Is Flossing really required?

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We get asked this question on a daily basis. Do I need to floss? Does floss really prevent decay? Does flossing really prevent gum disease? My parents’ don’t floss and their teeth and gums are fine.

One thing is for certain, all dental professionals will tell you that flossing is needed to maintain optimal gum health for all ages.

Brushing alone without flossing does not take care of all the areas on the mouth properly.

A toothbrush is used to remove the plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that you can see. So that means the biting surface, the tongue and palate surface, and the cheek and lip surface of the teeth. After brushing there is still 40% of tooth surface that is untouched and uncleaned. However when you are in braces, the brackets and the wires are in the way and prevent you from getting to even more tooth surface. This is why we then recommend the use of piksters to access the tooth surface under the wire and the sides of the brackets.

Surely My Teeth Must be Clean Now

If you think your teeth are clean after brushing and using a pikster, do me a favour and chew on a disclosing tablet. This will highlight the plaque that is stuck in between the teeth and at the gumline, which will look like a Y shape between the teeth. This is because it is nearly impossible to get a gigantic toothbrush and pikster brush in that tiny little space between the teeth. And guess what? That’s why we then recommend the use of floss.

But Why Floss?

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Floss is the only thing small enough to squeeze in between the teeth and go underneath the gum to remove the rest of the plaque that is present.

Some people say ‘but now you’re pushing plaque under the gum’. Well it is already there and by rubbing the floss up and down each side of each tooth, you’re loosening the plaque off the sides of the teeth so that it has the chance to be removed. If you don’t floss at all, there’s still going to be plaque stuck in between the teeth regardless.

Are some people just lucky and don’t need to floss? Well, yes. We do see people who hardly ever floss and don’t have decay between the teeth, and luckily for them they don’t have gum problems. But are you willing to risk it and hope that you are one of those people because they are few and far between.

At first flossing is a bit tricky, like all tasks the more you do it the better you become. Flossing properly should only take 2-3 minutes once you get the hang of it.




How long does it take to straighten teeth with Invisalign?

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Invisalign is growing in popularity as an orthodontic treatment because people like that the aligners are clear and nearly invisible, and they can take them out to eat.

One of first questions people ask our Orthodontists about Invisalign is:

“How long will it take to straighten my teeth with Invisalign?”

The simple answer is: “It depends.” For simple cases, treatment time with Invisalign aligners can be as short as six months. Typically, Invisalign will take 12 months to 18 months to straighten your teeth.

For more complex cases such as crowded teeth, the treatment time could be 20 months or slightly longer.

No two people have the same treatment requirements because everyone’s teeth are slightly different which impacts treatment time.
 

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What is Orthodontics Wax and What is it used for?

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After braces or Invisalign have been placed, it will take some time to get used to them in the mouth. This is when you will most require wax. The braces or the edges of the aligners might irritate causing some discomfort on the inside of the mouth. Wax helps to create a barrier between the bracket and the inside of your cheeks, lips. Over time as you get used to the braces and your mouth “toughens up” you may require less wax.

Orthodontic Wax is usually made of paraffin, bees wax or carnauba and is generally given to you in your goodies bag when you first get your braces on. The wax is not toxic and so there is no need to worry if you happen to swallow it accidentally.

Alternatives to Orthodontic Wax

If you are not a fan of wax or you have run out of orthodontic wax, there are some clever substitutes you can use for the time being until you can get your hands on some orthodontic wax.

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Sugar Free Chewing Gum 
The title itself specifies that the gum you choose MUST be sugar free. Take a small piece of sugar free gum and roll it into pea sized ball. The constant rolling would make the piece of gum soft enough to be placed on the sharp edge of the braces. If the gum remains dry or hard even after rolling it, chew on it for a few minutes until it becomes soft and mushy. Then tear it into small pieces and stick it onto the sharp edges.

This is however only a short term fix for protecting your lips and cheeks from the braces and should not be used as a long term solution. Using sugar free chewing gum should get you through until you are able to get back in to see us and get some orthodontic wax.

Even if you are still struggling with mouth irritation despite using wax or other methods – don’t give up. The mouth will normally adjust over time and the irritation will settle down. You will have your new smile sooner than you know it.