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The blog of Belmar Orthodontics gives Dr. T.C. Hardy an opportunity to keep current and prospective patients updated on the latest in orthodontic treatment. A graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Hardy has published and presented his research both nationally and internationally. Here, Dr. Hardy speaks about common questions and concerns regarding issues such as ceramic braces, treatments for teenagers and adults, Invisalign®, and other orthodontic treatments – as well as issues about general oral health. If you would like more information about any of the topics covered below, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Foods and Drinks that Harm Your Teeth

Posted on: February 19, 2018

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!

Dental Care during Braces

Posted on: February 12, 2018

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!

 

The Best Ages for Having Braces

Posted on: February 1, 2018

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!

 

Tips for Success with Early Orthodontics

Posted on: January 30, 2018

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!

 

What are Palatal Expanders?

Posted on: January 23, 2018

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!

5 Advantages of Invisalign Treatment

Posted on: January 9, 2018

Invisalign treatment

Are you thinking about straightening your teeth? A straighter smile through Invisalign treatment or other orthodontic options will set you on a path to more confidence and success. Lakewood Invisalign treatment not only works to improve your smile, but it also comes with amazing advantages over traditional braces. Not only is invisalign treatment virtually invisible on your teeth, but the aligners are easy to remove and work well with your lifestyle. Read on for more advantages of Invisalign treatment!

 

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen

You may have heard of Invisalign treatment before. This type of orthodontic treatment has been around for about 20 years, but has continually gained popularity—especially among adults and teenagers. We offer an alternative to traditional metal braces that can discreetly straighten your teeth while improving the functionality of your smile. Invisalign does all this without anyone knowing that you are even straightening your teeth!

 

Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that gently move your teeth into a straighter position. You meet with us for an Invisalign consultation and we are able to take digital images of your teeth. With these, we make a model of your mouth and plan out a trajectory of your straightening treatment. Based off of your mouth, we design transparent aligners that will be switched out every 1-2 weeks. You wear these aligners throughout the day and night to move your teeth into that beautiful straight smile you’ve always wanted. They can even correct bite and malocclusion problems.

 

Advantages of Invisalign

There are many advantages to Invisalign treatment, which is why our patients love this option!

  1. It’s designed to be virtually unnoticeable on your teeth. The aligners are clear and fit snug to your teeth, meaning no one will know you’re wearing them.
  2. The aligners can easily be removed during eating, drinking, flossing and brushing. You can’t do that with any other braces option, as all the other options are cemented to your teeth. Being able to remove the aligners makes it so you have freedom with your treatment, especially if you need to remove the appliance to play sports.
  3. Less office visits are typically needed compared to traditional braces. You only need to come into the office every 4-6 weeks at a time.
  4. Teeth are easier to clean for optimum oral health during treatment. You simply remove the aligners at night, clean them, and clean your teeth as you normally would. Flossing is quick and easy, as are brushing your teeth. Traditional braces take much longer to clean.
  5. Total time for optimal results is usually shorter than metal braces treatment. If you need only slight orthodontic correction, you won’t need Invisalign treatment for very long.

Invisalign treatment

How Do the Other Options Compare?

There are various types of orthodontic options out there besides Invisalign treatment. Traditional metal braces are the most common orthodontic appliances because they are the cheapest option for straightening your teeth. These appliances involve very visible metal brackets attached to the center of each tooth with a metal archwire that passes through the brackets on top and bottom. Lingual braces are also metal braces, but they are attached to the back of your teeth. Clear braces are a very close cousin to metal braces, as they are built the same, but out of ceramic material that is white like your teeth. All options will straighten your teeth very well, but Invisalign is the most invisible option you can have. This is why adults and teens alike love Invisalign treatment so much.

 

You can use Invisalign treatment for simple straightening cases or complex bite and malocclusion cases. It’s invisible and you can see how your teeth move at every stage of your treatment. You can’t do that as clearly with other types of braces, but must wait until the end of treatment to see your smile. Studies also suggest that teens who do Invisalign treatment (as compared to other orthodontic methods) are 2 times more likely to have a boost in their self esteem. Who wouldn’t want that?

 

Your Experience with Clear Aligners

We believe that smiles are meant to be shared. However, many people with braces shy away from smiling because of the metal in their mouth. This is common with traditional metal braces, especially with adults. However, a straighter smile can do wonders for your professional and social life. Studies show that a straighter, more beautiful smile can make you more attractive to others. An amazing smile not only boosts your confidence, but can make you more successful because you feel more confident. You’ll smile more, drawing others to you and you will even be happier.

 

Invisalign has conducted their own research about straighter smiles and what they do for you. After orthodontic treatment, a person with a straighter smile has a leg up on their competition when it comes to landing a job. Employers are more likely to employ someone with a straighter, healthier smile because it makes them appear healthier and successful. People perceive people with straighter teeth as 58% more likely to be wealthy, 45% more successful, 47% more likely to be healthy and 38% smarter. 73% of people are also more likely to trust someone with straight teeth over someone who has crooked teeth.

 

Your Invisalign Treatment

If you want a straighter smile, don’t wait to get it! With the clear, removable aligners that Invisalign uses, Dr. Hardy can help you gradually move your teeth into their proper position. He can also correct malocclusion (bites that don’t close correctly), without the discomfort and presence of metal braces. When you select Invisalign to correct your smile, no one else has to know! To learn more about this braces option, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

Orthodontic Treatment and Pain Management

Posted on: January 3, 2018

orthodontic pain

One of the most common questions orthodontists receive is “will it hurt?” The answer to this question varies between patients because every mouth is different, and everyone has different perceptions of pain or discomfort. Yes, braces make the teeth and tissues sore. The good news is that orthodontic patients respond well to simple pain management strategies. The discomfort associated with orthodontics is also not felt throughout the duration of treatment. Temporary discomfort occurs when braces are tightened, or when teeth undergo an increase in pressure to shift them into a new position. Learn more about pain management when you have occasional braces discomfort and how to make your experience more comfortable.

 

Receiving Braces

As you become accustomed to your new braces, your teeth will likely be tender and you may experience a dull ache for the first 2-4 days. Remember, you just had brackets cemented to each tooth, which is bound to cause discomfort. The reason for this discomfort isn’t completely understood. However, research has shown that when pressure is applied to the teeth, it changes your blood flow. You body also secretes certain proteins such as “substance p” and “prostaglandins”. This applied pressure of the brackets and archwire basically triggers the body’s inflammatory response—the same response you feel when you’ve injured a part of your body.

 

We recommend that our patients eat soft foods during this initial adjustment period. Often, patients need pain management methods after each time your braces are tightened as well. If needed, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol. Some of our patients also find a warm saltwater rinse helpful for pain management. Accessory appliances such as rubber bands, springs or headgear also cause teeth to become sore in some patients. When wearing these appliances as prescribed, your sensitivity will typically go away in 2-4 days or even sooner.

 

Does Your Braces Type Matter?

There are several different types of braces you can receive to straighten your teeth. All of the orthodontic treatment methods we have will most likely make your teeth a little bit sore. This is because your teeth are moving into a straighter position. In order for them to move, there will be discomfort, and that discomfort will be similar with the different braces options you choose. The braces options we offer for your orthodontic treatment include: traditional metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign.

 

We wish that we could say you will never have discomfort with your braces. However, you are moving the position of your teeth, which has been permanent up until the point where you chose to receive orthodontic treatment. Moving something permanent is bound to cause a little bit of discomfort, however, that discomfort generally last less than a day. Some patients don’t feel discomfort at all or don’t with every braces adjustment.

orthodontic pain

Orthodontic Treatment Options

  • Metal Braces – Metal braces are the most common type of braces. They are made out of metal brackets attached to the center of each tooth. A metal archwire connects these brackets that are cemented to the teeth. When you come in for your braces adjustment, we will tighten your wires. Your teeth shift constantly and the wires need to be adjusted accordingly. We will adjust your wires each time you come in. The adjustment is slight, but may cause you discomfort. This generally lasts for only the first 24 hours (if at all). We often use rubber bands to bring crooked teeth into place. You may feel discomfort with these rubber bands as well, but only for a similar short time period.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces are very similar to traditional metal braces, except that the materials are made out of ceramic. This helps decrease demineralization that generally happens to the teeth with metal braces. The structure of this type of orthodontic treatment is very similar, so patients can expect about the same level of discomfort (if any) as they would with metal braces. Pain management strategies are the same for these types of braces as well as for lingual braces.
  • Lingual Braces – These are metal braces attached to the back of each tooth. Traditional metal braces are attached to the front of the tooth, and lingual braces are attached to the back. This will create a slightly different experience when the wires are adjusted at an orthodontic visit. A patient may feel that their teeth are more sore on the back than the front. This is because the metal is bonded to the back of the teeth instead of the front. However, discomfort is minimal and will go away quickly.
  • Invisalign – Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that work to shift your teeth into place. Even though they don’t involve brackets, they are a type of retainer that shifts your teeth. You replace these aligners every 1-2 weeks, so you can expect some discomfort every time you change your aligners. However, if you replace your aligner at night, you can sleep through most of the adjustment period where patients typically experience discomfort.

 

Pain Management with Braces

Pain management is easy when it comes to braces. Millions of people receive braces each year and millions deal with slight discomfort, if any. It’s typical to be slightly sore after receiving braces or an adjustment. However, if you have a braces emergency, come into our office immediately. An emergency consists of: lip and cheek sores, loose bands and brackets, pokey archwires, loose or missing elastic tie, or accidents that caused trauma to your mouth. Many patients find that having their braces is a breeze, and the beautiful smile they receive at the end is quite worth the time it takes with braces. If you have more questions about pain management with your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

Know Your Orthodontic Options

Posted on: December 13, 2017

braces options

Orthodontic options for the world at large are diverse and exciting. Patients can choose from retainers to clear aligners to invisible, metal, ceramic and micro braces. Each orthodontic option has their advantages and disadvantages. Orthodontists have the specialized knowledge to council you on all your orthodontic options. Their recommendations are based on variables like your age, possible jaw imbalances, differences in the size of your teeth, your personal preferences and more. Orthodontists are trained to know what to use and when to use it, and will work with you to make the best decision.

How Orthodontics Can Benefit You

Many people know that it’s important to have a dentist. However, it’s also very important that you have an orthodontist as well. You can brush and floss your teeth several times a day, but still remain at risk for tooth decay. Teeth that are crooked are teeth that can trap food particles much easier than straight teeth. They are also harder to clean, meaning that that food can stay trapped and lead to tooth decay. If you invest in one of our many orthodontic options, we can straighten your teeth and reduce your risk for decay.

 

Straightening your teeth can also lead to higher self-esteem and confidence, as has been proven in many studies. Even children benefit from more confidence around peers and friends when they have straight teeth. At Belmar Orthodontics, we see children starting at age 7 and up through adulthood. We provide our patients many orthodontic options so that they can choose how they want to straighten their teeth and how they want to look while doing so. Our orthodontic options include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces and Invisalign treatment.

 

beautiful smile

Traditional Metal Braces

When you think of braces, you probably think of traditional metal braces. These are our most popular orthodontic options available to patients, and the option chosen most often. These braces consist of a metal bracket that is attached to the center of each tooth that holds a metal archwire in place. Metal braces have proven themselves as one of the best ways to straighten your teeth, and are the most economic options our patients have. It is also the option used to correct bite and alignment problems, especially in children.

 

They are the same size and shape as metal braces and work the same way. However, ceramic braces are made out of ceramic material. Ceramic material is naturally white and will blend in with the color of your teeth. This makes them very hard to notice as compared to traditional metal braces. Another benefit of ceramic braces is that the ceramic material decreases your chances of demineralization, which can happen to some patients who wear metal braces.

 

Patients of all ages can wear metal braces. Kids love our ceramic clear braces and the ability to dress them up with colorful, bright bands of their choosing. Adults love them because they stay more hidden than traditional metal braces do. However, if you are looking for the sturdiness of brackets but don’t want them to be noticeable, consider investing your time in lingual braces.

 

Lingual Braces

You may know these braces by the names “nano braces” or “micro braces”. These are simply other names to describe these “incognito” braces. They are metal braces just like you would find traditionally worn by millions. However, the metal is permanently attached to the back of the teeth with dental cement along with the archwire. These braces are invisible when you smile, allowing you to share your beautiful smile with confidence during your treatment. They work similarly to Invisalign transparent aligners. However, you won’t have aligners that you are always removing.

 

Lingual braces are not right for every patient. Patients who have a deep vertical overbite won’t be able to fit these braces behind their teeth. Adults who have normal-sized teeth are the best candidates. It’s that teeth size that makes it one of our orthodontic options not available to children.

 

orthodontic treatment

Invisalign

Many adults and teenagers are self-conscious about their appearance, especially when it comes to their smiles. Many view braces as something that children receive, not adults. However, you may be surprised to find that about 25% of people wearing braces are adults and only about 25% of braces wearers are actually children. That means that the majority of braces wearers are teens and adults. We know that adults need to look professional and exude confidence so that they can excel socially, professionally and emotionally. Luckily, we live in a day and age where you can straighten your teeth without others ever knowing.

 

One of the most inconspicuous ways you can straighten your teeth is through Invisalign treatment. This is a series of transparent aligners custom-made for you. You will switch out these aligners for new ones every 1-2 weeks so that your teeth slowly move into place. Invisalign treatment is the best out of all your orthodontic options that allows you the most freedom with your oral health. You can remove the aligners for eating, drinking, playing sports and for cleaning your teeth as you normally do. This option is not always available for children, but is available for teenagers and adults who are less likely to lose them.

 

Know Your Orthodontic Options

Orthodontics is a major investment in your oral health and in your life. Having a straighter smile can give you confidence and self esteem you didn’t previously have. Studies show that a better smile can help land you a job easier than those who have crooked teeth. As one of the most-noticed physical features you have, you want to invest your time in straightening your teeth. To find out more about our orthodontic options, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 and straighten your teeth today!

 

ceramic braces

With advances in orthodontics in recent years, more and more adults are seeking out treatment for oral conditions they’ve lived with since childhood. Adults now comprise 50% of orthodontic patients—a major jump from previous decades. However, a beautiful smile knows no age limit. Today’s orthodontic patient has options for braces that they never had before. Learn your options for orthodontics as an adult and why you shouldn’t put off treatment just because you are an adult.

 

Braces Help Your Oral Health

Most people know that braces are for straightening your smile into something beautiful. Not everyone knows that braces can help improve your oral health significantly. If your teeth are crooked, they become much harder to brush, as teeth are at angles that make it difficult to reach every surface of your tooth. Flossing is even harder with crooked teeth. If you don’t properly clean away plaque that coats your tooth enamel, then you will most likely find yourself with some form of tooth decay or signs of gum disease. Cleaning your teeth also becomes a daily struggle, as you must clear away plaque every single day to avoid oral health issues.

 

Teeth that are straighter are much easier to clean and they take less time. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day to remove plaque that erodes away your tooth enamel. Patients should also floss at least once a day. Those tasks are very easy to do when your teeth are straight and you can clean them in just a minute or two. Orthodontics is also great because an orthodontist has been to dental school and can direct you to a dentist if they notice oral health issues forming.

 

Invisalign

Correcting Bite and Alignment

Having proper bite and alignment is critical for speech. We treat children often for bite and alignment issues, as these are easily correctable when a person is young and the jaw is still forming. For child orthodontics, we take special care to ensure that the upper and lower jaws line up with one another properly. An incorrect alignment can put you at risk for broken teeth later on in life and can affect your ability to speak, eat, bite and chew correctly.

 

Although it is more difficult to do as an adult, we can perform orthodontic treatments that can correct bite and alignment issues. If you have had a speech impediment all your life due to bite or alignment issues, you can finally find a remedy through orthodontic straightening! For severe cases of bite and alignment issues as an adult, surgical orthodontics may be the best way to transform your smile.

 

Get Ahead Professionally

There are around 4.5 million Americans that receive orthodontic treatment via braces each year. 25% of those patients are adults. In fact, each year more and more adults find themselves with adult braces. Not only can orthodontic treatment help your oral health, but it can also help get you ahead professionally. Studies show that those who receive orthodontic treatment appear more confident, successful, trustworthy and attractive to their peers. People with straighter teeth are considered happier and healthier. They are also 38% more likely to be perceived as smart. Your teeth are one of the first facial features others notice. Make an impression that will wow others by straightening your teeth!

adult braces

Your Treatment Options

Adults get the best deal when it comes to orthodontics: they have every option available to them! Children and teenagers are limited in their orthodontic options, but adults can choose what orthodontic treatment they want. You can choose traditional metal braces to straighten your teeth, ceramic braces, lingual braces or Invisalign treatment. Ceramic braces are similar to traditional metal braces, except that they are made from naturally-white ceramic material. Even the archwire can be made white like the brackets to blend in with the whiteness of your teeth.

 

Lingual braces are one of our most popular adult braces options. These are essential metal braces that are custom-made to fit the back of each of your teeth. We take impressions of your teeth and create a metal shell for your tooth-back complete with brackets and an archwire. Others won’t realize you have adult braces because this hidden apparatus lies on the tongue-side of your teeth.

 

For an even more discrete straightening option (which is a favorite among adults), you can invest your time in Invisalign. This is a series of transparent aligners that we custom-make for your teeth. Using digital technology, we can map out the trajectory of your teeth as they straighten and make aligners you can wear and switch out every 1-2 weeks. Adults love this option because they have the freedom to remove the aligners as they please. You can remove them for eating, sports activities, and cleaning your teeth as you normally do. This is an option that provides amazing freedom while undergoing adult braces treatment.

 

Receive Your Adult Braces today!

There are many benefits for receiving adult braces. You can improve your oral health and decrease your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. You can boost your confidence, correct bite and alignment, and exude success with a straighter smile. If you would love to have the benefits associated with adult braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 and we’ll find a treatment plan that’s right for you!