive to chew ice is intense and persistent. Studies show that some people who have the desire to chew ice also have an underlying health issue that has not yet been resolved.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Benefits of Early Intervention

Timing is everything…especially when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. Early intervention can make a dramatic impact on establishing the proper occlusal foundation. 

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. By age 7 your child has enough permanent teeth for Dr. Theresa L. Skelton to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws.

Early intervention is one of the most rewarding treatment options that we offer here at TLS Orthodontics. Early intervention allows Dr. Skelton to determine how and when a child's jaw and/or dental problems should be corrected for optimal results. 

While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early intervention can be in your child’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. The major advantage of early intervention is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic results that will remain stable throughout your child’s life. In some cases, early intervention prevents adult tooth extractions or major jaw surgery.

Early orthodontic treatment can take many forms. Dr. Skelton may prescribe a fixed or removable appliance used to move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to bring about desirable changes. Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.

Early Treatment may be recommended if your child has any of the following orthodontic issues:

  • Underbite 
  • Crossbite 
  • Crowded Teeth 
  • Excessively Spaced Teeth 
  • Extra or Missing Teeth 
  • Thumb or Finger Sucking that is Affecting the Teeth or Jaw Growth

Children between the ages of 7and 10 are best suited for early treatment. Treatment usually lasts 4 to 12 months after which the child is monitored and the decision as to the need for a second phase is made.

To give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile, visit TLS Orthodontics today. No referral needed! Our office provides an initial consultation at no cost and with no obligation.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Afforable Orthodontic Care

If you recently learned that orthodontic treatment is in your or your child’s future, don’t worry… you may be pleasantly surprised to learn how affordable orthodontic care is today.

When it comes to paying for braces, you have options.

Do you have insurance to help pay for treatment? For your convenience we will gladly assist you in submitting both predetermination and initial insurance claims pertaining to charges for care rendered in our office. However, please be aware our primary financial relationship is with our patients or their families and not with their respective insurance companies. Final responsibility for collection of benefits from your insurance company rests with the insured party. Our professional services are rendered and charged directly to the patient, or their family and they are responsible for payment of all fees incurred.

How you can afford braces without insurance.

At Theresa L. Skelton Orthodontics, we are sensitive to the fact that people have unique needs in fulfilling their obligations, so we provide the following payment options:

Credit Card: One option is to pay via credit card and pay off your orthodontic treatment through your normal credit card payments. Our office accepts credit card payments through Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and AmericanExpress.

Payment Plan: Dr. Skelton is not willing to let finances stand in the way of treatment. We offer monthly payment options to make your orthodontic expenses more manageable.

Flexible Spending Account: Even if your dental plan does not cover orthodontics, your employer might offer a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). The money you put into this account is not taxed, which means your dollars will go further. Contribute the maximum amount and use these funds to pay for expenses not covered by insurance, including braces.

CareCredit: CareCredit is a personal line of credit specifically for health care needs and can be used for many health, beauty, and wellness costs such as dental, medical, vision, and more.

Though orthodontics can come with a higher price tag, you do have many options to help you pay for your or your child’s orthodontic care. Start by having a conversation with Dr. Theresa L. Skelton…then begin your journey towards an improved smile.

New patient exams are always complimentary. If you have any questions about financing or payment options, ask us! We will thoroughly explain your choices and work hard to accommodate your needs.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

TLS Orthodontics Has the Answers

Orthodontics have come a long way over the last 20 years. Now, there are more options in addition to traditional metal braces, such as clear aligners, and ceramic braces. With all of these new options, it’s no wonder our team gets so many questions from patients who are considering orthodontic treatment.

If your dentist has recommended braces to you or your child, you probably have some questions. Don’t worry…the team at TLS Orthodontics has the answers. Here are 5 of the most frequently asked questions that we hear on a regular basis.

1. Does Getting Braces Hurt? There is no reason to be anxious about getting braces. All the appliances and wires used at TLS Orthodontics are cutting-edge and exert light, continuous, forces that decrease any soreness associated with orthodontic treatment. While each person will have a different experience with braces getting braces does not hurt. Braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth. However, you may notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Exactly when the discomfort will stop is impossible to predict and differs with each patient. Non-prescription pain remedies are recommended for discomfort.

2. How long do I have to wear my braces? From gaps to overbites, to teeth or jaw alignment issues there are many factors that can affect the amount of time you will need to wear your braces. While overall treatment time varies from patient to patient, treatment times range from about 12 to 30 months. The "average" period of time a person is in braces is approximately 22 months. After an initial orthodontic evaluation and consultation, Dr. Skelton can help you better understand the amount of time that may be required for your unique case.

3. Why can’t I get Invisalign? While Invisalign can effectively straighten teeth and correct bites, not everyone is a candidate for the Invisalign aligner system. There are some complex orthodontic problems that can only be corrected with traditional metal braces. Therefore, Dr. Skelton may recommend traditional braces instead of Invisalign. We realize that being told that Invisalign isn’t the right choice for you can be very disappointing, but it is our job to give you the best treatment possible so you can have a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

4. Are braces expensive? Orthodontic treatment is an excellent investment in the overall dental and psychological well-being of children, teens, and adults. But there is no denying that braces can be costly. Because orthodontic treatment is highly personalized and based on the individual the patient, it is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

5. What happens after my braces are removed? Once your teeth and bite are in proper alignment, Dr. Skelton will remove your braces and provide you with retainers to stabilize the dental correction. Because the bone and soft tissues surrounding the teeth are stabilizing for several months after braces are removed, it is imperative that your retainers are worn as instructed. The retention phase of your treatment lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you have put in so far. Remember to remove your retainers before brushing and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

With the answers to these questions, you should have all the information you need to make the right choice for yourself or your child. If you have further questions about orthodontics or if you want to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Skelton, please contact our Greenville, MS orthodontic office today.


Monday, December 13, 2021

Just The Fun Facts

We use our teeth every single day, from biting, to eating, to speaking. We may not realize just how vital our teeth are to our health and our appearance, or the overall impact our teeth have on our bodies.

4 Fun Facts About Our Teeth

1. Cavities - A cavity is one of the few things the body can’t heal. Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny holes. Cavities are caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks and not cleaning your teeth well. Cavities are among the world's most common health problems. They are especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities. If cavities are not treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to a severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities.

2. Roots - The root is the part of the tooth that extends into the bone and holds the tooth in place. It makes up approximately two-thirds of the tooth. The number of roots for each type of tooth varies. Typically, incisors, canines, and premolars will have one root whereas molars will have two or three. The roots are covered with a thin layer of bone, and they are inserted into sockets in the bone of the jaw. The tooth root is essential for tooth function. It consists of root dentin and root canals, where dental pulp cells, including undifferentiated mesenchymal cells, blood vessels, and nerves that support the dental pulp tissue reside.

3. Fingerprints - Your teeth are like your fingerprints…no two teeth are the same shape and size. Each tooth in your mouth has its own unique profile, and teeth vary widely from person to person. Despite their unique properties, teeth can indicate certain information about us, like our age, gender, and personality. They can indicate certain personality traits and significantly impact our overall impression of people.

4. Supernumerary - Extra, or "supernumerary," teeth can show up in as much as 4 percent of the population. Supernumerary teeth are twice as common in men as they are in women. Supernumerary teeth tend to grow out of the upper jawbone. Theses teeth tend to grow downward, alongside a person's other upper teeth once their baby teeth fall out. But sometimes, the teeth form "upside down" and instead of growing down into the mouth, they grow upward, toward a person's nose. Even when extra teeth grow in the right direction, they can cause problems with the arrangement and growth of your regular teeth. They can knock teeth out of alignment, overcrowd the jaw, and even cause cysts.

Our teeth are one of the most essential features of our body. Not only do they help us chew our food, teeth are also responsible for helping us speak and pronounce words clearly and correctly. Aside from function, our teeth also create our one-of-a-kind smile, which makes us uniquely ourselves.

Knowing a little more about our teeth and how our behaviors affect our dental health can help us take better care of our teeth and keep us smiling long into the future. If you have any questions regarding the health of your teeth, please visit our website or call our office to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

5 Steps to a Healthy Smile

For many people, an ideal smile is a mouth full of bright white, perfectly aligned teeth. But in addition to straight white teeth, you need to make sure that your smile is a healthy one.

The team at TLS Orthodontics have put together an easy to follow, 5 step guide, so that you can be sure that your smile is the picture of health.

Step 1. Brush your Teeth Twice a Day - Brushing removes leftover food particles that can bond with saliva to form plaque. These particles feed the bacteria that naturally live in our mouths and these bacteria can eat through our tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush to keep plaque at bay.

Step 2. Floss Once a Day - Flossing removes plaque between teeth and out from under the gumlines. If left alone, plaque and tartar build up under the surface of the gumlines can cause periodontal disease, which leads to bone destruction and tooth loss.

Step 3. Maintain a Healthy Diet - Good nutrition provided by healthy foods help your bones and teeth grow and stay healthy. While sugary treats are great occasionally, the bacteria in our mouths thrive on sugar, eating too many can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet combined with regular brushing and flossing can help keep the bacteria under control. Focus on eating healthy fruits and vegetables as often as possible to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Step 4. Stay Hydrated - Water is the healthiest drink for your smile and your body. Drinking water helps rinse teeth clean and discourages tooth decay. Not only that…but keeping your body hydrated helps your mouth produce enough saliva to keep your mouth and teeth clean.

Step 5. See Your Dentist Twice a Year - Regular dental visits are necessary to preserving your oral health. Having routine cleanings every six months helps to promote good oral health and a beautiful smile. Your dentist can examine your mouth and address any potential issues while your hygienist can professionally clean your teeth and gums to remove any plaque. Regular dental checkups are the key to maintaining a healthy smile.

It can take some time before you start noticing changes from improved oral hygiene. While these changes won’t come overnight, they are certainly worth the time and effort, both for the sake of your smile and your overall health. If you have any questions regarding the health of your teeth and mouth, do not hesitate to call our office.


Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

Theresa L. Skelton Orthodontics True orthodontic emergencies are incredibly rare. However, orthodontic issues may arise while you are at hom...