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The Comfort, Care and Personalized Treatment You Deserve

Conservative Treatment Aligned With Each Patient’s Goals



woman putting in her invisalign aligners

Many people think of traditional metal brackets when they picture braces in their mind. However, these are not the only type of braces available to patients. Lingual braces and ceramic braces also exist, but one of our favorite options is Invisalign treatment. Named for the invisible aligners that help shift your teeth, Invisalign is the perfect treatment option for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth more discreetly. Find out how these aligners are custom-designed for each patient, what your treatment will look like and how you can benefit from choosing Invisalign!


What Is Invisalign?

In the past, metal braces were the only option people had to straighten their teeth. Decades ago, these metal braces even came with large headgear and lengthy treatment. Technology continues to advance each year, and now you have better (and much more discreet) options for straightening your teeth. Invisalign is one such option for patients who want straight teeth, but don’t want metal brackets for 18-24 months to achieve that smile. Invisalign is the same type of treatment, but instead of brackets, you get transparent aligners that go in your mouth much like retainers. Advantages of this orthodontic option include:

  • Virtual invisibility because the aligners are transparent.
  • You can remove the aligners whenever you need to, especially for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
  • Cleaning the aligners are much easier than cleaning brackets and wires.
  • Less office visits are typically needed for patients.
  • Total time for optimal results is generally shorter than metal braces.


transparent aligner and carrying case

How Does It Work?

Your Invisalign treatment will be much different than traditional metal braces would be. However, Invisalign treatment is much easier than metal braces. Dr. Hardy will take an impression of your teeth using a special 3D imaging machine called an iTero Element Scanner. This will digitally record all the grooves and shapes of your current teeth without any sticky molds. Then, your aligners will be custom-made for you that you will take home with you and switch out every 2-3 weeks. Every person’s gumline is different, so the digital impressions of your teeth is an important part of the Invisalign creation process. Once your aligners are made, we trim them to fit your gum line. A custom-fit means that your aligners will fit so snug against your teeth that they will almost seem invisible.


Your treatment plan will be made based off of the current shape of your teeth and if you have any bite and alignment issues. We will be able to tell if any of these issues are present during your consultation. Once your treatment plan is made, you will wear your aligners between 20-22 hours a day for 18-24 months. The treatment time is similar to what metal braces or other orthodontic options would be. On average, our patients need 18-30 aligners for a period of 9-15 months to achieve their desired outcome.


Can Children Use Invisalign?

Some children will be candidates for Invisalign treatment, whereas others will not be. Often, child orthodontics is needed to correct bite and alignment problems that are severe in children. These problems include overbite, underbite, crossbite and other problems with a misaligned bite and jaw. Some problems are severe enough that children will require metal or ceramic braces to fix the problem. Invisalign treatment can correct some bite and alignment issues, but not if they are severe. A severe problem may make your child unable to use Invisalign aligners until they receive orthodontic treatment for teeth straightening as a teenager.


There is also the problem of the aligners being removable. Since they are clear, they are easily lost, which parents don’t want. If your child is fairly young, metal braces might be the smartest choice for them so they don’t lose the aligners. Dr. Hardy can assess your child’s oral health to see if they are candidates for Invisalign treatment or if they need other orthodontic appliances.


girl having an appointment with her orthodontist

Invisalign Teen

For many teens, they don’t want metal braces that are very visible to everyone. Metal appliances can also make eating, speaking and maintaining clean teeth challenging. Many teenagers are also self-conscious about braces and their appearance, which generally brings less smiles and confidence. The invisibility of Invisalign Teen is why it’s so popular with this age group. Invisalign Teen is simply Invisalign treatment made with teenagers in mind. For teens who play sports, they can remove their aligners in order to wear mouth guards or to play musical instruments.


Why Should I Choose Invisalign?

Do you want straighter teeth? Do you want to straighten your teeth without everyone knowing? Would you like to avoid all the work that goes into cleaning brackets with metal braces? Then Invisalign treatment is for you! Invisalign aligners are fit to your mouth, comfortable and transparent. You can remove them as you need to and cleaning is very easy, especially for children and teens. If you want a beautiful smile while you receive orthodontic treatment, ask our office about receiving Invisalign treatment for you and your child. Call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!



child eating a sugary treat

Did you know that the more sugar you eat, the more at-risk you are for cavities? Sugar itself doesn’t necessarily cause a an immediate cavity, but you do get tooth decay because of the effects of sugar on your teeth. That is why it’s so important to brush and floss your teeth every day and to keep your mouth clean. You may be watching your sugar intake, not realizing that you are still going over  recommended sugar guidelines. Even diet or “healthy” foods are full of sugar in many cases, which means you might be at a higher risk for tooth decay than you think. Find out what the sugar guidelines are for each age group, what sugar does to your teeth and how you can prevent cavities for both you and your children!


How Does Sugar Affect You?

Sugar can be so sweet, but not when it comes to your teeth or your body. Did you know that sugar does not actually have any nutritional value? It is an added substance that is found in too many foods to name. It’s even found in baby food, meaning even a small baby may be getting too much sugar in their diet. Sugar has damaging effects to children and adults alike. It not only leads to cavities (more about that later), but it can lead to obesity and weight gain, and inability to lose weight, and can increase your risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases. Sugar can be addicting, and the more you eat, the more you crave.


Many people will eat a meal and want to end each meal with something sweet. This is because sugar causes a release of dopamine in your system, which leads to a “feel-good” emotion that people crave. However, sugar also leads to an energy crash, generally within a half hour. Before you think about putting that sugary treat in your mouth, think about how it will affect your teeth and your oral health.


model of teeth with tooth decay surrounded by piles of sugar

Sugar and Your Teeth

Did you know that sugar is one of the worst substances for your teeth? Your tooth enamel and sugar does not mix well. In fact, sugar actually attacks your teeth in a way. Sugar is found in most foods and drinks that people consume. When you eat, that sugar dissolves and mixes with bacteria in your mouth. That mixture forms a sticky, transparent substance that sticks to your teeth like glue. We like to called this substance plaque, and you might even have some on your teeth right now if you look closely.


The more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth will make. Even though plaque is clear, it is acidic in nature. When it coats your teeth, it starts to erode away your tooth enamel. That’s why sugar is such a concern when it comes to your oral health, and why dentists are always recommending patients to limit their sugar intake. More sugar means more plaque, which means more cavities for you. If you start to cut out sugar from your diet, or your child’s you may notice that your child will start to have fewer minor health problems and fewer cavities. If children and adults alike limit the sugar they consume while they have braces, they are much less likely to have eroded or decayed teeth when they get their braces off. Plaque already sticks to the teeth like crazy without braces. With them, it sticks even more and gets into the brackets as well.


Woman holding a sign that says eat less sugar

Sugar Guidelines for Your Age Group

Did you know that there are sugar guidelines for how much sugar you should eat in a day? Those sugar guidelines don’t only come from a dentist, but countless health institutions. The National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association report that too many people are over-exceeding their daily sugar recommendation by more than double! Men should only be having up to 9 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is about 36 total grams of sugar or 150 calories. Women should only have up to 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams or 100 calories. Children should have little to no sugar and should consume well below 6 grams of added sugars a day.


However, studies show that many people over 18 are consuming an average of 34 grams of sugar a day. Children over 6 are getting 20 grams or more of added sugar a day and even babies 1-3 years old are getting 12 grams or more. It’s no wonder that the NIH reports that tooth decay (known as “cavities”) is the most chronic prevalent disease among children and adults!


Combat Tooth Decay During Braces

You want to be incredibly vigilant with taking care of your oral health, especially with braces. Brush and floss your teeth several times a day. We recommend brushing your teeth after every single meal to get rid of acidic plaque and food particles that get stuck so easily in brackets. Don’t forget to floss your teeth. Use floss threaders to make this part of cleaning your braces easier. Cleaning your teeth only takes a few minutes a day (even with braces) and it’s never something you want to skip.


You’re spending 18-24 months straightening your teeth. You don’t want that beautiful smile to be full of areas of tooth decay and tooth erosion when your braces come off. If you want a beautiful smile, follow the recommended sugar guidelines for your age group. Brush and floss your teeth meticulously and take care of your oral health. If you need help making cleaning your braces easier, call our Belmar Orthodontics office anytime at (303) 225-9016!


assortment of unhealthy foods and desserts

Braces is an amazing time to get a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, wearing braces on your teeth make them much harder to clean than they were before. This is especially true when it comes to certain foods and drinks. We have a list of foods that you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment because those foods stick to the teeth. You never want food to stay stuck in your braces, as this leads to tooth decay and demineralization. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to stay away from during your orthodontic treatment. We can also help you to know how to properly clean your teeth so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay as your teeth get straighter. Avoid foods and drinks that hurt your teeth so you can have a beautiful smile once those braces come off!


Foods to Avoid

Braces bring many changes for 18-24 months. One of those is avoiding foods that could hurt your teeth. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar should be avoided. Eating foods high in sugar increases your risk of cavities, which you want to avoid. Also avoid:

  • Hard candy
  • Chips
  • Ice
  • Apples
  • Crusty bread
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Corn on the cob
  • Carrots or other hard vegetables
  • Gum (this is a big one)
  • Caramel
  • Sugar Daddies and similar candies
  • Skittles
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Starburst
  • Licorice
  • All types of taffy


You will also want to avoid carbonated and sugary drinks. Sugary drinks also increase your risk for tooth decay, and the last thing you want with braces are cavities. Carbonated drinks contain carbonic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel and can lead to demineralization. If your teeth demineralize, they become weaker and could even have spots where they simply erode away. Limit your citric fruits (like oranges or lemons) as well as citric drinks, as these also contain acids that will hurt your teeth and erode them.


woman holding a model of a tooth

Why to Avoid These Foods

We can give you lists of foods to avoid, but it’s also best to explain why you should avoid these types of foods.

  • Hard Foods – Your teeth and even you braces appliances are very hard, however, they are not unbreakable. Even without braces, you want to be careful about eating hard foods, as you could break a tooth. With braces, you could break a bracket or wire or have it come right off the tooth, which is something you don’t want. The hard candies and foods we have listed on foods to avoid are ones that we have seen hurt your teeth time and again. If you must eat hard foods (or if you really want to), cut up foods such as apples into small, bite-sized pieces. However, you should avoid nuts and popcorn hulls at all costs, as there really is no good way around eating these without the chance that you could hurt your teeth or brackets. Without braces, you want to still avoid chewing on ice or hard candies, as you could break or crack a tooth. Suck on hard foods instead.


  • Sticky Foods – Sticky foods can sometimes be worse than hard ones and could even hurt your teeth more if you think about the tooth decay they can cause. Even though many sticky foods (such as gum or caramel) are soft, they are so hard to get out of your brackets. These types of foods get stuck and stay stuck long after you’ve finished eating them. Then, you have to spend a lot more time trying to brush and pick at your brackets to remove these foods. If you don’t, sticky candies and foods can sit in your brackets and wires, eroding your tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. If you eat these foods a lot, you could end up with parts of your teeth that are cratered or worn away when you get your braces off.


Cleaning Your Braces

Some tips to follow to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay include:

  • Brushing after every meal. Your braces can easily attract and trap food particles. Instead of brushing just twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends, we suggest brushing after every meal. Brush your teeth with a regular, soft-bristled brush. Brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket to fully dislodge all food.
  • Use a floss threader. You can either buy floss threaders or threadable floss. This is floss that you thread through the small spaces between teeth. You pull the floss through and then floss under your wires. The more you practice this, the quicker and easier it becomes. Don’t ever skip flossing just because it takes a bit longer, and floss at least twice a day.
  • Use a proxabrush and/or waterpik. A proxabrush is a small christmas-tree brush that you can use to dislodge and clean food easily from brackets. A waterpik is a tool that shoots water in your mouth and brackets to dislodge food.


female cleaning her braces with a proxabrush

Avoid Actions that Hurt Your Teeth

Follow our guidelines for foods to avoid and what to do if you want to eat those foods. Take meticulous care of your teeth during your time with braces and you will thank yourself for the beautiful smile you’ll have when you get those braces off. If you have questions about foods or other topics that we haven’t covered, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016  for all of your questions!



girl who has braces

There are many things to think about when deciding to receive your braces. What type of braces should you choose? What age should you receive those braces? Then, after deciding what method of teeth straightening you want, you then have to learn how to properly care for your teeth. You will also have to get used to sometimes having sore teeth after your appointments and fitting in seeing the dentist. We can help you to know about your braces appliance from choosing a braces type, cleaning them, and avoiding tooth decay while you get a straighter smile.


Choosing Your Braces Style

Receiving braces is an exciting time for many people. It is the start of a better smile and a better you. But before you can get that straighter, more beautiful smile, you have to choose what style of braces you want. We offer:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – These are the classic metal bracket and wire option that is most commonly chosen by patients. Patients who chose this option come in to have their wires tightened at each appointment.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces are a close cousin to metal braces. They have the same bracket and wire design of metal braces, except that they are made out of ceramic material. This helps decrease demineralization during your orthodontic treatment. Ceramic material is also naturally white, helping these braces to blend in with your teeth more than metal would.
  • Lingual Braces – These are metal braces that are placed on the back of your teeth. Instead of just a square bracket, the metal must be custom-made to the shape of the back of your teeth. This is a discrete option that adults and teens love.
  • Invisalign Treatment – This is the most invisible option available to our patients. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that you wear at night and throughout the day. You can remove them for eating, playing sports, cleaning your teeth and more.


close up of braces


Getting Your Braces Put On

After you’ve chosen the style of braces you want, you need to have them fitted to your mouth. 3 out of the 4 options available to you will be bonded to your actual teeth. At our office, we make sure your teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried before we bond brackets to them. With metal braces, we will use a cement bonding glue to adhere a metal bracket to the center of each of your teeth. Your back molars might receive a band that goes all the way around the tooth.


Once the metal bracket is cemented to the center of each tooth, we will pass a small metal archwire through each bracket both on top and on bottom. In the end, you will end up with a wire across the teeth on your upper jaw and across the teeth on your lower jaw. The glue we use may taste a bit unpleasant, but it is otherwise harmless. The entire process of getting your brackets and wires placed on your teeth will be between 1 and 2 hours.


The Process for Other Options

Depending on what option you have chosen, your braces process might be a bit different. Ceramic braces are applied the same way that metal braces would be, as they too consist of brackets and wires. However, if you choose to get lingual braces, we can’t simply place brackets on the backs of your teeth. Once Dr. Hardy has determined that you are an ideal candidate for lingual braces, he will take impressions of your teeth. He then sends them to a lab so that your brackets and wires can be custom made. The braces will then be bonded behind your teeth at a separate appointment.


For Invisalign treatment, we design a series of transparent aligners that you will switch out each week. We can take digital impressions of your mouth that we will use to design your aligners. We use a digital scanning system that sends images to a state-of-the-art printing machine. Then, each week you will have new aligners that you will simply replace. It’s that easy!


girl getting her braces adjusted

Your Orthodontic Experience

Most patients will have braces for 18-24 months. Some people don’t like braces, but the majority of people do. You can choose the style of your braces and if you want them to be hidden or noticeable. You can also dress up your braces with colorful bands if you so desire. Braces require more care than what you are used to. You must take more time with brushing and flossing, even using tools such as a waterpik, proxabrush and floss threaders to fully remove food from your braces. You must clean your teeth thoroughly to avoid tooth decay during your time with braces. We can show you how to do all of this at our office.


Each patient will come in every 4-6 weeks for orthodontic checkups. This is where we will examine your braces and how your teeth are moving. You will experience initial soreness and discomfort after you first get your braces. You might have this discomfort every time your braces get tightened as well. A simple over-the-counter pain reliever should help you as well as eating soft foods. Having braces changes life a little bit when it comes to cleaning your teeth (which takes longer), but the benefits far outweigh everything else. At the end of your treatment, you will have an amazing, beautiful smile that is sure to wow everyone around you. If you want to know more about your braces options, or want to get started on your journey today, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!



don't harm your teeth

You wouldn’t knowingly do anything to harm your teeth, but are you actively doing things to protect them? Braces are an amazing opportunity to get a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, wearing braces on your teeth make them much harder to clean than they were before. This is especially true when it comes to certain foods and drinks. We have a list of foods that you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment because those foods stick to the teeth. You never want food to stay stuck in your braces, as this leads to tooth decay and demineralization. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to stay away from during your orthodontic treatment. We can also help you to know how to properly clean your teeth so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay as your teeth get straighter. Avoid foods and drinks that harm your teeth so you can have a beautiful smile once those braces come off!

What Does Plaque Do?

When you eat, bacteria in your mouth mix with sugars in the foods and drinks you consume. That creates a sticky, transparent film that coats your teeth. Many people have heard of this sticky substance–plaque–before, but they don’t understand what it does. Plaque is a substance that you make right in your mouth.That sticky film is also acidic, so over time, plaque slowly erodes away your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth several times a day and flossing regularly can keep plaque from accumulating on your teeth.

Foods that Harm Your Teeth

When it comes to having that healthy, beautiful smile, take a proactive approach by avoiding foods that are known to damage your teeth. Some foods damage your teeth because of what they contain or by what you do with that food. Here are some foods that can harm your teeth:

  • Hard Foods – Be careful when eating hard foods such as carrots, nuts, popcorn hulls, hard candies and more, as you could break or chip a tooth.
  • Sugary Foods – Foods with sugar help make more plaque in your mouth. The more sugar there is, the more plaque you can make. Limit your sugar intake to help keep your mouth healthier.
  • Chewy Foods – Chewy foods such as gummies, taffy, caramels and more, stick to the teeth more than other foods. That means sugar sits on your teeth for longer, eroding your enamel. Brush your teeth after eating these foods.
  • Ice Chips – Although ice is just hardened water, it can break or chip a tooth if you chew on it. Water gets very hard, and often water in the form of ice breaks teeth or wears them down over time.
  • Fruits – Whether you have fruits often or fruit juice, they both contain citric acid. Any type of acid is one that you want to watch out for as it will harm your teeth. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons will damage your tooth enamel and weaken it over time.

Drinks Erode Tooth Enamel

Drinks can also harm your teeth, and can impact your smile even more than some foods. The average person needs to drink about half their body weight in ounces each day to stay properly hydrated. In an ideal world, people would drink only water or liquids such as vitamin-fortified milk. However, it’s becoming more common for people to consume sugary drinks such as sodas, juices, and energy drinks instead of water. The high-sugar content of these types of drinks can quickly damage your teeth.

Drinks to Consume in Moderation

There are many types of drinks. Some of the most common drinks that damage your teeth are:

  • Sodas – One of the worst culprits of drinks that harm your teeth is soda. These not only are full of sugar, but they also contain carbonation. Carbonation gives you that fizzy pop in your mouth because the CO2 in the carbonation has a chemical reaction in your mouth. This turns that CO2 into carbonic acid, which erodes away your tooth enamel. If you want stronger teeth, skip the soda.
  • Sugary Drinks – Sports drinks provide electrolytes, which help keep your muscles working, your energy higher and help you recover better. However, they are full of sugar, which will damage your teeth. Juices aren’t any better either. Always check your drink label for the sugar content and avoid drinks with lots of sugar.
  • Energy Drinks – Think of these as a step up from sodas. Most energy drinks contain carbonation, although you can find options that are non-carbonated. However, most energy drinks work overtime to harm your teeth. Energy drinks generally give you a boost of energy through caffeine. Most energy drinks also add in much more sugar than a regular soda would (which is already a lot). Save your teeth and get more sleep or exercise for energy.
  • Additional Beverages – There are many drinks that can harm your teeth. Water can harm your teeth if it is carbonated, because of the acid that is involved. Milk is great for your teeth, as it contains calcium and phosphate, which can help rebuild your tooth enamel. However, chocolate milk is full of sugar, which harms your teeth. With any drink, always check the label to know what you are actually drinking.

Use Mouthwash for Added Defense

Mouthwash can kill bacteria that help make plaque in your mouth. Fluoride fights against the damaging effects of plaque. Incorporate it in your cleansing routine to help fortify your tooth enamel and protect your mouth from tooth decay.

Establish Good Habits

Practice good habits to promote great oral health. Protect your teeth through proper brushing and flossing practices. The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush their teeth at least twice a day, if not after every meal. The more often you brush your teeth, the less likely you are to have tooth decay and problems such as gum disease.

While flossing requires more steps with traditional braces, it is an essential part of protecting your teeth while wearing braces. Don’t be tempted to skip this important part of your teeth-cleaning process!

See Your Dentist During Orthodontic Treatment

Seeing your dentist for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings twice a year during your time with braces will also help you to know how healthy your mouth is. Your dentist can give your teeth a thorough cleaning and teach you tips for better oral care with braces.

Call for a Consultation

If you would like to know more about foods and drinks and how they affect your teeth, or if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation at Belmar Orthodontics, please call our office at 303-225-9016.  We are anxious to keep your smile bright and healthy throughout your time with braces and after!


Young girl with braces receiving dental care

An orthodontist has been to dental school and is skilled enough to spot gum and teeth problems. However, seeing an orthodontist is not enough to keep your teeth healthy. During your time receiving braces, it’s also important to keep seeing a dentist for cleanings, exams and dental treatments. Learn why dental care and oral hygiene is important during your time with braces and how it can help you have a better smile after your braces!


Caring for Metal Braces

Your dental care during braces will depend on the type of braces you receive. If you choose metal braces, brackets and wires in your mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck. This quickly leads to dental issues if proper care is not taken. You have to be meticulous about cleaning away plaque and stuck food particles so that you avoid tooth decay and demineralization of your tooth enamel. You do this by:

  • Brushing after every meal. Your braces easily trap food particles every single time you eat. Brushing after each meal can prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup. When brushing, make sure you have a regular, soft-bristle brush. Brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth that has a bracket.
  • Using a threadable floss or floss threader. You will quickly notice that you can’t floss the conventional way with metal braces because the archwire is in the way. If you use a floss threader, thread regular floss through the eye of the threader like you would a sewing needle and thread. Or, using threadable floss, insert the small or pointed end in between your teeth, pulling it through. Once in place between your teeth, you can floss the two teeth on either side of where you have inserted the floss, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire. Repeat between all teeth.
  • Using a proxabrush. This is a small brush that looks like a Christmas tree. Place the proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, brushing up and down. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side (either down from the top or up from the bottom).


young girl receiving dental care with braces

Dental Care with Other Braces

There are other types of braces besides metal braces. At our office, we also offer Invisalign, lingual braces and ceramic braces.

  • Ceramic braces – Care for ceramic braces is the same as for traditional metal braces. This is because the design of these braces are the exact same, except they are made out of white, ceramic material.
  • Lingual braces – These braces consist of brackets and wires that are placed on the tongue-side of your teeth (meaning behind the teeth). You will have to be more careful with brushing and flossing your teeth, as you won’t be able to see the brackets and wires as well. However, cleaning is very similar to how you would clean metal braces. With flossing, floss threaders will become your best friend, and you’ll want to be meticulous with this because food can get stuck more often with the braces being inside your mouth by your tongue.
  • Invisalign – This orthodontic appliance is completely different than the other options you have. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that you switch out every week. The benefit of these aligners is that you can easily remove them, and brush and floss your teeth like normal. No brackets, wires or lengthy flossing session. When you take the aligners out, rinse them to get the saliva off of them. Then soak them in a retainer/braces cleaner. An example is Retainer Brite or denture cleaner.


Do You Need to See a Dentist?

Did you know that an orthodontist must complete dental school. In order to practice orthodontics, they need to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree followed by 4 years of dental school. After that time, an orthodontist will continue 2-3 years of additional training and schooling to practice orthodontics. Therefore, an orthodontist knows what a dentist knows when it comes to your oral health. However, one point that we want to stress is that you need to continue seeing the dentist during your time with braces.


An orthodontist is skilled at treating issues with your oral health, however, an orthodontist is in charge of correcting bite and alignment. A dentist is the one that will need to correct problems with tooth decay and gum disease. Even though an orthodontist has received the same training, their profession is to not to fill cavities or do root canals unless their practice does both. During your time with braces, you must continue receiving dental care from a dentist. Braces raise your risk for tooth decay and gum disease


dentist cleaning a child's braces

Dental Care during Your Time with Braces

Your dental care during braces will depend on the type of braces you receive. Many patients choose traditional metal braces for straightening their teeth. No matter what orthodontic option you choose, it is particularly important to maintain great dental care through attention to proper oral hygiene. If you don’t know what that proper hygiene routine looks like, we can help you. As always, if you have any questions about braces care or maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to help you reach your goals and to keep your mouth healthy. For help caring for your braces, or if you are finding certain oral hygiene tasks difficult, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!



woman with braces

If you have a desire to get braces, we commend you for choosing to have a better smile! Studies show that a better, straighter smile can increase your confidence, success and professional life. However, there are some key ages that having braces are the best for patients. If you have bite and alignment issues, it’s best to receive child orthodontics. For straightening, the teenage years are the best for wearing having braces. However, braces can benefit patients at any age and may even be needed more than once in life. Find out what orthodontic treatment can do for you at any age!


Child Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. Having and examination early as a child will detect bite and alignment issues that can become severe later on in life. This early visit is something that you definitely want your child to receive, as bite and alignment issues can lead to problems with speech. If the baby teeth are misaligned, then the adult, permanent teeth will come in misaligned as well. This will eventually lead to cracked, chipped or broken teeth when chewing and biting, as different teeth will take on different amounts of pressure.


There are several different types of bite problems children can have. One is crossbite, where one or more teeth are turned either in towards the tongue or out towards the cheek. Overbite is when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much. Underbite is when the lower front teeth overlap the upper front teeth. In a healthy smile, the upper front teeth will rest on top of (and just a tiny bit forward) of the lower front teeth. If your child does have a bite or alignment problem, it’s easiest to fix while they are young, as the jaw is still growing and forming. Between 7 and 8 years old is the best time for having braces as a child to correct this problem.


girl with braces

Adult Orthodontics

Having braces as a teenager can vary depending on when all the permanent teeth come in. Once the permanent teeth have come in (somewhere around age 12), a child should be seen for a consultation. This is great time to straighten the teeth as the jaw is still growing. However, later in the teenage years and afterwards, the jaw will stop growing and straightening the teeth becomes harder. That is why the teenage years are the best to straighten a child’s teeth. Not only will having braces straighten crooked teeth, but they can also help your child have more confidence because they will produce a beautiful, straight smile after treatment. Straighter teeth are proven to boost confidence in children, teens and adults alike.


Adults benefit from receiving braces at any age. Even though the jaw has stopped forming, it’s never too late to get braces (except if you are in later years and losing your teeth). About 25% of people who have braces are adults. Getting a straighter teeth can boost your confidence and social life. Studies show that employers also hire someone with straight teeth over someone with crooked teeth. Other studies show that people find you more attractive, trustworthy, and datable if you have straight teeth.


Braces Options

Your options for braces will vary slightly depending on your age. In the past, traditional metal braces were your only option for straightening your teeth. This option is the one that has metal brackets attached to the center part of your teeth with a metal wire that goes through them on top and bottom. Metal braces aren’t your only option for treatment. For children, metal and ceramic braces are the best choices and the most economical. Ceramic braces mimic metal braces and have brackets and wires. However, instead of metal, these appliances are made from ceramic material, which matches the natural whiteness of your teeth. This is why they are sometimes known as “clear braces”.


For a more discreet look, lingual braces are also an option for adults. These are metal braces worn on the back of the teeth and custom-fitted to each tooth. However, the most discreet option for having braces is Invisalign. This is a series of transparent aligners that we custom-make for your mouth. You switch out the aligners every week and watch as your smile transforms. The best part about this option is that you can remove the aligners for eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, sports and more.


young man with braces

A Beautiful Smile at Any Age

No matter what option you choose, we know you will love the smile you’ll receive by having braces. Braces are not solely for children or teenagers, but also for adults. It doesn’t matter if you are 7 or 57; braces are great for patients at any age! Having braces will significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease as well as broken, cracked or chipped teeth. They can get you ahead in life by helping you feel and appear more confident and successful. To answer the question about the best ages for braces, we say the best time is now! To learn more about what to expect with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!



child with braces

You need to help your child learn how to properly take of their teeth through brushing and flossing. However, having clean teeth isn’t everything. Early orthodontics is needed for some children who have bite and alignment problems that could lead to problems later on in life. Early orthodontics seeks to correct bites to avoid problems with speech, biting, chewing, and more. If done correctly, early orthodontics can set a child on the path to a healthy mouth free of tooth decay and gum disease. Read on for our tips for success with early orthodontics and for protecting the health of small mouths!


Caring for the Baby Teeth

Your child’s teeth are delicate. Help keep them healthy and strong with the following tips:

  1. Rinse with water before brushing. Teach your child to rinse with water after eating. This will loosen food that may be caught in the braces. Follow rinsing with a thorough brushing. Teach your child how to properly brush their teeth and monitor them after they are able to use a toothbrush on their own. You will have to brush your child’s teeth until around age 3, or until they have the dexterity to brush and floss alone. Make sure they brush long enough, correctly, and several times a day. Brush an infant’s teeth with an infant toothbrush and increase the toothbrush size as they age. Children will need about a pea-size amount of toothpaste and infants will only need toothpaste equal to the size of a grain of rice.
  2. Floss once a day. Ensure your child is flossing each day or each night. Flossing helps loosen food debris and plaque at and under the gum line that can harden into tartar. Flossing also helps remove food debris from the small, hard-to-reach areas of the teeth that might be difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Flossing takes time to learn, so practice this skill frequently with your child.
  3. Use a fluoride rinse. Parents should always be the one to administer a fluoride rinse. Rinse with fluoride after brushing and before bed to help keep teeth strong and healthy. This treatment will help prevent tooth decay in your little one.
  4. Schedule dental visits every 6 months. After your child starts getting teeth, they should visit the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every 6 months. This will help keep your child’s mouth healthy during treatment.


child orthodontics

Early Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. Having an examination early-on will prevent the progression of orthodontic issues that can become severe later on in life. Not having your child’s bite checked can lead to problems with their teeth coming in correctly or staying upright. Teeth may form gaps between one another, making speech impediments common and making it more difficult to bite and chew food. Crooked teeth coupled with a misaligned bite also leads to chipped, broken or cracked teeth, as well as a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease.


With early orthodontics, you are making an investment in your child’s future that will set them up for success the rest of their life. Early orthodontics is different than simply receiving braces as an adult or teenager. We adhere braces to your child’s teeth and then during their treatment we can:

  • Observe the progress of incoming teeth
  • Monitor facial and jaw development
  • Guide incoming teeth into their ideal position
  • Detect hidden dental issues
  • Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
  • Decrease the risk for permanent tooth extractions


child orthodontics

Caring for Braces

At each appointment, we will adjust the wires so that a child’s bite will eventually line up correctly. These braces need to be cared for just as much as an adult’s or teenager’s braces. Cleaning the teeth with braces is much trickier, especially for young children, so their success is dependent upon how much parents help them care for their braces.


We suggest the following for having success with your child’s braces:

  • Brush after every meal. If food doesn’t have time to sit on the teeth long, then you can prevent stained teeth and reduce the risk for bacteria buildup. This keeps your child healthier.
  • Use threadable floss or a floss threader. Don’t let your child skip on their flossing or they could wind up with tooth decay when those braces come off.
  • Use a proxabrush or waterpik. A proxabrush is a “Christmas tree brush” that you place between two brackets and below the archwire. Brushing back and forth can give the teeth a better clean. For hard-to-reach places in the mouth, children can also use a waterpik. This is a device that shoots water to dislodge stuck food. Children get a better clean when these two tools are used.
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods. These types of foods lead to tooth decay or broken brackets. Avoid hard or chewy candies, chips, ice, apples, popcorn, nuts, corn on the cob, caramel and more.


Does Your Child Need Early Orthodontics?

If you haven’t gone to visit an orthodontist, schedule an appointment today! You can also ask your dentist if they see problems forming with your child’s bite and alignment. However, only an orthodontist can perform child orthodontics. Investing your time in correcting your child’s bite can set them up for success for the rest of their life. To schedule your child’s appointment for early orthodontics, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!



girl with crooked teeth that needs orthodontic care

Palatal expanders—usually worn by preteens—are commonly used to widen the jawbone and help treat certain orthodontic conditions. Expanders help prevent tooth extraction and can sometimes shorten the time needed for orthodontic treatment. Expanders may sound extreme, but arch expansion is one of the most common ways to eliminate crowding and crossbites in growing patients. While adapting to a palatal expander usually takes a day or two, it may take up to two weeks. Learn all about palatal expanders and how they can help your orthodontic care!


Infant Teeth Vs. Adult Teeth

A child’s mouth is not like an adult’s mouth. An infant will begin to get their teeth between 6-12 months. They will have the bottom two front teeth come in first, followed by the upper two front teeth and so on towards the back of the mouth. These teeth will be spaced out more than the adult teeth and there will only be 20 instead of 32 like an adult has. The spaces will allow growing room in your mouth for the permanent teeth to come in once your child is old enough to get them.


Between the ages of 6 and 13, your child’s baby teeth will begin to fall out in order to make way for the adult, permanent teeth. This is an exciting time, as your child is beginning to grow into a teenager, where they will have adult teeth. This childhood time of growing is the easiest time to fix bite and alignment problems.


palatal expander needed for a narrow arch

Child Orthodontics

We not only do orthodontic treatment for adults, but also for children. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. Having an examination early-on helps prevent the progression of orthodontic issues that can become severe as your child ages. We mostly look for proper bite and teeth alignment, but we also make sure that there is enough room in your child’s mouth for the adult teeth to come in properly.


If we find that your child’s bite is not aligned, we will fit them for braces. This will bring their bite back into proper alignment, thus reducing the risk of crooked and broken teeth, speech impediments, problems eating and chewing, and problems with the adult teeth. We refer to this early orthodontic intervention as “child orthodontics”. Some patients have a small mouth with a small palate. A small palate can cause many health problems, which is why we have a service for palatal expanders.


What Are Palatal Expanders?

Some children’s jaw’s aren’t big enough for their incoming adult teeth. Sometimes, removing a tooth is the best option for a patient to make room for their adult teeth. However, we like to try palatal expanders first to make extra room in your mouth without removing a tooth. The palate of the mouth is the roof of the mouth above the tongue. That’s where palatal expanders are used. These are appliances that stretch parts of your mouth where bone and cartilage lie so that more room grows in your mouth. Palatal expanders are generally used if there is enough bone and gum tissue around the teeth. If not, a tooth is removed instead. There is an upper and lower jaw palatal expander, which do the following:

  • Upper Jaw Palatal Expanders – An expander in the upper jaw of the mouth seeks to stretch the bone and cartilage of your palate. Expanding this area will grow and stretch a child’s arch so there is room for all the adult teeth. Making this extra room through natural stretching will prevent crowding of the teeth as well as cross bite problems in children. Palatal expanders in the upper jaw are actual appliances we stick in your mouth to stretch this area. We attach the expanders to your back molars with metal rings. In some patients, the attachments are removable. As a child’s mouth expands, you may notice a gap starting to form between the two front teeth. This is normal and their appliance is in for several weeks or months.
  • Lower Jaw Palatal Expanders – This type of expander will simply moves the teeth if they are tipped inward instead of straight up.


child with crooked teeth

Additional Appliances

There are also other devices we use in certain cases when it comes to orthodontic care. Some patients will need TADs to help shift their teeth into a straighter position. These are “Temporary Anchorage Devices” that are mini titanium screws. These are sometimes referred to as “mini-implants” or “micro-implants”. They are screws that provide a fixed object that is used to push, pull, lift or intrude teeth during the straightening process.


If you need tads, Dr. Hardy will carefully numb your gum tissue and jaw area before placing these tiny screws in your jawbone. With our local anesthesia, this procedure is completely painless and getting accustomed to your TADs only takes 1-2 days total. These anchorage mini screws will help your orthodontic treatment be faster.


A Straighter Smile for You

Dr. Hardy will evaluate your teeth to determine if palatal expanders, TADs and other appliances are needed for your teeth. Palatal expanders are needed before you receive braces and TADs are used during your time with braces. Palatal expanders is one step closer to a beautiful smile for our patients. If you want to know more or are ready to get braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!



orthodontic rubber bands

Wearing rubber bands is a critical part of your orthodontic treatment. We ask you to wear them 24 hours a day because they are that critical to the process of straightening your teeth. Knowing why your orthodontic rubber bands are important will help you wear them more. Consider the following reasons you need to wear your bands the next time you are tempted to put them aside.


Types of Braces

We offer several different types of braces at our office. Patients wear orthodontic rubber bands when they have traditional metal braces and ceramic braces. When you think of braces, you probably think of metal braces. These are the ones with square brackets on the front of each tooth and a wire that goes through the brackets on top and bottom. Metal braces are the most economical choice when choosing orthodontic care.


A close cousin to metal braces are clear, ceramic braces. These braces look and act like metal braces, except they are white. They have a white color to them because they are made out of ceramic material, which blends into the natural whiteness of your teeth. This is why they are known as “clear braces”. Ceramic material helps decrease demineralization that can happen when patients wear braces and don’t practice good oral hygiene habits. Both types of braces (metal and ceramic) use orthodontic rubber bands at times to move the teeth in a particular direction.


orthodontic rubber bands

Parts of Braces

Each part of your braces is important when it comes to straightening your teeth in the best way possible in the quickest way possible. Your treatment would be lacking if you were missing any part of your braces, including orthodontic rubber bands.

  • Bands – A band is a thin ring fitted to a back molar and cemented to the molar. This is usually made of stainless steel and secures other orthodontic attachments such as hooks, brackets or tubes.
  • Brackets – A bracket can be bonded to the tooth with cement or it can be attached to a band. Brackets are usually made of stainless steel or clear ceramic material. They guide and support the archwire into its proper placement.
  • Archwire – The archwire guides the shifting of the teeth during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic attachments (such as the brackets) hold these wires and are made from stainless steel. Some archwires are made of titanium instead of stainless steel.
  • Elastic Ties – Available in a variety of colors, elastic ties are small rubber bands that go over the brackets in order to hold the archwire in place.
  • Springs – We open or close a space between teeth using the force of a small spring. These springs go between brackets and around the archwire, and are made of stainless steel or titanium.
  • Orthodontic Rubber Bands


Orthodontic Rubber Bands

There are several different types of bands for braces. There are orthodontic rubber bands and there are ligatures. Ligatures are the small rubber bands that wrap around the brackets and hold the archwire in place. You will see these bands on children in a variety of colors. We switch out ligatures at every orthodontic appointment and children can mix and match the colors. They go around the brackets and protect the teeth and gums from sharp metal points and are changed when the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted. These orthodontic rubber bands (the ligatures) are very small, as the brackets are small.


The other type of orthodontic rubber bands adjust your bite and jaw position. These will be slightly bigger orthodontic rubber bands. On your brackets, you have small hooks where these rubber bands attach. Often, you will loop a rubber band around a hook on a bracket on the lower jaw and hook it around another bracket on the upper jaw. Some patients will need several orthodontic rubber bands at a time and others will only need one. These rubber bands will adjust the position of the jaw quicker between visits.


child orthodontics

Child Orthodontics

You will commonly see orthodontic rubber bands with child orthodontics. This is orthodontics for children under the age of 10 that need braces to correct bite and alignment issues. Orthodontic rubber bands are critical for making those changes possible. Your child should first see the orthodontist around age 7 or 8. This is a time where we can check that the bite lines up properly and that the adult teeth will come in correctly. If there is a bite or alignment problem, we give your child metal or clear braces to correct that problem. Your child will use orthodontic rubber bands throughout their treatment to provide sufficient force to bring the bite into a straight position.

Although small, orthodontic rubber bands are critical for moving the teeth. With orthodontic care, the teeth shift slowly over time. If you skip wearing these bands, your time with braces will be longer and you won’t be correcting bite and alignment problems. This is why we ask our patients to wear their orthodontic rubber bands 24 hours a day. Each part of your braces is important for creating that beautiful, straight smile you’ve always wanted. To learn more about orthodontic rubber bands or other parts of your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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