Tips for Flossing with Braces

Flossing with braces may seem impossible, particularly if you’re trying to get a teenager to do it every day. The good news is that there are a few ways to ease the pressure and improve the odds of working it into your everyday routine. We’ll look at how some simple adjustments can make a difference.

1. Start with the Right Tools 

Products like waxed floss and floss threaders are usually recommended for people withbraces in Columbia, SC. This is because the unwaxed floss will likely catch on the braces, which can be frustrating as you work through each tooth. There are also floss threaders available that can make it easier to get the floss between the braces and the gum line. Ultimately, the best tools will depend on what type of braces you have, so it’s important to talk to an orthodontist to be certain. The rest of the process is the same: use your pointer fingers to wrap the floss and then the taut line back and forth.

2. Be Patient 

It will take time to gently run the floss through the teeth with a sawing motion. Even more so than regular floss, the whole process will take time. If you rush, you’re more likely to damage the gums, so treating your mouth carefully during your oral hygiene routine is important. This is a matter of instilling habits, meaning running through the motions from the moment the braces are first placed (without skipping even a day) is critical.

3. Work with the Right Orthodontist in Columbia

The rightorthodontist in Columbiacan work with patients of all ages, finding solutions to common problems and helping people find the motivation and learn the skills needed to keep up with their oral care. At Tompkins Orthodontics, our staff can give you advice to help you or your loved one floss at least once a day, every day the braces are on.

Braces are a major investment for most individuals and families. To get the best results, you’ll need to work hard to keep up with daily maintenance. While it may not always be convenient, flossing can be easier when you set yourself up for success.

Can All Underbites Be Fixed with Braces?

Underbites are relatively rare compared to overbites, occurring in a much smaller portion of people. This condition, which refers to when your lower teeth stick out further than your upper teeth, is often treated with braces. However, not all underbites can be fixed with this common dental appliance. We’ll look at when a dentist will recommend braces and why the patient may require a different or additional methodology to correct the problem.

When Can Braces Solve the Problem?

Typically, braces in Columbia, SC, are recommended for mild to moderate underbites. In some cases, clear aligners (e.g., Invisalign, etc.) can effectively push back the lower teeth by guiding the jaws to the proper position. In other cases, the teeth may need rubber bands to consistently apply pressure to the jaw to ensure realignment.

During an evaluation, the dentist will consider the age of the patient, as it’s easier to make changes the younger the person is. This is partially why experts recommend having an evaluation done by the time a child is seven years old. By this point, they can determine how their jaw, teeth, and speech patterns are developing, which can potentially allow for early intervention (which can mean less time and money spent in the dentist’s or orthodontist’s office).

Treatment for Severe Underbites

While unlikely, there are some patients who will only benefit from jaw surgery. If the patient has a bone anomaly, then braces may do little to correct this. During jaw surgery, the jawbone must be reshaped to fit one set of teeth behind the other. The surgeon may target the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both jaws during the surgery. Once the bite has been corrected, they’ll typically secure the position with plates and screws.

Find an Orthodontist in Columbia

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Columbia, SC, that can find a solution to an underbite, Tompkins Orthodontics has two locations in the city to serve parents and adults who want to correct their bite. Underbites aren’t just aesthetic issues, they can cause anything from pain to more complicated dental issues. To determine the best course of treatment, whether it’s braces, surgery, or another dental appliance, contact us today.

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Is Retention Really a Necessary Step After Braces?

When patients finally get their braces removed, it can be such a relief. With no more metal wires and a beautiful smile, you can feel confident about showing the world. While the bulk of your orthodontic treatment journey will involve braces, orthodontic retention is a necessary second step in your journey. Find out a little more about retention treatment in Columbia, SC, why it’s necessary, and more below.

What is retention?

Retention is the period after your braces are removed in which you have to wear a retainer. Retention helps to stabilize your teeth and keep them from shifting once the braces are removed. The retainer can be made out of different materials and is not as visible as your braces. In fact, some types of retainers are not all that visible at all. Depending on your preferences and treatment plan, the orthodontist may recommend:

  • Traditional metal and acrylic retainers
  • Clear aligner-style Essix retainers
  • Fixed retainers that are attached to the back of the teeth

Is retention really necessary?

Retention is necessary, and not following up with retention treatment after braces are removed can put your new smile in jeopardy. The teeth often try to shift and move back to their prior positions once your braces are removed. Although these shifts may not be substantial or happen all at once, the gradual change can affect the results.

How long will you have to wear a retainer?

Retention treatment can last for a long time, but each patient’s experience can vary. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may not need to wear a retainer at all hours of the day. For example, some patients only wear a retainer while they sleep or when they’re at home. Individuals that need long-term retention are typically best suited with a fixed retainer that cannot be removed.

Talk to a Skilled Columbia, SC Orthodontist for Further Advice

Orthodontic treatment can involve a series of steps to achieve the ideal smile alignment. Therefore, it is important to work with a qualified orthodontist in Columbia, SC to plan your treatment carefully from evaluation to post-braces retainers. Reach out to the team at Tompkins Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.


Top Three Benefits of Braces

Braces are a standard orthodontic treatment designed to straighten misaligned teeth and improve your bite. Many people associate braces with adolescents, but they are becoming increasingly popular among adults. With new technologies, braces have become more comfortable and less noticeable. In this article, we’ll explore the top three benefits of braces to help you determine if they’re right for you.

The experienced team at Tompkins Orthodontics of Columbia, SC, is proud to serve the local community with state-of-the-art and premium dental care services, including the installation of braces to perfect the smiles of tomorrow.

What are Braces?

Braces are a series of brackets and wires affixed to your teeth. Over time, these brackets and wires work together to apply gentle pressure to your teeth, which helps them to move into their proper position gradually. Braces can be made from various materials, including ceramic, metal, and plastic. Your dentist will be able to help you determine which type of braces are best for your needs.

What are the Benefits of Braces?

Braces have a plethora of excellent benefits for your mouth and oral structure. Here are three of the most common:

Better Oral Health

One of the most significant benefits of braces is that they can help to improve your oral health. When your teeth are correctly aligned, it’s easier to clean them thoroughly and keep them free of decay and disease. Braces can also help to reduce your risk of developing gum disease and other oral health problems.

Better Smile

Braces are a great way to improve the appearance of your smile. Whether you’re looking to improve your self-esteem or want to boost your overall appearance, braces can help. By straightening your teeth, braces can help you to achieve a more attractive and confident smile.

Better Function

In addition to improving the appearance of your smile, braces can also help to improve your bite. When your teeth are correctly aligned, you’ll be able to chew your food more effectively and speak more clearly. This can improve your overall quality of life and help you avoid other dental problems.

Your Local Quality Dentist

Your local quality dentist can assess your needs and determine if braces are right for you. With their expertise and guidance, you’ll be able to achieve a healthy and beautiful smile in no time. During your next appointment with the professional team at Tompkins Orthodontics of Columbia, SC, you can rest assured that you are receiving the proper care and guidance that you and your loved ones deserve.

How Do Braces Straighten the Teeth?  

Braces are orthodontic devices designed to correct crooked and overcrowded teeth, as well as malocclusion, which is a misaligned jaw. Although most patients receiving braces are adolescents, with the numerous options available, adults are choosing to address their orthodontic issues with braces, now more than ever before. Many times, people ask how braces straighten the teeth, read on to find out how braces work.

How Do Braces Straighten the Teeth?

There are several types of braces, all of which have the same goal; to provide the patient with beautiful, straight teeth.

Today, there are clear ceramic braces, lingual braces (which are placed on the backside of the teeth) and traditional metal braces. Each of these braces functions in the same way. Braces place steady, gentle pressure on the teeth, which gradually moves them into the proper place. Since this movement is gradual, people typically wear braces anywhere from one to three years. The length of treatment depends on the reason the person receives the braces and how well he or she follows the orthodontist’s instructions.

The Parts

Braces consist of bands (aka O-rings or ligatures), brackets and archwires. Each of these parts plays a significant role in straightening the teeth. All wire braces consist of these three parts; however, some patients will need additional appliances and parts.

The Brackets

Accurate bracket placement is essential, which is why choosing an experienced orthodontist to apply the braces is vital. These brackets allow the pressure necessary to move the teeth to be applied evenly.

The Archwires

The archwires are essentially guide rails. They run through the brackets. The treatment plan determines what these wires consist of as well as how thick they need to be. The archwires provide the steady pressure that is necessary to change the position of the teeth. This pressure occurs because the archwires continuously attempt to straighten themselves to return to their original shape.

The O-rings

The orthodontist places the O-rings on top of the brackets. The O-rings hold the archwires in place.

The Jawbone Reshapes Itself

As braces place pressure on the teeth, an intense cellular process occurs in the jawbone.

At the front of each tooth, osteoclasts break down the bone cells that are blocking the tooth’s ability to move. As the osteoclasts break down these cells, the osteoblasts are building new bone cells behind the tooth. These new bone cells ensure that the tooth continues to fit securely in its socket.

Even after the braces straighten the teeth, they still remember their previous positions. For this reason, following the removal of the braces, patients need to wear a retainer. The retainer prevents the teeth from shifting.

Dr. Sims Tompkins is a highly experienced orthodontist who has been helping people straighten their teeth with braces for more than two decades.

If you are in Columbia, South Carolina, and considering braces, or your child needs orthodontic care, please contact one of Dr. Tompkins offices to make an appointment.

Tompkins Orthodontics has two locations:

  • To make an appointment at the Columbia location, please call: 1 (803) 738-9715

5250 Clemson Avenue in Columbia, South Carolina

  • To make an appointment at the Irmo location, please call: 1 (803) 781-5253

1305 South Woodstream Road in Columbia, South Carolina

If you would like to use the online appointment request form, please click here.


Is it Normal For Teeth to Become Loose With Braces?  

When you have braces in Columbia, SC, you may be alarmed to notice that one or more of your teeth have become loose. Braces are intended to repair issues like crooked teeth, misalignment, crowding and more. In other words, you have been anticipating teeth that are in better condition, not worse. Rest assured, it’s perfectly normal for teeth to become loose when wearing braces. To understand why, it helps to know a little bit about the process of tooth realignment with braces.

How Teeth Are Connected to the Jawbone

The teeth are actually not directly connected to the jawbone. The root of a tooth extends into the jawbone, but not the actual tooth itself. A tooth is anchored in the jaw bone via the tooth socket, cementum and the periodontal ligament. This ligament is composed of collagen fibers and connective tissue.

If you think of a tooth like a plant, the soil is the jawbone and the roots of the plant are the root of the tooth. The plant can droop, bend and twist, while the roots remain in place. A tooth that is out of alignment is like a plant that is bent or crooked. If you stake the plant, you can straighten it. If you wear orthodontist braces, your teeth can be straightened.

How Braces Work

Traditional orthodontic braces are attached to each tooth with a small resin or metal plate. Each plate is equipped with a small hole that protrudes outward. A wire is looped through each hole. This wire can be contracted (tightened) by the orthodontist. This is called an adjustment.

Braces work by exerting constant gentle pressure in the direction that the teeth need to go. As the teeth begin to shift position, they loosen up in the tooth socket.

When you visit your orthodontist in Columbia, SC, they will make an adjustment by tightening the wire. The adjustments are small but effective. Each adjustment brings you closer to correct alignment.

When the teeth are in the correct position, the braces come off and the material surrounding the tooth in the tooth socket hardens again. Each tooth goes from being loose to a fixed position.

Having loose teeth with braces is actually an essential part of the process. For more information about braces, contact your Columbia, SC orthodontist.