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adult orthodontics

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!

Choosing A Good Toothbrush

Posted on: January 18, 2019

Picture of seven different toothbrushes

Do you ever look at all the toothbrush options at the store and wonder what the difference is between all of them? Toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s for a reason. They are made to fit certain sizes of mouth. Bristles come in various materials and designs, and there are extra features on some toothbrushes. So what should you choose? Use these tips for the next time you pick out your toothbrush so you know you’re getting a good one for your mouth!

 

Why So Many Different Kinds?

For something that is so simple to use, there sure are a lot of different toothbrushes out there. Toothbrushes have been around for centuries, with some historians quoting them as being as old as 3000 BC! Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” or a twig that had a frayed end in which they would brush their teeth. The common bristled toothbrushes that we are so familiar with didn’t come into existence until around 1498 in China. The bristles that were used in these toothbrushes were actually hog hair that were attached to handles made of bamboo or bone. Even these evolved, though, into the toothbrushes that we use today, but instead with nylon bristles and plastic handles.

 

Since World War II, oral health has increased in popularity and a variety of different toothbrushes have been invented. But which ones are best? How do you know which toothbrush is for you? Toothbrushes are specifically designed for different sizes and shapes of mouths, plus there are age-specific toothbrushes, like for children, that have smaller (or larger) handles and bristles depending on the age of the person. No matter what toothbrush you use, the principle behind it should be the same: improve your oral health care and prevent disease. Your toothbrush should be helping you do that, if you’re using the right one.

 

Types of Toothbrushes

There are basically two types of toothbrushes: soft-bristled and hard-bristled. Most dental professionals agree that using a soft-bristled toothbrush is best for cleaning plaque and debris on your teeth. Hard-bristled toothbrushes are not recommended as they are known to wear away your enamel and can lead to gum recession and lesions. Although they do remove more plaque than traditional soft-bristled toothbrushes, hard-bristles cause more damage than good, even when trying to get rid of tough plaque. Toothbrushes with small heads are also great to use because they can get into the hard-to-reach places in your mouth. When deciding between a small-headed or large-headed toothbrush, keep in mind that the size of your mouth should be the determinant for which one you buy. Those people with large mouths should use a full-sized toothbrush head, while those with smaller mouths should utilize a more compact head.

 

Toothbrushes also vary in the type of the handle (non-slip grip or flexible neck), shape of the head (tapered or rectangular), and style of bristles (rippled, flat, or dome shape). Although there are a variety of kinds, ultimately the best toothbrush is one that fits your mouth and allows you to reach all of your teeth easily. To figure out which one works best for you, trying toothbrushes with different bristle styles or head shapes is recommended until you find one that is most comfortable.

 

Manual or Electric: Which is Better?Smiling man brushing teeth with an electric toothbrush

With the advent of the electric toothbrush, many people have been drawn to its ease of use and effectiveness. While manual toothbrushes have been used for centuries, the electric toothbrush is faster and more efficient. If you’re a diligent brusher, manual toothbrushes are a great option, but for those who want the toothbrush to do the work for them, electric is the way to go. Just like manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes come in different sizes and have a variety of replaceable heads. Electric toothbrushes are known for having smaller heads than manual, so at the beginning, it may take some time getting used to their small size.

 

Because of their size, electric toothbrushes are able to clean teeth more thoroughly and get to hard-to-reach areas of the mouth better than manual toothbrushes can. Electric toothbrushes also use different types of bristles movements, such as oscillating/rotating technology, that has been proven to remove more bacteria and plaque than manual toothbrushes. Additionally, electric toothbrushes have a smaller likelihood of hurting your enamel and gums, which is advantageous for those individuals who have sensitive teeth and gums. Whether you choose manual or electric, the most important takeaway is that both fit your mouth size and allow you to clean each individual tooth. If your toothbrush can do both of those things, you’re on your way to achieving great oral health and a nicer smile.

 

Tips For A Cleaner Mouth

Having the correct toothbrush for your mouth is the first step in maintaining good oral health. But a common question that many have is, “What is the correct way to brush my teeth?” When using a regular soft brush, make sure to angle the brush along the gum line and brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth in small circles. This motion helps get out the tiny food particles stuck between your teeth, plus it protects your gums from over-brushing. If your gums tend to bleed when brushing, that usually indicates that the gums are inflamed and those areas should actually be brushed more thoroughly and more often. Also make sure that you are brushing your chewing surfaces, the inside of your teeth, and your tongue.

 

For more tips on how to protect your teeth and maintain a healthier mouth, visit your local provider at Belmar Orthodontics. Change your oral health for the better by calling (303) 225-9016 and setting up your first consult for the comfort, care, and personalized treatment that you deserve!

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!

 

Adjusting to Lingual Braces

Posted on: November 13, 2018

A beautiful brunette woman smiling at the camera with her hands cupped under her smile.

There are four main types of braces that include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual and Invisalign treatment. When patients want sturdy metal for effective straightening power, but they don’t want visible metal, lingual braces is the option to choose. This consists of an orthodontic appliance attached to the back of the teeth. With any orthodontic appliance attached to the teeth, there will be an adjustment period for patients.

 

Why Get Braces?

Many people wonder why they would need orthodontic treatment if they are already seeing a dentist. However, a dentist is not the same as an orthodontist. Both have gone to dental school, but only an orthodontist can correct bite and alignment issues that would cause oral health diseases, problems with speech and issues with eating. Straighter teeth are teeth that are easier to clean, helping you avoid oral health diseases.

 

The teeth are less likely to crack, chip, fracture or break from uneven biting pressure when they are straighter. Studies show that people who straighten their teeth often feel more attractive, confident and motivated, and others view them that way as well. Braces can not only help reduce your risk of oral health problems (or help them to go away), but they can make you feel like a million bucks from the beautiful smile you receive.

 

A collage of images of the mouth with metal braces and with lingual braces.

What Are Your Options?

In the past, traditional metal braces were the only braces option patients could get. Today, there are four main orthodontic options. Those include:

  • 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.

Adjusting to Lingual Braces and More

For many patients, the adjustment period with their orthodontic appliance will be a new experience. Getting braces on the teeth is a new and exciting chapter for anyone that is starting on their journey to a better smile. However, your mouth does have to physically adjust to orthodontic appliances. With traditional metal, ceramic, or lingual braces, there are orthodontic parts that will be bonded to the teeth with a cement-like bonding material.

 

The application of that bonding material with your teeth will place extra pressure on them for several days. You may have to take an over-the-counter painkiller (like Tylenol) to help ease that aching feeling. Soft foods like yogurt or pasta will be better after the braces application for sensitive teeth. Your tongue will have to adjust to orthodontic appliances as well. For traditional metal braces on the front of your teeth, they may feel bulky as they rest against your lips.

 

With lingual braces, your tongue may feel more crowded or may constantly run into the brackets. With both of these options, a patient’s mouth becomes used to the appliances so quickly that they won’t even notice the braces after a few days. Your smile won’t look bulky with your appliance, but it will start to look straighter over time. Cleaning your teeth will take a bit more work, but this too will become second nature to you. With each new braces adjustment, your teeth may feel a bit sore, but that feeling will go away quickly.

 

A young adult woman sitting in an orthodontic chair smiling at the hygienist.

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

You can spend 18 or more months straightening your teeth, only to have them be decayed at the end of your treatment. However, this doesn’t have to happen if you are taking meticulous care of your teeth with braces on them. Patients should be brushing and flossing their teeth whether or not they have braces on them. The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush their teeth at least twice a day. With braces, you want to brush them very well after every meal to dislodge food that would cause decay.

 

Flossing is key as well, as flossing gets about 40% of your tooth surfaces that brushing misses. If you skip flossing all the time, all those tooth surfaces can decay. With braces, you won’t be able to do the normal flossing you’re used to. Lingual braces can be even harder if you can’t see where you are flossing. This is where flossing tools for braces come in handy. Invest in threadable floss or flossers (which is very similar). This is floss that you stick through the cracks in your teeth and pull through like a sewing needle. You floss the tooth, scraping the teeth as you go, and pull the floss all the way through the tooth to start on a new one. It only takes a minute or so more than normal flossing, but will help prevent decay with your lingual braces.

 

Braces Are an Investment

Your teeth may take a bit more time to keep clean with braces on them than they were before. However, with braces such as lingual braces, you’re making your smile straighter and more beautiful for years to come. That straightness will not only help make cleaning the teeth easier for years, but it will help your appearance and your confidence. If you want all the benefits of a beautiful, straight smile, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

Close-up view of a child's braces

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

 

Orthodontic Treatment

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

 

Child Orthodontics

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

 

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

 

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

Adult Orthodontics

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Why Choose Either Option?

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

 

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

 

Conservative Treatment

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

 

Close-up view of metal brackets and wires on teeth

It’s the year 2018 and a lot has changed in every field of medicine since the year 2000. Orthodontics is no exception, and there are always new advances in how your teeth are straightened and cared for. There are many braces options available to patients that were not available in years past. However, some services—such as Invisalign—have been around longer than you might think. Find out when different orthodontic practices and services were available to patients and how orthodontic treatment looked before the year 2000.

 

How Old Is Orthodontic Treatment?

Many people think that orthodontic treatment is fairly new. However, people have been straightening their teeth for many centuries. Their methods were simply much cruder than the braces and orthodontic appliances you know today. Many mummies from Ancient Egypt have been found wearing orthodontic appliances to straighten their teeth. Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Etruscans have also been found with various types of “braces” and other mouth appliances.

 

To give you an idea of how long orthodontic treatment has been around, writings by Hippocrates (a Greek physician) have been found about the subject from 400 b.c. Even back then people were concerned about crooked teeth and how they looked. However, there weren’t very good methods for straightening the teeth, so there weren’t many advances in orthodontics until just a few centuries and decades ago.

 

Woman smiling and holding her Invisalign aligners

Past Orthodontic Methods

People centuries ago did not have the best methods for straightening teeth. However, over the centuries, many people made advances or tried various methods such as the following:

  • Ancient Egyptians used metal parts and wires to try to straighten the teeth, as has been seen on mummies.
  • Celsus, a Roman writer from around 1 A.D., wrote about trying to straighten your teeth by pushing them into place.
  • Several years later, a Roman named Pliny recommended filing your teeth down if you wanted them a certain size.
  • Pierre Fauchard was born in 1728, and through his various methods and research in straightening teeth, is now considered the “Father of Dentistry”. One of the methods he tried on patients was forcefully pulling and moving the teeth into place with forceps. He would then tie those moved teeth to others so they could heal back into the mouth again.
  • Dental impressions began in the 17th century by Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann. Impressions make models of the teeth, and this method was so successful that impressions are still used today.
  • In the United States, barbers and medical doctors often pulled infected teeth and performed orthodontic treatment. The treatment varied from person to person and generally involved pulling teeth without numbing medicine.
  • J.S. Gunnell invented a form of headgear in 1822 that was successful in straightening the teeth. However, that headgear was large and fastened to the jaw outside the mouth and pushed on the teeth.
  • Before 1970, professionals in orthodontics wrapped wires around each tooth, anchoring them with a bracket on each tooth. This method required a lot of metal in the mouth.

 

Two young boys that both have braces on their teeth

Modern Braces and Appliances

Modern orthodontic treatment is very straightforward and easy. Orthodontics has advanced so much that people can even straighten their teeth without any visible signs that they are doing so. When you think of braces, you probably think of the metal brackets and wires that so many wear. Traditional metal braces consist of a metal bracket attached to each tooth with a metal wire going through the bracket. This orthodontic treatment method mimics past metal treatments that were done throughout the centuries. However, the brackets and wires take up minimal space in the mouth and gently straighten the teeth.

 

Ceramic braces are another modern option for patients that are most similar to metal braces. They involve the same look and design, except they are made from white, ceramic material. Even the archwire can be made white for a patient. Lingual braces also use a metal bracket and wire design, except that they are attached to the back of a patient’s teeth. These were created in 1976 and provided patients with a way to straighten their teeth without visible brackets on their teeth.

 

Invisalign is the most incognito way to straighten your teeth. Created in 1997, this orthodontic treatment consists of transparent aligners that are switched out each week. A patient will wear the aligners 20-22 hours a day with the freedom to remove them for eating, drinking, sports, playing instruments and more. In about the same time as traditional metal braces (sometimes less), patients can get straight teeth. This is an amazing option, as any teen or adult can straighten their teeth without others knowing.

 

Orthodontic Treatment Today

Many advances in dentistry happened around 1970 and later. This is when the design of metal braces was perfected to what we know it to be now. The future will surely hold many more advances in orthodontic treatment as the years go by. No matter what type of appliance is available or what you choose to have, we recommend straightening your teeth. Not only can it significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, but straighter teeth can raise your confidence and help you be more successful. To have your free braces consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

What To Do About Your Wisdom Teeth

Posted on: May 2, 2018

Close-up view of 4 wisdom teeth that have been pulled

The wisdom teeth are back molars that, on average, come in between the ages of 17 and 21. Wisdom teeth can put pressure on the rest of your teeth and make them crooked if something isn’t done about them. You don’t want wisdom teeth to undo all the hard work you spent getting your teeth straight. Find out how wisdom teeth affect your oral health and what to do about them if you are planning on getting braces or if you just got them off!

 

Your Permanent Teeth

Every person gets two sets of teeth during their lifetime: the baby teeth and the permanent teeth. If you are reading this, then you have already likely lost all your baby teeth. That means you are left with your permanent, adult teeth, which you will have for the rest of your life. Well, at least most of them. The majority of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed to help keep their mouth healthier. You have several sets of large teeth in your mouth, which are called the molars. These are the bigger teeth towards the back of your mouth that help you chew up food.

 

Most people have all of their permanent teeth by their early teen years. However, there are up to 4 teeth that come into the mouth later on, usually between the ages of 17 and 21. These are the wisdom teeth, and no they are not teeth that provide you with your wisdom. These are a third set of molars that come in as you transition from a young adult to an adult. As a people, we don’t really use these third molars, but our ancestors in centuries past may have had much more use for them when it came to chewing meat.

 

However, one of the reasons they are called the “wisdom teeth” is because this transitioning stage from young adulthood to adulthood. This is generally a time when people rapidly mature and make many life changes, which helps increase their wisdom. Hence, the “wisdom teeth”.

 

X-rays of a person's mouth highlighting the wisdom teeth

What to Do About the Wisdom Teeth?

As mentioned, we don’t really use these third molars in our day. In fact, the wisdom teeth can actually cause your smile more harm than good. They come into your mouth at an angle, which can put pressure on your closest molars. The wisdom teeth can push those molars, causing all the teeth to start pushing into each other. This creates a crooked smile. The pressure and angles of these wisdom teeth coming in can weaken the second molars or crack them. When the wisdom teeth start coming into the mouth at an angle, they are called “impacted teeth”.

 

Generally, the wisdom teeth crowding or damaging your teeth isn’t painful. However, if you develop tooth decay because of the wisdom teeth, and it gets severe, then you will feel pain. Some patients will have the wisdom teeth sit right underneath a layer of gum tissue. That this layer can collect bacteria and food particles, which can actually lead to an infection in your mouth, which you don’t want. Other patients also have bone or other teeth blocking the wisdom teeth, so they will never come in very well and will really damage your smile. Hence, the reason why they are so often taken out. You don’t really need them and they generally cause mostly problems instead of benefits.

 

What Is Surgical Orthodontics?

Many people are born with 4 wisdom teeth. However, depending on genetics, some people may only have 1, 2 or 3 wisdom teeth or even none at all. It all depends on the genetics you have. Some will have them only in their top jaw or only in the bottom jaw. However, there are so many problems with these teeth that we recommend that they be removed before your smile is affected. Surgical orthodontics and surgical dental procedures can remove the wisdom teeth.

 

These procedures will either use topical anesthetics or will put a patient completely under to remove the wisdom teeth. We take full x-rays of both the top and lower jaw of your teeth so you can see the angle and trajectory of your incoming wisdom teeth and how they will affect your oral health. Generally, the gums are cut right above where the wisdom teeth lie. Then, they are removed with dental tools and the gum flaps are put back in place and closed up. In just a few weeks, you will feel good as new and you won’t have problems with your wisdom teeth. For such a simple procedure, it’s worth it to protect your smile and to keep it straight.

 

Young girl getting a wisdom teeth pulled by a dentist

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

Just like any other part of your body, it may take many steps and actions to keep those parts healthy. Your smile is something that takes work to maintain, but luckily it’s not hard work. All you have to do is brush your teeth at least twice a day as recommended by the American Dental Association. They also recommend flossing at least once (if not more), using mouthwash and fluoride products, and seeing your dental professional often.

These things don’t take much time and effort, but those small actions can save your smile and keep it healthy and straight throughout life. If you need tips for keeping your mouth healthy or you want to know more about what you should do with your wisdom teeth removal, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

The Best Ages for Having Braces

Posted on: February 1, 2018

woman with braces

If you have a desire to get braces, we commend you for choosing to have a better smile! Studies show that a better, straighter smile can increase your confidence, success and professional life. However, there are some key ages that having braces are the best for patients. If you have bite and alignment issues, it’s best to receive child orthodontics. For straightening, the teenage years are the best for wearing having braces. However, braces can benefit patients at any age and may even be needed more than once in life. Find out what orthodontic treatment can do for you at any age!

 

Child Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. Having and examination early as a child will detect bite and alignment issues that can become severe later on in life. This early visit is something that you definitely want your child to receive, as bite and alignment issues can lead to problems with speech. If the baby teeth are misaligned, then the adult, permanent teeth will come in misaligned as well. This will eventually lead to cracked, chipped or broken teeth when chewing and biting, as different teeth will take on different amounts of pressure.

 

There are several different types of bite problems children can have. One is crossbite, where one or more teeth are turned either in towards the tongue or out towards the cheek. Overbite is when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much. Underbite is when the lower front teeth overlap the upper front teeth. In a healthy smile, the upper front teeth will rest on top of (and just a tiny bit forward) of the lower front teeth. If your child does have a bite or alignment problem, it’s easiest to fix while they are young, as the jaw is still growing and forming. Between 7 and 8 years old is the best time for having braces as a child to correct this problem.

 

girl with braces

Adult Orthodontics

Having braces as a teenager can vary depending on when all the permanent teeth come in. Once the permanent teeth have come in (somewhere around age 12), a child should be seen for a consultation. This is great time to straighten the teeth as the jaw is still growing. However, later in the teenage years and afterwards, the jaw will stop growing and straightening the teeth becomes harder. That is why the teenage years are the best to straighten a child’s teeth. Not only will having braces straighten crooked teeth, but they can also help your child have more confidence because they will produce a beautiful, straight smile after treatment. Straighter teeth are proven to boost confidence in children, teens and adults alike.

 

Adults benefit from receiving braces at any age. Even though the jaw has stopped forming, it’s never too late to get braces (except if you are in later years and losing your teeth). About 25% of people who have braces are adults. Getting a straighter teeth can boost your confidence and social life. Studies show that employers also hire someone with straight teeth over someone with crooked teeth. Other studies show that people find you more attractive, trustworthy, and datable if you have straight teeth.

 

Braces Options

Your options for braces will vary slightly depending on your age. In the past, traditional metal braces were your only option for straightening your teeth. This option is the one that has metal brackets attached to the center part of your teeth with a metal wire that goes through them on top and bottom. Metal braces aren’t your only option for treatment. For children, metal and ceramic braces are the best choices and the most economical. Ceramic braces mimic metal braces and have brackets and wires. However, instead of metal, these appliances are made from ceramic material, which matches the natural whiteness of your teeth. This is why they are sometimes known as “clear braces”.

 

For a more discreet look, lingual braces are also an option for adults. These are metal braces worn on the back of the teeth and custom-fitted to each tooth. However, the most discreet option for having braces is Invisalign. This is a series of transparent aligners that we custom-make for your mouth. You switch out the aligners every week and watch as your smile transforms. The best part about this option is that you can remove the aligners for eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, sports and more.

 

young man with braces

A Beautiful Smile at Any Age

No matter what option you choose, we know you will love the smile you’ll receive by having braces. Braces are not solely for children or teenagers, but also for adults. It doesn’t matter if you are 7 or 57; braces are great for patients at any age! Having braces will significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease as well as broken, cracked or chipped teeth. They can get you ahead in life by helping you feel and appear more confident and successful. To answer the question about the best ages for braces, we say the best time is now! To learn more about what to expect with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!