Office Blog

Knowing When the Time is Right to Begin Treatment


Is my child too young for orthodontics? When should I make an appointment for their first check-up?  These are important questions to consider because teeth and jaw problems can become more serious over time if left untreated.

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, children should first see the orthodontist no later than age 7. Although your child may still have some baby teeth at that age, they will have enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and determine whether early treatment is necessary. Early treatment means treatment that is performed while baby teeth are still present.

There are a number of problems that may require treatment while a child still has some baby teeth:

  • Very crowded teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth that fit together abnormally, or don’t meet at all
  • Thumbsucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth

The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, guide the growth of facial and jawbones, and provide adequate space for incoming teeth. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in can make correcting some problems more difficult.

Pulsipher Orthodontics is here to help your family achieve the best smiles possible. If you would like your child to be evaluated, make an appointment with us today. Timing is everything!

A Healthy Smile is More Than Just Straight Teeth

You may be surprised to learn that a healthy smile is about more than just straight teeth. The truth is, even if your teeth are straight, you may still have problems with how your teeth fit together – also known as your bite – that can be bad for your oral health.

The ultimate goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite so you can bite and chew food properly. Having a healthy bite also helps prevent pain, discomfort, and other oral health problems. It turns out straight teeth and a beautiful smile are just positive side effects of orthodontic treatment.

Your upper and lower teeth are meant to fit together in a certain way. If they don’t, you may be vulnerable to all kinds of oral health problems in the future. Here’s a few ways your bite might be off:

  • Underbite – when the bottom teeth are in front of the upper teeth
  • Open bite – when the back teeth are closed, but the front teeth don’t meet, or when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth don’t touch
  • Deep bite – when the upper teeth completely cover the bottom teeth
  • Crossbite – when the bottom teeth are outside of the upper teeth

If left untreated, an improper bite can lead to jaw joint problems, cavities, and premature wear of teeth. The good news is that all of these problems can be prevented with orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment will help reposition the teeth within the jawbones so they fit together properly.

If you suspect your teeth may not be fitting together properly, make an appointment with Pulsipher Orthodontics as soon as possible. We can evaluate your bite and determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary.

Bad Breath Survival Guide

We’ve all been there. On a date, at a job interview, or just talking with friends…suddenly you realize you have awful dragon breath. How did this happen and what can you do about it?

Welcome to your bad breath survival guide.

Poor dental habits are one of the main causes of bad breath. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth and cause bacteria to grow. These bacteria leave a foul-smelling waste product behind. Gross!

Obviously the best way to get rid of all that bacteria is to brush and floss daily. You can also use a toothbrush or tongue scraper to clean your tongue…that’s where a lot of bad breath bacteria can be found. Over-the-counter mouthwash will help kill bacteria as well.

Bad breath can also be caused by certain foods and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. Garlic, onions, and coffee are all associated with bad breath. You may be able to cover up the smell of these foods with brushing and mouthwash, but the odor won’t go away completely until they pass through your body. Smoking and tobacco will also affect your breath and put you at risk for other health problems like gum disease.

In some cases, bad breath may be a sign of a more serious health condition. Bad breath that won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of gum disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The medical condition dry mouth can also cause bad breath because your body isn’t producing enough saliva. Saliva is important to help neutralize acids produced by plaque and wash away dead cells that accumulate in your mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems. See your healthcare provider if you suspect any of these conditions.

Here’s a few simple steps to prevent bad breath:

  1. Practice good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day and don’t forget to clean the tongue. Use floss to remove food particles between teeth at least once a day and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  2. See your dentist at least twice a year. They can provide professional teeth cleaning and determine if you have gum disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be causing bad breath.
  3. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Giving up this habit is good for your body in many ways. We know it’s not an easy thing to do, but your breath will thank you.
  4. Keep that saliva flowing. To get more saliva moving in your mouth, drink lots of water and try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. You can also try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples.

Straighter Teeth by Mail? If it Sounds Too Good to Be True, it Probably Is.

Women Slider 1 Pulsipher Orthodontics located in San Diego, CA

You may have heard of online orthodontic companies that promise to straighten your teeth by mail like SmileDirectClub, SnapCorrect, and SmileLove, just to name a few. These companies claim that you can have straight teeth just by taking a selfie and/or an impression of your teeth, then wearing aligners that arrive in the mail for a few months! As the old saying goes – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Before you decide to use a do-it-yourself orthodontic company, there are a few things you should know. First, many of these companies do not require any kind of in-person evaluation and/or ongoing supervision by an orthodontist. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the mouth could result in potentially irreversible damage such as tooth and gum loss. It is extremely important for an orthodontist to look for any untreated cavities, underlying gum infections, and other issues before any teeth-straightening is done.

Just last year, the American Dental Association passed a resolution strongly discouraging the practice of do-it-yourself orthodontics because of the potential for harm to patients. The American Association of Orthodontics has also been cautioning consumers about the dangers of do-it-yourself orthodontics. It is important to know that orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite. Many dentists involved in these do-it-yourself companies have not received this specialized training.

If you are considering using a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company, you can find some good questions to consider here. We highly recommend having an in-person consultation with a member of the American Association of Orthodontists like Dr. Pulsipher before making any decision about orthodontic treatment. Your health is too important to take chances!

Protect Your Face…You’ll Be Happy You Did

April is National Facial Protection Month, so we are answering all of your burning questions about mouthguards and how to protect you teeth from unnecessary damage.

What is a mouthguard?

A mouthguard is an inexpensive piece of protective gear worn over the teeth. Athletes frequently use them to prevent sports-related injuries.

Why are mouthguards important?

Mouthguards help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, athletes are 60 percent more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouthguard.

Which sports require a mouthguard?

Many parents think mouthguards are only required for heavy contact sports like football and hockey, but the truth is oral injuries can happen during any sport! In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics encourages all players to wear a mouthguard during both games and practices.

But aren’t mouthguards difficult to wear?

Some people think mouthguards are uncomfortable and distracting, making it more difficult to focus during an intense game. Luckily new advances in mouthguard technology have made products even more comfortable and easy to wear. There are many options to choose from including custom-made mouthgaurds and less expensive “boil and bite” protectors. Dr. Pulsipher can help you decide which mouthguard will provide the best protection and comfort based on your individual needs.

Mouthguards are an essential piece of sports equipment, so don’t wait until it’s too late! Call Dr. Pulsipher today to discuss your options for protecting your teeth.

Straight Teeth Mean a Healthier (and Happier) Smile

Some people think straight teeth are only important to help you look and feel great. But the truth is, having straight teeth is really important for your health too!

When teeth are crooked and crowded, it can be more difficult to brush and floss. Brushing is important to help remove plaque from the large surfaces of your teeth and eradicate bacteria in the mouth. Regular flossing removes plaque from between your teeth and helps prevent cavities and gum disease.

Over time, poor oral hygiene can cause all kinds of problems including tooth decay, periodontal disease (infections of the structures around the teeth), and possibly tooth loss. An improper bite can also interfere with chewing and speaking, cause excessive wear to tooth enamel, and lead to problems with the jaws.

Pulsipher Orthodontics can help! Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a “bad bite,” also known as malocclusion, that involves crooked or crowded teeth. Correcting the problem can create a better smile, but more important, orthodontic treatment makes it easier to take care of your teeth and results in a healthier mouth.

Are you ready for a healthier smile? The good news is that orthodontic treatment is now easier than ever before. Braces are smaller and more comfortable than they used to be. You can even choose to straighten your teeth using clear, removable aligners.

Make an appointment with Dr. Pulsipher to discuss your unique smile and what alignment options are best for you.