June 19th, 2019
The average age of individuals who get braces is between nine and 14, although it is appropriate for younger children to visit Family Orthodontics for a consultation with Dr. Matthew Fortna. While parents may be concerned about the efficacy of early orthodontics, research suggests that early intervention can prevent greater dental health problems later in life.
What types of conditions require early intervention?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 3.7 million children under the age of 17 receive orthodontic treatment each year. Early intervention may be appropriate for younger children with crooked teeth, jaw misalignment, and other common issues. Early orthodontic treatment may be of use for several types of problems:
- Class I malocclusion. This condition is very common. It features crooked teeth or those that protrude at abnormal angles. In general, early treatment for Class I malocclusion occurs in two phases, each two years long.
- Class III malocclusion. Known as an underbite, in which the lower jaw is too big or the upper jaw too small, Class III malocclusion requires early intervention. Because treatment involves changing growth patterns, starting as early as age seven is a smart choice for this dental problem.
- Crossbite. Crossbite occurs when the upper and lower jaws are not properly aligned. An orthodontic device called a palatal expander widens the upper jaw, allowing teeth to align properly. Research suggests that early treatment may be beneficial in crossbite cases, especially when the jaw must shift laterally to correct the problem.
- Tooth extraction. That mouthful of crooked baby teeth can cause problems when your child’s permanent teeth erupt. For kids with especially full mouths, extracting baby teeth and even permanent premolars can help adult teeth grow in straight.
Considerations when thinking about early intervention
Early intervention isn’t helpful for all conditions. For example, research suggests that there is little benefit to early orthodontics for Class II malocclusion (commonly known as an overbite). Instead, your child should wait until adolescence to begin treatment. Scheduling a visit to our Fredonia office when your child is around age seven is a smart way to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses unique orthodontic needs.
June 12th, 2019
You’ve selected the Invisalign system because of the many benefits Invisalign offers: comfort, convenience, appearance, and even potentially shorter treatment time! And to add to the good news, caring for your Invisalign aligners is easy and uncomplicated. Follow these simple tips to keep your aligners in the best possible shape as you move through the stages of your treatment.
- Always brush and floss your teeth before using your aligners so that bacteria and food particles will not have a chance to collect around your teeth while you wear them.
- When you brush your teeth, be sure to brush your aligners with a separate soft toothbrush and lukewarm water as well.
- Rinse your aligners whenever you remove them during the day.
- Soak your aligners as recommended. Use the Invisalign Cleaning System or ask our Fredonia team for other suggestions to keep your aligners free from odor and bacteria.
One of the reasons you chose Invisalign is for an almost invisible appearance. Why take a chance on discoloration or scratches that will make the appliance more noticeable? Here are some common mistakes that can affect the color of your aligners:
- If your aligner has white spots, that might mean plaque build-up. Always rinse your aligner after you remove it and clean it thoroughly night and morning.
- Brushing with anything other than a soft brush and brushing too hard can cause scratches in the material which might be noticeable. A gentle touch will work to clean and protect your aligners.
- Eating with Invisalign aligners can cause staining. More important, it can cause the retention of food particles in the appliance, which can lead to dental problems. Finally, aligners are not meant for chewing—they might be damaged or lose their ideal shape even with soft foods. If you are going to be eating or drinking, take your aligners out, give them a rinse, and brush before you replace them. Or stick with water! Water will have no ill effects on teeth or aligners.
- Only soak aligners in an appropriate solution. Harsh chemicals, colored mouthwashes, and even some toothpastes can dim or discolor the clear plastic.
Talk to Dr. Matthew Fortna about the best products to use and the best methods for taking care of your aligners. After all, making the process of improving your smile as easy and effective as possible is yet another benefit of choosing Invisalign!
June 5th, 2019
As we start our summer, our team at Family Orthodontics wants to remind our patients who have completed treatment that it is very important to wear your retainer as prescribed even while away for vacations and summer camps.
If you are away from home and only wearing your retainer at night, here is a helpful tip: after removing and brushing your retainer in the morning, place it back in the case and then put it with your PJ’s or on your pillow. That way you have a reminder to put your retainer back in at night.
Remember, retainers should be worn every night, not just some nights.
We wish you safe travels and adventures this summer!
May 29th, 2019
A clean mouth is a happy mouth. And when Dr. Matthew Fortna and our staff see you have a clean mouth, we are happy too. Of course, all of this should make you happy because you’re the one preventing sneaky little food bits from getting trapped under the wires of your braces.
Still, you need to be thorough with your brushing. When you have braces, you’re playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with everything you eat. Here are five tips to keep your mouth (and us) happy.
- How is brushing with braces like geometry? It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down. Brush the bottom of your teeth with the brush angled up. Pointy brushes, aka interproximal brushes, are good for reaching the tiny spots around braces.
- Brush after every meal. If those sneaky little food bits hide in your mouth for very long, they’ll turn into plaque. And plaque is a sign of a very unhappy mouth.
- Brush one tooth at a time for at least ten seconds, and pay close attention to the spots where your braces touch your teeth.
- Fluoride is your new BFF. Make sure your toothpaste and mouthwash contain this cavity-fighting ingredient.
- Braces are no excuse not to floss. In fact, saying you can’t floss because you have braces is like saying the dog ate your homework. Dr. Matthew Fortna and our staff, like your geometry teacher, aren’t going to buy it. Be sure to floss after every meal.
May 22nd, 2019
Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.
During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.
Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer
- Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
- Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
- Visit Dr. Matthew Fortna Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.
Our team at Family Orthodontics wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.
May 15th, 2019
Your first few days with braces will feel rather odd, awkward, and even painful. The day you get your braces you will probably just feel weird, like you have something in your mouth – because you do. You are most likely to feel pain and soreness during the second and third days. After that, you should be fine. If you experience any pain with your braces, there are a few things you can do to get some relief.
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will soothe it and promote healing. Rinse several times a day or when your mouth, particularly mouth sores, are hurting. You can also take some Tylenol every four hours. Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team advise against products that contain ibuprofen because it slows down the movement of your teeth.
You can also eat cold foods like ice cream or yogurt. The cold of the food will help dull the pain. Ice packs applied to your mouth help as well. You can also swish ice water around your mouth, but DO NOT eat ice!
Products for canker sores can be applied to the mouth sores you develop from your braces. There are also various rinses you can use that act as a shield or barrier in your mouth, and protect your mouth sores from further irritation.
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team may have given you some dental wax to put on the abrasive areas of your braces to protect your mouth. Putting dental wax on the brackets creates a barrier that keeps your mouth from getting scraped and sore.
Bite wafers are another great pain relief too. When you bite down on the wafer, it increases circulation in your gums, which can ease the pain a bit. Just a little pressure will work; you don’t want to bite too hard. And they usually come in cool colors, too!
The pain won’t last forever. One day you will wake up and you won’t have any pain. In fact, you probably won’t even notice the braces in your mouth at all!
May 8th, 2019
One problem with trying to answer the question as to who benefits from Invisalign is that the simple answer is “almost everyone.” The see-through, almost invisible aligners for straightening teeth are specifically molded to fit each individual’s mouth. Unlike conventional braces, they can be removed when eating and when cleaning the teeth. Because they use less force in straightening teeth than metal braces, the risk of harm to teeth is lessened.
Benefits to adults
Traditional braces are associated with children and teenagers. Many adults want to have their teeth straightened but cannot decide which is worse: having crooked teeth or wearing metal braces. They also worry about having to change their diet by not being able to eat the foods they normally enjoy.
If you are an adult considering braces, our team at Family Orthodontics will tell you Invisalign aligners will give you the best of all worlds. Your teeth will be straightened with virtually invisible braces. You can remove your aligners when you eat so you can enjoy any food you normally would consume. You do not have to worry about embarrassing yourself by getting food stuck in your braces. You simply clean your teeth normally after eating and replace your aligners. If there is a special occasion during which you do not want to have any braces at all, you can remove the aligners for a few hours without causing any damage.
Benefits to teenagers
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team know that teenagers are often involved in contact sports or gymnastics. Others find that having metal in their mouth interferes with their ability to play a musical instrument. Traditional metal braces contain wires and brackets that can cause damage to the mouth and gums; this is not a risk with Invisalign aligners.
For sports that require players to wear mouthguards, the expense of specially constructed mouthguards to fit over braces is avoided. The aligners can be removed during sports activity, and a normal mouthguard is worn. Teenagers who play musical instruments simply remove the aligners when practicing or playing in the band or orchestra.
Teenagers often feel they are too busy to spend time and trouble flossing teeth between the wires and brackets of traditional braces. Since the Invisalign aligners are removable, brushing and flossing are simpler and more likely to be performed.
For more information about Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Matthew Fortna, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
May 1st, 2019
The month of May has the unique distinction of being National Teen Self-Esteem Month. What does that mean?
National Teen Self-Esteem Month was created to raise public awareness about how low self-esteem can negatively affect teens. Especially during May, parents and guardians of teens are asked to be positive role models. If teens can receive positive re-enforcement and their negative images of themselves are improved, then their self-esteem has a better chance of developing in a positive direction.
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team at Family Orthodontics know there are a lot of young adults living in America are struggling with depressed self-images. These can affect all aspects of their everyday lives. Some evidence shows learning abilities and increased risk of eating disorders can originate in a teen’s low self-esteem. It can also lead to abuse of drugs and thoughts of suicide. Dating violence among high school teens is now more common than previously thought.
What can be done to help?
So what can adults do specifically to help their teens? The National Teen Self-Esteem Facebook page offers a variety of suggestions and positive messages for teens and parents alike. Of all the pages your teen “likes” on social media, perhaps he or she should include this page. Some of the tips offered include:
- When you stumble, get right back up.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
- Do things that make you feel good about yourself.
- Open yourself up to compliments.
Another great way to build self-esteem is to have a beautiful, health smile, and that’s where our team at Family Orthodontics come in! Whether your teen is due for a simple cleaning, could benefit from cosmetic treatments, or needs orthodontic care, we can help bestow a confident smile he or she will be proud to show off.
Overall, a more positive approach to life will help us all. It is a very important trait to instill in our teens. As parents, a big part of our responsibility is to show our children there is always another day and bumps in the road are just that. We need to help guide their self-esteem and reinforce their positive traits. We can help them recognize the value of who they are.
We should make our children’s self esteem a priority — not just in May, but throughout the year. Let National Teen Self-Esteem Month serve as the impetus for new levels of self-esteem.
For more information on this topic, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Fortna, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
April 24th, 2019
By no stretch is it rare for your gums to hurt during and after flossing. Even some bleeding is to be expected. This is especially true if you have not flossed in a long time. However, if your gums do indeed hurt when you floss, and unbearably so, there are some things you can do.
Perhaps the most obvious way to combat gum soreness and bleeding is to be gentle. One of the most common occurrences of these gum problems is over-aggressive flossing. In other words, if you are too rough on your gums while flossing, either because you are out of practice or because you are in a hurry, soreness and hurting is to be expected. Instead, try taking your time and be gentle. Also, if you are just starting out, be patient and consistent, your gums will become more conditioned over time.
Use an Alternative Method
If being consistent and gentle does not work, there are other alternative methods of flossing that you can try. You can also try a water floss machine, or what is sometimes called a water pick. The device essentially shoots water into the crevasses between your teeth, and in other areas of your mouth, in order to dislodge food and plaque. These oral instruments also come with different attachments that allow you to reach many of the hard to see and reach areas of your mouth. And lastly, you can always buy floss that is not as abrasive to your gums. There is floss that comes with soft and gentle coatings that will do less harm to your gums while they are adjusting to the good oral hygiene habit you are creating.
Flossing is one of the easiest parts of oral hygiene to overlook. When you first start out, it is common that you may want to stop because of the pain it can initially cause. However, if you try one, or all, of the above mentioned methods, you will give yourself the best chance of being success with your flossing, and it won't hurt as much.
For more flossing tips, schedule an appointment at our Fredonia office and askDr. Matthew Fortna or a member of our team!
April 17th, 2019
The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.
Earth Day Over the Years
Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.
The Earth Day Movement
The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.
The Five R's and Their Importance
- Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
- Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
- Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
- Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
- Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.
Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.
Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at Family Orthodontics wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.
Happy Earth Day from the team at Family Orthodontics.
April 10th, 2019
There are so many adults and teens in our Fredonia office who would love to have their teeth straightened but that are unwilling to go through the long and unsightly process of traditional metal braces. Well, that's where Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® come to the rescue; the most advanced clear aligner systems in the world!
There are several reasons why, if you're considering getting braces, you should consider Invisalign too. Here are some of them:
- You can eat whatever food you'd like, without worrying about it getting caught in wires or breaking brackets.
- Most people won't even know you're wearing them!
- If you need to, you can remove your aligners at any time.
- The removable aligners let you brush and floss as you normally would, making for better overall oral health.
- Since they are made of a smooth BPA-free plastic, Invisalign aligners are simply more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. No metal means no more roughed up gums or irritated tongue!
- You'll need to visit our Fredonia office less often — only once every six weeks or so.
- With Invisalign Teen, you’ll receive up to six replacements for lost or broken aligners.
Before you get started with treatment, you’ll have a consultation with Dr. Matthew Fortna to see if Invisalign or Invisalign Teen is right for you. If your case is a good fit, then you’ll have X-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth taken. That information will be used to make the 3D models of your teeth that let Dr. Matthew Fortna see how they will move throughout the entire treatment and approximately how long it will take.
After that, you’ll receive your aligners based on the treatment plan we recommend. You’ll get a new set of aligners every two weeks. Then all you need to do is wear your aligners 22 hours a day and you’ll be on your way to a straighter healthier smile. Don’t hesitate to a member of our Fredonia team for more information about Invisalign!
April 3rd, 2019
It's springtime and it's again time to remind our patients at Family Orthodontics to protect their faces and pearly whites while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.
If you are planning on participating in spring sports, it’s imperative to have a proper-fitting mouthguard. Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions.
Having a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not, and because many of our patients who play high school sports have jaws that are still growing, last year’s mouthguard may no longer fit as it should. Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team at Family Orthodontics can fit you for a new guard.
To learn more about mouthguards or for general questions about your treatment at our Fredonia office, please give us a call!
March 27th, 2019
A popular option for straightening teeth at Family Orthodontics, Invisalign can be a great method for improving your smile, and can help patients with crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites, and more.
Invisalign, which is different from traditional braces, works by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners in order to eventually move your teeth into their ideal positions. Patients typically swap aligners approximately every couple of weeks.
At Family Orthodontics, we have lots of experience using this technology to give our patients the beautiful and healthy smile they’ve always wanted. During your initial visit at our Fredonia office, the first thing we do is take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.
Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want, and brushing and flossing are easier. Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And, no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. With Invisalign, you can view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!
Depending on the severity of the problem, Invisalign treatment may take anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth. Both teens and adults are now great candidates for Invisalign, so we invite you to contact our Fredonia office to set up an initial consultation and learn more on how Invisalign can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!
March 20th, 2019
Braces aren’t just for kids. Many grownups are taking advantage of orthodontic treatment and having their teeth straightened at a later age.
Sometimes, patients include adults who already had braces in the past, but their teeth shifted over time once they stopped wearing their retainers. In other cases, adults who have never had braces are tired of having crooked teeth and ready to invest in a beautiful smile.
Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking to straighten your teeth with braces, Dr. Matthew Fortna would love to help you with this process. Having a dazzling smile can increase your confidence in all areas of your life!
Depending on what you’re willing to spend and how quickly you would like to complete the process, you have various options for getting braces. We all know what traditional metal braces look like. This is a less-expensive route for individuals who have severely crooked or displaced teeth. However, many adults avoid option because the braces are noticeable or distracting in a professional atmosphere.
For people concerned about aesthetics, clear ceramic braces may be a preferable option. This type can still fix extremely crooked teeth or jaw alignment issues. It may be slightly more expensive than traditional metal braces. Patients who choose this treatment route need to be careful not to stain the clear adhesives by drinking too much coffee, red wine, soda, or other beverages that can discolor teeth.
Another great option for adults who don’t want to have visible braces is a clear aligner treatment known as Invisalign®. This popular option differs from traditional braces by featuring a series of clear aligners that are each custom-made for your teeth.
The entire process can take anywhere from three to 18 months to straighten your teeth completely. This may not be the best choice for patients who have an overcrowded mouth or extreme bite issues. Invisalign is often the most expensive option, but it’s great if you’re concerned about your appearance while your teeth are being straightened.
If you’ve been thinking about straightening your teeth with the help of braces, don’t hesitate to contact our Fredonia office to set up a consultation. From there, Dr. Matthew Fortna can figure out the best course of treatment, depending on your budget and overall needs.
Adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and finally give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
March 13th, 2019
On March 17, everyone has a little Irish in them. St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous celebration of Irish heritage. The holiday originated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The saint arrived in Ireland in 432 and earned the reputation of a champion of Irish Christianity. March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death, has been commemorated by the Irish for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day is still observed as a religious feast day by several Christian denominations, but it is better known in the public imagination as a rich celebration of Irish culture.
St. Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Each year, the Irish celebrate with a several-day festival that includes theater performances, music, fireworks, and festive parades. The celebration is also a public holiday in Northern Ireland, Montserrat, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In other parts of the world with heavy Irish populations, it is an unofficial celebration of Irish heritage. Parts of Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, and Australia commemorate the holiday each year. Typical celebrations in these countries include drinking green beer, wearing green, eating traditional Irish foods, parades, and shamrock decorations.
Many people, Irish and non-Irish alike, take part in the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue. His use of shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish made the green clover emblematic of the holiday, leading to the traditional green attire worn by thousands on St. Patrick’s Day. Other little-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day include the following:
- Each year, the United States and Ireland face off in a rugby competition called the “St. Patrick’s Day Test.”
- Montreal celebrates the holiday with an annual parade, which has been held each year since 1824. The Montreal city flag even features a shamrock in its corner, as a nod to its Irish heritage.
- The Guinness World Records named St. Patrick’s Day the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”
- Along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.
No matter your cultural heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to let loose and celebrate your inner Irish-ness! Don your greenest attire and exclaim “Erin go Bragh!” (Ireland forever!) to everyone you meet. From Dr. Matthew Fortna - have a great St. Paddy’s day!
March 6th, 2019
In recent years, many links have been established between orthodontic treatments and whole body health. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, researchers have observed that people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease or experience difficulty controlling blood sugar than people without gum disease. While researchers continue to find associations between oral health and the overall health of the body, as of yet it hasn’t been determined whether gum disease is the sole cause of these health conditions. What can be determined, however, is that good oral health isn't just about maintaining a healthy smile; it has an impact on the health of your entire body.
The associations between gum disease and whole body health
The links between the health of your mouth and the health of your body are too many to ignore. Is it a coincidence that gum disease and other health problems occur together? Researchers don’t think so, despite the lack of definitive proof.
Here are four possible connections between the health of your mouth and the health of your body.
- Excessive oral inflammation has been linked to a greater incidence of clogged arteries.
- The American Society of Microbiology has revealed that certain types of oral bacteria can infect the arterial cells and weaken the wall of the heart.
- Loose teeth are often believed to be a warning sign for osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become less dense.
- Some studies suggest women with gum disease are more likely than those without gum disease to deliver preterm, low-weight babies.
Orthodontics and gum disease
So what does undergoing orthodontic treatment at Family Orthodontics have to do with gum disease? Braces do so much more than give you a nice-looking smile. Quite simply, straight teeth are easier to keep clean than crooked teeth. Your toothbrush is able to remove more plaque-causing bacteria, and your floss is more effective at ridding tiny particles between your teeth.
Despite the lack of hard facts in these findings, the message is clear: If you improve your oral health, you will also have a greater chance of maintaining the health of your entire body. And that’s a chance Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team at Family Orthodontics believe is worth taking. For more information about this topic, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office or ask Dr. Matthew Fortna during your next visit!
February 27th, 2019
The purpose of braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment at Family Orthodontics is to correct malocclusion, also known as crooked or crowded teeth, or “bad bites.” Past orthodontic practice dictated that wisdom teeth be removed, especially in cases of crowding.
The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, and are officially known as the third molars. The teeth typically erupt, or break the surface of the skin, in young people between the ages of 13 and 20.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth are impacted. That means they cannot break through the gum tissue. This typically happens when the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent possible future infection.
Justification for removing wisdom teeth
Dr. Matthew Fortna will tell you that in some cases, wisdom teeth attempt to come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate these additional teeth, they inevitably become impacted. Swelling or infection of the gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may cause pain. The greatest danger is pericoronitis, a potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted wisdom tooth, or around a wisdom tooth that has erupted.
Orthodontists base their decision to remove wisdom teeth on each patient's individual circumstances. To learn more about the impact wisdom teeth have on orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a visit with Dr. Matthew Fortna, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
February 20th, 2019
As we all know, or should by now, the key to maintaining great oral health is keeping up with a daily plan of flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash. These three practices in combination will help you avoid tooth decay and keep bacterial infections at bay.
At Family Orthodontics, we’ve noticed that it’s usually not the toothbrush or floss that people have trouble picking, but the mouthwash.
Depending on the ingredients, different mouthwashes will have different effects on your oral health. Here are some ideas to take under consideration when you’re trying to decide which type of mouthwash will best fit your needs.
- If gum health is your concern, antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to reduce bacteria near the gum line.
- If you drink a lot of bottled water, you may want to consider a fluoride rinse to make sure your teeth develop the level of strength they need.
- Generally, any mouthwash will combat bad breath, but some are especially designed to do so.
- Opt for products that are ADA approved, to ensure you aren’t exposing your teeth to harmful chemicals.
- If you experience an uncomfortable, burning sensation when you use a wash, stop it and try another!
Still have questions about mouthwash? Feel free to ask Dr. Matthew Fortna during your next visit to our Fredonia office! We’re always happy to answer your questions. Happy rinsing!
February 13th, 2019
Valentine’s Day is best known as a celebration of love in all its forms. Pink hearts, red roses, and cute greeting cards adorn every surface you see. What many people don’t realize is that the modern Valentine’s Day celebration arose from a religious holiday.
St. Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious feast day in honor of early Christian martyrs. Three martyrs named Valentine were honored: a priest in Rome, the persecuted bishop of Interamna (a town in central Italy), and a saint martyred in Africa. This saint’s day was celebrated throughout Christendom, although it was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969.
The origin of Valentine’s Day as a holiday for lovers began with Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules.” Chaucer wrote, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate,” and the modern romantic holiday was born. William Shakespeare and other writers mentioned Valentine’s Day as a day of love.
Valentine’s Day as we know it came about in the early 19th century. In Victorian England, printers began manufacturing small numbers of cards with romantic verses, lace, ribbons, and other frills. Anonymous Valentine’s Day card were a popular way for young lovers to exchange romantic sentiments in an otherwise prudish time. As the 19th century progressed, printers began mass manufacturing Valentine’s Day cards. People in the United States give an estimated 190 million valentines every year, and up to one billion if you count children exchanging cards at school! With the rise of the Internet, Valentine’s Day e-cards have become a popular mode of communication, with millions of e-cards sent each year.
The other items associated with Valentine’s Day include chocolate and flowers. The tradition of giving chocolates has been around for decades, and Richard Cadbury created the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates nearly 150 years ago. Today, purchases of chocolate total over $1 billion in the United States alone, with 35 million heart-shaped boxes sold each year. Loved ones also exchange flowers, with red roses being associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. On Valentine’s Day itself, florists sell nearly 200 million stems of roses.
Although many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a commercialized “Hallmark holiday,” it is beloved to couples and romantics across the United States and other countries. The team at Family Orthodontics wants to remind all patients that no matter what your celebratory plans, February 14th can be a wonderful day to celebrate the loved ones in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 6th, 2019
If you participate in sports or other physical activities, it’s wise to consider getting a mouthguard. Also known as mouth protectors, mouthguards are a device worn over the teeth to lessen the impact of a blow to the face.
This reduces the chance that you might lose teeth or sustain other serious oral injuries. We recommend that all patients involved in a contact sport such as wrestling, football, or hockey wear a mouthguard because of the high risk of such injuries.
However, anyone involved in a physically demanding sport or activity should wear a mouthguard as well.
Can you imagine what it would be like to lose a few of your front teeth? The way you talk, eat, and smile would all change. Potential injuries when you don’t wear a mouthguard include chipped and broken teeth, fractured jaws, root damage, damage to crowns and bridgework, concussions, and/or injury to the lips, cheeks, or gums.
Types of Mouthguards
There are three different types of mouthguards — typically made of a soft plastic material or laminate. You can decide which works best for you in terms of budget, fit, and comfort.
- Stock mouthguards are prefabricated to a standard size. They offer adequate protection, but you need to make sure you find one that fits properly and comfortably. Stock mouthguards are readily available at department stores, sporting goods stores, and online.
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards are placed in boiling water to soften them, then into the mouth so they can conform to the shape of the teeth. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are more expensive, but offer a more customized fit than stock ones. You can find these in department stores, pharmacies, sporting goods stores, and online.
- Custom-made mouthguards are created just for you by Dr. Matthew Fortna. These offer the best fit and comfort of all the options, but they are also the most expensive. Ask a member of our Fredonia team for more information.
The American Dental Association says a good mouthguard should be easy to clean, fit properly, be comfortable, and resist tearing or damage. It shouldn’t restrict speech or breathing.
Still not sure if you need a mouthguard or which kind is right for you? Ask Dr. Matthew Fortna or one of our staff members for more information.
January 30th, 2019
You went through a lot of effort and work to achieve your perfect smile. You wore your Invisalign aligner trays, brushed and flossed diligently, and now your treatment is done! What happens now?
In order to keep your teeth healthy and beautiful, you should keep several practices in play.
Although everyone’s needs are different, many patients require a retainer after Invisalign treatment. If a retainer is recommended by Dr. Matthew Fortna, use it as directed. Not wearing retainers could result in shifting teeth and potentially ruin your results.
It’s also recommended that you avoid hard, crunchy foods for the first few weeks as your teeth adjust. For younger patients, retainers are normally worn until the wisdom teeth come in or are extracted.
Brushing and Flossing
It should come as no surprise that flossing should still be done every day to remove plaque, which can develop into tartar or calculus. The build-up can lead to gingivitis and gum disease.
Your gums may be more sensitive for a week or two after your orthodontic work is completed. A warm saltwater rinse may relieve discomfort.
Because your teeth have been protected by your Invisalign aligners and are now fully exposed, they may be more sensitive the first few weeks after treatment. If that’s the case, we can recommend a sensitive toothpaste to relieve your discomfort. If your teeth are stained, a professional whitening treatment may be considered.
Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental exams ensure your teeth stay healthy for life. Professional cleanings, X-rays, and cavity treatment can be addressed by staying on top of your routine checkups.
If you have any questions about how to care for your teeth after your Invisalign program, please ask our Fredonia team. We want you to keep your healthy smile and enjoy the results of your Invisalign treatment.
January 23rd, 2019
Our office strives to bring you the latest and greatest in orthodontic techniques and technologies. Being on the cutting edge of the industry is important—it ensures you, as our patient, are getting the best orthodontic treatment you possibly can while keeping costs down!
The goal of a high-tech office is three fold: to have effective treatment, to have efficient treatment, and to make the whole process easy, painless, and cost-effective for you.
Here are some of the technologies being implemented by Dr. Matthew Fortna to do just that:
3D oral scanners: If you've ever experienced getting impressions the traditional way, it isn't very fun! Having a gag reflex is common and it takes several minutes on both the top and bottom of the mouth to get a successful impression.
With 3D oral scanners, we create a perfect digital scan of your teeth without radiation. We then use the results of the scan to create accurate braces, retainers, and other appliances for your unique teeth and mouth.
Digital Imaging: New digital imaging provides us with accurate, panoramic, and cephalometric views of your teeth and their supporting structures. This lets us plan and implement treatment with the utmost precision.
Not only does this kind of imaging expose patients to far less radiation than traditional X-rays but it also gives us immediate access to the images, whereas X-rays had to be developed. This expedites treatment time and means fewer trips to our Fredonia office for you.
New, high-tech braces options: There are so many more choices when it comes to braces these days! Advances in the industry like Invisalign®, self-ligating braces, and lingual braces, allow patients to not only get highly accurate and precise treatment, but do so discreetly without anyone else even knowing.
Digital scanning and imaging takes the guesswork out of braces. Instead of the orthodontist estimating tooth movement and treatment progression, these days it's all computer modeled with exacting detail. The result? Your braces do exactly what they're intended to do in less time with a picture-perfect outcome.
These are just some of the advances in the orthodontic industry. Needless to say, they all make the entire process that much easier and effective for you. If you have any questions or are interested in treatment, please don't hesitate to contact our Fredonia office!
January 16th, 2019
It’s vital to understand the difference between an orthodontic emergency and minor orthodontic issues. Minor issues can be handled the next day, or at your next scheduled appointment. When a real orthodontic emergency occurs, however, you will need to see a doctor immediately.
Emergencies can include injuries to your teeth, jaw, mouth, or face. Whether you have braces or oral appliances in your mouth at the time or not, it’s crucial to fix the problem before it gets worse. If you have an injury that affects an orthodontic appliance, that may need to be replaced or adjusted, depending on the extent of the injury.
You can watch for and address some common minor issues on your own, or wait to have them fixed at your next appointment with Dr. Matthew Fortna:
- Poking wire
- Loose bracket
- Loose elastic band
- Loose wire
- Loose appliance
- Headgear does not fit
- Lost or broken elastic band
- General soreness
These minor issues may arise if you eat hard or sticky foods that damage your braces or other orthodontic appliances. Make sure to be extra careful, and avoid brushing your teeth too aggressively to avoid causing damage.
These problems should not be treated as emergencies unless they begin to cause prolonged pain and discomfort. If you notice this happening, contact our Fredonia office and we can provide a solution.
Some at-home remedies you can try can include covering loose brackets or wires with wax. Wax can prevent canker sores from forming by covering sharp metal pieces that poke into your gums. If you have wires that have poked out into your gums, you can use tweezers to push the wires gently away from the direction of the sore area. Always make sure you use alcohol to sterilize anything you intend to put into your mouth.
When you get braces initially, you may notice some soreness of the jaw or small abrasions from your mouth getting accustomed to foreign materials. You should not worry too much about this temporary pain.
A warm salt-water solution can be used to alleviate any swelling or discomfort you’re experiencing. Many drug stores have ointment for canker sores that will numb the area if they continue to bother you. If you notice that your pain or swelling doesn’t get better, schedule an appointment with a medical professional as soon as you can.
When in doubt, contact our Fredonia office if you are unsure or still have questions about an orthodontic problem you’re facing. If the situation becomes an emergency, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our team, so we can help provide you with a solution.
Orthodontic emergencies should be taken care of promptly whenever they arise.
January 9th, 2019
Adult patients who seek orthodontic treatment usually fall into one of two camps: those who did not undergo orthodontic treatment as a child or those who had braces at one point but stopped wearing retainers for one reason or another.
At Family Orthodontics, we are happy to offer a variety of treatment options to straighten our patients’ teeth. Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team believe you’re never too old to straighten your teeth. And we have many adult patients who are currently undergoing treatment. In fact, did you know that roughly 30 percent of all orthodontic patients these days are adults?
Invisalign® is a great treatment option for adults. The Invisalign aligners are easy to wear and are not visible to most people. Plus, Invisalign's clear aligners are removable, so there are no restrictions on what you can eat during treatment. When considering Invisalign, we tell adults to determine if they can be diligent about wearing the aligners at all times and make them part of their lifestyle for the duration of treatment.
If you have been thinking about obtaining a beautiful smile, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office for an initial consultation. Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team welcome children, teens, and adults alike. Call us today for an appointment!
January 2nd, 2019
If you’re thinking about investing in braces, there are a few things you should take into consideration. It’s normal for adult teeth to come in crooked, which is why braces are a common solution for teens and adults who desire a beautiful smile.
Your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment if crooked teeth begin to affect your or your child’s oral health. But many factors go into whether braces would be right for you or your child, or not.
Modern orthodontic treatments offer numerous options for the typical issues people face, such as crooked teeth or jaw alignment problems. Malocclusion, otherwise known as having a bad bite, is common in patients with crooked teeth.
Braces can be worn for a short period of time to correct uneven jaw alignment, which may be the cause of an underbite or overbite in patients. A retainer is worn afterward to keep the newly straightened teeth in place.
Now that one in five braces wearers is an adult, grownups have a variety of braces options. Braces are typically left on for at least one year to straighten teeth effectively. Options can include regular metal braces, clear braces, or Invisalign® aligners.
If you’re an adult and would prefer a discreet treatment, clear braces or Invisalign retainers are your best options. Dr. Matthew Fortna will be able to provide you with a recommended best route of treatment depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and what your budget is. Before getting braces, it’s worth learning about all the methods of treatment available at Family Orthodontics.
Be sure to contact your insurance company before your appointment to see if orthodontic treatments are covered; otherwise, you may want to plan to pay for out-of-pocket costs. If you have questions regarding the types of treatment we provide for our patients, call our Fredonia office for more information.
December 26th, 2018
People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home in the Fredonia area or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.
Tips for a Happy New Year's Eve Celebration from Family Orthodontics
- Be Safe. There's no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year's Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.
- Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year's Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don't have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.
- Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.
New Year's Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that's coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that's safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Matthew Fortna, have a great new year!.
December 19th, 2018
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team know it is natural for you to feel some concern when you need to wear any type of dental device to correct a problem with your teeth. Both braces and Invisalign can produce good results in giving you the smile you’ve always wanted. Both methods can straighten your teeth and alleviate such issues as crowding, spacing, cross bite, overbite, and underbite. Both methods of treatment have a similar cost.
You can take a cross-country road trip in a ten-year-old economy car or you can make the trip in a brand-new luxury sedan. Both will get you to your destination, but you will be far more comfortable traveling in the luxury sedan. Similarly, your journey to a great smile is much more comfortable and convenient with Invisalign as opposed to braces.
Some of the discomfort you may experience with braces is greatly reduced with Invisalign. Because Invisalign is custom-fit to your mouth and made of plastic, you will feel less pain, irritation, and soreness. Unlike braces, there are no food restrictions; you can eat anything that is on your diet.
Brushing and flossing
Of course you will want to brush and floss your teeth to prevent plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, and dental decay. If you wear braces, these simple tasks can become quite a challenge. Invisalign aligners are very easy to remove and replace, so you can brush or floss like normal without having to work your way around any metallic framework covering your teeth.
You do not have to be embarrassed to show your teeth when you are using the Invisalign system. Since the aligners are practically invisible, no one will even notice you are wearing them! Whether you are a teenager or an older adult, you can live your life normally.
If you want to learn more about Invisalign, or are wondering what your treatment options are at Family Orthodontics, feel free to give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
December 12th, 2018
Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces from Family Orthodontics can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.
Difficulties with Speech
Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.
Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.
Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.
Dr. Matthew Fortna and staff will be happy to answer any of your questions about your orthodontic treatment. Visit us in Fredonia today!
December 5th, 2018
Kids can be picky eaters. How many times have you seen your child try to hide the peas under a mound of mashed potatoes?
At Family Orthodontics, Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team understand how hard it can be to get your child to eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. The task of providing fun, nutritious meals becomes even more challenging if he or she wears braces. It's an age-old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. These five braces-friendly recipes are not only nutritious, but they will have little Jimmy flashing his “tin grin” when he sits down at the kitchen table in the morning.
- Scrambled eggs are soft and easy to eat if you have braces. If you drown them in ketchup (which many kids love to do), eggs become even mushier. Minimal chewing is required, and that’s the key to a braces-friendly recipe.
- A healthy breakfast provides energy and jump-starts metabolism. A smoothie is not only a good source of fruit, but it’s also gentle on braces. More importantly, smoothies are fun to create. You can toss anything in the blender (bananas, mangoes, strawberries, spinach) and create a drink that’s loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
- If you wear braces, eating crunchy cereals or granola for breakfast is out of the question: Bite down the wrong way and you might snap the wires or dislodge the brackets. However, you can get your grains and oats by substituting oatmeal for cereal. This mushy breakfast treat has a host of health benefits.
- Pancakes are not the healthiest breakfast choice. Still, this Sunday morning favorite is braces-friendly. The idea is to make it healthier by hiding blueberries in the pancake batter just like your child hides peas in the mashed potatoes.
- Toast with jam is ok, but skip slathering peanut butter on the bread. If you have braces, the general rule of thumb is to steer clear of foods that are hard or chewy. These types of foods can break wires. Of course, most kids will agree that toast isn’t the most exciting breakfast recipe. Make it a Pop-Tart instead!
For more braces-friendly recipes, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
November 28th, 2018
You have done a lot of work to get the perfect smile. You wore your Invisalign aligner trays and cared for your teeth, and now your treatment is done. You still need to take care of your teeth to keep your beautiful smile. Keeps these things in mind when you think about your oral care routine.
Many patients do require a retainer after Invisalign treatment. This will be based on your unique situation. If a retainer is recommended by Dr. Matthew Fortna, use it as directed. Retainers prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original position. You should also avoid hard, crunchy foods for the first couple of weeks as your teeth adjust. For younger patients, retainers are normally used until the wisdom teeth come in or are extracted.
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing must be part of your daily oral care. Flossing helps remove the plaque, which becomes tartar or calculus. This build up can lead to gingivitis and gum disease. Your gums may be more sensitive for a week or two after your orthodontic work is completed. A warm salt water rinse may relieve discomfort.
Your teeth may be slightly sensitive for a short time. They have been protected by your Invisalign aligner trays and now are fully exposed. You might want to try a sensitive toothpaste to get through the transition. Just ask; we will be glad to recommend the best type for your needs. If your teeth are stained, a professional whitening treatment can be considered.
Regular Dental Checkups
You still need to have regular dental exams. Professional cleanings and X-rays make sure that both your teeth and gums stay healthy so you can keep your teeth for life. If cavities or other problems are found, they can be taken care of quickly.
If you have any questions about how to care for your teeth after your Invisalign program, please ask our Fredonia team. We want you to keep your healthy smile and enjoy the results of your Invisalign treatment.
November 21st, 2018
At Family Orthodontics we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Dr. Matthew Fortna wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.
There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.
According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.
Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.
The Side Dishes
The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.
While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.
Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.
However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.
November 14th, 2018
It’s possible to develop tooth decay even when you take great care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep your teeth healthy, depending on your diet. Cavities, discoloration, and decay are still possible when certain foods feature in your daily intake. Keep an eye out for foods that will damage your enamel and cause the very issues you’ve been trying to avoid.
What causes enamel damage?
Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that is made of various minerals. Tooth decay results when the acids in your food react with the minerals in your enamel. Strongly pigmented foods may also cause unsightly discoloration on the surface of your teeth. Avoid wreaking havoc on your beautiful smile by identifying the foods that can harm your enamel.
Acidic food is your teeth’s worst nightmare! This is the greatest cause of enamel damage, even if you brush and floss regularly. To avoid damaging your teeth, make sure you can determine whether a food is acidic or not.
The pH levels are a way to determine acidity on a one-to-seven scale. This defines the relative acidity or alkalinity of a food or substance. Foods with high pH levels are not as likely to harm your enamel.
It’s wise to avoid or minimize foods that are high in acids. Highly acidic food can include fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. Moderately acid foods may surprise you; they include tomatoes, maple syrup, pickles, and honey.
Not surprisingly, eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese contain the least amount of acid. Red wine and coffee can also discolor your enamel if they’re drunk in excessive amounts.
What can I do to prevent enamel damage?
There are plenty of ways to avoid discoloration and decay of your enamel. The best thing to do is limit the amount of high-acid foods, including sugary juices and soda, in your diet.
Another way is to brush and floss regularly, an hour after each meal. If you can’t make time to brush, an easy solution is to swish your mouth with water or mouthwash to rinse away any leftover acidic particles.
Damaged tooth enamel may be common, but is avoidable when you know which foods to stay away from and the steps to take after you do eat highly acidic foods. Take our advice and you’ll be sure to slow down any future discoloration and decay that happens in your mouth.
For more advice on protecting your enamel, give our Fredonia a call to learn more!
November 7th, 2018
Crooked or crowded teeth aren’t always just a cosmetic issue; they also are more difficult to clean, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Likewise, if your teeth don’t align properly when you bite (known as malocclusion), this can cause chewing, swallowing, and speaking problems.
You can put these risks to rest and look amazing, however, with well-thought-out orthodontic treatment from Dr. Matthew Fortna. More and more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment and changing their lives in the process.
Childhood is of course the ideal time to get treatment, since the mouth and jaws are still growing, but many adults still can get beautiful and lasting results which can be achieved discreetly and effectively with modern orthodontic appliances and technologies.
Traditional braces used to be the only thing going, and many adults understandably don’t like the way they look. There are so many other options for braces these days that it’s possible for almost any patient to be treated effectively and efficiently — usually in one to two years.
Here are some of the technologies being implemented in our modern Fredonia orthodontic office:
- Clear aligners: Practically invisible clear plastic aligners are great for less severe cases.
- Lingual braces: These are placed on the back of your teeth instead of the front, and can handle anything that traditional braces can.
- Ceramic braces: Translucent ceramic brackets make for effective and more discreet treatment.
- Self-ligating braces: These require less manipulation by the orthodontist, which means fewer appointments and quicker results.
It should also be noted that the goal of orthodontic treatment (especially in adults) isn’t always limited to straightening teeth and/or correcting a bite. Teeth provide support for the lips and cheeks and help define your face.
The relationship between the jaws, teeth, face, soft tissues, and underlying skeleton of the face are important, and an orthodontist takes this into account when designing a smile.
In short, getting orthodontic treatment won’t just give you a good-looking and healthy smile; it can help define and enhance the entire appearance of your face. Knowing just how crucial your teeth are in determining how you look and live will help you age positively and confidently.
October 31st, 2018
Halloween is a favorite holiday among children due to the festive games, imaginative costumes, and candy. Modern celebrations stem from a combination of traditions from Pagan and Christian traditions throughout the centuries. The original holiday was called Samhain and derived from the ancient Druids of Ireland. In their belief system, November 1st marked the beginning of winter, and Pagans began their Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st.
Modern Celebrations of Halloween
Children and adults love dressing up for Halloween, and this tradition comes from the ancient belief in spirits. From sunset on October 31st until sunrise on November 1st, the souls of the dead entered the physical world. Some spirits were benevolent and wanted only to cross over to the afterlife while others harbored malicious intents of revenge and trickery. Pagans wore masks and disguised themselves so that the malevolent souls would mistake them as fellow spirits.
Families left food and ale outside of their doors to appease the spirits. With the rise of Christianity in Europe, the church encouraged its members to offer food and money to beggars. In exchange, the beggars would agree to pray for the family's deceased loved ones. Eventually these traditions led to the development of today's customs where children dressed up and received candy from their neighbors while circling the community.
With all of the excitement and free candy on Halloween, it is easy to get carried away on a sugar high. Parents warn their children not to eat too many pieces in one night to avoid tummy aches and cavities. Our team at Family Orthodontics especially wants to remind children with braces to be extra cautious about the treats they eat because some varieties can get stuck in between the brackets and damage the devices. Sticky candy, such as caramels, fruit chews, and gum should be avoided when wearing braces. Children can trade with their friends and siblings to get only safe candies. The following list offers some alternative treats that children with braces can safely enjoy.
- Solid chocolate, including milk, white, or dark
- Nougat-filled candy bars, such as Three Musketeers
- Candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms
- Powdery candy, such as Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix
- Mint-flavored candy
- Malted milk balls
- Peanut butter crackers or cookies
When in doubt, children should ask their parents or Dr. Matthew Fortna if a specific candy is safe. Halloween is a fun holiday for children, and having braces does not have to take away any of the excitement from tasty treats.
October 24th, 2018
Braces can straighten your teeth to give you a more attractive smile for life. The process can take 18 months to two years or more, and this amount of time can seem unending when you first get your braces. Counting down your brace time can help the time pass more quickly and build the excitement for when you finally get your braces removed.
Make a Wall Calendar
Crossing out each day on a calendar is a standard way of counting down time. You can make this more personal by designing your own calendar to help you count down. Use an online customization service to upload photos or designs for each month. Each month’s picture can also display the number of months remaining until you expect your braces to come off.
When you receive regular rewards for continuing to wear your braces, they can seem less burdensome. Plan to buy yourself a reward every month that you wear your braces for the duration of the treatment. The time will pass much faster when you feel you are earning rewards for your patience.
Lengthen a Paper Chain
Use strips of paper to make the links of your chain, and add a new link each week to lengthen the chain. Before sealing each new strip of paper into a circle, write on it a reason why you are getting your teeth straightened, or an event in the future when you will appreciate your straight teeth as you smile.
Use a Wall Hanging
Purchase a large pad of blank white paper. Write a “0” on the bottom sheet and a “1” on the next, and continue until you reach the number of days remaining in your treatment. Rip off the top sheet each day to see how many days are left and remind yourself of the progress you are making.
Find a Buddy
If any of your friends get braces around the same time as you, share the experience. Make a pact to celebrate each trip to Family Orthodontics when one of you receives news about your progress.
October 17th, 2018
After getting your braces, it is important to know how to take care of your teeth in order to ensure that your braces stay intact and do their job so that your teeth are in top-notch condition after you complete your orthodontic treatment. Today, our team at Family Orthodontics thought we would provide you with five tips you need to know to ensure you undergo successful treatment at our Fredonia office.
Flossing twice a day or after every meal can help you clean areas between teeth and other places a toothbrush can miss. We also recommend using a floss threader, which can be used to help you navigate safely around your braces and brackets. It is vital to floss twice a day, preferably after lunch and before bedtime to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay.
Teeth and appliances should be brushed after every meal and before bedtime using fluoride toothpaste and gentle, soft strokes. We recommend using an interdental toothbrush, which can help you clean the hard-to-reach areas under wires better than an ordinary toothbrush.
This phase of orthodontic treatment requires cooperation and consistency on your part. If your orthodontist has prescribed elastics, make sure they are worn at all times, except when eating meals or brushing teeth. It’s important that you wear the correct size elastics and have extras in case they are misplaced. By failing to wear your elastics for even one day, you run the risk your teeth moving back toward their original position.
Addressing Damage to Your Braces
In case your appliances are damaged, we ask that you call our team at Family Orthodontics immediately to set up an appointment.
Eat Friendly Foods
When undergoing treatment, there are certain foods you must avoid. Foods that are hard, sticky, chewy or sour can add months to your treatment time. These includes gum, caramels, taco shells, nuts, ice, chips or hard candies.
We hope that helps! If you have any questions, please give us a call at our Fredonia office or ask us during your next adjustment appointment!
October 10th, 2018
While mouthwash goes a long way in improving your oral care, it is not a substitute for flossing. Mouthwashes and flossing provide different benefits that you should understand.
Mouthwash comes in two categories. Some are considered cosmetic. This type of rinse provides temporary relief from bad breath and has a pleasant taste. These do not actually kill any bacteria.
Therapeutic mouthwashes provide the healthier benefits. These may contain different ingredients including fluoride or antimicrobial agents. This type is used to remove plaque buildup and reduce the potential for calculus formation. Therapeutic rinses can also help prevent cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. In addition, Dr. Matthew Fortna can prescribe special rinses to assist patients after periodontal surgery or other procedures.
Flossing is what removes the plaque formation before it can harden and become calculus. While a rinse reduces buildup, only flossing will fully remove plaque, especially between teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush do not get between teeth completely. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar or calculus. When this builds below the gum line, gum disease can start.
Types of Floss
Floss is available in a thin string form or a tape. It can be waxed or unwaxed. If you find flossing difficult, you might want to try a different type of floss. You can buy bulk floss in containers or purchase the disposable type with a plastic handle attached. This style can be easier for many individuals to use. Interdental picks are available for bridgework or other situations where regular floss cannot be used.
If you have questions regarding the best mouthwash or floss, or need tips for easier flossing, please ask our Fredonia team for advice. We will be glad to give you solutions to help keep your mouth clean and healthy.
October 3rd, 2018
How better to spend the fall months than inside by the fireplace with a warm cup of cider and a book in hand? Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team at Family Orthodontics encourage you to warm up your mind this fall season with a few great books. Sure it may be easy to put off reading when balancing a hectic schedule, but reading is vital to brain development. Besides, reading is always a blast!
This week, we thought we’d ask what you or your child are reading this fall. Do you have any suggestions for must-read books this year? Out of ideas for great fall reads? Ask us for suggestions, and we would be happy to provide a few. You may also ask a local librarian here in Fredonia for some ideas.
Happy reading! Be sure to share with us your fall picks or your all-time favorites below or on our Facebook page!
September 26th, 2018
Perhaps you feel your teeth are not perfectly straight, or you think your bite could be adjusted. It’s quite possible that braces and other orthodontic treatments might be the right choice for you. As orthodontic professionals, our team at Family Orthodontics works with your general dentist in order to determine the best options for your oral health and cosmetic appearance.
You might need braces if ...
- You lost your baby teeth relatively early in life. If your baby teeth fell out too early and your adult teeth did not come in for a while, this could have affected the way your adult teeth grew and developed.
- Your teeth look crowded or crooked. If you are embarrassed to smile because your teeth are not straight, it might be time to consider the cosmetic options available to you.
- Your jaw shifts or makes sounds. This can signify a developmental issue with your teeth and your jaw line, and orthodontic treatment may be able to help. Set up an appointment with Dr. Matthew Fortna if your jaw is recessed or protruding as well.
- You are constantly biting the sides of your cheek or hitting the roof of your mouth. This could indicate that your teeth are not properly aligned. Braces can address an underbite or an overbite.
- You have a difficult time chewing your food. This is not only an inconvenience, but it can also be detrimental for your health. Braces can help fix the alignment of your teeth.
- You have to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis. You may not attribute this to an issue with the development of your teeth or jaw, but orthodontic treatment might be able to help.
The ideal age for a child to be seen by an orthodontist is age seven. However, there are many orthodontic treatment options available to adults. It is becoming increasingly common for adults to wear braces and other orthodontic devices. We recommend that people who are interested in braces and other orthodontic treatment options set up a consultation appointment with Dr. Matthew Fortna today.
September 19th, 2018
A bright, beautiful smile is often achieved with braces. The time you spend wearing braces is an investment in the good health and appearance of your smile. However, Dr. Matthew Fortna and our staff know that having braces on your teeth can pose challenges. Many of these challenges are commonly faced by all who wear braces, such as flossing, getting food stuck in your braces, and bad breath.
Today, let’s address bad breath and what to do about it. There’s no reason you have to shy away from conversation for fear that you’ve got bad breath.
Fresh Breath Tips for Braces Wearers
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Unhealthy foods that are laden with sugar can contribute to bad breath. Stick with healthy produce, protein, grains, and dairy found on the list of foods your orthodontist says are safe to eat with braces.
- Drink Non-Sugary Beverages. Likewise, steer clear of sugary sodas and juices for the same reason. They contribute to bad breath.
- Stay Hydrated. A mouth that’s continually dry can lead to bad breath by inhibiting your production of saliva. Regular production of saliva removes bacteria and excess food from your mouth, both of which cause bad breath.
- Brush Often. Brush your teeth and tongue first thing in the morning, after each meal and snack, and before you go to bed, to remove food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Don’t Forget to Floss. Flossing with braces might seem tricky, but it is a necessity. Ask Dr. Matthew Fortna to show you the best way to floss effectively with braces.
- Mouthwash Use. Use the mouthwash recommended by Dr. Matthew Fortna. For the best results, swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds.
- Get Regular Cleanings. Regular dental exams and cleanings are more important when you have braces. Cavities can delay your treatment progress, so be sure to visit your dentist every six months.
Practice Good Hygiene Daily
Good oral hygiene practices are important every day, whether you wear braces or not. But they become even more important during the months you wear braces. In addition to your regular orthodontic checkups, see your general dentist for cleanings and exams.
Together, you and our Fredonia team will keep your mouth healthy and fresh during and after your orthodontic treatment.
September 12th, 2018
A great smile can go a long way. Scientific research suggests that people who smile are perceived as more attractive and confident than those who don’t flash their pearly whites. When it comes time to invest in orthodontics to improve your beautiful smile, choosing the best option can be daunting. Comparing Invisalign to traditional braces is a great way to determine what orthodontics make most sense for your unique smile.
How is Invisalign different?
Unlike traditional braces, in which brackets are affixed onto each tooth and connected by wires Invisalign corrects orthodontic problems using a set of clear trays. These trays are specially formed to fit your teeth, allowing you to wear them 24/7.
One of the primary advantages of Invisalign is that the clear trays are nearly invisible. Particularly for adults self-conscious about appearing professional with traditional braces, Invisalign can correct orthodontic issues without capturing the notice of others. Their nearly invisible appearance is one of the topmost reasons that orthodontic patients choose Invisalign.
Complexity of the Orthodontic Problem
Invisalign works well for people who have relatively minor problems, such as crooked teeth or small gaps between teeth. For more complex problems, particularly issues with bite or vertical problems (i.e., one tooth being significantly higher than another), traditional braces may be better at pulling teeth into alignment.
Eating and Drinking
Invisalign trays are removable, meaning that you cannot eat or drink while wearing them. Unlike traditional braces, however, you are not limited in the foods you may eat. Chewy, sticky, or hard foods may be eaten, provided that you brush your teeth before reinserting the Invisalign trays.
In the end, only you can weigh the pros and cons of Invisalign versus traditional braces. Consult with Dr. Matthew Fortna to understand how these orthodontic interventions may work for your unique situation.
September 5th, 2018
Going back to school is already an exciting (and sometimes nerve-racking) time so we don't want your braces adding to that. Our Fredonia team has compiled some helpful tips to make the process as easy and fun as possible.
1. Make sure you pack or purchase braces-friendly lunches
Try to avoid overly crunchy foods (think carrots, celery, hard crackers) especially if your teeth are sore from having your braces tightened. But you shouldn't stop eating healthful foods that fall in this category. For instance apples can be sliced into wedges or carrots can be cut into coins.
You should also avoid sticky foods like candy or gum that can and will stick in your braces like glue! Softer foods are easier on your teeth and braces, so aim to make a good portion of your lunch on the softer side.
2. Have a braces kit in your backpack or locker
Having some useful items on hand at school when you need them is one of the most helpful things you can do. Pack some wax for sores or tenderness, floss and/or flossing tools made for braces, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a small cup for rinsing, a small mirror to check for trapped food, and some lip balm if your lips tend to chap. With these tools on hand, you'll avoid most if not all braces-related nuisances!
3. Know that you're not alone
If you're feeling self-conscious about your braces, don't. Be proud of them! There are many other people your age who have braces, and if they don't have them now, they probably will in the future. Relax and know that you're on the path to a straighter and healthier smile.
If you have any questions about making your transition into "braceshood," just ask Dr. Matthew Fortna or any member of our Fredonia team! We're here to help make your braces experience (and your smile) the best it can be.
September 5th, 2018
When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may automatically assume that it only relates to older children and teens with alignment and spacing issues. But this isn’t the case: Orthodontic treatment at Family Orthodontics offers many benefits when applied at a young age.
By considering orthodontic treatment at a younger age, Dr. Matthew Fortna and our staff are able to identify your child’s alignment issues early on, and are able to intervene in order to provide treatment as the teeth begin to develop. It is important to start dental care early, not only for proper dental health and the cosmetic benefits, but to improve a child’s overall health as well.
The Benefits of Straighter Teeth
Besides the cosmetic benefits, there are multiple advantages to starting orthodontic treatment at a young age:
- It can reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment needed later.
- With early treatment, the pediatric dentist helps guide the teeth into their right position to prevent the removal of teeth and improve an overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
- Straighter teeth are easier to clean and better for preventing tooth decay.
- As a benefit to you, the parent, your child’s orthodontic expenses will be much lower with early treatment.
- Lastly, much early treatment is covered by dental insurance.
Stages of Orthodontic Treatment
Multiple stages are included in early orthodontic treatment, with three stages in all:
The first stage is early treatment that starts around age two or three, and continues until the child is around six years old. This stage deals with preventive measures, such as avoiding bad habits that lead to crooked teeth and creating a plan for the future based on how the teeth are growing in.
During stage two, when the child is six to 12 years old, the first permanent teeth erupt and the dentist looks at possible early treatment for misalignment or bite issues.
Finally, stage three occurs during adolescence to correct any further problems with permanent teeth.
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our staff are able to see how the teeth first erupt and know right away whether or not your child will need to have braces later on. Early treatment means fewer procedures, cleaner teeth, and less expense.
August 29th, 2018
Labor Day is upon us, and that means the non-official end to summer. Before the kids head back to school and temperatures start to cool down, this is your last chance to barbeque in the beautiful Fredonia community, head to the lake, and wear your favorite pair of white pants.
About Labor Day
Each year, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It is the one day of year Americans celebrate their achievements in work, which the US Department of Labor says has contributed to prosperity and well-being of America as a whole. Americans have been celebrating Labor Day since the 1880s, and today it is an official federal holiday.
Interesting Facts About Labor Day
- Every year, more than 30 million Americans travel over Labor Day weekend.
- Canada was the first to celebrate Labor Day, and the US soon followed.
- President Cleveland made Labor Day and official US holiday in 1894.
- Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and NCAA sports seasons for fans.
- Labor Day marks the end of hot dog season, when Americans consume seven billion hot dogs.
Thanks for being a valued patient of our orthodontic office. Our staff would like to wish you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time off!
August 22nd, 2018
These days, it’s become more common to see adults at our office getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign clear aligners . . . that is, if you can see them! Whether they are seeking to overcome the stigma that “braces are just for kids,” or simply want straighter teeth without a mouth full of metal, Invisalign is an effective and easy solution.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, from 1994 to 2010 the number of adults 18 and older who request braces increased by 58 percent: from 680,000 to 1.1 million a year. Many adults enjoy how discreet the aligners are and that the user doesn’t need to avoid any foods or make dietary changes the way you would with traditional braces. Also, each treatment is unique to the patient.
With an Invisalign treatment, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits over traditional braces:
- The total treatment time is more precise with Invisalign because your treatment is modeled by a computer. Traditional braces depend more on an estimate and aren’t as exact.
- You’ll make fewer trips to our Fredonia office, since you’re able to change your trays on your own every few weeks or whatever is prescribed.
- Without brackets to place over your teeth, there’s less risk to the health of your tooth enamel.
- Invisalign aligners are clear and practically invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them!
If you’re interested in Invisalign as a treatment option, please let Dr. Matthew Fortna know. We’d be happy to help you on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!
August 15th, 2018
It’s true that orthodontic braces can give you a beautiful smile. But did you know there are other benefits of having braces than just getting perfectly straight teeth? Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team want you to understand the other positives that can come out of having braces and relate to your oral health.
When teeth are crooked or crowded, it’s hard to brush and floss effectively. When there isn’t enough space in your mouth, bacteria and plaque can build up between these teeth. This can lead to serious issues like tooth decay and gum disease. When braces correct the spacing between teeth, and get rid of the tight spaces, patients are able to brush and floss more effectively and not miss essential areas of the mouth.
Surprisingly, braces can also address speech problems. They can shift problem teeth that may be causing embarrassing speech impediments. When an overbite or underbite gets adjusted, patients can pronounce certain words more clearly.
Spaces between teeth may also cause whistling, which braces can fix by closing off the gaps. Word slurring can also be improved with the help of braces by realignment of the jaw or teeth, which opens room for your tongue to move with greater ease.
Braces can also be helpful in supporting the bones and tissues in your mouth. Braces move periodontal ligaments by stretching the connective tissues and nerves. The bones naturally rebuild once they’re settled in their new spot.
Without support from poorly aligned teeth, gum tissue can erode. Braces help prevent erosion of the gums, and will alleviate pressure from the jawbone by fixing a bad bite over time.
If teeth are misplaced, they may not break down food effectively before it enters your stomach. Teeth aid with digestion when you can thoroughly chew your food. If your teeth are badly placed, braces can straighten them for optimal alignment. Once you can chew properly with the help of braces, your food will be more easily and fully digested.
If you have questions regarding braces and how they can help you, contact our Fredonia office and set up a consultation appointment. Braces can help with many oral health problems, and may save you a lot of money and time in the future.
If you’re not sure whether braces would be worth your time or money, consider the benefits above, and how they add to the value of this treatment. You’ll be getting more than just a beautiful smile!
August 8th, 2018
One of the greatest advantages to using Invisalign is that it provides maximum results with minimal impact on your everyday life. Invisalign is comfortable, easy to insert, and simple to remove. Because you can remove Invisalign aligners, you can enjoy all your favorite foods and beverages without worries about getting food stuck in the wires and brackets of traditional braces.
Eating and Invisalign
While the aligner is durable and strong, you should remove it before you eat or drink beverages, as the chewing action inside your mouth can break, crack, or distort the aligner. Even minute damage to the Invisalign tray will prevent it from aligning your teeth properly. Furthermore, eating with Invisalign in your mouth can be quite messy.
Beverages and Invisalign
Repeated exposure to hot liquids may also cause the Invisalign aligner to distort. This distortion changes the shape of your aligner in a way that will affect how it straightens your teeth. Contact our Fredonia office if your Invisalign aligner has distorted after consuming a hot beverage.
Fluids can settle inside the aligner to “bathe” the teeth. Bathing teeth in acidic fluids can be especially problematic, as the acids can wear away tooth enamel. Exposure to acidic fluids is not normally a problem, as saliva neutralizes and buffers the acid then washes it away. Wearing an aligner, however, prevents the saliva from doing those jobs, increasing your risk for tooth decay.
Colored drinks may also change the color of your teeth. Most discoloration is temporary but stubborn stains may occur.
To prevent discoloration and tooth decay, brush your teeth after every meal or beverage before putting in your Invisalign aligners. If you do not have access to clean water, chew sugar-free gum to remove bacteria, acid, and food particles from your teeth. As a last resort, you may leave your aligners out for an hour or two until you can brush and floss properly. Before inserting Invisalign, rinse the aligner in lukewarm water or use the Invisalign cleaning kit.
Contact our Fredonia office for more information about eating and Invisalign.
August 1st, 2018
Now that many of the schools in Fredonia are back in session, Dr. Matthew Fortna would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports, and family duties to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit Family Orthodontics this fall. In order to accommodate all of our patients’ busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with a convenient appointment time.
As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you’re unable to make your regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.
We’ll see you soon and hope summer is winding down nicely for you and your family!
July 25th, 2018
Bad breath, or halitosis, is probably not a matter of life or death. But it can make you feel self-conscious and have a negative impact on your life. The majority of people suffering from bad breath are dealing with oral bacterial. However, there are other causes of this embarrassing problem. Learning more can help you fight this solvable problem.
Five Causes of Embarrassingly Bad Breath
- Dry Mouth. A decrease in saliva flow can be caused by several things. Most often, medication or mouth breathing are the culprits. As saliva helps wash away food particles from your mouth, it prevents bad breath. Dry mouth can be dealt with by stimulating salivation.
- Gum Disease and Poor Oral Hygiene. Not brushing and flossing well enough or with enough frequency can lead to gum disease, which leads to bad breath. Halitosis can be a sign that plaque is present on your teeth.
- Food-Related Bad Breath. Food particles that aren't brushed or flossed away attract bacteria that leads to bad breath. It's especially important to brush after eating strong-smelling foods, such as garlic or onions.
- Smoking and Tobacco. Tobacco is bad for your health, and that includes your oral health. Smoking or chewing tobacco can contribute toward the development of gum disease, as well as oral cancer.
- Mouth Infections and Other Medical Problems. A mouth infection, sinus infection or even the common cold can cause you to temporarily have bad breath. Even conditions such as diabetes and reflux can cause halitosis. It's always wise to see Dr. Matthew Fortna to help determine the cause.
We are Your Ally
Even if you maintain good oral hygiene, it's important to see Dr. Matthew Fortna at our Fredonia office to deal with or avoid problems with bad breath. We can help you uncover the cause of halitosis, while also providing solutions that allow you to enjoy fresh breath without relying on mints and breath fresheners. As is the case with all things related to oral health, we are your number-one ally when it comes to eliminating the problem of bad breath.
July 18th, 2018
Contrary to popular belief, orthodontic treatment is not just for older children and teens who have alignment and spacing issues. At our Fredonia office, orthodontic treatment offers many benefits for children at a young age.
Dr. Matthew Fortna can identify your child’s alignment issues early, and provide treatment as the teeth begin to develop. It’s crucial to start dental care early, not only for proper dental health and cosmetic benefits, but to improve your child’s overall health.
The Benefits of Straighter Teeth
Aside from cosmetic benefits, starting orthodontic treatment at a young age offers many other advantages. A pediatric dentist can help guide the teeth into their proper position to prevent teeth extractions or bite problems, and even reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment later on.
Your youngster will enjoy the confidence of having straight teeth that, as an added bonus, will be easier to clean. Parents will be happy to hear the earlier your child gets treatment, the less your orthodontic expenses could be; plus, it is often covered by dental insurance.
Stages of Orthodontic Treatment
Multiple stages are included in early orthodontic treatment, but there are three main stages.
Stage 1: Treatment starts around age two or three until the child is around six. This stage includes preventive measures to avoid habits that lead to crooked teeth, and monitoring how the teeth grow in.
Stage 2: The first permanent teeth appear around age six to 12 years old and the dentist looks at possible early treatment for misalignment or bite issues.
Stage 3: Any further problems with permanent teeth are corrected during adolescence.
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our staff are able to see early on whether your child will need to have braces in adolescence. Early treatment means fewer procedures, cleaner teeth, and less expense for parents. It’s a win-win for everyone!
July 11th, 2018
The alarm sounds in the morning, you wake up and realize "I forgot to wear my retainer!"
If this only happened once, don't panic. Missing one night with a retainer is unlikely to cause significant teeth movement. However, if it has happened often, give our Fredonia office a call to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted position.
Here are some tips from Dr. Matthew Fortna to help you remember your retainer:
1. Write down the instructions we give you for wearing the retainer, whether you should wear it all day or at night, or just a few times a week. Writing things out like this helps set the schedule in your memory.
2. Clean the retainer when you take it out each time. If you don’t you may not have time when you’re rushing to get to work or school to clean it properly and may be tempted not to wear it.
3. Put a note on your mirror or in your purse or wallet reminding you to wear your retainer.
4. Set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you when it’s time to put the retainer in. If you have email with a calendar you can set up daily reminders, too.
5. Always put the retainer in its case when you take it out to eat or sleep. You’ll reduce your risk for losing it or accidentally throwing it away.
6. If you don’t have to wear the retainer every day, you can use some recurring events to help you remember. With this system for example, watching your favorite weekly TV show, laundry day, or family pizza night can all serve as reminders that you should put in your retainer.
7. Don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re forgetful. Assure your spouse, parents, siblings, or roommates that you won’t consider if nagging if they remind you to wear your retainer.
8. Surf online for examples of how teeth can shift when retainers are not properly used. Those stories can serve as timely warning not to let the same thing happen to you!
Remember, you can always call our Fredonia office if you feel your retainer is uncomfortable or painful. We'll work with you to protect your smile!
July 4th, 2018
Happy Independence Day from Dr. Matthew Fortna and team! The Fourth of July celebrations in America may have changed a lot over the years, but there is no doubt that we Americans love to celebrate the anniversary of our country's independence! Today we're devoting the Family Orthodontics blog to some fun facts about the Fourth!
- My, how we have grown! This year the United States Census Bureau estimates that our country has 313.9 million residents celebrating the Fourth of July this year, but back in 1776 there were just 2.5 million members of the country.
- Our country loves to show how proud that we are of our independence. Did you know that there are 31 United States places with the word “Liberty” in their names? The state of Iowa actually has four towns with the word Liberty in the name: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
- The United States loves Fourth of July food! It is expected that around 150 million hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth each year. One of the Fourth's most popular sides, potato salad, goes just perfectly with the hotdogs and hamburgers that are standard Fourth of July fare. Some people choose potato chips instead, but we wouldn't have such a plethora of potatoes if not for the prodigious production of the states of Idaho and Washington -- they provide about half of all the potatoes in the United States today!
- Americans love celebrating the Fourth outdoors: About 74 million Americans fire up their BBQ grill every Fourth of July.
- The Chinese contribution: Did you know that Americans have spent more than $211 million on fireworks that were imported from China?
No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth, stay safe, take precautions, and don't forget to brush after your fabulous Fourth feast!
June 27th, 2018
Many adults and teens in our Fredonia office would love to have their teeth straightened but are unwilling to go through the long and often embarrassing process of wearing traditional metal braces. Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® clear aligners offer the perfect solution: They’re the most advanced clear aligner systems in the world!
If you’re considering getting braces, there are several reasons why you might want to consider Invisalign clear aligners. Here are some of them:
- You can eat whatever food you like, without worrying about it catching in wires or breaking brackets.
- People won’t likely be able to tell you’re wearing them!
- The aligners can be removed at any time.
- You can brush and floss as you normally would, which helps to maintain better overall oral health.
- Invisalign aligners are made of a smooth BPA-free plastic and are more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. You’ll need to visit our Fredonia office less often: only once every six weeks or so.
- With Invisalign Teen, you’ll receive up to six replacements for lost or broken aligners.
Before starting treatment, you’ll have a consultation with Dr. Matthew Fortna to see if Invisalign or Invisalign Teen treatment is right for you. After that, you’ll have X-rays, pictures, and impressions taken of your teeth.
That information will be used to make the 3D models of your teeth that let Dr. Matthew Fortna see how they will move throughout the entire treatment and approximately how long it will take.
You’ll receive your aligners based on the treatment plan we recommend. You’ll get a new set of aligners every two weeks. All you need to do is wear your aligners 22 hours a day and you’ll be on your way to a straighter smile in no time!
Ask a member of our Fredonia team for more information about Invisalign clear aligners today!
June 20th, 2018
Getting your braces off is exciting. You’ve been working on your new smile for months or years, and it’s time for the trips to our Fredonia office to pay off. Can you imagine how bad it would be to discover that your teeth are straight, but that there’s decay?
Caring for your smile while wearing Invisalign goes beyond just waiting for your teeth to get straighter. It involves cleaning your teeth regularly and thoroughly to prevent tooth decay. That way, your smile will be more beautiful than ever when you’re done with your Invisalign treatment.
Take Your Trays Out
The first difference you may notice between Invisalign and traditional metal braces is that Invisalign aligners are invisible, but there’s another important distinction as well. Invisalign braces are removable. You can take the trays out, and you should. Remove the trays while you’re eating so you don’t get food stuck in them. Also, remove them while you’re cleaning your teeth so that you can have full access to all the nooks and crannies in your mouth.
The guidelines for brushing your teeth with Invisalign don’t change compared to braces. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste, being sure to get all surfaces of your teeth. If possible, brush after each meal.
If you can’t, be sure to drink some water and swish it around in your mouth when you’re done eating to get rid of the extra food on your teeth. Leaving carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, on your teeth opens the door to tooth decay.
Floss and Wash
Flossing your teeth gets out the bits and pieces stuck between them. It’s a time-consuming task when you need to navigate the wires of traditional metal braces, but thanks to Invisalign’s removable design, flossing is no problem. Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride antibacterial mouthwash also helps clean your teeth because it gets into all of the spaces. Floss and rinse one or two times daily.
Cleaning Your Trays
Cleaning your Invisalign trays keeps them from getting riddled with bacteria, and it helps keep your teeth free from excess food. You can use the Invisalign cleaning system, which involves placing the trays in a tub with cleaning crystals. The plastic trays are clean after 15 minutes. You can also ask Dr. Matthew Fortna for other ways to clean your trays.
June 13th, 2018
When patients ask Dr. Matthew Fortna about who benefits from Invisalign clear aligners, the simple answer is this: almost everyone. Unlike conventional braces, they are removable, which makes eating and cleaning your teeth much easier.
They are molded to fit each patient’s mouth and are practically invisible. Because aligners apply less force in straightening teeth than metal braces, the risk of harm to your teeth is reduced.
Benefits to adults
Traditional braces are associated with children and teenagers. Many adults want to have their teeth straightened but hesitate to wear metal braces. They also worry about having to change their diet and not be able to eat the foods they normally enjoy.
If you are an adult who’s considering braces, our team at Family Orthodontics will tell you Invisalign aligners is a great option for discreet teeth straightening. Your teeth will be straightened with virtually invisible braces.
The aligners are easily removable when you eat, so you can enjoy any food you normally would consume. You simply clean your teeth normally after eating and you won’t have to worry about getting food stuck in your braces.
If there is a special occasion during which you do not want to have any braces in your mouth at all, you can remove the aligners for up to four hours without causing any damage.
Benefits to teenagers
Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team know that teenagers are often involved in sports and other after-school activities, and generally lead pretty busy lives. If your teen plays a musical instrument, you may be concerned that having metal in his or her mouth will interfere with ability to play. Invisalign aligners avoid the damage that can happen with traditional metal braces.
For sports that require players to wear mouthguards, the expense of specially constructed mouthguards to fit over braces is also eliminated. The aligners can be removed during sports activities and teens can easily wear a mouthguard. Teenagers who play musical instruments simply remove the aligners while practicing or playing in the band or orchestra.
Teenagers routinely have trouble flossing teeth between the wires and brackets of traditional braces, but Invisalign allows for easy dental cleaning. Since Invisalign aligners are removable, brushing and flossing are simpler and more likely to be performed.
For more information about Invisalign or Invisalign Teen® treatment, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Matthew Fortna, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
June 6th, 2018
If you are wearing braces and are planning a vacation, our team at Family Orthodontics would suggest that you be prepared. We put together a list of items that will be handy to have with you at all times while you are out of town. They include:
- Toothpick, flosspick, or other interdental cleaners
- Travel toothbrush
- A water bottle or a mini bottle of mouth rinse
- Orthodontic wax to help with discomfort from protruding wires
- A small mirror for examining any possible issues in your mouth
Putting these items together in a “braces/oral hygiene kit” may be wise. You may even buy pre-made braces kits. Please ask us for more information.
If you happen to be on vacation and experience problems reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get him or her out of pain or discomfort.
We also suggest avoiding the following foods to prevent broken brackets and/or wire distortion while you are on vacation:
- Chewy, sticky, or gummy food
- Apples, pears, and other whole fruits (cut fruit into wedges before consuming)
- Bagels and hard rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Hard candies
- Hard cookies or pretzels
- All varieties of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and cashews
Finally, if you are wearing clear aligners and happen to lose your tray, don’t worry! Simply put in either the previous tray or the next tray and contact us as soon as you get home!
Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation! Please give us a call if you have any questions!
May 30th, 2018
The best way to avoid orthodontic emergencies is to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire treatment. However, emergencies are … well, emergencies, and sometimes no matter how cautious you are or how well you take care of your braces, the wires loosen, the bands pop, or you experience orthodontic discomfort.
Common orthodontic emergencies include broken braces, poking wires, lost or broken retainers, mouth sores, and mouth injuries sustained playing sports, which often happens when you don’t wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliance.
It’s important to avoid foods that can damage your braces. Most people wear braces for about two years. All chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods should be avoided during that time. While this may seem like a long time to go without popcorn or bubble gum, hard foods can break the brackets of your braces and sticky foods can bend the wires. If you have a loose wire, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call Family Orthodontics. In the meantime, if a wire is poking into your cheek or lip and causing irritation, put wax or a wet cotton ball over it to dull the sharp edge.
Pain and Discomfort
Some discomfort is a normal part of orthodontic treatment, especially in the hours after the braces are placed on your teeth or after a recent tightening or adjustment. However, if the pain doesn’t subside in three to five days, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment at Family Orthodontics. Until then, try dissolving a teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of water and gargling with the solution. Over-the-counter pain medication will relieve discomfort, too.
Just because you wear braces doesn’t mean you can’t play sports. You just need to take some extra precautions. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are common. The best way to protect your mouth and your appliance is to wear a mouthguard. There are several different types of mouthguards available, so be sure to ask Dr. Matthew Fortna what’s best for you.
Brushing and Flossing
In order to keep your braces in good condition and avoid orthodontic emergencies, it’s important to brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. It’s easy for small particles of food to get trapped in your braces, and if the food isn’t removed, it gets wedged between the teeth and gums and causes plaque.
Need more tips on how to avoid orthodontic emergencies? Just ask any member of our Fredonia team.
May 23rd, 2018
Memorial Day is not only a federal holiday in the United States, but it is a day of observance and remembrance of those who died in service. Originally known as Decoration Day, this solemn day has been marked on calendars since the end of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate both the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in the war.
Marking the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, or other tokens has been practiced throughout history, but it wasn't until the mark of the end of the Civil War that a special day was decided upon as the one to spend in remembrance. By 1890, every state in the country was observing Decoration Day. It wasn't until 1967 when the name formally changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, in order to encompass all fallen American soldiers in all wars and conflicts. In June of 1968, Congress moved the official date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend.
Today, while there is certainly an air of remembrance on Memorial Day, it has become more a day of spending time with family, friends, and other loved ones. This day is also heralded as the start of summer, with many schools finishing for the year around this time. Our team at Family Orthodontics remembers it as a day to take solace and remembered those lost.
Traditional observances of Memorial Day are still held, and they often involve raising the American Flag then lowering it to a half-staff position until noon, and then raising it once again to its full height afterwards. The flag is lowered to remember those who've lost their lives while in service to their country, and then it is raised to signify our willingness to not let their sacrifice be in vain.
From community parades in the Fredonia area, backyard cook-outs, and fireworks to formal ceremonies, Memorial Day is commemorated in many different ways. No matter how you choose to spend this day, take a moment to remember those who've lost their lives in an effort to preserve our freedom.
May 16th, 2018
There's something special about customizing the elastics on your braces to fit your unique personality. Once you embrace your braces (no pun intended) you'll realize how many color options and combinations there are to choose from. Although you'll have a fantastic smile afterward, you won't have this level of customizability once your braces come off, that's for sure!
Adding flair to your braces isn't what all patients are looking to do (like those opting for clear aligners or ceramic braces), but it's part of the fun of traditional metal braces! Many of our patients ask Dr. Matthew Fortna to have their elastics match the colors of their favorite sports teams or their school, but how about changing your elastics to match holiday colors?
Here are some options to consider:
- Valentine’s Day – Red and pink
- Easter – Pink, blue, and violet
- Halloween – Orange and black
- Christmas – Red, green, and white
- Saint Patrick’s Day – Green and white
There are a few colors that some people choose to avoid. But if you’re trying to make your teeth stand out in a crowd, the following suggestions need not apply!
- Brown or Green – can be mistaken for food being stuck in your teeth
- Black – might look like a rotten tooth if someone isn't looking hard enough
- White – Some patients think it will make their teeth look whiter, but in fact it can make your teeth appear yellower than they actually are. White elastics can also stain easily.
- Yellow – accentuates the yellowness of your enamel
Since changing the color of your elastics has no effect on the actual orthodontic treatment process, the idea is to have fun and add a personal touch. So, next time you get your elastics changed at our Fredonia office, why not wear your braces boldly and opt for something festive?
May 9th, 2018
"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning
We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Family Orthodontics. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Matthew Fortna and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!
Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!
May 2nd, 2018
Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Family Orthodontics.
Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!
And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!
April 25th, 2018
Straighter teeth is something many people desire. A nice smile is one of the most attractive things about a person. However, wearing a mouth full of braces for two, three, or more years can be a major pain, both literally and figuratively.
Luckily, there is another option. Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces. Learn more about the benefits Invisalign offers and why you should consider this exciting method of straightening teeth.
- When you have straight teeth, your mouth is healthier in general and there is less chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Invisalign makes it possible for more people to straighten their teeth.
- Invisalign is essentially invisible. You can straighten your teeth without unsightly metal in your mouth.
- The average cost is similar to that of traditional braces, which makes it affordable for many families.
- With Invisalign, the aligner trays are smooth and comfortable to wear. Traditional metal braces can be uncomfortable and cause irritation to the mouth.
- Invisalign is removable, so you do not have to wear the system during special occasions, or when you’re eating. With normal metal braces, you are stuck with them for the entire straightening process.
- Brushing and flossing are simple. Since the system is removable, you can brush and floss just like normal.
As you can see, Invisalign is an exciting option we provide at Family Orthodontics for those who want straighter teeth. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, talk to Dr. Matthew Fortna and find out if it would work for your particular situation. Get started today, and before you know it you will be enjoying your straighter teeth.
For more information about Invisalign, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Matthew Fortna, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office today!
April 18th, 2018
During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right; the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.
Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.
Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly
- Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
- Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
- Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
- Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.
It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little everyday measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. Our team at Family Orthodontics wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day and help the environment, knowing that it will benefit your and your children's generation.
April 11th, 2018
Invisalign, which we happily provide at Family Orthodontics, is a great alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment if you've been apprehensive about the thought of metal braces. During your initial visit, the first thing we do is take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.
Invisalign treatment, which consists of a series of aligners that you switch out approximately every couple of weeks, can help patients with crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites and more. Invisalign gradually shifts your teeth into place, creating the dazzling smile you’ve always wanted. During treatment with Dr. Matthew Fortna, patients wear the aligners all day and night, except for during meals and when they’re brushing and flossing; cleaning your teeth and eating are a snap since you can easily remove your aligners! And because they’re clear, no one will know that your teeth are steadily straightening!
To find out if you are the right candidate for Invisalign treatment, we invite you to give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office and schedule a consultation.
April 4th, 2018
The Importance of Facial Protection
Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.
Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team at Family Orthodontics want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.
Preventing Dental Injuries
A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Family Orthodontics for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.
Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Fortna, please give us a call at our convenient Fredonia office!
March 28th, 2018
These days it's becoming more and more common to see adults at our Fredonia office getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign clear aligners — that is, if you can see them! Treatment with Invisalign is effective and aesthetically pleasing for all ages, but adults have certainly taken to them.
For some it may be to overcome the stigma that "braces are just for kids," but for others it may be the displeasing appearance and discomfort of traditional braces. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, from 1994 to 2010 the number of adults 18 and older getting braces increased by 58 percent, from 680,000 to 1.1 million annually. Many of these adults opt for Invisalign because of how discreet they are and since they don't need to avoid any foods or make dietary changes like you do with traditional braces.
The benefits of getting your teeth into proper alignment are many, and so are the advantages of Invisalign. By following your individual course of Invisalign treatment, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits over traditional braces:
- The total treatment time is more precise with Invisalign since your treatment is modeled by a computer, as compared to traditional braces where it is really just an estimate.
- You'll need to make fewer trips to our Fredonia office since you can change your trays on your own every few weeks or as prescribed.
- There's less risk to the health of your tooth enamel since there is no need to place brackets on your teeth.
- Invisalign aligners are clear and practically invisible, so most people won't even know you're wearing them!
If you're interested in Invisalign treatment, please let Dr. Matthew Fortna know. We'd be happy to help you on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!
March 21st, 2018
At Family Orthodontics, there are a few things we want to remind you of when you're on vacation, so that a day with friends and family won’t be spent dealing with an orthodontic emergency. Firstly, we are here for you whether you are in town or out of town on vacation. Give us a call and we may be able to address the problem over the phone. Second, if we are unable to help you fix the problem over the phone, we will help you find an orthodontic practice in your vacation area that can help you.
If you experience problems reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get them out of pain or discomfort.
If you have braces, whether they are metal, ceramic, or lingual, Dr. Matthew Fortna and our team suggest steering clear of the following foods to avoid broken brackets and/or wire distortion while you are on vacation:
- Chewy, sticky, or gummy food
- Apples, pears and other whole fruits (cut fruit into thin wedges before consuming)
- Bagels and hard rolls
- Bubble gum
- Corn on the cob
- Hard candies
- Hard cookies
- All varieties of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and cashews
Finally, if you have clear aligners and you lose your tray, don’t worry! Simply put in either the previous tray or the next tray and contact us as soon as you get home!
Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation!
March 14th, 2018
Millions of people, around Fredonia and beyond, wear green on St. Patrick’s Day so they can show their spirit for the holiday and avoid getting pinched. While it may be easy for you to throw on a green shirt, sport a St. Patrick’s Day button, or wear a pair of emerald-hued shoes, if you’re an avid St. Patty’s Day enthusiast you may want to try something different this year. Dr. Matthew Fortna thought of a few ideas that will help you take your holiday spirit to the next level:
Visit Chicago’s Green River
If you happen to be near the Windy City during St. Patrick’s Day or you’re thinking of planning a trip, don’t miss out on going downtown to watch the large-scale celebration that kicks off when the city dyes the river bright green. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago has been celebrating the holiday with this tradition for more than 50 years, with tens of thousands of people gathering annually to witness the mysterious dying process and the stunning result.
Don Green Face Paint
Just like an avid sports fan on game day, you can use green face paints to showcase your enthusiasm for this holiday. Avoid breakouts or allergic reactions by only using paints that are specifically meant to be applied to the skin. A little bit of face paint can cover a large area, so feel free to get creative and decorate the whole family on St. Patrick’s Day.
Eat Green All Day
Not a fan of green eggs and ham? With the increasing popularity of green smoothies, there’s no better time to get in on this health craze. To create a green smoothie without the aid of food coloring, you can simply blend a generous amount of a leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or kale, with the ingredients that you would typically use to make a smoothie, like fruit, ice, milk, or juice. Keep the trend going throughout the day by using those same vegetables to create a green soup, egg salad, or a batch of bright green pastries. As an added bonus, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins without changing the taste of most of these foods.
If your old holiday routine has gotten stale, leave your green T-shirt in the drawer and try one or all of these tips. Don’t be surprised if you have so much fun that you decide to start a new, annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition! Have a happy St. Paddy’s day from Family Orthodontics!
March 7th, 2018
If you’re like most adults, you aren't enthused about the idea of having to get traditional metal braces. The look, feel, and cost keep many people from getting the smile they want.
However, many options are available at our Fredonia office if you’re looking for a cost-effective and more discreet way to straighten your teeth.
Choosing the right kind of cosmetic braces depends on the severity of your situation. Some cosmetic braces, such as clear aligners, are best suited for mild to moderate spacing or crowding of the teeth, and minimal bite alignment issues. But there are options for people who need more intense treatment.
Below is a list of some of the most popular options available today.
Invisalign® involves multiple clear aligner trays that you wear in a predetermined order to achieve the desired treatment result. Most people won’t even know you’re wearing them, and they offer solid results. Clear aligners might not be suitable for all cases; they are mainly for those with mild to moderate spacing or crowding of the teeth and minimal bite alignment issues.
Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces, but less visible due to translucent ceramic brackets and/or wires. They are not quite as discreet as clear aligners such as Invisalign, but they are more subtle than traditional braces and can be used for most cases.
Lingual braces are attached to the back of your teeth instead of the front. They are highly discreet but effective at moving teeth and correcting bite issues. Their cost is higher due to the materials involved, and the additional time and effort required to place them accurately.
Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but no elastics (ligatures) are required on the bracket because they have built-in clips to hold the wire against your teeth. People will perceive you’re wearing them, but they don’t need as many adjustments from Dr. Matthew Fortna, so you’ll require fewer appointments and undergo a shorter treatment time.
It’s only natural to have questions before you embark on a course of braces treatment. Speak with Dr. Matthew Fortna or any of our staff members at our Fredonia office about your goals, budget, and timeframe, and we’ll help you find the right fit!
February 28th, 2018
Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles. Just hearing the word “braces” and picturing a mouth full of metal can cause many grownups to hesitate about getting treatment for a straighter smile.
We’re here to give you the information you need to evaluate your treatment options and make the right choice for yourself. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces as an adult is an excellent way to create the straight, confident smile you’ve always desired.
What are my options?
Recent advances in orthodontic medicine have created numerous options for adults who need braces.
These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or who require other major orthodontic changes. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is the visible appearance of metal and wires.
Clear ceramic braces offer a solution to that, though they cost more. They’re are a good alternative for correcting highly crooked teeth or bite issues. Smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth, so you have to commit to being mindful and taking good care of them.
Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear-aligner treatment, such as with Invisalign®. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by using a series of clear, retainer-like aligners.
In general, the Invisalign process lasts anywhere from three to 18 months. Keep in mind, however, that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems or severe overcrowding.
The prospect of getting braces as an adult can be intimidating, but you should not let your fears prevent you from obtaining the smile of your dreams. A consultation at our Fredonia office with Dr. Matthew Fortna will address your concerns and provide more information about the best course of treatment!
February 14th, 2018
Valentine’s Day is the holiday to celebrate all the treasured relationships in your life. It’s a time to honor love in all shapes and forms with cards, social gatherings, and sometimes even binge eating of sweets.
It's hard to look the other way when grocery stores and pharmacies are invaded with goodies connected to the Valentine’s Day theme, and especially if you’re on the receiving end of some of these sweets. We get it. In fact, we’re all for it!
However, we also support a cavity-free smile. So in the interest of your dental and general health, and because we think it’s genuinely tasty, Dr. Matthew Fortna recommends an alternative to the Valentine treats you may be accustomed to: dark chocolate.
Yes, Healthy Chocolate Exists
Studies have shown that dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, an ingredient found in the cocoa beans used to make chocolate. Flavonoids can help protect the body against toxins, reduce blood pressure, and improve blood flow to the heart and brain.
By opting for dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, you get to reap these benefits! Pretty sweet, right? Just make sure to stick to high-quality dark chocolates that have undergone minimal processing.
Dark Chocolate, AKA Protector of Teeth
Not only does dark chocolate provide some nice benefits for your overall health, it also helps protect your teeth against cavities! According to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, dark chocolate contains high amounts of tannins, another ingredient present in cocoa beans.
Tannins can actually help prevent cavities by interfering with the bacteria that causes them. Think of them as scarecrows for bacteria. They don’t always prevail, but isn’t it nice to have them there?
Smooth Never Sticky
Unlike many popular candies, dark chocolate is less likely to stick in the crevices of your teeth. Chewy, gooey sweets are more likely to hang around in your mouth for longer periods of time, which means they raise the odds of your harboring cavity-creating bacteria.
While some dark chocolates have additives like caramel or marshmallow, it’s best to opt for the plain varieties, which are just as delicious. If you’re feeling festive, though, a dark chocolate with caramel is still better than a milk chocolate with caramel, so that’s the way to go!
While dark chocolate has some pretty sweet benefits, the most important thing to remember (whether you go the dark chocolate route or not), is that moderation is key. That being said, we hope you have fun satisfying your sweet tooth and shopping for treats for your friends and loved ones. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Family Orthodontics!
February 7th, 2018
When it comes to straightening your smile, our team at Family Orthodontics knows that having a mouth full of metal braces may not be your idea of fun. Luckily for you, Dr. Matthew Fortna can offer a cosmetic alternative: Invisalign!
Using a series of clear, comfortable, and completely customized aligners, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted without traditional braces.
Since Invisalign aligners are discreet, they’re hardly noticeable when you speak and smile, and because they’re removable, you can eat and drink whatever you want. Just remember to brush and floss before putting your aligners back in! Treatment with Invisalign is just as effective as with metal braces, and the results are just as amazing!
If you want to know more about Invisalign, contact our Fredonia office to schedule an appointment.
January 25th, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.
Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctors and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!