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mother brushing her teeth with her daughter

If you teach a child good oral hygiene habits early on, odds are that they will have better oral hygiene habits when they are teens and adults. As soon as a toddler gets their first tooth, it’s essential to start brushing and flossing their teeth. Afterwards, you will need to teach them the basics of good oral hygiene practices, especially when it comes to wearing braces. Find out what those basics are and what you should be thinking about for your child’s oral health!

 

Teaching Good Oral Hygiene Early

Good oral hygiene habits are essential for a healthy mouth and especially during orthodontic care. Many children need early orthodontics, which is also known as “child orthodontics”. This is when bite and alignment issues are corrected around age 7 or 8 to avoid serious problems later on. However, we hope that every child has good oral hygiene habits established well before this visit. Otherwise, not only will a child be dealing with bite and alignment issues, but they will also be dealing with tooth decay.

 

As soon as your child gets their first tooth as a baby, you need to start brushing that tooth. Brush it morning and night with a rice-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Also make sure to clean your baby’s gums with a wet cloth after feedings. Once they start to grow, begin teaching them how to brush their teeth properly. You will have to help brush your child’s teeth for the first couple of years until they have the dexterity in their hands to do it themselves. Flossing will come later as more teeth come in.

 

two small boys brushing their teeth

Learning to Brush

Brushing the teeth is one of the most important habits a child can have. Brushing long enough is key for a healthy mouth. Make sure you get a toothbrush that fits the size of your child’s mouth. There are brushes for infants, toddlers, children, teens and adults. All will be different sizes and some children brushes will come in fun shapes and colors to help children brush.

 

Children can’t always tell how long they have been brushing. Having them brush their teeth for a duration of a song or brushing your teeth alongside them to make sure they brush long enough. When they are old enough to have braces, brushing is even more important than before to avoid tooth decay. Food that gets stuck in brackets can cause rapid decay. Make sure they brush longer and at different angles to dislodge food. When children are first learning, brush with them as many days as it takes when first learning to brush their teeth. Do the same when they learn to brush with braces.

 

Flossing 101

Children won’t have to floss until they are toddlers. The baby teeth are spaced out until they all come in. Kids will have a total of 20 baby teeth that will start to come closer together as a baby ages. Until a child has the dexterity to use floss like an adult, it’s smart to invest in flossers. These are secure, hand-held flossing tools that children can put in between their teeth to easily dislodge food. Ask us about mouthwash and fluoride products to see if they should be part of your child’s oral hygiene routine as well.

 

See a Dentist and Orthodontist

Starting from an early age, children need to start visiting the dentist. By age 7, they should see us for an orthodontic exam as well. Dental visits themselves are so important that most dental insurances cover those twice-a-year visits. These biannual visits generally consist of comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. At first, children may be nervous about visiting a dentist. Offices can be large with busy equipment that children aren’t familiar with. Dental tools can also be loud, which can make children nervous. However, these visits are nothing to worry about whether it is a dentist or orthodontist.

 

To help your child get used to being in an office, make sure you go to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist while they are young. Pediatric offices (such as our orthodontic one) has staff that is trained to work well with children. Dr. Hardyl has experience with children on a daily basis. He was trained in both dentistry and orthodontics and can spot the signs of dental issues early-on. His staff knows what kids worry about and they know how to explain dental and orthodontic terms so a child can understand. An exam sounds serious, but it’s really just Dr. Hardy looking inside your child’s mouth for any bite, alignment or dental problems. If a child hasn’t seen Dr. Hardy by age 7, make sure to get them in for an examination!

 

A hygienist teaching a small girl how to brush teeth correctly

Good Habits for Life

Start children out young when teaching them good oral hygiene. If you make a habit of brushing and flossing, children will see that example and will follow it. When you help them learn good oral hygiene habits as soon as they can talk and understand, they can start keeping their mouth clean themselves. There are many resources online to help teach children specifics of brushing, flossing, and for learning about dental hygiene. We help children every day with brushing, flossing, caring for braces and establishing good oral hygiene. Call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 with any and all questions you have about your child’s oral health. Let us help you as you and your child learn to establish good oral hygiene habits together!

 

woman putting in her invisalign aligners

Many people think of traditional metal brackets when they picture braces in their mind. However, these are not the only type of braces available to patients. Lingual braces and ceramic braces also exist, but one of our favorite options is Invisalign treatment. Named for the invisible aligners that help shift your teeth, Invisalign is the perfect treatment option for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth more discreetly. Find out how these aligners are custom-designed for each patient, what your treatment will look like and how you can benefit from choosing Invisalign!

 

What Is Invisalign?

In the past, metal braces were the only option people had to straighten their teeth. Decades ago, these metal braces even came with large headgear and lengthy treatment. Technology continues to advance each year, and now you have better (and much more discreet) options for straightening your teeth. Invisalign is one such option for patients who want straight teeth, but don’t want metal brackets for 18-24 months to achieve that smile. Invisalign is the same type of treatment, but instead of brackets, you get transparent aligners that go in your mouth much like retainers. Advantages of this orthodontic option include:

  • Virtual invisibility because the aligners are transparent.
  • You can remove the aligners whenever you need to, especially for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
  • Cleaning the aligners are much easier than cleaning brackets and wires.
  • Less office visits are typically needed for patients.
  • Total time for optimal results is generally shorter than metal braces.

 

transparent aligner and carrying case

How Does It Work?

Your Invisalign treatment will be much different than traditional metal braces would be. However, Invisalign treatment is much easier than metal braces. Dr. Hardy will take an impression of your teeth using a special 3D imaging machine called an iTero Element Scanner. This will digitally record all the grooves and shapes of your current teeth without any sticky molds. Then, your aligners will be custom-made for you that you will take home with you and switch out every 2-3 weeks. Every person’s gumline is different, so the digital impressions of your teeth is an important part of the Invisalign creation process. Once your aligners are made, we trim them to fit your gum line. A custom-fit means that your aligners will fit so snug against your teeth that they will almost seem invisible.

 

Your treatment plan will be made based off of the current shape of your teeth and if you have any bite and alignment issues. We will be able to tell if any of these issues are present during your consultation. Once your treatment plan is made, you will wear your aligners between 20-22 hours a day for 18-24 months. The treatment time is similar to what metal braces or other orthodontic options would be. On average, our patients need 18-30 aligners for a period of 9-15 months to achieve their desired outcome.

 

Can Children Use Invisalign?

Some children will be candidates for Invisalign treatment, whereas others will not be. Often, child orthodontics is needed to correct bite and alignment problems that are severe in children. These problems include overbite, underbite, crossbite and other problems with a misaligned bite and jaw. Some problems are severe enough that children will require metal or ceramic braces to fix the problem. Invisalign treatment can correct some bite and alignment issues, but not if they are severe. A severe problem may make your child unable to use Invisalign aligners until they receive orthodontic treatment for teeth straightening as a teenager.

 

There is also the problem of the aligners being removable. Since they are clear, they are easily lost, which parents don’t want. If your child is fairly young, metal braces might be the smartest choice for them so they don’t lose the aligners. Dr. Hardy can assess your child’s oral health to see if they are candidates for Invisalign treatment or if they need other orthodontic appliances.

 

girl having an appointment with her orthodontist

Invisalign Teen

For many teens, they don’t want metal braces that are very visible to everyone. Metal appliances can also make eating, speaking and maintaining clean teeth challenging. Many teenagers are also self-conscious about braces and their appearance, which generally brings less smiles and confidence. The invisibility of Invisalign Teen is why it’s so popular with this age group. Invisalign Teen is simply Invisalign treatment made with teenagers in mind. For teens who play sports, they can remove their aligners in order to wear mouth guards or to play musical instruments.

 

Why Should I Choose Invisalign?

Do you want straighter teeth? Do you want to straighten your teeth without everyone knowing? Would you like to avoid all the work that goes into cleaning brackets with metal braces? Then Invisalign treatment is for you! Invisalign aligners are fit to your mouth, comfortable and transparent. You can remove them as you need to and cleaning is very easy, especially for children and teens. If you want a beautiful smile while you receive orthodontic treatment, ask our office about receiving Invisalign treatment for you and your child. Call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!

 

Dentistry and Orthodontics Are Closely Related

Posted on: September 22, 2017

dentistry and orthodontics

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

What Dentists Do

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

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

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

What Orthodontists Do

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

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

Dentistry and Orthodontics Compared

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

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

Benefit From Both

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

How Braces Improve Dental Health

Posted on: September 8, 2017

dental health

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

 

Braces Improve Dental Health

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

 

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

 

What Else Can Braces Do?

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

 

Common Oral Health Problems

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

 

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

 

Your Dental Health

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

 

surgical orthodontics

Traditional braces, lingual braces, Invisalign and more. These are some of the services we offer our patients at Belmar Orthodontics.  But, have you ever heard of surgical orthodontics? This is a practice that not only deals with the straightening of the teeth, but deals with correcting jaw abnormalities and problems with bite. Surgical orthodontics is most often used to correct these problems and for cosmetic/aesthetic reasons in older adolescents and adults. Dr. Hardy is highly skilled to prep you for corrective jaw surgery and help you recover. Learn more about surgical orthodontic care and our other straightening options today!

 

Investing in Orthodontic Care Early

Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between 7 and 8 years old? Many people may think that’s a young age, but it’s for a very important reason. Giving your child an early oral examination can help detect orthodontic issues that are present and prevent their progression. A child’s jaw is continually forming all the way until they are about 18 (for boys) and 16 (for girls). During this time, if a bite problem manifests itself, it can easily be corrected with early orthodontic care. What bite problems might we be talking about?

  • Underbite – The lower jaw juts out more than the upper, which prevents proper function of the mouth and can lead to TMJ.
  • Crossbite – Teeth overlap unevenly over one another (some in front of and some behind the lower teeth). This can cause bite problems, wear and tear, tooth breakage and more.
  • Openbite – There is an inadequate overlap of the front teeth. The front teeth may not touch the lower ones at all. This is caused by tongue thrust, thumb-sucking, or from the jaw not growing evenly. It can cause major dysfunctional chewing patterns and wear to the back teeth of the mouth.
  • Overbite – The upper jaw extends out over the lower one instead of lining up straight. This can cause your teeth to bite into your gum tissue and will cause wear to the lower front teeth.
  • Impacted Teeth – A tooth that has not erupted correctly in the mouth. Wisdom teeth are the most common form of impaction. Canines and premolars can also become impacted though.

 

Corrective Jaw Surgery

If you are like many others, you may not know too much about surgical orthodontics (a.k.a. corrective jaw surgery) and just how life-changing it can be for many patients. If you have a bite problem present (such as the examples we mentioned above), you may experience trouble chewing, biting, breathing, speaking and performing basic functions with your mouth. Corrective  surgery can fix your bite problem and restore correct function to your mouth if bite-correction orthodontic care was not utilized as a child. This surgery can only be done on older patients after the jaw has finished forming in later adolescence (16-18 years old).

 

Pre-Surgical Phase

We see patients that come into our office with aesthetic concerns about their profile or jaw shape and size. For bite or aesthetic reasons, we will meet with you to start a pre-surgical phase to align your teeth through orthodontic care so that they are in an ideal position for surgery. Your options for straightening the teeth include:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – The metal brackets we know and love. This is your cheapest option for straightening and one of the most effective.
  • Ceramic Braces – Want the structure of traditional braces without them being so noticeable? Our ceramic braces are naturally white already, which blend in with the teeth. We can make the wire white as well.
  • Lingual Braces – These are metal braces custom-made and attached to the back of your teeth instead of the front. These can achieve the same effect as metal braces without being detectable.
  • Invisalign – A system of transparent, removable aligners custom-made to fit your mouth. You will receive new aligners every few weeks that will gently mold your teeth into proper alignment. The aligners are clear and straightening can be done discreetly.

 

Post-Surgical Phase

We then work closely with an oral surgeon who will perform your actual corrective jaw surgery. For the upper jaw, the surgery generally involves shifting the jaw backward, forward, upward or downward for proper alignment. For the lower jaw, the oral surgeon can move your jaw forward or backward. We are with you for the months of the pre-surgical phase and stay with you for the rest of the post-surgical phase as you heal. Surgical orthodontics is a complicated process. You will need some pre-surgery orthodontic straightening as well as post-surgical straightening as well that lasts between 6-12 months. With how fast time passes though, it’s worth the time it takes to be able to breathe, chew, bite and speak properly again.

 

At Belmar Orthodontics, we take special care to provide you effective treatments for you that will change your life forever. Surgical orthodontics can literally change your life if you have any bite or aesthetic problem that ails you. For more about orthodontic surgery, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!

Temporary Anchorage Devices

What are temporary anchorage devices and what can they do for you? Not all of our patients receive TADs for their teeth, but the ones that do greatly benefit from their straightening power. TADS are small titanium screws we use to help our our patients move their teeth. We place the screw in the gum and jaw bone and it acts as an anchor point for the teeth. We specialize in many methods of teeth straightening such as traditional braces, Invisalign, lingual braces and more, but also employ the use of TADs as needed to give our patients an exceptional smile. They can even aid in creating quicker tooth movement in our patients to achieve the desired straightening effect that is needed. Learn more about all of our straightening methods and which one is right for you. If you need TADs, you can trust in our expertise and finesse with giving you a straightening experience you will enjoy at Belmar Orthodontics.

 

The Advancement of Orthodontics

Orthodontics has come a long way from the crude methods of straightening practiced centuries ago. Extensive headgear and wires were used to straighten the teeth in the past. We benefit today from advanced technology that allows us many options when it comes to straightening the teeth, even discrete options. Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are one of the methods we employ at Belmar Orthodontics when it’s in the best interest of the patient. Temporary anchorage devices work with braces to get your teeth straighter, faster. How do they work though?

 

Tidbits About Temporary Anchorage Devices

Temporary anchorage devices help shift the teeth into a straighter position when braces can’t do the job on their own. Braces are usually sufficient for most patients, but we want all of our patients to benefit from amazing, straight smiles and because of this we use TADs to get them all the way there. TADs consist of small, titanium mini-screws called “mini-implants” or “micro-implants”. These implants are fixed objects that braces use to push, pull, lift or intrude teeth while straightening. Just think of them as anchor points that are amazing tools for braces to get your teeth straighter. Once inserted, TADs do not move, but Dr. Hardy is able to use them to move the teeth in directions and distances that were not previously possible. 

 

How Do They Work?

Temporary anchorage devices are installed quite easy, much like other orthodontic options. You have to be a good candidate for TADs to receive them. This means free of gum disease and you need a strong jaw. Your gum tissue and jaw area will be numbed much like they are numbed at a dental office before a procedure. Then Dr. Hardy will insert the tiny metal screws in areas that will help your teeth to move the most. The insertion process will be completely painless. Adjustment to TADs might take a day or two. The adjustment process should be no different than adjusting to metal braces. Adjusting to any type of straightening device takes time. We will remove the TADs once your teeth have moved into proper place. It’s literally that easy.

 

Traditional Straightening Options

We have many options for straightening instead of solely relying on traditional metal braces. We’ll still include metal braces on our list though:

  • Traditional Braces – These are the standard metal braces that we all know and love. The great thing about “traditional” braces is that they are traditional for a reason. They are strong and highly effective with moving the teeth. Most of our patients get to dress up their brackets with a variety of colors at each visit too. This is usually the most cost-effective option when it comes to straightening the teeth.
  • Ceramic Braces – These are basically your traditional metal braces, except for the fact that they can be made white to match the color of your teeth. The wires and brackets are both made white so they are virtually unnoticeable in your mouth. Ceramic braces are made of ceramic material. Ceramic is harder to stain and easier to clean than metal.

 

Discreet Straightening Options

Want a straight smile without others knowing? Try lingual braces or Invisalign!

  • Lingual Braces – Take a step up from traditional and ceramic braces with lingual braces. These braces are called “incognito” braces because they do just that—go incognito! We customize lingual braces to the shape of your teeth. We then attach them behind the teeth instead of in front. You’ll receive all the strength and functionality of metal braces without the visibility. 
  • InvisalignInvisalign is perhaps the most discreet form of teeth straightening. These transparent, removable aligners are perfect for teens and adults who want a straighter smile and don’t have bite problems. You will receive customizable aligners that change every few weeks so that the teeth are constantly falling into a straighter position. Oral care is easier, you can remove them at your leisure, and you will come out in the end with a straight smile—which is what we all want!

 

If you ever need to have TADs, just know that you are going to be having a powerful straightening experience that usually takes less time than it otherwise would to receive your beautiful, straight smile. We could all benefit from a little more time, right? To learn more about all your straightening options, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!

oral hygiene

Millions of Americans don’t practice good oral hygiene, which is the #1 reason teeth decay and fall out. Good oral hygiene coupled with good nutrition can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay and even bad breath. It will also help us to be able to straighten your teeth without damage and provide you with a more brilliant, beautiful smile. There are many tips for keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Many of these tips have to do with nutrition and overall good oral hygiene. Good nutrition can aid in better health for you and for your teeth. We want all of our patients to be able to achieve a healthy mouth, but the first steps begin before you even come to our office. At Belmar Orthodontics, learn more about good oral hygiene and how orthodontic care can help you!

 

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Sometimes, the basics are the hardest to do because they seem so simple. You skip brushing one night, then you do it again, and soon it starts to become a habit. When it comes to braces, we see patients skip on the basics here and there all the time. Why? This is most likely because braces take a little bit longer to care for than teeth without braces. Skipping on proper brushing and flossing can seriously damage and erode the tooth enamel.

 

The Prevalence of Decay

We recommend brushing and flossing at least twice a day, if not more. After every meal would be ideal, but not everyone makes a habit of doing that. What happens when you don’t brush and floss the teeth properly? You develop dental caries. The American Dental Association reports that 91% of adults 20 years old and older have had dental caries. 27% had untreated tooth decay. What does this mean? It means that 91% of people have had cavities and 27% had untreated cavities that will continue decaying. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that dental caries is the most prevalent chronic disease in the United States in both children and adults. The sad part? It’s completely preventable.

 

Tooth decay occurs when proper oral hygiene practices are not followed. When we eat and drink, bacteria in the mouth mixes with sugar to make acidic plaque. That plaque coats your teeth and over time, erodes the hard tooth enamel. Inside the tooth is a soft, pulpy center that contains nerves and sensitive parts of the tooth. When hygiene practices are skipped, that plaque will erode the teeth enough to break down the enamel and seep into the soft, pulpy center. It will then have a heyday and cause as much decay as it possibly can. Mild tooth decay will result in fillings for cavities. Severe tooth decay will result in a root canal or a dental extraction.  The great part about all of this? Tooth decay is completely preventable! All you have to do is take care of your oral health!

 

Be Extra Careful with Braces

Braces make cleaning the teeth slightly more tricky, but definitely not impossible! With braces, you generally have brackets that are glued to each tooth. A wire connects those brackets on the upper and lower jaws. Brackets and wires in your mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck. This leads to other dental issues if proper care is not taken. Here are some tips to help prevent tooth decay:

  • Brush after every meal. Brushing will help prevent staining and will reduce the potential for bacteria buildup. Food can easily become trapped in the brackets and can erode the tooth enamel around the brackets. Make sure to use a soft brush to brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each bracket and tooth.
  • Use a floss threader. You can’t skip flossing when it comes to braces as it’s even more important now than ever. Tooth decay often happens between the teeth with braces. Using a floss threader will allow you to insert the floss through the teeth and above or below the wire. This allows you to clean effectively in between each tooth. Do this several times a day!
  • Avoid certain foods. Hard foods are a no-no with braces and can break brackets or become stuck in the teeth. Avoid hard candy, chips, ice, apples, crusty bread, nuts, popcorn, corn on the cob, carrots and any other hard candies. Avoid chewy candies or foods such as caramel, toffee, taffy, starbursts, licorice, tootsie rolls, gummy bears and more. For a more comprehensive list of food items, you can always call our office.

 

Over 64 million Americans suffer from gum disease, tooth loss and tooth decay. Poor dental hygiene and tooth decay make orthodontic care that much harder to perform. The point is to get your smile straight and beautiful without making it weaker. Our orthodontic techniques are effective and strong when it comes to getting your teeth in proper position. We want all our patients to have beautiful, straight and strong smiles. It’s vital that you follow proper oral hygiene practices every single day and that you double your efforts while wearing braces. If you need help with your oral hygiene routine or braces maintenance, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016.

pokey wire tips

Have a pokey wire emergency? We understand that pokey wires can be extremely uncomfortable if not addressed quickly. Knowing how to handle one (should you encounter one) can put you at ease and get you the relief you need fast. It is not uncommon for archwires and ligatures to sometimes poke into your lips and gums, but there are home solutions to help you when a trip to our office is not an immediate option. As always, you should seek out Dr. Hardy immediately if a wire has come loose and try to have it fixed. Sometimes you can’t see your orthodontist immediately or it’s a holiday or weekend, so you might have to take some steps yourself so that your mouth is comfortable and pain-free. Learn how you can use tweezers, orthodontic wax, nail clippers and pencil erasers as tools at home to eliminate discomfort!


Archwires and More

The bracket is the small metal square glued to each tooth with a special adhesive. An archwire is the thin metal wire that connects all the brackets of the teeth together and curves around the teeth. It works with the brackets as a source of force to correct crooked teeth, alignment and other irregularities to position the teeth straight. Sometimes a wire can break depending on the food you consume (like hard candies, chips, veggies etc.) or the wires might just be too long towards the back of your mouth. You’ll be able to feel a pokey archwire coming in contact with your gums if it happens. Many times, these wires can cause small mouth sores or cuts on the gums and cheek, so you don’t want to ignore them. The ligature is the small elastic band around each bracket that connects the archwire to the bracket and keeps it in place. The orthodontist will usually change your ligatures—or bands—with each visit and they come in many colors to choose from.

Fixing A Pokey Wire

Archwires and ligatures can sometimes poke into your lips and gums. It’s always best to have Dr. Hardy fix your pokey wire problems.  If that’s just not possible, then we have some tips to help you fix the pokey wire temporarily and be more comfortable until your next orthodontic appointment.

 

Orthodontic wax. You should have received wax when you received your braces. It usually comes in a package in long cylindrical shapes. If you have a pokey wire, wax should be the first option you turn to, as it is usually the safest and most effective method for finding comfort and avoiding mouth cuts from wires. It’s smartest to brush your teeth to make sure the wire itself is clean as well as the area you will apply the wax. After brushing, make sure your hands are clean too and the area around the wire is dry. You can always use a Q-tip or gauze to dry the area of the mouth so it’s not wet. Using only new, unused wax, roll a small piece of the wax into a ball about the size of a pea. Apply the wax to the dry area of the mouth where the wire is poking out or causing irritation. Hold your cheek away from the area for several seconds and make sure the wax is in place. If the area of your mouth was too wet, you may have to re-do the process. The wax should significantly reduce any pain or irritation the wire was causing. Just make sure to remove the wax when eating or brushing your teeth and then reapply new, unused wax for maximum benefits. If a small piece of wax is accidentally swallowed, there is no need to worry as the wax is harmless.

Pencil Eraser. Sometimes you will have a thinner wire in your mouth that is poking out and causing discomfort. If this is the case, and wax does not seem to do the trick, you may use the eraser end of a pencil to gently bend the wire back into a more comfortable shape for your mouth. Make sure to use a pencil with a clean eraser. Pull your cheek away from the area and gently use the eraser to push the wire closer to your teeth and under or behind the archwire if at all possible. This method may or may not work on the archwire itself, but can help with thinner wires. A pencil eraser can also be used to push in the ligature wires on your brackets (where the bands go) that are causing lip or gum irritation.

Tweezers. You can use tweezers to re-insert archwires that have slipped out of the molar bracket. This can happen on the back teeth and can be fixed with tweezers. You may have to have an adult help you with this. Make sure the tweezers are clean before using them as you will be putting the tweezers in your mouth. Grab the end of the wire with the tweezers and carefully insert it back into the bracket slot. After the wire is securely back in the bracket slot, you can use wax to keep the wire in place until your next orthodontic appointment. Tweezers can also be used to bend a ligature wire back into place if it is poking out (much like how you can use an eraser). If a ligature rubber band comes loose, tweezers can be used to place the band around the bracket once more.

Pliers or Nail Clippers. This option is ONLY used as a last resort. If wax fails and you are unable to bend a pokey wire into a more comfortable position or into the bracket slot, you may need to clip the wire itself. This is something you should have your orthodontist do, but if you are in a bind, you can carefully remove the part of the archwire that is poking. Gently pull your cheek away from the area and dry the area where you will cut the wire. Have an adult help you as you gently cut the protruding wire. Afterwards, it is always smart to add wax to the area to keep the wire in place and see your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Call for a Consultation 

A good rule of thumb is to always check for a pokey wire before you leave our office. Sometimes you can tell right away that something will cause you irritation and we can do a quick fix, saving you time.  Always call if you experience a pokey wire or other problem so they can help do a permanent fix. Use common sense when it comes to fixing a pokey wire at home. Call our office at 303.225.9016 if you have any questions! We are here to help you!

Importance of wearing your elastics

Posted on: May 18, 2016

Wearing rubber bands is a critical part of your Orthodontic treatment. If it wasn’t, the doctor would not be asking you to wear them 24 hours of the day. Listed below are a few major reasons you need to wear your bands.

What is the purpose of rubber bands?

Rubber bands are used for people who generally have an over or under bite that needs correcting in order for the bite to fit together well. If you are not wearing your bands well this could potentially extend your treatment time.

Will wearing rubber bands hurt?

Starting your rubber bands will be a new adjustment for your teeth and jaw. You may become a bit sore for a few days but if you take them off to “give your mouth a break,” this may just continue the discomfort. Remember the more you wear them the more you will get use to them.

How often should you need to wear them?

elastic You need to wear your rubber bands 24/7 unless instructed differently by the doctor. The only reasons you should be taking the rubber bands out is to eat if you are unable to eat with them on, brushing and flossing your teeth and putting a new set on.

If you lose your bands it’s no problem! All you need to do is come into the office immediately for a new pack. The longer you go without them, the longer you will be in treatment for.
Make sure you are using the correct bands. Borrowing a friends or improvising with your own could negatively hurt treatment if they are not the correct set.

If you have any further questions regarding your bands please do not hesitate to talk to the doctor or staff about your treatment. This is a team effort, we will do our part to make sure you have a perfect bite, beautiful smile and are happy with the outcome of your treatment. All we need you to do is wear your rubber bands!

Best and Worst Valentines Sweets with Braces

Posted on: February 11, 2016

1. Conversational Hearts
We all know and love the classic valentine conversation hearts, but unfortunately, those are just too hard on your braces. Save these to pass on to your valentine 😉

2. Lollipops
I know you are all thinking the same thing.. “What if I just suck on it instead of bite it?” Although this sounds like a good idea in the end we all know the sucker will get bitten into. A lot of lollipops now have gum in the middle which is even worse!! Just try and stay away from these as much as possible.

3. Taffy
As sweet as taffy may taste or no matter how funny the jokes on the the back are, taffy is just too sticky and EXTREMELY hard to get out of your brackets. Stay away!! This is a high risk candy full of sugar just sticking around waiting to give you a cavity!

4. Nerds
An all time favorite! Even though they are little with such big flavor there is always the risk of biting on these wrong that will cause a bracket to pop off in no time.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You want to know what candies you can eat right!!!! well here you go.

5. Reese’s peanut butter cups
For valentines day they even come in cute heart shapes for your loved one! These are soft and will melt the second you put them in your mouth. Although you may be digging chocolate and peanut butter out of our mouth for an hour, its totally worth it.

6. Hershey Kisses
These are generally okay to eat. Be careful you stay away from the ones with almonds, peanuts and extra caramel.

7. Boxes of chocolatValentines pice
Most valentines boxes of chocolate are a mixture of multiple flavors, sizes and textures. Fudge, fruit fillings and nougat are okay to eat. Maybe share the ones that are full of toffee, caramel and nuts and fight that urge to eat the entire box!

Keep in mind after getting your candy fix this holiday you need to brush and floss extra well to prevent those sugars from sitting around sticking to your braces. This could cause cavities and staining to the teeth that we want to stay away from while in treatment!!