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tips for wearing braces

What Is an Orthodontist?

Posted on: July 11, 2018

Orthodontist in his scrubs and face mask in an orthodontic office

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

 

Want to Become an Orthodontist?

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

 

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

 

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

What Does An Orthodontist Do?

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

 

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

 

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

 

How It’s Different Than Dentistry

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

 

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

 

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

 

Young girl having her braces adjusted by an orthodontist

Do You Need Orthodontics?

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

 

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

 

Dr. Hardy’s Office

Dr. Hardy is an award-winning orthodontist. He is an active member of the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontics. Dr. Hardy works with a team every day to make sure his patients young and old are cared for. At his center, he offers patients the option of getting ceramic, clear braces, traditional metal braces, lingual braces and Invisalign treatment. He can perform surgical orthodontics if needed and pediatric orthodontics. When choosing a center for your family, you want one that can treat patients of all ages and a center whose staff knows how to work really well with children. You can find that at Dr. Hardy’s Belmar Orthodontics office by calling (303) 225-9016!

Teeth Whitening After Braces

Posted on: June 21, 2018

Close-up image of a person's teeth before and after teeth whitening

Many patients expect their braces to come off, exposing a beautiful, white smile. However, the teeth are often not bright and sparkling when brackets and wires come off. This is why many patients opt to have teeth whitening treatments after their orthodontic treatment is over. You can even do it right after your braces come off. We can help you to know what you can expect when your braces come off and how to approach teeth whitening to brighten your smile!

 

Keeping Teeth Healthy During Braces

If you want whiter teeth when your braces come off, it does matter what you do during your time with braces. Your oral health habits and what you eat will make a big difference in the look of your teeth. With braces, teeth are much harder to clean, so with everything you eat, make sure you know what will happen with your teeth. Sugary foods will stick to your teeth more and might sit on your teeth longer, causing decay. Chips, nuts and hard foods can break brackets and wires and even your teeth. Certain drinks will dye your tooth enamel, and can leave uneven shades if you drink them a lot. Consider the following:

  • Avoid hard foods that will break orthodontic appliances. These include: nuts, popcorn, corn on the cob, carrots, hard candy, chips, ice, apples and crusty bread.
  • Don’t eat sticky foods, which are really hard to get out of brackets. These include: gum, caramel, Sugar Daddies, Skittles, taffies, Tootsie Rolls, gummies, fruit snacks, Starburst, licorice and similar foods.
  • Sodas and carbonated drinks. Carbonic acid in these drinks will erode tooth enamel over time.
  • Juices and Citrus: Citric acid erodes tooth enamel as well. Juices are generally high in sugar and can contain acids.

 

It’s also very important to keep your teeth clean. If you have drinks that are purple, blue, red, and other dark colors, these will all stain your teeth. When you do drink these drinks, make sure to brush afterwards (about 20 minutes after) to take away the dye. Keep your teeth clean all day long by continually brushing and flossing so your teeth can stay as white as possible. The more you do for your teeth when you have braces, the less you have to do afterwards.

 

Teeth whitening tray and serum

When Your Braces Come Off

Many patients picture beautiful, white teeth when their braces come off. Even though your teeth will be beautiful and straight, they likely won’t be white. They will at least be the same color that they were when you got braces on your teeth. Depending on your oral health habits, your teeth might actually be darker if you had foods with dyes, tooth decay problems or didn’t brush and floss often. If your teeth aren’t white, don’t fret! Most patients do teeth whitening after their braces to get their new straight smile sparkling.

 

Teeth Whitening After Braces

Teeth whitening is one of the easiest dental services you can get. If you get teeth whitening through a dentist, you will have a dental hygienist whiten your teeth with professional-grade solutions. You will have teeth whitening materials placed on your teeth that will be set with ultraviolet light. Your teeth will then cure for 20-60 minutes until they reach the white shade you desire. This process can be done several times in-office on the same day, or spread out over several days if the teeth are sensitive.

 

Dentists also provide take-home professional-grade solutions that patients can do on their own time that work much quicker than toothpastes, strips or over-the counter treatments. With any teeth whitening you do, always double check the chemicals being used and what the process will be like. With a professional service, your results are usually guaranteed or the process is redone.

 

Tips to remember when doing teeth whitening:

  • Many at-home products won’t whiten your teeth significantly. Many toothpastes only remove plaque or surface stains, but they don’t actually change the color of your teeth.
  • When choosing over-the-counter products, look for ones with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These will actually change the shade of your teeth whiter.
  • Your best and quickest results will come from getting professional teeth whitening from a dentist. Teeth whitening can even be done in just one office visit, which is great for upcoming formal events or whitening your teeth when you have very little time.

 

Male patient receiving teeth whitening treatment with a UV light in the dental office

Your Oral Health

Whether your goal is to have whiter teeth or to keep your natural teeth for your entire life, how well you take care of them will determine if you meet your oral health goals. If you never brush and floss your teeth, you can’t expect them to stay healthy. If you drink sodas and juices with dyes everyday, you can expect your teeth to stain. Having healthy teeth (and even white teeth) is fairly easy if you follow certain oral health guidelines:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least 2 minutes every time, as recommended by the American Dental Association. If you wear braces, you should brush your teeth after every meal.
  • Floss every day, 1-2 times. Flossing gets 40% of your tooth surfaces that get missed when people skip.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens your teeth, and you can get fluoridated teeth whitening toothpastes.
  • See your dentist! You need more than just an orthodontist, even though the orthodontist is very important. Seeing a professional who knows both orthodontics and dentistry is even better (like us). Every person should see their dentist for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings at least twice a year.
  • See your orthodontist. When wearing braces, make sure you go to every orthodontic appointment. This helps your orthodontist know if dental problems like decay, erosion or staining are happening.

Following these guidelines can help you keep your natural teeth healthy and strong for life, even with your braces on. For more help taking care of your teeth or questions about teeth whitening after braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

Get Your Braces in Time for Back-to-School

Posted on: August 9, 2017

your braces

School is just around the corner and it’s time to prepare your peers for your beautiful smile. Braces not only help straighten your teeth, but they can also improve your speech, your appearance and–most importantly–your confidence! New technology gives you more options for adding a little fashion flare to your smile or straightening your teeth discreetly. Learn about all of your amazing options for braces today.

 

Back-To-School Success

Summer is almost over and it’s back to school time. Is your smile ready? A lot can happen over the summer and each year brings new exciting changes. Getting a straighter, more beautiful smile is something you don’t want to be without as a new year starts off. Did you know that kids with straighter teeth tend to feel more confident in school and around their peers? That confidence can help them get better grades, make more friends, and be more willing to try new opportunities. Every child and teenager alike wants to shine in their own way. You can do that and receive more confidence by getting your braces just in time for school.

 

In the past, many adolescents saw braces as embarrassing or unattractive. However, studies show that children and teens are receiving braces in much larger numbers than they did in the past. Now, instead of being embarrassing, braces are seen as a luxury for many families and individuals. In times of recession, families even go without necessities to make sure their children receive braces. Braces truly are worth having because of how beneficial they are for boosting self-esteem, confidence and how you’re perceived socially. Investing in them is a great way to help a child as they start off school once more.

 

Options for Your Braces

We love providing options for our patients at Belmar Orthodontics! Our most popular option for braces for children and teens alike are our traditional metal braces. However, there are other options we provide as well:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – This is our most economical option. Our patients love the colorful bands that they can customize their braces with. Each patient can choose a certain color they love every appointment or even do a rainbow of color if they so choose.
  • Incognito Lingual Braces – This option is very similar to traditional metal braces, however the braces are worn on the tongue-side of your teeth. We make an impression of your teeth and then custom-make braces that fit the inside of your teeth perfectly. You can straighten your teeth with the perfect hidden apparatus.
  • Clear Ceramic Braces – We can provide ceramic braces for our patients. These braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but they are made from ceramic material. The braces blend in with your teeth perfectly as the brackets and even the wires can be made white. Ceramic braces can also decrease demineralization that can happen with metal sometimes.
  • Invisalign Teen – This is a version of Invisalign transparent aligners designed with the needs of teenagers in mind. These custom-fit aligners can correct smiles and unevenly-spaced teeth while allowing patients to continue eating, drinking, and cleaning their teeth with ease.  

 

Cleaning At Home

Your braces are something new and exciting. However, they must have proper care to truly work wonders. Brush and floss your teeth often. We recommend brushing and flossing at least twice daily. However, with braces you may want to brush the teeth more than twice a day. After each meal would be best, as food can become trapped in the brackets very easily, where it will then sit on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, acidic substance that you want to avoid. Plaque is made from the sugars in the food you eat that mix with the bacteria in your mouth. When food is left on the teeth, that plaque can form and begin to erode your teeth.

Not brushing and flossing enough can cause erosion and demineralization that will be obvious once the braces come off. Use special flossers to get in between the teeth sufficiently. Take care of your teeth so that your smile is beautiful and straight without blemishes when your braces come off!

 

Tips for Success At School

Your braces are easier to manage when you’re prepared. At school, take a mouthguard with you to gym class. You can get injured with braces when playing sports, especially contact sports. A mouthguard will help protect you and your mouth from injury. Be careful what you eat as well. Some foods can damage or break your braces and other foods can get tremendously stuck in the brackets. Some foods to avoid are anything hard, gooey, crunchy or sticky. This includes food items such as gummy bears, fruit snacks, hard candies, chips of any kind, hard vegetables, and nuts. If you really want a food (such as hard fruits and veggies), make sure to cut them up into bite-size pieces. Biting into foods can lodge them into the braces, so be careful with this.

 

We also have braces kits you can have or tips to make one yourself. Take a kit with you to school that has the cleaning essentials you need: mirror, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and flossers, wax for pokey wires, etc. If you need a quick cleaning or a quick fix for a wire, you’ll be set!

 

Your Free Consultation

There never was a better time to straighten your smile! Braces can provide your child the boost of confidence they need to start of the school year right. If you want to schedule your child’s appointment, 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.

Tips for Wearing Braces

Posted on: March 13, 2017

tips for wearing braces

The following tips for wearing braces during your Belmar orthodontic treatment can assist you in getting more out of your experience. Your treatment is helping you gain a smile you are proud of and we want you to be eager to share it all along the way! Being well-informed on what you can do to prevent struggles can help you enjoy the process more and help you stay on track for treatment completion.

 

Tips for Wearing Braces:  Keeping Your Braces Clean

Keeping your braces clean protects your teeth from plaque build-up and enamel deterioration. Learning these tips for wearing braces and how to care for your braces is paramount for success during treatment. The following tips can help you with your daily oral hygiene with braces.

  • Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day, if not more. The ideal would be to brush after every meal or snack to avoid food chunks getting stuck in your teeth or brackets. Food can break down on your teeth the longer it is stuck and build up plaque, which could then leave you with tooth deterioration or stains. Keep your brackets clean. Electronic toothbrushes can help you with brushing if you want some extra power to your cleaning, but regular toothbrushes can work as well. The best thing you could do for your braces is to keep them clean.
  • Floss every tooth every day. You will have to thread your floss through your teeth to floss them. It takes more time, but you need to do it! Flossing every day (preferably twice a day) will help prevent cavities and will help your teeth to move better and quicker, which is what you want.  Electronic water flossers are also helpful for cleaning braces.
  • Use mouthwash every day. This will help prevent plaque and gingivitis and other bacteria from sticking around in your mouth. A cleaner mouth with help keep your brackets cleaner as well as your teeth and gums as they move.
  • Disclosing tablets can be used to help you visually see where plaque is accumulating. Ask your orthodontist if he thinks using disclosing tablets would help you.  
  • Don’t chew on non-food items such as your nails and pencils. These count as hard items. Basically avoid anything hard so you don’t break your brackets.
  • Use wax to cover up pokey areas in the mouth after you have cleaned your teeth. Your orthodontist can provide you with this wax.

Tips for Wearing Braces:  Foods to Skip

  • Ice: Don’t chew on ice, as ice can break your brackets! You can suck on ice all you want, but no chewing.
  • Caramel, taffy, and gummy bears: This candy is too sticky and gooey and it can take your brackets or wires right off. Avoid all candy that has this consistency.
  • Hard chips:  Avoid hard chips and taco shells–they will break your brackets.
  • Hard pretzels: These also break brackets
  • Raw veggies and fruits, such as hard carrots and apples: These can break off brackets and get stuck in your teeth very easily.
  • Hard candies: The tendency for most is to chew on the hard candies. Just avoid them altogether.
  • Nuts, seeds, popcorn: These foods are hard and can break brackets and wires, just like most things on this list. Be very careful if you do eat them, but it’s safer to avoid them altogether.
  • Corn on the cob: The very first bite will lodge a bunch of corn into your brackets. It’s best to cut the corn off first and then enjoy. Cut most fruits, vegetables, and meats into bite-size pieces to avoid food getting stuck in your braces. You will be thankful you did!
  • Beef jerky: This seems to be a bracket breaker as well, so beware! Stick to softer meats during your time with braces, and if you must eat beef jerky, cut it into bite-site pieces.
  • Soda: Usually soda is full of sugar and damages the health and look of your teeth. It can stain your teeth over time and deteriorate your teeth as bacteria is attracted to sugar and plaque buildup. If you do drink soda, make sure to brush your teeth right after.
  • Sugary treats: Sugary snacks all the time will not do you any favors with braces. Just like soda, bacteria loves sugar and too much too often will deteriorate your teeth. Make sure to limit or minimize your sugar intake and brush your teeth after eating sugary foods. Your teeth will thank you.

 

More Tips for Wearing Braces to Help You

  • Go to each and every appointment—don’t skip! This will save you time in the long run and you could even get your braces off sooner.
  • Keep chapstick with you to keep your lips moisturized. Brackets can be pokey, but you don’t want your lips to break or crack easily as well.
  • Keep a small kit with you (such as in a purse or backpack) that has all the essentials when you need them: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, chapstick, wax for pokey brackets, etc.
  • Don’t use whitening products. Whitening the teeth will only whiten part of your teeth and they will be discolored when the braces come off. Sometimes you will be left with squares on all your teeth. Plus, some whitening products can’t be used with braces, so it’s best to avoid these altogether.
  • If you have an orthodontic emergency, like a broken bracket or wire, let your orthodontist know right away! Don’t wait to say something, even if your appointment is the next day. Extra time may be needed to fix what is broken, so the orthodontist will need to know to plan a longer appointment. Plus, if you wait to get a bracket or wire fixed, it could extend the time you have braces. Don’t try to fix the bracket or wire yourself. Put wax on the pokey area and wait for your orthodontist’s help.

 

Following these tips for wearing braces can help you to show off your smile! Thousands of teens and adults have braces and many more will have them during their life. Remember that you are working towards an amazing smile, and don’t be afraid to show off those teeth. You can also dress up your teeth with bright-colored bands and switch out these bands for different colors each time you go to make it more fun. Following your orthodontist’s instructions and caring for your teeth will ensure that you have a beautiful smile in the end.