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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!

 

Young girl teen that is smiling at the camera wearing braces and giving the thumbs up sign.

Halloween can be an incredibly fun time for kids and adults alike. However, the not-so-fun part is developing cavities later on because of that Halloween candy. Sugar is directly related to tooth decay, but it’s even worse if you have braces on your teeth. There are specific candies you should try to avoid if you have brackets and wires, as they can get stuck easier. Find out what these are and tips to reduce your risk for tooth decay during the holidays!

 

How Popular Is Halloween?

About $2.4 billion dollars is spent in Easter candy each year. However, Halloween candy is a close second at around $2.1 billion in sales. Divided up into individual households, that’s about $44-$47 dollars spent on Halloween candy in each household.

 

If you think Halloween candy sales are scary, here are the facts on the actual candy consumed on Halloween day itself:

  • Almost all children and at least ½ of all adults eat candy on Halloween day.
  • However, the amount of candy consumed is well-past the recommended 6 or less teaspoons children should have in a day. Adults should only have between 6 and 9 teaspoons of sugar (tops) per day. On Halloween itself, up to 3 cups of candy is consumed per child.
  • That equates to about 48 teaspoons of sugar per cup, or about 144 teaspoons of sugar, or 675 grams of sugar in one day.
  • USA Today reports that 4% of all the candy eaten in the U.S. is eaten on Halloween day.
  • Reader’s Digest reports that the amount of calories children and adults alike eat on Halloween equals anywhere between 3,000 and 7,000 calories.
  • Not only can this much sugar lead to incredible health problems and diabetes, but sugar—the main ingredient in that candy—is the direct cause of tooth decay.

 

Chevron candy bag that has candy spilling out of it. The words "trick or treat" is written next to it on a black background.

How Can Candy Hurt Your Teeth?

Candy is damaging to your teeth because of the sugar, which is a direct factor in your risk for tooth decay. The more sugar you eat, the more cavities you could get. When you eat or drink, sugars in food will mix with certain bacterias in your mouth. That mixture will create a sticky substance called plaque. You can’t simply swallow that plaque either. It sticks to your teeth and becomes an acidic substance when it mixes.

 

Because it’s acidic, as it sticks to your tooth enamel like a film, it will work to erode and decay your teeth. It does this by breaking up the minerals that make up your tooth enamel layer. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth often enough, or you eat a ton of sugar, you have plaque working hard on your teeth to destroy them.

 

Plaque can decay your tooth surface to create surface cavities. If enough decay happens on that layer, it can get through to the inner layers of the teeth, causing internal (and sometimes large) cavities that can turn into infections and tooth loss. Sugar is the main food for plaque, which is why candy—whose main ingredient is sugar—can hurt your teeth.

 

Close up view of a woman's mouth that has braces on it and she is holding a toothbrush and a proxabrush in her hands.

Avoiding Specific Sweet Treats with Braces

Anyone can get cavities and other oral health problems from a large candy or sugar consumption. You don’t only have to worry about candy either when it comes to cavities—you have to worry about all foods. Most foods you can buy at the store have added sugars in them. That includes juices, sports drinks, and sodas, as well as the obvious sugar foods like candy, cakes, ice cream and cookies. Always check food labels to see how much sugar a food contains.

 

There are specific foods you want to avoid if you wear braces, as those foods and candies can make it much easier for you to get cavities. Especially at Halloween, popular candies are ones that are chewy and sticky. Anything chewy and sticky will get stuck in your brackets and wires if you wear lingual, ceramic or metal braces. Sweet treats you want to avoid if you wear braces include:

  • Gum: Gum is made to be elastic and sticky and can stick to brackets like crazy. Avoid it completely with braces. After your braces are off, chew sugar-free gum.
  • Chewy/Sticky Candy: Examples include caramels, taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Starburst, licorice, Skittles, Sugar Daddies and any candies that are similar. Avoid fruit snacks, gummies and dried fruit as well, which are all incredibly sticky.
  • Hard Candies: These go hand-in-hand with suckers and mints. All of these candies expose your teeth to sugars for prolonged periods of time, which means a prolonged risk for acidic plaque and tooth decay.
  • Sodas/Citrus Drinks: These and any carbonated drinks all contain either citric acid or carbonic acid, which erode the teeth. That can mean you have tooth erosion and decay all around your brackets, which will be very noticeable when your braces come off.

 

Enjoy Some Sweetness This Halloween

When it comes to Halloween, we want all of our patients to have fun and to enjoy the holiday. Candy is naturally a part of that holiday, but it doesn’t mean that you have to experience tooth decay in the weeks following it. Every person needs to be conscious of their candy consumption on Halloween to avoid tooth decay, erosion and health problems in general.

 

You don’t want to work hard for 18-24 months getting a straight smile if it’s decayed when your braces finally come off. Enjoy your Halloween sweet treats, but be mindful of your oral health. Brush your teeth 3 times a day or after every meal with fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth at least 1-2 times a day. Avoid sticky and sugary treats and clean the teeth very well if you do eat them at Halloween. Avoid acidic drinks and watch your sugar consumption. For tips on cleaning your teeth correctly with braces to avoid tooth decay, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

Get Your Braces in Time for Back-to-School

Posted on: August 7, 2018

Young woman that has a backpack on and schoolbooks that is going back to school.

Going back to school can be an exciting time whether you’re a child, teen or an adult. However, if you have recently had your braces put on or plan to get them before school starts, there are some things you should prepare for. Those include planning ahead so that you can clean your teeth at school, that you have food you can eat with braces and more. As you go back to school this year, use these tips for taking care of your braces and for showing them off to your peers!

 

Should You Get Braces?

Many people see braces and try to decide if they are right for them. Receiving orthodontic care does take time, but it’s time well spent. Most patients are generally wearing their orthodontic appliance for 18-24 months at a time. However, you can achieve a straight smile that will last you the rest of your life.

 

There are incredible benefits that come with getting braces, and we’re not just talking about getting straighter teeth. Braces can correct a patient’s problems with bite and alignment. These types of problems can create speech impediments over time and can make it difficult for patients to bite, chew, smile and more. Add crooked teeth on top of that, and the teeth also become much more difficult to clean. When they are more difficult to clean, patients generally miss cleaning areas that eventually decay. Without orthodontic treatment, you raise your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, as well as dental emergencies. Crooked teeth and bite problems can lead to broken and cracked teeth over time.

 

However, braces can get rid of all those risk factors that lead to chronic dental problems. And you don’t really have to do much except keep your braces clean! Studies also show that people who straighten their teeth tend to smile more, and they actually have a major confidence boost that stays with them. Going back-to-school is a great time to get that extra confident boost!

 

A young man that is in an orthodontic office for his checkup.

Choosing Which Braces You Want

In the past, patients only had one dental option. Today, you have at least four options. At your consultation, you can learn about and choose from these options:

  • Traditional Metal Braces: The metal brackets and wires many people think of when they think “braces”. The metal brackets attach to the front of every tooth and are held in place by a metal wire that goes along the bottom and top teeth. The molars have metal bands that go all the way around the tooth in the back to keep the braces very sturdy.
  • Ceramic Braces: These are designed just like traditional metal braces, but they are made from white, ceramic material to blend with the teeth. Even the wire can be made white for patients.
  • Lingual Braces: With Incognito Lingual Braces, you can achieve the same results as traditional braces with a hidden treatment apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth. These braces consist of metal that is custom-molded to fit on the back of all your teeth. The metal covers the entire back instead of simply consisting of a bracket. However, there is still a small bracket that holds the metal wire in place. The main advantage of lingual braces is that they can straighten and correct bite problems without being seen.
  • Invisalign: This treatment consists of transparent aligners custom-made for a patient’s teeth that they switch out every week. Over time, crooked teeth become straight. The aligners can be removed for any activity (eating, brushing, sports), however, they can’t correct major bite issues.

 

Young girl that is wearing a backpack and is getting ready to go back to school.

Watch What You Eat

With any new thing, there is always a learning curve. Braces are no different. For the first few days, your mouth will have to adjust to having an orthodontic appliance attached to the teeth. The newness of your braces will fade, but the need to take care of them won’t fade. One of the main things you need to watch out for with braces is what you eat. Many students get lunch from the cafeteria, snack bars, or fast food places. If this is you, be careful what you eat and aim to avoid foods such as:

  • Hard candies: These generally contain lots of sugar and chewing on them can break brackets and wires.
  • Avoid hard foods such as nuts, chips, popcorn (because of kernels), apples, crusty bread, carrots or hard vegetables.
  • Ice: Never chew ice, as this can break orthodontic appliances and can crack or break a tooth. Always suck on ice; never chew.
  • Sticky Sugary Foods. These include caramels, taffy, licorice, Tootsie Rolls, Starburst, Sugar Daddies, Skittles and candies that are similar.
  • Gum: This gets stuck in all your orthodontic appliances and most are sugary, meaning that stuck food will be able to sit on your teeth and eat away at your tooth enamel.

 

Nobody wants to get back-to-school and have a dental emergency happen. If you always watch what you eat, you don’t have to worry about dental emergencies and serious oral health issues.

 

Get Your Braces in Time for Back-to-School

Do you want to make an amazing transformation this year? Start with your smile! Your smile is one of the first things others notice. You want to make that smile shine. For the perfect smile you are envisioning, we can help make it a reality! Simply call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!

What are the Benefits of Lingual Braces?

Posted on: July 26, 2018

View of a dental mirror showing the camera that a patient has lingual braces behind their teeth.

Many patients are getting excited about lingual braces as an option for their orthodontic care. These types of braces can correct long-term or lifetime dental issues. They are also hidden in a patient’s mouth and because they’re not on the front of the teeth, they are a perfect option for athletes or musicians to perform better. Thinking about leveraging the power of lingual braces to straighten your smile? Consider the benefits that lingual braces can offer you and ask about your set today!

 

What’s the Difference Compared to Other Options?

Lingual braces is an exciting option for patients who want to combine the benefits of Invisalign transparent aligners with the sturdiness of traditional metal braces. These type of braces are also known as “incognito hidden braces” because they rest behind your teeth instead of on the front. They too, are made from metal, except this metal is usually gold instead of silver. Plus, instead of simple brackets and wires, the metal attachments cover the entire back of your tooth surface.

 

There are brackets and wires, but they are on the tongue-side of your teeth. Lingual braces are amazing because they can achieve the same results as traditional orthodontics in a manner that is inconspicuous and undetectable. They are tightened at each appointment just like traditional braces and can correct bite and alignment issues with ease. How do you benefit from these type of braces?

  1. Correction of long-term or lifetime dental issues
  2. Less noticeable orthodontic treatment
  3. Good orthodontic treatment for athletes and musicians who play wind instruments
  4. Increased confidence during treatment compared to traditional methods
  5. Elevated self-esteem after treatment

 

A close-up view of a dental mold that was taken for a patient's backs of their teeth for lingual braces.

Difference Between Lingual and Traditional Braces

Not all metal braces are alike. Even though lingual braces are made out of metal alloys, they are still different than traditional metal braces. Metal braces rest front and center on a patient’s teeth. They consist of the classic brackets-and-wires set-up, but they can make your smile look gray because of the metal. Depending on your oral health, you can have tooth staining and dental erosion during your time with braces. This can leave marks when the braces come off.

 

Compared to traditional braces, lingual braces are more ideal for athletes and musicians. Traditional braces can make it difficult for musicians to play wind instruments and can affect how a person blows. For athletes, they have to worry about dental emergencies caused by metal brackets and wires if they get hit in the mouth. There are no brackets or wires on the front of the teeth that will cut up the cheeks if a person gets hit in the face. However, both of these styles of braces are extremely effective at correcting bite and alignment issues.

 

Comparing Lingual Braces to Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are very similar in their style to metal braces. The only difference is that they are made from white, ceramic material instead of metal. Even the wires can be made white to match the teeth. This is a more aesthetic option for teens who like metal braces but don’t want them as noticeable. However, they are still much more noticeable than hidden braces would be. A teen or adult simply has to decide how noticeable they want their braces.

 

Invisalign Vs. Lingual Braces

If patients want hidden braces, then why not just use Invisalign treatment? This is a great orthodontic option, but it has its limitations. Yes, Invisalign is transparent on the teeth. However, those aligners cannot correct many bite and alignment issues, which many patients need. They are more ideal for patients who only need their smile a bit straighter. For any major orthodontic issue and especially bite problems, Invisalign is not the best option. Lingual braces combine the hidden aspect of Invisalign treatment, but with the sturdy structure of metal braces that can correct bite problems.

 

Close-up view of a patient that has lingual braces on their bottom teeth.

Choose Orthodontic Care

No matter what orthodontic option you choose, simply opting to receive orthodontic care for bite and alignment issues will improve your oral health immensely. Some people skip receiving orthodontic care because they believe they will save all that money. However, crooked teeth and bite issues can actually cost more money in the long run. How you ask? When your teeth are straight, they are very simple to clean with a toothbrush and quick to floss. However, when they are crooked, you will consistently miss many parts of your tooth surfaces. This can lead to quick decay, which will take dental work for every instance of tooth decay.

 

Flossing also gets very difficult when the teeth are crowded or crooked. A patient may not even be able to pass floss between the teeth if they are too crooked. That’s detrimental to a patient’s health, as 40% of tooth surfaces can only be reached through flossing. That leaves those tooth surfaces open to decay, enamel erosion, staining and infection. If this happens all over your mouth, you’re looking at spending a lot of money over a lifetime to fix all your oral health problems.

 

Get Your Braces

Opting to receive orthodontic care saves you the headache of bite and alignment issues, crooked teeth, and decay and gum disease that can happen. Correct these issues early-on and enjoy your smile for life. Call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 to learn about lingual braces and your other orthodontic options!

 

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!

 

What Is an Orthodontist?

Posted on: July 11, 2018

Orthodontist in his scrubs and face mask in an orthodontic office

If you want to be an orthodontist, you have at least 10-12 years of schooling ahead of you. Orthodontists are very similar to dentists, but they perform completely different tasks in an office than a dentist would do. This is why you need to see both an orthodontist and a dentist if you have braces. See what services they provide that no one else can!

 

Want to Become an Orthodontist?

To become an orthodontist, a person has to commit to at least 10-12 years of education, training, fellowships and more. Even after that time, and orthodontist must continue testing and studying throughout the years in order to do orthodontics. An orthodontist is a professional that specializes in correcting crooked smiles, bite and alignment issues, jaw problems and aesthetics of the mouth.

 

They do this through braces, which commonly consist of metal bracket and wire appliances. Those appliances mold the teeth and jaws into specific alignments and positions. Through focused pressure with these mouth appliances, a person with major bite, alignment, or crooked teeth problems can find themselves with a beautiful, functional smile. This is especially beneficial for patients who have oral health problems that cause them speech impediments and difficulty biting, chewing, speaking and functioning normally.

 

Close-up digital design of traditional metal braces on the bottom teeth

What Does An Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist is a step above a dentist when it comes to their schooling. To become an orthodontist, a person must complete 4 years of undergraduate schooling at a university. They then apply for dental school and must be accepted. After 4 years of dental school, many students become dentists. However, orthodontists must continue to do at least 2 more years of orthodontic school and fellowships to do orthodontia as a profession.

 

Even though orthodontists are trained in dentistry, they do different work than dentists. They provide services such as correcting misaligned teeth and smiles, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and other alignment issues. Some are trained to provide surgical orthodontic procedures, or they work closely with an oral surgeon in correcting a misaligned jaw.

 

For patients who receive surgical orthodontics, an orthodontist will provide pre-surgical orthodontic care to align teeth and jaws as much as possible. A patient will then have oral surgery done to correct issues that can’t be done without surgery. Then, the jaws and teeth are aligned to their final, complete position through orthodontic appliances. If a patient doesn’t receive surgical orthodontics, they generally do 18-24 months of braces to straighten their teeth. Primarily, this is what an orthodontist does: they design braces (based on what type you pick) that fit your smile and that can shape it straight over the course of 1-2 years.

 

How It’s Different Than Dentistry

Both dentistry and orthodontics focus on oral health and improving a person’s smile. However, dentistry primarily strives to clean the teeth, fix tooth decay, perform root canals and treat gum disease. Patients also receive dental crowns, bridges and implants, and many cosmetic dentistry procedures. If you need teeth whitening or want to improve the look or health of your teeth, seek out a dentist. They can perform teeth whitening services, provide dental veneers and implants, and can help with oral health diseases.

 

However, if you need your teeth straight in the first place, you need an orthodontist. The American Dental Association recommends that every patient see a dentist at least twice a year to avoid major oral health diseases. You will need an orthodontist at various intervals in your life. However, you don’t see them as frequently throughout life like you would a dentist. When you have crooked teeth or problems with your jaws or alignment, you work with an orthodontist to fix the major issues. Then, a dentist fixes the more minor issues like the color of your teeth.

 

A dentist is not trained to straighten the teeth even if a dental office provides a transparent aligner service such as Invisalign. You always want to choose a trained orthodontist for properly straightening your teeth so oral issues don’t arise.

 

Young girl having her braces adjusted by an orthodontist

Do You Need Orthodontics?

When battling tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and more, seek out a dentist. If you want to correct jaw, teeth, alignment, and bite issues, seek out an orthodontist. You may find yourself visiting both often if you receive braces as a child and then later as an adult or teen. Most orthodontists are trained to correct jaw and bite problems in children. You should always take your child in to see an orthodontist by age 7 if you already haven’t. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends this, as major bite and alignment issues of the jaws and teeth can be corrected easily when young. As a person grows older, the jaw hardens and becomes more permanently fixed, and oral health problems are much harder to correct.

 

If you are deciding to invest in braces, take a look at your teeth. Are they crooked? Do you find that either the upper or lower jaw overlaps the other significantly? Do you have problems speaking, eating, biting or chewing at times? You could benefit from orthodontics! Most people can significantly improve their oral health and their happiness (from having a beautiful smile) if they choose to see an orthodontist for help with their smile.

 

Dr. Hardy’s Office

Dr. Hardy is an award-winning orthodontist. He is an active member of the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontics. Dr. Hardy works with a team every day to make sure his patients young and old are cared for. At his center, he offers patients the option of getting ceramic, clear braces, traditional metal braces, lingual braces and Invisalign treatment. He can perform surgical orthodontics if needed and pediatric orthodontics. When choosing a center for your family, you want one that can treat patients of all ages and a center whose staff knows how to work really well with children. You can find that at Dr. Hardy’s Belmar Orthodontics office by calling (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!

 

What Is Interceptive Orthodontics?

Posted on: June 5, 2018

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

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

 

Choosing to Get Braces

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

 

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

 

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

Benefits of Braces

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

 

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

 

What Are Interceptive Orthodontics?

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

 

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

  • Observe the progress of incoming teeth
  • Monitor facial and jaw development
  • Guide incoming teeth into their ideal position
  • Detect hidden dental issues
  • Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
  • Decrease the risk for permanent tooth extractions

 

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

Considering Interceptive Orthodontics?

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

 

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

Cavity Treatment During Braces

Posted on: May 8, 2018

Girl with braces having a dental exam

Did you know that an orthodontist and a dentist are not the same? Only a dentist can help with cavities, gum disease and more, while only an orthodontist can straighten your teeth in a certain way. A patient’s time with braces is a time when cavities happen very quickly, because the teeth are harder to clean. To prevent cavities during your time with braces, it is vital that you continue to see a dentist. If you do happen to get a cavity, find out what that cavity treatment will look like!

 

Proper Oral Hygiene

The American Dental Association recommends that every patient brush their teeth at least twice a day to avoid tooth decay. Brushing after every meal is even better for avoiding plaque buildup that leads to decay. Every patient should also floss their teeth at least once a day. Using fluoride toothpaste is best, because fluoride helps coat the teeth in a protective layer that prevents decay and keeps tooth enamel stronger. Patients can also benefit from mouthwash, as it can kill bacteria that would otherwise create plaque.

 

However, these recommendations are for people that don’t have braces. Every single person—children, teens and adults—should follow these recommendations. Infants should not use fluoride or mouthwash, but their child toothpastes generally have safe amounts of fluoride in them. If you are a patient that is receiving orthodontic care via braces, you have to go the extra mile with your oral hygiene. That means more frequent brushing, more flossing and watching what you eat.

 

Close-up view of braces that are being brushed with a toothbrush

Taking Care of Braces

Braces can be tricky to clean. However, their design provides the best and quickest way for you to straighten your teeth, which is why traditional metal braces have been around for so many decades. Metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces all have a brackets-and-wires design.

 

However, with braces, you must be meticulous with cleaning them or you will have food and plaque get stuck places. If you don’t unstick those substances, they will quickly erode your tooth enamel and cause decay around your appliances. This can happen on every tooth as well.

Follow these tips for cleaning your braces:

  • Brush after every single meal. This reduces staining and bacteria buildup. Use a regular soft-bristled brush and brush down from the top, then up from the bottom. Brush in all different directions to dislodge food.
  • Use a threadable floss or a floss threader. Both will require that you thread the floss through each space between your teeth. You will have to go under the wire to do this, and it will take slightly longer than normal flossing. This is one of the most important oral hygiene recommendations to follow!
  • Use helpful tools. A proxabrush is a small braces brush that can help unstick foods. It looks like a tiny Christmas Tree brush. A waterpik is also helpful. This is a tool that helps blast away food particles with a stream of water.

 

Tooth Decay with Braces

Many children and teens skip flossing or brushing here and there. Every time you skip on an oral hygiene habit, it increases your risk for tooth decay—or cavities—with braces. Your time with braces is one where you have to be super careful about your oral health. Most people picture their beautiful smile after getting their braces off, but they don’t think about cavities and tooth erosion. You can end up with tooth decay and parts of your teeth that have eroded due to your oral hygiene habits with braces.

 

Nobody wants to spend 18-24 months perfecting their teeth only to be disappointed in their smile. That’s why oral hygiene is so important. Tooth decay happens rapidly, and it can happen where the brackets are bonded to your teeth and in-between your teeth because it is harder to floss. Normally, you would simply visit the dentist and have your cavity removed and filled. However, cavity treatment is a bit different with braces.

 

Young boy with braces getting a cavity treatment at a dental office

 

Cavity Treatment with Braces

Cavity treatment is slightly harder if you have braces, but not impossible. Generally, decay happens between teeth cracks and around brackets and wires. If you have tooth decay that is in a tricky spot, we can remove your wire so that a dentist can provide you with a proper cavity treatment. You will have to have your appointments scheduled close together (dentist and orthodontist) so that you can get your cavity filled and your wire replaced.

 

In severe cases of tooth decay, we may have to remove a bracket from the tooth if it interferes with the dental work that needs to be done. We only do this in certain cases, and we replace the missing part as soon as possible so your teeth don’t move. Cavity treatment—with taking out the tooth decay and filling it—is the same with braces as it is without, only you have to work around orthodontic appliances if you have braces. Always let us know if you have tooth sensitivity, sharp (and even mild) pain when chewing and if you have sensitivity to hot or cold foods. This signals that there may be a more severe cavity.

 

Prevent Cavity Treatment

The goal of every patient—old and young—is to avoid tooth decay altogether. If you do, you’ll never have to worry about cavity treatment with braces. If your decay is small and in a tricky spot, you may have to wait until your braces are off to receive your cavity treatment. That might make your cavity grow larger, which is something you don’t want. Always see the dentist to check your mouth for tooth decay before you receive orthodontic treatment. This can avoid many problems in the future.

 

If you are prone to getting cavities or you have weak enamel, consider receiving Invisalign treatment instead of getting brackets and wires. This will help you avoid problems with cavities and needing to get cavity treatment. If you have tooth pain or want to learn more about cavity treatment with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

Your Braces from Start to Finish

Posted on: February 26, 2018

girl who has braces

There are many things to think about when deciding to receive your braces. What type of braces should you choose? What age should you receive those braces? Then, after deciding what method of teeth straightening you want, you then have to learn how to properly care for your teeth. You will also have to get used to sometimes having sore teeth after your appointments and fitting in seeing the dentist. We can help you to know about your braces appliance from choosing a braces type, cleaning them, and avoiding tooth decay while you get a straighter smile.

 

Choosing Your Braces Style

Receiving braces is an exciting time for many people. It is the start of a better smile and a better you. But before you can get that straighter, more beautiful smile, you have to choose what style of braces you want. We offer:

  • 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.

 

close up of braces

 

Getting Your Braces Put On

After you’ve chosen the style of braces you want, you need to have them fitted to your mouth. 3 out of the 4 options available to you will be bonded to your actual teeth. At our office, we make sure your teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried before we bond brackets to them. With metal braces, we will use a cement bonding glue to adhere a metal bracket to the center of each of your teeth. Your back molars might receive a band that goes all the way around the tooth.

 

Once the metal bracket is cemented to the center of each tooth, we will pass a small metal archwire through each bracket both on top and on bottom. In the end, you will end up with a wire across the teeth on your upper jaw and across the teeth on your lower jaw. The glue we use may taste a bit unpleasant, but it is otherwise harmless. The entire process of getting your brackets and wires placed on your teeth will be between 1 and 2 hours.

 

The Process for Other Options

Depending on what option you have chosen, your braces process might be a bit different. Ceramic braces are applied the same way that metal braces would be, as they too consist of brackets and wires. However, if you choose to get lingual braces, we can’t simply place brackets on the backs of your teeth. Once Dr. Hardy has determined that you are an ideal candidate for lingual braces, he will take impressions of your teeth. He then sends them to a lab so that your brackets and wires can be custom made. The braces will then be bonded behind your teeth at a separate appointment.

 

For Invisalign treatment, we design a series of transparent aligners that you will switch out each week. We can take digital impressions of your mouth that we will use to design your aligners. We use a digital scanning system that sends images to a state-of-the-art printing machine. Then, each week you will have new aligners that you will simply replace. It’s that easy!

 

girl getting her braces adjusted

Your Orthodontic Experience

Most patients will have braces for 18-24 months. Some people don’t like braces, but the majority of people do. You can choose the style of your braces and if you want them to be hidden or noticeable. You can also dress up your braces with colorful bands if you so desire. Braces require more care than what you are used to. You must take more time with brushing and flossing, even using tools such as a waterpik, proxabrush and floss threaders to fully remove food from your braces. You must clean your teeth thoroughly to avoid tooth decay during your time with braces. We can show you how to do all of this at our office.

 

Each patient will come in every 4-6 weeks for orthodontic checkups. This is where we will examine your braces and how your teeth are moving. You will experience initial soreness and discomfort after you first get your braces. You might have this discomfort every time your braces get tightened as well. A simple over-the-counter pain reliever should help you as well as eating soft foods. Having braces changes life a little bit when it comes to cleaning your teeth (which takes longer), but the benefits far outweigh everything else. At the end of your treatment, you will have an amazing, beautiful smile that is sure to wow everyone around you. If you want to know more about your braces options, or want to get started on your journey today, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!