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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.

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!

Before, After and During Braces

Posted on: October 5, 2017

 

better smile

What do you need to know before, after and during braces? How do you prepare for orthodontic care? The American Dental Association says that patients can greatly benefit from both dental and orthodontic care if they want a better smile. Seeing a dentist often as a child can help you prepare for braces in the future. Seeing a dentist and orthodontist early on can also help prevent serious oral health issues. When preparing for braces, you will receive an oral exam, x-rays, and have molds of your teeth made. You may even need dental work done as well. We can help you know what you need to do before braces, during, and after braces to achieve a better smile!

 

Preparing for Braces

Seeing your dentist is the best way to prepare for braces. The ADA recommends that patients visit their dentist at least biannually (meaning twice a year). Patients who have gum disease or are prone to tooth decay (cavities) may need to visit their dentist more often than that to prevent problems. A dentist can detect abnormal bites or alignment in children. This early detection can help children to see an orthodontist early-on for care before bite and alignment problems become severe. Most patients see an orthodontist around the early adolescent years to straighten the teeth. This is because most alignment problems are apparent after the permanent teeth have come into the mouth.

 

Studies show that most patients who receive braces are between 8 and 14 years old. You will visit your dentist and then often see an orthodontist after. That orthodontist will do a full exam of your teeth including your jaws and mouth and how your bite and alignment are. X-rays help to determine the position of the teeth in the jaw and help an orthodontist plan how your teeth must move to come into correct alignment during your treatment. Much like a dental office, you will have molds (also called “impressions”) made for your teeth. A plaster model of your teeth will be made that the orthodontist can made a plan from. In preparing for braces, you should plan on between 18-24 months of wearing braces to receive a straight smile. However, know that braces can be fun and are an investment in your future.

 

Caring for Your Braces

Your braces will be a new experience for you. At first, you may have a tender mouth, as your teeth will have to get used to the new brackets that are on them. Brackets are the squares attached to each tooth. There will be an archwire that runs through each bracket and helps mold your jaw arch correctly. You may also have elastic rubber bands and steel bands in the back of your teeth that are attached to the tooth. You must take extra time each day to care for your braces properly. If you brushed for 2 minutes before braces, you will have to extend that time now. Each bracket can get food stuck in it with any given meal, so it’s important that you brush each tooth and especially brush the bracket at different angles to dislodge food that has become stuck.

 

Flossing is extra important as well, because it is usually a step that is skipped if patients are short on time. Flossing requires setting aside around 10 minutes of your time to do it right. Use a floss threader to thread the floss under your wire, then floss between your teeth like normal. You will have to thread the floss for each individual tooth, but the time is worth it as it helps to decrease your risk for tooth decay between the teeth. Some patients may need to use a proxy brush or toothpicks to dislodge foods from the brackets. A mouthrinse with fluoride can help keep the teeth healthy as well.

 

After Your Orthodontic Care

You’ve spent 18-24 months to get a better smile. Now what? It is highly important to wear your retainer every single day after your braces come off. Your teeth have been moved into place very recently and can even start changing back into their crooked paths in the first month after braces if the retainer is not worn. Wear your retainer according to what the orthodontist suggests. If you follow their recommendations for taking care of your smile, you can look forward to many decades of a better smile with beautiful teeth.

 

A smile is not complete once it is straight. You still must brush and floss the teeth every single day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can destroy your smile. However, both of these are avoidable if you follow basic oral hygiene.

 

A Better Smile Today

If you care for your braces well, then you can expect to have a beautiful smile after your treatment is over. A better smile can bring you added confidence and success, which is what we want for every patient. If you are preparing for braces, follow our recommendations. You can even learn more about preparation, what to do with braces in special circumstances, and ask questions you may have after your care is over. Simply call our Belmar Orthodontics office at (303) 225-9016 to know more!

 

Receiving Dental Care with Braces

Posted on: September 30, 2017
dental care

Dentist hands working on young teen patient with dental braces.

Should you receive dental care with braces or is seeing the orthodontist sufficient? Continue regular checkups with your dentist even if you are frequently seeing your orthodontist. Braces make you more prone to problems such as plaque buildup and tartar. Depending on the kind of braces you choose, your teeth may require additional steps to stay clean with braces than without. For some, the enamel can also weaken with braces. However, there are ways to keep your teeth healthy and clean while you have braces. Modern-day orthodontics offers treatment options everyone can be comfortable with and will still allow patients to receive proper dental care at the same time. We can answer frequently asked questions for receiving dental care with braces and help you with tips for taking care of your braces so your smile stays healthy.

 

Dentists and Orthodontists

Did you know that orthodontists attend dental school just like dentists do? Dentists and orthodontists are similar in their schooling up to a point. However, although both professions deal with the health of your teeth, they both do separate services. Dentists perform services such as:

  • Comprehensive exams and diagnostic x-rays
  • Dental cleanings
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Laser tissue treatment
  • Periodontal treatment/Scaling and root planing
  • Dental sealants
  • Cavity fillings/Tooth colored fillings
  • Sedation dentistry
  • Porcelain veneers and crowns
  • Cosmetic bonding
  • Dental bridges and dental implants
  • Root canal therapy
  • Teeth whitening

An orthodontist performs other services different than a dentist, although they are skilled in dental practices. Orthodontists receive 4 years of undergraduate education, where they then attend dental school for 4 years. After dental school, they attend a postdoctoral program to learn orthodontia. A dentist fixes problems with your teeth in general, while an orthodontist fixes problems with teeth alignment as well as your bite and jaw alignment. Basically, every orthodontist is a dentist, but not every dentist is an orthodontist. Patients benefit from having both a dentist and an orthodontist to maintain a healthy mouth.

 

Caring for Your Teeth

Taking care of your teeth is a bit different with braces than it was without them. During your orthodontic treatment, it is particularly important to maintain good oral health through proper oral hygiene. Brackets and wires in your mouth make it much easier for food particles to get stuck. When those food particles are not removed, it leads to other dental issues like tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Your teeth may also demineralize or erode in the areas where your brackets were attacked to the teeth. Areas on the enamel surface lose minerals in this case, which is what causes white squares to form on the teeth. If you drink beverages that stain the teeth easily, you might be left with uneven stains once the brackets have been removed.

 

With braces, you should still follow the American Dental Association’s recommendation to brush the teeth at least twice a day. We recommend that you brush the teeth much more than that, as food particles can get stuck in the brackets at every single meal. Make sure to avoid hard foods like hard candies, chips, apples, nuts, popcorn and more with your brackets. Also avoid sticky foods such as gum, caramel, taffy, tootsie rolls, and gummies as these foods are much harder to get out of all the small areas of your braces. A lot of caring for your braces is watching what you eat and then cleaning the teeth often after you do eat.

 

Cleaning with Braces

Flossing is one of the daily tasks that will be more difficult with braces because there is an archwire that blocks the floss from going in and out of the spaces between the teeth with ease. The solution for this is to use threadable floss or a floss threader. With a floss threader, you use regular floss and thread it through the eye of the threader much like you would with a sewing needle and thread. You then floss the threader between each tooth individually. Floss that comes threadable will be harder at one end and will be able to be threaded between the teeth without having to have a separate threader.

 

After brushing with a toothbrush, you can also use a proxabrush, which looks like a small Christmas tree brush. You place this proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, and you brush up and down. This will get food that is hard-stuck in your brackets. Brushing after every meal will reduce how much food gets into your bracket and stays there.

 

Dental Care with Braces

Even though you are seeing an orthodontist frequently, you must continue to visit your dentist throughout your care! An orthodontist will get your teeth straight, but you receive dental cleanings, comprehensive exams, and cavity care from a dentist, not an orthodontist. Both professions deal with the teeth, but they both deal differently with the teeth. Only a dentist can find cavities and fill them for you. A dentist can provide all the services we listed above, which are all very important to keep the teeth healthy. Receiving frequent dental exams and cleanings are some of the best dental services you can receive while wearing braces, because keeping the teeth clean and free of cavities will help your smile be that much more beautiful in the end.

 

Schedule a Dental Visit

Your tooth enamel can suffer permanent damage if you don’t take extra care with your teeth with braces. That’s why it’s even more important to receive dental care while you have braces. Be vigilant with your oral hygiene every single day. Don’t skip days! You are spending months of your life to receive a straighter smile. You want that smile to also be a beautiful one at the end of your treatment. In the end, it is very important to receive dental care during braces and to take care of them yourself every day at home. If you have questions about caring for your braces, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016.

Dentistry and Orthodontics Are Closely Related

Posted on: September 22, 2017

dentistry and orthodontics

Dentistry and orthodontics are quite different, but they are also closely related. You need care from both a dentist and an orthodontist in order to keep your smile healthy. Dentistry and orthodontics both deal with the health of your smile. One focuses on straightening the smile and other focuses on tooth decay, gum disease and treatments to help correct oral issues. Both involve services that “fix” problems with the teeth to help make your mouth healthier, thus making you healthier. Find out the difference between dentistry and orthodontics, the similarities, and how both can help you have the best smile possible.

What Dentists Do

Dentists go to school to specialize in problems involving the teeth, nerves, gums and jaw. They can provide any or all of the following services:

  • Comprehensive exams and dental cleanings
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Sedation dentistry
  • Laser cavity detection and cavity detection using x-ray imaging
  • Tooth extractions
  • Laser tissue treatment
  • Oral hygiene training
  • Dental sealants
  • Periodontal treatments on the gums
  • Scaling and root planing for gum disease

Dentists are also trained in cosmetic dentistry and can provide services such as dental implants, porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, cosmetic bonding, dental bridges and even botox treatment. Restorative dentistry involves root canals and root canal therapy, teeth-whitening services, tooth-colored fillings, and in some cases orthodontic care through Invisalign. The dentist is usually trained in orthodontics to provide this service. If a dentist finds that a patient has a problem with their bite or alignment, they will refer the patient to an orthodontist who is certified and trained to correct the issue.

What Orthodontists Do

Orthodontists must obtain several degrees to become orthodontists. They need more training than dentists do because they must be able to correct smiles as well as identify oral health issues. Orthodontists are specially trained with correcting bites, occlusion (or alignment), and in straightening the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the upper jaw rests on top of the lower jaw. The upper front teeth will rest slightly forward on top of the lower front teeth. Not all mouths are aligned correctly. Some bites that orthodontists correct include:

  • Overbite – In the upper jaw, the front teeth rest over the lower front teeth instead of above. You never want the front teeth to overlap the bottom teeth completely, as this creates pain and other problems when biting, eating, and other everyday tasks.
  • Underbite – This is the opposite of overbite. The lower front teeth rest far in front of the upper front teeth. This creates similar jaw problems as mentioned with overbite. Underbite can lead to jaw and joint pain, earaches, headaches. and more.
  • Crossbite – Crossbite involves teeth that cross in all different directions. Some of the teeth are slanted toward the tongue. Other teeth are slanted towards the cheeks. This creates uneven pressure all over the mouth when biting and chewing, which can lead to broken or fractured teeth, weakened enamel, pain, and more. Crossbite can even cause abnormal facial development and jaw problems if left untreated.
  • Openbite – Openbite refers to an opening (or gap) in the teeth between the upper and lower jaws when the mouth is closed. This gap is right at the front of the teeth and might even appear as a hole in a patient’s smile. Openbite leads to speech impediments, lisps and other problems with speaking if left untreated.

Dentistry and Orthodontics Compared

Did you know that an orthodontist has dental training? Orthodontists must obtain several degrees in order to work. They must obtain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree just as dentists do. Then, they must apply to an orthodontic graduate program to obtain a Masters of Science degree. Orthodontists go through all the same training as dentists and then some. This is how orthodontists can spot dental issues forming. Basically, all orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists.

If you have problems with your teeth, gums, oral nerves or jaw, then go see your dentist. Your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist if the issue is corrected by an orthodontist or has to do with bite, alignment or straightening. When it comes to problems such as tooth decay (cavities), both dentists and orthodontists can help you in some way. Orthodontic care via braces can help straighten the teeth, thus making them easier to clean and reducing your risk for tooth decay. Dentists can also help you prevent tooth decay with comprehensive exams, biannual cleanings and treatments that stop the progression of cavities if they have formed.

Benefit From Both

Both dentistry and orthodontics involve services that “fix” problems with the teeth to help make your mouth healthier, thus making you healthier. Both professions involve doctors who are highly trained to help problems with your oral health. Patients can benefit greatly from having both a dentist and an orthodontist. Take a step towards a healthier mouth, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Hardy today by calling Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

No Need to Fear Orthodontic Treatment!

Posted on: September 15, 2017

orthodontic treatment

When it comes to straightening your teeth, braces are actually quite fun to wear! You don’t need to fear orthodontic treatment, even if you’re just a child. There are about 4.5 million people each year that wear braces. A large part of those are teenagers, but at least 1/4th are adults and many more are children. Most patients find that they actually like braces and all the benefits they bring to their smile. Orthodontic treatment can actually make your teeth prettier, easier to clean and can help you in so many ways throughout your life. Find out just how fun (and healthy) orthodontic treatment can be for you and why you should invest in it today!

 

Braces Make You More Confident

Some patients may fear orthodontic treatment (a.k.a braces) because they think they’ll look childish, or they’ll have a mouth full of metal. Others fear the unknown. Technology has come a long way in year past, allowing patients more options for straightening their teeth. You can choose to have traditional metal braces that you can dress up with color bands. However, you can also choose ceramic braces that blend in with the white of your teeth. There are also stealthy ways to straighten your pearly whites with lingual braces that are worn on the inside of the teeth. Invisalign transparent aligners also allow you to straighten your smile without anyone knowing.

 

In a study conducted by Invisalign, they found that receiving orthodontic treatment made teens and adults more confident. That confidence helped them to feel more successful and be more successful. In their study, people perceived people to be more attractive, trustworthy, and smarter when they straighten their teeth. Orthodontic treatment is something to be excited about instead of feared because of all the amazing benefits that treatment gives a patient.

 

Orthodontic Treatment Makes You Healthier

Dentistry and orthodontics are closely related although they are vastly different. Even though an orthodontist won’t correct cavities for you, he can can you prevent them in the first place. Straighter teeth are teeth that have fewer cavities than teeth that are crooked. Why? When the teeth are crooked, they are much harder to clean. The American Dental Association recommends brushing the teeth at least twice a day and flossing every single day. What if your teeth are so crooked that you can’t floss between them? What if you can’t reach certain areas to brush away the plaque that builds up every day?

 

Tooth decay is what happens when you don’t keep the teeth clean and free of plaque. Plaque is a sticky, acidic substance that erodes away your tooth enamel. Every time you eat or drink, sugar mixes with bacteria in the mouth to form plaque, which eats away at your teeth. If you can’t clean the teeth properly, you’ll soon have tooth decay all over. Straightening the teeth will instantly lower your risk for cavities and oral issues. Even children receive braces for bite and alignment problems while they are young to prevent the progression of problems that can become severe later on.

 

Children and Braces

Children younger than 10 often wear braces. Why? There is usually a problem with bite or alignment that needs to be corrected. Why don’t we correct those issues later on in life? Studies have found that the jaw continues to grow a few years into adolescence. Bite and alignment problems are common in many children. Because the jaw is still forming for so many years, it’s easier to correct bite and alignment when a child is young.

 

We can bring a child’s bite into correct placement with simple orthodontic treatment. When a person grows to be an adult, that orthodontic treatment is much trickier and it takes much longer to correct problems. That’s why we see children when they are young, so we can easily correct problems that could become lengthy and painful later on. With the right orthodontic treatment, correction never has to be painful!

 

Millions Wear Braces

Did you know that there are over 4.5 million people that wear braces each year? That’s just in the United States! The largest population that wears braces are teenagers and children. That means, that when you have braces, you have millions of other people who are also straightening their teeth alongside you. If you are a student, you will see childen and teens rocking their braces everywhere you go. However, orthodontic treatment isn’t just for kids; it’s for adults as well!

 

It’s estimated that at least 1/4th of all people with braces are adults. Sometimes, these adults were not able to receive braces when they were younger. Other times, the teeth have just become crooked over time and an adult needs some orthodontic treatment to straighten their smile once more. Orthodontic treatment has become more affordable over time (especially with pay plans), so more and more people are getting their set of braces each year. With millions seeing their orthodontist every month, it can’t be that bad. You will actually start enjoying your orthodontic visits, especially as you see your teeth straighten out more every single month. How cool is that?

 

No Need to Fear Orthodontic Treatment

If braces were scary, millions wouldn’t be wearing them. Braces can make you more confident and successful no matter if you are a child or an adult. They will also give you a beautiful smile that you can watch change every single month. If you have fears about orthodontic treatment and would like to know more about braces, we can help put you at ease. Simply call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016 to learn more or to schedule your free consultation!

How Braces Improve Dental Health

Posted on: September 8, 2017

dental health

Did you know that braces can improve your dental health? Dental and orthodontic care go hand-in-hand. Many dentists have training to spot problems with bite and alignment. These problems can be corrected with proper orthodontic care, and should be corrected early-on before children have grown. Receiving braces as a child can correct problems that become severe later in life. Receiving braces as an adolescent and even as an adult can greatly improve your oral health, as it decreases your chances for tooth decay and even gum disease. Straighter teeth are teeth that are easier to clean and easier to take care of. Learn how investing in braces can improve your dental health today!

 

Braces Improve Dental Health

DId you know that orthodontists also attend dental school? Orthodontists go through 4 years of undergraduate school, then move on to 4 years of dental school. Afterwards, they must complete and additional 2-3 years of special training to perform orthodontics. Orthodontists are skilled at not only making your teeth straighter, but also helping you to improve your dental health. Dr. Hardy understands how the teeth work and that straighter teeth are teeth that have a reduced risk for cavities and problems with gum disease.

 

When the teeth are crooked, it can make it much harder to clean between each tooth thoroughly each day. To keep a healthy mouth, every single day counts and plaque must be removed with frequent brushing and flossing. What if the crookedness of the teeth prevent your toothbrush or floss from reaching certain areas? Those areas will be prone to, and will probably start to develop, tooth decay and/or problems with the gums. In contrast, when the teeth have been properly aligned with orthodontic care, cleaning them becomes a simple task. A toothbrush can easily reach all the surfaces and floss can get in between each tooth. That gives you a much better chance at having great oral health.

 

What Else Can Braces Do?

Braces are highly beneficial for not only straightening your pearly whites, but also for correcting bite and alignment problems that so many children have. Between the ages of 7 and 8, a child should see an orthodontist and get their bite assessed. We look to see if your bite and teeth line up correctly. If they don’t, you may have one of the following: openbite, crossbite, overbite, underbite, malocclusion, etc. All of these problems can make chewing, speaking, biting, etc., difficult. If a smile is left untreated, problems that were minor become severe over time and require more extensive procedures. However, braces are a perfect method for fixing these problems at an early age, saving you time, money and your health.

 

Common Oral Health Problems

We mentioned that braces can help your dental health by lowering your risk for oral health issues. The two most common oral health problems are tooth decay and gum disease. You may know tooth decay by one of its other names: dental caries or cavities. Tooth decay is the erosion of the tooth enamel over time. Almost every patient has had some form of tooth decay in their life. However, tooth decay–or cavities–are 100% preventable if you have a habit of taking care of your teeth.

 

Tooth decay is caused by plaque—a sticky film made from sugars in the foods you eat mixed with bacteria. This plaque sits on the teeth and erodes the tooth enamel. Over time, that plaque can eventually weaken a tooth and get inside, where it will start to cause decay. The teeth aren’t the only ones that are affected by plaque. Plaque also attacks the gums, causing them to become swollen, red, and irritated. You may even see your gums bleed easier. When the gums continue to become inflamed, they will eventually recede from the teeth, causing the teeth to fall out. Thankfully, both tooth decay and gum disease are avoidable. Straighter teeth can help make brushing easier, and thus help decrease your chances for either condition.

 

Your Dental Health

When it comes to the teeth, you only have one set. You want to do all you can to keep your dental health intact. Straightening your teeth with braces can help you, plus, you’ll receive all the benefits a better smile can give you. So what are you waiting for? Schedule your appointment with Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

Do You Need Braces?

Posted on: August 30, 2017

need braces

How do you know if you need braces? When you look in the mirror at your smile, do you like what you see? Are your teeth straight or crooked? Is your bite comfortable? Do any of your teeth collide when you bite, swallow or chew? Sometimes it is easy to spot signs that you may need braces, and at other times the signs might not be readily apparent. At Belmar Orthodontics, we work with you and your general dentist to determine the best course for your oral health needs and to determine if you need braces.

 

Deciding If You Need Braces

Braces is an investment: an investment in your money and an investment in your time. It’s always important to look at factors that determine whether you need braces or not, as you will have braces for about 18 months or so of your life. However, if you do make the choice to receive braces, you can be sure that you are making an incredible investment for your future and for your health. What are factors to consider when deciding if you need braces? Some factors include the status of your smile, your age, health reasons and bite and alignment problems.

 

Examining Your Smile

Do you love the smile you have? Is it a straight smile or is it crooked? Many patients seek orthodontic care because their smile is crooked or could use some improvement. Orthodontic care makes a huge difference when it comes to straightening your smile quickly and doing it correctly. Only an orthodontist has received the education needed to straighten your smile the best way possible. An orthodontist spends about 10-11 years in training and schooling to do orthodontics. That generally includes 4 years of undergraduate work, 4 years of dental school and an additional 2-3 years training in orthodontics. These professionals truly know what they are doing when they make a plan for your teeth.

 

If your smile is crooked, you are a great candidate for receiving braces, no matter if you are a child, teenager or an adult. Straightening your smile is one of the best ways to boost your confidence. In a study conducted by Invisalign, it was found almost 30% of people noticed a person’s smile during a first impression. Those with a straighter smile had a better chance at landing a job than someone with a crooked smile. They were also considered to have a better personality, be more attractive and were 58% more likely to be successful. Investing in a straighter smile can really help you go places in life!

 

Braces for Most Ages

You are never too old to receive braces. Children, teenagers and adults are all sporting various forms of braces all over the world. In fact, in just the United States alone, there are about 4.5 million braces wearers each year. About 1/4th of those are adults and a large portion are children as well. The braces you wear depend on your age. For children, most braces are for correcting bite and alignment problems. For adults and teenagers, the main goal is to straighten those pearly whites.

 

Your Options

Braces have come a long way in recent years. No longer are traditional metal braces your only option for receiving orthodontic care. You can choose:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – These are the tried and true method for straightening the teeth. They are also the most economical choice and the top choice for teenagers. Dress these brackets up with colorful bands at every orthodontic appointment!
  • Incognito Lingual Braces – Want the strength of metal braces without having a visible mouth full of metal? Lingual braces are custom-made metal braces for the inside of your teeth (the tongue-side). This hidden apparatus allows you to straighten your teeth in secret, making it a popular choice among adults.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – Ceramic braces are made from ceramic material and naturally are white just like the teeth. Even the archwires can be made white to blend into the teeth better. For braces that feel like metal braces but hide themselves a bit more, ceramic braces may be for you!
  • Invisalign Transparent Aligners – This is an options that adults love! Many adults find metal braces to be childish or unattractive. However, Invisalign treatment has proven to be effective in straightening the teeth. This series of transparent aligners gently pushes the teeth into their proper place in about the same time as metal braces. The aligners can be removed for eating, drinking, sports and easy cleaning.

 

Bite & Alignment Issues

All of our orthodontic options are great for aligning your teeth. Children may need braces if bite and alignment problems are present, and this is actually the reason many children do have braces. During the childhood years, the mouth is still growing and the jaw is still forming. You never want to just let bite and alignment problems go unchecked, as they can create problems such as difficulty chewing, speaking, and talking as well as make the face grow differently and make the teeth harder to clean.

 

Children with bite misalignments need braces between ages 7-9 to correct problems before they become severe in adolescence and adulthood. This will save a lot of time, pain and procedures later on in life.

 

Getting Your Braces

There are many reasons that you may need braces. Straightening the teeth makes them easier to clean and can reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Orthodontic treatment can improve your appearance, boost your confidence and correct problems with your bite that can become severe later on in life. If you need braces, don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment! Call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016.

What Will Wearing Braces Be Like?

Posted on: August 18, 2017

wearing braces

Whether you are currently wearing braces or looking into getting some, knowing what your life with braces will look (and feel) like can help you prepare for success and choose the right form of treatment for your needs and lifestyle. Belmar Orthodontics can help educate you on what to expect wearing braces and what you can do now to achieve the best outcome.

 

Braces: What Are They?

Braces have been around for many centuries. Researchers have found that orthodontic appliances actually date back as early as 1000 B.C. Even then people were anxious to straighten out their smiles. Braces are appliances that exert a certain amount of force on the teeth in order to align the top and bottom sets of teeth as well as the upper and lower jaw. The goal is to have a straight smile with teeth that are set in a beautiful arch around the mouth and jaws that line up with the teeth coming together evenly.

 

Components of Braces

Braces consist of brackets, wires and bands. On the teeth, they look like metal squares on each tooth with metal wires going through those metal squares. The squares are the brackets and they are cemented to the center of each tooth with a special bonding agent. The bracket is designed so that it can support a wire (called an archwire) that will go through it. Think of all these brackets as tiny workers who are holding up a strong wire.

 

There are two archwires: one that goes along the top teeth and one that goes along the bottom teeth. These archwires help shape the arch of the teeth in the mouth so that they make a perfect arch and so the upper and lower teeth line up with one another. Traditional metal braces also have rubber bands that go around each individual bracket. These are to help the gums from catching on the metal bracket hooks and also provide a patient the ability to add a pop of color to their mouth. Bands come in all different shades and can be customized to what you like.

 

Types of Braces

There are many options when it comes to wearing braces. Your option will largely determine how your braces look and how they feel. We provide the following options to our patients:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – This is the option we explained above, and the most popular option among patients. This is also the most economical choice when it comes to price.
  • Incognito Lingual Braces – This is an option similar to traditional metal braces and are popular with professionals and adults. The brackets are bonded to the back of the teeth and provide a hidden straightening apparatus to patients. Patients will adjust to these braces much the same as traditional metal braces, only they’ll feel the brackets on the tongue-side of their teeth instead of the cheek side.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – Much like metal braces, this system uses brackets to align the teeth. However, the brackets are made from ceramic and their white material blends in with the teeth. Even the wires can be made white. These will act and feel the same as metal braces, only with better blending with the teeth and greater stain-fighting power.
  • Invisalign – This is a system of progressive, custom-fit aligners that gently move the teeth into their ideal position. The clear, removable design of these aligners renders this orthodontic treatment virtually invisible to others. It will feel like you are wearing a snug retainer or covering for the teeth and needs to be worn throughout the day. This treatment method allows patients to drink, eat and clean the teeth normally and with ease.

 

What To Expect Wearing Braces

There is some discomfort and adjustment when first wearing braces. Because the brackets are bonded to the teeth and there are archwires adjusting the position of the teeth, you may be sore for a few days. It’s best to eat soft foods the first few days as your teeth adjust to their appliances. A simple over-the-counter painkiller can help with discomfort. Although many patients feel mild discomfort when first wearing braces, some patients don’t.

 

It will take a few days to get used to the brackets and wires. You will be able to feel them during the day as they sit against your cheeks. However, you will get used to them in about 1-3 days to the point where you won’t even notice your braces. They will soon become a part of you and cleaning them as well as going to orthodontic appointments will become routine. As with any new thing, there is always an adjustment period. With braces, that adjustment period is short.

 

You’re Not Alone

When it comes to wearing braces, you’re definitely not alone. There are over 4.5 million people any given year that are wearing braces. Many of those are teenagers, but a large portion are also children and adults. In fact, at least ¼ of all braces wearers (or 25%) are adults. Each year more and more teenagers and adults are receiving braces.

 

In the past, there used to be many stigmas about braces, such as them being unattractive. Studies show, however, that braces have become quite the luxury and are seen as such. The New York Times, for example, did an article about braces and just how important they are to people. Many families literally go without needs and many wants to receive orthodontic care, even if money is really tight. Braces are a luxury that many children, teens, and adults alike are eager to have. Just think: when wearing braces, you are wearing a luxury item.

 

Your Braces

Remember, braces are something to have fun with! If you have traditional metal braces or ceramic braces, you can dress up your braces with colorful bands that make you stand out. Or you can choose an option that is discreet. Overall, no matter what option you choose, wearing braces for a time will help keep your mouth healthier and your smile straighter. A better smile leads to more confidence. Who wouldn’t want that? If you’re ready to receive a great set of braces, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!

Get Your Braces in Time for Back-to-School

Posted on: August 9, 2017

your braces

School is just around the corner and it’s time to prepare your peers for your beautiful smile. Braces not only help straighten your teeth, but they can also improve your speech, your appearance and–most importantly–your confidence! New technology gives you more options for adding a little fashion flare to your smile or straightening your teeth discreetly. Learn about all of your amazing options for braces today.

 

Back-To-School Success

Summer is almost over and it’s back to school time. Is your smile ready? A lot can happen over the summer and each year brings new exciting changes. Getting a straighter, more beautiful smile is something you don’t want to be without as a new year starts off. Did you know that kids with straighter teeth tend to feel more confident in school and around their peers? That confidence can help them get better grades, make more friends, and be more willing to try new opportunities. Every child and teenager alike wants to shine in their own way. You can do that and receive more confidence by getting your braces just in time for school.

 

In the past, many adolescents saw braces as embarrassing or unattractive. However, studies show that children and teens are receiving braces in much larger numbers than they did in the past. Now, instead of being embarrassing, braces are seen as a luxury for many families and individuals. In times of recession, families even go without necessities to make sure their children receive braces. Braces truly are worth having because of how beneficial they are for boosting self-esteem, confidence and how you’re perceived socially. Investing in them is a great way to help a child as they start off school once more.

 

Options for Your Braces

We love providing options for our patients at Belmar Orthodontics! Our most popular option for braces for children and teens alike are our traditional metal braces. However, there are other options we provide as well:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – This is our most economical option. Our patients love the colorful bands that they can customize their braces with. Each patient can choose a certain color they love every appointment or even do a rainbow of color if they so choose.
  • Incognito Lingual Braces – This option is very similar to traditional metal braces, however the braces are worn on the tongue-side of your teeth. We make an impression of your teeth and then custom-make braces that fit the inside of your teeth perfectly. You can straighten your teeth with the perfect hidden apparatus.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – We can provide ceramic braces for our patients. These braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but they are made from ceramic material. The braces blend in with your teeth perfectly as the brackets and even the wires can be made white. Ceramic braces can also decrease demineralization that can happen with metal sometimes.
  • Invisalign Teen – This is a version of Invisalign transparent aligners designed with the needs of teenagers in mind. These custom-fit aligners can correct smiles and unevenly-spaced teeth while allowing patients to continue eating, drinking, and cleaning their teeth with ease.  

 

Cleaning At Home

Your braces are something new and exciting. However, they must have proper care to truly work wonders. Brush and floss your teeth often. We recommend brushing and flossing at least twice daily. However, with braces you may want to brush the teeth more than twice a day. After each meal would be best, as food can become trapped in the brackets very easily, where it will then sit on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, acidic substance that you want to avoid. Plaque is made from the sugars in the food you eat that mix with the bacteria in your mouth. When food is left on the teeth, that plaque can form and begin to erode your teeth.

Not brushing and flossing enough can cause erosion and demineralization that will be obvious once the braces come off. Use special flossers to get in between the teeth sufficiently. Take care of your teeth so that your smile is beautiful and straight without blemishes when your braces come off!

 

Tips for Success At School

Your braces are easier to manage when you’re prepared. At school, take a mouthguard with you to gym class. You can get injured with braces when playing sports, especially contact sports. A mouthguard will help protect you and your mouth from injury. Be careful what you eat as well. Some foods can damage or break your braces and other foods can get tremendously stuck in the brackets. Some foods to avoid are anything hard, gooey, crunchy or sticky. This includes food items such as gummy bears, fruit snacks, hard candies, chips of any kind, hard vegetables, and nuts. If you really want a food (such as hard fruits and veggies), make sure to cut them up into bite-size pieces. Biting into foods can lodge them into the braces, so be careful with this.

 

We also have braces kits you can have or tips to make one yourself. Take a kit with you to school that has the cleaning essentials you need: mirror, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and flossers, wax for pokey wires, etc. If you need a quick cleaning or a quick fix for a wire, you’ll be set!

 

Your Free Consultation

There never was a better time to straighten your smile! Braces can provide your child the boost of confidence they need to start of the school year right. If you want to schedule your child’s appointment, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!

 

child orthodontics

Advancements in adult and child orthodontics have triggered a rise in adults seeking treatment for oral challenges they have had for years. When deciding to pursue orthodontic treatment, understanding the differences between adult and child orthodontics can help you decide what type of treatment is right for you. Everyone should want their best smile. Feeling confident about your teeth and smile is essential for healthy self-esteem and confidence. You can achieve both of those benefits with braces.

 

Benefits of Braces

For years, braces have helped millions of people receive a more beautiful smile. About 4 million Americans on average each year are wearing braces. You may think that braces are mostly for teenagers, but you may be surprised to know that about 25% of braces wearers are actually adults. A large portion of those 4 million are also children. Braces benefit people of all ages and it’s never too late to get your own set. Why are braces so important? Straighter teeth keep the mouth in proper alignment and help even out the pressure placed on the jaw each time you talk, bite, eat and more. When the teeth are straighter, they are easier to clean, especially to floss in between the teeth. This is why people with straighter teeth have a reduced risk for oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

The biggest oral health problems are tooth decay and gum disease. These problems come from lack of good oral hygiene habits. If you skip on brushing and flossing the teeth (or not doing them enough) you may start to have problems. When food sits on the teeth, the sugars from the food you ate (or drank) mix with bacteria in the mouth. This mixture creates a sticky acidic substance called plaque. That plaque works hard to erode your tooth enamel. If it sits on the teeth long enough without being cleaned through brushing or flossing, it will seep into the center of your tooth, called the pulp. This is where that acidic plaque will start to decay your tooth. If left untreated, the problem can become severe. Tooth decay is the most wide-spread childhood disease.

 

Gum disease is similar to tooth decay, but it has to do with the gums. Plaque is not your friend in this case either. When it sits on the teeth for too long, it can irritate the gums. You may notice your gums begin to turn more red and they may become inflamed. Over time, if good oral hygiene habits are not established, the gums will begin to recede from the teeth. This can eventually cause the teeth to begin falling out. About 64.7 million American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. That’s not even including the number for children! Even though tooth decay and gum disease are so wide-spread, they can both be prevented by brushing and flossing several times a day and by establishing and keeping good oral hygiene habits.

Child Orthodontics

One area we specialize in is child orthodontics. A large portion of the people that wear braces are children. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between ages 7 and 8. Having an examination early-on helps prevent the progression of orthodontic issues that may be present. In children, we can detect certain orthodontic problems—such as underbite or crossbite—that are present. These problems can be fixed with child orthodontics and other bite and alignment problems such as overbite, openbite and malocclusion. The jaw is still forming in children, so performing child orthodontics at this age can help easily correct problems that are harder to deal with as an adult. Even if your child does not show any signs or symptoms of orthodontic complications, you can still benefit from child orthodontics. Some benefits include:

  • Monitoring the facial and jaw development
  • Observing the progress of incoming teeth
  • Guiding incoming teeth into their proper positions
  • Reducing the risk of impacted teeth
  • Decreasing the risk for permanent tooth extractions
  • Detecting hidden dental issues

 

Adult Orthodontics

Adult and child orthodontics are very similar. However, it often takes longer to correct bite and alignment problems in adults than it does children or teenagers. This is because the jaw and mouth has stopped growing by adulthood. If bite or alignment problems are severe, an adult may have to look into receiving surgery to correct the problem. Adults also have a few more options when it comes to what kind of braces they would like. Adults and teenagers have the option to choose these types of braces besides traditional metal braces:

  • Lingual Braces – These are also known as “Incognito” braces. They are a hidden braces apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth. Worn on the inside, no one will even know you are wearing braces.
  • Invisalign Transparent Aligners – This is a series of removable transparent aligners that are custom-made for your teeth. They can be removed for activities such as eating, drinking, sports and more. Because they are transparent, they are also a secret way for adults and teenagers to discreetly straighten their teeth.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – Made of ceramic material, these braces fit in with the color of your natural teeth. Ceramic material helps reduce the risk for demineralization and staining.

 

Your New Smile

Whether you are an adult or child, it’s never too late to improve your smile! For people of all ages, a straight smile boosts confidence and self esteem. For adults, that new smile of yours could help you land a job. Studies have also shown that straighter smiles make you appear more confident, successful, attractive and even more trustworthy to others. The benefits of braces are just too good to pass up! If you would like a new smile today, call our Belmar Orthodontics office at (303) 225-9016!