Mouthguards Help Prevent Chipped, Broken Teeth and Other Injuries

MouthguardAccording 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.

At Austin Family Orthodontics we strongly recommend that all children wear protective mouth guards during sports play.

Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions.

Unfortunately, accidents still happen. The upper front permanent teeth are the most common teeth to be completely knocked out. Knocked out baby or primary teeth are rarely placed back in the mouth because they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth.

However, permanent teeth can be saved if you do the right things.The most important thing is to get the tooth back in the socket as quickly as possible then get to the dentist. The longer the tooth is out of the socket the less likely it can be successfully reimplanted.

The knocked out permanent tooth should be rinsed gently with water or milk to remove any debris.Do not scrub it clean. Care should be taken to handle the tooth only by its crown and not by its root. Then the tooth should be placed gently back into the socket.

If the parent or patient is unsure about reimplanting the tooth, then the tooth should be stored in milk (if available) or in water and brought to the dentist as soon as possible.

I'll Never Complain About Flossing Again!

snail teethDid you know that a snail’s mouth is no bigger than the head of a pin, but they can have 25,000 teeth located on their tongue! I’ll never complain about flossing again!

An elephant’s molar can weigh 10 pounds and they may go through 10 sets of teeth in their lifetime!

An armadillo has 104 teeth!

Narwhals have a huge single tusk, like a unicorn. It is the most neurologically complex tooth known and used in eating, navigating, and even mating.Petfinder, vet column, rabbit dentist.

Rabbits: almost all mammals have primary and permanent teeth, but bunnies typically lose their baby teeth before they are born!

Venomous snakes have hollow teeth, which allow for the storing and injection of venom into their prey. A poison gland feeds into the snake’s fangs and provides venom at the point of attack, while smaller teeth on the snake’s bottom jaw are only for latching onto the victim.

sheepsheadThe Sheepshead is a common fish in North America and a target for many fishermen. What many people don’t realize, however, is how strange their teeth are! These fish have human-like teeth, which are odd, but they also have a row of teeth on the roof of their mouths.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the soft tissues that surround the teeth. It is caused by bacteria that are found in plaque. If the plaque and bacteria is not removed from the teeth on a regular basis the tissue becomes red, swollen and can bleed easily. Eventually the bone that surrounds the teeth can be affected causing possible bone loss. Bone loss is irreversible and can lead to tooth loss.

There are three stages of gum disease:

Advanced PeriodontitisGingivitis: The first stage of gum disease is an infection of the gums. The gums will be red and swollen and bleed easily. Healthy gums do not bleed. At all stages of gum disease there can be bad breath. In this early stage of gum disease, the damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.

Periodontitis: At this stage, gums begin to separate and recede from the teeth. This allows plaque to form below the gum line toward the roots of the teeth where a regular toothbrush cannot reach. There will be bleeding and possibly pus when pressure is applied to the gum tissue.

Advanced PeriodontitisAdvanced Periodontitis: In this final stage of gum disease, the connective tissue and fibers and the surrounding bone are destroyed. The teeth may appear to have gotten longer but it is actually the supporting gum and bone that has receded. The teeth will easily shift causing your bite to change.
Gum disease is most common in adults but can occur at any age.

Youngsters who are wearing dental appliances must be diligent in their cleaning routines to prevent problems. If detected in its early stages, gum disease can be reversed so see your dentist on a regular basis. By scheduling regular checkups, early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition. If your condition is more advanced, treatment in the dental office will be required.

Wear Green On Your Teeth For March And St. Patrick ’s Day!

Luck O' The IrishDid you know that St Patrick wasn’t even Irish…He was born in England and lived there until he was a teenager! One of the many myths about St. Patrick was that he drove out all of the snakes from Ireland, yet there never were any snakes in Ireland!

And…he didn’t even wear green! He was best known for his St. Patrick’s blue. Yet he worked on the Emerald Isles and used the shamrock to represent the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, in time he became inseparably related to the lucky green.

So whether you are Irish or not, don your lucky green on your teeth and chew on some corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes with those “green” teeth for March!

Preventing White Marks On Your Teeth During Orthodontics

White Spots on Teeth After BracesEveryone has bacteria in their mouth. Dental plaque forms in your mouth after eating and the bacteria live a very good life in the plaque. Dental plaque is sticky and attaches to the teeth. Once the bacteria living in the plaque eats the sugars in your diet, they produce more of themselves and give off acid. The acid begins to eat away at the enamel on your teeth creating a white spot.

These white scars are actually the beginnings of a full blown cavity and they are permanent damage to the teeth. No one wants to have straight teeth that are scarred with white marks. Your orthodontist can only do so much to prevent the decalcification process that causes these white marks. The only thing that can prevent them completely is to clean off the plaque consistently and thoroughly after meals. Dig with the bristles of your toothbrush under the wire and in between the teeth, wire and gums.

Be somewhat aggressive, remember this plaque is sticky and takes a little bit of elbow grease! After brushing and flossing inspect the teeth for any debris and revisit any areas that are not pristine. If there is no food or plaque on any surfaces of the teeth you can feel secure about the job you did. Consistency is key! Keep those choppers clean and healthy and you should not have to worry about white scars!

The History of the Toothbrush

Cup with toothbrushes and toothpaste. Ancient civilizations used a "chew stick," which was a thin twig with a frayed end. These 'chew sticks' were rubbed against the teeth.

The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog's neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo. YUCK!

Boar bristles were used until 1938, when nylon bristles were introduced by Dupont de Nemours. The first nylon toothbrush was called Doctor West's Miracle Toothbrush. Later, Americans were influenced by the disciplined hygiene habits of soldiers from World War II. They became increasingly concerned with the practice of good oral hygiene and quickly adopted the nylon toothbrush.

Some other interesting toothbrush facts:

  • The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780.
  • The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth, (patent number 18,653,) on Nov. 7, 1857.
  • Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
  • One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.

Retrieved from:, The Library of Congress

What are the many benefits of straight teeth and a good bite?

The Social Aspect

Straight Teeth and a Good SmileIt may not be fair but appearance does matter. In a recent study by Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign, 1047 Americans took a survey to evaluate their perception of someone’s level of success by contrasted images of men and women with straight or crooked teeth. Facial images with straight teeth were perceived to be 58% more likely to be successful.

Oral Health

Teeth that are crowded or overlap create small spaces between the teeth that are difficult to clean effectively. This can cause a build-up of bacteria and plaque and can lead to decay and gum disease. Going through orthodontic treatment, can help prevent many oral health issues later.


The alignment of your teeth plays an important role in your speech. When a child’s teeth lean too far forward or backward, a speech impediment may develop causing embarrassment or frustration. Orthodontics ensures the teeth are at the appropriate position to make sounds and speech normally.

Bone Erosion

Bone and tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support them. Poorly aligned teeth can create gaps or spaces or exert too much force when biting causing the same kind of bone erosion. A good bite is recommended for the long term health of bone and tissue levels.


And of course, your teeth are designed to begin the digestion process by chewing your food. A poor bite, large gaps or misaligned teeth can disrupt the digestion process.

I Got Braces Two Months Ago And Now My Teeth Look Worse!

Straightening teeth is a dynamic process. They do not flow from one side to the next like beads on a string. Sometimes they may go through an “ugly duckling stage” before they unravel and start to look better.  It is perfectly normal to have gaps appear where there wasn’t before.

If you are ever concerned about the way things are looking, a quick check by the doctor can ease your mind, but most likely the changes are necessary for the progression of the treatment.  Small gaps or teeth that appear too long or short are often just part of the process. You may even feel like your teeth touch in different places from day to day. Sometimes orthodontics is like the weather in Texas…if you don’t like it, wait until tomorrow and it will be different!

Why Do I Have to Wear Braces Twice?

I have heard statements similar to this many times before. "I had braces at age 8, but the orthodontist didn’t do it right so I had to do them again at age 14."

At age 8, most kids are not paying too much attention to the “why”, but are more concerned with the “how” and “how long?” In their minds all they know is they had to wear braces twice.

After working in the field for more than 20 years, one of the misconceptions about orthodontic treatment that I continually run into is that it is best to do only one orthodontic treatment. It makes sense, "I want to do it only once and pay for it only once!" Sometimes this is the best option, but it all depends on the objectives.

This is why making sure you understand the orthodontic problem and its treatment is so critical to your perception of the success of the treatment. Often braces are used to do more than straighten crooked teeth.

Make sure you understand what the orthodontist is trying to achieve with early treatment and why it is a better alternative to one phase of treatment. Understanding the “why” makes the “how” and “ how long” easier to accept!

Short Orthodontic Appointments

You take time off work, drive to your child’s school, wait while they draw him out of class, drive across town to take him to the orthodontist and the appointment is done in ten minutes! It hardly seems worth all of the trouble, but these observation or recall appointments are actually essential for your child’s orthodontic care.

The goal is to get the most out of treatment, in the least amount of time; yet timing is often the key. The loss of baby teeth in the right order and at the right time can help the permanent teeth come in straighter, reduce treatment time, and make the final result the best possible.

Evaluating the eruption process doesn't take much time, but missing a problem at the right moment can add months or even years to a patient’s treatment. So feel free to ask the doctor what he or she was evaluating at each appointment. You will find that these short appointments are some of the most important.