FAQ

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

August 19th, 2016

Everyone remembers their parents reminding them to drink milk on a daily basis to build strong bones in order to grow tall and strong. Getting enough dairy is critical for kids whose teeth are still growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium to help your child build bone tissue and maintain optimal dental health. Milk contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium works to promote calcium deposits in your child’s enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that are known to cause caries, or cavities.

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry warn that kids don’t receive enough calcium, stating only one in five children meets the minimum standards for calcium consumption. That is, two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children who are nine years old need almost twice as much calcium as younger kids and about the same amount as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt or cheese is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption.

If your child is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk, there are many products which contain the same amount of calcium that your child would receive from drinking a glass of milk. These include:

  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
  • Plant-based problem foods such as beans, broccoli or spinach
  • Tofu

If your child does not get enough dairy–rich products, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. We strongly encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy bones and teeth to last a lifetime.

If you have any questions about the role calcium plays in your child’s diet, please give us a call or ask us during your child’s next appointment!

Avoiding delays during your orthodontic treatment

June 19th, 2016

Our patients hate the thought of delaying their treatment time and often ask us what they can do in-between their adjustment visits to avoid having a setback. Today, we thought we would provide some tips on how you can stay on track in regards to your treatment plan time.

The first thing we want you to do is keep your adjustment appointments. Each of your visits while you are undergoing treatment is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. It is critical to note that missing an appointment can add weeks, if not months, to your overall treatment time.

Next, we want you to let us know right away if your experience any problems with your braces or appliances. A missing wire, rubber band, or broken bracket can delay treatment time, so we ask that you please give us a call right away to report any issues rather than waiting until your next visit. We are committed to get you into the practice to address and resolve any issues as soon as feasible.

Make sure you wear your rubber bands as prescribed. Most, if not all, of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. Like missing your adjustment appointments, not wearing the bands or elastics, or not wearing them enough, can slow down the treatment process and cost you valuable treatment time. Rubber bands play a key role in aligning your bite and are essential for the bite-fixing phase of your treatment.

Finally, we want you to maintain good oral hygiene, just as you did before your treatment began. In addition to flossing regularly, we encourage you to brush your teeth several times a day. Not brushing will allow sugar to wear away the cement on the braces, rendering them inadequate in moving your teeth, as well as elevate your risk of developing cavities or tooth decay, which will inevitably delay valuable treatment time. The goal is to end up with a beautiful and healthy smile, and home care is essential to achieving this on schedule.

If you have any questions about any of these tips, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

Are Braces Right for Me?

April 19th, 2016

Are Braces Right for Me?

According to Preferred Consumer, it's estimated that 50 percent of people have teeth that are crooked, not aligned properly, or irregular. Fortunately, modern orthodontics has advanced to the point where corrective devices, such as braces and retainers, are less obvious, more comfortable, and can be worn for shorter periods of time.

So, with that being said, how do you know if braces are right for you? Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not braces could be in your future:

Crooked Teeth
As children grow, so do their teeth. And more often than not, certain teeth will grow in crooked. This isn't uncommon, as the majority of children will require some sort of teeth correction, whether that’s braces or retainers. Retainers are custom-made devices that either work to hold teeth in place or correct tooth alignment. They're often worn all day, aside from meals, at the start of the treatment period and then eventually are rolled back so they're just worn at night. Braces on the other hand are worn for at least a year and work to help straighten or position teeth.

Overbite or Underbite
The other main oral issue that orthodontics helps correct is uneven alignment, such as an underbite or an overbite. You might hear us refer to this as a "malocclusion," which means "bad bite." Braces can help rearrange your alignment so an overbite or underbite is less of a problem. Typically after the braces come off for this sort of treatment, patients need to wear a retainer to finish the treatment.

While braces are typically associated with dental issues in children, more adults are wearing the devices as well. According to USA Today, about one in every five braces wearers are adults; a sign that it's never too late to correct any oral issues. Part of this trend is due to significant technological advancements in orthodontics. For instance, new braces feel much better and come in a variety of styles — including clear — so they're far less obvious. Plus, the wires on braces are now made from advanced metals, which are stronger and lighter, so they get the job done much more efficiently. With so many people wearing braces these days (according to thePennsylvania Dental Association, about four million people in the US wear braces at any given time and many more have worn them at some time in their lives), nicknames like "metal mouth" and "brace face" are almost a thing of the past. Technology has also advanced to the point some orthodontic treatment will not require braces at all. The entire treatment can be successfully achieved by wearing clear aligners over your teeth, removing them for meals. This prevents any discomfort that may be associated with traditional braces. What's more, insurance plans are increasingly covering orthodontic treatment, making braces a much more feasible option for families on a budget.

When weighing whether or not braces or aligners are in your future, it's important to study all of your options about the categories of braces and other treatments. Also be sure to contact your insurance provider to see what is covered and what will have to be paid out of pocket. It might take a few years of treatment, but braces can give you that winning smile for the rest of your life. Call our office with any questions you might have!

A Guide to Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

February 19th, 2016

Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces. When your braces are finally removed, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here are a few tips to help you keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

Learn Proper Brushing Techniques

Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for best results. Using an oral rinse every day will help, too. Rinsing with mouthwash is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces, as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.

Brush after Every Meal

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

Eat Braces-Safe Foods

When you have braces, there are certain foods that you must avoid. For starters, sticky foods such as caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and are difficult to remove during brushing. Avoid hard foods, too, such as nuts and candy. Those goodies can bend wires or even break a bracket. And while you may love apples, carrots, or corn on the cob, they’re too firm or hard to bite into and can damage your braces. Crunchy treats can also harm your orthodontic appliances. It’s best to stay away from chips and popcorn, which can damage your braces. So just what can you eat? We recommend soft foods that are low in enamel-busting acids, such as bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta.

Get Regular Checkups

It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist, as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.

As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth healthy while you wear braces.

Adapting Your Diet after an Orthodontic Adjustment

December 19th, 2015

If you have just gotten braces or had them tightened, it may take a few days for your teeth to adjust. During this time, you’ll want to take extra precautions to prevent unnecessary pain and potential damage to your teeth, gums, and appliances. Don’t worry: Any discomfort you experience will soon disappear. And it’ll all be worth it in the end. Your new, beautiful smile will be yours for a lifetime!

Change What You Eat

Eating inappropriate foods can cause unnecessary pain. Here are some easy ways you can adapt your diet and eating habits after an adjustment.

  1. Cut your food into small pieces. Any food that requires chewing can be cut up into bite-sized pieces. This includes sandwiches, pizza, meat, and bread.
  2. Eat softer foods. In the first couple of days, stick to soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and soups. Mashed potatoes and applesauce are good options as well. It’s easy to cook fruits and vegetables to make them softer: just steam them in the microwave!
  3. Be gentle with your teeth. Braces give your teeth a workout, so to ease soreness, be gentle with your teeth. Avoid chewy foods that can further irritate already-sore teeth and gums.

Dealing with Discomfort

Even if you alter your diet and take extra precautions, your mouth may still be sore or irritated. Here are some ways to reduce any lingering discomfort.

  1. Eat slowly and carefully. If it hurts to chew something, stop! If chewing is needed, try to use your back teeth as much as possible.
  2. Put pain on ice. Try sucking on some small pieces of ice. Don’t chew on the ice; this will make your discomfort worse. You can also use an ice pack or put frozen peas in a bag and apply pressure to the sore areas.
  3. Use wax. Put wax on any metal part that irritates your mouth. If you need some, please let us know!
  4. Do a salt rinse. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes. Just don’t swallow the salt water.

Following these simple tips will get you back to smiling in no time! If you have any questions about your treatment, or how to eat with braces, please give us a call or ask us during your next appointment!

Got my braces. Now what?

August 14th, 2015

Now that you are wearing braces, it is just as important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen as you did before your orthodontic treatment began.

How do I keep my teeth clean?

Braces are known to trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or remove plaque, which is why we recommend that you brush and floss after every meal. We also encourage you to use a proxabrush to help with the smaller areas where your toothbrush does not reach. We also recommend the use of fluoride rinse. When your braces are initially placed, your teeth are likely to be very sensitive. You may experience discomfort for up to 3 or 5 days, which is why we encourage you to eat soft foods during that time. Remember, the less pressure you put on your teeth, the less discomfort you will experience.

You may also be thinking, “Okay, so what can I eat?” We would encourage you to avoid eating sticky, hard, crunchy or chewy snacks that can stick to your teeth or damage the braces.

It is critical to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to schedule an appointment for repair.

How do I maintain my oral health during treatment?

Lastly, in addition to visiting our office during your orthodontic treatment for regular adjustments, you should visit your dentist for professional check-ups and teeth cleaning appointments every six months, or as recommended by your doctor.

Questions? Please let us know below by giving us a call or during your next adjustment!

Information in this post was attained from sesamecommunications.

Four facts about Adults in Braces

June 30th, 2015

First impressions are important – and a person’s smile plays a large role. It’s not surprising that 87 percent of adults agree it’s important to have straight teeth, and many also agree that an unattractive smile affects their career success. Despite a strong desire to make a good impression, taking the next step to straight teeth can make adult candidates feel anxious.
Here are four facts to consider:

  1. Do you think an unattractive smile means you don’t look their best? Well, you’re not alone - studies show 99.7 percent of adults think an attractive smile affects physical appearance.
  2. What can braces do for your confidence? Studies show that 49 percent of adults expect confidence in their appearance to be an outcome of braces, and another 49 percent of adults expect to smile more than before treatment.
  3. If you are nervous about the effect braces will have on your professional life, have no fear. Why? Studies show more than half of adults (65 percent) do not think that having braces has or will have a negative effect on their personal or professional life – they are confident in their choice to fix their smile, but need to find the right solution.
  4. Children and teenagers are not the only orthodontic patients, in fact one in five orthodontic patients is an adult.

Now is the time for you to treat yourself to the gift of straight teeth.
With today’s technology, Dr Menker can help patients avoid much of the appearance-related anxiety that traditional metal braces bring by offering more discreet, or even invisible choices, to improve your smiles and health.
Consider the following treatment options for your smile:

  • 3M™ Clarity™ ADVANCED Ceramic Brackets: This revolutionary solution is less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Clarity ADVANCED ceramic brackets are a leap forward in ceramic brackets, offering a combination of aesthetics and performance to your patients. The ultra-small, translucent brackets are made of innovative ceramic material, which blends in with natural tooth color and is resistant to staining and discoloration throughout the treatment process.
  • 3M™ Incognito™ Lingual Appliance System: This option is perhaps the most discreet option for patients who want to keep their braces completely hidden. The customized lingual brackets and robotically bent wires are engineered to work together to deliver the targeted result. Each bracket pad and body conforms to the patient’s dental anatomy, optimizing comfort.

To learn more about these treatment options, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Menker Today!

Going on vacation? Remember these simple tips!

June 29th, 2015

If you are wearing braces and are planning a vacation, we 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, 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! Enjoy your time away!

Dr. Craig L. Menker and his staff are knowledgeable and caring. Incognito Invisible Braces and other clear choices are provided to Warren, South Plainfield, Basking Ridge, Bridgewater, Edison, Piscataway, and all neighboring communities. New patients are always welcome. Schedule your complimentary consultation today!

How do braces move teeth, anyway?

May 31st, 2015

Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time, on an average of two years. Traditional orthodontic treatment works when we attach braces and brackets onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where we insert orthodontic wires when you first get your braces on, as well as your subsequent adjustment visits. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape, and so do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.

Not long ago, orthodontists had a single option—stainless steel wires–and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.

When you first get your braces, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, you will notice we will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.

Each time you visit Menker Braces for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting the right amount of pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move at a steady pace and allow us to assess progress and ensure we keep your treatment plan on track.

As for rubber bands and elastics? Most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. These elastics are typically placed from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, pulling on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite and a beautiful smile.

If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your orthodontic treatment, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

Do you have questions about how you can attain a beautiful smile? Dr. Craig L. Menker and his staff are knowledgeable and caring. We offer affordable financing for clear braces. Incognito™ Hidden braces and other clear choices are provided to Warren, South Plainfield, Basking Ridge, Edison, Piscataway, and all neighboring communities. New patients are always welcome. Schedule a complimentary consultation today!

Information in this post was attained from sesamecommunications.

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