Bad Habits to Break Whether You Have Braces or Not

Bad Habits to Break Whether You Have Braces or Not

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As smile specialists, the team here at Moon Orthodontics tends to hand out a lot of advice on how to maintain a healthy mouth. We’ve gathered a lot of helpful tips over the years but one of the most important ones is this: find a solid oral hygiene routine and stick to it! This includes all the normal activities you’d expect, like brushing and flossing, but it also means identifying and correcting any bad habits that can be harmful to your teeth and gums. 

Good oral health should be the goal for all of us, but it’s especially important for orthodontic patients to take good care of their smiles. Those who don’t put themselves at risk for a variety of dental issues. We’ve seen poor oral health increase a patient’s treatment time or even stall it until their problems can be corrected by a dentist. In some cases, their final results may be affected. This advice doesn’t just apply those in braces or clear aligners, however! 

You don’t need to be an orthodontic patient to benefit from examining your dental hygiene from time to time. Recommendations sometimes change, and you could be missing out on ways to improve your smile. Even with regular dental visits and excellent oral care, you can damage the look and function of your teeth with certain bad habits. To learn more about these habits and why it’s important to break them, keep reading below! 

Misinformation surrounding dental hygiene

Oral hygiene should ideally go beyond a quick brush and floss each day. Even something as simple as the type of toothbrush you use matters! Many people believe that firmer bristles are better at cleaning the teeth, but firm-bristled toothbrushes can actually irritate the gums. This may lead to sensitive teeth, especially for older adults. This is due to the gums receding as we age, exposing the roots of the teeth and increasing sensitivity. For extra comfort, we recommend gentle strokes with a soft-bristled toothbrush instead.

For the best brushing results, use fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day for two minutes each time. You should also aim to floss every night before bed, which helps to remove food particles and plaque. This will reduce your chances of developing cavities and tooth decay. Don’t keep your toothbrush too long, either! Replace it every 3-4 months with a new one, or sooner if you’ve had a cold or any other illness. Antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes are another way to improve your oral health, as they eliminate the types of bacteria that cause bad breath and gum disease.

Crunching ice and chewing on various objects

Lots of us crunch on the leftover ice in our cups or gnaw on our nails when we’re bored or need distraction. This habit may seem harmless, but it still has the ability to damage the teeth. The freezing temps and tough texture of ice have the potential to fracture your teeth, and chewing on it can cause microscopic cracks in the surface of the enamel. This is true for popcorn kernels and fruit pits, too, along with anything else that puts undue stress on the teeth.

If you find yourself subconsciously chewing on your fingernails, pencils, or pen caps, be aware that it’s chipping away at your tooth enamel and may end up irritating the soft tissue inside the teeth. Try giving your mouth something else to do instead! Chewing sugarless gum can help, and snacking on something healthy that has a satisfying crunch can be a good option, too.

Grinding your teeth

Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is the involuntary grinding of the teeth outside of normal chewing, swallowing, or speaking movements. There are several possible causes for this, which can include:

  • stress and anxiety
  • medications
  • certain medical conditions
  • genetics
  • misalignment between the teeth and jaws
  • an abnormal bite
  • missing or crooked teeth

If you grind your teeth, you may experience a variety of symptoms, such as interrupted sleep and chronic headaches, among others. Bruxism can also wear down the enamel of your teeth, which may eventually expose the much softer dentin inside. This can cause its own problems, including increased tooth sensitivity.  

There are many ways to treat tooth grinding. Most of these treatments will help prevent any further issues while also treating any existing damage. They generally involve treating the obvious underlying causes, like reducing stress, treating anxiety, and addressing any dental or orthodontic issues. Proactive treatment may be recommended as well, such as wearing a mouthguard overnight.

Sometimes the simple realization that you’re grinding your teeth can help you tackle this bad habit! If you feel yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, try positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth to train the jaw muscles to relax. Holding a warm washcloth against your cheek can often produce the same effect. It’s also a calming way to end the day before falling asleep!

Bad Habits to Break Whether You Have Braces or NotBeat your bad oral habits with help from Moon Orthodontics

As a highly-trained and experienced orthodontist, Dr. Moon has the skills to diagnose a wide range of orthodontic issues. Identifying harmful oral habits is part of that process, too. You don’t need to be in braces or clear aligners to benefit from beating bad habits that can damage your smile, however!

If you’re in Olathe, Overland Park, or the surrounding communities, our team is happy to help you break free from a bad oral habit. Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Moon and take the first step towards a smile that’s stronger, healthier, and straighter! 

How to Care for Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

How to Care for Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

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After a difficult year, more hopeful times seem to be on the horizon. We are still living through a pandemic, however, which means there’s a continued need for flexibility in your orthodontic journey. Here at Moon Orthodontics, we’re doing everything we can to keep our staff and patients safe and healthy, but there may be times when you’re away from the office longer than you would normally be. Whether we’re able to maintain your regularly scheduled appointments or need to extend the intervals for some reason, there are several things you can do to keep your smile healthy and happy in between visits! Keep reading below to learn more. 

Bring your ‘A’ game to oral hygiene

We should all be doing our part to keep our teeth and gums healthy, but this is even more important when you’re an orthodontic patient. Cavities or gum disease can interrupt the progress you’re making and lead to longer treatment times. In some cases, poor oral health may even affect the final results. 

To keep tooth decay at bay, brush a minimum of twice a day and floss every night before bed. It’s preferable to brush after every meal, but if this isn’t possible, try to give your mouth a good rinse with water after eating and drinking. To clean effectively, we recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you wear braces, brush gently around the brackets to remove any food debris without disturbing your appliance. 

Here are a few other guidelines to keep in mind for your dental hygiene routine! 

  • Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if you have a cold or any other illness.
  • Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health.

Take good care of your clear aligners

Just like a proper brushing and flossing routine, keeping your Invisalign aligners clean is essential for good oral health. It’s also an important part of keeping them transparent! If you don’t keep your aligners clean, they can become stained, which makes them much more noticeable. 

Food particles can also get stuck in your Invisalign aligners if you don’t maintain them the way you’re meant to. This can cause bacteria to spread, resulting in bad breath and other issues. Cleaning your aligners regularly will keep your aligners almost invisible, your breath smelling fresh, and your teeth looking bright! 

You should be cleaning your aligners each time you remove them—rinsing and soaking them in water alone won’t prevent a build up of bacteria. Use a clear soap, denture cleaner, or Invisalign cleaning crystal instead. These will thoroughly clean your aligners and prevent bacteria from clinging to them! 

Remember to always use room-temperature water when cleaning your aligners, as this will allow them to maintain their shape. The thermoplastic material they are made of can bend in hot water and contract in cold water. 

Follow all the guidelines and recommendations you’ve been given

As a highly trained and experienced orthodontist, Dr. Moon knows what it takes to create a straighter, healthier smile. If you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to change them out exactly as directed. Invisalign patients will normally be provided with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If your current set happens to run out before the next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange a curbside pick-up for the next set, or you can run in and grab them. 

If we’re unable to provide you with a new set of aligners right away, you can continue wearing the last set you were given with one difference—you only need to wear them for 10-12 hours each day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. Doing this will help extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available. It will also keep your treatment plan on track and ensure you don’t lose any of the progress we’ve already made on your smile.

Have you recently completed their treatment with us? If so, you should continue to wear the retainer you were given according to Dr. Moon’s directions. This will keep your beautiful new smile in place for years to come!

Keep a braces care kit with you wherever you go

While many of us are still sticking close to home for the time being, we encourage you to stay prepared for any orthodontic issues that may come up. One simple way you can do this is by creating a braces “care kit” to keep with you when you’re on the go. You can include any items you think you’ll need, but we recommend starting with these essentials.

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
  • A small tube of fluoride toothpaste
  • Dental floss or ortho picks
  • Orthodontic wax
  • Extra rubber bands
  • Lip balm
  • A small cup for rinsing with water
  • An unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)

Throw everything you’ve collected together in a portable bag and keep it with you to handle almost any orthodontic need to keep on hand and you’ll have almost everything you need for any problem that might come up in between appointments.

How to Care for Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

Keep your smile looking good and feeling great with Moon Orthodontics

While things look to be getting back to some version of “normal” at the moment, we want you to know that we’re here for you even if circumstances change! If you can’t make it to our Overland Park or Olathe office as planned, just let us know as soon as possible—we’ll still be happy to answer your questions or walk you through any concerns you may have about the treatment process. Would you like to learn more about being proactive on your journey towards a more confident smile? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Dr. Moon!

Recognizing and Treating Your Child's Orthodontic Issues

Recognizing and Treating Your Child’s Orthodontic Issues

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Here at Moon Orthodontics, we often hear from parents who want to know how they can tell if their child will need orthodontic treatment. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question, as it will depend on many factors! This includes the patient’s age, the way their teeth and jaws are aligned, how their dental development is coming along, and the desired results. That’s why we’re taking a look at the different factors that go into recognizing and treating your child’s orthodontic issues.

One way to address all of these items is an early orthodontic evaluation, which the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child have by the time they’re about seven years olds. At this age, most children will have enough dental landmarks in place that their teeth, jaw, and bite can be assessed for normal development. 

There are several common issues that an orthodontist like Dr. Moon will be looking for during this initial evaluation. It can be helpful for us to outline these so parents better understand how these oral challenges can be successfully corrected with treatment. Let’s take a closer look at some of the problems we see most often in our young patients! 

Missing teeth

Gaps between the teeth can exist because of congenitally missing teeth that never grew in, or they may be created when permanent teeth are lost due to injury or disease. If this is something your child has experienced, we can use braces to move the existing teeth into the proper positions. Bonded bridges will then be placed where the missing teeth would have been. This achieves an evenly-spaced smile for your child that looks good and functions the way it should. 

Crowded teeth

Healthy teeth and gums are essential to good oral health, but crooked teeth can be difficult to brush and floss. This increases the chance of tooth decay and cavities. If your child has crowded teeth, we can move them into better positions in small increments over time. This will result in a smile that’s easier to clean, and can also lessen facial tension. Treatment can relieve chewing and speech difficulties, too.

Gapped teeth

Gaps in teeth are very common, especially in children. They can happen for a variety of reasons, from genetics to bad oral habits like thumb sucking and extended pacifier use. If your child has a bit too much space between their teeth, Dr. Moon will identify the underlying cause first, then create a personalized treatment plan to close the gaps. This will improve the overall appearance of your child’s smile.

Open bite

With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close when smiling or chewing. Many open bites come from extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation.

We will usually treat an open bite with a combination of braces and an orthodontic appliance known as a “crib.” This device prevents the tongue from putting pressure against the anterior teeth when swallowing, which trains it to swallow correctly. Following treatment, your child’s bite will be aligned. They’ll be able to close their teeth and enjoy all their favorite foods with ease. 

Deep overbite

When a child has a deep overbite, the lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth also overlap the lower front teeth. Out of all the bite disorders, a deep overbite is the most detrimental to the teeth and health of the jaw joints. It can also have an impact on face shape and appearance.

Treatment for a deep overbite may require orthodontics and restorative dentistry together or orthodontics alone may be enough to correct it. This will depend on the severity of the case. Correcting a deep bite misalignment like this will improve the functionality of your child’s teeth and dramatically improve the appearance of their smile!

Underbite

An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment can cause pain at the jaw joint and the angled pressure can wear down some of the teeth. There are several treatment options available for children with underbites. These include:

  • an upper jaw expander, which can be widened nightly until treatment is complete
  • a reverse-pull face mask, which wraps around the head and attaches to metal bands on the back upper teeth to pull the upper jaw forward
  • traditional braces to adjust the misaligned teeth

These treatments will help relieve any pain and discomfort caused by the underbite, and can also make it easier to smile, eat, and even breathe more effectively. 

Overjet

If a child has an overjet, their top front teeth will protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. This is often referred to as “buck teeth,” and treatment is most effective when the child is diagnosed early because it gives us a chance to guide the tooth eruption and use that growth to our advantage. The child’s age and specific needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but options will usually include:

  • bite correction devices
  • traditional braces
  • removable orthodontic appliances
  • tooth removal
  • surgery

Once we decide on the correct treatment for your child’s overjet, they’ll be left with a beautifully balanced smile after it’s completed.

Give your child’s smile the best start at Moon Orthodontics

At Moon Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing personalized care for every child we treat. After your child’s evaluation, Dr. Moon will build a treatment plan for them based on their unique smile needs and the desired results. Our goal is to give every patient a rewarding and stress-free experience, from their first appointment to the last! 

Have you been wondering if your child would benefit from orthodontic care? Our team would love to meet you both and take a look at how their smile is developing so far! If you’re in Olathe or Overland Park and would like to know more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Moon. Whatever your child needs, we’ll give them the best start towards a lifetime of healthy smiles. 

Guide to Orthodontic Treatment as an Adult

Guide to Orthodontic Treatment as an Adult

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Thanks in part to an increasing range of affordable treatment options, more adults than ever have been improving their oral health with orthodontics. Although teens still make up the largest percentage of orthodontic patients, we’re seeing children and adults close that gap every day! Help achieve your smiles full potential by reading the following guide to orthodontic treatment as an adult. 

Here at Moon Orthodontics, we’re proud to create beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Olathe, Overland Park, and the surrounding communities. If you’ve spent years of your life feeling unhappy with how your teeth look or function, we’ve got good news—you’re never too old to achieve a healthier smile! To learn more about the customized orthodontic care available in adulthood, keep reading below.

Why is orthodontics becoming more popular with adults? 

Most of our adolescent patients are undergoing orthodontic treatment because their parents have chosen it for them after consulting with Dr. Moon. Younger patients are certainly able to understand the importance of treatment—and most are thrilled with the final results!— but the truth is that adults will often have a better understanding of how a healthier smile can positively impact their lives. 

Adults also tend to be more aware of the ways our oral health can impact our total body health. This may lead them to seek out dental or orthodontic treatment that will keep their teeth and gums in the best possible shape! As an adult patient, you’ll be able to truly grasp what orthodontic treatment is: an investment of your time and finances that will pay off in a big way with a beautiful smile, improved health, and increased self-confidence.

While we’re on the subject of improved oral health…

Orthodontic treatment can give you straighter teeth, but the benefits don’t stop there! Crooked or crowded teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Misalignment can also cause excess wear on the teeth and enamel, which may lead to chronic headaches, jaw aches, and pain in the face and neck. 

Orthodontic treatment will help reduce or eliminate these symptoms. Not only that, but braces and aligners can protect you from serious oral health problems in the future! This can mean serious financial savings, which is something that tends to be appreciated by adult patients who are on a budget.

Guide to Orthodontic Treatment as an AdultSince we’re already talking about budgets…

There’s never been a better time to be an orthodontic patient! Achieving a confident smile is more affordable than ever, thanks to a variety of affordable treatment options. Moon Orthodontics has payment options to suit every budget, including interest-free installment plans and those with a more conventional fee structure. Multiple family discounts may also apply. 

For your convenience, we accept most credit and debit cards. We can even set monthly auto payments up from your bank! If you have a Flexible or Health Savings Account or insurance coverage, we’ll be sure to take this into account as well. And don’t worry— we’ll ensure you understand every fee included in your treatment plan before we move forward with fitting you for braces or aligners. 

And while we’re on the topic of treatment options…

Not so long ago, there weren’t many choices for anyone looking to improve their smile. Now we have multiple ways to align the teeth and jaws! Our practice is proud to offer the following treatment options for a complete smile transformation.

Metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the most widely used orthodontic appliance for a reason—they have a proven track record of successfully correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues. Though they’ve been around for a long time now, braces have undergone a major makeover in recent years. They’re far more comfortable, effective, and aesthetically pleasing than previous designs were! Metal braces are one of our most cost-efficient options, and can be particularly useful in cases that are complex or severe. 

Clear braces

Sometimes called ceramic braces, these function in the same way metal braces do but come with the added benefit of clear brackets. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored bands, they’re an incredibly subtle way to straighten the teeth! Because they’re far less visible than their metal counterparts, clear braces are popular with image-conscious teens and adults. The ceramic brackets are slightly larger and a bit more brittle than the metal ones, so we tend to use them on the upper front teeth more often than the lower teeth. 

Invisalign

There are no brackets and wires required to move the teeth with this innovative system! Instead, Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners to help patients achieve a healthier smile. These customized aligners are completely removable, offering patients an extra measure of freedom and flexibility they love. 

Patient compliance is an essential part of treatment with Invisalign—the aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours per day throughout the orthodontic process. They’re also designed to be switched out with the next aligner in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movement of the teeth. When worn as directed, Invisalign can be just as efficient as braces at treating many of the most common orthodontic issues. 

Get the smile you deserve with Moon Orthodontics

Every treatment option will have its own list of pros and cons, and not every treatment will be suitable for all patients. Working with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Moon  guarantees you’ll receive only the most appropriate treatment for your unique smile!  

If you’ve been waiting a lifetime to take the first step towards a healthier smile, the last thing you want is cookie-cutter treatment. Dr. Moon uses an individualized approach to orthodontic care, building a treatment plan that’s based on your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. 

Our goal is to give you a rewarding and stress-free experience, from your first visit to your last. We want you to feel right at home from the moment you walk through our door, and work hard to provide patients with a warm and welcoming environment. 

Are you ready to get started on the confident smile you deserve? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Moon!

Sports Safety for Kids Mouths & Dental Emergencies

Sports Safety for Kids Mouths & Dental Emergencies

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In our years of offering braces in Overland Park and Olathe, we’ve seen our fair share of cut lips and broken hardware thanks to patients getting hit in the face with a ball or an elbow during a game when they weren’t wearing a mouthguard. Yet, it’s not just kids with braces who need to protect their teeth when playing sports. While braces certainly add to the risk of injury, even children (and adults!) wearing Invisalign, retainers, or nothing at all should be taking precautions. Avoiding tooth and mouth injuries in children while playing sports can be as simple as using protective gear like a mouthguard.

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Olathe Orthodontist

2017 American Association of Orthodontists Emerging Leaders Conference

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Last month, Dr. Moon was 1 of 75 orthodontists from around the country selected to attend the 2017 American Association of Orthodontists Emerging Leaders Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the oldest and largest dental speciality organization in the world, and has more than 18,000 orthodontist members in the USA, Canada, and around the world.
 The American Association of Orthodontists Emerging Leaders Conference is an opportunity for orthodontists to come together to discuss how to develop and transform their practice, and to share leadership skills and tools. Together, they strive to make every orthodontic clinic one that patients love to visit!
Moon Orthodontics

Win Tickets to Beauty and The Beast!

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Beauty and The Beast Tickets Giveaway!

We love giving back to our community, and to our patients. That’s why we decided to give all of you the chance to win FREE tickets to Beauty and The Beast! This revamped version of the Disney classic is sure to be a fun night out for the whole family.

To enter in, book in for an appointment at Moon Orthodontics and submit your ballot entry at our clinic! Winner’s will be announced on March 17th and 31st.

Kansas Association of Orthodontists

Kansas Association of Orthodontists Annual Meeting

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In 2016 – 2017, Dr. Moon had the pleasure of being the President of the Kansas Association of Orthodontists. As the president, one of his duties was to organize the Kansas Association of Orthodontists annual meeting which recently took place at the Boulevard Brewing Company. The event this year was one of the largest as it was joined by the Missouri Society of Orthodontists.

At this years meeting, there were several guest speakers which included Dr. Mark Yanosky,  Dr. Jeremy Smith, and the well-known General Manager of the Kansas City Royals, Mr. Dayton Moore.

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