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St. Patrick's Day: Celtic pride, green shamrocks, and lucky charms!

March 13th, 2024

“St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.” Adrienne Cook

Lucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold – it must be St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? It’s easy: You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.

Wondering what our team at Westfield Braces is doing to celebrate March 17th? Well, we’ve thought about doing everything from handing out lucky gold coins (you know, the fake ones that are made of chocolate) to shamrock stickers. Maybe we’ll even give away green toothbrushes and floss! You’ll never know unless you come in to see Dr. Thomas Burns !

All kidding aside, St. Patrick’s Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish descent will cook up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, our office wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck looking for a pot of leprechaun gold, which is said to exist at the end of the rainbow. However, keep away from those sugary Lucky Charms; sweet cereals might taste good, but your kids’ teeth might not be feeling too lucky if they eat it for breakfast every day. Have a great St. Paddy’s Day!

How are Damon® Smile self-ligating braces different?

March 6th, 2024

Braces don't look or feel much like braces anymore. New materials and techniques have made braces lighter and more comfortable than ever before.

One of the most intriguing developments involves Damon Smile self-ligating braces. You might recall that older style braces involved a lot of wire and rubber bands to keep in place. As teeth moved into their new positions, all that material had to be moved, too. In the meantime, the rubber and wire blocked toothbrushes and floss. In other words, it was really hard to keep teeth clean.

Damon Smile braces eliminate the connecting wires and rubber bands. Instead, one permanent component keeps braces in place. Self-ligation eliminates the need for headgear or external wires in most cases, making these braces a winner in the appearance category, too.

Avoid the Cutting Edge

Traditional braces pose a small but painful risk: you can catch your cheek or gum on the rough edge of the brace wires. Damon Smile braces have a smoother surface that significantly reduces that risk.

Because the braces self-adjust and move with teeth, patients need fewer appointments at our Westfield, NJ office. They don’t have to come in for tightening or readjustments. Teeth can move into position faster with self-ligating braces, although this can vary by patient. Patients report the braces are pretty comfortable, too.

More Room to Move

Another thing we like about Damon Smile braces: they actually adapt to the shape of the mouth as teeth change position. As a result, Dr. Thomas Burns won’t have to pull back teeth to create space for crowded front teeth.

If you need braces, you have a lot of options. There’s probably never been a better time to look into having your teeth straightened. Call our Westfield, NJ office for guidance on the fastest and most effective way to improve your smile.

What is early intervention?

February 28th, 2024

Many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Dr. Thomas Burns and our team at Westfield Braces recommend children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. Early treatment, also known as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment, provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later.

If your child is showing these signs, it may be time to think about early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 12 to 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking his or her thumb
  • Speech impediment
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Crowded front teeth
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all

Early intervention will greatly reduce the severity of your child’s case, and therefore reduce the length of treatment time and cost for a second phase of treatment when all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted. An evaluation at our Westfield, NJ office will determine if your child’s dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly or if interceptive treatment is needed. Many times, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated removable appliances instead of traditional orthodontic treatment.

To schedule a consultation for your child to visit with Dr. Thomas Burns, please give us a call! We will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.

When is the best age to begin orthodontic treatment?

February 21st, 2024

Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during their child’s toddler years. And many assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to visit Dr. Thomas Burns for an initial orthodontic consultation.

The ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven. At that age, your child will have a mixture of adult and baby teeth for Dr. Thomas Burns and our team at Westfield Braces to make a determination about whether any problems are present. Typically the first molars have come in by the time your child turns seven, giving us an opportunity to check for malocclusion, also known as “bad bite.” Also, by the time your child reaches the age of seven, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

When Dr. Thomas Burns and our team perform an evaluation on your child at an early age, you get one of two positive outcomes. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, it’s still helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Earlier treatment can also cost less to correct a potential problem than delayed treatment.

Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene.

If your child is approaching age seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination at Westfield Braces.