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How to overcome an overbite

Dental Health Info
Dental Health Info

How to overcome an overbite

Overcoming Overbite

Bye-Bye, Buck Teeth! How to Overcome an Overbite
“Overbite”, “overjet” or simply “buck teeth”‚ Protruding teeth can go by many names, but “pretty” isn’t one of them. And they aren’t comfortable either; upper teeth that extend well past the lower teeth can often make it difficult to close the mouth, chew or speak easily.

It’s a common condition, but not one that people have to live with. In fact, there are just as many corrective methods for this dental problem as the names it has been given! If you (or a loved one) has buck teeth, get an in-depth look at what may have caused it and what you can do to prevent it from becoming a lifelong burden on your looks, oral health and self-esteem.

Causes of Buck Teeth
Buck teeth can easily be identified at a very early age, and can be due to a variety of factors including:

Genes: a person can inherit the problem if born with naturally uneven jaws
Habits: teeth can jut out after constant pacifier/thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
Crowded teeth: crookedness, facial injury and/or tooth abnormalities can play a role
The severity of the condition can vary from mild to extreme, and may gradually become worse over time if left untreated.

Treatment Options
Age and the depth of a patient’s overbite are two primary factors that can dictate the type of treatment an orthodontist chooses to correct the problem. New techniques are always being explored, but here are a few of the most common recommendations:

1. Braces
Whether metal, ceramic or clear, it’s a popular route many orthodontists take to fix protruding teeth. Teeth that are jutting out are straightened and forced closer in alignment with the lower jaw by tightening the braces over time.

2. Aligners
In mild cases of protruding teeth, clear, removable aligners may be a more comfortable and convenient option. Aligners use less force (and thus result in less pain) than braces and can be removed for added ease when brushing or flossing.

3. Surgery
Extreme cases in which the overbite is due to skeletal/jaw structure may require surgery. Patients who fall into this category are referred to an oral maxillofacial surgeon, and surgery usually involves pushing the maxilla bones (which form the upper jaw) behind, or moving the mandible (lower jaw) forward.

Surgery aside, the length of time it takes to achieve results is largely due to when the problem is treated. Younger patients whose jaws are still developing typically require less time to correct an overbite compared to adults whose jaws are not as malleable.

Benefits of Treatment
Even the mildest cases of overbite can reap significant benefits from professional treatment. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement is cosmetic in nature. Once treatment is complete, any bulging around the mouth disappears and patients may experience less strain in their facial muscles.

Being able to open and close the mouth more easily can also vastly improve speech, especially for those who adopted a slur or lisp due to an overbite. And last but not least, better alignment of the teeth can have a profound effect on oral health, making it easier to clean the teeth and minimize the risk of jaw-related disorders such as TMJ.

If you’ve been battling a case of buck teeth, get it fixed for good by finding an orthodontist near you.

Beercroft, Matt. (2014, June 5). Overbite: Causes & Treatments. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from

Orthodontic Disorders (2012). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from

Dental Health Info

Learn about fillings

Dental Fillings

The Facts on Fillings
Fillings…Whether you need an existing filling replaced or a new cavity filled, get the facts on what your options are. Gone are the days when cast gold and silver amalgams were your only choices. With dental care advancements, other materials are also being used to fill cavities. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the four most common filling materials.

Types of Fillings

1. Silver Amalgam Fillings: Dental amalgam has been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years. Also known as “silver fillings”, it contains a mixture of metals ‚Äî consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy. Amalgam fillings have proved the test of time due to their durability, strength and affordability. Silver fillings will last at least 10 years and can withstand chewing forces.

Although amalgam has been used for years, there are both structural and cosmetic disadvantages to this type of filling. The process of creating and fitting an amalgam filling often forces the dentist to remove healthy parts of the tooth. Amalgam fillings will also expand and contract with temperatures in your mouth, which over time can result in the filling pulling away from the tooth. Additionally, silver fillings will not match the color of natural teeth and can create discoloration of the tooth surrounding the filling.

2. Cast Gold Fillings: Cast gold fillings are comprised of gold mixed with other metals to form an alloy. Unlike other filling materials that usually last 5 to 10 years, cast gold fillings last at least 15 years, if not longer. They will not corrode and are extremely durable against chewing forces. However, they do come with a price tag. Cast gold fillings are one of the most expensive filling materials and cost more than amalgam, composite resin and glass ionomer.

There are other disadvantages to gold cast fillings beside cost. They require you to visit the dentist at least twice ‚Äî initially to take a tooth impression and place a temporary filling and next to place the gold filling. Similar to amalgam fillings, gold fillings are not aesthetically appealing and will not match your natural teeth color. They can also cause discomfort; if placed next to an amalgam filling you may experience an electric current in your mouth known at “galvanic shock.”

3. Glass Ionomer Fillings: Glass ionomer is a tooth colored material that is often used as cement for inlay fillings, which lie within the cusps of teeth on the chewing surface. It may also be used for fillings in front teeth or in roots, typically for patients who have a lot of decay extending below the gum. In addition to matching the color of the teeth, glass ionomer provides protection through the release of fluoride and easily bonds to teeth to prevent leakage around the filling and further decay.

Unlike other filling materials, glass ionomer is weaker in structure. On average, glass ionomer fillings have a greater chance of fracturing and will last around five years. Additionally, the filling process with glass ionomer takes longer than with other materials because it needs to be applied in thin layers.

4. Composite Resin Fillings: If aesthetics is your primary concern, composite resin fillings are ideal. Dentists can blend multiple shades to create a color that is almost identical to that of natural teeth. Composite resin fillings are made of a plastic and glass mixture and can be used for both small and large fillings.

Not only will they match your natural teeth color, but also they bond directly to the teeth making them stronger. They also require less drilling than amalgam fillings and can be used with some other materials to provide the perfect filling for your cavity. Similar to glass ionomer, composite resin fillings will only last about five years. Additionally, the composite may shrink when placed on the tooth, which can lead to gaps between the tooth and filling, a potential hazard for more cavities.

Now that you know the facts, you will be prepared to discuss the options with your dentist. Of course, your dentist is your most valuable resource when selecting which filling material to proceed with. Based on the location and extent of the decay, he or she will determine what is best for you.

Dental Health and Tooth Fillings. (2015, January 26). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

Fillings. (2014, March 7). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from

Dental Health Info

How to fight plaque

What is Plaque? How to Fight Back!

Have you ever run your tongue across the front of your teeth and felt a sticky coating? That is the buildup of bacteria, also known as plaque. If you let the bacteria stick around too long, it can damage tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
The bacteria is called flora ‚ and it protects you from pathogenic organisms, the ones that cause disease. The flora in your mouth is composed of both helpful and harmful bacteria. When you have plaque formation, it’s a sign that the bacteria ratio has shifted in favor of the harmful. The harmful flora irritates the tissues, damaging your gums through the production of acid, which can lead to infections.If plaque stays on your teeth for too long, it will harden into tartar and can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums.
Here are five easy habits for better oral health:

1. Brush Regularly and Thoroughly: Plaque begins forming on teeth 4 to 12 hours after brushing, which is why dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day. Be sure you brush all the areas of your mouth, including teeth, tongue, gums and even the insides of your cheeks.

If plaque buildup is an ongoing issue for you, you may want to try an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to successfully remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes. You could also try a tartar control toothpaste, which contain an active ingredient that interferes with the formation of plaque from bacteria.

2. Floss Daily: Remembering to floss every day can be a challenge. However, it is critical to get at the plaque that accumulates in hard to reach areas between the teeth. When you brush, you are only really cleaning about 60% of your teeth. The best way to ensure you are removing all plaque is to brush and floss. If you struggle to use traditional floss, try out an alternative such as a soft pic or proxy brush.

3. Use a Mouth Rinse: Not to be confused with mouthwash, mouth rinse is normally used prior to brushing and flossing to help prevent plaque buildup and bad breath, whereas mouth wash is generally used after brushing and flossing to freshen breath and kill any remaining germs. Incorporating a mouth rinse into your daily oral care routine is a great way to help fight plaque.

4. Watch What You Eat: When your mom told you not to eat a lot of sweets, she was watching out for your teeth. Foods high in sugar and starch encourage the production of acids, which can destroy tooth enamel and, over time, result in tooth decay. There is no need to eliminate these foods from your diet; however, it’s important to brush your teeth shortly after eating them.

Not all foods contribute to plaque buildup. Fibrous foods like fruits and vegetables stimulate saliva flow, which helps wash away food particles and neutralizes acids, keeping them from attacking your teeth. Additionally, calcium-rich foods like cheese, milk and yogurt mix with plaque and cling to teeth, helping to protect them from the harmful acids.

5. Visit Your Dentist: Schedule more frequent dental cleanings. Getting professional help to remove the plaque buildup on your teeth is always a wise move. No matter how much you brush and floss, there will be areas in your mouth that you cannot properly clean yourself.

Incorporating these five easy habits into your oral health routine will help fight the battle against plaque, in turn, helping to prevent tooth decay and gum infections.

6 Habits That Cause Plaque on Your Teeth. (2014, July 22). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from
What is Tartar? 6 Tips to Control Tartar Buildup. (2014, October 26). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from