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Be Thankful for Orthodontic Treatment

Posted on: November 27, 2018

An attractive, young adult male that is sitting in a dental chair as a dental hygienist prepares tools in the background.

Studies show that not enough Americans are taking good care of their teeth, especially through dental and orthodontic treatment. The advanced technology available today is what allows patients to keep their natural teeth healthy for life and is something that millions in the world don’t have access to. Find out why oral health services such as orthodontic treatment is so important to patients and something to be thankful for this time of year!

 

Your Oral Health

When you think of the most chronic conditions and diseases that plague people today, you may not think of cavities as being one of the them. The National Institutes of Health reports that tooth decay—or cavities—are the most “chronic, prevalent disease” among American children and adults. In fact, about 92% of people have tooth decay by the time they reach adulthood. In all age groups, roughly between 20% and 25% of people have untreated decay they are not aware of.

 

What does tooth decay have to do with orthodontic treatment? This decay can happen to anyone at anytime and you are more likely to have tooth decay during your orthodontic treatment. Many patients opt for lingual, ceramic or traditional metal braces to straighten their teeth. These methods require brackets that are bonded to the teeth with wires that pass through those brackets. Even though these appliances are highly effective for providing beautiful straightening power, they can make it harder to clean your teeth. Because it’s harder to clean them, and some patients don’t take the extra time to do this, you can end up with tooth decay. That adds to that 92% statistic.

 

The best way to eliminate your risk for that tooth decay (as well as other oral health diseases), is to properly care for your teeth both with and without braces. That involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes at a time, as recommended by the American Dental Association. When you have braces, you have to do this after every meal to avoid acidic plaque buildup, which happens when your food and drink sugars mix with mouth bacteria. With braces, threadable floss to go around brackets and wires is generally needed, as well as cleaning items such as a waterpik (water shooter) tool and a proxabrush for brackets. Your oral health can be stellar during orthodontic treatment with the right oral hygiene.

 

A beautiful brunette teen that has braces on her teeth and that is holding a toothbrush and interdental brush in her hands.

How Does the U.S. Compare?

Orthodontic treatment is a time when those in the U.S. can have a greater risk for developing cavities. This comes from a lack of oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment period. However, the world at large is battling oral health diseases and poor dental and orthodontic care on an epidemic scale. The World Health Organization reports that cavities (tooth decay) and gum disease (periodontal disease) “have historically been considered the most important global oral health burdens”.

 

60%-90% of people worldwide have tooth decay and oral diseases connected to this condition. Children are affected the most, but statistics are almost as high in adults worldwide. Even though the U.S. is at a high percentage when it comes to tooth decay (92%), the presence of tooth decay is generally eliminated in most of the population through proper dental work and access to dental services. In the majority of other countries—especially underdeveloped ones—dental or orthodontic work is not a possibility for most. Oral health diseases are simply left untreated or the teeth are pulled when they become too painful.

 

The Connection to Orthodontic Treatment

Getting a cavity or having an oral health problem during your life can definitely be avoided, but most people will have some sort of oral problem, even if it is small. There are ways to prevent those problems such as proper brushing and flossing every single day. A great way to reduce your risk for oral health diseases is through orthodontic treatment. For children, this is known as child orthodontics. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic appointment between age 7 or 8.

 

This is a time when baby teeth are starting to fall out and adult, permanent teeth are starting to come into the mouth. Proper examination by an orthodontist can sport bite and alignment issues that are developing in children. When these issues occur, the teeth can come in crooked all over or they may not rest in the position they are supposed to. This can lead to speech impediments, many dental emergencies and broken teeth in the future from uneven dental pressure, higher instances of tooth decay and gum disease, and problems with oral health diseases.

 

Orthodontic treatment when young can help align the teeth and jaws to prevent oral problems as a child grows. When teens and adults receive orthodontic treatment via braces, they can better straighten permanent teeth when they come in. This sets everything straight and functional before the jaws harden in adulthood. Straight teeth and aligned jaws make it so cleaning the teeth becomes almost effortless. The risk for tooth decay and gum disease is also significantly lower.

 

A young brunette teen girl that has just gotten braces on her teeth and is smiling at her reflection in a mirror at the dental office.

Be Thankful for Your Orthodontic Treatment

Dentistry and orthodontic treatment helps diminish the presence of oral diseases.Yes, tooth decay and gum disease happen frequently due to poor oral hygiene habits. However, orthodontic treatment can help prevent those problems in the first place. Great oral care can prevent developing problems throughout your life. Even when these issues do happen, you won’t have to simply get your teeth pulled or let them decay and fall out of your mouth.

 

You have great orthodontic and dental options in the United States that allow you to keep your teeth, while many people across the globe have to lose them. Remember that the next time you think about skipping your oral care appointments. To reduce your risk for oral health diseases, you can call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 and ask about your orthodontic treatment plan.

 

Foods and Drinks that Harm Your Teeth

Posted on: November 20, 2018

Female patient with braces that is drinking a drink through a straw and experiencing tooth pain.

Did you know that what you’re drinking might be hurting your oral health? Many patients experience problems like tooth erosion and thinning without realizing that the problem is what they’re eating. Use this guide to know the effects of foods and drinks on the teeth and what to watch out for!

 

Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

Your teeth are made of tightly-packed minerals that keep them strong and healthy. Those include calcium, phosphate, magnesium and more. Your saliva helps break down your food and helps to remineralize your teeth each day. Eating certain foods and drinks can strip minerals from your teeth slowly over time, making them weak, sensitive and thinner. These are common oral health problems with age. However, thinning (or enamel erosion) and sensitivity usually come from a lack of oral hygiene. If you enjoy a daily soda or you love your sweet treats throughout the day, you may be weakening your teeth at a rapid pace.

 

A dark soda in a glass that is surrounded by sugary treats.

Foods that Cause Damage

Some foods build up your tooth enamel and help it, like dairy products helping to remineralize calcium. Others—like sugar—tear it down. Avoid these foods to keep your smile healthy:

  • Anything Citrus: This includes both foods and drinks. Citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, etc.) and drinks contain citric acid. This is there naturally or as an additive to maintain flavor. Any type of acid on a label will erode your teeth if you ingest it.
  • Sugar: Sugar mixes directly with mouth bacteria to form a sticky film called plaque. That plaque sticks to teeth and causes decay. Because it’s acidic, it will work on your teeth to erode and decay them. The more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth makes, and the more erosion and decay you get. This is especially true while wearing braces.
  • Hard Candies/Mints: Any candy or mint you suck on (like a sucker) exposes your teeth to sugar constantly, which leads to decay from plaque acid.
  • Chewy/Sticky Candy: Any chewy/sticky consistency is destined to get stuck in brackets and wires. It also sticks like glue to the teeth if they’re not brushed properly.
  • Starchy Foods: Breads, cookies, crackers, pasta and anything starchy will get stuck in your teeth. All of these quickly break down into sugar, which can affect your teeth and your overall health.
  • Popcorn: Popcorn and hard foods like nuts, hard veggies and fruits and non-food items can be bad for your teeth with braces, as they can break your orthodontic appliance. Limit them to avoid orthodontic emergencies.

 

A soda, sparkling water and juice in three separate glass cups all lined up in a row on a white background.

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks can be even more damaging than food in many cases. That’s because you can drink all day long, and if your drink is acidic, those acids stay on your teeth up to 30 minutes. Soft drinks (soda/sports drinks) are notorious for high sugar content. That sugar can create tons of plaque in your mouth that causes decay. As we mentioned, that combination is acidic. Every time you drink, your are making plaque that can weaken your teeth.

 

Avoid these drinks that are acidic, sugary or can stain:

  • Soda: This contains carbonic acid, which comes from a chemical reaction between carbon dioxide and water. It stays acidic on your teeth for up to 30 minutes. Most sodas are incredibly high in sugar, which means they are doubly bad for you.
  • Energy drinks, etc.: Energy drinks, sparkling water, and any drink of the sort that contains carbonic acid. Avoid drinks with fizzy bubbles or limit their contact with the teeth by drinking through a straw.
  • Sports Drinks: These drinks are often full of sugar, plus citric acid to maintain flavor. Avoid them and stick to water.
  • Water Enhancers: Water-flavoring liquids or powders generally contain citric acid to maintain flavor. Even if the substance is clear, the acid will still erode teeth even if the drink isn’t staining them.
  • Alcohol: Many contain carbonation (carbonic acid) and all will kill nerves in your mouth, leading to loss of feeling over time.
  • Coffee: This drink, tea, wine and anything with blue, purple or red pigments will stain the teeth. If you teeth are eroding over time, the dyes get into small cracks in the teeth, changing tooth color rapidly.

 

Damaging Habits that Harm Your Teeth

If you want to have your teeth for life, you have to take care of them. You have to try even harder to care for them when you have braces. More than 4 million Americans are wearing braces each year. Some opt for Invisalign aligners, which are removable and which make cleaning the teeth fairly easy. However, many patients—especially children and teens—wear lingual, traditional metal or ceramic braces. All of these types of braces have brackets bonded to the tooth surface and wires that hold them in place.

 

If you don’t brush and floss like normal, your teeth can decay, erode and you can have problems with both gingivitis or severe gum disease. Your teeth can weaken and break easy and they can fall out. That’s why you want to have meticulous oral hygiene all throughout life. Proper brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist or orthodontist, and using oral health products like mouthwash and fluoride can all help you keep your natural teeth healthy.

 

With braces, you can have your teeth become thin and weak based on what you eat, or they can decay and change colors based on how you care for them. You can definitely harm your teeth if you’re not cleaning your brackets, wires and teeth several times a day. Good oral hygiene care is vital to having a healthy and beautiful smile at the end of your treatment. An easy step to avoid problems is to avoid the foods and drinks we listed above. Be even more careful about those foods and drinks with braces. For specific questions about certain foods or drinks, or help for proper braces care, 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!

 

Dental Services You Need During Braces

Posted on: October 4, 2018

Young woman with braces on her teeth that is sitting in a dental chair getting dental services.

Getting braces through an orthodontist does not mean you should stop seeing a dentist for dental services. In fact, you may even need to get dental services more often with braces. This is because brackets and wires inevitably raise your risk for getting food and plaque stuck in your teeth. Those substances can then lead to quicker tooth decay, gum problems and tooth erosion. Find out what you can expect from your orthodontic visits and why you should keep scheduling in dental services during your treatment.

 

How Do Braces Change Your Teeth?

Not everyone will get braces during their lifetime. However, for those that do, they can change a smile in incredible ways. You may see children wearing braces from time to time. This is just so they can get a great smile, but that is part of it. Children should see the orthodontist around age 7 or 8 to determine if bite or alignment issues are present. If so, a child could grow up with speech impediments, problems with tooth decay and gum disease, and difficulty chewing, eating and biting. With interceptive orthodontics—or child orthodontics—we can correct those problems so a child develops properly.

 

With adults and teens, straightening treatment generally starts around age 11 or 12 and older. This is when most (if not all) of the adult teeth have come into the mouth. However, it’s common for the adult teeth to come in crooked, which can make people self-conscious about their smiles. When patients decide to get braces to straighten their teeth, studies show that confidence grows and people show their smiles more. That confidence can lead to more success in the future, motivation to do more and be more, and better oral health.

 

Straightening the teeth makes the teeth easier to clean. This is because crooked teeth can create areas in the mouth where the teeth are incredibly hard to clean. If you can’t brush nooks and crannies well or if you can’t pass floss through the teeth, those areas are likely to decay. Teeth that are crooked or at different angles also have different amounts of pressure placed on them, which can cause the teeth to crack or break under pressure. That is why straightening the teeth can help prevent not only dental emergencies, but also problems like tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Young adult woman that is holding a toothbrush and has braces on her teeth.

Changes You Want to Avoid

With your dental health, you always want to invest in dental services like dental cleanings, comprehensive exams and your own at-home cleaning. If not, you can start to develop problems with cavities and gum disease. Both of these conditions (as well as bad breath, oral sores and more) stem from poor oral hygiene. When you eat, bacteria in the mouth mix with sugars in your food to create a sticky film called plaque. That film is acidic and it sticks to your teeth instead of being swallowed. The acid erodes the layers of your teeth, decaying them to create cavities. This is how they form, and they can happen much easier with braces.

 

Three types of braces you can choose (traditional, lingual, ceramic) will require brackets and wires attached to your teeth. The brackets are bonded to the center of your teeth, with a wire that runs through them. Your brackets are areas where plaque and food can easily get stuck. If they become stuck or particles build up around your brackets, this can create areas of decay rather quickly. Many people also don’t floss like they should with braces because it takes just a bit longer. However, when food sticks around and you skip flossing, you are leaving about 40% of your tooth surfaces open to decay. That means, when you get your braces off, you’ll be left with areas of tooth erosion (or craters) and cavities.

 

You also want to avoid foods with dyes in them, including drinks. When you drink or eat something with dyes (like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and drinks died those colors), then your tooth color can change over time. This could mean that you have small squares on all of your teeth at the end of treatment that are a different color than the rest of your teeth. Soda, juices and carbonated drinks can all do this as well, except that they will also wear away parts of your teeth.

 

Dental professional looking at a patient's teeth that has braces on their teeth.

Continue Dental Services During Braces

All of those changes to your teeth can be avoided if you keep up on your personal hygiene at home and dental services in-office. This means, you should:

  • Brush your teeth every single day, after every single meal, for two minutes each time you brush. Practice brushing at 45-degree angles to dislodge food from brackets and cover all the tooth surfaces. Use a proxabrush to dislodge stuck food even easier.
  • Floss each day, at least 1-2 times. Use a floss threader or threadable floss to make this easy for you.
  • Use a waterpik tool if you tend to get food stuck in specific places.
  • Keep up on your braces adjustments and your orthodontic appointments.
  • For dental services, make sure you visit the dentist at least twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings.

 

We want to focus on that last one. Dental cleanings and comprehensive exams are so important for the health of your mouth. With dental cleanings, the hygienists can do thorough cleanings on your teeth and brackets and spot the signs of erosion, decay and color changes. Those professionals can spot the signs of decay and gum issues. If needed, we can work with them to remove certain brackets where dental work is needed. Orthodontists and dentists are not the same even though they have had the same schooling. Make sure you are visiting both during your time with braces. If you want to avoid problems with cleaning brackets and wires, ask us about our Invisalign treatment option. You can do this by calling Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

Fun Facts About Orthodontics

Posted on: September 25, 2018

Orthodontic professional showing a patient a model of a mouth that has two different types of braces on it.

Did you know that an orthodontist is different than a dentist? Orthodontics is a dental specialty all its own, that has different goals and processes than what dentists do. There are many ways to fix the teeth and many methods that have been tried for many centuries. Find out the amazing history of orthodontics and some facts you may not know!

 

History of Orthodontics

People have been straightening their teeth since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, as can be seen from mummies from this era. Even the Romans and Etruscans used crude orthodontic straightening methods to get a better smile. Many philosophers hypothesized better ways to straighten the teeth. A Roman writer Celsus (1 A.D.) thought the teeth could be pushed into place. Pliny—around the same time—thought the teeth could be filed to be the ideal shape and size.

 

It wasn’t until 1728 that Pierre Fauchard—or the “Father of Dentistry”—made great strides with orthodontics. He first practiced crudely removing the teeth, replacing them straight, and tying them to other teeth so they could heal straighter. From his influence and others after him, modern orthodontics came to be. Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann developed dental impressions in the 17th century. In the early U.S. years, barbers and medical professionals experimented and performing small orthodontic treatments. This was until the first dental school was established in 1828.

 

Afterwards, J.S. Gunnell invented a form of headgear that was successful in straightening the teeth. Dental students and professionals figured out how to make a metal appliance to straighten individual teeth, which led to the now-used bracket and wire design in modern orthodontics. Before 1970, orthodontists wrapped wires around each tooth and required that headgear to straighten. This practice involved lots of metal in the mouth, which is why a better form (that we use today) was invented in the following years. Now, in the last 20 years lingual braces (braces behind the teeth) and Invisalign (transparent aligners) were invented to allow patients a hidden apparatus with orthodontics.

 

Close-up view of clear braces on a patient's teeth.

What Do Orthodontists Do?

Did you know that orthodontists are dentists? Every orthodontist is a dentist because they have completed dental school and then some. However, not all dentists are orthodontists. The standard requirements for dentists are to complete 4 years of undergraduate schooling and then 4 years at a dental school. They will have to pass exams and become certified to do dental work. Orthodontists do all of those 8 years, plus they complete 2-3 more years of orthodontics, training in bite and alignment correction and surgical orthodontics. All throughout their career, both dentists and orthodontists must do continuing education courses as well as pass tests to continue working.

 

An orthodontist will not fix your cavity even though they may spot the signs of tooth decay. Often, an orthodontist works closely with a dentist, as both professionals work on your mouth. What one professional doesn’t do, the other will do. Dentists do everything relating to tooth decay (cavities), gum disease and other oral health diseases as well as remedying dental emergencies. An orthodontist performs services that a dentist doesn’t do such as:

  • Bite and alignment correction in children and adults (child orthodontics and adult orthodontics)
  • Surgical orthodontics, which is surgery to help remedy a misaligned jaw or bite.
  • Braces design, fitting, adjusting and complete process with lingual braces, ceramic (clear) braces, traditional metal, and Invisalign treatment.
  • Training in placing temporary anchorage devices, which are tiny screws in the mouth that push, pull, lift or intrude teeth that are being straightened.
  • Designing and creating retainer devices to keep bite, alignment and teeth in proper position.

 

Facts About Braces

  • An orthodontist must complete 4 years of dental school, plus 3700 hours or specialized training in orthodontics to get their degree.
  • There are more than 19,000 orthodontist members under the American Association of Orthodontics in the U.S., Canada and abroad.
  • 1 in 4 people with braces are adults.
  • Children make up another 1/4th of people wearing braces to correct bite and alignment.
  • Because of modern technology, all four of your dental options (lingual, metal, ceramic and Invisalign) can straighten your teeth in about the same amount of time.
  • It is possible to only get braces in either your upper or lower jaw if the other jaw is straight.
  • The jaws stop growing as a child ages. That growth stops towards the end of the teenage years around 17 or 18. Straightening the teeth is effective for people after this age, but it may take longer than it would for children.
  • Patients generally see their orthodontist every 6-10 weeks for braces adjustments. Patients with severe bite and alignment issues may need to come in more often.
  • Orthodontists often usually have “DDS” or “DMD” after their names. This stands for “Doctor of Dental Surgery” and “Doctor of Dental Medicine”. Both are considered equal degrees, but the degree given depends on the dental school attended before orthodontic training.
  • Materials used in metal braces are so light that they won’t set off metal detectors in airports.

 

Close-up view of a woman with clear braces on her teeth that are being adjusted by an orthodontic professional.

How Do Orthodontics Help People?

If you’ve never been to an orthodontist, you may wonder why you need one. Not everyone may need orthodontics to correct bite and alignment issues, but everyone should see an orthodontist at some point. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that every person have an orthodontic visit between ages 7 and 8. This is prime time to detect bite and alignment issues that would lead to crooked teeth, speech impediments, oral hygiene diseases, and problems chewing, biting and functioning normally.

 

When issues are found, they can quickly be corrected so children can grow and develop normally. If a teen or adult wants to straighten their teeth to boost their confidence and success, they can receive braces starting around age 11. For specific questions about our orthodontic services, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303 225-9016!

How Bite Correction Can Change Your Life?

Posted on: September 11, 2018

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

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

 

Your Bite Should Be a Certain Way

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

 

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

 

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

Types of Bites

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

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

 

Benefits of Bite Correction for Children

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Benefits of Bite Correction for Adults

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

 

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

 

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

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!

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!

 

Orthodontic Care

There are many oral health problems that can happen with braces if you are not focused on your orthodontic care and brushing/flossing of your teeth. Your diet can damage your teeth during your orthodontic treatment, which is why we want you to avoid certain foods and drinks. Your diet can damage your teeth during your orthodontic treatment, which is why we want you to avoid certain foods and drinks. Overly acidic or sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay and acid erosion that harms your tooth enamel. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to avoid so you don’t have dental problems during your time with braces!

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay When With Braces

Braces provide patients with a spectacular tool for straightening smiles and correcting jaw problems that impact self confidence and overall oral wellness. Technology has improved over the years allow for less and less of an apparatus on the tooth enamel, but, nonetheless, there is still an apparatus sitting on your teeth for the duration of your treatment. Unless you are wearing removable Invisalign aligners for your orthodontic treatment, your apparatus will consist of wires and brackets.  Your wires and brackets are fundamental to the treatment process, but they also can make it difficult to remove food particles that get stuck under, between and in your brackets and wires. If this food is left to fester, the acidic content of the food can eat away at your tooth’s vital tooth enamel.

Combat this type of tooth decay by using the tools your orthodontist recommends for cleaning your teeth. This includes regular brushing, an interdental brush, floss (and floss threaders) and possibly a water flosser to help you use the force of water to rid your mouth of stuck debris.

Acidic Foods and Drinks Erode Tooth Enamel

When it comes to taking care of your teeth with braces, one of the best things you can do is pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth. Thinking about what is coming in contact with your pearly whites can protect your teeth from erosion and decay.

Certain foods and beverages are more acidic (eroding) than others. Low acid foods are better for your teeth even though some of their high acidic counterparts are good for your body. During orthodontic treatment, focus on eating foods that are BOTH good for your body AND your teeth.

Less tooth-friendly foods and drinks include: apples, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, pineapples, raspberries, tomatoes, pickles, soft drinks, fruit drinks, vinaigrette dressings, BBQ sauces and salsas.

More tooth-friendly foods and drinks include: bananas, mangoes, melons, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, beets, milk, water, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, crackers, soups and pasta.

Orthodontic Care: Cleaning Teeth at Home 

If ever there was a time to skimp on your oral hygiene it is NOT when you have braces. Diligent home care can make a significant difference in your smile results post-orthodontic treatment. Here are three steps to follow to help you find success:

  • Brush after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup. To brush teeth with a regular soft brush, brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket.
  • Use a threadable floss or a floss threader. (If using a floss threader, thread regular floss through the eye of the threader, the same way you would with a sewing needle and thread.) Using the small or the pointed end, insert the floss or floss threader between the teeth, but below the archwire. Gently move it back and forth until it is able to thread the floss between the teeth. Once in place, you can floss the two teeth on either side of where you have inserted the floss, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire. Repeat between all teeth.
  • Use a proxabrush (interdental brush). After brushing with a toothbrush, use a proxabrush, commonly referred to as a “Christmas tree brush,” to clean between each bracket. Place the proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, brushing up and down. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side (either down from the top or up from the bottom).

If you are having ANY difficulties cleaning your teeth with these above tools, contact our office so we can help!

Schedule an Orthodontic Care Consultation to Protect Your Tooth Enamel

Your time with braces will come and go in a flash, although you might not believe that in the beginning. The efforts you make from day one with your braces to protect your tooth enamel will show in the results of sparkling, white, strong, healthy teeth. Our friendly staff at Belmar Orthodontics is available to train you in methods and tools for keeping your teeth clean and strong. Make sure to keep your regular cleaning and check-up appointments so we can examine your teeth and make suggestions for improvements. Make an appointment by contacting our office today at 303.225.9016.  We are excited to meet you and help you reach your smile goals!

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!