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Will my child benefit from early orthodontic treatment?

April 27th, 2018

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around age seven. Dr. Ritucci can evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs early on to see if orthodontic treatment is recommended for your son or daughter.

Below, we answer common questions parents may have about the benefits of early childhood orthodontics.

What does early orthodontic treatment mean?

Early orthodontic treatment usually begins when a child is eight or nine years old. Typically known as Phase One, the goal here is to correct bite problems such as an underbite, as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. This phase also helps make room in the mouth for teeth to grow properly, with the aim of preventing teeth crowding and extractions later on.

Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?

The characteristics and behavior below can help determine whether your little one needs early treatment.

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
  • Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
  • The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
  • The child is a mouth breather
  • Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
  • Protruding teeth, typically in the front
  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • A speech impediment
  • The jaw shifts when the child opens or closes the mouth
  • The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb

What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?

Jaw bones do not harden until children reach their late teens. Because children’s bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces are easier and often faster than they would be for adults.

Early treatment at our Plymouth office can enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Talk with Dr. Ritucci today to see if your child should receive early orthodontic treatment.

Every Day is Earth Day

April 20th, 2018

During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right; the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.

Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.

Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

  • Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
  • Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
  • Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
  • Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.

It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little everyday measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. Our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day and help the environment, knowing that it will benefit your and your children's generation.

Orthodontic Care on the Go!

April 13th, 2018

Whether you’re heading out for a day with friends or running from classroom to volleyball practice, you don’t always have the luxury of taking care of your braces or aligners in the comfort of your home. But don’t stress! Here are some suggestions for handy items you can take with you to handle most of the dental situations that might come up.

Basic Care Kit

  • Travel Toothbrush—the perfect size for quick cleanings after a meal on the go. You might want to bring a travel size tube of toothpaste as well.
  • Dental Floss, Threader, and Dental Picks—you don’t want something stuck in your teeth or braces through three hours of play rehearsal.
  • Water Bottle—if you don’t have time to brush, a good rinse will help keep teeth and appliances clean.
  • Small Mirror—to make sure your smile is picture perfect after eating.
  • Our office phone number—just in case. If something happens to your braces or aligners, or if you suffer a dental emergency, call our Plymouth office immediately.

For Braces

  • Orthodontic Wax—if one of your brackets is irritating your mouth, you’ll be ready.
  • Braces-Friendly Snacks—soft, healthy foods that will help keep your energy up while keeping your braces intact.

For Aligners or a Retainer

  • Your case! If you need to take your aligners or retainer out, use your case to protect them and keep them from getting lost. You have better things to do after lunch than sifting through a garbage can full of used napkins. Much better things.

All of these items can fit easily in a case or bag in your glove compartment, locker, or backpack. Want more tips? Talk to Dr. Ritucci and our team on your next visit, and let’s work together to make caring for your orthodontic appliances a quick and convenient addition to your busy schedule!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 6th, 2018

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ritucci, please give us a call at our convenient Plymouth office!

My mouth is dry. What can I do?

March 30th, 2018

Nobody likes a dry mouth. It is an uncomfortable and sometimes oddly unexplainable sensation that most people like to avoid. It is not a condition that automatically sends you into a panic about your health, however, a dry mouth can be a bother and something you certainly want to change if possible. So, if you find yourself in the unpleasant position of having a dry mouth, here is what you can do.

Chew Sugar-free Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum will stimulate saliva in your mouth. The chewing motion of your jaw and teeth should take care of at least some of your dry mouth problem.

Suck on Sugar-free Candy: Similarly to chewing sugar free gum, if you suck on sugar free candy it should create more saliva in your mouth and moisturize it in the process.

Cut out the Caffeine:Caffeine can contribute to a dry mouth so by limiting, or eliminating your intake all together, you may find that your dry mouth is no more.

Stop Using Tobacco Products: Tobacco is another cause of dry mouth. Whether it is smokeless tobacco products or cigarettes, if you stop using them your dry mouth will likely improve. And not to forget, these products are exceedingly bad for your oral health to begin with, so you will be doing your mouth a favor even more so.

Drink Lots of Water: It may seem obvious, but drinking lots of water will likely improve your dry mouth. This is because dry mouth is usually a sign of dehydration, so plenty of fluids will surely help.

Dry mouth can be unpleasant, but it is often easily solved by either drinking more water, or trying one of the previously mentioned techniques. If the problem still persists you can always visit our Plymouth office to see Dr. Ritucci. More often than not, doing one of the above will leave your mouth more moisturized than it was previously, and hopefully it will be long-lasting as well.

Importance of Oral Hygiene with Braces

March 23rd, 2018

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Proper oral hygiene techniques are always worthwhile, but they are especially crucial when you’re wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces. When you don’t maintain an effective oral hygiene routine, you can be more susceptible to gum disease as well as tooth decay, cavities, decalcification, discoloration, and/or staining of the teeth.

Braces themselves don’t cause these issues, but since they create spaces that are difficult to clean, they provide extra sources of food (dental plaque and food debris) for the bacteria that do. Bacteria create a biofilm on the surface of a tooth that can spread if not addressed. That bacteria food can only be removed by a mechanical action: brushing and flossing your teeth!

Here’s a list of smart hygiene steps to follow for the duration of your braces treatment:

Proper tooth brushing technique: Make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly (for a total of about two minutes), but not too hard. Point the head of the toothbrush at the gum line and brush just hard enough so that you feel slight pressure against the gums. Use a soft, small-headed toothbrush or an electric toothbrush if you’d like. Try your best always to clean on and around every tooth, bracket, and wire in your mouth!

Flossing: Braces can make flossing a chore, but it’s an essential adjunct to proper tooth brushing. Make sure to floss between all your teeth and brackets. Dr. Ritucci can provide you with braces floss threaders and interproximal toothbrushes (small brushes used to clean areas under wires and between brackets) to make the task easier. You might also consider purchasing an oral irrigator that uses a stream of water to blast food particles and debris from between teeth and gums.

Rinse with water: This may sound slight, but it’s a good idea, especially if you aren’t able to brush. Rinsing your mouth with water throughout the day helps to dislodge the decay-causing food particles that become lodged in braces.

Hygiene away from home: It’s a good idea to have a kit with a toothbrush, floss, floss threaders, mirror, and small water cup on hand at school or work. That way, you’ll be sure to have all the tools you need to keep your mouth clean.

Regular professional cleanings: As always, it’s best to visit your dentist regularly to verify everything in your mouth is in order and your oral hygiene routine is effective. Twice a year is sufficient, unless the dentist recommends more frequent visits.

It's vital to keep your teeth and gums clean during your braces treatment, and that requires your care and attention. If feel like you need help with any of the techniques above, a member of our Plymouth team can demonstrate them for you!

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

March 16th, 2018

“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 Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. 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. Ritucci !

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!

Considerations When Picking the Right Mouthwash

March 9th, 2018

A solid oral health routine begins with daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Without a consistent oral health regimen, you may begin to experience tooth decay and bacterial infections. Few patients ask Dr. Ritucci about different mouthwash options, so we’ve put together a list of the conditions that mouthwashes can treat. This should help you decide which oral rinse would be best for you.

Gum Health

Antiseptic mouthwashes reduce large amounts of bacteria on and near the gum line and generally help to decrease your chances of developing gingivitis. The key ingredients of antiseptic mouthwashes are antibacterial and antimicrobial items. Antiseptic mouthwash is a preferable option if you are concerned about the general gum health of your mouth.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a great tool for preventive tooth decay treatment. It prevents tooth decay and is great for oral health in general because it kills germs that can live in your mouth. Fluoride also builds stronger teeth. If you’re a bottled water drinker, Dr. Ritucci may recommend that you purchase a simple fluoride rinse to use after brushing.

Bad Breath

Fluoride mouthwash can be used to fight any bad breath issues you may be facing. It’s designed to combat any bacteria that might be building up in your mouth. Most mouthwashes will help eliminate bad breath, but some are specifically designed to address this difficult problem. If you feel as though this might be turning into a chronic problem, please contact Dr. Ritucci to discuss other options that would be effective for treating your symptoms.

American Dental Association (ADA Approval)

The ADA reviews all mouth rinses for safety measures and to prove effectiveness. Any mouthwash approved by the ADA has met strict guidelines according to whether the manufacturer’s claims are supported with scientific evidence. If you’re looking for a quality mouthwash, look for one that has the ADA seal of approval to ensure you have a great rinse for your mouth.

Considerations

When you’re trying to decide which mouthwash to pick, contact our Plymouth or ask Dr. Ritucci during your next appointment. If you experience a burning sensation in the soft tissues of your mouth, be sure to discontinue use immediately. Avoid letting children under age six use a mouth rinse, and be sure to keep all mouthwashes out of the reach of children, because they contain alcohol and other substances that could be harmful.

Foods that are Safe for Braces

March 2nd, 2018

Orthodontic braces are used to straighten the teeth, which not only creates a more pleasing appearance, but also helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Braces are only effective when they are properly cared for, however. Certain foods, for example, are better suited for individuals who have braces, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So, what types of foods should you or your kids eat to protect dental appliances?

The best foods to eat with braces are those that are not high in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, bacon, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and a glass of water. If you are looking for some after-school snacks for your kids, consider baked tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, or try string cheese with fruit.

A healthy dinner can include most types of vegetables, so long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein, such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!

Post-Tightening Foods

As braces begin to adjust the alignment of the teeth, our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. will periodically tighten them to continue the alignment process. After tightening occurs, the teeth may be sore and sensitive to certain foods. During this time, it is best to eat soft foods. Examples include:

  • Pudding
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soup
  • Ice cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Peas
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta

Foods to Avoid

Anyone who wears braces – whether fixed or removable – should avoid excessive snacking and should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to the braces, such as:

  • Hard candies
  • Gum
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Certain raw vegetables (for example, carrots)

Considerations

Regardless of what types of foods you eat with braces, it is important to keep the crevices between the teeth and around the braces very clean. That means brushing and flossing after meals to prevent the build-up of plaque and decay. Not only can failing to do so damage the teeth, but it can also cause discoloration.

Have more questions about orthodontic treatment? The Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. staff is always ready to answer all of your questions and help you get the most out of the treatment plan prescribed for you by Dr. Ritucci!

Why choose an orthodontic specialist over a general dentist?

February 23rd, 2018

Patients have so many choices for straightening their teeth nowadays — clear aligners, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces — but who is best suited to guide them through orthodontic treatment? Well, an orthodontist like Dr. Ritucci in Plymouth of course!

This may seem obvious, but there’s misinformation circulating with regard to the roles dentists and orthodontists play in treating patients’ oral health.

Dentists are trained to clean teeth, fill cavities, perform certain dental surgeries, and examine overall oral health. Many dentists now offer braces to their patients, but according to the American Association of Orthodontists, it’s better to consult an orthodontist if you need to straighten teeth or fix a bite.

Why an orthodontist? Because they are...

  • Specialists in straightening teeth and aligning jaws, even advanced cases
  • Required to study an additional two to three years after dental school
  • Trained to choose the correct treatment option because they have worked with all the available options
  • Trained to recognize the potential pitfalls with certain treatments and cases, which means there’s less chance of problems after treatment has started or been completed
  • Familiar with emerging treatments and technologies so they can make the best choice for a patient’s case

Some dentists claim to have taken enough continuing education or additional training to offer braces to their patients. But this can't compare to the advanced training an orthodontist receives during his or her education.

Ideally, dentists and orthodontists work hand in hand to make sure oral health and the alignment of teeth and jaws are the best they can be. Think of a dentist as the one who is there for a lifetime, to make sure teeth and gums are healthy.

In contrast, an orthodontist is the highly skilled teammate who helps the dentist by straightening teeth and aligning the jaws over the course of a few years. Instead of one replacing the other, they work together for the health and benefit of their patients.

Brushing with Braces: How to Keep a Clean Mouth

February 16th, 2018

A clean mouth is a happy mouth. And when Dr. Ritucci and our staff see you have a clean mouth, we are happy too. Of course, all of this should make you happy because you’re the one preventing sneaky little food bits from getting trapped under the wires of your braces.

Still, you need to be thorough with your brushing. When you have braces, you’re playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with everything you eat. Here are five tips to keep your mouth (and us) happy.

  1. How is brushing with braces like geometry? It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down. Brush the bottom of your teeth with the brush angled up. Pointy brushes, aka interproximal brushes, are good for reaching the tiny spots around braces.
  2. Brush after every meal. If those sneaky little food bits hide in your mouth for very long, they’ll turn into plaque. And plaque is a sign of a very unhappy mouth.
  3. Brush one tooth at a time for at least ten seconds, and pay close attention to the spots where your braces touch your teeth.
  4. Fluoride is your new BFF. Make sure your toothpaste and mouthwash contain this cavity-fighting ingredient.
  5. Braces are no excuse not to floss. In fact, saying you can’t floss because you have braces is like saying the dog ate your homework. Dr. Ritucci and our staff, like your geometry teacher, aren’t going to buy it. Be sure to floss after every meal.

The Origins of Valentine's Day

February 9th, 2018

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of cards, flowers, and chocolates. We think of girlfriends celebrating being single together and couples celebrating their relationship. We think of all things pink and red taking over every pharmacy and grocery store imaginable. But what Dr. Ritucci and our team would like to think of is when and how this joyous, love-filled day began.

Several martyrs’ stories are associated with the origins of Valentine’s Day. One of the most widely known suggests that Valentine was a Roman priest who went against the law at a time when marriage had been banned for young men. He continued to perform marriage ceremonies for young lovers in secret and when he was discovered, he was sentenced to death.

Another tale claims that Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape from Roman prisons. Yet another says that Valentine himself sent the first valentine when he fell in love with a girl and sent her a letter and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

Other claims suggest that it all began when Geoffrey Chaucer, an Englishman often referred to as the father of English literature, wrote a poem that was the first to connect St. Valentine to romance. From there, it evolved into a day when lovers would express their feelings for each other. Cue the flowers, sweets, and cards!

Regardless of where the holiday came from, these stories all have one thing in common: They celebrate the love we are capable of as human beings. And though that’s largely in a romantic spirit these days, it doesn’t have to be. You could celebrate love for a sister, a friend, a parent, even a pet.

We hope all our patients know how much we love them! Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day from the team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C.!

How to Floss with Braces

February 2nd, 2018

The Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. team knows that oral hygiene is important, whether you have braces on your teeth or not. But if you are a person who wears braces, caring for your teeth and gums can become somewhat challenging. Without daily oral hygiene practices, you may become prone to cavities and tooth decay during your time in braces.

Naturally, you know that brushing your teeth each morning and night, as well as after you eat, will help keep your mouth healthy and clean during the months you wear braces. But flossing is also an important part of your hygiene routine. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Dr. Ritucci, your general dentist, or your dental hygienist can help you become more comfortable and adept at flossing your teeth during the months you wear braces.

Flossing Tips for Those with Braces

  • Use Tools Provided by Our Office. A floss threader is a small, plastic needle that will help you floss between the wires and your teeth. Thread a 12-to-18-inch piece of floss onto the needle, and use the needle to get the floss easily behind the wires.
  • Flossing Under the Wires. Once the floss is behind the wires, use your hands to manipulate the floss. Move it up and down along the wires to remove food particles.
  • Flossing Between Your Teeth. Floss between your teeth as you normally would without braces. Move the floss up and down between your teeth, using a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  • After You Finish Flossing. Your orthodontist may have suggested that you use a water pik or proxy brush after you finish brushing. Either of these tools will help remove any loosened food particles to ensure that your teeth and braces are clean.

Continue Good Oral Hygiene Habits

Good oral hygiene habits you use while wearing braces will help you achieve the beautiful smile you and the Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. team have been working toward. Once your braces are off, it may be tempting to slack off on the brushing and flossing. Don’t let yourself fall into any habits that will have a negative impact on your oral health or the attractive smile you waited for throughout the months you wore braces. See your general dentist for regular cleanings, and continue to brush and floss your teeth each day.

Eating with Braces: Braces-friendly snack recipe

January 26th, 2018

At Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C., Dr. Ritucci and our staff know that eating with braces can be tricky. You want to avoid damaging the bands, brackets, and wires, since any damage can delay the progress of your treatment. After adjustments, your mouth may also feel sore, which will make eating more of a chore than a pleasure.

The good news is you do not have to avoid all of your favorite foods; there are ways you can still enjoy them. Try some of these ideas and recipes for great snacks that are friendly to your braces.

Fruits and Vegetables

You still need to eat fruits and vegetable for the healthy nutrients. The trick is to cut harder items into small pieces that you can chew easily with your back teeth. Canned fruits are also a great choice, but select fruits packed in water to avoid the heavy, sugary syrups. It’s a good idea to avoid excess sugar with braces, since sugar build-up around your braces can lead to plaque formation.

Single-serving packages are available to make your snack portable and convenient. Enjoy vegetables with a small amount of a healthy dip. Hummus or yogurt can be used for flavor without adding unnecessary fat or calories.

Banana and Honey Smoothie

Smoothies are a healthy treat, and you can create these drinks with your favorite ingredients. You can use a variety of yogurt types for your smoothie: regular, low or non-fat, and Greek are all great choices.  Here’s one of our favorite smoothie recipes:

  • 6 ounces of your choice of yogurt
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 6 ounces milk

Chop the banana into smaller pieces and put all your ingredients into a blender. Blend on low until everything is mixed and then blend on high for about 20 seconds to make your smoothie fluffy.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute just about any small or cut-up fruit for the banana. Try blackberries, raspberries, or peaches for variety. Try to avoid fruits with small seeds; strawberries can leave bits stuck in your braces. You can even make a smoothie with peanut butter and jelly!

Please ask our team if you have any concerns regarding the foods you can safely eat while wearing braces.

Five Tips in Caring for Your Braces During Orthodontic Treatment

January 19th, 2018

After getting your braces, it is important to know how to take care of your teeth in order to ensure that your braces stay intact and do their job so that your teeth are in top-notch condition after you complete your orthodontic treatment. Today, our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. thought we would provide you with five tips you need to know to ensure you undergo successful treatment at our Plymouth office.

Flossing
Flossing twice a day or after every meal can help you clean areas between teeth and other places a toothbrush can miss. We also recommend using a floss threader, which can be used to help you navigate safely around your braces and brackets. It is vital to floss twice a day, preferably after lunch and before bedtime to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay.

Brushing
Teeth and appliances should be brushed after every meal and before bedtime using fluoride toothpaste and gentle, soft strokes. We recommend using an interdental toothbrush, which can help you clean the hard-to-reach areas under wires better than an ordinary toothbrush.

Using Elastics
This phase of orthodontic treatment requires cooperation and consistency on your part. If your orthodontist has prescribed elastics, make sure they are worn at all times, except when eating meals or brushing teeth. It’s important that you wear the correct size elastics and have extras in case they are misplaced. By failing to wear your elastics for even one day, you run the risk your teeth moving back toward their original position.

Addressing Damage to Your Braces
In case your appliances are damaged, we ask that you call our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. immediately to set up an appointment.

Eat Friendly Foods
When undergoing treatment, there are certain foods you must avoid. Foods that are hard, sticky, chewy or sour can add months to your treatment time. These includes gum, caramels, taco shells, nuts, ice, chips or hard candies.

We hope that helps! If you have any questions, please give us a call at our Plymouth office or ask us during your next adjustment appointment!

When should I floss during the day?

January 12th, 2018

A vital step in your oral health routine is flossing. We hope our patients at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. maintain good oral hygiene, including daily flossing between each visit to our Plymouth 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. Ritucci 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 Plymouth 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!

Healthy Bodies, Happy Smiles Sweepstakes!!!

January 8th, 2018

Enter to win on Facebook! facebook.com/RobertARitucciDMDPC/

Enter to win on Facebook! facebook.com/RobertARitucciDMDPC/

What should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

January 5th, 2018

If you have been thinking about undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment, the first step is scheduling an orthodontic consultation at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C.. During the consultation we will actively listen to your concerns and address all of your questions, as well as discuss a treatment options that would best suit you or your child's situation.

Here are the top five questions that most patients want answered during their initial orthodontic consultation:

  • Can I benefit from orthodontic treatment, and if so, how long will it take?
  • How frequently will my appointments be scheduled?
  • Can I expect any pain when getting braces? (Ask Dr. Ritucci about the ways we address pain management).
  • Will I need to have teeth extracted, headgear, expansion appliance, etc.?
  • How much will it cost and what payment options do you offer?

Visit our website for more answers to your questions prior to your initial consultation. Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. are happy to answer all your questions and concerns, and excited to explain all aspects of your treatment plan, as well as the expected outcome. We believe your orthodontic experience should be comfortable, hassle-free, and most importantly, leave you with the smile you've always wanted.

Beware of Do-it-Yourself Orthodontics

January 3rd, 2018

With the promise of low fees and simplicity, many do-it-yourself direct to consumer “teeth-straightening” companies have gained recent popularity. The setup involves an at-home impression kit, in which you make a mold of your top and bottom teeth and take photos of your bite. You mail these pictures to the company and receive a series of clear aligners that promise to straighten your teeth.

The perceived benefits are that it can be less expensive than what you would pay at the orthodontist with results in six months… all without seeing a family dentist to check your teeth or an orthodontist to plan your treatment.

So what are my concerns?

Moving teeth is a biological process that applies forces to the bone that anchor your teeth.  Unsupervised DIY orthodontics can cause irreversible damage to the health of your teeth and result in loose teeth that sometimes can not be saved.  The cost of replacing lost teeth can cost $25,000 or more.

Mail order companies like this do not take or evaluate x-rays of your teeth or even guarantee that an orthodontist is planning your treatment.  In fact, diagnosis and treatment planning are some of the most important and most complex aspects of orthodontics. That’s why I went back to orthodontic school after graduating as a dentist.  I was trained to consider many factors besides tooth movement, such as jaw alignment and growth patterns, current dental health, underlying health factors, oral habits, tooth position, and a list of other factors specific to each patient.  I’m able to carefully control the direction in which the teeth move, a result of years of education to learn the special techniques and technologies of safe, effective orthodontic treatment.

Before considering DIY teeth straightening, talk to an orthodontist. Only he or she will have your mouth’s entire health in mind, possibly saving you thousands of dollars and an emotional cost that’s even higher.

At our practice, we serve Plymouth, Sandwich, Manomet, Bourne, Kingston, Carver, West Barnstable, Mashpee, and Duxbury, as well as the surrounding areas. We pride ourselves on high quality and affordability.  After your free consultation, Dr. Ritucci can determine what treatment option is best. To learn more, call us at (508) 747-4667.

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page fb.me/RobertARitucciDMDPC for more information about our practice, including fun contests!

It's a Wrap: Ending the year with a smile!

December 29th, 2017

People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home in the Plymouth area or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.

Tips for a Happy New Year's Eve Celebration from Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C.

  • Be Safe. There's no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year's Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.
  • Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year's Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don't have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.
  • Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.

New Year's Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that's coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that's safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Ritucci, have a great new year!.

Tips for Handling and Avoiding Orthodontic Emergencies

December 22nd, 2017

The best way to avoid orthodontic emergencies is to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire treatment. However, emergencies are … well, emergencies, and sometimes no matter how cautious you are or how well you take care of your braces, the wires loosen, the bands pop, or you experience orthodontic discomfort.

Common orthodontic emergencies include broken braces, poking wires, lost or broken retainers, mouth sores, and mouth injuries sustained playing sports, which often happens when you don’t wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliance.

Food

It’s important to avoid foods that can damage your braces. Most people wear braces for about two years. All chewy, sticky, crunchy, and hard foods should be avoided during that time. While this may seem like a long time to go without popcorn or bubble gum, hard foods can break the brackets of your braces and sticky foods can bend the wires. If you have a loose wire, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C.. In the meantime, if a wire is poking into your cheek or lip and causing irritation, put wax or a wet cotton ball over it to dull the sharp edge.

Pain and Discomfort

Some discomfort is a normal part of orthodontic treatment, especially in the hours after the braces are placed on your teeth or after a recent tightening or adjustment. However, if the pain doesn’t subside in three to five days, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C.. Until then, try dissolving a teaspoon of salt in an eight-ounce glass of water and gargling with the solution. Over-the-counter pain medication will relieve discomfort, too.

Playing Sports

Just because you wear braces doesn’t mean you can’t play sports. You just need to take some extra precautions. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are common. The best way to protect your mouth and your appliance is to wear a mouthguard. There are several different types of mouthguards available, so be sure to ask Dr. Ritucci what’s best for you.

Brushing and Flossing

In order to keep your braces in good condition and avoid orthodontic emergencies, it’s important to brush and floss thoroughly after every meal. It’s easy for small particles of food to get trapped in your braces, and if the food isn’t removed, it gets wedged between the teeth and gums and causes plaque.

Need more tips on how to avoid orthodontic emergencies? Just ask any member of our Plymouth team.

Misconceptions About Orthodontics

December 15th, 2017

While everyone understands that a dentist takes care of teeth, not everyone is aware of what an orthodontist does. This confusion sometimes leads to misunderstandings about what Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. does for our patients and how exactly Dr. Ritucci can help them. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the myths and misconceptions about orthodontists.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about the orthodontist is that they’re just like your family dentist. The truth is, they’re actually very different. While it’s true that both orthodontists and dentists care about helping you enjoy a lifetime of good dental and oral health, orthodontists go about achieving this goal in different ways. For instance, if you need to have a cavity filled, you probably won’t make an appointment to see an orthodontist. Dentists are the health professionals to see if you’re concerned about a cavity or need a filling. A dentist can also treat gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other common oral health problems.

People see an orthodontist for very particular services. Most of the patients we see on a daily basis are here because they have braces, or they need to be fitted with braces or another form of tooth-straightening device. In other words, they consult an orthodontist when they are concerned about the alignment of their teeth. As a child grows up, his or her teeth may come in crooked. This can happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important for an orthodontist to take a look at a child’s teeth at about seven years of age. At that age, it’s possible to detect any problems that have not become too advanced to treat easily. Your family dentist may also refer your child to an orthodontist once the adult teeth have fully grown in.

Another common misconception about orthodontists is that they only treat children. It’s true that when you visit an orthodontic clinic you’re apt to see a lot of young kids, but you’ll also see teenagers, college students, and adults. Because crooked teeth can be caused by a number of different factors, it’s entirely possible for someone to require orthodontic treatment at any age.

If you want to know more about the practice of orthodontics or what your orthodontist can do for you, then simply ask Dr. Ritucci. It’s best to get answers to your specific questions directly from the person who will be treating you. While you’re sure to find Internet resources helpful, there really is no substitute for the personal attention you’ll get during your appointment at our Plymouth office.

Proper Diet while Undergoing Orthodontics

December 8th, 2017

Many people undergo orthodontic treatment during childhood, adolescence, and even into adulthood. Wearing orthodontic appliances like braces is sure to produce a beautiful smile. Though orthodontic treatments at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. are designed to accommodate your lifestyle, chances are you will need to make some dietary modifications to prevent damage to your braces and prolong orthodontic treatment.

The First Few Days with Braces

The first few days wearing braces may be the most restrictive. During this time, the adhesive is still curing, which means you will need to consume only soft foods. This probably will not be a problem, however, as your teeth may be tender or sensitive while adjusting to the appliances.

Orthodontic Dietary Restrictions

You can eat most foods normally the way you did without braces. However, some foods can damage orthodontic appliances or cause them to come loose. Examples of foods you will need to avoid include:

  • Chewy foods like taffy, chewing gum, beef jerky, and bagels
  • Hard foods like peanuts, ice chips, and hard candy
  • Crunchy foods like chips, apples, and carrots

How to Continue to Eat the Foods You Love Most

Keep in mind that you may still be able to enjoy some of the foods you love by making certain modifications to the way you eat them. For example, steaming or roasting carrots makes them softer and easier to consume with braces. Similarly, you can remove corn from the cob, or cut up produce like apples and pears to avoid biting into them. Other tips include grinding nuts into your yogurt or dipping hard cookies into milk to soften them. If you must eat hard candies, simply suck on them instead of biting into them.

If you have any question whether a food is safe to eat during your treatment with Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C., we encourage you to err on the side of caution. Of course, you can always contact our Plymouth office with any questions you have about your diet and the foods that should be avoided during treatment. By following our dietary instructions and protecting your orthodontic appliances from damage, you will be back to chewing gum in no time.

Not-So-Sweet Sweets: The five worst candies to eat during orthodontic treatment

December 1st, 2017

Sticky, hard, and gooey: these candies fill your dopamine receptors with spasms of sugar-filled joy, but if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. to straighten your teeth, then these sweets are not so sweet. While you may have a Willy-Wonka-sized sweet tooth, there are some candies you’re going to have to avoid while wearing braces.

Here are five bracket- and wire-destroying culprits that Dr. Ritucci and our team recommend leaving on the candy aisle and not put in your mouth, no matter how tempting they may be.

  1. Gum is sticky and stringy. It can get tangled like fishing net in your braces. You don’t want to be that boy or girl trying to pull knots of Wrigley’s out of your braces without being seen.
  2. All chewy, gooey candies need to be avoided. When you’re wearing braces, don’t even think about putting a caramel candy in your mouth. Caramel will not only stick to your braces, making it look as if you haven’t brushed your teeth in a week, but the gooey texture can pull apart the wires, and trigger an emergency visit to Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C..
  3. Hard candy may seem like a safe choice, but it’s not. What’s the problem? Nobody ever just sucks on hard candy; sooner or later, we bite down on it. Biting a hard candy may cause part of your braces to snap. Furthermore, once the candy is broken into a bunch of little pieces, it’s not uncommon for one of those sugary shards to get wedged between your braces and teeth … and that’s a cavity waiting to happen.
  4. The taffy you enjoy getting at a seaside boardwalk is going to have to go on the back burner. Like caramel, taffy can pull apart and damage your braces. You don’t want to have your expensive orthodontic gear replaced.
  5. Please, just one lollipop? Nope. A lollipop is nothing more than hard candy on a stick. If you can’t have hard candy during orthodontic treatment, then you shouldn't have hard candy on a stick either.

Have any more questions about what you can and can’t eat when you have braces? Please give us a call at our convenient Plymouth office to learn more, or ask Dr. Ritucci during your next adjustment visit!

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

November 24th, 2017

Parents usually have numerous questions about orthodontic treatment for their children. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around seven years of age. This allows Dr. Ritucci to evaluate the child’s existing and incoming teeth to determine whether or not early treatment might be necessary.

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, known as Phase One, usually begins when the child is eight or nine years old. The goal is to correct bite problems such as an underbite as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. It also helps to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to be properly placed as they come in. This will greatly reduce the risk of the child needing extractions later in life due to his or her teeth getting crowded.

Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?

There are several ways that you can determine whether your child needs early treatment. If you observe any of these characteristics or behaviors, you should talk to Dr. Ritucci.

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
  • Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
  • The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
  • The child is a mouth breather
  • Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
  • Protruding teeth, typically in the front
  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • A speech impediment
  • The child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth
  • The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb

What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?

Early orthodontic treatment is begun while the child’s jaw bones are still soft. They do not harden until the children reach their late teens. Because the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces work faster than they do for adults.

In short, early treatment at our Plymouth office often allows your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Early treatment is an effective preventive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy, stable mouth in adulthood.

Thanksgiving

November 17th, 2017

At Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C., we love to celebrate the holidays with vigor! Dr. Ritucci would love to share some unique ways of celebrating Thanksgiving from beyond the Plymouth area to the national level!

When Americans sit down to dinner on the last Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the day on which Thanksgiving would be celebrated, they do so thinking that the first Thanksgiving feast was held at Plymouth in 1621. According to National Geographic, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez Coronado and his men celebrated a feast of Thanksgiving in Texas in 1541, giving Texas the distinction of being the first place where Thanksgiving was celebrated.

Different Types of Celebrations

Native Americans had rituals around which they celebrated in hopes of ensuring a bountiful harvest. The Cherokees had a Green Corn Dance that they did for this very purpose. The Pilgrims (not to be confused with the Puritans,) rejected any type of public religious display. They held a three-day long non-religious Thanksgiving feast. Although they said grace, the focus of their celebration was on feasting, drinking alcohol (they did have beer,) and playing games.

The Pilgrims at the Plymouth Plantation celebrated a different day of Thanksgiving in 1623. Plagued by a crop-destroying drought, the settlers prayed for relief. They even fasted. A few days later, they got the rain they so desperately needed. Soon thereafter, they received another blessing when Captain Miles Standish came with staples they couldn't otherwise get. He also told them that a Dutch supply ship was en route. In gratitude for the abundance of good fortune, the Plymouth settlers celebrated a day of prayer and Thanksgiving on June 30, 1623.

The Story of Squanto

No discussion of Thanksgiving is complete without a discussion of Squanto, or Tisquantum, as he was known among his people, the Patuxet Indians. It is believed that he was born sometime around 1580. As he returned to his village after a long journey, he and several other Native Americans were kidnapped by Jamestown colonist, Thomas Hunt. Hunt put them on a ship heading to Spain where they were to be sold into slavery.

As fate would have it, some local friars rescued him and many of the other kidnapped natives. Squanto was educated by the friars. Eventually, after asking for freedom so he could return to North America, he ended up in London where he spent time working as a ship builder. By 1619, he was finally able to get passage on a ship headed to New England with other Pilgrims.

Upon arriving at Plymouth Rock, he learned that his entire tribe was wiped out by diseases that accompanied earlier settlers from Europe. In gratitude for passage on their ship, he helped them set up a settlement on the very land where his people once lived. They called the settlement Plymouth. Since they knew nothing about how to survive, let alone how to find food, Squanto taught them everything, from how to plant corn and other crops, how to fertilize them, how and where to get fish and eels and much more.

After a devastating winter during which many settlers died, thanks to Squanto's teaching, they had an abundant harvest. After that harvest, they honored him with a feast. It is this feast of 1621 which was celebrated between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians that is widely considered the first Thanksgiving celebration.

About the Meal of the Plymouth Settlers

Surviving journals of Edward Winslow that are housed at Plymouth Plantation indicate that the first Thanksgiving feast was nothing like what Americans eat today. The meal consisted of venison, various types of wild fowl (including wild turkey,) and Indian corn. There were no cranberries, stuffing, pumpkin pie, potatoes, or any of the other “traditional” foods that appear on modern menus.

Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the holiday. It is still a day of feasting, and for some, a day of prayer and thanksgiving. For others, it is a celebration of gathering, especially for families. Still others may celebrate in entirely different ways, including watching college football bowl games, or by playing family games.

If you ever wonder why you're so tired after the Thanksgiving meal, it's because turkey contains an amino acid, tryptophan, and it sets off chemicals whose chain reaction combine to make people sleepy.

Ugh, Not Braces!

November 10th, 2017

Getting your child excited about braces is a lot like: A) convincing a grumpy toddler that it’s time to take a nap? B) convincing a teenager to stop texting during dinner? C) convincing your husband to eat his peas? The answer, obviously, is all of the above.

And that’s why you may need a few thoughtful ways to get your child on board with braces.

  1. Throw a pre-braces party. It can’t be just any party, however, but a Willy Wonka celebration of candy, chips, gum, and all the sticky and sweet foods your child won’t be able to indulge in during the time he or she is wearing braces. Promise a post-braces celebration, too, and watch as your child’s eyes widen at the thought of an all-you-can-eat junk food buffet.
  2. Encouraging phrases like “braces aren’t eternal, but your straight smile will be” can go a long way.
  3. If your daughter is worried about getting picked on because of braces, then name-drop some A-list celebrities who have worn them. The list includes Cameron Diaz, Kelly Clarkson, Dakota Fanning, and Gwen Stefani.
  4. Emphasize that braces today aren’t the same as they were in the Stone Age. From clear ceramic braces to different-colored braces, more options are available. Braces can be cool accessories to express a personal style.
  5. To get your child to embrace braces, you need to sing the praises of beautiful teeth, even if that means pointing out how crooked your teeth are because you never got braces.

Five Braces-Friendly Dinner Recipes

November 3rd, 2017

Did you know that more than four million children throughout the US and Canada have braces? At Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C., Dr. Ritucci and our staff know that kids can be picky and meticulous eaters. If cooking for children without braces is difficult, preparing meals for children with braces is especially daunting.

“Comfort food takes on a whole new meaning when cooking for children with braces,” says Pamela Waterman, author of The Braces Cookbook: Recipes You and Your Orthodontist Will Love. “Whether you have new brackets, elastics, headgear, or more, there are great foods you can eat; it just takes some thought.”

These five braces-friendly dinner recipes will be sure to keep your kids smiling!

  1. Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta is soft, so it’s easy for children with braces to eat. The warm, gooey cheese melts in the mouth and doesn’t get stuck in the braces like hard or sticky foods. Chances are good that even the pickiest eater has a soft spot for this homespun classic.
  2. The key to braces-friendly cooking is to replace hard, crunchy foods with softer substitutes. In other words, burritos are a better option than tacos, and lasagna is a better choice than pizza. At the same time, if you have the culinary skills to whip up a pizza with a soft crust, you’re going to win the Best Mom (or Dad) of the Year award.
  3. Your child may not like fruits and vegetables. In fact, he or she may even try to convince you that with new braces, fruits and vegetables are off limits. Nice try, kids. While your child is wearing braces, prepare meals with cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables. A vegetable stir-fry is a healthy and soft dinner choice for kids with braces.
  4. Whether it’s beef or chicken, meat is a good source of protein. However, meat, even when it’s carefully taken off the bone (kids with braces should never eat meat from a bone), can easily get caught in braces. Sloppy Joes are a good alternative. The beef is softened by the addition of the sauce and less likely to get strung in the wires and brackets of the braces. Serve the Sloppy Joes with a side of mashed potatoes.
  5. Ask any child and he or she will tell you that the best part of dinner is dessert. While hard candy, licorice, taffy, caramel, popcorn, and all other chewy candies should be avoided, ice cream and cake are braces-friendly treats that keep kids smiling.

Need more braces-friendly food ideas? Feel free to ask any member of our team.

Don’t let braces ruin your Halloween

October 27th, 2017

Halloween is a time to enjoy delicious candies you might avoid the rest of the year. Youngsters who get to dress up and ask for sweet treats out trick-or-treating cherish this holiday.

If you have braces on, Dr. Ritucci would like you still to have fun and celebrate Halloween this year!

It’s easy to get carried away on Halloween by eating too much candy at once. Most parents try to prevent the all-too-common sugar high their kids experience on Halloween night. While there are certain candies that should be avoided, not all candy will cause problems for kids with braces. After trick-or-treating, you could trade unsafe candies with siblings and/or friends so they don’t miss out on the sugar buzz.

Dr. Ritucci and our team have come up with a list of teeth-friendly treats that should keep you from worrying about breaking your braces. We also came up with a list of candies to avoid, so as to save you a trip to our Plymouth office. Remember to be extra careful when you indulge this Halloween!

Braces-Friendly Sweets

  • Solid chocolate: Milk, white, or dark
  • Nougat-filled candy bars: Three Musketeers
  • Powdery candy: Sweet Tarts, Pixie Stix
  • Mint-flavored candy
  • Malted milk balls
  • Soft cookies
  • Peanut butter crackers

Avoid These Treats

  • Sticky candy: Starbursts, toffee, Tootsie Rolls
  • Hard candy: Suckers, Jolly Ranchers
  • Taffy
  • Caramels
  • Fruit chews
  • Gum
  • Caramel apples
  • Skittles
  • M&Ms

When in doubt, ask Dr. Ritucci if a particular candy is safe to eat when you have braces. We hope you enjoy your Halloween sweets, and look forward to seeing you at your next appointment! Happy Halloween!

Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is right for you?

October 20th, 2017

When the time comes for Dr. Ritucci to remove your braces, it is very exciting. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainer beforehand can be helpful.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generally put a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning. Regardless of your retainer schedule, you'll be able to enjoy some time with no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, and this means you won't be taking full advantage of teeth retention.

Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective, they don't tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especially if they are not used as directed.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth.

Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. You can't forget to put it in — it's already there! Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often fail to get used as often as they should be.

One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow our orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of its type. If you’re still not sure whether the choice you’ve made is truly right for you, get in touch with us at our Plymouth location right away!

What is hyperdontia?

October 13th, 2017

When a child is born, he or she will have 20 primary teeth and 32 permanent teeth. But sometimes kids are born with additional teeth, and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. calls this oral condition "hyperdontia." Primary teeth are the first set of teeth that erupt in your child's mouth, typically by the time they are 36 months old, and are shed by the time your child reaches the age of 12. Permanent teeth then take the place of the primary teeth and are usually fully-erupted by the time your son or daughter reaches 21 years of age. Anyone who develops more than 20 primary teeth or more than 32 permanent teeth has hyperdontia, and the additional teeth are referred to as supernumerary teeth.

While the cause of hyperdontia is not entirely clear, it is believed that there may be a genetic factor. Oral professionals have found that patients with extra teeth often have syndromes like cleidocranial dysplasia, Ehler-Danlos syndrome, Gardner syndrome, or cleft lip and palate. The prevalence of hyperdontia affects between one and four percent of the population in the United States, and the majority of cases are limited to a single tooth.

So, what is the best way to deal with hyperdontia? It really depends on the case. The treatment plan your doctor suggests varies according to the potential problem posed by the supernumerary teeth, as well as their type. Orthodontic treatment may certainly may help, but extraction can also be a good option. We recommend that children receive an oral evaluation or checkup no later than the age of seven. In addition to hygiene evaluation, this helps ensure your child does not experience hyperdontia problems.

If you suspect you or your child may be suffering from hyperdontia, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our convenient Plymouth office to be evaluated.

October is National Orthodontic Health Month

October 6th, 2017

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different to our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for us orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. Ritucci in a relaxed “meet and greet” atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages–and their parents!–can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at our Plymouth location!

Is orthodontic treatment just for straightening teeth?

September 29th, 2017

A lot of patients ask us why Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. work tirelessly to give our patients straight teeth. Of course it’s nice to have a smile full of evenly-aligned teeth, but did you know that straightening your teeth can keep them healthier as well? Straight teeth lead to better oral hygiene, increasing your chances of keeping your own natural teeth for a lifetime!

Straight teeth are also less prone to decay, because they collect less plaque, that sticky colorless substance that forms on our teeth. When you visit Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. for your initial consultation, Dr. Ritucci will examine all aspects of your teeth, face, smile, and jaw.

If you’re wondering whether your teeth might cause problems because they are out of alignment, please give us a call to set up an initial orthodontic consultation at our convenient Plymouth office. Dr. Ritucci can help you decide whether or not you will benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Questions? Give us a call, ask us below or on our Facebook page!

The Importance of Orthodontic Treatment at a Young Age

September 22nd, 2017

When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may automatically assume that it only relates to older children and teens with alignment and spacing issues. But this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone: Orthodontic treatment at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. offers many benefits when applied at a young age.

By considering orthodontic treatment at a younger age, Dr. Ritucci and his staff are able to identify your child’s alignment issues early on, and are able to intervene in order to provide treatment if needed.

Some of the many benefits of early orthodontic treatment are:

    • It can reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment needed later.
    • Guide jaw growth
    • Lower risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
    • Correct harmful oral habits
    • Improve appearance
    • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
    • Create a more pleasing arrangement of the teeth, lips and face

Stages of  Phase I Orthodontic Treatment:

The first stage of early treatment usually begins at the age of seven.  This stage deals with preventive or interceptive measures, such as avoiding bad habits that lead to crooked teeth and creating a plan for the future based on how the teeth are growing in. Fixed appliances, space maintainers, palatal expanders and removable appliance are often used during this stage.

The transitional stage  is the time between the end of Phase I treatment and comprehensive Phase II treatment. During this stage the majority of the primary teeth are lost and the secondary teeth are erupting.

Dr. Ritucci and his staff are able to see how the teeth first erupt and develop a plan that is customized to your childs problem.

I have halitosis. What can I do?

September 15th, 2017

Halitosis is the fancy, scientific word for “bad breath.” Dr. Ritucci and our team know there are several reasons why you may have halitosis; let’s look at a few:

  • Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) – There are five main types of gum disease, and each one can range from mild to severe. For example the most common one is gingivitis; it is caused by bacteria in the plaque that has been allowed to build up, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. A more serious and uncommon type of gum disease is called necrotizing periodontal disease. It is most common in people who have a suppressed immune system.
  • Smoking
  • Dry Mouth – This can be caused by something as simple as a medication you take.
  • Food – Of course, if you eat something that is potent like garlic, it is going to give you bad breath.
  • Diseases of the Body – Some diseases such as sinus infections and diabetes, among a few other types of infections, can also cause you to have halitosis.

How to Get Rid of Halitosis

The most obvious answer to how to get rid of halitosis is to practice good oral hygiene, although, depending on the cause of halitosis it may not be that simple. If you have an infection that is causing the halitosis then you may need an antibiotic to clear up the infection and then the bad breath will go away. Here are more tips:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed.
  • Floss your teeth. The more plaque you get out of your teeth, the better chance you have of not getting cavities or bad breath.
  • Address any medical conditions that are not related to your teeth that can be causing the halitosis.
  • Ask Dr. Ritucci for a prescription mouthwash that kills bacteria.

Halitosis (bad breath) can be an embarrassing condition to live with, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of it permanently. Start by talking to a member of our team at our Plymouth office.

What is orthognathic surgery?

September 8th, 2017

Orthognathic surgery is surgery to correct a wide variety of abnormalities of our patients' jaw and teeth. The surgery is often done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. While the patient’s appearance may be significantly improved as a result, the primary purpose of the surgery is to correct functional problems including but not limited to:

  • Unbalanced facial appearance
  • Protruding jaw
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth don’t overlap properly
  • Excessive wearing down of the teeth
  • Difficulty with chewing or biting
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea
  • TMJ pain (jaw joint pain)
  • Restoring facial injuries

Knowing when to start the orthodontic treatment in preparation for orthognathic surgery can also be tricky if our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. is treating a teenager. It is important to know when to get started. If orthodontic treatment is initiated too soon and the teenager is still growing, the patient will either need to hold in braces until his or her growth is complete and they are ready for surgery or the braces will have to be removed and then placed again when growth is complete. Neither of these options is attractive since it requires longer time in treatment, which is something all our patients want to avoid. Our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. strives to get all patients finished with treatment as quickly as possible because it is healthier for the teeth and gums and gives them a beautiful smile to enjoy for a lifetime.

If you are considering orthognathic surgery or you have been told that you need jaw surgery, give us a call to schedule your initial consultation today. Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. will explain our treatment plan in a way you will understand and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

Orthodontics for Teens with Dr. Ritucci

September 5th, 2017


Dr. Ritucci understands that wearing braces during the teenage years can be challenging. That’s why he will customize a treatment plan for you that takes the speed of treatment and esthetics into account. Regardless of the approach, successful orthodontic treatment requires constant care by the patient of their teeth and appliances between visits, which includes daily brushing and flossing.

To encourage our patients to keep up with their daily responsibility, we have an incentive program called “Fish Bowl”. Once a month a winner is picked who is given a gift certificate to either, the movie theater, iTunes, a local restaurant, and much more! Our prizes are constantly changing, which guarantees that everyone has a chance to win something they’ll be interested in. We love to share photos of our patients who have done a great job throughout their treatment, especially during the reveal of their beautiful new smiles!

If your teen is ready for braces, please reach out to our office to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Ritucci. We pride ourselves in making the process of getting braces easy, fun and exciting!

Orthodontics for Children with Dr. Ritucci

September 5th, 2017

Dr. Ritucci recommends that children have their first orthodontic examination at the age of seven, when their adult incisors and six year molars have erupted. Orthodontics on children can help improve their dental function, oral health, esthetics, and self-esteem.

Phase one orthodontic treatment is often focused on a single problem, which if left untreated can cause irreversible problems down the road. This could mean asymmetric jaw growth, extraction of teeth, or extending treatment time and making the orthodontic process more difficult in the future. Phase two treatment is more comprehensive and involves correcting the bite and achieving optimal esthetics of the mouth.

Every successful team requires a coach who can optimize their players’ potential. Dr. Ritucci acts as the coach during this process, while his patients are the players, and the parents own the team. He customizes a treatment plan specifically for each patient, and coaches them to success. Encouragement and fun are also key aspects to success along the way!

If your child is age seven or older and you’d like to set up their first appointment, please reach out to our Plymouth or Sandwich offices for more information! There is no charge for the examination.

Labor Day: Our favorite holiday to rest!

September 1st, 2017

Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday each September here in the United States, is a holiday devoted to the American working community. The purpose of the holiday is honoring the country's workers and their contributions to the strength of our country as a whole.

How Labor Day Started

There is actually some debate as to the origins of Labor Day. It is uncertain whether Peter McGuire, a cofounder for the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, who was the secretary of Central Labor Union of New York, had the great idea. However, the Central Labor Union's plans were what launched the first Labor Day in America.

The First Labor Day

The very first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882. The Central Labor Union then held annual celebrations on September 5th for what they called a working man's holiday. By the year 1885, the Labor Day celebration had spread to many different industrial areas, and after that it began spreading to all industries in the United States.

Labor Day Today

Labor Day today is a huge United States holiday during which we honor the country's workers with a day of rest and relaxation or a day of picnics and parades. This holiday is truly one to honor the many people who work hard to contribute to the economic well-being of our great country!

Our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. hopes all of our patients celebrate Labor Day, and every holiday, safely and happily. Whether you stay in the Plymouth area, or travel out of town, have fun, and don't forget to brush!

Five Fun Ways to Count Down Your Braces Time

August 18th, 2017

Braces can straighten your teeth to give you a more attractive smile for life. The process can take 18 months to two years or more, and this amount of time can seem unending when you first get your braces. Counting down your brace time can help the time pass more quickly and build the excitement for when you finally get your braces removed.

Make a Wall Calendar

Crossing out each day on a calendar is a standard way of counting down time. You can make this more personal by designing your own calendar to help you count down. Use an online customization service to upload photos or designs for each month. Each month’s picture can also display the number of months remaining until you expect your braces to come off.

Schedule Rewards

When you receive regular rewards for continuing to wear your braces, they can seem less burdensome. Plan to buy yourself a reward every month that you wear your braces for the duration of the treatment. The time will pass much faster when you feel you are earning rewards for your patience.

Lengthen a Paper Chain

Use strips of paper to make the links of your chain, and add a new link each week to lengthen the chain. Before sealing each new strip of paper into a circle, write on it a reason why you are getting your teeth straightened, or an event in the future when you will appreciate your straight teeth as you smile.

Use a Wall Hanging

Purchase a large pad of blank white paper. Write a “0” on the bottom sheet and a “1” on the next, and continue until you reach the number of days remaining in your treatment. Rip off the top sheet each day to see how many days are left and remind yourself of the progress you are making.

Find a Buddy

If any of your friends get braces around the same time as you, share the experience. Make a pact to celebrate each trip to Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. when one of you receives news about your progress.

The Effects of Biting Your Nails

August 11th, 2017

Also known as onchophagia, the habit of nail biting is one of the so-called “nervous habits” that can be triggered by stress, excitement, or boredom. Approximately half of all kids between the ages of ten and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another. Experts say that about 30 percent of children and 15 percent of adults are nail biters, however most people stop chewing their nails by the time they turn 30.

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

1. It’s unsanitary: Your nails harbor bacteria and germs, and are almost twice as dirty as fingers. What’s more, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.

2. It wears down your teeth: Gnawing your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.

3. It can delay your orthodontic treatment: For those of our patients wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.

4. It can cost you, literally: It has been estimated that up to $4,000 in extra dental bills can build up over a lifetime.

Dr. Ritucci and our team recommend the following to kick your nail biting habit:

  • Keep your nails trimmed short; you’ll have less of a nail to bite.
  • Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish.
  • Ask us about obtaining a mouthguard, which can help prevent nail biting.
  • Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to gnaw on your nails.
  • 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.
  • If you can’t stop, behavioral therapy may be an effective option to stop nail biting. Ask Dr. Ritucci and our team for a recommendation.

It's time to go back to school!

August 4th, 2017

Now that many of the schools in Plymouth are back in session, Dr. Ritucci would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports, and family duties to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. this fall. In order to accommodate all of our patients’ busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with a convenient appointment time.

As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you’re unable to make your regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Ritucci and our team. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.

We’ll see you soon and hope summer is winding down nicely for you and your family!

What is early intervention?

July 28th, 2017

Many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. 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 Plymouth 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. Ritucci, 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.

Why is flossing so important when I have braces?

July 21st, 2017

You've made an investment on spending money on getting braces, so why not keep your teeth in good health while undergoing orthodontic treatment?  Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. will tell you it is just as important to develop a regular hygiene routine while you're wearing braces as you did before proceeding with treatment.

Flossing is essential to the health of your teeth and gums when you're wearing braces. Because braces may hold food, sugars and liquids upon eating, it is very important to keep on top of your brushing and flossing, as well as visiting our office for regular adjustments.

While we know it's tough enough to get kids to floss daily without braces, that battle becomes even tougher when braces are involved. Remember that by not flossing, you will become more prone to cavities and gum disease during your treatment.

When flossing, remember to gently massage your gums in between the teeth. You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to weave the floss through each bracket. When flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you see blood, you are not flossing enough or properly.

Using an electric toothbrush is also a good idea to massage your gums before or after flossing as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. And don't forget to add a mouthwash to your routine to break up any bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your treatment.

If you have any questions about flossing or your orthodontic treatment at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!

Diet Soda vs. Regular Soda: Which is better for teeth?

July 14th, 2017

When most patients ask Dr. Ritucci this question, they're thinking strictly about sugar content — cut out the bacteria-feeding sugar that's present in regular soda by opting for a diet soda and it will be better for your teeth. That seems logical, right? Well, there's a bit more to it than that. Let's take a closer look at how any kind of soda can affect your dental health.

Diet Soda – Why it can also lead to tooth decay

The main culprit in these drinks that leads to decay is the acid content. Diet sodas and other sugar-free drinks are usually highly acidic, which weakens the enamel on your teeth and makes them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion. The level of phosphoric acid, citric acid, and/or tartaric acid is usually high in sugar-free drinks so it's best to avoid them.

Some patients also enjoy drinking orange juice or other citrus juices. These drinks are high in citric acid and have the same effect on the enamel of your teeth.

So what about regular soda?

We know the acidity of diet sodas and sugar-free drinks contributes to tooth decay, so what about regular soda? Like we alluded to earlier, regular soda is high in sugar — a 12 ounce can contains roughly ten teaspoons of sugar — and sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. This also includes sports drinks and energy drinks, which are highly acidic and loaded with sugar too. So these drinks are a double-whammy of sugar and acidity your teeth and body simply don't need.

The problems caused by both diet and regular soda is exacerbated when you sip on them throughout the day. If you drink it all in one sitting, you won't be washing sugar and/or acids over your teeth all day long and your saliva will have a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth.

The best beverages to drink and how to drink them

Drinking beverages that are lower in acid is a good step to take to keep your enamel strong. According to a study conducted by Matthew M. Rodgers and J. Anthony von Fraunhofer at the University of Michigan, your best bets are plain water, black tea or coffee, and if you opt for a soda, root beer. These drinks dissolved the least amount of enamel when measured 14 days after consumption of the beverage.

If you still choose to drink soda, diet soda, sugar-free drinks, or juices here are some other tips to lessen tooth decay:

  • Drink your soda or acidic beverages through a straw to minimize contact with teeth
  • Rinse with water immediately after consumption of the beverage
  • Avoid brushing your teeth between 30 minutes to an hour after drinking the beverage as this has been shown to spread the acids before your saliva can bring your mouth back to a neutral pH
  • Avoid drinks that have acids listed on the ingredients label

Still have questions about soda, sugar, and acid? Give our Plymouth office a call and we’d be happy to help!

Five Great Reasons to Visit Our Practice this Summer

July 7th, 2017

We’ve heard all the reasons why folks put off scheduling an orthodontic consultation: not quite ready to begin treatment, vacations, busy schedules, financial concerns, etc.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t delay another day to make an appointment for yourself or your child with Dr. Ritucci.

1. Growth – there is a window of opportunity during growth when an orthopedic appliance can change the direction of jaw growth and dramatically improve your child’s case. Once this time has passed, the correction becomes harder and may involve extraction of teeth or even worse, a surgical procedure to properly align the jaws.

2. Scheduling – Summertime is the perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment, because your child doesn’t have to miss school, especially for those longer appointments needed at the start of treatment.

3. Early Diagnosis – Many times, early interceptive treatment at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. can dramatically improve the alignment of your child’s teeth and jaws. If baby teeth need to be extracted in order to allow the permanent teeth to erupt, timing is everything. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic consultation as early as age seven.

4. Financial Concerns – We offer several flexible payment plans which can be extended over your or your child’s treatment time.

5. A Lifetime of Smiles – Why wait when you can enjoy the many benefits of a beautiful and functional smile now. The sooner you get started the sooner you will be showing everyone your world-class smile.

Give us a call at our convenient Plymouth office to book your initial consulation with Dr. Ritucci.

Happy Fourth of July

June 30th, 2017

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

What is a water pick and do I need one?

June 23rd, 2017

Water picks, sometimes called “oral irrigators,” make an excellent addition to your regular home care regimen of brushing and flossing. Especially helpful to those who suffer from periodontal disease and those patients of ours undergoing orthodontic treatment with full-bracketed braces, water picks use powerful tiny bursts of water to dislodge food scraps, bacteria, and other debris nestled in the crevices of your mouth. Children undergoing orthodontic treatment may find using a water pick is beneficial if their toothbrush bristles tend to get caught on their wires or brackets.

When you use a water pick, you’re not only dislodging any particles or debris and bacteria you might have missed when brushing, you are also gently massaging the gums, which helps promote blood flow in the gums and keeps them healthy. While water picks are an excellent addition to your daily fight against gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, they are incapable of fully removing plaque, which is why Dr. Ritucci and our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. want to remind you to keep brushing and flossing every day.

So how do you choose the right water pick?

Water picks are available for home or portable use. The home versions tend to be larger and use standard electrical outlets, while portable models use batteries. Aside from the size difference, they work in the same manner, both using pulsating water streams. A more crucial difference between water picks is the ability to adjust the pressure. Most home models will let you choose from several pressure settings, depending on how sensitive your teeth and gums are. Most portable models have only one pressure setting. If you want to use mouthwash or a dental rinse in your water pick, check the label first; some models suggest using water only.

Please give us a call at our Plymouth office if you have any questions about water picks, or ask Dr. Ritucci during your next visit!

How Braces Can Work at Any Age

June 16th, 2017

Are you an adult who is considering getting braces? Perhaps you’ve had them before, but over the years that dental work has been reversed. Or maybe you’ve never had any orthodontic work done, but are considering braces for the first time. In either case, Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. can help you enjoy straighter teeth, an improved bite, and a more beautiful smile. If you are considering getting braces, here is what you need to know about adult orthodontic work from Dr. Ritucci.

Can braces work for adults?

Absolutely! Braces work for just about anyone. However, there are several different types of braces, and not all of them may work for you. Different types of orthodontic treatments include:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Metal braces
  • Self-ligating brackets
  • Lingual brackets (braces behind the teeth)
  • Invisible braces
  • Rubber bands for bite correction
  • Headgear and other appliances

By scheduling a consultation, we can determine which treatment or combination of treatments would be best for your specific needs.

How do I get started?

Getting braces can be a little bit daunting. At first glance, the process may appear expensive and time-consuming. However, if you take it step by step, getting braces can be a simple and relatively pain-free experience. Here are the first steps you need to take to get on the road to straight teeth:

First, you need information. If you are nervous about getting braces, or are having trouble getting started, learning more about the process can help ease your mind. Here are a few sample questions to ask:

  • What kind of braces do you recommend for my teeth?
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • How often will I need to come in for adjustments?
  • What is the total cost of the treatment? Do you accept insurance? Will you require the full amount up front, or do you have payment plans?

Asking these types of questions will help you understand what to expect during the entire process, which can aid your decision on the proper course of action.

The next step is to complete any prerequisite treatment. During your first meeting with Dr. Ritucci, we’ll need to take some X-rays and molds of your teeth, and then help you determine an appropriate treatment plan. Recommendations may include some preliminary dental work before you get your braces, which can be an important step in making sure your orthodontic treatments are effective.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to get started! After you’ve chosen a treatment plan and undergone any necessary prerequisite dental work, you’ll be able to get your braces. Just like that, you’re on your way to a better smile! If you’d like to get started right away, call our Plymouth location today!

Fluoride and Your Orthodontic Treatment

June 9th, 2017

Our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. knows that there are many ways you can protect your pearly whites throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you follow the rules and brush your teeth twice a day, floss often, and protect your appliances from damage, you should have a successful treatment.

But did you know there’s another way to keep your teeth sparkling and healthy during your time wearing braces?

Fluoride, the mineral that helps you prevent cavities and tooth decay, can also help keep your teeth strong. Fluoride comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Depending on your oral health or the recommendation of Dr. Ritucci, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. We may also prescribe a fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse for at-home treatment to keep your teeth happy in between visits.

If you have any other questions about fluoride or your treatment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Tips to Help You Beat the Heat This Summer

June 2nd, 2017

The dog days of summer are upon us, and with the temperatures soaring, our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. wants you to be extra careful about sun safety when you’re out and about. Check out this incredibly helpful article on the Ten Summer Safety Tips for Kids, courtesy of Discovery.

Dr. Ritucci and our team also encourage you to always have a bottle of water handy when heading out into the sun.

We hope you’re having a great summer! Let us know what you're up to below or on our Facebook page!

Learning About Braces with Dr. Ritucci

May 30th, 2017

There are different approaches you can take when considering what kind of braces to get. Contrary to popular belief, the kind of brackets you get doesn’t necessarily correlate to the effectiveness of your treatment. Today, we’ll go over some of the options Dr. Ritucci offers.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the workhorse; they are used more often than any other material. These braces have a slot that holds the arch wire, which exerts force on the tooth and eventually causes it to move. To hold the wire in the slot, an elastic o-ring or metal tie holds the wire in place. The o-rings come in many different colors and are changed at each visit. Metal braces have the least number of risks and can be used for any kind of malocclusion. They’re just as efficient at any age.

Self-ligating Braces

These braces are similar to metal braces in their function, and can be made with ceramic. Instead of holding the wire in the slot with an elastic o-ring, the bracket has either a door or clips that hold the wire in place. Because of this, the brackets tend to be larger. While similar to metal braces, self-ligating braces are easier to clean because plaque tends to stick more to o-rings than metal.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are just as efficient as metal braces, but are made with glass that matches the color of your teeth. While they are the aesthetic alternative to metal braces, not everyone is a candidate. There are risks and limitation with this type of bracket that depend upon the gravity of the patient’s malocclusion.

Clear Aligners

Aligners are the newest way of moving teeth. They are removable, clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth and exert light forces to move the teeth in very small increments. Case selection is critical when using clear aligners because contrary to advertising, not all kinds of problems can be treated with them. Like ceramic braces, clear aligners are for those who are looking for a more aesthetic option.

While the length of treatment certainly depends on the patient’s particular situation, all of these options require the patient to come in for a checkup at least every three to six weeks. If you’d like to come in for a consultation or have questions about any of these orthodontic options, don’t hesitate to give our office a call!

Dr. Ritucci Recommends Daily Brushing & Flossing with Braces

May 30th, 2017

For the most effective oral health routine while having braces, Dr. Ritucci recommends daily brushing and flossing. This includes brushing after each meal, and before you go to sleep at night. Maintaining good oral health prevents plaque buildup that can be detrimental to your teeth while you have braces on.

Daily brushing and flossing is important because the buildup of plaque can cause your gums to become puffy and swollen, which causes gingivitis. If neglected, it can lead to other periodontal problems and slow down your orthodontic treatment. When a source of bacteria, plaque, is combined with sugar from your diet, it produces harmful acid. This must be removed from your teeth on a daily basis to prevent decalcification of the enamel (permanent white marks) and cavities from developing over time.

To properly brush with braces, always use the toothbrush in a circular motion around the braces and angled near the gum line. With a traditional toothbrush, you have to angle the brush head around the braces and move it up, down, forward and backward. With an electric toothbrush, hold the brush on the tooth while the toothbrush head moves and vibrates on your teeth to remove plaque.

Patients should floss at least once a day to remove any food residue that’s stuck between their teeth and braces. Flossing should always be done in an up-and-down motion, never a sawing motion, between every single tooth.

Questions regarding your oral health during your orthodontic treatment? Please contact our office! Our staff is happy to answer your questions. In the meantime, remember to keep brushing and flossing every day!

Soft Drinks + Plaque + Braces = Problems

May 30th, 2017

Soft drinks include soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks to name a few. The common ingredient that is found in all of these drinks is SUGAR! It is recommended that you avoid these type of drinks during your orthodontic treatment so that your teeth stay health, strong and that you finish your treatment with a beautiful smile.

The problem is that soft drinks are acidic which dissolves enamel by decalcification which can lead to permanent white spots on your teeth and cavities. Sugar interacts with plaque which is the sticky, colorless film of BACTERIA that uses the sugar to produce ACID which in turn causes the problems listed above. This is why brushing and flossing is so critical during during orthodontic treatment. When you remove plaque you are removing a risk which can effect not only the appearance of your smile but also have an effect on how fast your teeth move.

Play it safe and be smart:

  • Avoid soft drinks during treatment
  • Drink water and milk
  • Brush and floss as recommended
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinse
  • See your dentist every six months

If you do drink soft drinks:

  • Drink them through a straw
  • Have them with a meal
  • Brush your teeth right away or if you cant rinse with water
  • Drink the soft drink quickly; avoid sipping over a long period of time. Sip all day and get decay!

If you have any questions feel free to talk to Dr. Ritucci or any member of his team.

Memorial Day and Getting Ready for Summer

May 26th, 2017

Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.

During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.

Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer

  • Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
  • Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
  • Visit Dr. Ritucci Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.

What is dentofacial orthopedics?

May 19th, 2017

You may have noticed that we specialize in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. And while most people we talk to have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title. Today, Dr. Ritucci and our team thought we would explain the difference.

While orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and facial development, which occurs for the most part during childhood, and is a reason why kids are often the best candidates for receiving dentofacial orthopedic therapy. Dr. Ritucci will examine and monitor your child’s growth to determine when starting treatment will be most effective. If your child begins orthodontic treatment before his or her adult teeth have erupted, it is known as Phase-One treatment. During this phase, Dr. Ritucci will use treatments designed to correct your child’s jaw growth and make sure that the jaw bone is properly aligned before beginning the next phase of treatment, which usually involves placing braces to straighten your child's teeth.

Dentofacial orthopedics is also used to treat adult patients at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C., however, this process may involve surgery. With our younger patients, we know the jaw bones are still forming, making it easier for our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. to control bone growth and tooth movement. Adults, however, are a different story; their bones are no longer growing, and their jaw bones have hardened, so it is more difficult to adjust the bite and move teeth into proper alignment. Dr. Ritucci may recommend surgery to adjust the jaw bone and establish the proper bite alignment before beginning treatment.

Because our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. is skilled in both areas, we are able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.

We hope that helps! To learn more about dentofacial orthopedics, and to find out if this type of treatment is right for you, please contact our Plymouth office and schedule an initial consultation for you or your child. It’s never too late to get a great smile, and we can’t wait to help you or your child get started.

Wishing all our moms a happy Mother’s Day!

May 12th, 2017

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C.. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Ritucci and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!

Summer is Almost Here: Tips for a bright, white smile!

May 5th, 2017

Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C..

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Feeling Confident at Your Orthodontic Consultation

April 28th, 2017

How You Can Start Preparing Now

When you first start thinking about going to the orthodontist, it is normal to feel apprehensive. What will your orthodontic experience bring? Whether you have been advised by a dentist or chosen to seek out orthodontic care from Dr. Ritucci on your own, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your initial consultation at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C..

One of the best ways to prepare for an orthodontic consultation is to understand your options. With so many choices available today, orthodontic care is a lot more versatile than in the past. You can start preparing now by seeking out and understanding those options. With a few specific things in mind, you can be totally confident and prepared for your consultation.

Questions to Ask During the Consultation

As you consider orthodontic care, it is likely that a few questions may naturally arise. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. Our orthodontic team is here to help. Here are just a few examples of questions you may want to ask at your consultation.

  • Is there an estimated length of time that I will likely require braces?
  • How much should I expect to pay for my treatment? What are the payment options?
  • Does getting braces hurt? Is there anything I can do to prevent or minimize pain?
  • Is it likely that I will be wearing extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite or other problems?
  • Are there specific foods I will need to avoid when I get braces?
  • Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
  • How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
  • How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?

Once your consultation is over, you don’t have to feel like your options are exhausted. If questions arise after the consultation, don’t be afraid to ask. Our orthodontic team will be here to help throughout the entire process.

Confidence throughout the Process

With answers to your questions, and an orthodontic team on your side, you can be confident about any necessary orthodontic treatments. From the initial consultation to the day your braces come off, your orthodontic treatment at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. can be a smooth and simple process. The moment you see that beautiful smile, you’ll know it was all worth it.

We love bringing nothing but the most amazing smiles to our patients!

April's Ortho-opoly Contest!

April 25th, 2017

This month's contest is "Ortho-opoly"!

The winner will receive a $25 gift card to Target.

Don't forget to play when you come into the office for your appointment!

Earth Day

April 21st, 2017

The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.

Earth Day Over the Years

Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.

The Earth Day Movement

The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The Five R's and Their Importance

  • Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
  • Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
  • Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
  • Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
  • Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.

Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C. wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.

Happy Earth Day from the team at Robert A. Ritucci, D.M.D., P.C..

Hey, Metal Mouth, Hey, Train Tracks! Six Funny Comebacks for People Who Wear Braces

April 14th, 2017

Brace-ism: believe it or not, it’s a concept. The Urban Dictionary defines brace-ism as “acting mean to people who have braces on their teeth.” Phrases like metal mouth, brace face, and train tracks are common jokes uttered by gap-toothed fools who like to make fun of people with braces.

While ignoring these comments and taking the high road is the best thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with having a few clever retorts and quick-witted comebacks up your sleeve.

  1. The next time someone calls you train tracks, break into an obnoxious train imitation, with lots of toot-toot and chuga-chuga-chuga. Finish off your crazy locomotive impersonation with some sort of deafening train horn. That’ll keep the bullies at bay.
  2. “It’s better to be a brace face than a space case.”
  3. Counter with a ridiculously childish joke that makes the schoolyard tormentor feel even smaller than he already is. “Oh. Yeah. Why did the deer need braces? Because he had buck teeth. Hahaha.” Top it off with an exaggerated eye roll.
  4. “Yeah, my brother tells that joke. He’s six. You guys should hang out.” That’ll stop the haters dead in their tracks. Or would that be train tracks?
  5. Here’s one from the sarcasm grab bag. “Well, I’m just glad there’s a way to fix what’s wrong with my face.”
  6. “I can’t wait to discuss this formative moment at our ten-year class reunion, when my teeth are razor-straight and you’re wearing adult braces.”

 

Orthodontic Consumer Alert to Protect Orthodontic Patients

September 13th, 2015

Thousands of online videos offer purported “advice” and “instructions” on do-it-yourself (DIY) orthodontic care. The proliferation of misinformation led the American Association of Orthodontists to issue this consumer alert:  Beware of Internet videos and websites which encourage people to try and straighten their own teeth. Moving teeth is a medical procedure and needs personal supervision by an orthodontist. Please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or other objects ordered on the Internet. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the teeth and gums could result in the permanent loss of teeth, which may result in expensive and lifelong dental problems. Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite.

If you have concerns about your bite or are unhappy with your smile please call Dr. Ritucci at 508-747-4667 for a complimentary initial examination.

Congratulations to Dr. Ritucci for ......

July 7th, 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Ritucci for co-authoring the article "Comparison of Maxillary Molar Distalization with an Implant-supported Distal Jet and a Traditional Tooth-supported Distal Jet Appliance" that was published in the June 11, 2014 issue of the International Journal of Dentistry.

Dental Accidents: Know What To Do If One Occurs

March 19th, 2014

Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective gear available. They can help prevent or minimize tooth and jaw injuries. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends mouth guards be worn any time the teeth could come in contact with a ball, a hard object, another player or the pavement. The recommendation applies to organized sports as well as leisure activities.

But what happens if any injury occurs. What do you do? Follow these first aid tips.

Broken Teeth:

  • Clean the injured area and put an ice pack on the lip or gum.
  • Cover and exposed area with sterile gauze.
  • Save the tip of the tooth (for possible reattachment) and call your family dentist.
  • Store the tooth fragment in water.

Loosened Teeth:  The tooth can be pushed into the socket (intruded), 2) knocked part way out of the socket (extruded), 3) pushed sideways but still in the socket (luxated).

What to do:

  • Apply an ice pack to the injured area.
  • You may attempt to push an extruded tooth back into the socket.
  • Call your family dentist for immediate attention.  Early stabilization is the best chance for the tooth to reattach itself.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth:  TIME IS CRITICAL

  • Call you family dentist for immediate attention.
  • Locate the tooth; hold it by the crown (the wide part, not the pointed end/root).
  • Remove large pieces of debris but avoid rubbing or touching the root.
  • Rinse the tooth. Do not scrub. If using a sink, be sure to put the plug in the sink so that the tooth will not go down the drain if it is dropped.
  • Attempt to put the clean tooth back in its socket.  Cove with gauze or a tissue and bite down to stabilize it, if possible, or hold the tooth in its socket until seen by the dentist.
  • If the tooth cannot be put back into its socket, store the tooth in liquid until you see the dentist. Put the tooth in milk or sterile saline solution (contact lens solution with no preservatives). Do not soak or store the tooth in water because water will kill the cells on the root that are vital for successful reimplantation. If milk or saline solution are unavailable, the tooth can be stored in the cheek where saliva will help provide vitality to the root surface. If stored in the cheek, be careful not to swallow the tooth.
  • Do not let the tooth dry out.

Jaw Injury:

If the teeth appear to fit together properly when the mouth is closed:

  • Apply ice to control swelling
  • Restrict diet to soft foods and if no improvement occurs with 24 hours, seek dental care to rule out subtle injuries
  • If in doubt at any time, contact your dentist

If teeth do not fit together properly when the mouth is closed:

  • Seek emergency medical attention.

Post Orthodontic Treatment, Adults Say Healthy, Beautiful Smiles Transform Lives

January 13th, 2014

Adult orthodontic treatment contributes to significant improvements in both professional and personal lives, according to respondents to a recent study conducted on behalf of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Individuals who, as adults, had orthodontic treatment provided by orthodontists were asked to respond to the survey. Seventy-five percent of adults surveyed reported improvements in career or personal relationships, which they attributed to their improved post-orthodontic treatment smile. Citing newfound self-confidence, 92 percent of survey respondents say they would recommend orthodontic treatment to other adults.

The survey queried respondents on their pre-treatment concerns: "What will others think?" "How will I look?" "Am I too old?" Seventy-one percent had such concerns prior to treatment but an overwhelming majority said the concerns did not continue once actual treatment began.

Respondents reported positive outcomes from treatment:

  • "I was more confident and self assured once I could smile openly. Life is very stressful (on a subconscious level) when you're always aware that you cannot open your mouth to smile without fear of judgment."
  • "With an attractive smile you can face your career and personal relationships with confidence."
  • "A more brilliant smile and the straightest teeth....gave me confidence to do anything."

Younger adults report the most favorable results. Eighty-seven percent of those aged 18-34 reported increased success with personal relationships after treatment. "I found someone who cared about me," commented one respondent.

The number of adult orthodontic patients increased 14 percent from 2010 to 2012, to a record high of 1,225,850 patients ages 18 and older. More men are opting for orthodontic treatment, according to a recent AAO study. As of 2012, 44 percent of adult patients were male, a 29 percent increase as compared to 2010 survey results.  (Data from the 2012 AAO Economics Survey)

"Am I Too Old For Braces?"

July 27th, 2012

Dr. Ritucci and his team of skilled professionals are fully committed to helping their patients achieve and maintain beautiful, healthy smiles that will last a lifetime. Traditionally, orthodontic braces have been associated with teenagers. However, these days an increasing number of adults are realizing that orthodontic treatment is not just for kids. While many of the myths about age limitations for orthodontic treatment still persist, adults of all ages are benefiting from braces today.

The fact is that you are never too old for orthodontic care if the gums and bone structure are healthy. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult!

Why Adults Seek Orthodontic Care
Adult With Braces

Some of the most common reasons adult patients come to us when considering orthodontic treatment include crowded teeth, spaces between teeth, pain or pressure from cooked teeth, a misaligned jaw or because of a bad bite which causes teeth to fit together incorrectly. Most of all, adults come to our Plymouth and Sandwich, MA orthodontic offices seeking a healthier and more beautiful smile!

Not only will orthodontics improve the appearance of your smile and boost your confidence, but it will also improve the overall health of your teeth and gums.

As an adult, we know that you have different needs than our younger patients. In light of that, we will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatment so that your individual needs are met with understanding and respect.

Great Treatment Options for Adults

At Dr. Robert A. Ritucci's orthodontic offices, we offer several treatment options for our patients including metal braces, clear ceramic braces and clear aligner therapy.

Adult Orthodontics

The clear ceramic braces we offer are popular among our adult patients due to their low profile nature. These braces are very similar to metal braces in their function with the difference being that the brackets are tooth colored.

The clear aligner therapy we offer is ideal for adults as it provides you with a straighter smile using comfortable, removable and nearly invisible aligners.

Clear aligner therapy treatment consists of a series of clear, custom-made aligners that gradually move your teeth into the desired position just like traditional braces do. You are able to remove the aligners whenever you eat, brush or floss. This therapy is a terrific way to obtain the straight, beautiful smile of your dreams without the use of braces!

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us to see if you are a candidate for adult orthodontic care, please contact us during work hours through our office phone number, email address or via our Request an Appointment form that is available on our website.

Braces-Friendly Recipes!

July 12th, 2012

Orthodontic patients can enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods ranging from main dishes to side dishes to snacks and desserts. Plymouth & Sandwich, MA orthodontist Dr. Robert Ritucci and his staff would like to share the following braces-friendly recipes that will allow you to enjoy eating without interfering with your orthodontic care.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that people with braces avoid hard, sticky, crunchy and chewy foods so that braces are left intact and the treatment process flows smoothly. The key to braces-friendly cooking is making comparable 'soft' substitutes. For example, serving ground meat rather than whole meat, preparing cooked vegetables instead of raw vegetables and substituting favorites like tacos and pizza for softer choices such as burritos or lasagna. By being aware and creative when cooking, eating with braces can still be satisfying and safe!

Baked Ham and Egg Hashbrowns

This delicious recipe can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is easy to make.

Ingredients:

3 cups frozen, shredded hash brown potatoes, uncooked

¾ cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup diced, cooked ham

4 eggs, beaten

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Spread the shredded potatoes on the bottom of the pan, then top with the cheese and ham. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the ham mixture in casserole dish.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees until browned. Allow the casserole to stand for five minutes before serving. Serves six people.

~~~~~

Cool and Refreshing Strawberry Banana Smoothie

This nutritious smoothie is a delicious, fast way to get some good vitamins and minerals when wearing braces.

5 large strawberries

1 banana

½ cup cold skim milk

½ cup cold apple juice

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Chili Chicken Casserole

Ingredients: 
2 cups cooked chicken breast – chopped into fine pieces

1 10 ½ ounce can cream of chicken soup

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles

1 2-ounce jar diced pimentos

8 flour tortillas – diced into small pieces

2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese


Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients, leaving 1 cup of cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top. Pour into a greased 9x12 casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until browned. Serve. Serves six.

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Metal Mouth Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon minced onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped green pepper

1 beaten egg

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly using your hands. Form into 24 equal sized balls. Place meatballs in a greased 9x13 inch casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Serve with a smooth marinara/spaghetti sauce over soft angel hair pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Just because you or your child is wearing braces, doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy eating. By making smart food choices, you can lower your risk of running into problems when wearing braces. Contact our Plymouth and Sandwich, MA orthodontic offices if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment!

Welcome to our Orthodontic Blog!

April 18th, 2012

Dr. Robert Ritucci and his staff of skilled professionals would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our blog! We provide outstanding and caring orthodontic care to patients in Plymouth and Sandwich, Massachusetts as well as the surrounding communities of Manomet, Bourne, Kingston, Carver, West Barnstable, Mashpee and Duxbury, MA.

We are fully committed to providing you with high quality orthodontic care in our comfortable and professional environment. Our number one priority is to serve our patients with the personalized care they deserve and to develop custom treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs.

Meet our Doctor 

Dr. Robert A. Ritucci was born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut. He received his DMD degree with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine in 1986. Upon earning his degree, he began a one year general practice residency at the Veterans Hospital in West Haven, CT. He then went on to Boston University where he received his certificate in orthodontics in 1989. Dr. Ritucci has been published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics and has been a consultant in research and development for a leading orthodontic manufacturer.

Dr. Ritucci has been practicing in the Plymouth area for over 20 years and has thousands of beautiful smiles to his credit. He keeps abreast with the latest orthodontic technology by attending over 40 hours of continuing education each year. Dr. Ritucci is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the New England Society of Orthodontists, the American Dental Association, the Massachusetts Dental Society and the Jordan Hospital Dental Staff.

Dr. Ritucci is a familiar face within the local community and a trusted source of care for its residents. Dr. Ritucci and his wife live in East Sandwich. When not practicing orthodontics he enjoys  photography, snorkeling and cooking.

Our Team 

It is the people that truly make a practice and we are very proud of ours! Your needs are our first priority. You will receive warm and courteous treatment the moment you walk through our door. Each clinical member of our staff is a trained professional with an average of 11 years of experience. Each clinical team member regularly attends training which focuses on the delivery of orthodontic services in a caring, safe and efficient manner.

Our friendly front office staff can answer any questions you may have about your insurance, billing arrangements or scheduling. Our personable team of professionals are easy to talk to and enjoy helping our patients improve their appearance and increase their self-esteem.

Types of Braces We Offer 

We use traditional metal braces made of high-grade stainless steel. Today’s metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and much more attractive.

The ceramic braces we use are made of translucent material. Ceramic braces are popular among adults due to their aesthetic appeal. There are a few drawbacks associated with ceramic braces and they are only available for patients with certain types of bites.

The gold braces we use are stainless steel braces which are coated with 24-karat gold. These attractive braces and are popular among patients of all ages.

Schedule an Appointment 

If you are interested in scheduling a a no-cost initial examination with us, please fill out the ‘Request an Appointment’ form on our website. One of our team members will then make contact with you to set up an appointment time.

Thanks for stopping by our blog! We plan on using this little piece of cyberspace to share office news and info with you. We also will be posting interesting information here which is related to the exciting world of orthodontics. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us should you have any questions about orthodontic treatment for your or your child.

Have a nice day and remember that your smile is your greatest asset so use it often!

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