Brushing with Braces

If you’re considering braces or are new to them, you may be wondering the best way to maintain your oral hygiene.  This is probably especially true since wearing braces requires more frequent brushing than before you had them.

Swish to Start

Before you begin brushing, rinse your mouth with water.  This will help loosen food and debris stuck in all the nooks and crevices of your braces and teeth.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Use the same technique you would without braces–angle your brush at a 45-degree angle and start brushing at the gumline.  Once the gumline has been cleaned, move down to the top of the brackets, being sure to angle downward to reach all the way around each bracket.  Once the tops of all the brackets have been brushed, repeat the process for the bottom by angling the brush upward.  Be sure to brush the back of your teeth and the interior surface (facing the tongue).

Between the Teeth

Don’t forget to clean between your teeth, too!  Flossing can be a bit trickier with the braces, so many patients find that using a floss threader makes this process easier.

Swish to Finish

Following the steps of brushing and flossing, use mouthwash to do a final rinse.  This will help sweep away any remaining debris or particles.  Mouthwash will help your whole mouth feel fresher and cleaner.

Contact our office to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your orthodontic care, or to schedule your next visit.  In the meantime, keep up the good hygiene habits!

Orthodontist in Midlothian | 8 Great Ways to Improve Your Smile

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We all know the importance of making a great first impression. Whether you’re going into a job interview or about to go on your first date with someone new, you want to have the confidence that comes with a great smile. After years of wear and tear however, a lot of people end up with teeth that they’re not completely proud to show off. If you feel unhappy with the way your smile looks, don’t worry; there are plenty of options that can help.

Figuring out the best ways to improve your smile can be a daunting task, but our dental team is here to help, offering a range of services dedicated to helping you look and feel your best.

8 Ways to Improve Your Smile

1.    Teeth Whitening

2.    Dental Crowns

3.    Veneers

4.    Tooth Bonding

5.    Braces or Invisalign®

6.    Dental Implants

7.    Brushing and Flossing

8.    Regular Dental Visits

There are a myriad of ways you can improve your smile. Whether you decide to pursue a more in-depth treatment at our clinic or simply want advice on how to improve your oral health routine at home, our dentists are happy to help. Our highly trained team offers all the state of the art services necessary to help keep your mouth healthy and your smile shining bright.

It’s clear that there are a lot of treatments available for anyone looking to improve their smile. With options for any budget, there’s no reason to wait to begin your journey towards a better smile. To schedule a professional cleaning or to speak with someone about a personalized treatment plan, contact our office today!

313 Schofield Drive, Midlothian, VA 23113

REFERENCES:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/ways-to-improve-smile

https://findadentist.ada.org/

Midlothian Orthodontics | Say Cheese!

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It has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

Resource: https://www.sciencedaily.com

313 Schofield Drive, Midlothian, VA 23113

Midlothian Orthodontist | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

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Orthodontist in 23113An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries pose a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes who play contact sports, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Mouthguards defend your teeth against such injuries. But mouthguards aren’t only for teeth. Your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. But all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should also wear one to protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you find the best mouthguard during your next visit to our office. There are a number of options available ranging from store-bought ones to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly. We can also work with you if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment and are wearing braces. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Your mouth should be protected while participating in athletic activities. Oral injuries can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult. Protect yourself from an injury before one happens. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.

23113 Orthodontist | Are You Using the Right Mouthwash?

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While it should never be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information, or for a personalized recommendation on the best mouthwash for you, contact our team today!

Choosing the Right Mouthwash

Though there are plenty of brands and varieties of mouthwash available, most fall into one of two general categories as recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes treat symptoms only, such temporarily masking bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwashes aim to treat the cause of an issue. Fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes are designed to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content. We can help you better understand the difference and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs.

Should I Use Mouthwash?

If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit your dentist at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on the unique needs of your teeth, it might be beneficial to talk to our dentist about working a specialized mouthwash into your routine.

Though mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge any food that might be stuck in your teeth and mask any odor that might be lingering on your breath.

Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine

Generally, you want to use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds and avoid rinsing, eating, or drinking for at least 30 minutes afterwards to give the mouthwash time to work.

Side Effects of Mouthwash

When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation in your mouth. If the sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask our dentist about different alcohol-free options. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous.

Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our team during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of working mouthwash into your oral care routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our dental team today!

Phone: (804) 464-8711
Fax: (804) 672-3131
Email: info@horseyorthodontics.com

Address:
313 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113

Orthodontist in Midlothian | The Downsides of Crooked Teeth

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If you have crooked teeth, you may already be looking into orthodontic solutions to improve your smile. However, did you know straightening your teeth can have benefits beyond increased confidence?

Many people may not realize it, but your oral health plays a large role in your body’s overall health. Poor oral health can put you at a much higher risk of stroke, heart disease, illness, miscarriages, and more. Crooked teeth can impede your ability to take proper care of your mouth, putting you at an increased risk of any number of ailments. Below are some of the most common issues exacerbated by crooked teeth. If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact our office today to see how orthodontic care can offer relief.

Gum Disease

Crooked teeth can often be much harder to properly clean than straight teeth. Without regular brushing and flossing, your chance of developing gum disease increases significantly. An untreated buildup of plaque can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Swollen and irritated gums can open the door for bacteria to enter your blood stream and trigger inflammation elsewhere in your body and increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and more.

It’s important for everyone to maintain a proper oral care routine and visit their dentist at least twice annually for cleanings and examinations. However, even that may not be enough if your teeth are too crooked to properly clean. We offer a variety of orthodontic solutions to help correct misaligned teeth and make it easier for you to take care of your smile. Visit our office today to learn more!

TMD/TMJ Pain

Crooked teeth or an improper bite may increase your risk of developing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). While the most common cause of TMD is the clenching and grinding of teeth, a misaligned bite may be a contributing factor. TMD can cause soreness and discomfort in the jaw, clicking sounds while chewing, headaches, and other facial pain.

If you have been experiencing jaw pain, an evaluation may help you determine if treatment for TMD is necessary. Correcting a misaligned bite can go a long way in alleviating some of the discomfort caused by TMD.

Enamel Erosion

Enamel is the thin, tough shell coating the outside of your teeth that protects them from damage and wear. Though a variety of environmental factors can lead to enamel loss, teeth grinding is another common cause. When your teeth are crooked and your bite does not properly align, the simple acts of speaking and chewing can cause your teeth to grind against each other. When left untreated, this can contribute a degradation in your enamel.

A loss in enamel can lead to tooth discoloration, increased pain and sensitivity, and cracks and chips forming in your teeth. There is a lot you can do at home to protect your enamel, including drinking plenty of water, avoiding excessively acidic or sugary foods, and brushing and flossing regularly. However, your crooked teeth may limit your ability to prevent enamel erosion on your own. Contact our office today to see if orthodontic treatment could be the solution you need.

313 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113

Phone: (804) 464-8711

Midlothian Orthodontist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

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It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our doctor for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact our office.

313 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113

23113 Orthodontist | Sleep Could be Harming Your Teeth

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Do you grind your teeth while you sleep? Occasional bruxing, or grinding, of the teeth is not a cause for concern. For some patients, however, clenching and grinding are an involuntary and frequent occurrence. In these cases, grinding may be happening almost every night or even while they are awake. This is a far more serious issue known as bruxism.

Bruxism occurs most often during sleep and can have a variety of causes. The most common issues that can lead to bruxism are stress and poor alignment of the teeth and/or jaws.

Because bruxism most frequently happens while the patient is sleeping, it can be challenging to diagnose. However, there are a number of symptoms that may indicate bruxism. Some of these include:

  • Sore teeth
  • Worn, flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Headache, especially when waking
  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Biting/chewing damage to inside of cheek
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Hairline cracks or worn enamel
  • Tense or sore jaw and/or facial muscles

Talk to our doctor about your symptoms. Let us know if a sleeping partner has told you they have heard you grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. We will examine your teeth and jaw for wear and sensitivity. If bruxism is diagnosed, there are multiple treatment options that may be recommended, depending on the probable cause.

Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to treat your bruxism in some cases. This may include the fabrication and use of a night guard or treatment for misalignment.


A night guard is a custom-fabricated oral appliance that is placed between the upper and lower teeth during sleep. This device provides a flexible barrier that prevents wear on your teeth and reduces the pressure caused by grinding, which can alleviate other symptoms.

Treatment for misalignment will generally involve some type of braces or plastic aligners that will gently move teeth into proper positioning within the mouth. This can help relieve symptoms and prevent their recurrence if the bruxism is caused by the misalignment.

Left untreated, bruxism can lead to more serious oral health issues. If you believe you may have bruxism, contact our office for a consultation today.

313 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113

Phone: (804) 464-8711

Midlothian Orthodontist | What Vegetarians and Vegans Need to Know About Their Teeth

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If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is important that you are aware of the impact these diets can have on your teeth and overall oral health. While there are numerous benefits of following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, your teeth depend on certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Vegetarians and vegans might be missing some key nutrients by avoiding certain foods. Here’s what you need to know.

A Higher Risk of Tooth Decay?

While there have not been enough studies to find any conclusive proof, German researches found an interesting correlation: vegetarians had far better periodontal health than meat-eaters, but the reverse was true for dental health. However, the study shouldn’t be taken as conclusive until more research in this area is done.

Getting the Right Nutrients

A vegetarian diet can be deficient in recommended amounts of key vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium, and protein. When it comes to vitamin D, deficiencies can sometimes occur in those who don’t eat fish or drink milk. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends adding soy milk or vegetable margarine to your diet to boost vitamin D counts.

Protein: Teeth Strengthener

Protein is an essential nutrient that your body uses to help keep your teeth strong. The phosphorous contained in protein is also helpful for strengthening your jaw. But if you are a vegan, you will need to consider finding alternative sources for protein since common sources such as meat and eggs are not part of your diet. Dried lentils and mixed nuts can provide you with plenty of protein.

The Benefits of Plant Based Diets

According to the National Institutes of Health, diets that primarily include plants, fruits, and vegetables are one way of reducing your risk of developing oral cancer. You can talk to our doctor for more information about oral cancer and your risk factors.

Steps You Can Take

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we recommend finding a comprehensive multi-vitamin to help you get nutrients you might be lacking. Your doctor is a good resource to ask about the right multi-vitamin for you. Be sure to maintain regular visits to our office. We can help you assess potential problem areas in your mouth. By keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine, you can lower your risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Your diet has a tremendous impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Your mouth depends on a balanced diet, daily oral hygiene, and regular check-ups. But for vegetarians and vegans, it might be helpful in making extra effort to ensure you still receive the proper nutrients your teeth need.

For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, contact our office.

313 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113

Phone: (804) 464-8711

Orthodontist in Midlothian | Understanding Your Jaw Pain

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Are you having trouble chewing or talking? If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your jaw, we recommend coming in to our office. There are numerous possible causes of facial and jaw pain and our doctor can work with you to determine the best course of treatment.

What Causes Jaw and Facial Pain?

Pain and discomfort in your jaw can be dental related, but it can also be caused by other medical conditions. Sinus infections and arthritis are potential culprits. However, your pain could be caused by a toothache, infection, excessive grinding of your teeth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or TMJD.

I’ve Heard of TMJ – What is it?

The jaw is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It acts as a hinge and can be found in front of your ears. In temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), the joint doesn’t move in the way it is supposed to. This can lead to pain or restricted jaw movements. Someone might complain about difficulty chewing, yawning, and talking. You might hear a clicking sound when your jaw moves. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that as many as 10 million Americans suffer from TMJD.

What We Can Do

If you come into our office with jaw and facial pain, we will provide you a thorough examination. Treatments can vary depending on what is determined to be the primary source of your discomfort. Periodontal treatment, root canal therapy, and tooth removal are sometimes solutions to consider. A filling may be suggested for pain caused by tooth decay. For problems resulting from arthritis or TMJD, exercises and anti-inflammatory medications may be a consideration. If you grind your teeth, a guard may be recommended to protect your teeth.

Solving Your Jaw and Facial Pain

Step one in determining a course of treatment is to determine the source of your jaw or facial pain. Talk to our doctor about the specifics surrounding your discomfort. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office can help prevent future pain caused by decay or infection. Having our professional, experienced team regularly examine your mouth is one way you can stay healthy. Diagnosing jaw and facial pain can be difficult due to the number of potential causes. Our dental professionals are well prepared to effectively diagnose and treat your condition.

For more questions about jaw pain, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

313 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113

(804) 464-8711