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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.

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!

Straightening Your Teeth Incognito-Style

Posted on: December 4, 2017

straightening your teeth

Unlike traditional braces, Incognito or lingual braces are placed on the back of your teeth where they cannot be seen easily. This hidden orthodontics method is growing in popularity among those concerned about their appearance with braces. Incognito braces are completely customized to fit your mouth. If you are a working professional, a teen concerned about your appearance, a musician who plays a wind instrument, an athlete who engages in contact sports, or anyone who needs to keep the tooth-straightening behind the scenes, Incognito braces may be for you! What do Miley Cyrus, Duchess Kate Middleton, and Myleene Klass have in common? They all have benefited from the use of lingual braces! You can too!

 

Braces Are the Best Way to Straighten Teeth

There are many changes you can make to your appearance to help you get a leg up in your social and professional life. One of the best ways to do that is through straightening your smile. The only problem? You have to have your teeth professionally straightened so that they are done right. That’s why orthodontists exist and that’s what we specialize in—straightening your teeth.

 

Braces can not only improve your smile, but they can improve your confidence as well. Countless studies show that those who straighten their teeth end up having higher self esteem and confidence. Some studies—such as one done by Invisalign—showed that those with straighter teeth were perceived as more confident, successful, attractive and even trustworthy. Not bad for simply changing your smile, right?

 

Braces also help keep your teeth healthier. How? Crooked teeth provide plaque (and the food that makes plaque) plenty of places to get stuck. Food that becomes stuck is food that will eventually start wearing away your tooth enamel. Food particles become stuck much easier with crooked teeth than they do with straight teeth. Crooked teeth are harder to clean, are more awkward in your mouth, and they can even break easier. When you bite and chew, you exert pressure on your teeth to break up food into smaller pieces. That pressure can cause crooked teeth to crack or break, as some teeth with receive more pressure than other teeth. Straightening your teeth through braces is the best way to get your teeth healthier and prevent broken teeth.

 

For many adults, the thought of wearing braces for months makes them not want to straighten their teeth. That’s despite all the benefits straightening your teeth can give you. Many adults think of traditional metal braces and don’t want others to see a mouth full of metal. Millions have felt this way, so technology changed to allow adults (and even teens) the option of straightening your smile in secret.

lingual braces

Incognito Lingual Braces

One of the best ways we straighten your teeth in secret is through Incognito lingual braces. If you’ve never heard of these, then you’re in for a treat! Traditional metal braces straighten the teeth amazingly well. That’s why these braces are referred to as “traditional” metal braces. However, some patients don’t love the thought of having a “metal mouth”. The remedy for that? Braces that lie behind the teeth instead of front and center on the teeth. We call these “incognito” braces because they are a hidden metal apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth. It’s the perfect solution for having the strength and power of metal braces without compromising your appearance.

 

Millions of people wear braces each year. At least 1/4th of braces wearers are children and about the same amount are adults. Adults need options that allow them to keep their smile white and bright while also straightening it. We custom-make metal brackets for the back of each of your teeth after taking impressions of your mouth. We fit the metal to your teeth and will include brackets and an archwire just like traditional braces. Except, the entire appliance will stay hidden. Others will notice your smile improving over time, but they won’t know that it’s changing through metal braces. Straightening your teeth is easy through Incognito-style braces.

 

You Have Options

If you’re not completely sold on the idea of Incognito braces, you can call our office to learn more or even come in to the office to see these type of braces for yourself. However, we do have other options you can utilize for straightening your teeth. If you are looking for a similar discrete option comparable to lingual braces, you can investigate Invisalign.

 

Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that transform your smile into something beautiful. You simply receive custom aligners every 1-2 weeks that slowly shape your smile into the straight pearly whites you’ve always wanted. You can remove the aligners for eating and drinking, sports activities, and for cleaning your teeth. It’s a simple, no-hassle option for straightening your teeth.

 

Clear, ceramic braces are also an option for those who like the idea of braces but also want them to be more hidden than metal on white teeth. Our ceramic materials mimic traditional metal braces (which we also offer), but these materials are naturally white, so they will blend in with your teeth. We can even make the archwire white as well. When it comes to straightening your teeth, you have options. However, our patients love the sturdiness of our Incognito lingual braces mixed with the hidden nature of this type of braces. We think you’ll love this option as well!

incognito braces

Improve Your Smile

If you could boost your confidence and self esteem, would you do it? You can through incognito braces! The best part about these amazing appliances is that no one ever has to know you are wearing braces. However, they will notice how awesome your smile looks. Others may even follow your example and straighten their own teeth. If you want to improve your smile today, don’t hesitate to take action! Call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016 to learn more about Incognito lingual braces!

 

Retaining a Straight Smile for Life

Posted on: November 28, 2017

straight smile

A straight smile is something that millions of people strive for. In fact, more than 4.5 million Americans wear braces each year to achieve that straighter smile. Not only are there aesthetic benefits of a more beautiful smile, but a straighter smile also helps you to avoid oral health issues. For children, we can correct bite and alignment problems that make biting, chewing, speaking, and breathing difficult. For adults, we can correct these issues as well as make the permanent teeth straight. This can be done through traditional metal braces, lingual braces, clear ceramic braces, and Invisalign transparent aligners. Once you have a straight smile though, you must take care of your oral health to keep that smile straight. We can help you to know the benefits of a straighter smile and how you can keep it straight throughout life!

 

Straightening Your Teeth

In ages past, straightening your teeth was much more difficult than it is today. Instead of only offering traditional metal braces, we give our patients several orthodontic options to get that straight smile they’ve always wanted. Traditional metal braces are still the economical and most popular option amongst patients. This is the tried and true method of achieving a straight smile, and is what most people think of when they picture braces. This design consists of metal brackets attached to the front and center of every tooth, where an archwire will go through each bracket. At each appointment, this wire is adjusted and the teeth get straighter and straighter.

 

Your Options

We also offer lingual braces, ceramic braces and invisalign treatment:

  • Lingual Braces – Think of these braces as metal brackets attached to the inside of your teeth. They are generally more gold in appearance and instead of a bracket attached to each tooth, there is a custom-made metal piece attached to the inside of each tooth. There is a bracket and a wire just like with traditional metal braces, but the entire appliance is on the tongue-side of your teeth. This option is great for teens and adults who want a straight smile without people seeing their appliance.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – Made of ceramic material, these brackets and archwire actually help to decrease demineralization that can happen with braces. Ceramic material is naturally white, so we can blend your brackets (and even the archwire) into the color of your teeth. This is a great option to have the functionality of metal braces without them being very noticeable.
  • Invisalign – This is a series of transparent aligners that have become increasingly popular over the last decade. We custom-make transparent aligners that you change out every 1-2 weeks. These aligners slowly move the teeth into a straight smile over time and take about the same amount of time to straighten as metal braces do. Teens and adults alike love Invisalign because you can straighten your teeth invisibly. You also have the freedom to remove the aligners to clean your teeth, eat, drink and play sports.

 

Retaining a Straight Smile

Over 4 million people wear braces each year. Those patients will typically spend between 18 and 24 months achieving a straight smile. However, all is not done once those braces come off. We provide every patient with a retainer after their braces come off. You need to commit to wearing your retainer to maintain a straight smile throughout life. We custom-make a retainer after taking an impression of your teeth once your braces come off. Wear this retainer around 16 hours each day. That means throughout the night and for part of the day. Remove them when you eat and make sure to clean your retainer thoroughly with warm water and hand soap only.

 

If you have a removable retainer, make sure to keep it in its secure case so that it is not damaged or warped in any way. If you don’t want to have to worry about wearing your retainer enough or if you lose your retainer easily, you should consider getting a permanent retainer. These types of retainers consist of metal wires that are attached to the inside of the front teeth. They can be attached on both the bottom and top teeth or just the bottom teeth. These types of retainers last for years and can maintain your straight smile for many years to come. Wearing your retainer is highly important for keeping a straight smile. Without it, your teeth can begin shifting within the first month of your braces coming off.

 

Keep Your Teeth Strong

A major part of keeping your teeth healthy and strong (if not the most important part) is to keep them healthy through proper oral hygiene. Many patients know that they should brush and floss their teeth to keep them healthy. Many patients also think that losing teeth with age is inevitable, but it’s not. There are many people that keep their teeth for their entire life because they take such good care of those pearly whites. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day. This is a minimum recommendation, as brushing your teeth after every meal will reduce your chances for tooth decay and gum disease even more.

 

A straight, healthy smile can increase your confidence and self esteem. It can also make you appear more confident and successful, and can help you do better in school and land a better job. There are many incredible benefits that stem from a straight smile. We encourage you to invest in orthodontic care and to retain your straight smile after your braces come off. If you want additional tips for keeping your smile healthy and straight, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

How to Choose a Good Orthodontist

Posted on: November 20, 2017

good orthodontist

The American Dental Association recommends that your child have their first orthodontic visit between ages 7 and 8 to correct bite and alignment issues. Teenagers, as well, need to visit the orthodontist to correct the alignment of their permanent teeth. How do you know what orthodontist to go to? Choosing an orthodontist is a big decision, as it will determine the health of your teeth and the quality of care you receive. Orthodontists are different than regular dentists and must go through several years more of quality training. You want to look for an orthodontist that has this training. Finding one that can work with children as well as adults is also important. Learn about orthodontists, what constitutes a good one, and what factors you must consider when choosing one!

 

Choosing a Good Orthodontist

When you choose an orthodontist, you are choosing a person that has had extensive training and years of schooling to take care of your teeth. An orthodontist must complete 4 years of undergraduate training and then be accepted to a 4-year dental school. They then continue a 2-3 year doctorate training to work with patients to correct bite and alignment. Essentially orthodontists are specially-trained dentists that specialize in bite and alignment issues and straightening the teeth. These are services that can last a patient a lifetime. You want to only choose a speciallytrained orthodontist to work on your teeth. Never attempt to straighten your teeth on your own.

 

A good orthodontist must become certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. They do this through written and clinical exams and then they must recertify often to ensure that their orthodontic training is still at the highest level it needs to be. Another aspect about choosing a good orthodontist is choosing someone that truly cares about your needs and wants you to be as successful as possible. At Belmar Orthodontics, our success is dependent on your success. We try to keep our office up-to-date with the latest state-of-the-art treatment and services to transform your smile into something beautiful in the least amount of time.

 

Your Braces Options

A good orthodontist will be skilled in several methods of straightening your teeth. We are skilled to provide you more than just traditional metal braces. We also offer the following options for orthodontic care so you can truly choose how your want your straightening treatment to be:

  • Incognito Lingual Braces – These are metal braces that are attached to the inside of each tooth. They straighten much light traditional metal brackets, but their hidden apparatus makes them especially appealing for adults and professionals.
  • Invisalign – This is a series of transparent aligners that are custom-made for each patient and are changed every 1-2 weeks. This allows a patient to straighten their teeth virtually invisibly. Plus, the aligners are removable for cleaning, eating, sports and similar activities.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – These are braces that mimic metal braces but are made of ceramic material. Even the archwire can be made white like the brackets, helping both to blend into the teeth. Ceramic helps decrease demineralization.
  • Retainers – The best way to keep your smile straight is to wear a custom-made retainer after treatment. We can customize retainer trays that you wear each night to keep those pearly whites straight. We can also provide you permanent retainer devices that are attached to the back of your front teeth.

 

Orthodontic Care for Children

Not all orthodontists work with children or know how to. However, child orthodontics is very important for the health of many children. Children should see an orthodontist between 7 and 8 years old. This is a critical time to correct bite and alignment issues that become severe later on in life. These problems cause speech impediments, problems eating, speaking, chewing and more. A good orthodontist will be one that works well with children and keeps the office environment inviting for them.

 

Do You Need a Dentist?

An orthodontist does many services to help the health of your teeth, however, they don’t do everything. They are trained just as a dentist is and they know the signs of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems. However, their job is to do orthodontic care, not dental care. That is why they specialized in the field that they did. A good orthodontist will frequently see the signs of tooth decay or gum problems, and a good orthodontist will refer you to a trusted dentist to fix those problems. If you have a cavity or a dental emergency, a dentist is usually the person you want to see instead of an orthodontist.

 

A dentist received 4 years of training in an undergraduate program. Then, he or she went on to do 4 years of dental school. There they learned services such as the following:

  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Dental Cleanings
  • Sedation Dentistry
  • Laser Cavity Detection
  • Proper Oral Hygiene
  • Oral Cancer Screenings
  • Digital X-rays
  • Dental Sealants
  • Periodontal Treatment
  • Scaling & Root Planing
  • Sleep Apnea Therapy
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Root Canal Therapy
  • Tooth-Colored Fillings
  • Same-Day Crowns/Dental Crowns

The majority of dentists also offer cosmetic dentistry options such as dental implants, cosmetic bonding, dental bridges, porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers. If you want to transform your smile beyond straightening your teeth and correcting bite and alignment, then you want to see a dentist instead of an orthodontist.

 

Schedule Your Consultation

Even thinking about choosing an orthodontist is a great step in the right direction, as it means you are conscious about your oral health. Orthodontic treatment is a wonderful way to correct a smile and to make it into something beautiful you can keep for life. Studies show that a straighter, more beautiful smile can make you more confident, and others will see you as such as well as more attractive, successful and trustworthy. Who wouldn’t want those things? If you would like to learn more about orthodontic treatment and schedule your free consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

The Importance of a Beautiful Smile

Posted on: November 15, 2017

beautiful smile

At Belmar Orthodontics, our success is depends on your success. Part of achieving that success is having a beautiful smile. Studies show that a straighter, more beautiful smile can help you to become more successful and be perceived as such by others. A more beautiful smile can help your self-esteem, your social standing, and can open opportunities to you that you otherwise would not have had. However, a great smile is something that takes dedication and special care throughout your life. We can help you know how to care for your smile to keep it dazzling. We can also provide you state-of-the-art treatment and services that can provide you a beautiful smile as well as patient education for keeping that smile healthy for life. Learn more about how a more beautiful smile can benefit you and how you can achieve it!

 

Healthy Smiles Take Work

To have a beautiful smile, you have to take special care of your teeth. You do this through proper oral health hygiene practices, which includes brushing and flossing your teeth every single day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Notice how we said “at least”. This means that you can brush and floss your teeth even more than those recommended amount of times each day. In fact, brushing and flossing after every meal can significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. We also said you must practice this routine “every day”. This is the part that takes work.

 

To keep your body healthy, you must have solid, healthy habits that take up a part of your every day. To keep a healthy body you must take time to eat right and to exercise. In order to have healthy eyes, you need to visit your eye doctor. To keep your teeth healthy, you have to take time to clean them as well as visit your dentist. How often? We recommend going to the dentist at least twice a year, if not more. For your orthodontic work, you will come into the office every 4-6 weeks. These appointments are very important to determine if your bite and alignment is healthy and in correct position. It is also very important to ensure you don’t have tooth decay forming, as braces are more prone to causing cavities because the teeth are harder to clean with brackets. A healthy smile takes work, but it is well worth the benefits your reap.

 

The Importance of a Beautiful Smile

Not only are healthy smiles great for you, but they are also more beautiful not only for you, but for others. A beautiful smile can impact the level of self-esteem you have as well as confidence. In fact, studies show that those who have a straighter, more beautiful smile tend to be more confident. They also are perceived as more confident and successful by their peers. For example, Invisalign conducted a study about the importance of straightening teeth and what it did for those who did it.

 

For adults, a straighter smile made them appear more successful to others. In many cases, it also helped them be more confident so that they actually were more successful. Between studying people with straight smiles versus those with crooked smiles, the ones with straight smiles were perceived as smarter and in 75% of cases, more trustworthy. People also perceived them as having more dates and as more attractive. Those with a straighter, more beautiful smile were also more likely to get a job (almost twice as likely as someone with a crooked smile). Studies conclude that a more beautiful smile works wonders for you in every aspect of your life!

 

How About Children?

Having straighter teeth and a beautiful smile is not only important for adults, but it makes an impact on a child’s life as well. In studies, children that had better smiles had a boost of confidence that helped them be more confident in their studies and with others. Teenagers also have this boost of confidence. In modern times, child orthodontics is becoming much more popular. Child orthodontics seeks to correct orthodontic issues present in childhood that would become much more severe later on in life.

 

We recommend that children see the orthodontist between ages 7 and 8. This is a time when bite and alignment issues manifest and when they can most easily be corrected. A child’s jaw is still forming and many of the baby teeth are falling out to make room for the adult teeth. With child orthodontics, we can correct bite and alignment so it is even. We can also monitor how the permanent teeth are coming into the mouth. This time period is one where many pre-teens have their teeth grow in. We need to make sure those teeth come in straight so that those teens can enjoy a beautiful smile that is straight, and that it is one they can carry with them throughout adulthood.

 

Get a Better Smile Today

Orthodontics can work wonders for the confidence, self-esteem and oral health of children, teens and adults alike. Some patients will only need treatment for a short time while others will need straightening treatment for 18-24 months. This investment is well worth your time for what a beautiful smile does for you personally and socially. If you would like to learn more about your orthodontic options and schedule your consultation today, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

 

Your First Orthodontic Visit

Posted on: November 6, 2017

orthodontic visit

Seeing an orthodontist is just as important as seeing your dentist on a regular basis. Did you know that children need to see the orthodontist and not just teenagers and adults? The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. This is a critical time to detect and correct bite and alignment problems before they become severe later on in life. We can help you know what your child can expect from their first orthodontic visit to ease nerves. When a child grows to be a teenager, they will have to see the orthodontist again. This is to align the teeth once the adult teeth have grown in during early adolescence. We can help you know what to expect from a first orthodontic visit and how your treatment will be throughout the months of bite and alignment correction!

 

Your First Orthodontic Visit

Just as there are recommendations for seeing the dentist, there are also recommendations for seeing an orthodontist. The majority of people will benefit from having both a dentist and an orthodontist to monitor their oral health. Both specialize in the health of the teeth. However, a dentist deals primarily with your teeth, gums, nerves and jaw, and correct problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. An orthodontist focuses on correcting bite and alignment issues as well as straightening the teeth.

 

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit no later than age 7. This is a critical time in development for children and a time when orthodontic problems begin to manifest. Those problems can become severe later on in life if not found early on. Having an examination early helps to prevent the progression of orthodontic issues. It also helps correct those issues before the adolescent years, when the main focus is straightening the teeth. Many people only think of teenagers wearing braces, but about 1/4th of people wearing braces are adults and many more are children. Some patients even receive braces twice in their life because they received orthodontic appliances as a child and then later on as either a teenager or an adult.

 

Child Orthodontics

In children, oral health issues are present when they are still young. A child should see the orthodontist between ages 7 and 8. Bite and alignment issues are common in many children at this age. These include problems such as underbite, crossbite, openbite, overbite and more. These problems can severely affect speech development and the ability to eat, chew, bite, speak, etc., as a child ages. Even if you don’t detect any dental issues with your child or they don’t show any signs of orthodontic complications, they should still visit an orthodontist.

 

An orthodontist is trained to observe the proper progress of incoming teeth while monitoring facial and jaw development. They have also been trained in dental school and can spot hidden dental issues. Many dental issues (such as cavities) can actually be caused by crooked teeth or bite and alignment problems that make it hard to brush the teeth properly. An orthodontist can guide incoming permanent teeth into their ideal position and reduce the risk of impacted teeth. Orthodontic appliances also reduce the risk for permanent tooth extractions. Seeing an orthodontist early can greatly impact your life!

 

What Can You Expect?

You can expect to meet a friendly staff when you come into the office. We are trained to work well with children and adults alike. Many of our patients are children and teenagers. We know their concerns, fears, and their expectations. Dr. Hardy and our staff are gentle and comforting with young patients who often have apprehensions about visiting a dental office. Our goal is to practice an open, compassionate dialogue with them so they can feel comfortable and safe. We generally start out the appointment with a tour of our office and an introduction to the staff. You will meet Dr. Hardy and he will explain everything you need to know about your orthodontic care.

 

A first orthodontic visit is a time to examine the teeth and see if braces are needed. Some patients will need them as children, while others will only need braces when they are teenagers. We conduct a thorough examination of your teeth and mouth. We also take photographs and x-rays of your teeth and mouth so that we know the exact size and shape of your jaws and your teeth alignment. If orthodontic treatment is needed, we will also take impression molds of your teeth. This is a simple process where we place soft molding in your mouth, let it toughen up a bit, and remove it for a picture perfect view of your mouth. If treatment is needed, we can make an orthodontic plan for you and explain all that will happen in subsequent visits.

 

Our New Patients

As part of our commitment to providing you with the highest quality care, we value your time and want your first orthodontic visit to go as smoothly as possible. We are always available to answer your questions and help prepare you for that first orthodontic visit whether you are a child or an adult. All new patients will receive a comprehensive exam at their first visit to see how their oral health is doing. Then, Dr. Hardy will discuss any orthodontic treatments he believes may be beneficial. To schedule your orthodontic visit or one for your child, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

How Braces Design Has Evolved

Posted on: October 31, 2017

braces design

Did you know that orthodontic care dates back many centuries? The Ancient Egyptians, Romans and more all had methods for straightening the teeth. Some methods worked, while others were just downright painful. In modern times, braces design in orthodontia has been perfected. Each part of the braces is important and plays a role in straightening the teeth. Find out how braces came to be and why they are designed a specific way to get your teeth straight in as little time as possible!

 

Ancient Orthodontics

Braces design and orthodontic work itself has been around for many centuries; it’s not just something that we enjoy today! In fact, researchers have found that the Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, and the Romans were all some of the cultures that practiced orthodontia. However, their methods were vastly different than the methods used today. For example, in all of these cultures, braces design was different than the brackets and wires we know and love. The ancient Egyptians, however, did use metal bands around their teeth. These metal bands were found on mummified bodies, showing that even in death people valued the aesthetics of a straighter smile.

 

Ancient philosophers and physicians had to guess at how best to straighten the teeth. Some physicians forcefully pulled the teeth with crude tools until they were straight. In some of these cases, the resulting loose tooth had to be strapped to an adjacent tooth in order to heal into place. Methods such as these were just downright painful!

 

Evolving Braces Design

In later centuries, more and more philosophers and physicians experimented with better braces design. Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries began using wax molds to make impressions of the teeth. Some also found plaster to be useful in making models of the teeth. Models allowed physicians to view the teeth in their crooked state and then plan how they wanted the teeth to eventually look. Pierre Fauchard is considered the “Father of Dentistry”. He created strips of metal that had spaced holes that fit around the teeth. This is a baseline design of the brackets and wires braces design that is used today to fix tooth alignment.

 

Even though Fauchard made some worthy orthodontic advancements, Edward Hartley Angle is actually the one considered to be the “Father of Modern Orthodontics.” He made a very effective braces design and also identified malocclusion (or misalignment) and how to correct it properly. Eventually in the 1970s, orthodontists were sticking to the braces design of attaching brackets to the teeth and fitting an archwire around both the upper and lower jaws.

 

Modern Orthodontics

In eras past, braces design was done according to the needs of adults. Children did not commonly receive orthodontic care, whereas in modern times they do. Early orthodontic care for children is needed to correct bite and alignment issues that can become severe later in adolescence and especially in adulthood. Once a child has this early orthodontic care, they will later receive braces once more to straighten the permanent teeth as they come in. Many people, therefore, have braces twice in their life if they choose to have orthodontic care. In modern times, around 4.5 million people each year wear braces.

 

Traditional metal braces are the most popular option available to patients, and are the most effective at straightening the teeth. However, technology also allows patients to choose lingual braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign transparent aligners. Lingual braces are metal and are attached to the inside of the teeth (tongue-side). Clear, ceramic braces are made from ceramic material and mimic the same design as traditional metal braces. However, they help decrease demineralization and their white material blends into the color white of the teeth. Invisalign is a system of transparent aligners that a patient can switch out every 1-2 weeks. The most aesthetically pleasing option, it also allows patients to remove the aligners for normal brushing, eating, cleaning, and more.

 

Parts of Braces

In order to take care of your braces well, it’s important to know about all the different parts and why they are important. We will use traditional metal braces as an example. The individual elements that work to correct your teeth are referred to as the “appliance.” The main parts of your metal braces will include:

  • Bands – Patients will have a thin ring fitted to their back molars when receiving braces. This ring is typically made of stainless steel and is used to secure other orthodontic attachments, such as hooks, brackets, or tubes.
  • Brackets – A bracket can either be bonded to the tooth using a tooth-colored cement or it can be attached to a band. They are usually made of stainless steel or clear ceramic depending on the type of braces design you choose. They guide and support the archwire into the appropriate placement.
  • Archwire – This is held by brackets or other orthodontic attachments. The archwire is designed to guide the shifting of the teeth during treatment. These wires are traditionally made from stainless steel, but can also be made of titanium.
  • Elastics (rubber bands) – These rubber bands help create a force to move the teeth in a particular direction. These are especially helpful for pulling down or pushing very crooked teeth into place. The elastics are often attached to a molar band and upper ball hook.
  • Elastic Ties – Elastic ties are small rubber bands that go over the brackets. These hold the archwire in place. They are available in a variety of colors that patients can switch out every time they come in for a check-up.
  • Springs – Using the force of a small spring, a space can be opened or closed between the teeth. These springs go between brackets and around the archwire. They are usually made out of stainless steel or titanium.

 

Get Fitted for Your Braces

Braces are an amazing way to straighten your smile. Braces design has been perfected to get your teeth straight in no time. To get fitted for your set of braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016.

 

Products that Make Cleaning Braces Easier

Posted on: October 20, 2017

cleaning braces

Cleaning the teeth can be hard at times. Cleaning braces on the teeth can be even harder because of all the appliances attached to the enamel. Proper care must be taken with brackets and wires to ensure that all food is removed from the teeth. Brushing and flossing in general helps decrease your likelihood for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Brushing and flossing is different for a smile with braces. There are more guidelines for proper oral hygiene with orthodontic care. Thankfully, there are also products out there (such as flossers) that help make cleaning braces and your teeth easier. Find out how to properly care for your braces and what products can help make cleaning braces easier!

 

Braces Are Unique to Each Person

Millions of adults will receive braces each year. In fact, there are about 4.5 million people wearing braces annually. In the past, those braces used to all be the traditional style of metal brackets. However, modern technology now affords patients the options of lingual braces, clear ceramic braces, and Invisalign as well.

  • Lingual Braces – Many patients want the strength of metal brackets without the braces being so noticeable. Lingual braces are perfect for these patients, as the metal apparatus is attached to the inside of your teeth instead of the outside. You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing!
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – There are other patients that love metal brackets but don’t want the metal to overwhelm their face. Clear ceramic braces are a great option for those who still want brackets, but want them to blend in more with the teeth. Made from ceramic material, these brackets are very durable, naturally help combat demineralization, and are white just like your teeth.
  • Invisalign – For a truly invisible straightening system, Invisalign can align your pearly whites discreetly and comfortably. This is a series of removable transparent aligners that you change out every 1-2 weeks. You can take out the aligners for regular brushing and oral care, sports, eating, and more.

 

Cleaning Braces with Help

It’s vitally important that you take extra good care of your teeth with braces. This is a time when tooth decay can occur in many parts of your mouth. Brackets and wires in your mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck, leading to other dental issues if proper care is not taken. With braces, we suggest brushing your teeth after every single meal instead of just twice a day. You can use a regular toothbrush, but make sure it is one that you will actually want to use. The toothbrush should have soft bristles so it’s easier on your tooth enamel and the head should fit comfortably in your mouth. Brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and bacteria buildup.

 

When brushing, brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. After brushing with your toothbrush, you can get an extra clean by using a proxabrush. This is a special oral health brush that looks very similar to a Christmas tree. It is actually sometimes referred to as a “Christmas tree brush”. You use this small brush by placing it between two brackets below the archwire. Then you brush up and down to dislodge any food you may have missed with brushing or that you didn’t even realize was there. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side. For those who want an extra clean, you can use an oral irrigator to blast away food.

 

What About Flossing?

Many patients have problems flossing the teeth. The main problem is that flossing takes time, and many people either don’t have the time to floss properly, or don’t want to take the time to do it. How well you floss can make quite the difference on what happens to your teeth during your time with braces. Food can easily become stuck in brackets, but we know that food definitely gets stuck between the teeth. This happens even without braces! You may be a pro at cleaning braces, but you also have to be a pro at flossing your teeth with them as well. How do you do this with that pesky archwire that’s in the way?

 

There are products just for this problem. Use a threadable floss or a floss threader to get the job done. A floss threader is a tool you can use to pull your regular floss through each space between the teeth. Think of a floss threader as a large sewing needle of sorts. You place your floss through the threader. Then, just as a person does with sewing, you will thread the floss threader through each space between the teeth. There is also special floss that has a hard end that is about 2-3 inches in length. Each floss piece can be threaded with the harder end without an additional threader. Every time you floss, make sure to move it back and forth in each space between the teeth, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire.

 

Cleaning Braces is Easy

You are going to be wearing your braces for 18-24 months, so you’ll have to become comfortable cleaning them efficiently if you want a great smile in the end! Cleaning braces will become second nature to you if you do it often enough. Cleaning braces will help your smile be more beautiful at the end of treatment and will help avoid tooth decay, enamel erosion, demineralization, stains and more. You only get one smile in this life, so treat it right! Many patients benefit from learning more about how to clean their braces and tips and tricks to doing it right and quicker. If you want to learn more about cleaning and caring for your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

Are Your Teeth Cleaning Habits Good Enough?

Posted on: October 12, 2017

cleaning habits

Braces can keep your teeth straighter, making them more beautiful and attractive. However, if your teeth cleaning habits are poor, your smile will take a hit. How well you take care of your teeth before and during braces will be an indication of how your smile will be after your orthodontic care has come to an end. If you don’t brush and floss the teeth enough, you might damage your smile and weaken your enamel. You must step up your cleaning routine during braces to make sure your smile isn’t full of cavities and oral health problems at the end of your care. We can give you the proper recommendations and guidelines to ensure you keep your smile healthy and strong during your time with braces and throughout life.

 

Brushing With and Without Braces

The American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day to keep your mouth healthy and to lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. We go beyond that twice-a-day recommendation and suggest that you brush your teeth after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup.

 

You should use a soft-bristled brush and use one that’s size fits your mouth well. For teeth without braces, the ADA recommends brushing the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Brush each individual tooth, making sure to go all the way up to the gumline. You use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating the gums and eroding your tooth enamel. With braces, you want to brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. This will help dislodge food particles that have become trapped inside the brackets, which is extremely easy to do. Brushing your teeth multiple times a day is one of the best cleaning habits for avoiding decay.

 

Flossing the Teeth

We recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day. However, that’s for patients that don’t have braces. When you have braces, it’s even more important to floss each and every tooth. It’s also much more time consuming, but the effort you put into your teeth cleaning habits will pay off in the long run. A toothbrush and mouthwash simply can’t get in between the teeth like floss can, so if you skip flossing, you could have food sit and decay your teeth.

 

You will have to use threadable floss or a floss threader to accomplish this feat with brackets. If you use a floss threader for your teeth, think of your cleaning habits like you’re sewing. You floss the eye of the threader through your teeth and below the archwire. Then you floss the space, pull it out and thread once more. Make sure you don’t apply force or pressure against the archwire as you do this. For some patients, it may take about 10 minutes to floss, but it’s worth taking the time to avoid tooth decay.

 

Caring for Braces

Caring for your teeth becomes trickier with braces. You will find that you have to devote some extra time to caring for your braces, as you know have about 32 teeth that all have brackets that can collect food. During your time with braces, it is particularly important to maintain good oral health through attention to proper oral hygiene and cleaning habits. If you don’t, you could have your braces removed only to find that many of your teeth have areas of tooth decay. You could also be left with demineralization that leaves marks on all your teeth where the brackets were.

 

When it comes to caring for your braces, it’s not only important to clear away food particles that are on the teeth, but to be careful of what foods you put into your mouth. To avoid damage to your braces and your teeth during orthodontic treatment, you want to avoid hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. This means you should avoid eating foods such as hard candy, chips, ice, apples, nuts, popcorn, carrots, corn on the cob, gum, caramel, taffy, licorice, gummies, and similar foods. Prevention is always key for avoid oral health issues!

 

Proper Teeth Cleaning Habits

If you’re going to spend 18-24 months straightening your teeth, you might as well keep those teeth healthy so they look nice at the end of your treatment. Brush your teeth every single day, multiple times a day. Floss as well and be meticulous with your cleaning habits. The better care you take of your braces while they’re on, the more you’ll enjoy your smile when they come off. If you would like help with your cleaning habits or tips, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!