Why Choose an Orthodontist in Sacramento CA?

For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontic treatment. But for orthodontist Dr. Damon Szymanowski at Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento CA, the correct function of your bite is far more important. A malocclusion, or bad bite, can cause serious problems over a lifetime if left untreated. Loss of tooth structure, TMJ problems and even bone loss can occur if a malocclusion is not corrected before permanent damage occurs.

When it comes to the challenges and complexities of orthodontic treatment, most people prefer a specialist well trained and experienced. You can depend on Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento CA for the best of both worlds: a well-functioning bite and the smile of your life!

An orthodontist completes several years of extensive training beyond dental school to become an expert at correcting jaw problems and straightening teeth. A dentist may see only a handful of cases a year amid all their drilling and filling. An orthodontist only practices orthodontics and treats hundreds of cases a year. An orthodontist doesn’t clean teeth, fill cavities, extract teeth or perform any of the routine procedures offered by your general dentist. It is not our area of expertise. So be sure to see your dentist every six months for cleaning and checkups while wearing braces.

Watch this video offered by the American Association of Orthodontics. An adult orthodontic patient discusses how orthodontic treatment has impacted his life.

For more information on how orthodontist Dr. Szymanowski can help you change your life with a beautiful smile, contact our office in Sacramento CA for a complimentary consultation. Many treatment options are available today, from traditional metal braces to Invisalign, the “Braceless Alternative” for teens and adults who are self-conscious about wearing braces.

Tired of the Gap Between Your Teeth?

We have all heard the song, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” As many of us know, there is nothing worse than having lost your baby front teeth and waiting (with a big gap in your smile!) for your adult teeth to come in. However, some people find it is just as frustrating to have both of their front teeth, but still have a big gap in between them. Below are some very famous women who display their gap with pride. (Jessica Hart, Natalie Cole, Anna Paquin, and Lauren Hutton.

Why does this happen? If you want to find out, go to the nearest mirror. Grab your upper lip between your thumb and forefinger on both sides and pull it up (warning: you may feel a little silly doing this). If you look above your front teeth, exactly in the middle of your gums, you will see a small flap of tissue that connects your gums to the inside of your lip. Believe it or not, this little flap actually has a name—it has called a freneulum (or frenum for short), and it can be the reason you have a gap in your front teeth.

If your frenum is the right size and properly positioned on your gum line above your two front teeth, it serves the simple purpose of attaching your gums to your lip, and all is well. Your frenum is supposed to move upward when your baby teeth come in to make room. However, if the frenum is too large, attached in the wrong spot or fails to move down like it should, it can cause problems. An incorrectly placed frenum can exert a pull or tension that prevents your front teeth from coming together the way they should. What makes this even more of an issue is the fact that braces can’t fix it! With the frenum in the way, your front teeth will never get to meet one another.

Before and After Frenectomy surgery

Fortunately, there is a way to solve the problem. There is a procedure known as afrenectomy, which is just a fancy word for reducing the size of your frenum. This limits the tension that keeps your teeth apart, and opens the door for braces to be placed to bring them back together in the right position. It is a very simple procedure performed by your orthodontist or dentist in the office. Your dentist just numbs your gums, removes a tiny bit of the frenum, and you are on your way. Now that lasers are often used for this surgery, it makes the whole thing even easier. There will be a few days of soreness afterwards while your tissue heals, but it is a small price to pay for bringing your front teeth together. After all, they make such a good pair; it’s a shame for them to be so far apart!

Sometimes however, front teeth are kept apart because of a jaw discrepancy where the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw causing the front teeth to spread apart. This is a problem of a completely different nature. If you or someone in your family has a space between their two front teeth that want to eliminate, Szymanowski Orthodontics will be able to evaluate the problem and determine the best course of treatment to close the space. It may be much easier than you think.

What Causes TMJ or TMD ?

Have you ever noticed a clicking or popping sound in your jaw when chewing or speaking? The orthodontists at Szymanowski Orthodontics want you to know this happens to everyone from time to time. However, if it happens frequently and is combined with other symptoms such as jaw pain, locking of your jaws, reduced ability to open and close the mouth, ear pain, or difficulty chewing, you may have a condition known as TMD or TMJ disorder. Watch the video below to find out more about TMJ dysfunction.

Orthodontics is a special field of dentistry that concerns itself with the study and treatment of irregular bites. An abnormal bite can be the result of uneven teeth, a jaw that is out of proportion or misaligned, or both. Depending on the situation, crooked teeth can be brought into alignment with orthodontic treatment. If you notice your jaw popping a bit too often and you think the alignment of your teeth or jaw is to blame, contact Szymanowski Orthodontics before you have the painful problem of full-blown TMD causing a lifetime of discomfort and unnecessary dental treatment and expense.

Are Teeth or Jaws the Problem When Teeth are Crowded?

A common problem we see every day at Szymanowski Orthodontics is crowding of teeth. This problem is often accompanied by protruding or “buck teeth”. Crowding can give the appearance the teeth are oversized or too big for the size of the jaws. However, this is not always correct. Often, it is not a tooth problem, but because the size of the jaws is too small or narrow to accommodate the teeth.

Before and After Crowding Rochester NY

Throughout the years, orthodontists have approached this issue in different ways. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the most common practice was to remove permanent teeth to make room. Szymanowski Orthodontics recognizes that tooth extractions may not be necessary in many crowded situations. The removal of permanent teeth may result in lack of lip support or reduction of a patient’s profile. While the reduced profile may be acceptable in younger years, the reduction becomes more pronounced with the aging process and less flattering as they grow older. For this reason, correct treatment diagnosis when considering tooth removals is critical to the outcome of a good long term result.

Due to these aesthetic considerations, extensive research, and technological advancements in the field of orthodontics, many orthodontists have altered their view on how best to deal with crowded situations. Today, a non-extraction therapy is preferred rather than extracting permanent teeth in most treatment plans for children and adolescents. Instead, the treatment focus is on encouraging jaw growth to properly house all the teeth and is most successful when children and adolescents are still growing and developing.

This type of treatment usually is based on the use of specialized appliances and newly designed braces which can move teeth further and faster than traditional braces of old. Successful non-extraction therapy results in a more pleasing long-term facial balance and improved bites. It is recommended that children be checked out by an orthodontist by age 7 or 8 to find out if they are a candidate for this type of treatment.

Timing is Everything In Orthodontics When Treating Children

Szymanowski Orthodontics specializes in the movement of teeth and correction of adverse jaw growth problems. Evaluating and diagnosing each individual patient’s dental development, presents a slightly different challenge for an orthodontist. There are many factors at work and different approaches that can be used.

In severe situations, permanent tooth removals may be required to create the necessary space for others. However, no one enjoys having their teeth extracted and we try to avoid this option whenever possible. Fortunately, there is another way. By using a child’s natural growth spurts, a savvy orthodontist can avoid the need for tooth extractions if he evaluates a patient at an early age.

Children usually have a couple of predictable growth spurts. The first generally occurs around 8 or 9 years of age, right before puberty. Another one will typically follow during puberty itself, which falls between 11 or 12 years. During these growth spurts, the face and jaw will grow. The strategy is to harness this natural growth and combine it with braces and/or appliance to create more room for teeth if needed.

Since timing is everything, it is important to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist at a young age. It is generally difficult to know for sure if your child will need orthodontics until his or her permanent teeth begin to erupt. However, important forecasting clues can be understood by a trained orthodontist.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be examined by an orthodontist at age 7 to determine if early orthodontic treatment is needed. Treatment is much easier if evaluated and started before problems worsen and vital growth spurts are lost.

It is not necessary to be referred by your general dentist for a complimentary orthodontic evaluation at Szymanowski Orthodontics. Be proactive and contact our office to schedule an appointment. If your child does not require early interceptive treatment, Dr. Damon Szymanowski will continue to monitor your child’s dental and growth development in our complimentary supervisory program to determine the right time to begin treatment, based on your child’s needs.

Don’t Rush Mother Nature When Moving Teeth

closeup patient before and after comparison

We have all heard the saying “patience is a virtue.” However, as human beings… we want, what we want, when we want it. Unfortunately, most things worth having do not come easily without time and effort and when it comes to a successful orthodontic result, you can’t rush “Mother Nature.”

Understanding the physiology of the human body explains why gentle forces are used to move teeth. (read more about tooth movement). When braces put pressure on teeth, it causes cells known as osteoclasts to break down the bone in the path of the tooth movement, similar to a ship moving through sand. At the same time, other cells called osteoblasts are at work on the other side of the tooth. Their job is to make new bone to fill in the space left behind the teeth, like sand filling in behind the ship as it moves, changing direction.

Bone cells work together during orthodontic treatment to make sure the teeth are stabilized in their right place in the bone when treatment is completed. Tooth movement is most effective when slow, deliberate, and guided by Dr. Damon Szymanowski. The ideal amount of movement is about one millimeter a month. This rate of speed moves the teeth as quickly as the bone cells are able to do their work effectively.

Each orthodontic patient at Szymanowski Orthodontics is different and so is treatment time based on individual problems. Some patients require only limited treatment to realign teeth for approximately a year, others with a more severe problem due to a “bad bite” (also known as a malocclusion), generally need braces for 18 to 24 months to correct the problem and attain a healthy occlusion. A properly aligned bite is very important to help maintain good dental health over a life time. It prevents future problems such as premature wearing of teeth, tooth decay, and chronic jaw pain if left untreated.

Treatment time varies with each individual problem and teeth may be moved at any age as long as there is proper bone support to allow tooth movement, allowing the bone cells to regenerate. A healthy new smile achieved at the end of treatment is well worth the time it takes Mother Nature and your orthodontist to correct the problem.

At Szymanowski Orthodontics we are pleased to provide you with this helpful information and to offer you the finest orthodontic care for you and your family. For more information, please contact our office for a complimentary orthodontic consultation.

There Are Many Benefits of Straight Teeth in Sacramento CA…

There are many reasons why people want straight teeth. Not the least of these is the fact that crooked teeth are not the most attractive feature. While a nicely aligned smile can be the part of your looks that pulls everything else together, a crooked smile can draw attention away from an otherwise striking appearance. A great smile is vital to your self-confidence, which in turn can improve your outlook on life in general.

However, the benefits of straight teeth do not end with just your appearance.

Crooked teeth can interfere with proper chewing, a problem which is with you at every meal if not confronted.

Good oral hygiene (such as regular brushing and flossing) can be much more difficult and ineffective with crooked teeth. When your teeth are not straight and evenly spaced, there is a much higher likelihood that there will be hard-to-reach spaces that do not receive the proper treatment from your daily cleaning routine. As a result, unwanted plaque and tartar can build up unnoticed. Over time, this can lead to such serious consequences as tooth decay, gum disease, or even tooth loss. Since no one enjoys spending time in the dentist’s chair having root canals, fillings, and oral surgery, it is important to stay on top of your oral hygiene.

The good news is that at Szymanowski Orthodontics we specialize in creating beautiful smiles and fixing crooked teeth. Orthodontics (which comes from the Greek words orthos “straight or proper” and odons “tooth”) is a special field of dentistry that concerns itself with the study and treatment of irregular bites.

An abnormal bite can be the result of uneven teeth, a jaw that is out of proportion or misaligned, or both. Crooked teeth can be brought into alignment using traditional metal braces; although they are not used as much today as they have been in the past. More popular currently are the alternatives available which are less noticeable, so that orthodontic patients do not have to sacrifice their looks in the short term to have a beautiful smile forever. These less conspicuous treatment options include clear ceramic braces and Invisalign™. Invisalign is a type of removable and virtually invisible aligner that fits over the teeth instead of wire being held in place by brackets.

There are a variety of orthodontic options out there today, many of which are less intrusive and visually obvious than they used to be in days past. Whether you are a parent of an adolescent with crooked teeth that need to be straightened or if you yourself are seeking improvement in your smile, we encourage contacting our office today. The benefits are many; you will be glad you did!

Celebrate Orthodontic Health Month in October with a Smile

You only get one chance to make a first impression, no matter what your age. Whether you are meeting new friends or interviewing for a job, a smile is important to building both personal and business relationships. It is a well-known fact that straight teeth and a great smile builds self-esteem, confidence, and influences how you present yourself to the world. Orthodontic treatment, no matter what age, is an investment in the future.

At Szymanowski Orthodontics our goal is to spread the word in Sacramento CA that October is National Orthodontic Health Month and its purpose is to reinforce the need for an orthodontic evaluation. You are never too young or too old if your bite or smile needs correction. Orthodontics is for people of all ages.

What is the Best Time to Evaluate Your Child?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that parents have their kids be evaluated for treatment by age 7. Children undergo a major growth spurt during the ages of 7 – 10 that goes hand in hand with the eruptive pattern of their teeth and development of jaws. Starting at the right time, based on your child’s individual growth pattern, can prevent more long-term or difficult treatment later on. Potential problems can be addressed if they are found at the appropriate time.

Adult Orthodontics Is On The Rise

We all know the job market is tight, especially for recent college graduates. First impressions are everything and serious job hunters are “Bracing Themselves for the Future” to promote their success. Your smile during the interview process, no matter what your age, makes a difference when landing a new job. It also helps you perform better throughout your life to boost your confidence when communicating with others on all levels, both professionally and personally.

Szymanowski Orthodontics specializes in the latest in orthodontic care for patients 7 – 70. It is never too late to receive a beautiful healthy smile for a lifetime. Contact our office today to schedule a complimentary smile exam to find out how we can help you create a smile for the future.

Share a personal story with us on how your great smile has affected your life. We would love to hear from you!

TLC Works Best During the First Few Days Wearing Braces

Patients of all ages are self conscious when they first get their braces. It takes a few days to adjust both physically and emotionally to the look and feel of the appliances. Support and understanding from family and friends goes a long way the first few weeks to help patients adapt both physically and emotionally, especially with adolescents and teens already insecure with most aspects of their lives.

Some orthodontic patients need more time than others to adapt. At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we understand each patient is different. If your child goes with the flow under most circumstances, than wearing braces will be a piece of cake. But if you have a drama king or queen when it comes to everyday trials and tribulations in life, “brace” yourself for a few rough days ahead.

Here are few tips to smooth out the wrinkles or unruffled the feathers of patients finding it more difficult to adjust:

Be sympathetic the first few days. Even though the actual placement of the braces is not uncomfortable, once the teeth start moving initially, teeth do become tender. The discomfort will stop in a few days, but fear of the unknown can make it worse. Every patient’s tolerance level is different… keep that in mind.

Take Advil or Tylenol with you to the setup appointment and dispense immediately before leaving the office. These analgesics work better if administered before the discomfort sets in for best results, rather than late.

Plan a brace friendly meal for lunch or dinner ahead of time. Not only does the patient need to adjust to a new diet, you will have to adjust when planning meals. There are many nutritious foods available that don’t require a lot of chewing or won’t damage the braces. Stay away from salads the first few days. Not only do they collect in the braces, lettuce is difficult to chew once the teeth start moving. Macaroni and Cheese, homemade soups, protein shakes with lots of fruit, and yogurt will provide the calories needed for good nutrition. Who says you can’t have scrambled eggs and pancakes for dinner?

Ask the doctor or one of the staff about prescribing Tylenol or Advil in school during the first week, if needed. Better safe than sorry is a good motto to follow. Dispensing any type of medication requires parents and patients to jump through hoops in the nurses office. Having Tylenol available anytime during the day will help take off the edge of discomfort if needed.

And last but not least. Shore up their insecurities with positive feedback. Watch this video to see how it’s done. Feel free to share your own tips on how to best handle the first few days wearing braces. Write a comment below to share with others.