Whitefish Bay Orthodontist

Children’s Thumb and Pacifier Use

May 7th, 2021

Young children commonly suck on their thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier. For babies and young children this action can be soothing and helps them to feel secure. At an early age, sucking habits are not something to cause concern. However, remember that pacifiers should never be dipped in sugar or other sweeteners as this can promote cavities.

By the age of two years, children should be encouraged to stop sucking on pacifiers and their thumb. This is because thumb and pacifier sucking can become problematic as children become older.  Continued sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and teeth alignment. It can also cause changes to the roof of the mouth.

Generally, by age of two to four years most children stop sucking behaviors on their own.  You can encourage your child to quit by praising and rewarding them for not sucking during times that they normally engage in that behavior (such as being away from you or during bedtime). You can also bandage your child’s thumb at night as a way to discourage them from sucking.

If your child has a favorite pacifier you might want to consider sewing it into a new stuffed animal so the pacifier is still there, but not in a way that can be used orally.  Some parents have found that a “pacifier fairy” who takes away a pacifier and leaves a “big kid toy” can also be effective at ending the pacifier habit. If these suggestions don’t work for you, be sure to check with your pediatric dentist for more ideas.

Starting at the age of one year, children should see a pediatric dentist who will monitor the child's dental health. Their dentist can also help you identify if there are problems from continued thumb sucking or pacifier use.

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Recommended Valentine’s Day Treats

February 5th, 2021

At Barden Orthodontics we love Valentine’s day.  Especially during these challenging times, it is important to show your love and appreciation for your family, friends, and other special people in your life.

As you think about the different treats to share with these special people, don’t forget about your teeth. You want everyone to have a beautiful, healthy smile and too much candy can negatively impact your smile!

Dr. Douglas Barden’s Recommendations for Celebrating Valentine’s day:

Do:

  • Share your love with people you care about in your life. We can all use some cheer and appreciation!
  • If you have braces, pick treats that are soft and will not damage your brackets or appliances. Chocolate covered strawberries are a good choice. Dark chocolate even has some health benefits!
  • If you have Invisalign or clear aligners, you can eat whatever treats you want as you will take out your aligners. Remember, DO brush your teeth before putting them back in.
  • Show your love for someone with something other than candy or treats. Kids enjoy stuffed animals, balloons, stickers, and small toys. Adults might enjoy flowers, a special dinner delivered, or other things that show you care.

Don’t

  • If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances Do not eat treats that are hard and sticky. That means candy with nuts, hard candy (sorry, but no Valentine conversation hearts!), and sticky treats such as gum, caramels or licorice should be avoided. These can damage your appliances and slow down treatment.
  • Do not eat treats all day long as that prolongs the amount of time the sugar is on your teeth. Pick one time for a treat and then brush and floss your teeth.

Show the people in your life some love this Valentine’s day. Then show your teeth some love too! Brush, floss, and use a fluoride rinse every day.  We love a beautiful, healthy smile!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Dr Barden and his team at Barden Orthodontics!

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Committed to your Health

March 11th, 2020

At Barden Orthodontics patient health and safety is our priority. We understand that people are currently worried about the spread of viruses. We have always followed the strictest sterilization and sanitation protocols advised by OSHA to prevent the spread of pathogens and to ensure the health of both our patients and staff. We will continue to be proactive in our efforts to maintain a safe and healthy environment.

At Barden Orthodontics we promise:

  • Use of state-of-the-art sterilization equipment.
  • Strict use of cleaning and disinfection procedures in the treatment rooms.
  • Multi-stage air purifiers from Surgically Clean Air. These purifiers remove particles and destroy small particles in the air, including viruses. These are installed in treatment rooms and reception area.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection of high touch, common areas.
  • Touchless door entry. Just wave at the sensor and the door will open for you!
  • Staff uses N95 or KN95 respirator masks and face shields in addition to the usual personal protective equipment when working with patients.
  • Social distancing in the waiting room and use of plexiglass shields at the reception desk.
  • The entire staff at Barden Orthodontics has reviewed the newest sterilization and disinfection protocols to protect patient health.

New for your appointments:

  • Prior to the day of the appointment, our office will email you two forms (COVID-19 Supplemental Informed Consent and Supplemental Health Questionnaire). Please have the forms completed by the patient or guardian prior to coming to the appointment.
  • Please brush and floss prior to your appointment. The tooth brushing station will be closed following recommendation by the AAO.
  • We ask that only the patient, and a maximum of one guardian, come to the appointment to reduce the number of people in the office.
  • Please wear a mask as you enter the building.
  • Please use the hand sanitizer available when you enter the office.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides important and up-to-date information to the public and healthcare providers. We will continue to monitor this information and follow all necessary protocols to maintain the health and safety of our patients and staff. Thank you for your cooperation.

UPDATED April 2021 to reflect the newest office procedures in response to to COVID-19

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Orthodontic Back-to-School Checklist

September 6th, 2019

Hooray the kids are headed back to school! The summer activities and trips are over and now everyone has their days filled with reading, math, science….and dental health!

Make sure your children are ready for any orthodontic situation that might occur during the school day! Dr. Douglas Barden recommends that your student pack a small travel orthodontic supply kit in their backpack.

  • Travel toothbrush and floss sticks. It’s important that food doesn’t get stuck in braces or orthodontic appliances and sit on teeth all day long! If your child isn’t able to brush during the school day, teach them to rinse their mouth with water after eating to remove the food particles and dilute the sugar on their teeth.
  • Wax to cover any poking wires.
  • Mouth guards are essential for students who are playing sports. Be sure to get a mouth guard that works with braces. We can custom make a mouth guard for maximum protection.
  • Storage Case. Bring along a retainer or clear aligner storage case. Teach your children put their retainers or clear trays in the storage case when they eat. Never store a retainer or clear aligner in a napkin –it’s too easy to toss it accidentally! Retainers that are put in a pocket or backpack without a case can become damaged.

 If your child has braces, or other orthodontic appliances, avoid packing gum, sticky candy or treats, or hard fruits and veggies in their lunch box. Fruits and veggies are a healthy lunch choice but cut apples and carrots into bite size pieces or else choose softer options (think bananas, oranges, tomatoes, cucumber slices etc). For some other lunch ideas, check out our blog on healthy snacks.

 Life gets busy during the school year, but it is important that you continue to monitor your child’s brushing and flossing. Remember to brush 2 times a day for two minutes each time. Don’t forget to floss daily! Great dental hygiene should become a normal part of your child’s routine and the reward is a beautiful, healthy smile.

Be sure to ask Dr. Barden and his team at their Whitefish Bay office if you have any questions about making sure your child is ready for any orthodontic situation during the school day. We hope all of our patients and their families have a great school year!

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Camping with Braces

July 5th, 2019

Kohler Andrae State Park, Wisconsin. Photo by D. Barden

Summertime in Wisconsin is wonderful. The weather is (finally!) warm and sunny. The beautiful nature, lakes, and State Parks are perfect for exploring. It’s a great time to go CAMPING! In addition to packing your tent, sleeping bags, and other camping gear-- don’t forget to pack for good oral hygiene!

Here are Dr. Barden’s suggestions for maintaining good dental hygiene while camping:

  • Get all in one tooth brushes. These come with toothpaste and a flosser built in!
  • Bring safe-to-swallow toothpaste.
  • Buy light, travel size toothbrush and toothpaste kits.
  • Consider using environmentally friendly substitutes like baking soda.
  • If all else fails, brush and rinse with water.

Dr. Barden also recommends packing the following if you are currently in treatment with braces, clear aligners, or retainers:

  • Bring an emergency kit in case of orthodontic situations such as poking wires. Having some wax can solve minor emergencies until you return from your trip.
  • Don’t forget your retainers and storage case. Be sure to put them in a safe place so you don’t lose them among your camping gear.
  • Bring a storage case for your clear aligners if you are being treated with Invisalign ®

We hope you enjoy your time camping and exploring the great outdoors in Wisconsin and other parts of the United States. Happy Camping!

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Whitening Teeth with Braces

May 15th, 2018

Now that you are working hard to improve your dental health and appearance with your braces, it might seem like a logical time to whiten your teeth as well. But should you go ahead with home kits or a professional whitening? The answer might be yes, but not quite yet!

Toothpaste

The easiest way to whiten teeth is regular use of a whitening toothpaste. But these do not make a major difference in tooth color and may also contain abrasives which can damage ceramic brackets and make them more likely to stain. And, whether you have metal or ceramic braces, the brackets used are bonded to your teeth. Any part of your tooth covered by a bracket will not be affected by the whitening paste. Ask our office if you are thinking of using one of these products. We will be happy to recommend the best toothpastes to use while your braces are in place.

Whitening Strips and Trays

Whiteners can be applied at home with strips or tray kits. Strips are coated with a whitening gel and then pressed around your teeth. Tray kits provide a mouthguard-like appliance, which is filled with whitening gel. But neither strips nor tray solutions will whiten any area covered by brackets. When your braces come off, there might be noticeable differences in color on each tooth. Strips are difficult to apply with braces, and trays need to be custom-designed to fit your braces and make sure they don’t disturb your orthodontic work. One size most definitely does not fit all! Finally, these whitening agents can cause tooth and gum sensitivity, especially around the time of adjustments. Many manufacturers do not recommend using their products while you have braces. Please talk to us if you are thinking of using them.

Professional Whitening

A dental professional can whiten your teeth in office for the best possible results. The most effective treatments for your unique teeth are combined with protective care of your gums and mouth. Whether this treatment is appropriate while you have braces is something we are happy to discuss.

The best way to keep your teeth bright is to keep up your regular dental routine! Brushing and flossing are more important than ever now, because plaque builds up around brackets. Avoid foods that stain teeth and rinse or brush after every meal and snack. Dr. Douglas Barden will show you the best way to take care of your teeth while your braces are on—and that includes the best way to keep them white and bright. Talk to us about the perfect time to whiten your beautiful smile during your next visit to our Milwaukee, WI office. And if you have to wait a few extra days for the smile you’ve been working toward, truly, the wait will be worth it!

Why Adults Are Choosing Invisalign®

April 17th, 2018

These days, it’s become more common to see adults at our office getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign clear aligners . . . that is, if you can see them! Whether they are seeking to overcome the stigma that “braces are just for kids,” or simply want straighter teeth without a mouth full of metal, Invisalign is an effective and easy solution.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, from 1994 to 2010 the number of adults 18 and older who request braces increased by 58 percent: from 680,000 to 1.1 million a year. Many adults enjoy how discreet the aligners are and that the user doesn’t need to avoid any foods or make dietary changes the way you would with traditional braces. Also, each treatment is unique to the patient.

With an Invisalign treatment, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits over traditional braces:

  • The total treatment time is more precise with Invisalign because your treatment is modeled by a computer. Traditional braces depend more on an estimate and aren’t as exact.
  • You’ll make fewer trips to our Milwaukee, WI office, since you’re able to change your trays on your own every few weeks or whatever is prescribed.
  • Without brackets to place over your teeth, there’s less risk to the health of your tooth enamel.
  • Invisalign aligners are clear and practically invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them!

If you’re interested in Invisalign as a treatment option, please let Dr. Douglas Barden know. We’d be happy to help you on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!

Toothbrush Care

April 10th, 2018

You found the perfect toothbrush! The bristles are soft, to avoid irritating your delicate gum tissue. The angle of the bristles is perfect for removing plaque. The handle is durable and comfortable when you spend at least two minutes brushing in the morning and two at night. Why, you love this toothbrush and you’ll never let it go… for the next three or four months.

The life of a toothbrush is naturally a short one. Dr. Douglas Barden and our team recommend replacement every three to four months because the bristles become frayed and worn with daily use. They cannot clean as effectively when the bristles begin to break down, and, depending on your brushing style, may wear out even more rapidly. (Children will probably need to replace toothbrushes at least every three months.) But even in the short time you have your toothbrush, there are ways to keep it ready for healthy brushing.

  • Don’t share. While sharing is normally a virtue, sharing toothbrushes can lead to an increased risk of infections, especially for those with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases. Similarly, keep different brushes separate when drying to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Rinse thoroughly after brushing. Make sure to remove any toothpaste or debris left after you brush.
  • Store the brush upright. Air-drying is the preferred way to dry your brush, as covering the brush or keeping it in a closed container can promote the growth of bacteria more easily.

There are several products on the market that promise to sanitize your brush. The verdict is still out on its success, but if you or someone in your home has a compromised immune system, call our Milwaukee, WI office to see if it might be worth your while to check them out.

Even though your toothbrush won’t be with you long, make its stay as effective and hygienic as possible. And if you find a brush you love—stock up!

When should I floss during the day?

May 23rd, 2017

A vital step in your oral health routine is flossing. We hope our patients at Barden Orthodontics maintain good oral hygiene, including daily flossing between each visit to our Milwaukee, WI office. A toothbrush is not always enough to get to the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. When food remains between your teeth, bacteria starts to grow and will break down your enamel. This is where flossing comes in!

Should you floss before or after brushing?

Whatever your personal preference, you may floss before or after you brush your teeth. When you floss first, you can brush away any leftover dislodged food debris from your teeth. On the other hand, when you brush first, you will loosen the plaque between your teeth, which makes flossing more effective.

The essential aspect is that you floss thoroughly by using a fresh strand of floss and make sure to get between every tooth. Even if your teeth look and feel clean, don’t skip flossing or plaque will begin to build up on your teeth.

When is the best time to floss?

Although you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, Dr. Douglas Barden and our team recommend flossing your teeth thoroughly once a day. Many people prefer to floss before bed, so that plaque doesn’t sit between their teeth all night.

What kind of floss should I use?

You may choose between interdental cleaning picks or flexible floss strands to perform your daily flossing routine. If you have permanent oral appliances or restorations, be sure to follow the flossing instructions provided to you.

Do you need help flossing?

If you’re having trouble flossing or have questions about which floss is best for your teeth, contact our Milwaukee, WI office and we can provide you with support. Be sure to keep up with your daily flossing routine, and we will see you at your next appointment!

Check out Dr. Douglas Barden's other Top Tips for a Healthy Smile.

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