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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.

Close-up view of a child's braces

Did you know that about 1/4th of all people with braces are children? Millions of Americans receive orthodontic treatment for bite and alignment correction and for straightening the teeth. However, adults require treatment differently and for longer than a child would need, and child orthodontics have different goals for patients than adult orthodontics do. Both of these areas of orthodontics differ, but are also very similar in techniques used to create a beautiful smile.

 

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment is one of the easiest ways to help improve your health. Braces can help correct major oral health problems and can help avoid dental emergencies in the future. In children and adults, braces straighten the teeth so that they are aligned properly for speech, eating, biting and more. Straighter teeth are easier to clean and easier to manage, which leads to better health. Teeth must come in at specific places in the mouth for both children and adults. Child orthodontics focuses on that proper bite and tooth placement, and adult orthodontics seeks to improve the look of a smile.

 

Child Orthodontics

Did you know that children often wear braces, only to get them again as adolescents? Child orthodontics is a popular orthodontic option for at least 1/4th of braces wearers. Dentistry has been around enough centuries to know that the teeth, bite, alignment and growth happen in a specific way. Teeth must come in at the right spot and must be aligned in a specific manner in the jaw. As a child begins to get their baby teeth, some may be crooked. Depending on oral health conditions, and problems such as thumb-sucking, the shape of the teeth and bite can change.

 

Some children will have teeth that protrude outward, inward, or teeth that are in various directions. This leaves them open to the risk of broken or fractured teeth, tooth decay and problems with speech and development. Child orthodontics is the first phase of getting braces early. It focuses on getting the jaws lined up correctly and the teeth resting on each other in the right way. Once that happens, the baby teeth can fall out and the adult teeth can smoothly come into place. Child orthodontics will correct the major issues a child’s mouth has when they are around 7 or 8 years old. Starting at 11 and later, braces will seek to make the teeth look more attractive.

 

Young girl patient having her teeth and braces examined by an orthodontist

Adult Orthodontics

Most people think that teens make up the majority of patients with braces. However, adult orthodontics is very popular as well, with about 1/4th of all orthodontic patients being adults. There are more adults wearing orthodontic appliances than you realize, especially because of the “invisible options” they have that children don’t have.

 

Adults have a harder time with straightening their teeth than children do. By adulthood, the mouth and jaws have stopped growing, making them less moldable than a child’s jaws. The treatment that would have been easy for a child may take twice as long for an adult, or may require surgical orthodontics to achieve a straight smile, or proper bite and alignment. However, adults get the benefits of Invisalign treatment and lingual braces, which most children can’t have.

 

Invisalign is an “invisible” straightening option for adults and teens that uses a strong, clear aligner to straighten the teeth. Digital scanning creates customized aligners that a patient changes out ever 1-2 weeks, which slowly shift the teeth into their proper place. This invisible option allows adults and teens to brush, floss, eat and play sports without brackets and wires in the way. Lingual braces is another “invisible” straightening option. It has metal brackets and wires, except they’re placed on the back of the teeth. Only an adult can use these, as the baby teeth are not large enough for lingual braces to fit. Both adult orthodontics and child orthodontics correct bite, alignment and tooth issues, but the options available to the two age groups differ slightly.

 

Young boy with braces and headgear to correct bite and alignment problems

Why Choose Either Option?

When considering orthodontic treatment, there are various aspects you have to think about that include cost, health changes, aesthetic appeal and more. Many people think that braces are very expensive, when they are actually quite affordable. Your family may even save more money over time because of the oral health problems that are avoided by proper orthodontic treatment. A major reason so many people have orthodontic treatment is that they want to improve their smiles. Not only does a straight smile look beautiful, but it helps patients feel more confident. Studies show that child orthodontics helps children feel more confident in school and they do better academically.

 

Braces can correct speech problems caused by bite and alignment issues. They can straighten the teeth, making them easier to clean, and thus reducing problems with tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. People socially perceive patients in a more positive way if their smiles are straighter and healthier. No matter if you choose orthodontic treatment for aesthetic appeal or for health reasons, the benefits are worth the time, effort and money you put into your treatment.

 

Conservative Treatment

Dr. Hardy practices a conservative approach to orthodontic treatment. While it is important for children to have an early orthodontic assessment to look for serious dental concerns (around age 7), the majority of children will not require orthodontic treatment before age 11. Your child might need child orthodontics or they may only need orthodontic treatment as a teen. Some people are naturally born with straight teeth that don’t pose them a problem, or their teeth start to shift later on in life. Whether your child needs child orthodontics or you need adult orthodontics, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!

 

What Is Interceptive Orthodontics?

Posted on: June 5, 2018

Young boy with interceptive orthodontics (braces) that is smiling at the camera

Millions of people each year receive interceptive orthodontics to correct bite and alignment issues. You may know these braces by the name of “child orthodontics” or “Phase 1” orthodontics. You might even know some children who have braces. Many children need orthodontic help to ensure that their bite lines up correctly for a healthy mouth. There are also other reasons a child might need interceptive orthodontics, such as receiving them to help make room in the mouth for the adult teeth to come in. Find out what interceptive orthodontics entail and if your child needs them!

 

Choosing to Get Braces

Many teens wear braces each year to straighten their teeth once the permanent, adult teeth have come in. Most permanent teeth have come into the mouth by age 12 or 13. However, braces aren’t only for teens who are wanting a straighter smile. In fact, about 1/4th of all people with braces are children and about the same amount are adults. Many more people than you would think wear braces, especially when “invisible” options like Invisalign and lingual braces exist.

 

When you choose to get braces, you are making a smart decision for yourself and for your oral health. Many people think that braces are only meant to help the teeth become straighter. Although that is one of the main reasons, there are many benefits of braces. These appliances are used to help fix crooked teeth, but also bites and mouth alignments that aren’t in proper position. There are orthodontic appliances when a patient only needs a few months to change a dental problem and there are even surgical options for orthodontics. But, why so many options when it comes to orthodontics?

 

Young patient receiving an orthodontic appliance to help fix bite and alignment problems

Benefits of Braces

We love to allow our patients the freedom to correct their smiles how they want, when they want. You are never too old to get braces. Children get them all the time to fix bite problems, only to get them again later on for straightening. Adults wear them, especially if they are wanting to advance their careers. Studies show that an employer is much more likely to take a potential employee if they have a straighter smile.

 

Orthodontic treatment is also proven to make people more confident in their smiles and in themselves. When patients get straighter teeth and fix dental issues, they smile more, talk more and exude more confidence. This can change someone’s entire life, especially a child’s.

 

What Are Interceptive Orthodontics?

Interceptive orthodontics is another name for “child orthodontics”. If you are surprised that children get braces, don’t be! The American Association of Orthodontics actually recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. This is when many of the baby teeth are falling out, and a perfect time to see how permanent, adult teeth are coming in. An orthodontist can use the first orthodontic appointment to check your child for bite and alignment problems before they become severe as a child ages into a teen and then an adult.

 

When certain orthodontic problems like crossbite or underbite, are left untreated, these conditions can become more severe, complicating issues. Interceptive orthodontics aims to check children while they are young for problems that will become severe in the future. They “intercept” a patient before that point, and fix the problem much easier than if a child’s mouth had grown more. Interceptive orthodontics checks children at an early age to:

  • 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

 

Close-up view of a young patient's mouth that has braces

Considering Interceptive Orthodontics?

Do you want to give your child the best chance possible to have a healthy mouth? Make sure you involve an orthodontist in their early-childhood development! Interceptive orthodontics is not needed for every child, but for the ones who need it, it can change their life. If a child has enough crooked teeth, it can create uneven pressure on those teeth when they bite and chew. This can lead to broken, fractured, chipped and cracked teeth. The teeth are also much harder to clean when they are crooked, leading to tooth decay and gum problems in young children.

 

If a child’s bite is not even or their alignment is off, it can also lead to broken teeth. When the baby teeth aren’t aligned correctly, the adult teeth won’t come in right. Children can have uneven bites form from thumb-sucking and similar habits that curve the teeth outward. This can create problems biting, chewing, talking, and more. Speech impediments can form and become worse over time if the problem isn’t corrected. No parent wants speech problems, tooth decay or dental injuries to happen to their child, and they never have to. Call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your child’s comprehensive orthodontic exam and see if they need interceptive orthodontics today!

Dental Emergencies with Braces

Posted on: May 23, 2018

Orthodontic patient with an orthodontist

Getting braces on your teeth is an exciting time of life, as you are working towards a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, with hard work, there are often roadblocks along the way. Many patients find themselves with orthodontic or dental emergencies during their time with braces. Bands and brackets can become loose, wires can get pokey and problems with cavities or gum disease can happen. Find out what to do when orthodontic or dental emergencies like these strike and how to prevent them from happening in the first place!

 

What Dental Emergencies Are Common?

There are countless dental emergencies each year. Millions of people have them, and most don’t know what to do when they happen. Studies show that many people actually go to the emergency room for their dental emergencies instead of a dentist. However, those patients often get sent to their dentist or orthodontist anyways because they are the professionals that help with dental emergencies. If you ever have a dental emergency, call your dental or orthodontic office immediately to know what to do. If the problem is severe enough (such as a broken jaw), then go to the emergency room.

 

Dental emergencies that are common in patients include:

  • Severe toothaches
  • Cut or injury to the cheek, lip, tongue or gums
  • A broken tooth
  • A cracked tooth or tooth fracture
  • Knocked-out permanent tooth
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop after a tooth falls out

If any of these dental emergencies happen to you, you want to promptly seek dental help. Some dental emergencies will have to be fixed by a dentist, while others will need the attention of an orthodontist. Luckily, orthodontic emergencies aren’t as severe as dental emergencies in most cases.

 

Young girl receiving dental care with braces

Dental Emergencies with Braces

You have to discern between dental emergencies and orthodontic emergencies. Problems with broken teeth are generally ones that a dentist will have to deal with. However, if you wear braces, then you will want to call both your dentist and your orthodontist. Some problems may need to be fixed without the bracket or wires on the teeth. For example, if a patient is having severe pain from a toothache, the problem could be tooth decay inside the tooth. A dentist can definitely fix the decay and fill the cavity, but the braces archwire or bracket might be in the way. In this situation, your orthodontist can take off your archwire—and even the bracket in certain instances—to fix the cavity.

 

If you break, crack, or fracture a tooth, you will need the orthodontist to remove your orthodontic appliance pieces in the area to receive your crown or dental implant. This is not something that happens often unless there is severe decay in a tooth that was fixed before braces. Most patients have a dental appointment before they get braces on their teeth to ensure there is no internal decay that will cause dental emergencies in the near future.

 

Types of Orthodontic Emergencies

Some orthodontic emergencies that can happen during your 18-24 months include:

  • Tooth Tenderness: The first 2-4 days with braces can leave you with tender teeth. Use over-the-counter pain relievers to help with this pain and warm saltwater rinses, if needed. At every braces adjustment, you may notice soreness for the first 2-4 days that will fade. However, if your tooth tenderness doesn’t go away, seek orthodontic help, especially if the soreness turns into severe pain.
  • Lip and Cheek Sores: Your mouth will have to adjust to braces. You will notice your braces a lot at first, but over time, the feel of them will become normal. The first few weeks is a common time for patients to get lip and cheek sores from brackets and wires. If you notice sores starting to form, use your orthodontic wax and place it on the area of your bracket or wire that is causing irritation. If that irritation persists, call us to adjust the orthodontic appliance.
  • Pokey Wires: Wires can come loose from sticky foods or from picking at your braces. When a wire protrudes, it can cut your gums and the insides of your cheeks, causing them to bleed. At home, try using a Q-tip or clean pencil eraser to push the wire in towards the teeth. This should stop the problem, but also call our office to have the wire adjusted or cut so it doesn’t cut up the inside of your mouth.
  • Loose Bands/Brackets: Brackets and bands can break, especially if you’re eating hard or sticky foods that are prohibited. In general, a broken bracket is not a dental emergency. However, if it causes you significant discomfort, call our office to have it fixed right away. This is especially true if the bracket or band hangs down or interferes with eating.

 

Young boy receiving dental care with braces

Seeking Help Promptly

Dental emergencies and orthodontic emergencies are never fun. However, there is a big difference between the two. Dental emergencies generally affect your overall oral health and can cause you to actually lose teeth if you don’t seek help. Anytime there is a broken, cracked, fractured, or knocked-out tooth, you want to seek prompt medical help. If you don’t, a dental implant might be your only option for restoring your smile.

 

Luckily, orthodontic emergencies aren’t quite as serious as dental emergencies. They can cause problems (even sores and cuts) with your teeth and gums, but you generally won’t lose a tooth in those situations. Your time with braces should be a pleasant, comfortable one. If your braces bother you or are painful, always let us know. For questions about orthodontic and dental emergencies, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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!

 

Cavity Treatment During Braces

Posted on: May 8, 2018

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!

 

What To Do About Your Wisdom Teeth

Posted on: May 2, 2018

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!

How We Plan Out Your Orthodontic Treatment

Posted on: April 27, 2018

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!

 

Choosing a Good Orthodontist

Posted on: April 18, 2018

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!

 

Oral Health Facts for Children and Adults

Posted on: April 13, 2018

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!

 

Building Strong Teeth for Life

Posted on: April 6, 2018

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!