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How Invisalign Works

The days of traditional metal braces are numbered. Now there’s a way for adults and teens to get straighter teeth without worrying about painful metal braces. Invisalign aligners work similarly to traditional braces, but without the restraints of metal brackets and wires. These virtually invisible aligners are custom fit to your mouth and slowly shift your teeth into place. While your progress depends on how well you follow the guidelines to the product and the severity of your case, they’re still faster than traditional braces. With Invisalign, you can eat whatever you want and keep your confidence as your teeth just get better.

The Invisalign Process

Initial Consultation

Many good things start with a simple question. If you’re curious about Invisalign, all you have to do is ask your dentist or orthodontist during your next visit. With thousands of doctors across the US, including Allan S. Thomas in Salt Lake City, it isn’t hard to find an Invisalign dentist or orthodontist near you. The doctors who offer Invisalign have specialized training on the product, the process and basic care for the product. This consultation is designed to help you feel comfortable about the process and evaluate if Invisalign is the right solution for you.

Design a Treatment Plan

Invisalign has improved millions of smiles, all of them unique like yours. This means every case deserves a unique treatment plan. During this meeting, you’ll get a good idea of how long you’ll need to wear Invisalign and how often you’ll need to change your aligners. Depending on your dentist’s in-office resources, your doctor will create 3D images of your teeth or make physical impressions to create your new aligners.

Armed with a realistic model of your teeth, your doctor will know how to shift your teeth to a straighter position. These treatment plans take factors into consideration like treatment plan payments, movements of your teeth and the length of your treatment.

Get Your Aligners

After planning and prepping, you’ll finally get your Invisalign clear aligners. These light, clear aligners are made of SmartTrack material and are removable and virtually invisible. Once you have your aligners, you’ll need to wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day, only removing them to eat, brush and floss. You’ll change out your aligners once a week to continue shifting your teeth into place.

Get Straighter Teeth

When you stick to your doctor’s advice and the Invisalign regimen, you should see results in a short amount of time. Every week or two weeks, you change aligners.. As you continue the Invisalign program, your teeth will gradually shift into place without the need for metal and wires in your mouth. The process usually lasts about a year with checkups with your doctor every six weeks to make sure Invisalign is working as it should.

Cherish your New Smile

Next thing you know, your teeth will be straighter than ever. Once your treatment is done, you can get a Vivera retainer made from the same material as Invisalign. This strong retainer helps your teeth stay in place after the big shift with Invisalign. If you keep visiting the dentist twice a year with regular brushing and flossing habits, your teeth will healthy and aligned for the rest of your life.


Treatable Cases for Invisalign

It’s rare for someone to have naturally straight teeth that never require orthodontic intervention. For the rest of us, there is a range of common dental problems that can be solved with simple treatment from Invisalign.

Gapped Teeth

Gapped teeth can be caused by missing teeth or extra growth in your jawbone. While small gaps aren’t detrimental to your smile or oral health, they can increase the risk of periodontal disease. If your teeth are spaced far enough apart, your gums are left more exposed to bacteria. If you have gaps in your teeth, Invisalign is an effective solution.

Overbite

An overbite is simply overlapping between your upper and lower jaw. This issue is often genetic, caused by overdevelopment of the upper jaw. Occasionally, bad oral habits can cause overbite as well. When severe or left untreated after decades, an overbite can affect gum health and lower teeth erosion or irritation.

Underbite

Underbites come in different levels of severity depending on the cause. Most often, underbites are caused by excess growth in the lower jaw or a lack of growth in the upper jaw. In other cases, missing upper teeth, especially molars can cause this misalignment. Long term problems with underbites are similar to overbites. With a misaligned bite, those with underbites might experience faster erosion of the upper teeth or painful jaw problems.

Open Bite

You might have heard that thumb sucking as a child can affect your teeth. This is one of the causes for an open bite. This condition keeps the top and bottom teeth from touching each other at all. Bad habits as a child or genetics are the most common causes for this issue. If left untreated, an open bite can result in speech impairment, chewing problems and even Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.

Overcrowding

Teeth crowding is a common issue for adults, kids and teens alike. Simply an effect of genetics, overcrowding happens when your mouth doesn’t have room for all your teeth. With the help of orthodontic intervention, aligning the teeth can make more room easily. If neglected, crowding can grow worse and cause issues like plaque buildup, decay and gum disease because of the many hard to reach spaces between teeth.

Crossbite

Crossbites are caused by misaligned upper and lower jaws. Like many of these issues, it is often caused by genetics and can be easily remedied. Those with crossbite are at risk for enamel erosion, gum disease and bone loss due to uneven wear in their teeth. Luckily, Invisalign can solve this problem and many others in around a year.

Learn more about Invisalign during your next visit to Dr. Allan S. Thomas D.D.S.


Oral Care as You Age

As you age, life begins to look different. You might appreciate your family more, dive deeper into hobbies or simply take things slower. However, just because you’ve grown wiser with time doesn’t mean you can stop caring for your teeth. Like other parts of your body, your teeth, gums and mouth will begin to show signs of aging. Find out some helpful tips to combat the health problems that come with this.

Common Issues

Dry Mouth

This condition comes from physical changes in your body as it ages. However, some medications can aggravate an already tough case. The CDC estimates that over 400 commonly prescribed medications have dry mouth as a symptom. Without normal saliva levels, your mouth has a harder time controlling bacteria and rebuilding enamel.

Attrition

After decades of chewing and grinding, your teeth will show signs of wear and tear. Attrition is simply a medical term for worn enamel and teeth. The less enamel you have to defend your teeth, the more prone to cavities you are. Similarly, as you age you become more susceptible to diseases of all kinds. With age may come a higher risk of conditions like oral cancer or thrush.

Root Decay

This issue is usually paired with gum disease, causes the roots of our teeth to become exposed as your gums recede, worsening tooth decay as you age. Root decay can be caused by neglect by a dentist, bad habits like tobacco use or a lacking diet. The best way to handle this and other problems is by talking to your dentist.

Combating Tooth and Gum Disease

While visiting your dentist is the best way to keep your mouth healthy, there are a few ways to keep your choppers in top shape. We recommend more fluoride to keep your teeth strong. Look for fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash to use daily.

Tobacco is one of the big culprits behind mouth diseases. After decades of use, chewing tobacco or smoking can take a toll on your mouth. Beyond simple tooth and gum disease, these habits increase your risk of mouth and throat cancer as well as heart disease.

If you’re subject to dry mouth through medication, speak to your physician about switching the prescription. Dry mouth can impact your eating habits and harm your oral health. If a new medication isn’t an option, drink more water, chew sugar free gum and avoid alcohol to stay hydrated.


How your Oral Health Affects your Body

You’ve probably heard about the importance of oral hygiene all your life – brush twice a day, floss once a day, eat fruits and veggies, and avoid sugar. Easy enough, right? However there are deeper reasons to follow these guidelines beyond pearly whites. It’s no secret that gum disease comes from bacteria in your mouth, but the same bacteria that cause gum disease can affect other parts of your body such as your heart, brain, pancreas and more.

Saliva – The First Line of Defense

Spit may be gross, but it’s part of your body’s defense system. Chock full of antibodies and histatins to ward off viral pathogens, your saliva traps initial invaders that try to enter your system. This means your mouth is a good way to judge the overall flora inside your body. For example, 90 percent of systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms. Your spit is a powerful trap that clings onto bacteria as well as drugs, environmental toxins, hormones and antibodies. That’s how physicians test for data like Cortisol levels or bone-specific proteins for osteoporosis patients.

While saliva is useful for your body’s immune system, it can’t do everything. Bacteria that survive your mouth’s defense systems form plaque that clings to your teeth and cause problems like gingivitis, periodontitis and trench mouth.

When Gum Disease Spreads

When these microscopic pests build up in your saliva and on your teeth, it can affect your gums. If left unchecked, the plaque buildup they create can cause gum disease. Severe gum disease doesn’t just end in missing teeth. Oral infections are linked to poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. Furthermore, the bacteria that cause these diseases can enter your bloodstream during invasive dental treatments and sometimes, normal brushing and flossing. Once these pathogens enter your bloodstream, they can affect your arteries and strain your heart and other organs.

Prevention & Care

Some diseases are linked to poor oral health, while other conditions make their hosts more prone to gum disease. If you have a poor hygiene routine for long enough, you might be prone to endocarditis, cardiovascular disease and, for women, risky complications during labor. On the other hand, conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis can lead to gum disease without proper oral care. The best way to prevent these issues are the same methods you’ve heard all your life – brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss, eat healthy, replace your toothbrush frequently, schedule regular dental checkups and avoid tobacco use.


What to Look for in an Electric Toothbrush

Learn about what to look for in an electric toothbrush in Murray, UT.

Electric toothbrushes aren’t anything new on the market, but they’ve seen vast improvements over the last decade. There are so many choices available, it can be hard to know which features are bells and whistles and which are useful. Everything you need in an electric toothbrush can be condensed into three categories: design, features and portability.

Design

These categories go hand in hand in manual and in electric models. No matter what type of electric toothbrush you get, it needs to be comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver. Massage brushes with smaller heads are often better for mouth feel and can clean tight spaces more effectively. Most adults need a toothbrush with a head around a half inch wide and one inch tall. Soft bristle brush heads are also the dentists’ choice because they do not damage gums, especially for those aggressive brushers. Of the brush head types, look for models with a rotation oscillation. These round-headed brushes pulse and spin, allowing you to focus on one tooth at a time and rotate up to 8,000 times a minute. This makes them more effective than other styles.

Features

Not all electric toothbrushes are created equal, but in the end, a toothbrush is only as effective as your brushing technique. That’s why there have been new models sprouting up that help you improve your own brushing skills. Look for the two-minute timer feature that will help you get the minimum brushing time in and whiten your smile. Other common, useful features include charging stands, travel cases and different settings like massage or sensitive modes.

You should also remember to replace brush heads every three months. The less expensive, battery operated models last about two weeks with a normal brushing, creating a hidden cost in replacement batteries. Look for brushes with replaceable heads, you’ll need to replace your brush every three months or so.

Portability

If you travel often, portability is an important quality to look for in an electric toothbrush. Even if you aren’t a frequent jetsetter, you still need to brush your teeth while you’re away from home. Depending on the power source, a toothbrush can become unwieldy or come with extra components to pack. Many budget friendly models use batteries while those on the higher end usually use charging stands with cables. The rechargeable models are often better performers, but battery operated models are more portable and less expensive.


Common Brushing Mistakes

 

Brushing your teeth twice a day is critical for good dental health, but the way it’s done could be damaging to your teeth. It is important to not only brush your teeth on a regular basis, but to brush them right. Avoid these common brushing mistakes for healthier teeth.

 

Not Brushing Enough

 
 

 
Some people feel the need to only brush their teeth once a day, but this could not be more damaging. Over the twenty-four hour time period, millions of bacteria have the chance to grow, not only causing plaque to build, but causing bad breath as well. It is critical to brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once directly before going to bed. Because our bodies produce less saliva when we sleep, it is especially important to brush our teeth before bed to protect them from plaque.

 

Bad Brush Strokes

 
 

 
The wrong brush strokes can be damaging to your gums and enamel. those who use aggressive horizontal strokes will begin to erode the gumline, damaging the tissue. It is better to angle your brush at 45 degrees and use short soft strokes. Use a circular motion to better clean your teeth, avoiding damage from the brush.

 

The Wrong Toothbrush

 
 

There are different types of toothbrushes in terms of the bristles. While there is some in between variation, the two main categories are soft and hard bristle. Hard bristles can cause more harm than good to your teeth, damaging the enamel and making the dentine more vulnerable. If you notice swelling of your gums, switch to softer bristles. This is especially important for those who already have sensitive gums as it is.

 

Updating Your Toothbrush

 
 

 
Your toothbrush should be replaced about every three months for a healthier smile. Over time the bacteria and food particles you remove from your teeth can begin to build in your toothbrush, deep inside the bristles and leading down into the handle. Even if you own an electric toothbrush it is important to change the head on a regular basis to prevent these damaging elements from going back into your mouth. In addition to this, any time you are sick you should replace the toothbrush after you are feeling better.


These are just a few of the common brushing mistakes that you can avoid in your day to day life. Striving to keep your teeth clean and healthy is crucial to your overall health. Make sure you do what is necessary to better protect your teeth from damage.


Facts About Your Tongue

You use your tongue every day from eating to talking, but have you ever stepped back to think about just how important your tongue is? Take a look at these interesting facts about your tongue and why it is so important to you.

 

You Have Thousands of Taste Buds

 

 
The average tongue is home to up to ten thousand taste buds that allow you to enjoy your food. About every two weeks the taste buds on your tongue will die off and be replaced by new ones. These thousands of taste buds are not visible to the human eye, although you may think those small pink and white bumps present across the surface of the tongue, but these are papillae. The taste buds rest on top of these bumps.

 

Rolling the Tongue

 

 
We have heard time and time again that genetics is the only factor that controls our ability to roll our tongue, but this isn’t entirely true. There are also some environmental factors that play a role in our ability to do this. This belief is still being explored by scientists who argue that both genetic and environmental factors are at play when it comes to this ability.

 

Cat Got Your Tongue

 

 
Over 2500 years ago in Ancient Assyria, the phrase “cat got your tongue” originated. During this time the Assyrians were conquering other soldiers and criminals. When they conquered, they would cut out the tongue of their prisoners and feed them to the cats.

 

Your Tongue is an Introduction to Your Health

 

 
The tongue can be an indicator for overall health as well. When the tongue is healthy it is usually a shade of pink. Allergies and infections have the potential to cause swelling of the tongue and a darkening of color. In addition to this, there are certain medical conditions that will signal a noticeable change in the tongue. White patches on the tongue may indicate a fungal infection while a tongue that is too smooth may be indicative of a lack of nutrients.


Poor Dental Health Consequences

While we know that not taking care of our oral health will be detrimental to our teeth, did you know that it could influence the health of your entire body? Poor dental health can have greater consequences on your overall health than you may realize. Take a look at some of the biggest problems that can arise from neglecting this part of your body.

 

Dental Health Steps

 
 

 
To ensure proper dental health, it is important that all things associated are in place. This includes:

 

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. This is the simplest and most effective way to rid your mouth of bacteria and plaque before it has the chance to do damage.
  • Flossing is just as important as brushing for your health, but an alarming number of people don’t floss on a regular basis. It is estimated that only half of Americans will floss their teeth daily. This is essential for getting rid of any leftover particles between the teeth.
  • Scheduling a dental appointment for every six months can help detect problems before they become serious. More than a third of the American population did not have a dental appointment in the last year.
  • Eat the right foods that will promote healthy teeth and gums rather than causing more advanced problems.

 

These four steps together will be key in preventing the following health problems.

 

Health Consequences

 
 

 
These health consequences will make themselves known the longer you neglect the most basics of oral hygiene:

 

  • Halitosis – bad breath is often a complaint from many that can be taken care of with proper oral hygiene. Often when food gets stuck between our teeth and as they collect bacteria they begin to smell. Flossing and brushing together can remove these particles, reducing this occurrence.
  • Atherosclerosis – when there are high levels of bacteria that can cause disease in your mouth, it can cause the clogging of the Carotid Artery. This can lead to serious problems, including the risk of stroke.
  • Heart Disease – people who have periodontal disease (a bone deterioration around the teeth) have a higher risk of developing heart disease. The periodontal bacteria and plaque will enter the bloodstream from the gum, causing the arteries to narrow. In addition to this, cholesterol levels can rise in the face of gum disease and cavities.
  • Diabetes – Almost all adults, about 95%, who have diabetes also have periodontal disease. This can be the first indicator for this dangerous condition.


These are just a few of the health consequences that come when your teeth are not properly cared for. Make the changes in your dental hygiene to prevent more serious problems down the road.


Tips for Whiter Teeth

Your teeth are important to your overall dental health. Your permanent teeth should be attended to throughout your life, as they are the last set of teeth you will have. While professionally whitening your teeth is always a great way to keep your smile fresh, there are things you can be doing at home to maintain a healthy smile. Follow these tips for a whiter, healthier, and all around better smile.

 

Drink Plenty of Water

 
 

 
Water is essential to good health. It is essential that we drink enough water for many reasons, one of which is saliva production. This substance protects our teeth from bacteria, flushing away cavity causing agents. In addition to this, get into the habit of drinking a glass of water after every meal. This will rinse away acids, bacteria, and other elements that are a potential threat to your teeth.

 

Chewing Gum

 
 

 
While sugary gums are bad for our teeth, sugarless gum can be beneficial, helping to keep your teeth clean. As we get older, our mouth’s ability to produce saliva diminishes. This can lead to tooth decay if nothing is done to prevent it. By chewing sugarless gum, you can stimulate the production of saliva, protecting your teeth from decay.

 

Avoid Damaging Drinks

 
 

 
We often think about our diet in terms of the foods we eat, but what about the drinks we consume? Not only do some of these drinks have high concentrations of sugar and calories, their coloring and acidic composition can be dangerous to your teeth. Those who drink coffee, red wine, tea, and certain energy drinks will eventually start to notice stains on their teeth. Either cut down on these beverages or instead drink them through a straw to better protect your teeth from damage.

 

Raw Vegetables

 
 

 
Vegetables are good for our health for a number of reasons. As opposed to fruits, most vegetables are low in sugar. When raw, these foods can act as a scrub against your teeth, cleansing and removing harmful stains and plaque. Find some vegetables that you like and can incorporate into your daily diet for healthier teeth.


There are many changes you can make in your life for a healthier whiter smile, and these are just a few. Make sure you take part in the changes now that will make an impact in your dental health over time. By doing this, you will have less trouble down the road in keeping and maintaining a healthy smile.


Preventing Dental Anxiety

One of the most common yet unnecessary fears people hold is that of the dentist. Often times this fear stems from a bad previous experience, but this doesn’t need to define your future with dental work. The consequences of avoiding the dentist are far greater than you may realize. Make the necessary changes to prevent dental anxiety, ensuring a positive experience.

 

The Root of the Problem

 

There are different levels of dental anxiety with some so bad that they often lose sleep over the very thought of the dentist. This fear is most common in older people who have lived through some of the less advanced methods of oral care. It is important to recognize that much has changed in the past few decades, making dental care safer, more comfortable, and all around better. If you have had a previous bad experience with the dentist, don’t let that define your future oral care.

 

Communication

 
 

 
Any good relationship requires communication to be successful, and the dentist is no different. To better understand and defeat your dental anxiety, have an open conversation with your dentist, letting them know your fears. This will help your dentist understand why you are nervous, and provide solutions to these fears. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you are fearful, you are definitely not alone, and not even in the minority.

 

Sedation Dentistry

 
 

 
The stress can be just too much for some people. In these cases, sedation dentistry may be the best or only option. This gives you a medicated escape while the procedure is going on, helping to rid your experience of discomfort and anxiety. While most people won’t need their dental appointments to go this far, it is a possible option to discuss with your dentist.

 

Distract Yourself

 
 

 
Most dentist offices will offer entertainment to their patients to help take their minds away from the treatment. Don’t reject this service, instead use the headphones and television programs to distract yourself from the procedures happening in your mouth. Even just letting yourself daydream can be a welcomed distraction from the dental procedures.

 

Bring Someone You Trust

 
 

 
If you are still dreading your visit to the dentist, bring a trusted friend or family member with you for the first appointment. This familiar face can be a great comfort while you are in the dental chair, and can even work as a distraction to keep your mind off the work at hand. Talk with someone you feel close to and ask them to fill this role.


Don’t let your past dental anxieties have an impact on your future oral health. There are things you can do to make visiting the dentist a better experience. Make an effort, and understand that some of the fears you are experiencing may not even be relevant anymore.