Young woman portrait with dental braces natural

Thinking About Adult Braces? Know Your Options.

Has your dentist recommended braces for healthier teeth or a better bite? Is there something you’ve always wanted to improve about the appearance of your smile? Then you should know that braces and orthodontic care aren’t just for kids. At Summit Dental Health, more adults than ever before are choosing them. In fact, 20% of all orthodontic patients today are adults. Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age.

 

Why an Adult may need Orthodontic Care

There are many reasons orthodontic care may be recommended for adults. Crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment – a condition called malocclusion or “bad bite” – can cause excessive wear on teeth. They may cause jaw pain or difficulty chewing. And they can make teeth harder to keep clean, which may lead to cavities or worse.

Cosmetic considerations are important as well. An attractive smile is a real confidence booster. And since people are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever, it can make a difference at any age.

 

Options for Adults

When you think of braces, you may think of big metal appliances on the teeth. But there are other options available that may be right for you:

  • Invisalign® – These aligners are clear trays that fit snugly over the teeth. Many adults prefer them because they are virtually invisible when worn. Each aligner is designed to shift your teeth slightly. During treatment, you go through several sets. With each one, your teeth move according to the treatment plan mapped out by your orthodontist until they are in the proper position. These aligners are removable for eating and brushing, but should be worn 22 hours a day.
  • Braces – Wearing braces no longer means having a mouth full of metal brackets. Braces are smaller and lighter. Clear brackets and ceramic brackets that match your teeth can make them a much more attractive option for adults.

 
Advances in the design of these options can also make the course of treatment faster than before. At Summit Dental Health, you and your orthodontist can evaluate your particular orthodontic needs, cost considerations and personal preferences to help you make the right choice.

 

Amber’s Experience with Adult Braces

 

 

Amber had issues with her teeth crowding each other. For cosmetic purposes, she was eager to have them treated. Braces were the best option for her. Her orthodontist used clear brackets, which were much less noticeable than metal ones.

 

What was your experience like as an adult with braces?

It was great! I had clear brackets so they were not super noticeable. I had so many other adults comment on how they were considering getting orthodontics after seeing me do it.

How long did your total treatment take?

Only about eight months. I just had a few teeth I wanted to shift.

Did you experience any unusual reactions from friends and family while undergoing treatment?

Just positive comments. I was surprised how many people commented that they wanted to explore braces as well.

How did you modify your diet while wearing braces?

I stayed away from really sticky and crunchy food that could have broken my brackets. But if I really wanted something that fell into that category, I was very careful and did not bite into anything directly. I only had one broken bracket throughout my entire treatment.

Are you pleased with your results?

Absolutely! If you are an adult and you are interested in braces, go for it. It is well worth the time and financial investment to be happy and confident with your smile. You will not regret it!

 

Ben’s Experience with Invisalign

 

 

Ben was experiencing jaw pain because of his bite. His dentist recommended braces to treat the problem. At his orthodontic checkup, he learned he’d be a good candidate for Invisalign, so that’s the option he chose.

 

What was it like being an adult wearing Invisalign?

At first, it was definitely an adjustment. It was tough not to keep poking at my aligners with my tongue and to remember to do the things I needed to do to take care of them. After about a month, though, it all just became second nature. It was great. People didn’t even realize I was wearing them until I pointed it out.

How long did your total treatment last?

From first impressions to final removal, about 14 months.

How often did you have to go for treatment?

I went every six weeks or so, to get my set of trays adjusted or replaced. I came in maybe a half-dozen times during the course of treatment. I was always in and out very quickly, in about 20 to 30 minutes.

How many hours a day did you wear your aligners?

I was really good until the last few trays. Probably 20 hours a day or so.

Was it difficult to keep up with cleaning your aligners?

Well, to help me remember to brush after each meal, I hid toothbrushes and toothpaste everywhere – in the kitchen, all bathrooms, office, car, briefcase – because otherwise I wouldn’t remember. I still find them in odd places as I clean the house.

Are you pleased with the results?

I’m thrilled. My jaw doesn’t hurt when I eat anymore, and my smile looks great. I went and got whitening afterwards, just to top off the whole experience! People notice it. I didn’t think my teeth were that bad before. But when people come up to you and say, “Wow, your teeth look great,” you just know you made the right choice.

 

If you’re an adult interested in exploring the possibilities of orthodontic care, contact Summit Dental Health today.

Group of children having packed lunches

Teeth-Friendly School Lunchbox Ideas

With so much to do before kids head back to school, one of the most common details parents forget is packing a healthy lunch. A nutritious meal at lunchtime plays an important role in your child’s energy and focus at school, and could make a big difference on their report card.

Packing a teeth-friendly school lunchbox doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming as long as you plan ahead, get used to a little nightly chopping action, and try to make it fun. We’ve assembled the 5 friendliest food groups for your kids’ teeth and lots of tips for packing fun and teeth-friendly ideas into their school lunchbox.

Veggies

Fresh vegetables in colorful bowls isolated on white. Healthy party snacks. Asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Crunchy vegetables—like carrots, cucumbers, celery, green peppers, lettuce and broccoli—are probably the best snack for your teeth, period. The high water content of vegetables not only rehydrates our bodies, but also dilutes natural sugars and washes away food particles while we eat.

The easiest way to liven up raw veggies is to include a dip like hummus, cream cheese or fresh salsa. But if you want to get a little fancier, try a dill cucumber dip or one of these delicious summer slaw salad recipes.

If your children aren’t very fond of vegetables in the first place, getting them to eat healthier can be a challenge. Just remember to set a good example for them with your own eating habits, introduce new foods slowly, invite your kids to cook with you, and allow them to have “sometimes” foods like sugary cereals or the occasional Happy Meal as a reward.

Cheese

Cheeses, White Background, Clipping path

Cheese is high in calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that help keep tooth enamel strong. Cheese increases saliva in your mouth, which acts as a natural defense against cavities and gum disease.

Cutting cheese into bite-sized cubes or squares is recommended to help your kids digest better. If you’d like to make a tasty cheese sandwich for your kids, try this cucumber, tomato and cheddar sandwich recipe we found.

Just remember if you’re packing a sandwich to use “whole grain” or “whole wheat” bread instead of white, because these contain more natural vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts in the glass jar , collection, clipping path

Nuts and seeds are arguably the healthiest protein source. They’re an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamin D, calcium, fiber and folic acid. Folic acid plays a major role in preserving gum tissues and preventing periodontal disease.

Despite being rich in Vitamin E, the shape and texture of almonds put damaging stress on teeth when kids bite down. So if your kids love almonds, try to find almond slivers next time you’re at the grocery.

Fruits

5 varieties of apples: Granny smith, Golden delicious, Gala, Macintosh and Red delicious. Larger files include clipping path.

Fibrous fruits—or fruits high in fiber—act almost like a natural toothbrush while you bite and chew. Apples, bananas and strawberries are all a healthy substitution for dessert in addition to being relatively cheap, easy to prepare, and very fulfilling.

If your kids aren’t too keen on fruits yet, make fruits more enjoyable with a healthy yogurt fruit dip or try cutting apples into fun shapes.

However, be careful your children aren’t eating too many fruits – especially dried fruit or fruit juice, which contain lots of artificial sugars. And try to stay away from most “fruit-flavored” beverages and snacks.

Water

Bottles of water various sizes 1.5L, 1L, 500ml, 300ml. With clipping paths.

Growing up, we all probably drank way more juice than we should have because our parents thought it was a healthy alternative to soda. But the science is out – fruit juice is just as bad for you as soda.

Encourage your children to drink the recommended amount of water daily. Depending on their age, they should be having 5-10 glasses of water each day.

Water not only energizes rehydrates your organs and muscles, it also helps create more saliva in your mouth. More saliva means less tooth decay and stronger tooth enamel.

Putting it all together

We know every parent would love to feed their children healthy foods for every meal, but we also know that budgeting is a very real concern. So even if you can only afford apple slices, cherry tomatoes, a handful of nuts, cheese sandwich and tap water, you’re really helping your kids build a foundation for healthier futures.

school-provided lunch of mystery meat, instant mashed potatoes, applesauce and chocolate milk is unfortunately just not a healthy alternative to homemade lunch. And though school lunches are often provided at a discount, packing your own is possible for only $2-$3/day.

Good luck! And if you ever have more questions about teeth-healthy foods or lunchbox ideas, let us know when you’re back for your child’s 6-month checkup. Happy eating!

Healthy lunch boxes with sandwich and fresh vegetables, bottle of water, nuts and fruits on rustic wooden background. top view

Summit Dental health team members stationed at their table outside the LaunchPAD Children's Museum next to a Summit Dental Health banner

How To: Make Elephant Toothpaste

Some of our team members had the opportunity to participate in the Sloppy Science event at LaunchPAD Children’s Museum in Sioux City this past weekend. It was a great first-year event where kids could watch science demonstrations, create their own experiments, and get sloppy with slime and a sloppy obstacle course.

At the Summit Dental Health booth, we had 3 hands-on activities that were fun for the kids, but also educational.

Kids learned how to floss and then got to practice their new skills with mega blocks, Play-Doh and yarn. We had some pretty enthusiastic new flossers who were pretty excited to win their very own dental floss on our wheel of prizes.

We also did an experiment to show how bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugar and creates cavity-causing plaque.

One of our most popular experiments was making elephant toothpaste while sharing fun facts about elephant teeth. We had several parents ask us how we did it, so we thought we’d share here

Elephant Toothpaste Recipe

A young boy smiles as he watches the chemical reaction that makes up the "elephant toothpaste"

Supplies Needed:

  • Pan to catch the toothpaste
  • Empty 16 oz plastic bottle
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Funnel
  • 3 tbsp. very warm water
  • 2-3 tsp. yeast
  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (We used the kind you get at a beauty supply store. It’s stronger than the regular kind you have in your medicine cabinet.)
  • 1 tbsp. dish soap

 

Step 1: Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Place the plastic bottle inside the pan. Using the funnel, pour in the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.

Step 3: Pour the yeast/water mixture into the bottle. The mixture will bubble over and look like toothpaste coming out of a tube.

Summit Dental Health team members stand behind their table at LaunchPAD Children's Museum


Disclaimer: This experiment only looks like toothpaste and should not actually be used as toothpaste for children or pet elephants.
Graphic of Lemon and Banner that reads "Community Lemonade Stand Day"

Host a Lemonade Stand for CLSD17

Support Open Door Mission and the Siouxland Soup Kitchen in their commitment to feeding the hungry and breaking the cycle of homelessness in Omaha and Sioux City. Host a lemonade stand for Community Lemonade Stand Day on Saturday, July 29, and help us give back to the communities we love so much.

 

Pick up your free lemonade stand kit at any Summit Dental Health location

Community members are encouraged to pick up their FREE lemonade stand kit from any Summit Dental Health location in Omaha and Sioux City starting July 3. Your lemonade stand kit includes:

  • Powdered Lemonade
  • Cups
  • Poster
  • Instructions
  • Summit Dental Health Sunglasses
  • Lemonade-flavored Chapstick

 

Add your Lemonade Stand to our Map

Complete this form and we’ll add your stand to our Omaha or Sioux City map in 2-3 business days.

If the form doesn’t load in your browser, just click here to view it in a different window!

 

Promote your Lemonade Stand

Once you’ve got your kit and added your stand to our map, you’ll want to generate some customers! Here are some suggestions for promoting your lemonade stand:

  1. Say you’re “Going” to the Event on Facebook. Click here to see our Facebook Event and share it with your friends!
  2. Post about Community Lemonade Stand Day on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Be sure to include a link to summitdentalhealth.net/lemonade to help your friends learn more about the event and see your lemonade stands on our Omaha or Sioux City map!
  3. Print this flyer and hang it at work, church or school. Tell everyone you know about Community Lemonade Stand Day and invite them to come visit your stand on Saturday, July 29th.
    Poster - Summit Dental Health - Community Lemonade Stand Day 2017 - Omaha - Saturday, July 29


About Open Door Mission

Open Door Mission is a Gospel Rescue Mission founded in 1954 committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Each day, Open Door Mission’s campus offers 816 safe, shelter beds to homeless men, women and children, serves over 2,000 hot, nutritious meals and provides preventive measures to more than 275 people living in poverty.

About Siouxland Soup Kitchen

Siouxland Soup Kitchen serves on average 1,800 to 2,000 meals per month. There are no requirements for being served a meal at the Soup Kitchen, they welcome everyone that comes to their door.

 


Blond woman in dentist chair smiles as she is handed clear aligners

Invisalign: Clear Braces for Adults

Many people think of teens when it comes to braces. But now thanks to Invisalign® clear aligners, the number of adults receiving orthodontic treatment is on the rise. Invisalign clear aligners are a comfortable, removable & almost invisible alternative to braces that are perfect for adults who want to straighten their teeth. Unlike braces, Invisalign is made of a strong plastic material and fabricated to fit each patient’s unique bite. No metal wires or brackets. And you can take Invisalign out whenever you want – for eating, brushing, meetings, dates or photographs.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign is great at correcting crooked teeth, gaps, overbites or underbites. At your initial consultation, your dentist will take a physical impression or digital scan of your teeth that is used to create a 3-D model. We send that information to Invisalign’s skilled team of experts who propose a plan based on your dentist’s prescription. Once your dentist has approved the treatment plan, Invisalign fabricates your custom aligner trays.

Next you’ll receive a series of custom trays that you’ll change every 1-2 weeks at home. It’s recommended that patients wear their Invisalign clear aligners 20-22 hours each day to get the best results. You can remove Invisalign whenever you need to eat, brush, floss or clean the trays, but you’ll want to leave them in as much as possible to achieve the best and quickest results. Our team will schedule checkups with you every 6-8 weeks to ensure the treatment process is going well, and that you’re on your way to a more confident smile.

Invisalign vs. Braces

Invisalign treatment works faster than traditional braces. Traditional treatment plans for braces last about 2 years on average, but Invisalign treatment normally takes only 6-18 months.

Invisalign allows you to eat what you want. One of the most common complaints about braces is that your diet must change. People with traditional braces can say goodbye to popcorn, chips, ice, gum, nuts, apples and candy. But with Invisalign, you can eat what you want whenever you want.

You don’t have to change your brushing and flossing routine. Another of the most common complaints about braces is that brushing and flossing take extra time and technique. With Invisalign, you can brush and floss the same as before. Just be sure to rinse your trays and soak them for a few minutes each day.

Invisalign doesn’t irritate your gums or cheeks. Unlike braces, Invisalign clear aligners fit comfortably to your teeth and won’t cause swollen gums or mouth sores.

Invisalign protects teeth from grinding. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a very common side effect from stress and happens to many adults while they sleep. Wearing Invisalign is a perfectly good alternative to wearing a nite guard while you sleep!

Frequently Asked Questions About Invisalign

Will Invisalign treatment be painful? Although some people experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment, patients who’ve had braces say Invisalign isn’t close. No mouth sores, no swollen gums and hopefully no headaches. The feeling patients get within those first few days is often described as pressure. And even though it might be a bit uncomfortable, it’s a sign that Invisalign is working.

Will Invisalign affect my speech? Patients with traditional braces or retainers often report a lisp or extra saliva within the first few weeks following an adjustment. After the initial adjustment period, patients with Invisalign shouldn’t notice any big difference. And remember – if you’re ever self-conscious about your speech in a meeting, phone call or on a date, you can still take Invisalign out for 2-4 hours each day!

How much does Invisalign treatment cost? Invisalign treatment generally costs between $3500 – $5000 depending on the patient’s needs, which is roughly the same cost of traditional braces. Insurance plans often cover up to $3500 of orthodontic treatment costs so depending on your insurance plan, you might be paying very little. We offer payment plans as well as a discounted dental plan for uninsured patients. You can estimate your cost using the Invisalign Cost Calculator on the Invisalign website.

group of ethnically diverse women of all ages stand and smile

Women’s Oral Health at Every Life Stage

Studies show that not only are women more proactive about their oral health, but also have a better understanding about what good oral health entails along with a more positive attitude toward visiting the dentist. However, due mostly to hormonal fluctuations at different life stages, women generally have more oral health concerns to worry about. But what’s new, right?

If you’re curious about how puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause affect your oral health, we’ve prepared a quick summary of how to prepare for and how to maintain great oral health throughout every stage of your life.

Puberty

Puberty occurs in girls between ages 8 to 14. In addition to developmental changes, hormones such as estrogen progesterone increase blood flow to the gums and can cause them to become red and swollen. Along with hormonal fluctuations,  microbial changes in the mouth result in in “destructive” bacteria that can lead to more plaque, cavities, gingivitis and bad breath. If your daughter is going through puberty, it’s normal for her to experience light bleeding during brushing and flossing.

Encourage her to keep a good brushing and flossing routine, in order to cut down on plaque.

Menstruation

A woman’s menstrual cycle also impacts her oral health. Hormonal fluctuations can cause swollen gums and possible bleeding while you brush or floss, especially the week before your period. During their period, many women experience dry mouth and bad breath due to a loss of saliva. Finally, thanks to increases in the mucosal lining of your oral cavity, some women are susceptible to canker sores in the days leading up to their periods.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try rinsing at least once a day with a nonalcoholic mouthwash.

The best time for women to schedule a dental cleaning is the week after your period. High estrogen levels before and during your period can cause gum inflammation, which can throw off the results when your dentist measures pocket depth — a measurement of gum health. Your cleaning could also be more painful around this time.

Wait to schedule your checkup for a more comfortable experience and better results.

Pregnancy

By now, you’ve figured out that you are more at risk than men for gum disease. And we’re sorry to say it doesn’t get any better when you’re pregnant. Although women were once discouraged from seeing the dentist while pregnant, it is now suggested that women schedule a checkup between four to six months. This is because the first three months of pregnancy are thought to be of greatest importance in your child’s development. During the last trimester, stresses associated with dental visits can increase the incidence of prenatal complications. Pregnant women who already have gum problems need to be extra diligent about their oral hygiene as it can worsen and turn to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

If you get a sweet tooth while pregnant, we encourage you to reach for cheese, fresh fruits or vegetables instead of soda or ice cream.

Menopause

In menopause, estrogen levels decline rapidly, which can lead to bone loss and periodontitis. Postmenopausal women are at risk for osteoporosis,  a disease that causes brittle bones and has a major impact on the jawbone supporting the teeth. Many women begin hormone therapy and taking supplements to combat estrogen, calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies as a result of menopause, but you can still lose teeth even if you are doing everything right. If you’ve lost teeth as a result of osteoporosis or menopause, dental implants have been shown to improve quality of life more than dentures.

If you are experiencing any oral health concerns during menopause, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

Women’s Oral Health Tips

So despite taking better care of your teeth and gums than men do, your hormones are working against you and steering you toward gum disease and bone loss. But you can still do something about it! If you believe you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your gum health and how you can improve your oral hygiene. Otherwise, be sure to follow these general tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush twice each day
  • Floss at least once per day
  • Rinse with a nonalcoholic mouthwash every day
  • Chew gum after meals
  • Change your toothbrush 3 or 4 times per year
  • Avoid artificially sweetened foods and drinks
  • If you play sports, wear a mouth guard
  • Do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco
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