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Close-up view of metal brackets and wires on teeth

It’s the year 2018 and a lot has changed in every field of medicine since the year 2000. Orthodontics is no exception, and there are always new advances in how your teeth are straightened and cared for. There are many braces options available to patients that were not available in years past. However, some services—such as Invisalign—have been around longer than you might think. Find out when different orthodontic practices and services were available to patients and how orthodontic treatment looked before the year 2000.

 

How Old Is Orthodontic Treatment?

Many people think that orthodontic treatment is fairly new. However, people have been straightening their teeth for many centuries. Their methods were simply much cruder than the braces and orthodontic appliances you know today. Many mummies from Ancient Egypt have been found wearing orthodontic appliances to straighten their teeth. Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Etruscans have also been found with various types of “braces” and other mouth appliances.

 

To give you an idea of how long orthodontic treatment has been around, writings by Hippocrates (a Greek physician) have been found about the subject from 400 b.c. Even back then people were concerned about crooked teeth and how they looked. However, there weren’t very good methods for straightening the teeth, so there weren’t many advances in orthodontics until just a few centuries and decades ago.

 

Woman smiling and holding her Invisalign aligners

Past Orthodontic Methods

People centuries ago did not have the best methods for straightening teeth. However, over the centuries, many people made advances or tried various methods such as the following:

  • Ancient Egyptians used metal parts and wires to try to straighten the teeth, as has been seen on mummies.
  • Celsus, a Roman writer from around 1 A.D., wrote about trying to straighten your teeth by pushing them into place.
  • Several years later, a Roman named Pliny recommended filing your teeth down if you wanted them a certain size.
  • Pierre Fauchard was born in 1728, and through his various methods and research in straightening teeth, is now considered the “Father of Dentistry”. One of the methods he tried on patients was forcefully pulling and moving the teeth into place with forceps. He would then tie those moved teeth to others so they could heal back into the mouth again.
  • Dental impressions began in the 17th century by Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann. Impressions make models of the teeth, and this method was so successful that impressions are still used today.
  • In the United States, barbers and medical doctors often pulled infected teeth and performed orthodontic treatment. The treatment varied from person to person and generally involved pulling teeth without numbing medicine.
  • J.S. Gunnell invented a form of headgear in 1822 that was successful in straightening the teeth. However, that headgear was large and fastened to the jaw outside the mouth and pushed on the teeth.
  • Before 1970, professionals in orthodontics wrapped wires around each tooth, anchoring them with a bracket on each tooth. This method required a lot of metal in the mouth.

 

Two young boys that both have braces on their teeth

Modern Braces and Appliances

Modern orthodontic treatment is very straightforward and easy. Orthodontics has advanced so much that people can even straighten their teeth without any visible signs that they are doing so. When you think of braces, you probably think of the metal brackets and wires that so many wear. Traditional metal braces consist of a metal bracket attached to each tooth with a metal wire going through the bracket. This orthodontic treatment method mimics past metal treatments that were done throughout the centuries. However, the brackets and wires take up minimal space in the mouth and gently straighten the teeth.

 

Ceramic braces are another modern option for patients that are most similar to metal braces. They involve the same look and design, except they are made from white, ceramic material. Even the archwire can be made white for a patient. Lingual braces also use a metal bracket and wire design, except that they are attached to the back of a patient’s teeth. These were created in 1976 and provided patients with a way to straighten their teeth without visible brackets on their teeth.

 

Invisalign is the most incognito way to straighten your teeth. Created in 1997, this orthodontic treatment consists of transparent aligners that are switched out each week. A patient will wear the aligners 20-22 hours a day with the freedom to remove them for eating, drinking, sports, playing instruments and more. In about the same time as traditional metal braces (sometimes less), patients can get straight teeth. This is an amazing option, as any teen or adult can straighten their teeth without others knowing.

 

Orthodontic Treatment Today

Many advances in dentistry happened around 1970 and later. This is when the design of metal braces was perfected to what we know it to be now. The future will surely hold many more advances in orthodontic treatment as the years go by. No matter what type of appliance is available or what you choose to have, we recommend straightening your teeth. Not only can it significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, but straighter teeth can raise your confidence and help you be more successful. To have your free braces consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Girl with braces having a dental exam

Did you know that an orthodontist and a dentist are not the same? Only a dentist can help with cavities, gum disease and more, while only an orthodontist can straighten your teeth in a certain way. A patient’s time with braces is a time when cavities happen very quickly, because the teeth are harder to clean. To prevent cavities during your time with braces, it is vital that you continue to see a dentist. If you do happen to get a cavity, find out what that cavity treatment will look like!

 

Proper Oral Hygiene

The American Dental Association recommends that every patient brush their teeth at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay. Brushing after every meal is even better for avoiding plaque buildup that leads to decay. Every patient should also floss their teeth at least once a day. Using fluoride toothpaste is best, because fluoride helps coat the teeth in a protective layer that prevents decay and keeps tooth enamel stronger. Patients can also benefit from mouthwash, as it can kill bacteria that would otherwise create plaque.

 

However, these recommendations are for people that don’t have braces. Every single person—children, teens and adults—should follow these recommendations. Infants should not use fluoride or mouthwash, but their child toothpastes generally have safe amounts of fluoride in them. If you are a patient that is receiving orthodontic care via braces, you have to go the extra mile with your oral hygiene. That means more frequent brushing, more flossing and watching what you eat.

 

Close-up view of braces that are being brushed with a toothbrush

Taking Care of Braces

Braces can be tricky to clean. However, their design provides the best and quickest way for you to straighten your teeth, which is why traditional metal braces have been around for so many decades. Metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces all have a brackets-and-wires design.

 

However, with braces, you must be meticulous with cleaning them or you will have food and plaque get stuck places. If you don’t unstick those substances, they will quickly erode your tooth enamel and cause decay around your appliances. This can happen on every tooth as well.

Follow these tips for cleaning your braces:

  • Brush after every single meal. This reduces staining and bacteria buildup. Use a regular soft-bristled brush and brush down from the top, then up from the bottom. Brush in all different directions to dislodge food.
  • Use a threadable floss or a floss threader. Both will require that you thread the floss through each space between your teeth. You will have to go under the wire to do this, and it will take slightly longer than normal flossing. This is one of the most important oral hygiene recommendations to follow!
  • Use helpful tools. A proxabrush is a small braces brush that can help unstick foods. It looks like a tiny Christmas Tree brush. A waterpik is also helpful. This is a tool that helps blast away food particles with a stream of water.

 

Tooth Decay with Braces

Many children and teens skip flossing or brushing here and there. Every time you skip on an oral hygiene habit, it increases your risk for tooth decay—or cavities—with braces. Your time with braces is one where you have to be super careful about your oral health. Most people picture their beautiful smile after getting their braces off, but they don’t think about cavities and tooth erosion. You can end up with tooth decay and parts of your teeth that have eroded due to your oral hygiene habits with braces.

 

Nobody wants to spend 18-24 months perfecting their teeth only to be disappointed in their smile. That’s why oral hygiene is so important. Tooth decay happens rapidly, and it can happen where the brackets are bonded to your teeth and in-between your teeth because it is harder to floss. Normally, you would simply visit the dentist and have your cavity removed and filled. However, cavity treatment is a bit different with braces.

 

Young boy with braces getting a cavity treatment at a dental office

 

Cavity Treatment with Braces

Cavity treatment is slightly harder if you have braces, but not impossible. Generally, decay happens between teeth cracks and around brackets and wires. If you have tooth decay that is in a tricky spot, we can remove your wire so that a dentist can provide you with a proper cavity treatment. You will have to have your appointments scheduled close together (dentist and orthodontist) so that you can get your cavity filled and your wire replaced.

 

In severe cases of tooth decay, we may have to remove a bracket from the tooth if it interferes with the dental work that needs to be done. We only do this in certain cases, and we replace the missing part as soon as possible so your teeth don’t move. Cavity treatment—with taking out the tooth decay and filling it—is the same with braces as it is without, only you have to work around orthodontic appliances if you have braces. Always let us know if you have tooth sensitivity, sharp (and even mild) pain when chewing and if you have sensitivity to hot or cold foods. This signals that there may be a more severe cavity.

 

Prevent Cavity Treatment

The goal of every patient—old and young—is to avoid tooth decay altogether. If you do, you’ll never have to worry about cavity treatment with braces. If your decay is small and in a tricky spot, you may have to wait until your braces are off to receive your cavity treatment. That might make your cavity grow larger, which is something you don’t want. Always see the dentist to check your mouth for tooth decay before you receive orthodontic treatment. This can avoid many problems in the future.

 

If you are prone to getting cavities or you have weak enamel, consider receiving Invisalign treatment instead of getting brackets and wires. This will help you avoid problems with cavities and needing to get cavity treatment. If you have tooth pain or want to learn more about cavity treatment with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Close-up view of 4 wisdom teeth that have been pulled

The wisdom teeth are back molars that, on average, come in between the ages of 17 and 21. Wisdom teeth can put pressure on the rest of your teeth and make them crooked if something isn’t done about them. You don’t want wisdom teeth to undo all the hard work you spent getting your teeth straight. Find out how wisdom teeth affect your oral health and what to do about them if you are planning on getting braces or if you just got them off!

 

Your Permanent Teeth

Every person gets two sets of teeth during their lifetime: the baby teeth and the permanent teeth. If you are reading this, then you have already likely lost all your baby teeth. That means you are left with your permanent, adult teeth, which you will have for the rest of your life. Well, at least most of them. The majority of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed to help keep their mouth healthier. You have several sets of large teeth in your mouth, which are called the molars. These are the bigger teeth towards the back of your mouth that help you chew up food.

 

Most people have all of their permanent teeth by their early teen years. However, there are up to 4 teeth that come into the mouth later on, usually between the ages of 17 and 21. These are the wisdom teeth, and no they are not teeth that provide you with your wisdom. These are a third set of molars that come in as you transition from a young adult to an adult. As a people, we don’t really use these third molars, but our ancestors in centuries past may have had much more use for them when it came to chewing meat.

 

However, one of the reasons they are called the “wisdom teeth” is because this transitioning stage from young adulthood to adulthood. This is generally a time when people rapidly mature and make many life changes, which helps increase their wisdom. Hence, the “wisdom teeth”.

 

X-rays of a person's mouth highlighting the wisdom teeth

What to Do About the Wisdom Teeth?

As mentioned, we don’t really use these third molars in our day. In fact, the wisdom teeth can actually cause your smile more harm than good. They come into your mouth at an angle, which can put pressure on your closest molars. The wisdom teeth can push those molars, causing all the teeth to start pushing into each other. This creates a crooked smile. The pressure and angles of these wisdom teeth coming in can weaken the second molars or crack them. When the wisdom teeth start coming into the mouth at an angle, they are called “impacted teeth”.

 

Generally, the wisdom teeth crowding or damaging your teeth isn’t painful. However, if you develop tooth decay because of the wisdom teeth, and it gets severe, then you will feel pain. Some patients will have the wisdom teeth sit right underneath a layer of gum tissue. That this layer can collect bacteria and food particles, which can actually lead to an infection in your mouth, which you don’t want. Other patients also have bone or other teeth blocking the wisdom teeth, so they will never come in very well and will really damage your smile. Hence, the reason why they are so often taken out. You don’t really need them and they generally cause mostly problems instead of benefits.

 

What Is Surgical Orthodontics?

Many people are born with 4 wisdom teeth. However, depending on genetics, some people may only have 1, 2 or 3 wisdom teeth or even none at all. It all depends on the genetics you have. Some will have them only in their top jaw or only in the bottom jaw. However, there are so many problems with these teeth that we recommend that they be removed before your smile is affected. Surgical orthodontics and surgical dental procedures can remove the wisdom teeth.

 

These procedures will either use topical anesthetics or will put a patient completely under to remove the wisdom teeth. We take full x-rays of both the top and lower jaw of your teeth so you can see the angle and trajectory of your incoming wisdom teeth and how they will affect your oral health. Generally, the gums are cut right above where the wisdom teeth lie. Then, they are removed with dental tools and the gum flaps are put back in place and closed up. In just a few weeks, you will feel good as new and you won’t have problems with your wisdom teeth. For such a simple procedure, it’s worth it to protect your smile and to keep it straight.

 

Young girl getting a wisdom teeth pulled by a dentist

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

Just like any other part of your body, it may take many steps and actions to keep those parts healthy. Your smile is something that takes work to maintain, but luckily it’s not hard work. All you have to do is brush your teeth at least twice a day as recommended by the American Dental Association. They also recommend flossing at least once (if not more), using mouthwash and fluoride products, and seeing your dental professional often.

These things don’t take much time and effort, but those small actions can save your smile and keep it healthy and straight throughout life. If you need tips for keeping your mouth healthy or you want to know more about what you should do with your wisdom teeth removal, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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Dental professional explaining dental care to a young girl

Even though most patients have braces for about 18-24 months, every patient’s care is different. Orthodontic treatment for one patient may be extensive, while another patient will have a very short and simple experience with braces. Find out how Dr. Hardy plans out your orthodontic treatment and how that treatment will look with different braces appliances.

 

Do You Need Braces?

Countless millions of people will require orthodontic treatment in order to fix bite and alignment problems. They also get braces to fix crooked teeth and to reduce problems with tooth decay and gum disease. Over 4 million Americans a year receive orthodontic treatment via braces. Many of those people are teens, but about 1/4th are children and about 1/4th are adults. Studies show that many people see braces as a luxury and even go without many needs and wants in order to have them. This is not only for aesthetic appeal, but also for health reasons.

 

Countless studies prove that orthodontic treatment can help make a person more confident. When your smile is beautiful, you will smile more. Smiling will help you feel happier and more confident, and you will actually start to appear that way to others. Studies also show that people with straighter smiles as viewed as healthier, wealthier, more attractive, and more trustworthy. If all of those qualities appeal to you, consider receiving orthodontic treatment. If you have oral health problems as well, you may actually need braces to help those problems stop.

 

Orthodontic Treatment for Children

We perform child orthodontics for many patients. Development in children is vitally important in the younger years before age 10. Children lose their baby teeth around ages 7 and 8. They immediately start to have their permanent, adult teeth come into the mouth. This is a time when we can examine a child’s bite and alignment to make sure the adult teeth will come in correctly.

 

Some children don’t have enough room in their mouth to have their adult teeth grow in or they grow in crooked. This can lead to significant problems with speech impediments. If the teeth are crooked, this can place uneven pressure all over the mouth, leading to broken, cracked and chipped permanent teeth. Crooked teeth also lead to pockets of plaque that toothbrushes and floss can’t get to. This leads to decay problems. Straightening the teeth with orthodontic treatment can not only fix bite and alignment issues, but can straighten the teeth in childhood, so they come in correctly as a child grows.

 

Orthodontic Treatment for Teens and Adults

For children, we take x-rays of their teeth to detect bite and alignment issues. We show our patients problem areas in their x-rays and suggest orthodontic appliances to best realign the bite and alignment of the jaws. For children, teens and adults, the teeth will be straightened to avoid serious dental problems. We offer 3 types of either metal or ceramic options to patients for their orthodontic treatment including metal braces, lingual braces and ceramic braces. All consist of a bracket-and-wire design, but all are different.

 

Depending on your preferences, you can choose to have either metal or ceramic brackets and wires on your upper and lower teeth. Or, you can choose to have metal lingual braces, which are metal braces placed on the backs of your teeth. Once you choose your orthodontic appliance, we take impression molds of your teeth. Those molds will harden and we will use them to plan out a trajectory of your orthodontic care. Based off of how crooked the teeth are and what appliance you choose, we will break down your orthodontic treatment into a series of months and will see you every 4-6 weeks to tighten wires on your teeth in order to move the teeth during that timeline. When you get your braces, you will also get all the information you need about your chosen braces appliance and what timeline you can expect for your straightening.

 

Man receiving transparent aligners in a dental office

Invisalign Treatment

In decades past, traditional metal braces were the only option given to patients. In modern times, many teens and adults are opting for more and more discreet straightening options. The most invisible method for receiving orthodontic treatment is through Invisalign transparent aligners.

 

Invisalign is a fairly modern orthodontic treatment where the teeth are straightened with transparent aligners instead of the traditional metal wires and brackets. Invisalign teen and Invisalign for adults are both comprised of custom-made aligners that a patient changes every week. We digitally design Invisalign aligners based off of digital impressions of a patient’s teeth. Using this initial impression, we can digitally map out a patient’s orthodontic treatment. This is beneficial to teens and adults alike. They can visually see how their teeth will change over the months and how the end result will be. Plus, no goopy putty required!

 

The hard Invisalign aligners efficiently place pressure on the teeth and slowly move them into place over time. Instead of tightening brackets and wires at orthodontic appointments, patients receive new aligners and have their teeth examined to see if they are on course with their treatment. This treatment option lasts about as long as traditional metal braces, but can be shorter for many patients.

 

Choosing Orthodontics That Are Right for You

If you are considering getting orthodontic treatment, don’t wait! A straighter smile has incredible benefits for children, teens and adults alike. Straighter smiles bring more confidence to people, and others will see that confidence. To learn about what orthodontic treatment option is right for you and to get started on your customized plan, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Child sitting in a chair talking to a good orthodontist

There are many orthodontists out there, but not all are created equal, and not all have the same training or experience as others. Just like dentists, only some are award-winning orthodontists (for good reason), while others are not. A good orthodontist needs to have specific training and credentials to work on your or your child. Their office needs to have specific equipment to perform the necessary work, and a good orthodontist will provide a wide range of services for their patients. Find out what a good orthodontist looks like and how to choose a good one from one you want to avoid!

 

Choosing to Receive Braces

If you have made the choice to get braces, we commend you! Braces is an amazing way to change your life for the better. Studies show that straightening your smile is directly related to increased confidence. The better a person’s smile looks, the more they smile and the more confident they appear to others as well. Studies by Invisalign and countless others have found that a straighter, more beautiful smile makes you appear happier, healthier, wealthier, and more attractive to others. 73% of people are also more likely to find you trustworthy.

 

Now that you have chosen to embark on this new journey of getting braces, you have to decide who you should get your orthodontic care from. All too often, dental practices have started offering orthodontics via transparent aligner systems or Invisalign. Even though we offer Invisalign at our center (and it is effective), the majority of dentists are not trained to perform orthodontics. It’s similar to a spa offering botox injections instead of a medical doctor that provides botox injections. They may have some training in oral health and dentistry, but dentistry is not the same as orthodontics.

 

You always want to choose a trained orthodontist to provide you orthodontic work, and not just a dentist (or even someone without a degree) to perform any work on your mouth. If you do, you take a serious health risk that your teeth will be messed up permanently or that you will have oral health complications. Always go to a certified and trained orthodontist for your orthodontic work.

 

Example of what an orthodontic office looks like

Training to Become a Good Orthodontist

Becoming a good orthodontist takes many hard years. A good orthodontist will receive an undergraduate degree and then will go on to be accepted into dental school. A good orthodontist will receive high marks in their dental school, and will have to be accepted into an orthodontic school afterwards. Some even go beyond their 10 years of base training to do fellowships and additional study. It takes an entire decade to learn how to straighten the teeth properly, even if orthodontic care may seem simple and straightforward.

 

Orthodontists deal with the health of a person’s mouth, which can affect their overall health, their confidence, and even if they are at risk for tooth decay, gum disease and more. Working with children in orthodontics can be even trickier, as many children require specific work to make space in the jaws for incoming teeth.

 

What Is Their Experience with Children?

The majority of good orthodontists work with children on a regular basis. However, there are some that have better training than others. You always want to look for a good orthodontist that has training to work with a child on their intellectual level. Children sometimes fear dental or orthodontic office or having work done on their mouth. We strive to provide a child-friendly atmosphere to our young patients to make them comfortable during their treatment.

 

A good orthodontist is one that can help your child feel at ease and confident about the smile they are getting. When choosing an orthodontist, observe how they act with your child. If they are warm and inviting, this can help children have a positive orthodontic experience for early orthodontic treatment and when they receive braces for straightening later on.

 

Close-up of a child being fitted for a retainer

What Qualities Do We Have?

If you want a good orthodontist, give Belmar Orthodontics a try! Dr. Hardy is an award-winning orthodontist that treats patients at two different locations. He has extensive training in dentistry and orthodontics and actually runs a pediatric dentistry and orthodontics office alongside his wife. He treats pediatric patients and older at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics and he treats patients of all ages at Belmar Orthodontics. Dr. Hardy offers every option available in orthodontics to his patients. That includes traditional metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, as well as retainer devices, TADs, and surgical orthodontics. All of these services required countless hours of training, testing and performance to become certified.

 

As we mentioned, you want an orthodontist who has won awards and who others are talking about. Dr. Hardy is board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. He is also an active member of the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontics. He received the Everett Shapiro Award in Orthodontics as well as the Dr. Harold Berk Endowed prize Fund for Excellence in Research. He is also a member of many dental organizations that you can find here. He is extensively trained to work not only with teens and adults, but also children—even very young ones. Dr. Hardy also works alongside his wife often, who also has extensive training and psychology experience with young children.

 

We can talk about Dr. Hardy’s qualifications all day long, but the best way to know what a good orthodontist looks like is to come into the office and see for yourself. To schedule your free consultation or to learn more, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Family of four smiling

Did you know that what you eat makes a major difference in how healthy your mouth is? What you eat can determine your likelihood for tooth decay and other oral health diseases. Did you know that your teeth also aren’t bones like many people think? They are made of an entirely different substance even though they are hard like bones. Find out oral health myths and facts that exist, how to care for your teeth properly, and some facts about orthodontic care!

 

Are Your Teeth Bones?

Many people think the teeth are bones, but they aren’t. They are hard like bone, but are actually harder. Teeth are the hardest substance in your body, as they are made up of about 96% mineral. Bones have a more sponge-like interior and aren’t solid mineral. However, your teeth and bones are made of similar materials such as calcium and phosphate, which is why they are both so hard.

 

Facts About Your Teeth

Infant and adult teeth are not the same:

  • Infants are not born with their teeth. Most start to get teeth between 3 and 9 months of age.
  • Children can receive their teeth up until age 3. Some will get all their teeth within a few months, whereas others get them slowly one-by-one.
  • Children only have 20 baby teeth compared to an adult’s 32.
  • As soon as a child gets a first tooth, it needs to be brushed at least twice a day. Infants also need to see the dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth.
  • Bite and alignment problems in children are best treated around ages 7 and 8. This is the recommended time for children to visit an orthodontist. If bite and alignment problems are present, child braces can correct the problems before they become severe later on.
  • Children get their teeth in a certain order: the bottom front 2 teeth, followed by the top 2 teeth. Then, the next tooth on either side on the bottom jaw, then the next two on either side on the top jaw, etc.
  • Children lose their teeth in the order that they came into the mouth. Losing the baby teeth makes way for the adult teeth to start coming in once a child has grown larger.
  • Adults will have 32 total teeth. Most will have the 4 wisdom teeth taken out, which drops that total number down to 28.

 

mother and child brushing their teeth together

Brushing and Flossing

Many people brush their teeth but don’t see the importance of flossing. Plaque doesn’t go away unless you physically remove it with brushing and flossing. Only brushing your teeth is like only cleaning the outside of a car and never the inside. The inside parts can fill up with gunk, just like the spaces between your teeth. Flossing is especially important during your time with braces. Not flossing could land you with cavities or cratered parts of your teeth when braces come off.

 

Avoiding the Dentist or Orthodontist

“The dentist/orthodontist is scary”. Although many think the dentist is scary, it’s not actually. Some people fear going to the dentist, even though the dentist is someone who is only interested in helping you be healthier. Going to the actual dental office can evoke negative feelings if you’ve had a bad experience. This is why sedation dentistry was created. This is a form of dentistry where you can receive sedation during your procedure to help make it a more positive experience. If you think the dentist (or the orthodontist) is scary, we can help it be less scary. That’s especially because an orthodontist won’t have needles and drills at your appointment. They either put your braces on or tighten them for you. Not so scary, right?

 

Myths About Orthodontic Care

There are many myths about orthodontic care that could hurt you if you’re not careful. You want to always seek out the best care for your teeth and receive that care from a trained professional.

  • Providers who offer orthodontic treatment are orthodontists: false. Now, more than ever, there are many dentists or oral health professionals that are starting to offer orthodontic treatment. Many offer this treatment in the form of Invisalign aligners. This is a great system for straightening the teeth, but only if you have the right training. Orthodontists are specifically trained to straighten your teeth correctly. Dentists are not unless they have specifically received schooling and training in orthodontics. Check credentials before you let someone touch your teeth.
  • Braces are too expensive: false. Braces aren’t the cheapest purchase in the world, but they can benefit you more than most other things you’ll ever invest in. Many insurance plans work with patients to make braces affordable, and we do the same. We want as many people as possible to receive orthodontic care. If you think they are too expensive, give our office a call and we will work with your budget. Any person can receive great orthodontic treatment if they work closely with an orthodontist.
  • Braces are only for children: false. Studies show that at least ¼ of people that wear braces (so about 1 million+ each year) are adults. Almost half of the people wearing braces are teens. So no, braces are not just for children. Adults also have several virtually-invisible options for orthodontic care such as transparent aligners and lingual braces. These options make braces a great choice for adults.

 

Family with one child at the dental office talking to a dental hygienist

Great Oral Health

No matter the myths or facts you’ve heard about your oral health, the bottom line is that it’s important! How well you take care of your teeth will determine how good your health is and how much confidence you have in yourself. Studies show that people with straighter, more beautiful smiles are happier, healthier and more confident. You can have that confidence to no matter if you are young or old. To learn more about braces and proper oral hygiene while having them, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 223-9016!

 

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person holding up a picture of a perfect smile

Many people take vitamins, exercise and eat right to maintain a healthy body. However, what about your teeth? They need tender loving care to stay healthy and strong as well. Most people either don’t realize how much care they need to give their teeth, or they forget because of busy schedules. However, building strong teeth for life only takes a few minutes of your day to achieve. Your teeth need daily brushing, flossing and other care to keep them free of damaging substances. You also need dental appointments, oral cancer screenings, a healthy diet and more to avoid tooth loss and oral health problems. Follow these simple guidelines to keep your smile healthy for life!

How Strong Are Teeth?

Many people simply assume that the teeth are bones, but they actually are not. Your bones and your teeth are some of the hardest tissues in your body and are made of calcium and phosphate. However, your teeth are actually harder. Bones have spongy insides, but teeth are 96% hard mineral. That’s why you can exert up to 200 pounds of pressure when you chew according to the ADA. However, no matter how strong teeth are, they can’t repair themselves when they become damaged.

 

What Weakens Teeth

Your teeth are some of the strongest parts of your body, but even the strongest materials can become weak over time. Generally, poor oral hygiene habits are what weaken your teeth the most. Genetics can give some patients weak enamel, but 99% of the time the problem is your hygiene. Tooth decay is so common among American children and adults, that the National Institutes of Health consider it to be the most “prevalent chronic disease” around. You get this disease by simply not brushing and flossing enough. Sugar plus saliva makes plaque, and that plaque sticks to your teeth and decays them. People who don’t brush or floss their teeth can expect to have problems with tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and more. Bottom line: brush your teeth and do it every day!

Woman showing off her beautiful smile

Building Strong Teeth Through Nutrition

Too often, the American diet consists of quick foods that generally are low in nutrition and high in sugar. If you look at the labels of most of these foods, you will find that ½ or more of many pre-packaged snacks are pure sugar. Even “healthy” or diet foods can be terrible for both your body and your teeth because of that sugar factor. Foods that have an unexpectedly high amount of sugar include:

  • Yogurt
  • Breads (rolls, pastries, doughnuts, sandwich bread, etc.)
  • Cereal (including oatmeal)
  • Drinks
  • Protein bars
  • Pancakes and similar breakfast items
  • Many dressings and sauces
  • Fruit snacks or dried fruit

A person can drink 3 candy bars’ worth of sugar in a single soda without realizing it. That’s why it’s always important to check labels and choose foods free of sugar or very low in sugar. Not only with that sugar rot your teeth, but it will cause you health problems.

 

Instead of sugary foods, choose nutritious foods such as:

  • Low or zero sugar yogurt. These are high in calcium.
  • Dairy products such as cheese and milk. Dairy contains high amounts of calcium, proteins and other minerals for building strong teeth.
  • Water. Sports drinks, sodas and juices are full of sugar.
  • Crunchy, high-fiber foods. Celery, carrots, and apples are some of these foods that can help scrape particles off your teeth as you eat them.
  • Leafy greens. These are full of so many vitamins that they can significantly help your oral health and overall wellness.

Also avoid tobacco use, as tobacco quickly damages teeth and causes oral cancer.

 

Photo of a tooth model and dental tools with a dentist in the background

Essential Oral Hygiene Habits

You need to eat well to have strong teeth, but you also need to be cleaning your teeth meticulously. Every person must brush and floss their teeth or they will get tooth decay. It’s inevitable without those basic oral hygiene habits. The American Dental Association recommends brushing the teeth at least twice a day to keep them free of plaque. If you brush your teeth after every meal and teach children to do the same, the risk of tooth decay goes down even more. Adding fluoride to your hygiene routine makes teeth stronger, as this mineral provides a shield for your tooth enamel against sugars, acids and other harmful substances. When choosing toothpastes, mouthwashes and more, look for products with fluoride in them.

Flossing is often overlooked by many people, but it too is essential to keeping your teeth strong, especially with braces. Food and drink pass through your teeth everyday. When you chew, food is lodged in cracks with every bite. You can clean your teeth front and back, but don’t forget about the spaces in between. Flossing dislodges food that would otherwise decay and weaken tooth enamel. If patients floss all the way up in their gum line on both sides of each individual tooth, they remove hidden plaque that causes gum problems. Using floss to scrape down the teeth as you go is a great way to remove anything that coats the tooth surface. If you don’t do anything else, make sure you and your children at least follow these basic oral hygiene habits. To learn about more oral hygiene habits you need (like visiting the dentist), call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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mother brushing her teeth with her daughter

If you teach a child good oral hygiene habits early on, odds are that they will have better oral hygiene habits when they are teens and adults. As soon as a toddler gets their first tooth, it’s essential to start brushing and flossing their teeth. Afterwards, you will need to teach them the basics of good oral hygiene practices, especially when it comes to wearing braces. Find out what those basics are and what you should be thinking about for your child’s oral health!

 

Teaching Good Oral Hygiene Early

Good oral hygiene habits are essential for a healthy mouth and especially during orthodontic care. Many children need early orthodontics, which is also known as “child orthodontics”. This is when bite and alignment issues are corrected around age 7 or 8 to avoid serious problems later on. However, we hope that every child has good oral hygiene habits established well before this visit. Otherwise, not only will a child be dealing with bite and alignment issues, but they will also be dealing with tooth decay.

 

As soon as your child gets their first tooth as a baby, you need to start brushing that tooth. Brush it morning and night with a rice-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Also make sure to clean your baby’s gums with a wet cloth after feedings. Once they start to grow, begin teaching them how to brush their teeth properly. You will have to help brush your child’s teeth for the first couple of years until they have the dexterity in their hands to do it themselves. Flossing will come later as more teeth come in.

 

two small boys brushing their teeth

Learning to Brush

Brushing the teeth is one of the most important habits a child can have. Brushing long enough is key for a healthy mouth. Make sure you get a toothbrush that fits the size of your child’s mouth. There are brushes for infants, toddlers, children, teens and adults. All will be different sizes and some children brushes will come in fun shapes and colors to help children brush.

 

Children can’t always tell how long they have been brushing. Having them brush their teeth for a duration of a song or brushing your teeth alongside them to make sure they brush long enough. When they are old enough to have braces, brushing is even more important than before to avoid tooth decay. Food that gets stuck in brackets can cause rapid decay. Make sure they brush longer and at different angles to dislodge food. When children are first learning, brush with them as many days as it takes when first learning to brush their teeth. Do the same when they learn to brush with braces.

 

Flossing 101

Children won’t have to floss until they are toddlers. The baby teeth are spaced out until they all come in. Kids will have a total of 20 baby teeth that will start to come closer together as a baby ages. Until a child has the dexterity to use floss like an adult, it’s smart to invest in flossers. These are secure, hand-held flossing tools that children can put in between their teeth to easily dislodge food. Ask us about mouthwash and fluoride products to see if they should be part of your child’s oral hygiene routine as well.

 

See a Dentist and Orthodontist

Starting from an early age, children need to start visiting the dentist. By age 7, they should see us for an orthodontic exam as well. Dental visits themselves are so important that most dental insurances cover those twice-a-year visits. These biannual visits generally consist of comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. At first, children may be nervous about visiting a dentist. Offices can be large with busy equipment that children aren’t familiar with. Dental tools can also be loud, which can make children nervous. However, these visits are nothing to worry about whether it is a dentist or orthodontist.

 

To help your child get used to being in an office, make sure you go to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist while they are young. Pediatric offices (such as our orthodontic one) has staff that is trained to work well with children. Dr. Hardyl has experience with children on a daily basis. He was trained in both dentistry and orthodontics and can spot the signs of dental issues early-on. His staff knows what kids worry about and they know how to explain dental and orthodontic terms so a child can understand. An exam sounds serious, but it’s really just Dr. Hardy looking inside your child’s mouth for any bite, alignment or dental problems. If a child hasn’t seen Dr. Hardy by age 7, make sure to get them in for an examination!

 

A hygienist teaching a small girl how to brush teeth correctly

Good Habits for Life

Start children out young when teaching them good oral hygiene. If you make a habit of brushing and flossing, children will see that example and will follow it. When you help them learn good oral hygiene habits as soon as they can talk and understand, they can start keeping their mouth clean themselves. There are many resources online to help teach children specifics of brushing, flossing, and for learning about dental hygiene. We help children every day with brushing, flossing, caring for braces and establishing good oral hygiene. Call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 with any and all questions you have about your child’s oral health. Let us help you as you and your child learn to establish good oral hygiene habits together!

 

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images of different colored retainers

Most patients spend 18-24 months with their orthodontic appliances. That’s about 78-104 weeks of your life with braces, and time that you don’t want to have wasted. The worst thing that can happen after getting your braces off is that your teeth go crooked once more. This can happen within the first month if you’re not careful. Luckily, dentists know this and we provide our patients with either removable retainers or permanent ones. See why retainers are so important for maintaining a straight smile for life and why you need one!

 

Finishing Up with Braces

If you have gotten to the point in your orthodontic treatment that you need a retainer, congratulations! It has taken you 18-24 months to get that beautiful, straight smile you’ve wanted. No matter if you had lingual, ceramic, or metal braces, or if you opted for Invisalign treatment, you will still need an orthodontic appliance to keep your teeth straight. This isn’t something you want to wait on either, as studies show that your teeth start shifting back to their crooked state within the first month of getting braces off.

 

When our patients end their time with braces, we immediately prep them for either a removable or a permanent retainer. There are pros and cons to each of these types of retainers, but the bottom line is, you need one! A retainer is exactly what it sounds like; it “retains” your straight smile. When you wear it (usually at night), your smile won’t shift or become crooked. We take an impression of your teeth as soon as your braces come off, which we then send to our lab. You will have a retainer custom-made to fit your newly-straightened teeth that will keep them in that position for decades to come.

 

girl about to put a retainer in her mouth

Retainers 101

You may need both a bottom retainer and a top one, or you might just need one. Some dentists only require a bottom retainer, as the bottom teeth tend to keep the top teeth in place. It all depends on the patient. As we mentioned, there are two types of retainers: removable and permanent.

  • Removable – These are the classic retainer pieces that most people think of when they think “retainer”. When we make impressions of your teeth, we go back and use those impressions to make retainer pieces for your top and bottom jaw. Once they are done, you will come into the office and try out your new retainers. Wear them every day during the night and clean them when you take them out in the morning. Only use cleaning products that are safe for mouth retainers and never use hot water when cleaning.
  • Permanent – This is also a “fixed” retainer because it is bonded to your teeth and set in place. Much like your braces (if you chose ceramic, lingual or traditional metal), we will bond metal parts to your teeth. However, these metal parts will be placed on the back of your teeth instead of the front. You can choose to have a metal bar that goes across the back teeth or you can choose small metal wires that will bond each individual tooth to the one next to it. If you choose the second, you will have the bottom 6 teeth connected, with bonding cement on each of the backs of those 6 teeth. However, the metal and bonding is small, so it won’t take up very much room in your mouth. You may not even notice it! Both the bar and series of small wires work to keep your bottom teeth in place, which will keep your top in place.

 

Which One Is Right for You?

Our patients can choose if they want to have a removable or permanent retainer. One might not be right for a patient depending on age and daily habits. If you often lose things (such as car keys or your phone), then you might want to choose a permanent retainer. These stay in place 100% of the time and because of that, you can never lose them. Plus, they retain your teeth around the clock, instead of only at night (like a removable retainer). Permanent retainers also aren’t visible like removable retainers are because they are attached behind your teeth.

 

A removable retainer will have visible bars that others will be able to see in your mouth when you show your teeth. This generally isn’t a problem, as most people wear theirs at night. If you already struggle with brushing and flossing your teeth, you might opt for a removable retainer, as flossing can be more difficult with a permanent retainer. However, both options are great for all our patients. You simply have to choose which one fits you best.

 

Photo of a woman smiling with straight, white teeth

Healthy Life, Healthy Mouth

We would love every single one of our patients to have a straight smile many decades from now. If you wear your retainer like you should, or continually renew your permanent ones, you can count on keeping that straight smile. However, you also want to keep your smile healthy and free of disease throughout all those decades. After all, there is no point in striving for a straight smile if you don’t have any teeth!

 

No matter if you are 9 or 90, you have to keep up on proper oral hygiene practices if you want to have a healthy, beautiful smile. Brush and floss your teeth every single day, making sure to brush multiple times a day. Eat nutritious foods and cut down on the sugar to reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Also, clean your retainer every day so that it stays strong and durable for many years. If you need a new retainer, or are interested in a permanent retainer option, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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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!

 

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