Our Blog

Why Do I Have Gaps in My Teeth?

April 3rd, 2018

Gaps in teeth occur naturally. Some people have gaps because their jaws and tongue are big, compared to their teeth, or they have strong muscles in the mouth that can create spacing. This is because, in your DNA, it is a different gene that expresses jaw and muscle size, than the one that determines tooth size. Braces or Clear Aligners, can close unsightly gaps between teeth.

Before and After Treatment:

Bone loss or gum disease can also cause spaces to form between teeth, because lower bone levels reduce the foundation of the teeth pushing them out away from the tongue. Once all spaces are closed the teeth may need to be reshaped or bonded with a filling material. Be sure to ask your orthodontist what options are best during your complimentary consultation.

Small or rounded shaped teeth also may appear to have small spaces that can be masked with bonding, fillings, veneers or crowns. Be sure to ask your orthodontist what options would be best for your bite and smile.

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Rubber Bands: Braces Best Friend

February 5th, 2018

Have you heard your orthodontist say: always wear your rubber bands? Ever wonder why?

Rubber bands or orthodontic interarch elastics help orthodontist's grip the top teeth to your bottom teeth for various kinds of bite correction. Extra oral elastics may also be worn for orthopedic movements. Wearing rubber bands can improve how you chew, and they can maximize the final esthetics of your smile. They can be fun with colors or even help your braces and Invisalign look cute.

Some hurdles do exist when you wear elastics. They cause initial soreness for approximately a week while your mouth becomes accustomed to them. Orthodontic rubber bands can pop out of your mouth or break, which can be a nuisance. Sometimes you can swallow them. I haven't heard of any harm ever occurring with patients as long as elastics are worn as prescribed by your orthodontist. In the instance, you lose or swallow a rubber band, no need to try to find it, just pop in a new one!

Orthodontic elastics come in dozens of sizes and strengths. Your orthodontist will prescribe a given elastic size based on desired tooth movement to occur, and the supporting orthodontic appliance that is anchoring the rubber band. Some elastics have very small diameters, these can exert more force, sometimes used for bringing teeth together or for correcting a crossbite, others have larger diameters meant hooking in unique ways. Elastics come in a host of force levels measured in ounces. The versatility of elastics makes them incredibly useful to you and your orthodontist during treatment. The possibilities of elastics in treatment are infinite and so impossible to fully describe in a blog.

Just as a note of caution: If rubber bands are worn in the wrong fashion then orthodontic appliances can break. Teeth can move incorrectly and the bite may become worse. If the size and strength of elastic isn't correct the teeth and subsequent bones may not move due to incorrect force levels. Too much force can also cause necrosis (death at the level of the cells) causing movement to stop all together. Don't ever decide to move teeth in a DYI fashion, this can lead to tooth loss and poor outcomes.

If you have any questions with regards to elastics reach out to your orthodontist or message Dr. McKinney for clarification. Should you struggle to remember them, or struggle to get use to the initial discomfort, tell your orthodontist. Alternating Motrin and Tylenol can help with pain and discomfort. Placing a bag of elastics in easy to reach places can help you with learning to wear them. If you still struggle with elastics and have made your best effort then other treatment options may be available to you that require less compliance and participation just as your orthodontist.

Dr. McKinney is available for complimentary consultations in our Tuscaloosa and Hampton Cove offices. Like our McKinney Orthodontics Facebook page and send us a message directly!

Brush First, or Floss First?

February 1st, 2018

We care for ourselves with elaborate cleansing rituals for our skin, hair, nails, mouth and digestive system. Each can have various costs and daily time constraints. When it comes to oral health, the minimal cost and 203 minutes of effort required can pay dividends towards total systemic health.

It doesn't matter whether you brush or floss first. The goal for both is to disrupt the plaque on the entire surface of each tooth in your mouth. If this goal is met daily, then you will not experience caries or gum disease.

Some people swish with mouthwash to freshen breath. Products like Listerine can significantly reduce bacteria in the mouth for around 30 mins. This can be a an added plus to anyone's oral hygiene regime. Brushing your gums and scraping your tongue can have similar positive effects as tooth brushing; as it also disrupts plaque on soft surfaces.

Activated charcoal and other methods of natural tooth whitening don't work. Abrasive molecules may remove extrinsic stain, similar to a polish at the dentist, but these natural remedies don't work. They can't get inside of the tooth, the way professional tooth whitening products do. Placing acids on your teeth, like lemons, can erode the enamel crystals, making teeth darker and weaker. the blogosphere promoting strange remedies, so do only for web traffic and the claims are just false news.

Professional tooth whitening works to open the dentinal tubules so that the stains can be lightened from inside the tooth strictures, making them scientifically proven to give you results. Take care to choose products recommended by your orthodontist or dentist and follow the instructions.

If you need help choosing products or reviewing an oral hygiene regime, don't hesitate to like McKinney Orthodontics Facebook page, and message us directly. You may also visit us in our Tuscaloosa, Winfield, Fayette, or Hampton Cove offices.

To schedule a FREE braces consultation with Dr. McKinney, click here.


Dental Trends That Will Destroy Your Teeth!

January 12th, 2018

Our Millennial patients and Facebook friends ask us about various dental fads that they see on social media. These products show off amazing results by various "new" dental products and claim superior results over trusted dental brands. Social media influencers sell these products to unsuspecting followers to make a quick buck. These products have no true merit with regards to their claims and they often can cause serious harm, with long term use.

Below are 3 dental trends on Facebook, that will destroy your teeth. Word to the wise: Beware of the false whitening claims!

Toothpaste Nuskin AP24: highly abrasive, can scrape and scratch your enamel, it then coats them in titanium dioxide (white paint) that is thickened by dimethicone and other agents to stay on your teeth for a short period of time. In short this product will not give you desired long term results. If you need whiter teeth for a wedding or professional photos for a short term project, use it. Long term use can lead to yellowing and staining of your teeth because, as you use it, it will erode your natural enamel over time.

Activated Charcoal: although great for absorbing toxins in some situations, use on your teeth can be disastrous. It is very abrasive and can scratch your enamel, thus weakening your teeth. Long term use can also cause yellowing and staining of your teeth.

Lemon Juice or other natural acids: Just as the other two trends acid erodes the enamel. It erodes it on a chemical level, causing the calcium and phosphate crystals in your enamel to be lost. Long term use can cause yellowing and staining to your teeth.

These trends can cause permanent damage, requiring people to get costly fillings, crowns, and veneers, to restore the appearance of your teeth. Once enamel is lost, it doesn't grow back. Exposed Denton not only looks yellow or brown, it can cause painful sensitive teeth. If you want whiter teeth or are searching for a more natural dental product, be sure to ask your general dentist or orthodontist for recommendations.

If you have any questions, or would like recommendations, feel free to call our office or send us an email!

205-345-5524 or mckinneyortho@gmail.com