Dental Care

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.

Click here to schedule a FREE Consultation at our Tuscaloosa or Hampton Cove office.

Visit us in one of our offices serving, Tuscaloosa, Hampton Cove, Fayette, and Winfield.

 

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!

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

 

 

It's All About Balance

August 30th, 2017

"It's All About Balance," that was the topic of conversation last night at our Continuing Education class.

Michelle Wright, with Benco Dental/GC America, came to Tuscaloosa to school local hygienists and dentist on the importance of managing high risk caries patients. Michelle was an amazing speaker, and went over tons of great tips on how to treat high risk caries patients, and the differences between low, medium, and high risk.

Each hygienist/dentist that was in attendance received 2 CE credits, and a delicious meal provided by Taco Mama. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this class possible, and to all the attendees!

5 Things to Know About Retainers

August 16th, 2017

After you're finished with your braces or Invisalign your smile will look great! One of the most important parts in orthodontics is called the retention phase. This is where the patient gets their custom fit retainer, to make sure their teeth remain aligned after the braces or Invisalign are completed. Here are 5 important things to know about retainers.

1. There are different types of Retainers

All smiles are different, and some retainers are better suited for certain teeth. There are three main kinds of retainers.

Clear Retainers: These retainers are a clear plastic that fit over your teeth. They are sometimes referred to as "Invisalign" style retainers as they look similar to Invisalign trays. These retainers also help grinding or clenching while you sleep, and may be used as a night guard.

Hawley Retainers: These retainers are made up of acrylic that fits over your palate, and wire that fit over your teeth. These retainers are best at allowing your teeth to fit together naturally. They are sometimes referred to as "traditional" style retainers as they were very popular before Clear Retainers.

Bonded "Fixed" Retainers: These retainers will be glued to the back of your anterior teeth. These retainers stay in your mouth, so you do not have to worry about taking them in and out. They are sometimes referred to as "permanent" retainers as they stay on the back of your teeth and are not removable.

2. Patients need to wear their retainers for different lengths of time

Everyone's teeth move differently, so some patients will need to wear their retainer longer or more often than others. Dr. McKinney will make recommendations based on the movement of your teeth for how long and how often you will need to wear your retainer. Typically, retainers are worn only at night to sleep in.

3. Cleaning your retainer is important!

If retainers are not cleaned correctly, they become vulnerable to bacteria and germs. We recommend brushing your retainer with your toothbrush, as well as using denture cleaner to clean your retainers. It is important that you don't put your retainer in the dishwasher, as this can sometimes change the shape of the retainer.

4. Retainers may need to be adjusted

As patients grow and teeth move slightly sometimes retainers need to be adjusted. That is why at McKinney Orthodontics, we follow your case for one year minimum after the braces or Invisalign are removed. We also welcome back previous or new patients for retainer check and retainer adjustments.

5. Lost, misplaced, or not fitting? Let us know ASAP!

If your retainer is lost, misplaced, or not fitting correctly, let us know as soon as possible! The sooner we can make you a new retainer or repair your retainer, the less likely your teeth are to move. Losing a retainer is time sensitive, and teeth will want to move back to their original position. At McKinney Orthodontics, we offer a free first time consultation, even for something as simple as a lost or non fitting retainer.

Want Dr. McKinney to take a look at your retainer? Contact our office for a complimentary consulation and we will be happy to evaluate you for your retention needs. Retainers are an important part of the orthodontic process, and should be monitored by an orthodontist. Do you have other questions about retainer? Check out our full list of FAQ here.

Which Type of Treatment is Best for Me?!

July 19th, 2017

Braces Technology - A Comprehensive Chart

If you're seeking straight teeth, McKinney Orthodontics has options and LOTS of them! Dr. McKinney didn't go through all of that schooling for nothing! He has training and expertise in a wide range of orthodontic treatments. Whether you're 14 years old or 75, have a crossbite or an underbite, want an inconspicuous treatment or would love to rock neon rubber bands, we've got you covered. While you may not be a candidate for every treatment, and you'll likely have a few choices. We thought we'd make it easy with our orthodontic technology comparison chart to highlight the pros and cons of the different types of orthodontic treatment.

Traditional Metal Braces

Best For: Kids, teens and adults

Straightens: Crowding, spacing, overjet, crossbite and underbite

Pros:

  • Most cost effective
  • Treats the widest variety of cases including those that are complex
  • Can be customized with colored elastics

Cons:

  • Most visible and noticeable form of braces
  • Involves food restrictions

Ceramic Braces

Best For: Teens and Adults

Straightens: Crowding, spacing, overjet, crossbite and underbite

Pros:

  • Less noticeable than traditional metal braces
  • Treats a wide variety of cases

Cons:

  • Requires diligent oral hygiene since elastic ties on braces can stain easily
  • Involves food restrictions

Invisalign & Invisalign Teen

Best For: Teens and Adults

Straightens: Crowding, spacing, overjet, crossbite, openbite, and underbite

Pros:

  • Virtually invisible
  • Aligners are comfortable and smooth
  • Removable for your convenience
  • No food restrictions
  • Easier to maintain oral hygiene

Cons:

  • Might not work for all severe cases
  • Treatment may take longer

Intrigued by any of these options? Book your free consultation at McKinney Orthodontics and we'll help you choose the treatment that works best for your smile and lifestyle.

Protect Those Pearly Whites

July 12th, 2017

The Importance of Mouthguards:

We make sure kids and teens pile on the shin guards, pads and helmets when they play sports, but what about protecting their teeth and jaws? A mouthguard is an important piece of safety equipment, and it can go a long way in preventing dental injuries. While mouthguard use is on the rise, it's overlooked in some sports. As a Tuscaloosa Orthodontist, we see more dental trauma from baseball, basketball and soccer, none of which typically require mouthguards. In cases where it is not mandatory, McKinney Orthodontics recommends parents take it upon themselves to make sure their child or teen wears one. We know they look a little awkward, but do you know what looks more awkward? Missing teeth! According to the American Dental Association, studies show athletes are 60 times more likely to experience harm to their teeth if they forgot a mouthguard. Preserve your child's smile (and your own if you're playing sports) and get on the mouthguard bus!

What Type of Young Athletes Should Wear a Mouthguard?

If your kid is involved in contact sports, like boxing, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, or field hockey, mouthguard use is probably established. However, injuries occur in a wide range of athletic endeavors (we're looking at you basketball!) and even non-contact activities likes skateboarding. The American Dental Association recommends using a mouthguard for the following sports:

If your child or teen has braces or another fixed orthodontic appliance, a mouthguard is even more of a must. Getting hit in the mouth while wearing braces is no fun, and you also have to contend with the risk of broken brackets. However, if you're participating in any activity that could result in trauma to the mouth, braces or no braces, adult or child, using a mouthguard is a solid decision.

Why Are Mouthguards Important?!

Mouthguards protect you from traumatic jaw and dental injuries. A mouthguard shields against chipped, broken and missing teeth, root fractures and luxation (when the tooth is still in the socket but in the wrong position). In addition, it acts as a cushion between the teeth and/or braces and soft tissue in your mouth, like your tongue, lips and cheeks, to ward off cuts and bruises that can come from contact. It also helps to dissipate the force from blows that can lead to jaw fractures and other injuries. PLUS, it keeps those orthodontic appliances safe!

Need advice about mouthguards? Book a FREE consultation!

What is expected of me during orthodontic treatment??

June 14th, 2017

We hear this question a lot at McKinney Orthodontics, and we don't mind when patients who are eager to complete their orthodontic treatment ask us. After all, we know there is no better feeling than getting your braces off!!

During your initial consultation with Dr. McKinney we will map out a specific treatment for you and will try our hardest to give you a timeline of when we expect you to wrap up treatment.

Having said that, we know every patient is different. People have different biological responses to orthodontic treatment and some people's teeth may move faster than others.

Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your treatment wraps up in a timely manner. By following these suggestions, you can avoid any setbacks during your treatment.

  • Make sure to keep your adjustment appointments. Postponing or cancelling will delay treatment!
  • Be sure to show up on time to your appointments. This will give Dr. McKinney and our team time to do everything we planned during your adjustment visit.
  • When prescribed, make sure you are diligent about wearing rubber bands or other appliances.
  • Avoid damage to your braces and teeth by wearing a mouth guard during sports activities and choosing brace friendly foods.
  • Make sure to brush and floss regularly! Gum disease or other dental work can delay orthodontic treatment.

If you remember to follow these guidelines, you'll be on your way to having the dazzling, healthy smile you've always wanted. As for us, our team at McKinney Orthodontics will do our part to move your orthodontic treatment along efficiently. If you have any questions about your treatment time, please give us a call at 205-345-5524 or ask us during your next visit!

Why do I have to floss?!

June 7th, 2017

Brushing your teeth regularly is one of the most crucial parts of maintaining good oral health, and perhaps the most fundamental, however, there are also other elements involved. FLOSSING, for instance is also vital; some experts would say, and Dr. McKinney and our team would agree, that it holds just as much importance as brushing your teeth. To give you a better idea of why, here are some reasons that flossing is so vital to your oral health.

Getting in-between the Teeth

While brushing your teeth effectively cleans all of the areas of your teeth that are visible, or otherwise not touching, flossing is vital because it reaches all of the areas between your teeth that you cannot see, and subsequently cannot clean using a toothbrush. These areas are among the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of your mouth because they are most susceptible to plaque and tarter buildup

Reducing Bad Breath

It is not uncommon for someone who brushes their teeth once or twice a day to still have bad breath. The reason being is that bad breath is often created by smelly bacteria that lives in between your teeth, as well as other areas of your mouth that are not accessible using a toothbrush. And that is why flossing is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate bad breath. Still skeptical? Try flossing your teeth with unscented floss, then smell it after, that awful scent is the source of your bad breath. Coupled with frequent brushing of your teeth, you will find that flossing can really help that stinky breath.

Brushing your teeth twice a day is hard enough, add flossing on top and it can be difficult to establish a regular habit. However, doing so is totally worth it. Use the above reasons for motivation the next time you don't feel like flossing, and let us know if it worked at your next visit!