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Temporary Anchorage Devices: What Are They?

Posted on: February 8, 2019

Picture of young adult wearing braces and smiling

Whenever our teeth need an extra push to shift them into a straighter position, orthodontists will typically install a temporary anchorage device, commonly known as a “TAD.” Although they’re not used in every case, they help pull, push, and lift difficult to adjust teeth into the correct position. If your orthodontist recommends that you have a TAD, read through this guide to understand how they function and what you can do to maintain them!

 

Origins of Orthodontia

Poorly aligned jaws and teeth have been a nuisance to mankind since the beginning of time, so it’s no surprise that orthodontics has been around for so long. Archaeologists have found human remains with crooked teeth dating back 50,000 years; interestingly enough, the remains of some ancient civilizations, like Egypt, have been found with crude metal bands around their teeth, a form of orthodontics very similar to braces that we see nowadays. The ancient Greek, the Etruscans, and the Romans also practiced orthodontia and kept records of their discoveries. The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, was the first to describe teeth irregularities around 400 BC, and centuries later, Celcus would advise bringing newly emerging teeth into their proper position by pushing them with your fingers.

 

By the 1700 and 1800s, orthodontics was developing rapidly. Pierre Fauchard, the “Father of Dentistry,” would create the bandeau that allowed teeth to align correctly by using a strip of metal with regularly spaced holes that fit around the teeth. During the 20th century, Edward Hartley Angle would identify the true properties of a malocclusion, or misalignment, and begin addressing them with an effective set of orthodontic appliances that were developed much earlier. By the 1970s, braces would further advance through the invention of dental adhesives that would allow orthodontists to stick brackets to teeth surfaces rather than wiring them around each tooth. Stainless steel replaced gold and silver that were previously used as the wire, which helped reduce the cost of braces significantly. Even with the impressive advances that we have made since the beginning of orthodontics, patients around the world still suffer from advanced teeth and jaw malocclusion that normal braces can’t resolve on their own. For the purpose of increasing the effectiveness of braces, other orthodontic devices have been invented to facilitate this process.

 

Orthodontic DevicesOrthodontic model of orthodontic devices used in the mouth

Whenever we think of “orthodontics,” we innately assume braces. Braces have two basic parts: brackets and wires. Wires move the teeth and brackets serve as a stationary holder for the wires. Contemporary braces can be stainless steel, gold-colored, or tooth-colored ceramic. Most braces go on the front of the teeth, but there are some, called lingual braces, that are fastened onto the backs of teeth that are virtually invisible. Lingual braces are not the same as clear aligners, which is another orthodontic device. Clear aligners are made of a transparent plastic-like material and are considered “invisible braces.” They are made to fit the patient’s teeth at different stages of treatment. Each set of aligners is worn for 1-3 weeks for at least 22 hours a day, and are designed to move the teeth incrementally until the next set is used. While these types of braces are a very common sight to see in many homes, schools, and workplaces, they aren’t the only devices used to move teeth and align jaws. Power chains are sometimes used with braces for an added push. They are stronger than the traditional elastic rings and can apply an extra force when needed. The last orthodontic device that is commonly used, although many patients don’t know what their purpose is, is a temporary anchorage device, or TAD.

 

TADs

Temporary anchorage devices, most commonly known as TADs, are used in some orthodontic cases to help shift the teeth into a straighter position when traditional braces can’t do it on their own. For this reason, not everyone needs them. TADS use titanium mini-screws (sometimes called mini-implants or micro-implants) that provide a fixed object that can be used to push, pull, lift, or intrude teeth that are being straightened. TADS don’t move and can be placed in many different parts of the mouth, so they are highly efficient at moving difficult teeth back into proper alignment. Before TADs are ever inserted into your mouth, though, your orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and determine whether your malocclusion is severe enough to receive a TAD. Before insertion, your gum tissue and jaw area will be numbed so that the procedure will be nearly painless. The TAD is then placed into your jawbone, and will eventually be removed once your orthodontist feels that it is no longer needed for straightening your teeth.

 

Just like braces, it may take a couple of days for the discomfort to subside and your mouth to get used to the TAD. Try taking an over-the-counter pain relief medication to alleviate any excessive discomfort. An important part of maintaining your TAD is continuing your oral hygiene regimen. Continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day and use mouthwash with antimicrobial ingredients. As long as your gums are healthy throughout the duration of your treatment, you shouldn’t have any complications with your TAD.

 

Get Straighter Teeth Today

To learn more about TADS, or to schedule an appointment to begin your treatment plan for braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! At Belmar Orthodontics, we have a highly skilled and experienced team that is happy to help you start your journey to a healthier and happier smile.

 

Why You Should Wear Your Retainer

Posted on: February 1, 2019

Woman holding two types of retainers for the mouth

After you have your braces removed, most patients receive a retainer that they wear at night to keep their teeth from moving. But what kind of retainer should you have, and how long should you wear it? Retainers maintain oral health after braces by keeping your teeth in the correct alignment. Many people fail to use their retainers properly, and have to be fitted for braces again. Learn how to prevent your teeth from moving after braces and how to keep your teeth straight!

 

Purpose of Retainers

After you complete your time with braces, it will be necessary for you to consistently wear the retainer that your orthodontist advises you to wear. A retainer is an apparatus made of plastic and metal that is custom-made for each patient’s teeth and mouth. No two retainers are alike, but they all serve the same function as they seek to keep our teeth aligned properly after our braces are removed. Most people have to wear a retainer after they get their braces off, but many times people wear retainers to close gaps in their teeth, help with a speech impediment, or address specific medical issues. Retainers are especially important after your braces are removed, though, because our teeth will attempt to return to their original position after treatment. Another type of tooth movement that we want to avoid is natural physiological drift, which happens as the width of our smiles gets narrower as we age and our teeth begin to crowd. This occurs to everyone, but consistently using a retainer can prevent this shift in our teeth.

 

Getting your braces removed is definitely an exciting moment, but keeping your teeth straight is a lifetime effort. Our newly-aligned teeth need time to settle into our soft tissue and jawbone, and wearing your retainer helps this process be successful. Wearing your retainer at night and in between meals allows your teeth to hold their new form and prevents them from shifting back into their old position. As our bodies grow, our teeth follow suit, and retainers maintain the new tooth position that your braces achieved during your treatment. At the beginning, it may be necessary to wear your retainer all day for a few months, or you may only have to wear it at night a few times a week. Your orthodontist will advise you on how long and how often you should wear your retainer, and it is important that you follow all recommendations that you are given.

 

Types of Retainers

There are two main types of retainers that are used: removable and fixed. Removable retainers can be removed whenever you eat and brush your teeth, but typically must be worn full-time for at least one year after you get your braces removed. Hawley retainers are the most common type of removable retainer and is fit to your mouth shape with wires that wrap around your teeth. Invisible, or Essix, retainers are made of clear plastic that makes it look as if you’re not wearing anything, which increases its aesthetic appeal. Depending on the treatment plan you received during your time wearing braces, your orthodontist may recommend only wearing either of these two removable retainers at night. On the other hand, fixed retainers are those that are cemented to the backs of your teeth and kept in place for several years, even decades. This type of retainer is useful for those people who don’t want to worry about constantly removing their retainer or whose teeth have a higher likelihood of post-braces movement.

 

Caring For Your RetainerPicture of different types of waterpiks and teeth cleaning apparatuses

Depending on which type of retainer you use, there are certain instructions that are recommended to properly care for your retainer. For fixed retainers, regular dental checkups are essential to monitor for cavities and clean out any tartar or plaque. When flossing, make sure to use a floss threader that will allow you to go underneath the wire and clean between the teeth. As an additional measure, use a waterpik to rinse out food around the wire. Waterpiks should not replace normal flossing because floss physically removes bacteria from the teeth and gums while a waterpik merely rinses those areas. Although fixed retainers are incredibly strong, they can still break. Try to avoid biting hard foods, like carrots and nuts, with your front teeth to avoid any damage to your retainer. For a removable retainer, make sure to scrub it with soap and a toothbrush daily, or you can try soaking them in denture cleaning tablets or vinegar and water. Whenever you take out your removable retainer, make sure to keep it in a reliable case where it can be protected from pesky pets or avoid being accidentally thrown away. Don’t wear your retainer while playing sports, especially swimming, skiing, or contact sports, and make sure to avoid heat by keeping them away from hot water or hot car dashboards.

 

Tips For Maintaining Your Oral Health

Retainers play a vital role in keeping our teeth straight and preventing oral health problems, such as teeth crowding, but they aren’t the only recommendation for maintaining good oral health. Make sure to continue flossing and brushing your teeth daily, while visiting with your dentist every six months for a general checkup. For more information on the different types of retainers that are available and what would be the best fit for you, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 to learn how to improve your smile and oral health!

 

Dental Emergencies With Braces

Posted on: January 25, 2019

 

Young woman pointing at braces

Braces are incredible devices that can help transform your teeth and reshape your jaws. However, they are not always fool-proof. Every so often, a patient will have a dental emergency. That may be a bad cavity that needs to be fixed, or a bracket or wire will break. There are only a few dental emergencies that can happen with braces. We can help you to know what to do when each of those emergencies happen!

 

Origins of Braces

Orthodontic treatments have been around for a long time-even as far back as the ancient Egyptians! Although their ways were archaic, people for centuries have been trying to fix crooked teeth and develop a prettier smile through orthodontic work. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans were known to have practiced orthodontia, and interestingly, the Etruscans used to attach gold bands to women’s teeth to preserve the position of their teeth after death. Orthodontics saw a surge in progress during the 18th century thanks to Pierre Fauchard. Known as the “Father of Dentistry,” he invented an appliance called a bandeau, which was a horseshoe-shaped piece of metal with regularly spaced holes that fit around the teeth to correct the alignment. He would also use forceps to physically realign teeth into their correct positions and tie them to neighboring teeth until they healed.

 

Orthodontics in the United States exploded during the 19th century. J.S. Gunnell created a type of headgear that fashioned to the head and exerted a soft pull on teeth while Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber which would eventually become one of the most commonly used appliances in orthodontics. But Edward Hartley Angle, the “Father of Modern Orthodontics,” took orthodontics to another level by identifying the true properties of malocclusion, or misalignment, and addressed them with his own set of orthodontic appliances in 1880. Until the 1970s, orthodontist would attach anchored brackets around each tooth with winding wires, but with the invention of dental adhesives, orthodontists could then stick the brackets to teeth surfaces. Stainless steel then replaced gold and silver as the most popular option for wires, due to its manipulability, and became the most cost-efficient option for braces.

 

Dental Emergencies and What To Do About Them

Braces have come a long way since their beginnings many centuries ago, but as braces have evolved, so have the problems that come with them. Although dental emergencies are few and far between when it comes to braces, there are some common issues that can be readily addressed and fixed if serious enough. The least serious issues that you can have with your braces is tooth tenderness and lip and cheek sores. As your teeth become accustomed to your braces, your teeth will most likely be sore for 2-4 days. Using headgear, rubber bands, and springs can add to this soreness, but that discomfort normally goes away in the same amount of time. Eating soft foods and taking an over the counter pain reliever can help dull the ache. Loose or broke bands and brackets are also another annoyance that sometimes occur with braces. Although not considered an emergency, they normally break due to patient’s eating prohibited foods or picking at their braces. Whenever this occurs, place a piece of wax on the spot of irritation and wait until your next orthodontic appointment, unless the broken bracket breaks on one of the upper or lower front four teeth, then call your orthodontist as soon as possible.

 

Protruding wires are not only bothersome, but can stab the inside of your lips and mouth if not fixed. Wires can come loose from eating sticky foods, like candy, or by picking at your braces. If this has occurred, try using a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire in towards the teeth. To avoid accidental damage to the wire, make sure to not bite your nails or pens and pencils. In rare occasions, a piece of the appliance may break and be swallowed by the patient. Although alarming, keep calm and have someone look in your mouth to see if the appliance if visible. If confident that you can remove it, you may carefully attempt to do so. If you are unable to see the piece, are coughing excessively, or having difficulty breathing, that could be a sign that the piece could have been aspirated and you should contact your orthodontist immediately.

 

How To Protect Your BracesMan flossing braces and smiling

Unless under extenuating circumstances, most dental emergencies are avoidable. Maintaining good oral health and hygiene throughout your time with braces is vital in ensuring healthy teeth and gums, and preventing cavities. Food particles are easier to get stuck between braces, and when not cleaned thoroughly, can lead to other dental emergencies, like tooth decay, which can cause major complications. Hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar should be avoided as they are known to break brackets and cause cavities, which you more susceptible of developing while wearing braces. Some of the need-to-avoid foods include hard candy, nuts, apples, popcorn, ice, gum, caramel, and licorice.

 

Because braces are so notorious for getting food stuck in them, make sure that you are brushing after every meal to prevent staining and reducing bacteria buildup in your mouth. Use a soft brush, and brush each tooth by starting at the top and brushing down, then repeating the motion and brushing up around each bracket. Use threadable floss of a floss threader to get the hard to reach areas in between teeth that are covered by the archwire. Using the pointed end, insert between the teeth and gently move the floss back and forth between the two teeth. For added care, use a proxabrush, sometimes called a “Christmas tree brush,” to scrub between each bracket in an up and down motion to get any extra gunk that might be stuck there. For any dental emergencies that you might be having, make sure to contact Belmar Orthodontics at  (303) 225-9016 for your next consultation!

Braces With Oral Health Problems

Posted on: January 11, 2019

Photo of a woman's smile with half of teeth with braces and half without

Did you know that your oral health can affect your overall health? Poor oral health can even worsen health conditions you already have such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. That is because oral health and overall health are highly connected. Your oral issues can become better with braces, but that is only if certain oral health problems are corrected beforehand. Patients can also develop oral health problems if they don’t have the right knowledge with proper braces care. Use these tips to avoid oral health problems with braces and find out how we work around current problems to provide you with a straighter smile!

 

Oral Health Goals

 

Did you know that orthodontic treatment can give you a healthier mouth? We know that braces help straighten your teeth, but they can also improve the health of your gums and teeth. When you have crooked and crowded teeth, this makes cleaning your mouth more difficult. This can cause serious oral health problems, such as tooth decay, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Whether you have straight or crooked teeth, before you let an orthodontist start working on you, there are some important oral health tips to be following before any work begins:

 

  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks
  • See a dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease
  • Brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Discuss changing certain lifestyle practices, like smoking and using oral piercings

 

Types of Braces

Braces are a big commitment, and you want to make sure you’re using the correct ones whenever you get them put on. Each of us is a different size and shape, and are mouths aren’t any different. Because of this, there are various types of braces for different sizes and shapes of mouths for children, teenagers, and adults. The four most common types of braces are: traditional, short-term, clear, and Invisalign/ClearCorrect.

 

Traditional braces are those that we see on a daily basis: a system of wires and brackets that are bonded to our teeth. This type of braces are the most cost-effective, reliable, and are best suited for severe orthodontic issues. Short-term braces are recommended for those patients who wish to align just their front six teeth-the ones that others see the most. These are used for the shortest amount of time (less teeth to align), but there is no adjustment to your occlusion (bite). So if you have a problem with an under/overbite, short-term braces may not be for you. Clear braces are similar to traditional metal brackets except that they use ceramic brackets that match the color of your teeth. These braces have a high aesthetic appeal for those who don’t want to be seen wearing braces, plus they are highly resistant to staining. Invisalign//ClearCorrect straighten your teeth without the traditional wire brackets, and are completely removable, which makes cleaning your teeth a cinch. This type requires more responsibility for the wearer, but if you’re committed to the strict wearing regimen, you can have a straight smile in as little as 12 months!

 

Taking Care of Your Braces

Woman cleaning in between braces with proxabrush

While similar to managing our oral health, maintaining our braces has a few extra steps. To maintain good oral health with braces, it’s important to adopt good oral hygiene throughout the entire process. Brushing after every meal is one of the most important but most overlooked steps in maintaining good oral health. When eating, food particles get stuck in between our teeth and our braces, which can cause staining and bacterial backup between our teeth. Using a regular soft brush in an up-and-down motion on each tooth will do the trick. Secondly, use threadable floss or a floss threader. These tools allow you to get between each tooth and underneath the wires to clean out any food that may be trapped there. Insert the threader between two teeth and move back and forth until the food is released. Lastly, use a proxabrush, or a “Christmas tree brush.” Place the proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, and brush up and down. Like the threader, this will also help loosen up any food that may be stuck between your teeth.

 

A great way to ensure that your braces don’t break and that you don’t get unwanted gunk stuck in them is to watch what foods you’re eating. Foods that are hard, sticky, or high in sugar should be avoided. Eating food that is high in sugar can cause cavities when wearing braces, which can lead to more dental work that you would need to have done. Furthermore, patients with braces should limit between meal snacks and avoid food that could bend the wires, such as caramel, nuts, chewing gum, ice, or popcorn.

 

When To See An Orthodontist

Now that we understand more about the importance of our oral health, plus the different types of braces, when should we make an appointment with an orthodontist? Many times, we only schedule a time to see an orthodontist whenever our teeth are crooked and we want them straightened. But there are other factors that influence when we should start thinking about getting in to see the doctor:

 

  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude, or are recessed
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)
  • Inability to comfortably close lips
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth

 

As mentioned earlier, these are signs that your oral health might not be up to par like it should be. Meeting with your orthodontist and discussing these issues will help them better treat you with one of the four types of braces that we discussed previously. The sooner you get in to see your orthodontist, the sooner any pain or discomfort can be evaluated, treated, and extinguished.

 

Meet Your New Year’s Resolutions With Our Help!

Belmar Orthodontics can help you on your path towards having a straighter smiles and better oral health. With reputable orthodontists, manageable treatment plans, and services for children and adults, we can help you get the smile that you deserve! Call (303) 225-9016!

 

Dressing Up Your Smile During the Holidays

Posted on: December 14, 2018

A young, blond teenager that is smiling at the camera and wearing a Santa Claus hat. She has metal braces on her teeth to get a better smile.

The holidays are here, which means parties, dinners, photo opportunities and more. Now is a great time to make your smile shine, and you can do that through orthodontic treatment. If you’re smile is lack-luster, consider our four orthodontic options that can help you have a straighter smile. For those already with braces, you can dress up your brackets with bright colors to reflect the season. Use these tips for getting a more beautiful smile with braces and having that show in your holiday snapshots this year!

 

Dress Up Your Smile with Orthodontics

The higher number of holidays during the winter season is believed to be because of the many pagan festivals that surrounded the Winter Solstice many years ago. That solstice happens in the third week of december, where there is Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and other holidays all happening. With all those holidays and the gatherings that come with them, it’s likely to mean many opportunities for photos and showing off your smile. You want that smile to impress.

 

Studies show that people that straighten their smiles often feel more confident than those who don’t. That confidence can be visible even while you are currently getting orthodontic treatment. Straight teeth are so important to people that 87% of people are willing to forego something they want for a year or more to be able to get braces. If you have braces, not only is it something to be proud of, but something to be admired. If you don’t have braces, getting them is a great way to give yourself an amazing gift just in time for the holidays.

 

An image of a young adult male and female that are taking a photo together. The female has clear, ceramic braces on her teeth to get a better smile during the holidays.

Your Treatment Options

In the past, metal braces were your only option. However, you have many cool options today that you can gift yourself such as:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – These are the classic metal bracket and wire option that is most commonly chosen by patients. Patients who chose this option come in to have their wires tightened at each appointment.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces are a close cousin to metal braces. They have the same bracket and wire design of metal braces, except that they are made out of ceramic material. This helps decrease demineralization during your orthodontic treatment. Ceramic material is also naturally white, helping these braces to blend in with your teeth more than metal would.
  • Lingual Braces – These are metal braces that are placed on the back of your teeth. Instead of just a square bracket, the metal must be custom-made to the shape of the back of your teeth. This is a discrete option that adults and teens love.
  • Invisalign Treatment – This is the most invisible option available to our patients. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that you wear at night and throughout the day. You can remove them for eating, playing sports, cleaning your teeth and more.

If You Already Have Braces

Maybe you already have braces. You can still make your smile wow in pictures by taking care of your smile. If you have metal or ceramic braces, our patients love to get colored bands that reflect the colors of the holidays. You can make your bands green and red for Christmas, blue and white for winter or any color you would like. Colorful bracket bands are just one way you can dress up your smile.

 

If you already have braces, then you have already started on your journey to a better smile. Orthodontic treatment can correct mild to severe issues with bite and alignment, and can help correct speech impediments. It can bring the teeth and jaws into proper position, reducing your risk for oral health diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease. Straighter teeth are teeth that are easier to clean and less likely to have breaks and fractures from uneven mouth pressure.

 

However, if you want your smile to dazzle in photos and at holiday get-togethers, you have to take care of it. The best way to do that is by brushing and flossing your teeth. Those two simple steps should be dones several times a day to keep your brackets clean and your teeth polished. Patients should brush 3 times a day or more to dislodge food and to clean the teeth after meals. Flossing should be done 1-2 times a day. Even though it takes a bit longer to do, don’t skip this step! If you do, you miss cleaning 40% of your tooth surfaces that can leave them open to decay, erosion and staining. Those are not things you want in a holiday photo.

 

An attractive teen girl that is smiling and shaping her hands around her mouth. Her teeth have clear, ceramic braces on them to straighten them.

Better Health for the New Year

The end of the year is a time to start making goals for the new year. One of those goals can be focused around having better health in the new year. Many people don’t realize just how connected oral health is with overall health. Countless chronic conditions can become more mild or they can intensify depending on how well you are taking care of your oral health. For example, if you have diabetes, not taking care of your teeth and gums can lead to oral infections that are really hard to battle because you have diabetes. Your body is less able to fight those infections and the infections can spread, worsening your condition.

 

However, if you do the basics of brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting your dentist and orthodontist like you should, you can keep your oral health in great shape. That makes it so your smile is amazing when your braces come off instead of damaged or decayed. To get some tips for taking care of your braces or for starting on an orthodontic plan, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

Lingual Braces: History and Benefits

Posted on: October 25, 2018

A brunette woman with red lipstick on tilting her head to the right slightly and smiling at the camera.

Several decades ago, traditional metal braces were the only option available for patients to get a beautiful, straight smile. However, the traditional take on braces changed when lingual braces were introduced. These are metal braces that go in your mouth, except they are bonded to the back of your teeth instead of the front. This option is a popular one for teens and adults, as they can hide their metal braces in their mouth as they straighten the teeth.

 

What Are Traditional Metal Braces?

Metal braces are “traditional” because the bracket-and-wire design they have has been used for decades. Before 1970, orthodontists anchored metal brackets to the center of each tooth and wound wires around the teeth to straighten them. After 1970, orthodontists continued to use metal anchorage devices (called brackets) on the front and center of each tooth.

 

A metal archwire was sufficient for straightening when it ran along the upper and lower jaws across the front of the teeth. Traditional braces use a system of archwires and brackets that are bonded to the teeth to shift them into their ideal position. When we see you at your frequent checkups, we will adjust the archwire, which will exert more pressure on your teeth, moving them in place.

 

The back molars will have metal bands that fit all the way around the back molars of the teeth. This is where the archwire will attach and be stabilized. Both top and bottom jaws will have these bands on them. The brackets on each tooth will have a rubber band around them, which are removable. They help keep your bracket hooks from catching on your mouth.

 

Close-up view of the inside of a patient's mouth with lingual braces on the teeth.

How Are Lingual Braces Different?

Lingual braces are similar to traditional metal braces. Many people don’t aesthetically like the look of metal braces, but they love their final straight smile. Metal braces are the strongest and are highly effective for achieving a beautiful smile. What can patients do if they want a straight smile but they don’t want braces front and center? Put that metal on the inside of the mouth between the teeth and the tongue!

 

Lingual braces are metal braces just like the traditional version, except that they are on the tongue-side of your teeth. However, there isn’t as much room on the back of your teeth like there is on the front of your teeth. If you notice, there is also a bit of a curve to the back of some of your teeth. That bracket-and-wire design can’t be exactly like the traditional version, but the design can be similar.

 

Using the same idea as traditional metal braces, you can achieve the same results as traditional braces, only with a hidden treatment apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth. Patients that choose this option have impressions made of their mouth that focus on the backs of their teeth. After those impressions are sent to a special lab, metal backings for the teeth are made that are then bonded to the back of your teeth. They are almost like metal coverings for the entire tooth back, and often are silver or gold in color. These metal coverings also have small metal brackets and wires that discreetly correct bite and alignment issues over time. The concept is similar, but the design is tweaked to give lingual braces the same stability as traditional metal ones.

 

A close-up view of a woman's teeth that are beautiful and straight.

The Invention of Lingual Braces

  • The push for hidden braces first started in the 70s with celebrities and public figures that wanted straighter teeth without visible metal braces.
  • Craven Kurz and Jim Mulick were the first to develop prototypes for these braces in 1975. Craven Kurz was an orthodontist who later founded the American Lingual Orthodontic Association. Jim Mulick was the man Kurz partnered with from the UCLA School of Dentistry.
  • The first prototypes of lingual braces led to tongue irritation and bracket breaks, which were resolved by inventing an inclined plane for these braces.
  • Lingual braces are usually made of stainless steel, but they can also be made out of titanium.
  • Craven Kurz applied for a patent in 1976 and the first lingual braces were produced in 1979. Ormco was the company Kurz partnered with that eventually created 7 different generations of lingual models until the current model.
  • Each model involved changes to the orthodontic appliance including the additions of hooks and crannies, anterior and molar brackets and hooks, inclined planes, torque values, transpalatal bar hooks and a heart-shaped inclined plane.
  • There are various designs of lingual braces that will vary based on how they look and how they are attached to the teeth. We use the “Incognito” style, but you may also hear types such as “iBraces”, “In-Ovation”, “STb Light Lingual System” and “Suresmile Lingual QT”.

 

How Do You Benefit?

Getting braces at all is a major step in the right direction if you want to be successful. Studies show that people who straighten their teeth often feel more confident in themselves, and their actions become more confident. Due to social, economic or aesthetic concerns, many patients may have the desire to straighten their teeth, but they don’t want to have metal braces on their teeth. For adults with careers or active social lives, they may view traditional metal braces as something only children and teens have.

 

However, at least 1/4th of patients with braces are adults. You simply may not see those braces because they have invisible braces like lingual braces. Lingual braces can achieve the same effect as regular metal braces without being seen. For a career setting, you can keep your white smile as it slowly becomes straighter overtime. For athletes, there isn’t a worry about dental injuries, as brackets and wires won’t cut up the cheeks or gums. Those who play wind instruments will find that lingual braces are much easier to play with than traditional braces. You get both the aesthetic appeal with sturdy straightening power with lingual braces. If you would like your free consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

Blonde woman smiling and pointing to her mouth to emphasize her straight teeth.

Did you know that getting your teeth straightened can be a form of restorative dentistry? This is because restorative dentistry seeks to restore or bring your smile to a more perfect state. Crooked teeth can become straight, which in turn starts to relieve the burdens of tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and other oral health problems. If you want to restore your smile once more, see what our 4 different orthodontic options can do for you!

 

Why Is Your Smile Important?

Some patients don’t realize just how important a smile really is. Studies show that your smile is one of the first things another person will notice about you. Is that smile showing that you are healthy and confident? Or do you hide your smile because of crooked teeth, discoloration or other aspects you don’t like? When a smile looks good, studies show that people often feel more confident and they exude that confidence much easier. A better smile can lead a person to be more social and confident to pursue successful endeavors.

 

It’s not only what a smile does for a person themself that’s important. How your smile looks to others also will determine a lot about how successful you are. The makes of the orthodontic appliance Invisalign conducted a study about smiles, and what they found was quite amazing:

  • 1/3rd of people notice a person’s smile before any other feature.
  • Those who have a straighter, more beautiful smile are 45% more likely to get a job over a competitor with a crooked or discolored smile.
  • Your smile can send messages about how healthy you are and how happy you seem. When that smile is straighter and more beautiful, others will see you as 21% more likely to be healthier and 47% happier.
  • 73% of people are more likely to trust you at first glance if you have a better smile.
  • You’re 58% more likely to be perceived as wealthy and 57% more likely to get a date if you have a great smile.

 

Brunette woman smiling and holding transparent orthodontic aligners.

What Is Restorative Dentistry?

Your teeth will determine most of how good your oral health. When you eat, sugars in the food you eat mix with mouth bacteria. That creates plaque, or that sticky, acidic substance that coats your teeth. Over time, if proper oral hygiene habits aren’t observed, the teeth will change colors and decay. This happens much easier to the teeth if they are crooked. That’s because it’s harder to clean between the teeth if there is no way to get floss through crooked teeth.

 

Restorative dentistry seeks to restore smiles that are crooked or damaged through decay or gum disease (a disease to the gums that happens just like tooth decay). This form of dentistry consists of dental services such as teeth whitening, same-day crowns, root canal therapy and tooth-colored fillings. There are many dental patients that will get dental veneers—also known as “porcelain veneers”—to restore their smile. This is a dental service where the top layer of your teeth is taken off and replaced with a perfect, white tooth shell. However, once that part of your natural tooth is taken off, you can’t get that natural part back. Porcelain veneers do make your smile look beautiful, but they don’t change your crooked teeth or oral health issues underneath.

 

Fixing the Problem with Orthodontic Treatment

Fixing the problem permanently is a great solution to getting a beautiful smile and reducing your problems with tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and more. Straighter smiles are ones that are easier to clean and ones that look attractive and healthy. Plus, once you straighten your smile with orthodontic treatment, it can stay that way for life. Orthodontics is different than dentistry, but is absolutely important to your oral health.

 

Dentists will fix problems with tooth decay and gum disease. Orthodontic treatment and restorative dentistry through those braces can help prevent problems in the first place. Plus, orthodontic braces are able to correct bite and alignment issues that are caused by misaligned bites and jaws. Those issues can cause speech and development problems without intervention. Without orthodontic treatment, other restorative dentistry methods can only do so much.

 

Close-up view of a woman's mouth as she is putting in transparent orthodontic aligners.

Restorative Dentistry for You

Our easiest method of restorative dentistry for teens and adults is through Invisalign treatment. This option works just as well as our lingual braces, ceramic braces and traditional metal braces. However, with Invisalign, the focus is on aesthetics as well as straightening. We want you to have a beautiful smile as you straighten, and Invisalign is a great way to achieve that.

 

Invisalign is a orthodontic treatment that is designed to be virtually unnoticeable on your teeth. Patients have their teeth digitally scanned in-office and a treatment plan is made for them, mapping out how orthodontic treatment will transform their smile in 18 months or less. Often, patients can straighten their smile in 1/3rd of that time, depending on the condition of the teeth, bite and alignment. Less office visits are typically needed for this type of restorative dentistry.

 

You simply wear your aligners for 20-22 hours each day (and overnight), and by switching out the aligners each week, your teeth shift into a straight smile over time. The benefit of this restorative dentistry option is that you are actually fixing the root cause of oral health problems. Crooked teeth cause tooth decay and gum disease to worsen, but you avoid that with a straight smile. With other restorative dentistry options (such as teeth whitening or veneers), you will still have the crooked teeth (although masked), and possibly the dental problems. Avoid all that while still getting a beautiful smile with Invisalign. If you want to learn more about this restorative dentistry option for adults and teens, contact Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

Choosing to Have Adult Braces

Posted on: September 17, 2018

Woman with clear braces that is smiling at the camera.

If you are an adult with crooked teeth, you may think that you already missed your opportunity to get braces. However, adult braces are very popular. In fact, at least 1/4th of all braces wearers are adults. You simply might not see braces on many of your peers because adults have a couple orthodontic options that stay hidden in the mouth. Find out if you should choose to have adult braces, what the benefits are, and what options you have to straighten your teeth discreetly!

 

Do Adults Wear Braces?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that every person have an orthodontic evaluation between the ages of 7 and 8. This is prime time for orthodontists to correct bite and alignment issues that can become severe as a child ages. However, not everyone knows that they need to see an orthodontist, nor do many people have the means to receive orthodontic care due to cost. That opportunity may come when you are an adult. Have you missed the mark if you’re already an adult instead of a child? Certainly not!

 

Orthodontic treatment is a bit harder when you are an adult, but it is not too tricky for us to manage. Orthodontists recommend that children and teens get braces for bite, alignment and issues with crooked tooth when young. This is because the jaws are still growing and the teeth and jaws are more moldable until a teen grows older. As an adult, the jaws have hardened into place, so shifting the teeth and jaws is much more difficult.

 

However, modern technology definitely allows adults to change their smiles as they please. In fact, 1/4th of all people wearing braces are adults! Adult braces are becoming more and more popular as jobs become more competitive. Adult braces can really give people the edge they need to succeed because it creates a more beautiful, straight smile.

 

Close-up view of a woman's mouth that has Invisalign transparent aligners on the teeth.

Benefits of Choosing Adult Braces

There is more than just the aesthetics of receiving adult braces. Getting braces can not only improve your appearance, but they can radically change your oral health. Did you know that your risk for tooth decay and gum disease is significantly less with braces? This is because the teeth become straighter, getting rid of all the nooks and crannies plaque and bacteria cluster in with crooked teeth. The teeth are easier to clean, and your smile looks much better, so you’ll actually want to clean your teeth more often.

 

Many people do love what adult braces can offer their smile. The main advantage is confidence. Many studies have been conducted on the confidence that a smile can bring not only to a person but to others. When you feel self-conscious of how your teeth look, you’re less likely to show your smile to others. This can happen even with children, who may become more introverted because they are self-conscious. However, when smiles are healthy and straight, people tend to show them off more. The more smiling, the more confidence a person feels and the more likely they are to be perceived as such.

 

The company that invented Invisalign actually conducted studies about this very thing. They found that people who had better, straighter smiles appeared much more confident than those with crooked smiles. The patients themselves felt 60% happier, more attractive and more successful, and others saw them as such. Those with straight smiles were more likely to land a job over their competition and were more likely to be successful with home, school and social life. They were also perceived as 72% more trustworthy just based on first impressions. The benefits of adult braces are endless and all benefit you!

 

What Options Do You Have?

Adults have all the orthodontic options available to them for straightening:

  • Traditional Metal Braces: Consists of a metal bracket and wire design.
  • Ceramic Braces: These are very similar to traditional braces, except they are made from white, ceramic material that helps hide them in the mouth. Ceramic material helps prevent tooth demineralization.
  • Lingual Adult Braces: These are metal braces that fit behind the teeth and are bonded to the backs of your teeth. Molds are made of the teeth so that the metal can be custom-made to cover your teeth. This option is a preferred one among adults seeking adult braces.
  • Invisalign: This orthodontic treatment consists of transparent aligners that are customized to your mouth with a digital machine. You will get a new aligner each week, which you place in your mouth like a retainer. They stay hidden in your mouth, can be removed for regular oral hygiene cleaning and eating, and you get a better smile!

 

Woman looking towards the camera and smiling while she is about to put transparent orthodontic aligners in her mouth.

What Can You Expect?

Many people aren’t quite sure what to expect from their first orthodontic visit, as orthodontists don’t do the same work that dentists do. Dr. Hardy will meet with you for an oral evaluation and orthodontics consultation. He will examine your bite and alignment and will determine your candidacy for specific procedures if they are needed. Oral health issues—such as periodontal (gum) disease—will have to be resolved before the teeth can be straightened.

 

If bite and alignment issues are not present, you can move forward with regular straightening treatment. Dr. Hardy will take impressions of your teeth and will plan out a trajectory of your orthodontic plan. This is where you can know how long you will wear braces and how your mouth should look by the end of your treatment. You will also choose which orthodontic option you would like (traditional, lingual, ceramic or Invisalign) so that appliances can be made to fit your mouth.

 

After your consultation, your next appointment will be your braces fitting. After that, it’s easy to care for your mouth between quick adjustment appointments. Always brush and floss your teeth, and do these two habits more often than you used to. If you are wanting adult braces, consider Invisalign or lingual braces, as these options keep your orthodontics concealed if you need them to be. For all your questions about adult braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

How Bite Correction Can Change Your Life?

Posted on: September 11, 2018

Close-up view of a person with crooked adult teeth.

Do you or your child have a problem with their bite or alignment? These problems can seem small at first. However, as a child grows into an adult, bite or alignment issues could cause many health problems. It can even cause speech impediments and difficulty chewing in the future. Find out how bite correction can improve your health and just how important it is to get bite correction via braces if you need it!

 

Your Bite Should Be a Certain Way

The structure of your mouth is defined by how your teeth and jaws are formed. Your upper jaw and your lower jaw should both follow the same arch in a U shape. Those arches should also line up together. The teeth as well, should lie on top of one another evenly, with your back top molars resting on your back bottom molars all the way towards the front. In a normal bite, the front top teeth will rest on top of your bottom teeth, except they will be just slightly in front of those bottom teeth.

 

Orthodontic care is not just for teens that are looking to get a straighter smile. In fact, about 1/4th of all people that wear braces are actually children! The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. Having an examination early-on helps prevent the progression of orthodontic issues, such as a misaligned bite. How a child’s mouth is forming is a great indication of what their mouth will look like as an adult. If we can already see that their teeth are growing at the wrong angles, or that their jaws don’t line up, we can predict that oral health issues will be present in the future. That is why having this orthodontic appointment at 7 or 8 is so important.

 

A close-up view of a person that has braces on their top teeth. The teeth are not all the same heights.

Types of Bites

When a child comes in to have their mouth examined, we can see how the top and bottom jaws line up. In a mouth with correct bite formation, the jaws will line up. If they do and the teeth are not coming in at crooked angles, then a child won’t need orthodontic care unless they want to straighten their teeth later on in life. However, prompt treatment will be needed for alignment and bite correction if a child or older patient has:

  • Overbite – The upper front teeth overlap too much over the bottom front teeth.
  • Underbite – The upper front teeth rest behind the bottom front teeth.
  • Crossbite – Teeth are at varying angles in the mouth, which can lead to decay, broken teeth and speech problems.

 

Benefits of Bite Correction for Children

The ideal time to receive any treatment for bite correction is during the childhood years. This is when the mouth and jaws are still growing. Because the bones aren’t set yet, it is much easier for an orthodontic appliance to mold a bite into the correct shape without too much effort. This is generally why a child would receive bite correction treatment before they are 10 years old.

 

If a child receives bite correction via braces, they benefit from their mouth forming correctly. Where there were once speech problems developing, their speech can start to sound normal without lisps or other impediments. Facial features will appear more normal because the structure of the mouth will be maintained with orthodontic appliances. In a child with severe bite problems, some people can physically see parts of the jaws jutting outward. This makes the face look different than it should, and speech will almost certainly be compromised. We stop that incorrect shaping before the jaws harden later on and before dental diseases and problems are developed.

 

Even if you don’t detect any dental issues with yourself or a child, there are still many advantages for bite correction and braces at an early age such as:

  • Observing the progress of incoming teeth
  • Monitoring facial and jaw development
  • Guiding incoming teeth into their ideal position
  • Detecting hidden dental issues
  • Reducing the risk of impacted teeth
  • Decreasing the risk for permanent tooth extractions (as teeth won’t get uneven pressure that breaks them)
  • Reducing the risk of cavities and gum issues that happen when the teeth are crooked and harder to clean

 

Dental mirror reflecting the surface of a bite correction retainer on a dental model of a lower jaw.

Benefits of Bite Correction for Adults

If you didn’t receive orthodontic care as a child, it is not too late to receive it later on in life. Adults and teens make up the other 3/4ths of patients that get braces. At about age 11 or 12, most of the permanent teeth should be in the mouth. At this time, we can look at a patient’s teeth and see if they need their teeth straightened. When bite problems are present (because child orthodontics was not done), it is harder to do them as teens and adults, but it can be done with normal orthodontic appliances. In some cases, some surgery may be done to reshape areas of the mouth that have hardened into place.

 

However, the benefits of bite correction and tooth alignment for teens and adults is astounding. Studies show that people perceive you as more successful, healthy and happy if you have straighter teeth than if you have crooked teeth. You’re more likely to get a job over someone that has crooked teeth, because your smile is an expression of your health and how well you care for yourself. That can translate into how well you care for other things, like your obligations.

 

Studies show that in adults and children alike, that confidence soars and smiles are shared more often when people feel good about their smiles. That confidence boost can change your entire outlook on life, and can lead you to be a more successful person than you otherwise could be. If you have teeth in need of bite correction or straightening, don’t hesitate to see what orthodontic care can do for you! Call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

Smiling teenage girl that has braces and is holding a mouth guard in one of her hands

Your teeth are made up of 96% mineral content, making them the hardest substance in the body—even harder than the bones! However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever end up with a chipped, cracked or broken tooth. These are major dental emergencies that can cause you to permanently lose teeth if you don’t get dental attention right away. Find out what each of these emergencies are and what to do about them!

 

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Each year, millions of people sustain mouth injuries that result in dental emergencies such as a cracked, knocked-out or broken tooth. At least 5 million cases of knocked out or broken teeth are reported each year, most of which happen during sports. Not enough athletes wear mouth guards for their teeth, which is why sports is one of the highest causes of dental emergencies.

 

Injuries to the mouth can be devastating not only to how a smile looks, but can be devastating to your gum tissue and teeth. A cracked, chipped, knocked-out or broken tooth can quickly result in dental infections or complete tooth loss in the affected area. Dental emergencies include toothaches (especially severe), severely chipped teeth, a chipped filling, broken crown or implant, a cracked tooth, knocked-out tooth or a broken tooth.

 

When it comes to braces, dental emergencies also include broken brackets or wires, pokey wires, a cut lip, cheek or gum and a loose or missing elastic tie. If a dental emergency happens with braces, it can severely cut up a patient’s gum tissue. That is why mouth guards are so important in sports if a patient has traditional metal braces, or lingual or ceramic braces.

 

Close-up view of an area of a patient's mouth that has had a tooth knocked out

Chipped Teeth

A chipped tooth is only a dental emergency if the chip is large enough that it has displaced a filling or broken a dental appliance. If you have chipped a tooth or a filling but you feel no pain or tenderness after the chip has happened, it is probably not an emergency. However, when you can’t see the chip (because it was a filling), and there is tenderness, it is because a dental nerve is being exposed or dental decay was underneath the filling. You can fix a chipped tooth even with dental appliances such as brackets on your teeth.

 

How Serious Is a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth is different than a chipped tooth, and much more serious even if you can’t see the crack. You can easily crack a tooth by eating the wrong foods depending on how hard your teeth are. Even though your teeth are very hard, the right amount of force can cause a cracked tooth. You can do this much easier if your eating habits (sugary foods and acidic/carbonated drinks) give you weaker tooth enamel. Patients are supposed to avoid hard foods with braces such as nuts, popcorn, hard carrots, apples, chips and similar foods. Poor oral hygiene or tooth decay during braces as well can lead to weaker teeth, meaning they may crack easier.

 

A cracked tooth actually is a serious dental emergency. A crack can continue to grow and can go all the way down to the tooth root. If you have a tiny line but no tenderness, it could just be an enamel crack. If you fracture a piece of your tooth off, it’s called a “fractured cusp”. This usually doesn’t cause much pain. Most cracked teeth fracture a tooth vertically towards the root, which leaves it open for quick infection. A root fracture is even more serious, as you will lose your tooth completely if you don’t get dental help asap.

 

Dental model of a tooth with many cracks in it that has band-aids keeping it together.

A Broken Tooth Is No Joke

A broken tooth can happen with or without braces on the tooth. If you have braces, you can end up with not only a broken tooth, but a cut gum or cheek if you’ve been hit in the face. The teeth can break off right at the gumline or can fracture a section off. Even if you break half of your tooth, your tooth root can be saved. If you have a dental emergency such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, get dental attention immediately. This is vital if you want to keep your natural tooth.

 

If you have brackets on your teeth at the time of the dental injury, make sure to call us right away. We may have to work with a dentist to remove your dental appliances so your restorative dentistry can be done. Right when a tooth break happens, save the part of the tooth that broke. Place it in a cup with water or milk and make sure to rinse your mouth well with warm water. Apply pressure with gauze or a cloth to the affected area. Couple this with a cold pack outside your mouth on the cheek to keep swelling down. Never handle your broken or knocked-out tooth more than you need to and never hold it by the tooth root. Call the dentist and orthodontist right away.

 

Avoid Dental Emergencies

Nobody wants to experience a dental emergency, especially if they have braces on their teeth. These can make dental emergencies so much worse. However, you can avoid a dental emergency with braces altogether. Wear mouth guards with every sport you play, even during practice. Take braces wax with you in a small pack so you can cover pokey wires or brackets. There are also tooth-saver kits that are small and can be carried with you if you ever have a knocked-out or broken tooth.

 

Eating hard foods should be avoided as well. Not only can you end up with a broken tooth or other dental emergency, but you can break a bracket or wire. If you have a dental emergency and wear braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 to get the help you need!