December 18th, 2019
Now that you’re a teenager, you have a lot more responsibility and independence. Choosing high school classes and electives. Getting a driver’s license. Landing your first job. And those new responsibilities extend to your dental health as well!
If you’ve just gotten braces, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Learning how to brush and floss effectively, attaching rubber bands several times a day, keeping track of your hours if you’re wearing clear aligners—it can seem like a lot. But you can do it! With time and practice, caring for your braces will become just another part of your daily routine. Dr. McSweeney and our team are here to make sure you have all the information and tools you need to succeed. The most important thing to remember is that the better you follow our instructions, the quicker and more effective your orthodontic treatment will be.
If you’ve successfully completed your orthodontic treatment, dealing with your retainer should be a piece of cake! We will give you clear instructions on how long each day you should wear your retainer. Sticking to this schedule is really important--if you don’t wear the appliance as directed, you can undo some of the progress you’ve worked so hard to make. And when you’re not wearing your retainer, be sure it has a safe life outside your mouth. Keep it in a protective case, and keep it someplace where the puppy/the washing machine/the cafeteria trash bin won’t find it.
If you have a mouthguard for sports or athletic activities, wear it! Whether you have an over-the-counter device or a custom fabricated guard, it won’t do you any good hiding in your locker. A mouthguard cuts down on tooth and facial injuries caused by falls, physical contact, or other accidents that might happen in your active life. And if you wear braces, ask about a mouthguard designed to fit around them. These custom devices protect your braces and your mouth.
Finally, remember that sticking with your dental routine—two minutes of brushing morning and night and thorough flossing each day—will keep your gums and teeth healthy throughout your teen years. And, if you have any questions about your dental health in general, or a specific dental concern, give our Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake office a call! We’re here to work with you for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
December 11th, 2019
X-rays have been a function of dental healthcare for a long time. That in and of itself should be good news, because it means we've had plenty of time to improve them. While there is always some risk in exposure to radiation, dental X-ray exposure has decreased significantly due to all the advances in technology. So there’s risk, but X-rays are quite safe.
Think of X-rays as you would about a car. Automobiles these days have all kinds of technology to make them as safe as possible. There's still a chance that you’ll suffer an accident. Would you stop using a car because of that risk? When it comes to dental X-rays, Dr. McSweeney and our team believe the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.
X-rays can be done digitally or with film. For film, X-rays require different exposures at different speeds to produce the image. Digital X-rays have software that automatically adjusts the exposure and produces the X-ray in a digital file. Since they substantially reduce your exposure to radiation, digital X-rays are the current standard in dental offices.
In addition to digital X-rays, lead aprons are an essential piece of X-ray safety. They help protect internal organs from X-rays by acting as a shield. They usually come with a thyroid collar as well, since that is one of the most vulnerable areas to X-rays in the body. Lead aprons can absorb up to 95% of any scatter rays that result from an X-ray. Not bad, right?
Although dental X-rays involve some radiation exposure (not all of it can be eliminated), so does everyday life. Getting too much sun, for example, can be dangerous. The truth is, we accumulate radiation in our bodies over a lifetime, so it’s worthwhile to be aware and avoid as much unnecessary exposure as possible. When it comes to your dental health, though, getting an X-ray — especially when your doctor says you need it — offers more benefits than risks.
Ask us about the type of dental X-rays we use during your next visit to our Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake office!
December 4th, 2019
If you’ve never been to an orthodontist before, you might be wary of what to expect during your first visit. Your dentist may have recommended an orthodontic appliance if it could improve the state of your oral health. More often, you may suspect that you or your child should have orthodontic work done if the time is right financially.
Understanding the various options your orthodontist can perform will be helpful to know before your appointment.
Your initial appointment usually lasts at least an hour. It’s common that diagnostic work will need to be done. This might include getting X-rays so Dr. McSweeney can better understand the overall structure of your mouth. A quick mold of the mouth may also be taken if braces are a possibility.
Your first appointment is intended to find out how we can efficiently give you a great smile! Here’s a list of common questions you might ask during your first visit:
- Is now the right time for treatment, or should it wait?
- What is the estimated length of time for the treatment?
- How much should I expect to pay? What are the payment options?
- What can I do to prevent or minimize pain?
- Is it likely that I will wear extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite, underbite, or other problems?
- Are there specific foods I will need to avoid?
- Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
- How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
- How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?
Don’t be afraid to ask these and other questions before you or your child commits to getting braces. Dr. McSweeney and our team are happy to answer any of them before or after your visit.
Once you’ve had your initial consultation, our team will be here throughout the entire process if any problems arise. We look forward to seeing you at your first appointment in our Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake office!
November 27th, 2019
Dr. McSweeney and our team at McSweeney Orthodontics know that for some of our patients wearing braces, it can be difficult to weave through those wires and brackets as you brush and floss during your treatment.
Some of our patients use a water pick to flush out food and other particles and bacteria stuck between their teeth as the water can reach behind the metal wires and hit spots where your floss simply cannot reach. People suffering from gum disease also find water picks quite effective because of their ability to flush out bacteria from inside the deep pockets.
Water picks are friendly to braces and are also gentle on the gums. They are less likely to cause bleeding for people with sensitive teeth or gums. But as many benefits as they may have, Dr. McSweeney and our team want you to know that water picks should never be used as a substitute for flossing. Though they are great tools for helping improve oral health while you are in treatment, they are just not a good enough tool on their own to keep your mouth and gums gingivitis- and decay-free. Water picks are also incapable of removing plaque from teeth as effectively as floss can. While water picks rinse the sticky bacteria off your teeth, flossing is actually more effective as it actually scrapes the bacteria off of your pearly whites.
If you have any questions about water picks or any general questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to please ask us below or give us a call!