Monday, 16 February 2015 00:00

Say No to Nail Biting!

Nail BiterDr. Chou cautions her patients about the dangers of nail biting. Nail biting is one of the so-called "nervous habits" that can be triggered by stress, excitement or boredom. Experts say that about thirty percent of children and fifteen percent of adults are nail biters. However most will stop chewing their nails by the time they turn thirty.

Here are four dental and general reasons to stop biting your nails:

  1. It's unsanitary. Your nails harbor bacteria and germs, and they are almost twice as dirty as your fingers. Moreover, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.
  2. It wears down your teeth. Biting your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.
  3. It can prolong your orthodontic treatment. For those wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
  4. It can cost you, literally. Our friends at the Academy of General Dentistry estimate up to $4,000 in extra dental bills over a lifetime.
Dr. Chou recommends the following to kick your nail biting habit:

  1. Keep your nails trimmed short; you'll have less of a nail to bite.
  2. Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish.
  3. Ask us about obtaining a mouth guard, which can help prevent nail biting.
  4. Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to bite on your nails.
  5. Think about when and why you chew your nails. Whether you are nervous or just bored, understanding the triggers can help you find a solution and stop the habit.
  6. If you can't stop, behavioural therapy may be an effective option to stop nail biting.

If you are interested in more information about nail biting or would like to assess your oral health, please contact Dr. Chou at 416.532.3041 or stop by her office in Toronto, ON.
Published in Blog
Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00

When Should my Child see an Orthodontist?

Orthodontic treatment and dental treatment are quite different. Dental treatment is aimed at maintaining overall health of the mouth and the teeth. Orthodontic treatment procedures such as those done by Dr. Norma Chou in Toronto, address issues such as improper bite, poor jaw alignment, and tooth crowding and spacing. . Because of the specific nature of orthodontic treatment, if can sometimes be tough for parents to know when their child should see an orthodontist. (Orthodontists are certified dental specialists with two to three years of extra training beyond the regular dental degree.)

Below are some telltale signs for parents to keep an eye out for.

Asymmetry – If you notice that your child has an asymmetrical face or if their teeth don't line up, you should probably consult an orthodontist

Problems with Speaking and Eating – A visit to an orthodontist should be scheduled if you notice your child is having trouble biting or chewing food, speaking, or is experiencing cheek-biting

Bad Bite – Malocclusion, or bad bite, can begin to develop as the adult teeth grow in and replace the primary teeth. You can usually see the signs of bad bite between middle childhood and the pre-teen years, and an orthodontist should be consulted in order to evaluate and diagnose bad bite.

Tooth Crowding – If your child's adult teeth have started to grow in and are already showing signs of crowding, see an orthodontist and discuss braces.
Published in Blog
Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00

Excellent Orthodontic Treatment in Toronto

orthodontic-treatment-torontoIf you are looking for excellent orthodontic treatment in Toronto, Dr. Norma Chou, Orthodontist, is here to help. Dr. Chou explains some of the dental problems that she can fix with the proper orthodontic treatment plan.

Openbites, underbites, overbites and deep overbites – Dr. Chou specializes in the correction of all four Dr. Chou suggests that these problems are seen early when some can be corrected without as much difficulty and without surgery. The fix usually requires braces, special appliances and/or retainers.

Crowding of the teeth - This usually occurs when the teeth are too big for the size of the jaws. There may also be extra teeth, a condition called hyperdontia. Dr. Norma Chou often treats serious crowding and /or hyperdontia by removing some teeth and aligning the rest with braces.

Crooked teeth – The fix will improve your overall dental health, allowing you to clean your teeth more easily. Dr. Chou uses braces (metal or clear ceramic), clear aligners, and retainers to straighten crooked teeth.

Gaps or spaces – You may not consider a gap between the front teeth a problem at all, but if you want to close it Dr. Chou can use braces to move the teeth together. A special glued-in retainer helps to keep the space closed.

Clenching or grinding your teeth – Grinding your teeth is called bruxism. Stress is one of the causes. Misaligned teeth or sleep issues can also be culprits among adults (among kids, causes can include allergies). Bruxism can give you headaches, a sore jaw and cracked or loose teeth. If you grind your teeth at night, Dr. Chou can fit you with a mouth guard. If it is a daytime problem, meditation, exercise or other ways to curb stress help.

If you have any of the above tooth problems please contact Dr. Norma Chou in Toronto at 416-532-3041, and schedule an appointment to discuss orthodontic treatment. Keep smiling!
Published in Blog

The topic of Orthodontics is very popular among adults and children alike . As a child develops, one of the first things parents may begin to worry about is their oral health. Dr. Norma Chou is often questioned about what signs to look for to determine if a child may need orthodontic attention, and when a child should begin treatment. Each person is different, but Dr. Chou answers a few of the most important questions that you may have below:

When is it best to Begin Treatment?
Orthodontic issues can often be detected early in life. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.

While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.

There are three main outcomes from an early examination. The check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child's growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time. In other situations, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make orthodontic treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:

- Guide jaw growth

- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth

- Correct harmful oral habits

- Improve appearance and self-confidence by creating a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face

- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position

- Improve the ability to keep the teeth clean and reduce tooth decay

Because patients differ in both physical development and treatment needs, the orthodontist's goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you can give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.


If your child is older than 7, it is never too late for a thorough examination with Dr. Chou!

What are the Treatment Options? Once you or your dentist have determined that you or your child needs orthodontic treatment, you may begin to wonder about what kind of treatment systems are available and which would be best suited for your child. Dr. Chou offers a variety of treatment options such as:

Traditional metal braces Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, they straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option and fun of adding colored ties (rubber bands) for a more unique, personalized and colorful smile.

Ceramic braces: Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth. Dr. Chou will explain in more detail at your initial consultation if you are a candidate for the clear braces.

Clear Braces: Clear braces are a series of clear, plastic aligner trays that can be removed to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Clear braces may be desirable because they are virtually invisible, easier to manage and care for due to their removable nature, and very comfortable. However, Dr. Chou will explain to her patients that there are some drawbacks versus braces in certain situations, Clear braces are less effective on extremely severe cases, or may take longer to correct oral issues. Dr. Chou is experienced with clear braces and will discuss this option if you or your child is a candidate.

What are the first steps? If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or for your child in Toronto or surrounding areas, the first step is to contact us! Dr. Chou will complete a detailed examination of the face and teeth and will and discuss which options are best suited to correct any issues.that she finds. Once the appropriate treatment plan has been determined, you or your child will be on the road to the gorgeous smile that everyone wants! We invite you to call our Toronto office at 416-532-3041 or visit us on the web at www.drnormachou.com to find out why so many families trust their orthodontic care to Dr. Norma Chou and her experienced team. We look forward to meeting you!

Published in Blog
Monday, 07 July 2014 14:14

Summer Care for Braces

Summer has finally come! For many parents, sending children away to summer camp for weeks or even months is a summer tradition. Whether the camp is in Toronto or farther away, Dr. Norma Chou, Orthodontist in Toronto, wants to make sure that her patients are ready to take care of their braces at camp and that they understand that this should not hinder summer fun. Follow some tips from Dr. Chou.

It is important to maintain the same oral care and routine that patients have at home while away, so that the braces and teeth stay in shape. Dr. Chou and her staff recommend taking a "braces camp kit" filled with all the necessities related to maintaining the teeth. The kit can include extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and wax, and sugarless gum in case a wire breaks. The important thing is to maintain clean teeth while away from home. In case anything happens to the braces, inform the counselors at the camp that they can contact Dr. Chou to see if an emergency appointment is necessary. The main thing is for your camper to be comfortable until he/she resumes his/her regular schedule with Dr. Chou back in Toronto. Just like at home, the same precautions regarding eating are given while away at camp; avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods.

Dr. Chou wants to make sure that your camper is completely prepared to maintain his/her braces while away. It is best to schedule a visit just before he/she leaves to make sure that everything is fine.

Dr. Chou hopes that all her patients at camp have a great time and she looks forward to seeing them on their return to Toronto.

Published in Blog
Monday, 02 June 2014 16:17

Meal Plan for Toronto Braces

Your tween has just come to Dr. Chou to get their braces put on. Are they now complaining about what they can eat? It’s true that braces will change what your child can eat while wearing their braces. Dr. Chou in Toronto gives the following as a basic meal plan that your brace wearer can eat.

THE BRACES DIET!!

Unfortunately, there are some foods that should be considered off limits until your braces come off. Dr. Chou says the following should be avoided: Hard nuts, candies, hard fruits (like apples and pears), Hard vegetables (like carrots and corn on the cob), Chips, Taco shells, Pizza crust, pretzels, Sticky stuff like taffy, gum, caramels, Foods high in acidity that could cause discoloration like lemons, limes and sodas.

So here is a sample menu provided by Dr. Chou for you while you have your braces on:

Breakfast ideas: oatmeal prepared with milk, mashed pears and cinnamon, crispy rice cereal topped with yogurt, fluffy scrambled eggs with banana cut into small pieces, muesli with dried fruit (soak overnight) and all types of smoothies.

Lunch ideas: cold pasta salad with small veggies cut up and shredded chicken, tuna salad, blueberry muffins with applesauce on side, creamy polenta and homemade mac and cheese.

Dinner ideas: spaghetti with pureed vegetables, baked potato topped with cottage cheese, chili, grilled tofu and miso soup.

Easy snacks: pudding, mashed avocados with salsa, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs and yogurt with fruit cut up into small pieces.

Dr. Chou knows that it can be an adjustment while you’re wearing your braces but that perfect smile is not far away. Dr. Chou is here to help our patients with any of their orthodontic needs. So don’t hesitate to contact us in our Toronto office.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 16:15

Can Braces Cause Canker Sores?

Can braces cause canker sores? Dr. Norma Chou in Toronto says that the exact cause of most canker sores is unknown, and that there are different things which could be responsible for them.

Dr. Chou explains that sometimes a sharp tooth surface or dental appliances such as braces or ill-fitting dentures, might trigger canker sores. Other factor like stress or tissue injury can also cause simple canker sores. Certain foods -- including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables (such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, and strawberries) may also trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse.

Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that appear in the mouth and often make eating and talking uncomfortable especially if you have braces rubbing against them.

There are two types of canker sores: Simple canker sores may appear three or four times a year and last up to a week. They typically occur in people between 10 and 20 years of age.

Complex canker sores are less common and occur more often in people who have previously had them. Some cases of complex canker sores are caused by an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune system; nutritional problems (such as vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron deficiency) or gastrointestinal tract disease (such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease).

Dr. Chou explains that cold sores and canker sores are not the same thing but are often confused with one another. Cold sores, also called fever blisters or herpes simplex type 1, are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are caused by a virus and are extremely contagious. So if you have a cold sore, whenever you touch your mouth or your braces, Dr. Chou advises you to wash your hands well so you do not spread the virus. Also, cold sores typically appear outside the mouth -- usually under the nose, around the lips, or under the chin -- while canker sores occur inside the mouth.

Although there is no cure for canker sores, and they often recur, you may be able to reduce their frequency. Dr. Chou says if you have any questions or concerns about your braces and canker sores to schedule a visit at her office in Toronto.

Published in Blog

Avoid damaging your braces during apple-picking season. If you have braces and are planning to go apple picking in the Toronto area, Dr, Norma Chou has some helpful hints.

Apples always make that list of foods to avoid if you have braces. While wearing braces, Dr. Chou recommends that you stay away from foods that you bite directly into to avoid damaging your braces. This does not mean that you can't have apples, but Dr. Chou says to cut apples into bite-sized pieces or wedges. This way, you will have less chance of damaging your braces.

Staying away from certain foods that you like may not be fun, but eating things that you're not supposed to eat can cause broken wires or brackets. Such damage to your braces can be painful and can potentially prolong treatment. In other words, if you eat foods that you should be avoiding, you could damage your braces and be stuck in orthodontic treatment for an even longer time!

Dr. Chou is always available to help you with any of your orthodontic concerns. So while apple picking this season, avoid damaging your braces by following the recommendations by Dr. Chou. Contact our Toronto office with any questions or concerns you have.

Published in Blog
 
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