Orthodontics

Orthodontics, or braces, are indicated when a patient suffers from malocclusion (when your bite does not come together properly) or malalignment (crooked teeth).  As board certified and board eligible pediatric dentists, we can recommend and treat orthodontic issues as your child is growing and developing. The American Association of Orthodontist recommends a child be evaluated by an orthodontist by the age 7. Winston-Salem, NC is blessed with many outstanding orthodontists that our office refers to and communicates with regularly.

At earlier stages, a child may need preventative orthodontics, such as spacer to help ensure that space is not lost when a primary tooth exfoliates or is extracted prematurely due to carious lesions (cavities). The orthodontist may recommend a smaller set of braces when your child still has primary (baby) teeth to shorten, or even prevent, orthodontic treatment as a teenager. Upon evaluation, your orthodontist will inform you if traditional braces is best or if you are a candidate for Invisalign. 

Orthodontics before/after

Keeping your braces clean can be a challenge for some children and teens. Angling the toothbrush around the brackets and flossing under the wires takes more time and attention than without braces. At Tina S. Merhoff & Associates Pediatric Dentistry, we dedicate time to review oral hygiene instructions with your teenager to ensure proper care of their teeth and braces. When oral hygiene is neglected, decalcification (white spots) can form, putting your teen at a higher risk for developing tooth decay.

Brushing. Always brush with a soft bristle toothbrush in small circular motions, above and below the brackets. We recommend 3-5 times daily, after meals to remove any food debris from being lodged in between teeth or brackets. A proxy brush or “Christmas tree” brush can be helpful to clean underneath the wires.

Flossing. With or without braces, flossing is an essential part to a good oral hygiene routine. Floss threaders are available to make flossing easier. We also recommend the use of an Airflosser – this does not replace flossing but is a wonderful addition to your teens daily routine.

Fluoride. The use of topical fluoride has been proven to strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decalcification and decay. A topical fluoride rinse, such as ACT, is very helpful. We may also encourage a prescription fluoridated toothpaste, Clinpro5000, for sale at our office.