• Sleep-disordered Breathing & Airway Problems In Children

    Sleep-disordered breathing appears to be a significant problem for a proportion of children.

    I see a lot of children whose parents ask questions about improving the breathing or airways of their children, often having already been informed such treatment is necessary and important by another dental professional. I would therefore like to briefly outline the scientific evidence currently available related to treatment of airway problems in children.

    The first line of treatment is commonly the removal of enlarged adenoids and tonsils. This is well supported in the scientific literature and needs to be performed with the appropriate guidance from ENT specialist doctors

    I would like to have something positive to say about the role of facial growth and orthodontics and treating childhood breathing problems. After all this is a problem and we would like to be able to help. However there is often a desire to “do something” without regard to the cost-benefit analysis – ie are we actually making a positive difference with our treatment for our patients?

    Unfortunately there is no or minimal research evidence that supports the use of orthodontic treatment as part of the treatment of sleep disordered breathing in children. Some dental professionals promote “airway friendly orthodontics” but there is no reputable scientific support for many/most of the claims made for such treatment. It may give the appearance of “doing something” but appears to fail in any cost-benefit analysis in the majority of cases

    There is very weak evidence that mode of breathing influences facial growth and skeletal pattern.

    There is very weak evidence that orthodontic treatment has a role in treating sleep disordered breathing.

    However, this is a growth area in orthodontics, with active promotion of orthodontic treatment in treating sleep disordered breathing.

    So what do I believe, based on the best scientific evidence available?

    My treatment will be directed at correcting problems of crowding and bite (occlusion) and if we get an improvement in breathing this will be a bonus. I certainly will not be informing my patients that I am carrying out treatment to improve their breathing. I can still sleep at night.

  • Mouth Ulcers – Causes & Treatments

    Mouth ulcers are very common, but can be very annoying. The shallow sore may clear up in a day or linger, causing pain for weeks, depends on the type of ulcer it is.

    Most mouth ulcers are caused by some kind of trauma in your mouth – biting your tongue or lip, the rubbing of braces or sharp food. These ulcers usually do not last long.

    When the hard surfaces of braces or wires rub against the inside of your mouth they can cause mouth ulcers. The frontline defense against this is to place orthodontic wax over the object that is causing the rubbing.

    Another type of mouth ulcer, known as recurrent or apthous mouth ulcers, can last a lot longer, and then, after healing, reappear in a different spot. Between 10 and 20% of people will experience them, usually between 10 and 30 years of age. These ulcers are often smaller (1-2mm) but may last two weeks. Stress, poor nutrition or ill-health are sometimes associated with these ulcers, but the actual cause is thought to be a local immune reaction, when the immune system responds to something in that small section of skin in your mouth.

    We do not really know why these form, but being sick, stressed or having poor nutrition will make them more likely to occur.

    Treatment of ulcers is usually limited to pain relief in the form of steroid cream, paracetamol or antiseptic gel.

    There is some inconclusive evidence of a link between recurrent ulcers and deficiencies in micronutrients, such as vitamin B12, folic acid and iron.

    To learn more mouth ulcers and how they can be treated, call our Brisbane clinics anytime for a more detailed discussion.

  • At Home Hygiene With Braces

    No one likes bad breath or discoloured teeth, not to mention tooth decay or gum disease.

    Good oral hygiene is the simple preventative measure that you can take to avoid all these issues. But when you have orthodontic treatment it can be difficult to maintain the same standard of cleanliness.

    Below are just a few methods to maintaining a high level of oral hygiene while wearing braces:

    Brush, Brush, Brush

    Unfortunately, there is no magic replacement for brushing. It is the simplest and best method of maintaining dental hygiene. When you have braces, you may need to increase the frequency of brushing. Three times per day is a better goal for brushing when you wear braces – morning, after lunch, and after dinner

    An important thing to remember is that you may need to replace your toothbrush more often when you have braces. Bristles will wear faster during this time.

    Use Interdental Brushes – Often known as Piksters

    Interdental brushes are an integral part of maintaining oral hygiene when you have braces. The wires of your braces, can make it hard for standard toothbrushes to loosen or remove trapped food particles or plaque buildup. Interdental brushes are designed for cleaning around braces, under wires, and in between larger gaps where floss would be less effective. Piksters are a well-known brand of interdental brushes, and are readily available.

    Floss

    “Remember to floss” has become a tired mantra, but it really an important part of maintaining dental hygiene. If you are finding conventional flossing with braces too difficult, talk to your dentist about a floss threader, or a Water Flosser (Water Pik).

    Water Flossers replace conventional thread floss with a jet stream of water that removes stuck food particles and plaque.

    Rinse

    Rinse your mouth first with water, and then with a quality mouthwash. This will ensure that your mouth is clean, help reduce outbreaks/duration of any ulcers, and will give you a minty-fresh smile! Ask your orthodontist for a recommendation or proper technique if you have any questions.

    Have A Quick Look

    Before you finish your routine, make sure you flash a smile in the mirror. This serves two purposes. The first is a final check to ensure that no particles have remained. The second is because a smile never goes astray.

    When in doubt… Ask your Orthodontist!

    If you have any questions regarding maintaining oral hygiene, talk to your orthodontist. Tony Weir Orthodontics are your local family orthodontists. Contact us today to book an appointment or simply talk to our friendly staff in Greenslopes or Corinda, in Brisbane

  • It’s Not Easy Being a Teenager with Braces

    It’s already complicated being a teenager and sometimes braces can only worsen the struggle faced by a young person while they navigate their way through adolescence. Braces can cause self-esteem issues and be nuisances in everyday activities such as eating, talking and playing sports. However, the work is always worth it in the end! In this article, we look at how we can help teenagers through their treatment and hopefully make it that little bit easier.

    Investigate Alternatives

    In many cases, there will be alternatives to a regular brace that can achieve the same result. If your teenager is particularly unhappy with the effect that braces have on their appearance, then you can look into lingual braces or Invisalign . These treatments can be more expensive than a traditional external brace, but if it makes the patient significantly happier then that means an easier life for them, their parents and their orthodontist!

    Find Someone Who Can Empathise

    Sometimes braces can be uncomfortable, painful and frustrating to wear. If you had braces yourself in the past, then talk about your experience with your teenager so that they know that you understand what they’re going through. If you’ve never had a brace, then ask a family member who has to have a chat with your child so that they feel they have someone to talk to about their issues.

    Perhaps an older sibling or cousin had braces previously and can show your teenager before and after photos of their treatment so that they know it’ll be worth it in the end – the important thing is that your teenager knows they aren’t alone.

    Turn Low Self Esteem into Brace Pride

    We live in a modern society and wearing braces doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Spend some time with your teenager looking at photos of celebrities who wear or have worn braces and you’ll be surprised at what you find. Try searching Instagram for #braces, #braceface or even #babeswithbraces and you’ll instantly find thousands of photos of people happily undergoing orthodontic treatment. A brace is an investment in a future perfect smile and with many options of colours and types of braces, your teenager has some control over customising their look.

    Focus on Results

    Your Brisbane orthodontist will be able to give you a rough estimation of how long the treatment will take, so keep your teenager upbeat by focusing on how soon the day will come when they are brace-free with a beautiful straight smile. To your teenager, it may seem like they’ll be wearing the brace forever but with a busy life of schooling, extra-curricular activities and socialising, the final day will arrive in no time. Take photos along the way when their brace is changed so they can visualise their progress for extra motivation.

    To find out about the range of braces we offer at Tony Weir Orthodontics, call us now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

  • Braces – Side Effects and Problems

    Braces can achieve amazing results in straightening your teeth and correcting misalignment or poor bites, but there are many factors you should consider before undergoing treatment. Here, we’re investigating the most common side effects and problems that patients experience during treatment.

    Discomfort after Tightening

    When you’re wearing a brace, the wires must generally be tightened every four to six weeks in order to gradually move the teeth into their correct position. These adjustments apply pressure to the teeth which can cause some discomfort or pain.

    Some patients at our Brisbane office experience soreness in their teeth or jaw for a few days after the adjustment, and the pressure on your teeth can cause your gums to be tender. Fortunately, this pain is usually short-lived and can be easily managed with painkillers.

    Oral Hygiene Issues

    You may have heard stories of people wearing braces and developing tooth decay or gum disease as a result but this is not true. Wearing braces does not have a detrimental effect on your oral health; it simply requires more attention to maintain. When you are wearing a brace, it’s very important to brush and floss your teeth after eating in order to keep the area clean and free of bacteria, but there is no reason that the braces themselves should affect your oral health.

    Injuries from Your Appliance

    It is unlikely that your brace itself will cause you any injuries but it is possible for this to happen on occasion. Loose or broken wires and brackets can scratch or irritate the cheeks, gums or lips, so it’s important to get breaks fixed as soon as they occur.

    You can reduce the likelihood of harming your appliance by avoiding hard and crunchy foods as these can catch in the wires or brackets.

    Mouth Ulcers or Canker Sores

    When your brace is first fitted, you may notice ulcers or sores inside your mouth caused by the appliance rubbing against your cheeks and lips. Over time, the inside of your mouth will become resistant to this contact and the sores will disappear. Until then, if you find your brace causing continued discomfort to the soft tissue of your mouth, you can try using orthodontic wax strips which form a protective barrier between your brace and cheeks.

    For more information on the potential side effects of braces from the team at Tony Weir Orthodontics, call us now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

  • The Importance of Removing Overcrowded Teeth

    a female patient holds her mouth open to allow her orthodontist to inspect her teeth In certain situations, your orthodontist will recommend a tooth extraction in order to make room in your mouth or allow for tooth realignment to achieve the perfect smile . This is a very common and relatively simple procedure, so read on to learn more!

    When Is Extraction Necessary?

    Your Brisbane orthodontist will only recommend a tooth extraction when it is truly necessary, either to relieve pain, improve function or to allow successful brace treatment . Overcrowding is when there’s simply not enough space for your teeth to grow in proper alignment. The only way to cure this is by removing one or more teeth to allow for healthy future growth.

    How Does an Extraction Work?

    There are two types of extractions carried out to combat overcrowding, and the chosen method depends on the developmental stage of the tooth. When a tooth is fully erupted and can be seen in the mouth, it’s possible to have a simple extraction carried out by a general dentist under local anaesthetic. For teeth that have not fully come into the mouth or are below the gum line, a surgical extraction will be necessary. A small incision must be made into the gum before the tooth can be removed by an oral surgeon or dentist.

    Pain Management after Tooth Extraction

    Tooth extraction is a type of surgery and, as such, you can expect to feel some discomfort afterwards, but the pain should be manageable. The best course of action is to take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Ibuprofen for the first few days after the extraction as this will combat both pain and swelling. If your jaw feels swollen and uncomfortable, you can apply an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time to reduce the swelling. Do not smoke, use a straw or spit for 72 hours after surgery as all of these can pull the necessary blood clot out of the gap where your tooth was.

    What to Eat after Tooth Extraction

    After a tooth extraction, you may find that cold foods soothe the discomfort and swelling in your mouth, so the good news is that you have an excuse to eat plenty of ice cream! It’s important to stick to soft foods for the first few days after surgery so ice cream, smoothies, scrambled eggs, mashed potato and yoghurt are all great options.

    For warm meals, soups or broths are good as long as you make sure to avoid anything spicy or too acidic. Now is not the time to be reaching for chips and popcorn; crunchy snacks are a no-go after surgery due to the risk of small pieces irritating or getting stuck in the empty tooth socket.

    To find out how the Tony Weir team can help with tooth overcrowding, call us now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

  • The Most Common Orthodontic Procedures

    a woman holds up two different dental retainers next to her beautiful smile Orthodontists are dental specialists who work to correct tooth alignment and bite problems in order to give you a perfect smile. Here, we’re listing a few of the most common treatments that orthodontists carry out.

    Traditional Braces

    Traditional metal braces are still a hugely popular form of orthodontic treatment across Australia for adults, teenagers and children. Braces consist of a series of brackets attached directly to your teeth, linked by wires which work to pull the teeth into their correct position.

    Your orthodontist will tighten or loosen the wires over time as your teeth move over the course of a few months or years, depending on your situation. At Tony Weir Orthodontics, we can use subtle tooth-coloured brackets to minimise the aesthetic impact of your brace.

    Lingual Braces

    Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces in that they attach to your teeth and work to correct improper alignment. To affix a lingual brace, your orthodontist will attach brace brackets to the back of your teeth so that they are hidden from view.

    The advantage of this system is that you still achieve the same straight smile but without having to feel self-conscious about wearing a brace. In addition to this, lingual braces have much less impact on your speech as they don’t interfere with the movement of your lips.

    Invisalign

    Invisalign is a highly effective method of straightening your teeth and correcting your smile without using braces. Instead of metal brackets and wires, you wear a clear plastic aligner tray on your teeth like a retainer. These trays get changed every two weeks to adjust to the changing shape of your teeth and can be removed for eating and cleaning throughout the day.

    The biggest advantage of choosing Invisalign is that the aligners are virtually invisible so no one will know that you’re wearing them. This means that there’s no need to deal with confidence issues whilst you’re undergoing treatment as you will look exactly the same, only with your smile becoming straighter over time.

    Retainers

    A retainer or removable appliance is recommended for patients who have recently had tooth realignment treatment in order to maintain the new shape of their teeth. In order to keep your bite corrected and prevent teeth from shifting back into their original place, your orthodontist will prescribe you a retainer to wear at certain times.

    There are a number of different types of removable appliances and the right one for you will depend on the treatment you’ve had and the issues that remain. Banded or bonded retainers can be glued to the back of teeth to maintain correct placement of one or more teeth, or a clear retainer can be worn overnight.

    Orthodontic Elastics

    Orthodontic elastics are a special type of rubber bands which are used in conjunction with your braces to help correct jaw problems or tooth alignment. These bands can pull your jaw forwards or backwards in order to improve your bite and speed up the process of tooth alignments.

    To find out about how orthodontic treatment can help you get that killer smile, call Tony Weir Orthodontics now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

  • Our Product Recommendations – Toothbrushes, Floss and Mouthwashes

    With hundreds of dental care products making claims to improve your oral health at home , it can be difficult to know what to choose. The most important thing is to make sure that you’re brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes; however, by using some of the great products listed below, you can achieve an even better clean without relying on your dentist.With hundreds of dental care products making claims to improve your oral health at home , it can be difficult to know what to choose. The most important thing is to make sure that you’re brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes; however, by using some of the great products listed below, you can achieve an even better clean without relying on your dentist.

    a woman stands in a supermarket aisle choosing between different toothbrushes

    Best for a Deep Clean

    Piksters Interdental Brushes

    These are small round brushes, designed to clean the most hard-to-reach places between your teeth and gums to give a deeper clean. Where dental floss cleans in a straight line between teeth, Piksters have lateral bristles that spring out to remove plaque in the small crevices where dental decay and gum disease begin. This easy-to-use design is overtaking flossing as the most popular supplement to oral care routines around the world.

    Best for Sensitive Teeth

    Sensodyne Repair and Protect Toothpaste

    This toothpaste can provide lasting relief from sensitivity as well as containing an ingredient called NovaMin, which builds a reparative layer over your teeth and protects them from pain. Sensodyne also contains fluoride to prevent cavities and has a great fresh taste. After a short time using Sensodyne Repair and Protect, users find that their sensitivity to hot and cold is significantly reduced so you can continue to enjoy your favourite food and drinks without worrying about sensitive teeth!

    Best Investment for At-Home Care

    Foreo Issa Electric Toothbrush

    This is not a cheap toothbrush, but if you have issues with gum disease or tooth decay then this futuristic product is well worth the investment. The high-tech pulsating silicone brush is 35 times more hygienic than standard brush heads, generating the perfect amount of friction to remove stains and plaque while being gentle on tooth enamel and sensitive gums. The flexible brush head can adapt to clean any tooth surface and navigate hard to reach places. Treat your teeth to this revolutionary tool and we guarantee you’ll notice the difference.

    Best Everyday Brush

    Colgate Extra Clean

    If you’re looking for a great toothbrush for all the family on a budget, look no further than the Colgate Extra Clean brush, available in soft or medium varieties. The bristles are different heights in order to give an all-over clean for your teeth and gums, with a special cleaning tip to access the very back of your mouth. On the back of the head, you’ll find a tongue cleaner to remove odour-causing bacteria, and the handle is ergonomically designed with rubber thumb grips for better control.

    Best All-Round Mouthwash

    Listerine Total Care Zero Alcohol

    Most mouthwashes simply cover bad breath with a fresh scent, so it’s best to choose a product that has genuine anti-bacterial properties in order to promote good oral health. Listerine contains active ingredients which are proven to kill germs, reduce plaque, protect gums and prevent tartar build up. The zero alcohol formula has a less intense taste so you feel minty fresh without an overwhelmingly strong scent.

    To find out more about dental care at home or to make an appointment for an orthodontic consultation call us now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

  • Children and Orthodontics

    Orthodontics plays an important part in both your child’s health and the appearance of their smile. Early detection and prevention is the key to their future oral health, so read on to find out more about children’s orthodontics.

    a happy young girl wearing braces holds up her hands to the camera showing they are covered in paint

    When Should My Child First See an Orthodontist?

    The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends the first orthodontic appointment around the age of 6 or 7. This is the stage at which adult teeth usually appear and enough baby teeth will have erupted for developmental issues to become clear. At this stage, your orthodontist will decide whether treatment is necessary straight away or if it would be better to wait until your child is a little older.

    Early Intervention is Key

    Early intervention in your child’s orthodontic issues aims to reduce or eliminate the need for further treatment in later life. As a parent, early treatment can represent huge potential savings on more serious treatment at a later date as well as avoiding the stress of oral surgery. Professional treatment of tooth alignment or jaw issues at an early age can set your child up with a beautiful healthy smile for life.

    Why Does My Young Child Need Treatment?

    In some circumstances, it is recommended to postpone treatment for a few years but in many cases, your orthodontist will choose to intervene as early as possible when there is something wrong. A young child’s teeth and jaws are easier to shape so treatment is much simpler than on a fully-grown adult mouth. Your orthodontist’s goal is not just to fix problems but to prevent them occurring in the future.

    Childhood Orthodontic Treatments

    The most common orthodontic treatment for children is a brace or retainer . These are designed to correct misalignment which is both a functional and aesthetic issue. If severe misalignment goes untreated, this can cause problems with eating and speaking in later life as well as self-confidence issues from having a crooked smile.

    Braces for children are very common and can be made to look as subtle or brightly-coloured as your child would like. Other problems such as protruding teeth, overcrowding, poor bite alignment or congenitally missing teeth can be solved using specific treatment methods.

    Signs Your Child Should Visit an Orthodontist

    All children develop in their own way so it can be difficult to tell if your child’s teeth are growing in properly. However, there are a few warning signs to watch out for when monitoring your child’s oral health. If your child loses their baby teeth very early or late, has difficulty chewing or biting, or has teeth that seem to meet abnormally then it’s worth getting this checked by an orthodontic specialist.

    In addition to this, there are several common oral habits amongst small children that can give rise to orthodontic issues in the future, such as thumb sucking, breathing through the mouth, tooth grinding and tongue thrusting.

    To find out about how orthodontic treatment can help your child, call Tony Weir Orthodontics now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

  • Conquering Your Dental Anxiety

    Dental anxiety affects many Australians and it’s very common for patients to be nervous when visiting their orthodontist, too. Here at Tony Weir Orthodontics, we understand that many of our patients experience nervousness around their treatment and we endeavour to do everything we can to make your visit as stress-free as possible. Below, we list a few of our top tips on how to alleviate dental anxiety.

    a female orthodontist and her assistant speak to an older man about his dental anxiety

    Honesty is the Best Policy

    If you’re nervous about your upcoming appointment, then make sure to tell your orthodontist . They will be very familiar with your concerns and if they know that you are nervous, they can help you to feel more comfortable. Try to speak to the orthodontist that you will be seeing in advance so you can discuss what your appointment will involve, what tools and techniques will be used and how long the process will take.

    Often, the biggest part of dental anxiety is a fear of the unknown, so finding out as much about your treatment as you can will make it a lot less nerve-wracking. If you know of ways in which your orthodontist can help to alleviate your fears, let them know – they want you to have a positive experience and will do everything they can to make that happen.

    Bring a Companion

    There’s no need for you to be alone during your appointment, unless medically necessary, so ask your orthodontist if you can bring a friend or relative. Having someone with you who understands your feelings can be very calming and they can also be a distraction when you need it. Whether you want someone to hold your hand, pull funny faces to distract you or talk you through what’s going on inside your mouth, these can all help reassure you during your appointment.

    Distract Your Focus

    When you’re nervous about undergoing orthodontic treatment, it can be hard to think about anything else. Although most treatments will be painless, they can be uncomfortable, and focusing on your discomfort will not help you to feel calm. Ask your orthodontist whether it’s possible for you to listen to headphones while they carry out their work and you can distract yourself with your favourite podcast or playlist.

    If this isn’t possible then think up some other mind distractions before you get in the chair – this could be replaying the plot of a movie you saw recently, planning the details of your next holiday or trying to remember every item in your last grocery shop.

    Gain Back Control

    Often the nerves surrounding orthodontic treatment stem from the lack of control you may feel over what’s happening whilst you’re in the chair. If you think this is the root cause of your anxiety, speak to your orthodontist in advance to arrange a signal you can give to show that you feel uncomfortable or worried. Even just having the option of using this signal can make you feel more in control of what’s happening and calm your nerves.

    To speak to our friendly team about your concerns and find out how we can help, call us now on 07 3054 6767 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.