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Plaque – what is it and why does it matter?

We all have heard multiple times to make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss after meals. The reason why we are told this is to keep our teeth and gums healthy while removing plaque build up.

So, what exactly is plaque? Plaque is a colorless, sticky form of bacteria that is continually forming on our teeth and along the gum line. When it is not removed it calcifies and becomes a hardened plaque called tarter. Tarter attaches below the gum line and on the enamel of your teeth forming a brown or yellow color along the gum line and between teeth. If, plaque is left untreated it can cause gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth loss.

The mouth is the window to our body and periodontitis is linked to heart disease, blocked arteries and stroke. Every time we swallow, we move a little bit of plaque into our body, arteries and blood stream. This is why doctors and dentists are now linking oral health issues to body health. Now, we all develop plaque because we have bacteria growing in our mouth all the time, but how can we avoid it? We can avoid it by doing what our dentist tells us to do:

1. Brush your teeth at least twice daily.
2. Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line.
3. Limit sugar, starchy foods and sticky candy or snacks.
4. Schedule a regular dental cleaning every 6 months

Follow your dentist’s advice and brush your teeth at least twice daily and make sure to floss, daily. Doing this will not only keep your mouth healthy, but it will help keep the rest of your body healthy, as well.

Clear Aligner Therapy

I took this photo on Sept 8,2017 at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia. The thing with taking photos of waterfalls is that you can never capture the sound which is a major key to it’s serenity.

Orthodontist have historically been restless individuals. What I mean by this is, orthodontist seek continuous improvement. This characteristic draw has made our profession a very innovative one. There have been innovations in the way we diagnose, use imaging, improve patient comfort, improve the patient experience, improve the speed of treatment, the access to treatment and the list goes on. Of all of the areas of improvement, I would argue that esthetics and hygiene have been of the greatest interest to the consumer. Consumer, of course, meaning You, the patient. Clear aligner therapy has met both of these concerns head on! Let me tell you about clear aligner therapy and touch on some of the frequently asked questions that I field.

What is Clear Aligner Therapy?

Orthodontics is traditionally performed using braces and arch wires. These appliances impose a force on a tooth that moves the tooth in three planes of space. Moving teeth in three planes of space is in sum called orthodontics. What if we took the braces out of the equation and were still able to move teeth in three planes of space? Clear aligner therapy is just that! A clear aligner is a tray that is custom adapted to your teeth. Using CAD/CAM technology, we are able to create a series of trays where by each tray moves each of the teeth in small increments. Orthodontists have mastered the bone and tooth biology as well as the force systems needed to move teeth. With our foundation of knowledge in this area, the same principles of tooth movement can now be applied using a system other than braces and wires.