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What’s so great about self-ligating braces? Five things you need to know

October 17th, 2018

Parents of a certain age will no doubt remember the teen comedies of the 1980s. These movies typically included a character so wired up with orthodontic apparatus (elaborate metal braces, rubber bands, a mountain of headgear) that he or she looked like some sort of electrical machinery. In recent years, the technological advancements in braces have not only made this character a thing of the past, but if your child needs braces to fix crooked teeth, you no longer need to worry about him or her being called “brace face” with a “tin grin.”

Traditional braces use a system of archwires, brackets, and rubber bands to straighten and realign crooked teeth. Self-ligating braces that Dr. Jeffrey Genecov and our team at Genecov Orthodontics provide, by contrast, use specialized clips to hold the archwires in place instead of rubber bands. But what makes self-ligating braces so good?

  1. Self-ligating braces make it easier to keep your teeth clean because there are no rubber bands. Rubber bands collect food particles, and this can lead to an increase in plaque and decay. Have you ever tried to brush for two minutes with a mouth full of rubber bands? It’s tricky. Self-ligating braces improve oral health.
  2. Self-ligating braces are smaller and less noticeable than conventional braces. Most kids are self-conscious about how they look (flashback to those 1980s comedies), so braces that are subtle and less conspicuous are a huge draw.
  3. Self-ligating braces are more comfortable than traditional braces. Less pressure and friction are placed on the tooth. These types of braces also need fewer alterations and adjustments, so chances are you will save money by making fewer appointments with our office.
  4. Self-ligating braces move crooked teeth into place more quickly than conventional braces. In other words, you’re going to wear self-ligating braces for a shorter amount of time than traditional braces.
  5. Orthodontic work can be expensive. Self-ligating braces, however, cost about the same amount of money as traditional braces.

Dr. Jeffrey Genecov and our team are proud to offer self-ligating braces as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Ask our team if they are right for you by giving us a call at our Plano, Texas office!

Having braces as an adult is like finding the fountain of youth.

October 12th, 2018


By Amy Fusselman

As a woman who is not yet dead, I have studied the latest youth-enhancing products and have even been to a dermatologist — as well as a witch, a voodoo priestess and an exterminator — to get this dreadful thing called “aging” out of my body. And I have an important, medical-ish finding to share: The problem with being old — which is to say, over 25 if you are a woman and over 75 if you are a man — and trying to look younger is that old people have a skewed vision of what youth actually looks like. Yes, young people have more collagen in their faces than old people do, but just shooting collagen, Gatorade or even packing peanuts into your old-ass face isn’t going to make you look any younger. What is going to make you look younger is imitating the way real, live young people look, which, if you haven’t noticed lately, is: awkward and uncomfortable.

This is where the most unsung, but effective, anti-aging product comes into play: braces. Now, if you are like me, you never considered getting braces as an old person, because you already had them when you were young. But this is exactly why you should be getting braces. Because, let’s face it, if you had braces back when you were a teen, you can damn well see that your teeth aren’t straight anymore. Of course they’re not, because braces don’t work.

I mean, braces do work, just not for as long as it takes to get old. They work long enough to get you through your hookup years, and then, in a pattern you may be familiar with, your teeth become like a close-knit cohort who graduated from a fine, upstanding university before going their separate ways to become a loose-knit crew of scraggly ne’er-do-wells.

But you don’t need braces just to get the old gang back together — that is, to straighten up your couch-surfing, uninsured, unemployed teeth. There’s also this: When you stand in front of the mirror and apply anti-aging crud to your body, the message you are sending to your very own self is: Poor me, I’m old. Given the unpopular but nevertheless true fact that no one really cares what you look like because they’re thinking only about themselves, the person you really need to gussy up for every day is you. And there is no better way to tell yourself that you’re just getting started, and you have a lot of life left, than painstakingly stretching teeny-tiny rubber bands across two or even three metal hooks in your mouth and spending the day feeling like a marionette anytime you say anything, even if it’s just “LOL.”

But that’s not all. Unlike privately applying sad, self-defeating face creams or undergoing creepy surgeries that you recover from in your secret, old-person lair, braces force you to face the world with integrity. Because braces are basically like getting a facelift and inviting every person you talk to into the operating room. Braces are the embodiment of what anti-aging creams purport to offer you, but don’t. Braces do not hide who they are; braces are not ashamed. Braces confront the world with egg sandwich under their wires and say: I am worthy of unsightly scaffolding.

And sure, I know that there are now “invisible” braces. Believe me, I know all about those and how “invisible” they are. Listen, the manufactures of such braces should be aware that they are marketing to experts, because no one knows invisibility like us over-25 hags. And this is why we can look at this purported advancement in orthodontics and see right through it. Because when you wear two clear plastic trays over your upper and lower teeth, you are not making your teeth’s realignment undetectable so much as adorning yourself with a speech impediment. And though your newly acquired lisp may indeed be hard to see, it will also make you feel like a toddler, and that is not the stage of youth many of us are interested in recapturing.

Leaving invisibility behind, then, we can surely agree that perhaps the greatest thing about braces is that they don’t just apply pressure on your wayward teeth: They actually pressure you to be a better person because they make you look, and feel, like something is wrong; something is off. And from my very unscientific observation of young people, this is how many of them feel right now. Why? Well, perhaps they are thinking about — oh, I don’t know, the latest action adventure movie. Or maybe they’re spending even 10 seconds contemplating their futures, and the fact that what was supposed to be a clear and cloudless horizon now seems cluttered with school shootings, climate change and college loan debts.

Having braces, then, is like finding the fountain of youth because it turns you into a young person on the inside. Sure, you may feel misunderstood and looked down upon. You may feel as if you are fighting uphill battles. But this is what it means to be young today. Now, maybe in a few decades — if we’re still here, that is — being young will have completely changed, and it will feel more like getting a massage all day long knowing that racial and gender equity are facts of life. I look forward to that! But until then, go ahead and get old and forget everything. I mean, stay the same age forever and forget retinol. All you need to remember is: braces.

Twitter: @AmyFusselman

Night Guards For Teeth Grinding

April 17th, 2018

HAVE YOU EVER woken up with a sore jaw, tooth pain, or a headache? These are common symptoms of sleep bruxism, or teeth-grinding. The American Dental Association estimates that 10-15 percent of adults struggle with sleep bruxism, and children can experience it too. Because it happens during sleep, it can be difficult to control or stop. One way to protect the teeth from the damaging effects of grinding is to wear a night guard.

What Night Guards Are

Night guards come in hard, medium, and soft varieties, with the soft ones resembling mouth guards for sports and hard ones resembling clear plastic retainers, though they’re much sturdier and you usually only need one for the upper teeth. Wearing a night guard provides a cushioning effect so that the upper and lower teeth can’t wear away at each other. It will protect your teeth from external damage caused by grinding, such as chipping and erosion, but as long as the grinding still happens, other symptoms like jaw pain may not change.


What Night Guards Are Not

While hard night guards might look like retainers, they are not necessarily interchangeable. You should never use a normal retainer as a night guard, because it doesn’t have the necessary thickness to withstand the pressure. You should also be careful about using night guards as retainers. If you have a hard night guard that is properly fitted to your teeth, it can serve as a retainer, but a soft night guard won’t prevent your teeth from shifting.
Where To Get Yours

You can either buy your night guard over-the-counter or get a custom night guard from the dentist. A typical over-the-counter night guard requires you to shape it to your teeth by boiling it, allowing it a moment to cool, and then gently biting into it. If you obtain your night guard through your dentist, the added comfort and quality will be worth the greater price. These night guards are made in a laboratory from an impression of your teeth taken by dental professionals.
Cleaning And Storing Your Night Guard

If you don’t want to end up with a night guard that is smelly and gross, it’s important to clean and store it correctly. Always rinse your night guard after you take it out, then brush it with your toothbrush (but no toothpaste). In order to prevent bacterial growth, a night guard should never be stored wet, so give it time to air dry before placing it in its case, and it might be better to leave it on the nightstand instead of in the bathroom.
Ask Us About Your Night Guard

If you think you might have bruxism, don’t wait; come talk to us about it. We can help you find your perfect night guard, especially if you have braces, and we can also discuss other methods of reducing the symptoms, such as lowering stress levels. Fortunately, one way to reduce grinding is by having properly aligned teeth, so you’re on your way!
Thank you for trusting us to take care of your dental needs!

Why Straight Teeth?

March 12th, 2018

TO SOME, IT MIGHT seem like the benefits of having straight teeth are purely cosmetic. And those benefits certainly do exist. Studies have shown that people tend to perceive someone with straight teeth as wealthier, happier, and more dateable than someone with crooked teeth. But there are plenty of other important benefits as well.

Consequences Of Crooked Teeth

There are many different ways crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth can negatively impact a person’s health and quality of life. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones.
Difficult To Clean

When teeth overlap each other in ways they aren’t meant to, they can be much harder to clean with brushing and flossing than straight teeth. If teeth aren’t getting cleaned as effectively, then they become more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Impede Clear Speech

Underbites, severe overbites, and other teeth alignment problems can interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly, leading to lisps and other distortions in articulation.
Interfere With Healthy Digestion

Chewing is a critical part of the digestion process. Our saliva begins to break food down on a chemical level while our teeth break it apart into more manageable pieces. Crooked teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to chew food enough, which forces the rest of the digestive system to pick up the slack. This can lead to a number of unpleasant GI consequences, and it can even make it harder to lose weight!


Can Interfere With Healthy Breathing

If your teeth don’t fit comfortably together, you might keep them apart instead of closing your jaws when resting. This can lead to mouth breathing, which has many negative health effects. The two most connected to oral health concerns are chronic bad breath and dry mouth.
Can Cause Jaw Problems

If there’s something wrong with your bite, that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Symptoms include a clicking jaw joint, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.
Do Your Teeth Need Straightening?

Having straight teeth eliminates or greatly reduces all of these problems. This, paired with the cosmetic advantages and the boost in confidence, makes orthodontic treatment a very worthwhile investment. If you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, schedule an initial consultation with us so that we can find out what will be best for your smile. In the meantime, keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling your regular dental appointments!
You deserve the best for your teeth!

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