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4 Ways Your Smile Changes As You Age

It’s no secret, as you age, so does your smile. Teeth wear down as we chew our way through a lifetime of meals. Did you also know, teeth can move and shift well into adulthood? Here’s a roundup of 4 common changes orthodontists see in patients as they age:

1. Bottom teeth crowding

As you age, your jaw bone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jaw bone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth. Crowding can also occur because other issues such as breathing through your mouth, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting or facial trauma.

2. Front teeth gap

Space between two front teeth is referred to as a diastema, and it can develop for a variety of reasons. Crowding of teeth or unproportioned jaws and teeth can cause spacing to gradually occur. Swallowing, with the pressure of your tongue pushing against your front teeth, rather than positioning itself at the roof of your mouth, can also cause teeth to separate over time. Gum disease is another trigger for spacing, because of the inflammation.

3. Post-orthodontic teeth shifting

Our bodies change our whole life, and our teeth change, too. After orthodontic treatment a retainer is needed to maintain teeth in position. As we age, if teeth are restored or lost, new proper fitting retainers will be needed to prevent unwanted change.

4. Wrong bite

Do you get headaches, clicking and popping jaw joints, grind your teeth or even back pain? You may have a bite disorder, which occurs when the lower and upper jaw don’t align, called malocclusion.

These changes may be completely normal, but that doesn’t mean you just have to live with them. The number of adults undergoing orthodontic treatment is at an all-time high. An estimated 1.61 million adults underwent orthodontic treatment in the U.S. in 2018. That’s one in four adults!

Whether you’re eight or 80, the biological process of orthodontic treatment is the same. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving. Check out our the AAO Adult Guide to Orthodontics for more information.

You can work with Hage Orthodontics to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at any age. Dr. Hage can help with these common teeth problems and more.  Our offices are located in Decatur, Effingham and Mattoon Illinois. Contact us today!

Will Orthodontic Treatment Cause White Marks on My Teeth?

The most important thing to know about white marks on teeth is that they are preventable.  All you have to do to be white mark-free is to keep teeth clean and stay away from some foods and beverages.  It’s that simple.

When we say simple we mean four easy steps simple:

  1. Brush as often as Dr. Hage recommends, including after each meal or snack whether at school, work or home.
  2. Floss at least once a day.
  3. Avoid or limit acidic foods and drinks (soda, flavored waters with carbonation, sweet tea, sports drinks etc.) for the duration of your treatment.
  4. See your family dentist at least every six months for a check-up or more often if it’s recommended. 

Handy tools like interproximal brushes, floss threaders, floss holders, water irrigators and power toothbrushes can make cleaning teeth convenient, quick and most of all, thorough. Fluoride toothpaste and/or rinses are advisable, too.

A White Mark Is Permanent

A white mark on a tooth — known as decalcification — is the very beginning of a cavity.  Prompted by a build-up of plaque, calcium and other minerals leach out tooth enamel and leave a permanent white mark behind.  It can progress into a full-blown cavity if plaque keeps collecting.

Plaque is made of bacteria, food particles and saliva.  It feeds on sugars to form an acid that damages teeth. Poor brushing, frequent snacking and intake of sugary and/or acidic beverages contribute to white marks and decay.

Decalcification Can Happen to Patients Using Aligners

It happens to those who drink flavored waters, sparkling water, sports drinks or soda with their aligners in.  What’s more, it can happen in a matter of weeks. Always take aligners out to eat or drink (except tap water), and clean teeth thoroughly to remove all traces of food or beverages.

One more thing — decalcification can also happen if patients do not brush their aligners.  Food and bacteria left in the aligners can sit on the teeth and cause white marks.

Decalcification Can Happen Independent of Orthodontic Treatment

Some people get white marks on their teeth without ever having orthodontic treatment.  The marks are caused by too much soda or other acidic drinks, along with poor brushing habits.

For A Happy Ending

Patients who are conscientious about caring for their teeth and who limit sugary, acidic foods and drinks should not develop white marks.

Cleaning teeth is not hard. It just takes a commitment by putting in a little extra time, a little extra elbow grease, and using the right tools for the job.

Questions?  Dr. Hage and his staff would be delighted for you to ask! Like you, we want your treatment result to be a healthy, beautiful smile!

When you choose Hage Orthodontics, you can be assured that you have selected a highly skilled specialist. Dr. Hage is an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and he possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.  Our offices are located in Decatur, Effingham and Mattoon Illinois. Call us today!

 

 

What Is An Impacted Tooth?

You may have heard the term “impacted” used to describe a tooth and wonder what it means.

In orthodontic or dental terms, “impacted” means that a tooth either has not come in (“erupted”) when expected or a tooth that cannot erupt because it does not have room or may be coming in the wrong direction or position. What causes an impacted tooth may not be known – for some people, it just happens. Genetics can play a role, so if a parent had an impacted tooth, their child may experience the same problem.

We often hear about older teenagers or adults having impacted wisdom teeth. But other teeth can be impacted, too.

In the x-ray above, the permanent canine is coming in sideways, colliding with the root of another tooth.

 

Children who are getting their permanent teeth can have impacted teeth. A permanent tooth can be trapped in the gums if a baby tooth does not fall out on time or if something blocks the permanent tooth’s path, such as a cyst. A permanent tooth may not erupt at all, or if it does, the tooth may appear in the wrong place. Sometimes, an impacted tooth can harm the roots of neighboring teeth. Impacted teeth can also cause crowding, and may cause already erupted teeth to move into unhealthy positions. Children may find it difficult to bite or chew, and there can be tenderness or pain. As the teeth become crowded, appearance is affected, and self-esteem can decline.


The permanent first molar is stuck or “impacted”, the baby tooth will not allow the molar to erupt.

Fixing an impacted tooth can range from relatively simple to complicated. It all depends on the extent of the problem. Extracting a baby tooth may be all that is needed to make room for the permanent tooth to erupt into the proper position. But if an upper jaw is too narrow, it may be necessary to expand the jaw, which creates more room for permanent teeth to come in. Other problems might require a combination of oral surgery and orthodontic treatment to place an attachment on the impacted tooth and the orthodontist then guides the tooth into the proper position.

Timely treatment by Dr. Hage ensures teeth come in properly, reducing the damage done to other teeth.

The old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” applies here. It may be easier for an orthodontist to identify and correct a patient’s problem when it is forming rather than waiting for it to fully develop. To this end, Dr. Hage recommends that children get an orthodontic check-up at approximately age 7.  This enables him to diagnose even subtle problems while some baby teeth are still present. If a problem is in the making, an early check-up and x-ray will let the Dr. Hage recommend intervention when it’s best for the patient.

We offer initial consultations at no cost and with no obligation. No referral is needed from the dentist, but dental check-ups are necessary during any orthodontic treatment. A check-up with an orthodontist gives your child the best opportunity to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile.

When you choose Hage Orthodontics for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

Call us today at one of our conveniently located offices in Effingham, Decatur and Mattoon Illinois!

If my front teeth are straight, why should I be concerned about how my teeth fit together?

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Things are not always as they appear. We all know people who from the outside look healthy, but who internally are battling a chronic illness. Likewise, you may be interested to learn that even if your front teeth are straight, there can be a problem with how all your teeth fit together – a problem that can be bad for your overall oral health.

When the Bite’s Not Right

Think about gears. Their “teeth” are engineered to fit together in a specific way to perform a specific task. If they don’t fit together in the right way, the gears can’t do their jobs. It’s the same with your teeth. Upper and lower teeth are meant to fit in a certain way with their counterparts in the opposite jaw. If the fit is off, the bite is not right – even if the front teeth look straight. If the bad bite is not corrected, the stage is being set for potential problems.

The Goal of Orthodontic Treatment

The true goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite so you can bite and chew food efficiently and comfortably. Teeth that work better tend to look better too. The beautiful smile is a pleasant side effect of treatment.

A healthy bite is achieved by repositioning teeth within the jaw bones, and ensuring they meet as intended to allow for biting and chewing.

The following bite problems can be difficult to see because often times the front teeth are straight:

  • An underbite (or anterior crossbite) – when the top teeth are positioned behind the bottom teeth
  • An open bite – when the back teeth are closed, but the front teeth don’t meet, or when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth don’t touch
  • A deep bite – when top teeth completely cover the bottom teeth
  • A crossbite – when the bottom teeth are outside of the top teeth

If an improper bite is not treated, problems develop. Premature wear of teeth and chipping of teeth is a very common problem. Jaw joint problems can develop. There is a higher risk of cavities. All of this can make it difficult to eat and talk.

The good news is there is a way to check your bite and ensure none of this happens to you. Having a healthy bite applies to all of your teeth, not just the few front teeth people see when you smile. Check your bite, or your child’s, by consulting Dr. Hage at Hage Orthodontics for a free consultation.

When you choose Hage Orthodontics for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

Hage Orthodontics has 3 conveniently located offices in Mattoon, Effingham and Decatur.  Call us today!

Does my child need to wait until they have all of their permanent teeth to see an orthodontist?

If someone tells you that your child should have all of his/her permanent teeth before visiting the orthodontist for the first time, that “someone” is incorrect.  In fact, putting off the first visit to the orthodontist until all of your child’s permanent teeth are in could do more harm than good. Here’s why:

There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

A child’s mouth is a busy place.  Think about a 6 year old.  Everything is growing, including bones in the jaw and face.  At around age 6, the first permanent molars appear.  An exchange of teeth begins as baby teeth fall out and are replaced by larger-sized permanent teeth.  And it all happens in a predictable, particular order. Unless it doesn’t.

The gums hide about two-thirds of each tooth, as well as all the bone that hold teeth in place.  The gums can mask conditions that interfere with the emergence of teeth.

Parents can watch for clues.  Early or late loss of baby teeth can signal a problem.  So can trouble with chewing and biting, speech difficulties and mouth-breathing.  If these indicators are not addressed until a child has all of his/her permanent teeth and growth is essentially complete, correcting the problem may be more difficult than it might have been had treatment occurred earlier.

Orthodontic treatment is about creating a healthy bite – the beautiful smile is a bonus. 

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to make sure the bite is right — that the upper and lower teeth fit together like interlocking gears.  The timing of your child’s treatment is critical and is based on his/her individual needs.

Some children can wait until they have all or most of their permanent teeth. Other children’s orthodontic problems may be better treated while some baby teeth are present.  These children require growth guidance of bones in the upper and lower jaws, so there’s enough room for permanent teeth. Their treatment can be timed to predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. Once teeth and jaws are in alignment, a beautiful smile is the bonus result of treatment.

Dentists and orthodontists look at the mouth differently.  

Both doctors work in the mouth.  But perspectives differ based on the care they provide.

Dentists assess and promote overall oral health.  They look for cavities and gum disease. They advise patients on diet and home hygiene care.  And they monitor patients for diseases that appear in or affect the mouth.   Dentists take “bite wing” x-rays to isolate a particular section of the teeth as part of their diagnosis and treatment planning process. Orthodontic evaluations may be a lower priority for dentists.

Orthodontists are laser-focused on each patient’s bite.  Orthodontists use “panoramic” x-rays to visualize all of the teeth above and below the gums, and the jaws, all at once.  The bite is the orthodontists’ area of specialization.

If your dentist has not referred your child to an orthodontist, you need not wait for a referral.  Orthodontists do not require a referral for your child to be seen.

Here’s what the experts say: remember age 7.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist no later than age 7.  If a problem is detected and treatment is advised, you are giving the orthodontist the opportunity to provide your child with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

To answer the question that headlines this blog, there’s no need to wait until your child has lost all his/her baby teeth before you consult an orthodontist. It’s fine to talk to an orthodontist as soon as you suspect a problem in your child, even if your child is younger than 7.  Dr. Hage offers a free initial consultation.  And adults — there is no time like the present to talk to Dr. Hage about getting the smile you’ve always wanted. Call us today!

Hage Orthodontics has 3 conveniently located offices in Mattoon, Effingham and Decatur.

6 Facts Parents Should Know About Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

Problems that will eventually need orthodontic attention can become obvious long before your child has all of their permanent teeth. Depending on the type of problem a child has, Dr. Hage may recommend two-phase treatment. It means that treatment is done at two different times, often to take advantage of predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. Here are six things parents should know about two-phase orthodontic treatment.

1. Two-phase orthodontic treatment is for kids, but it’s not for all kids.

Most orthodontic problems can be treated in one phase of comprehensive treatment, however there are a few exceptions.

2. Two-phase orthodontic treatment can be used to:

Help the jaws develop to ensure adequate space for all of the permanent teeth, especially the permanent canines.

  • May reduce the need to extract permanent teeth in the future.
  • Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child but may require corrective surgery if treatment occurs after growth ends.
  • Normalize the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw, especially in the case of an underbite.
  • Intervene in a child’s prolonged sucking or abnormal swallowing.
  • Damaging pressure can move teeth in the wrong directions and/or change the shape of the bone that supports teeth.
  • Tuck in upper front teeth that stick out to reduce the risk of those teeth being broken or knocked out.

3. Moving baby teeth is not done for the sake of their appearance.

While baby teeth can move during Phase One orthodontic treatment, their movement is part of the process to ensure sufficient space for permanent teeth.

4. Phase One of a two-phase orthodontic treatment begins when a child still has some baby teeth.

If an appliance is used in Phase One care, it could be a form of braces or another fixed appliance, or could be a removable appliance. The type of appliance used depends on the needs of the individual patient.

  • Some children may need to have baby teeth removed to clear a path for the permanent teeth to come.

5. A resting period follows Phase One orthodontic treatment.

6. Phase Two of orthodontic treatment usually begins when most or all of permanent teeth are in.

The goal of Phase Two treatment is to make sure teeth are in their proper places for good function, a healthy bite and a pleasing appearance.

Give your child the best chance at a healthy, beautiful smile. Follow Dr. Hage’s recommendation that all children have their first check-up no later than age 9. If an orthodontic problem is developing he will be able to monitor growth and development so that your child can have the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

Visit Dr. Hage in Mattoon, Effingham or Decatur, Illinois.  He offers initial consultations at no cost. No referral needed!

When you choose Hage Orthodontics for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a true orthodontist. Like their medical counterparts who study their specialty areas after their general medical education, orthodontists study their specialty area, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, after completing their general dental education.