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Child sitting in a chair talking to a good orthodontist

There are many orthodontists out there, but not all are created equal, and not all have the same training or experience as others. Just like dentists, only some are award-winning orthodontists (for good reason), while others are not. A good orthodontist needs to have specific training and credentials to work on your or your child. Their office needs to have specific equipment to perform the necessary work, and a good orthodontist will provide a wide range of services for their patients. Find out what a good orthodontist looks like and how to choose a good one from one you want to avoid!

 

Choosing to Receive Braces

If you have made the choice to get braces, we commend you! Braces is an amazing way to change your life for the better. Studies show that straightening your smile is directly related to increased confidence. The better a person’s smile looks, the more they smile and the more confident they appear to others as well. Studies by Invisalign and countless others have found that a straighter, more beautiful smile makes you appear happier, healthier, wealthier, and more attractive to others. 73% of people are also more likely to find you trustworthy.

 

Now that you have chosen to embark on this new journey of getting braces, you have to decide who you should get your orthodontic care from. All too often, dental practices have started offering orthodontics via transparent aligner systems or Invisalign. Even though we offer Invisalign at our center (and it is effective), the majority of dentists are not trained to perform orthodontics. It’s similar to a spa offering botox injections instead of a medical doctor that provides botox injections. They may have some training in oral health and dentistry, but dentistry is not the same as orthodontics.

 

You always want to choose a trained orthodontist to provide you orthodontic work, and not just a dentist (or even someone without a degree) to perform any work on your mouth. If you do, you take a serious health risk that your teeth will be messed up permanently or that you will have oral health complications. Always go to a certified and trained orthodontist for your orthodontic work.

 

Example of what an orthodontic office looks like

Training to Become a Good Orthodontist

Becoming a good orthodontist takes many hard years. A good orthodontist will receive an undergraduate degree and then will go on to be accepted into dental school. A good orthodontist will receive high marks in their dental school, and will have to be accepted into an orthodontic school afterwards. Some even go beyond their 10 years of base training to do fellowships and additional study. It takes an entire decade to learn how to straighten the teeth properly, even if orthodontic care may seem simple and straightforward.

 

Orthodontists deal with the health of a person’s mouth, which can affect their overall health, their confidence, and even if they are at risk for tooth decay, gum disease and more. Working with children in orthodontics can be even trickier, as many children require specific work to make space in the jaws for incoming teeth.

 

What Is Their Experience with Children?

The majority of good orthodontists work with children on a regular basis. However, there are some that have better training than others. You always want to look for a good orthodontist that has training to work with a child on their intellectual level. Children sometimes fear dental or orthodontic office or having work done on their mouth. We strive to provide a child-friendly atmosphere to our young patients to make them comfortable during their treatment.

 

A good orthodontist is one that can help your child feel at ease and confident about the smile they are getting. When choosing an orthodontist, observe how they act with your child. If they are warm and inviting, this can help children have a positive orthodontic experience for early orthodontic treatment and when they receive braces for straightening later on.

 

Close-up of a child being fitted for a retainer

What Qualities Do We Have?

If you want a good orthodontist, give Belmar Orthodontics a try! Dr. Hardy is an award-winning orthodontist that treats patients at two different locations. He has extensive training in dentistry and orthodontics and actually runs a pediatric dentistry and orthodontics office alongside his wife. He treats pediatric patients and older at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics and he treats patients of all ages at Belmar Orthodontics. Dr. Hardy offers every option available in orthodontics to his patients. That includes traditional metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, as well as retainer devices, TADs, and surgical orthodontics. All of these services required countless hours of training, testing and performance to become certified.

 

As we mentioned, you want an orthodontist who has won awards and who others are talking about. Dr. Hardy is board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. He is also an active member of the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontics. He received the Everett Shapiro Award in Orthodontics as well as the Dr. Harold Berk Endowed prize Fund for Excellence in Research. He is also a member of many dental organizations that you can find here. He is extensively trained to work not only with teens and adults, but also children—even very young ones. Dr. Hardy also works alongside his wife often, who also has extensive training and psychology experience with young children.

 

We can talk about Dr. Hardy’s qualifications all day long, but the best way to know what a good orthodontist looks like is to come into the office and see for yourself. To schedule your free consultation or to learn more, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Family of four smiling

Did you know that what you eat makes a major difference in how healthy your mouth is? What you eat can determine your likelihood for tooth decay and other oral health diseases. Did you know that your teeth also aren’t bones like many people think? They are made of an entirely different substance even though they are hard like bones. Find out oral health myths and facts that exist, how to care for your teeth properly, and some facts about orthodontic care!

 

Are Your Teeth Bones?

Many people think the teeth are bones, but they aren’t. They are hard like bone, but are actually harder. Teeth are the hardest substance in your body, as they are made up of about 96% mineral. Bones have a more sponge-like interior and aren’t solid mineral. However, your teeth and bones are made of similar materials such as calcium and phosphate, which is why they are both so hard.

 

Facts About Your Teeth

Infant and adult teeth are not the same:

  • Infants are not born with their teeth. Most start to get teeth between 3 and 9 months of age.
  • Children can receive their teeth up until age 3. Some will get all their teeth within a few months, whereas others get them slowly one-by-one.
  • Children only have 20 baby teeth compared to an adult’s 32.
  • As soon as a child gets a first tooth, it needs to be brushed at least twice a day. Infants also need to see the dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth.
  • Bite and alignment problems in children are best treated around ages 7 and 8. This is the recommended time for children to visit an orthodontist. If bite and alignment problems are present, child braces can correct the problems before they become severe later on.
  • Children get their teeth in a certain order: the bottom front 2 teeth, followed by the top 2 teeth. Then, the next tooth on either side on the bottom jaw, then the next two on either side on the top jaw, etc.
  • Children lose their teeth in the order that they came into the mouth. Losing the baby teeth makes way for the adult teeth to start coming in once a child has grown larger.
  • Adults will have 32 total teeth. Most will have the 4 wisdom teeth taken out, which drops that total number down to 28.

 

mother and child brushing their teeth together

Brushing and Flossing

Many people brush their teeth but don’t see the importance of flossing. Plaque doesn’t go away unless you physically remove it with brushing and flossing. Only brushing your teeth is like only cleaning the outside of a car and never the inside. The inside parts can fill up with gunk, just like the spaces between your teeth. Flossing is especially important during your time with braces. Not flossing could land you with cavities or cratered parts of your teeth when braces come off.

 

Avoiding the Dentist or Orthodontist

“The dentist/orthodontist is scary”. Although many think the dentist is scary, it’s not actually. Some people fear going to the dentist, even though the dentist is someone who is only interested in helping you be healthier. Going to the actual dental office can evoke negative feelings if you’ve had a bad experience. This is why sedation dentistry was created. This is a form of dentistry where you can receive sedation during your procedure to help make it a more positive experience. If you think the dentist (or the orthodontist) is scary, we can help it be less scary. That’s especially because an orthodontist won’t have needles and drills at your appointment. They either put your braces on or tighten them for you. Not so scary, right?

 

Myths About Orthodontic Care

There are many myths about orthodontic care that could hurt you if you’re not careful. You want to always seek out the best care for your teeth and receive that care from a trained professional.

  • Providers who offer orthodontic treatment are orthodontists: false. Now, more than ever, there are many dentists or oral health professionals that are starting to offer orthodontic treatment. Many offer this treatment in the form of Invisalign aligners. This is a great system for straightening the teeth, but only if you have the right training. Orthodontists are specifically trained to straighten your teeth correctly. Dentists are not unless they have specifically received schooling and training in orthodontics. Check credentials before you let someone touch your teeth.
  • Braces are too expensive: false. Braces aren’t the cheapest purchase in the world, but they can benefit you more than most other things you’ll ever invest in. Many insurance plans work with patients to make braces affordable, and we do the same. We want as many people as possible to receive orthodontic care. If you think they are too expensive, give our office a call and we will work with your budget. Any person can receive great orthodontic treatment if they work closely with an orthodontist.
  • Braces are only for children: false. Studies show that at least ¼ of people that wear braces (so about 1 million+ each year) are adults. Almost half of the people wearing braces are teens. So no, braces are not just for children. Adults also have several virtually-invisible options for orthodontic care such as transparent aligners and lingual braces. These options make braces a great choice for adults.

 

Family with one child at the dental office talking to a dental hygienist

Great Oral Health

No matter the myths or facts you’ve heard about your oral health, the bottom line is that it’s important! How well you take care of your teeth will determine how good your health is and how much confidence you have in yourself. Studies show that people with straighter, more beautiful smiles are happier, healthier and more confident. You can have that confidence to no matter if you are young or old. To learn more about braces and proper oral hygiene while having them, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 223-9016!

 

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person holding up a picture of a perfect smile

Many people take vitamins, exercise and eat right to maintain a healthy body. However, what about your teeth? They need tender loving care to stay healthy and strong as well. Most people either don’t realize how much care they need to give their teeth, or they forget because of busy schedules. However, building strong teeth for life only takes a few minutes of your day to achieve. Your teeth need daily brushing, flossing and other care to keep them free of damaging substances. You also need dental appointments, oral cancer screenings, a healthy diet and more to avoid tooth loss and oral health problems. Follow these simple guidelines to keep your smile healthy for life!

How Strong Are Teeth?

Many people simply assume that the teeth are bones, but they actually are not. Your bones and your teeth are some of the hardest tissues in your body and are made of calcium and phosphate. However, your teeth are actually harder. Bones have spongy insides, but teeth are 96% hard mineral. That’s why you can exert up to 200 pounds of pressure when you chew according to the ADA. However, no matter how strong teeth are, they can’t repair themselves when they become damaged.

 

What Weakens Teeth

Your teeth are some of the strongest parts of your body, but even the strongest materials can become weak over time. Generally, poor oral hygiene habits are what weaken your teeth the most. Genetics can give some patients weak enamel, but 99% of the time the problem is your hygiene. Tooth decay is so common among American children and adults, that the National Institutes of Health consider it to be the most “prevalent chronic disease” around. You get this disease by simply not brushing and flossing enough. Sugar plus saliva makes plaque, and that plaque sticks to your teeth and decays them. People who don’t brush or floss their teeth can expect to have problems with tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and more. Bottom line: brush your teeth and do it every day!

Woman showing off her beautiful smile

Building Strong Teeth Through Nutrition

Too often, the American diet consists of quick foods that generally are low in nutrition and high in sugar. If you look at the labels of most of these foods, you will find that ½ or more of many pre-packaged snacks are pure sugar. Even “healthy” or diet foods can be terrible for both your body and your teeth because of that sugar factor. Foods that have an unexpectedly high amount of sugar include:

  • Yogurt
  • Breads (rolls, pastries, doughnuts, sandwich bread, etc.)
  • Cereal (including oatmeal)
  • Drinks
  • Protein bars
  • Pancakes and similar breakfast items
  • Many dressings and sauces
  • Fruit snacks or dried fruit

A person can drink 3 candy bars’ worth of sugar in a single soda without realizing it. That’s why it’s always important to check labels and choose foods free of sugar or very low in sugar. Not only with that sugar rot your teeth, but it will cause you health problems.

 

Instead of sugary foods, choose nutritious foods such as:

  • Low or zero sugar yogurt. These are high in calcium.
  • Dairy products such as cheese and milk. Dairy contains high amounts of calcium, proteins and other minerals for building strong teeth.
  • Water. Sports drinks, sodas and juices are full of sugar.
  • Crunchy, high-fiber foods. Celery, carrots, and apples are some of these foods that can help scrape particles off your teeth as you eat them.
  • Leafy greens. These are full of so many vitamins that they can significantly help your oral health and overall wellness.

Also avoid tobacco use, as tobacco quickly damages teeth and causes oral cancer.

 

Photo of a tooth model and dental tools with a dentist in the background

Essential Oral Hygiene Habits

You need to eat well to have strong teeth, but you also need to be cleaning your teeth meticulously. Every person must brush and floss their teeth or they will get tooth decay. It’s inevitable without those basic oral hygiene habits. The American Dental Association recommends brushing the teeth at least twice a day to keep them free of plaque. If you brush your teeth after every meal and teach children to do the same, the risk of tooth decay goes down even more. Adding fluoride to your hygiene routine makes teeth stronger, as this mineral provides a shield for your tooth enamel against sugars, acids and other harmful substances. When choosing toothpastes, mouthwashes and more, look for products with fluoride in them.

Flossing is often overlooked by many people, but it too is essential to keeping your teeth strong, especially with braces. Food and drink pass through your teeth everyday. When you chew, food is lodged in cracks with every bite. You can clean your teeth front and back, but don’t forget about the spaces in between. Flossing dislodges food that would otherwise decay and weaken tooth enamel. If patients floss all the way up in their gum line on both sides of each individual tooth, they remove hidden plaque that causes gum problems. Using floss to scrape down the teeth as you go is a great way to remove anything that coats the tooth surface. If you don’t do anything else, make sure you and your children at least follow these basic oral hygiene habits. To learn about more oral hygiene habits you need (like visiting the dentist), call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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images of different colored retainers

Most patients spend 18-24 months with their orthodontic appliances. That’s about 78-104 weeks of your life with braces, and time that you don’t want to have wasted. The worst thing that can happen after getting your braces off is that your teeth go crooked once more. This can happen within the first month if you’re not careful. Luckily, dentists know this and we provide our patients with either removable retainers or permanent ones. See why retainers are so important for maintaining a straight smile for life and why you need one!

 

Finishing Up with Braces

If you have gotten to the point in your orthodontic treatment that you need a retainer, congratulations! It has taken you 18-24 months to get that beautiful, straight smile you’ve wanted. No matter if you had lingual, ceramic, or metal braces, or if you opted for Invisalign treatment, you will still need an orthodontic appliance to keep your teeth straight. This isn’t something you want to wait on either, as studies show that your teeth start shifting back to their crooked state within the first month of getting braces off.

 

When our patients end their time with braces, we immediately prep them for either a removable or a permanent retainer. There are pros and cons to each of these types of retainers, but the bottom line is, you need one! A retainer is exactly what it sounds like; it “retains” your straight smile. When you wear it (usually at night), your smile won’t shift or become crooked. We take an impression of your teeth as soon as your braces come off, which we then send to our lab. You will have a retainer custom-made to fit your newly-straightened teeth that will keep them in that position for decades to come.

 

girl about to put a retainer in her mouth

Retainers 101

You may need both a bottom retainer and a top one, or you might just need one. Some dentists only require a bottom retainer, as the bottom teeth tend to keep the top teeth in place. It all depends on the patient. As we mentioned, there are two types of retainers: removable and permanent.

  • Removable – These are the classic retainer pieces that most people think of when they think “retainer”. When we make impressions of your teeth, we go back and use those impressions to make retainer pieces for your top and bottom jaw. Once they are done, you will come into the office and try out your new retainers. Wear them every day during the night and clean them when you take them out in the morning. Only use cleaning products that are safe for mouth retainers and never use hot water when cleaning.
  • Permanent – This is also a “fixed” retainer because it is bonded to your teeth and set in place. Much like your braces (if you chose ceramic, lingual or traditional metal), we will bond metal parts to your teeth. However, these metal parts will be placed on the back of your teeth instead of the front. You can choose to have a metal bar that goes across the back teeth or you can choose small metal wires that will bond each individual tooth to the one next to it. If you choose the second, you will have the bottom 6 teeth connected, with bonding cement on each of the backs of those 6 teeth. However, the metal and bonding is small, so it won’t take up very much room in your mouth. You may not even notice it! Both the bar and series of small wires work to keep your bottom teeth in place, which will keep your top in place.

 

Which One Is Right for You?

Our patients can choose if they want to have a removable or permanent retainer. One might not be right for a patient depending on age and daily habits. If you often lose things (such as car keys or your phone), then you might want to choose a permanent retainer. These stay in place 100% of the time and because of that, you can never lose them. Plus, they retain your teeth around the clock, instead of only at night (like a removable retainer). Permanent retainers also aren’t visible like removable retainers are because they are attached behind your teeth.

 

A removable retainer will have visible bars that others will be able to see in your mouth when you show your teeth. This generally isn’t a problem, as most people wear theirs at night. If you already struggle with brushing and flossing your teeth, you might opt for a removable retainer, as flossing can be more difficult with a permanent retainer. However, both options are great for all our patients. You simply have to choose which one fits you best.

 

Photo of a woman smiling with straight, white teeth

Healthy Life, Healthy Mouth

We would love every single one of our patients to have a straight smile many decades from now. If you wear your retainer like you should, or continually renew your permanent ones, you can count on keeping that straight smile. However, you also want to keep your smile healthy and free of disease throughout all those decades. After all, there is no point in striving for a straight smile if you don’t have any teeth!

 

No matter if you are 9 or 90, you have to keep up on proper oral hygiene practices if you want to have a healthy, beautiful smile. Brush and floss your teeth every single day, making sure to brush multiple times a day. Eat nutritious foods and cut down on the sugar to reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Also, clean your retainer every day so that it stays strong and durable for many years. If you need a new retainer, or are interested in a permanent retainer option, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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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!

 

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assortment of unhealthy foods and desserts

Braces is an amazing time to get a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, wearing braces on your teeth make them much harder to clean than they were before. This is especially true when it comes to certain foods and drinks. We have a list of foods that you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment because those foods stick to the teeth. You never want food to stay stuck in your braces, as this leads to tooth decay and demineralization. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to stay away from during your orthodontic treatment. We can also help you to know how to properly clean your teeth so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay as your teeth get straighter. Avoid foods and drinks that hurt your teeth so you can have a beautiful smile once those braces come off!

 

Foods to Avoid

Braces bring many changes for 18-24 months. One of those is avoiding foods that could hurt your teeth. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar should be avoided. Eating foods high in sugar increases your risk of cavities, which you want to avoid. Also avoid:

  • Hard candy
  • Chips
  • Ice
  • Apples
  • Crusty bread
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Corn on the cob
  • Carrots or other hard vegetables
  • Gum (this is a big one)
  • Caramel
  • Sugar Daddies and similar candies
  • Skittles
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Starburst
  • Licorice
  • All types of taffy

 

You will also want to avoid carbonated and sugary drinks. Sugary drinks also increase your risk for tooth decay, and the last thing you want with braces are cavities. Carbonated drinks contain carbonic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel and can lead to demineralization. If your teeth demineralize, they become weaker and could even have spots where they simply erode away. Limit your citric fruits (like oranges or lemons) as well as citric drinks, as these also contain acids that will hurt your teeth and erode them.

 

woman holding a model of a tooth

Why to Avoid These Foods

We can give you lists of foods to avoid, but it’s also best to explain why you should avoid these types of foods.

  • Hard Foods – Your teeth and even you braces appliances are very hard, however, they are not unbreakable. Even without braces, you want to be careful about eating hard foods, as you could break a tooth. With braces, you could break a bracket or wire or have it come right off the tooth, which is something you don’t want. The hard candies and foods we have listed on foods to avoid are ones that we have seen hurt your teeth time and again. If you must eat hard foods (or if you really want to), cut up foods such as apples into small, bite-sized pieces. However, you should avoid nuts and popcorn hulls at all costs, as there really is no good way around eating these without the chance that you could hurt your teeth or brackets. Without braces, you want to still avoid chewing on ice or hard candies, as you could break or crack a tooth. Suck on hard foods instead.

 

  • Sticky Foods – Sticky foods can sometimes be worse than hard ones and could even hurt your teeth more if you think about the tooth decay they can cause. Even though many sticky foods (such as gum or caramel) are soft, they are so hard to get out of your brackets. These types of foods get stuck and stay stuck long after you’ve finished eating them. Then, you have to spend a lot more time trying to brush and pick at your brackets to remove these foods. If you don’t, sticky candies and foods can sit in your brackets and wires, eroding your tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. If you eat these foods a lot, you could end up with parts of your teeth that are cratered or worn away when you get your braces off.

 

Cleaning Your Braces

Some tips to follow to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay include:

  • Brushing after every meal. Your braces can easily attract and trap food particles. Instead of brushing just twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends, we suggest brushing after every meal. Brush your teeth with a regular, soft-bristled brush. Brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket to fully dislodge all food.
  • Use a floss threader. You can either buy floss threaders or threadable floss. This is floss that you thread through the small spaces between teeth. You pull the floss through and then floss under your wires. The more you practice this, the quicker and easier it becomes. Don’t ever skip flossing just because it takes a bit longer, and floss at least twice a day.
  • Use a proxabrush and/or waterpik. A proxabrush is a small christmas-tree brush that you can use to dislodge and clean food easily from brackets. A waterpik is a tool that shoots water in your mouth and brackets to dislodge food.

 

female cleaning her braces with a proxabrush

Avoid Actions that Hurt Your Teeth

Follow our guidelines for foods to avoid and what to do if you want to eat those foods. Take meticulous care of your teeth during your time with braces and you will thank yourself for the beautiful smile you’ll have when you get those braces off. If you have questions about foods or other topics that we haven’t covered, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016  for all of your questions!

 

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girl who has braces

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

 

Choosing Your Braces Style

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

  • Traditional Metal Braces – These are the classic metal bracket and wire option that is most commonly chosen by patients. Patients who chose this option come in to have their wires tightened at each appointment.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces are a close cousin to metal braces. They have the same bracket and wire design of metal braces, except that they are made out of ceramic material. This helps decrease demineralization during your orthodontic treatment. Ceramic material is also naturally white, helping these braces to blend in with your teeth more than metal would.
  • Lingual Braces – These are metal braces that are placed on the back of your teeth. Instead of just a square bracket, the metal must be custom-made to the shape of the back of your teeth. This is a discrete option that adults and teens love.
  • Invisalign Treatment – This is the most invisible option available to our patients. Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that you wear at night and throughout the day. You can remove them for eating, playing sports, cleaning your teeth and more.

 

close up of braces

 

Getting Your Braces Put On

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

 

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

 

The Process for Other Options

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

 

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

 

girl getting her braces adjusted

Your Orthodontic Experience

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

 

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

 

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orthodontic rubber bands

Wearing rubber bands is a critical part of your orthodontic treatment. We ask you to wear them 24 hours a day because they are that critical to the process of straightening your teeth. Knowing why your orthodontic rubber bands are important will help you wear them more. Consider the following reasons you need to wear your bands the next time you are tempted to put them aside.

 

Types of Braces

We offer several different types of braces at our office. Patients wear orthodontic rubber bands when they have traditional metal braces and ceramic braces. When you think of braces, you probably think of metal braces. These are the ones with square brackets on the front of each tooth and a wire that goes through the brackets on top and bottom. Metal braces are the most economical choice when choosing orthodontic care.

 

A close cousin to metal braces are clear, ceramic braces. These braces look and act like metal braces, except they are white. They have a white color to them because they are made out of ceramic material, which blends into the natural whiteness of your teeth. This is why they are known as “clear braces”. Ceramic material helps decrease demineralization that can happen when patients wear braces and don’t practice good oral hygiene habits. Both types of braces (metal and ceramic) use orthodontic rubber bands at times to move the teeth in a particular direction.

 

orthodontic rubber bands

Parts of Braces

Each part of your braces is important when it comes to straightening your teeth in the best way possible in the quickest way possible. Your treatment would be lacking if you were missing any part of your braces, including orthodontic rubber bands.

  • Bands – A band is a thin ring fitted to a back molar and cemented to the molar. This is usually made of stainless steel and secures other orthodontic attachments such as hooks, brackets or tubes.
  • Brackets – A bracket can be bonded to the tooth with cement or it can be attached to a band. Brackets are usually made of stainless steel or clear ceramic material. They guide and support the archwire into its proper placement.
  • Archwire – The archwire guides the shifting of the teeth during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic attachments (such as the brackets) hold these wires and are made from stainless steel. Some archwires are made of titanium instead of stainless steel.
  • Elastic Ties – Available in a variety of colors, elastic ties are small rubber bands that go over the brackets in order to hold the archwire in place.
  • Springs – We open or close a space between teeth using the force of a small spring. These springs go between brackets and around the archwire, and are made of stainless steel or titanium.
  • Orthodontic Rubber Bands

 

Orthodontic Rubber Bands

There are several different types of bands for braces. There are orthodontic rubber bands and there are ligatures. Ligatures are the small rubber bands that wrap around the brackets and hold the archwire in place. You will see these bands on children in a variety of colors. We switch out ligatures at every orthodontic appointment and children can mix and match the colors. They go around the brackets and protect the teeth and gums from sharp metal points and are changed when the wire is tightened or the braces are adjusted. These orthodontic rubber bands (the ligatures) are very small, as the brackets are small.

 

The other type of orthodontic rubber bands adjust your bite and jaw position. These will be slightly bigger orthodontic rubber bands. On your brackets, you have small hooks where these rubber bands attach. Often, you will loop a rubber band around a hook on a bracket on the lower jaw and hook it around another bracket on the upper jaw. Some patients will need several orthodontic rubber bands at a time and others will only need one. These rubber bands will adjust the position of the jaw quicker between visits.

 

child orthodontics

Child Orthodontics

You will commonly see orthodontic rubber bands with child orthodontics. This is orthodontics for children under the age of 10 that need braces to correct bite and alignment issues. Orthodontic rubber bands are critical for making those changes possible. Your child should first see the orthodontist around age 7 or 8. This is a time where we can check that the bite lines up properly and that the adult teeth will come in correctly. If there is a bite or alignment problem, we give your child metal or clear braces to correct that problem. Your child will use orthodontic rubber bands throughout their treatment to provide sufficient force to bring the bite into a straight position.

Although small, orthodontic rubber bands are critical for moving the teeth. With orthodontic care, the teeth shift slowly over time. If you skip wearing these bands, your time with braces will be longer and you won’t be correcting bite and alignment problems. This is why we ask our patients to wear their orthodontic rubber bands 24 hours a day. Each part of your braces is important for creating that beautiful, straight smile you’ve always wanted. To learn more about orthodontic rubber bands or other parts of your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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Invisalign treatment

Are you thinking about straightening your teeth? A straighter smile through Invisalign treatment or other orthodontic options will set you on a path to more confidence and success. Lakewood Invisalign treatment not only works to improve your smile, but it also comes with amazing advantages over traditional braces. Not only is invisalign treatment virtually invisible on your teeth, but the aligners are easy to remove and work well with your lifestyle. Read on for more advantages of Invisalign treatment!

 

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen

You may have heard of Invisalign treatment before. This type of orthodontic treatment has been around for about 20 years, but has continually gained popularity—especially among adults and teenagers. We offer an alternative to traditional metal braces that can discreetly straighten your teeth while improving the functionality of your smile. Invisalign does all this without anyone knowing that you are even straightening your teeth!

 

Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that gently move your teeth into a straighter position. You meet with us for an Invisalign consultation and we are able to take digital images of your teeth. With these, we make a model of your mouth and plan out a trajectory of your straightening treatment. Based off of your mouth, we design transparent aligners that will be switched out every 1-2 weeks. You wear these aligners throughout the day and night to move your teeth into that beautiful straight smile you’ve always wanted. They can even correct bite and malocclusion problems.

 

Advantages of Invisalign

There are many advantages to Invisalign treatment, which is why our patients love this option!

  1. It’s designed to be virtually unnoticeable on your teeth. The aligners are clear and fit snug to your teeth, meaning no one will know you’re wearing them.
  2. The aligners can easily be removed during eating, drinking, flossing and brushing. You can’t do that with any other braces option, as all the other options are cemented to your teeth. Being able to remove the aligners makes it so you have freedom with your treatment, especially if you need to remove the appliance to play sports.
  3. Less office visits are typically needed compared to traditional braces. You only need to come into the office every 4-6 weeks at a time.
  4. Teeth are easier to clean for optimum oral health during treatment. You simply remove the aligners at night, clean them, and clean your teeth as you normally would. Flossing is quick and easy, as are brushing your teeth. Traditional braces take much longer to clean.
  5. Total time for optimal results is usually shorter than metal braces treatment. If you need only slight orthodontic correction, you won’t need Invisalign treatment for very long.

Invisalign treatment

How Do the Other Options Compare?

There are various types of orthodontic options out there besides Invisalign treatment. Traditional metal braces are the most common orthodontic appliances because they are the cheapest option for straightening your teeth. These appliances involve very visible metal brackets attached to the center of each tooth with a metal archwire that passes through the brackets on top and bottom. Lingual braces are also metal braces, but they are attached to the back of your teeth. Clear braces are a very close cousin to metal braces, as they are built the same, but out of ceramic material that is white like your teeth. All options will straighten your teeth very well, but Invisalign is the most invisible option you can have. This is why adults and teens alike love Invisalign treatment so much.

 

You can use Invisalign treatment for simple straightening cases or complex bite and malocclusion cases. It’s invisible and you can see how your teeth move at every stage of your treatment. You can’t do that as clearly with other types of braces, but must wait until the end of treatment to see your smile. Studies also suggest that teens who do Invisalign treatment (as compared to other orthodontic methods) are 2 times more likely to have a boost in their self esteem. Who wouldn’t want that?

 

Your Experience with Clear Aligners

We believe that smiles are meant to be shared. However, many people with braces shy away from smiling because of the metal in their mouth. This is common with traditional metal braces, especially with adults. However, a straighter smile can do wonders for your professional and social life. Studies show that a straighter, more beautiful smile can make you more attractive to others. An amazing smile not only boosts your confidence, but can make you more successful because you feel more confident. You’ll smile more, drawing others to you and you will even be happier.

 

Invisalign has conducted their own research about straighter smiles and what they do for you. After orthodontic treatment, a person with a straighter smile has a leg up on their competition when it comes to landing a job. Employers are more likely to employ someone with a straighter, healthier smile because it makes them appear healthier and successful. People perceive people with straighter teeth as 58% more likely to be wealthy, 45% more successful, 47% more likely to be healthy and 38% smarter. 73% of people are also more likely to trust someone with straight teeth over someone who has crooked teeth.

 

Your Invisalign Treatment

If you want a straighter smile, don’t wait to get it! With the clear, removable aligners that Invisalign uses, Dr. Hardy can help you gradually move your teeth into their proper position. He can also correct malocclusion (bites that don’t close correctly), without the discomfort and presence of metal braces. When you select Invisalign to correct your smile, no one else has to know! To learn more about this braces option, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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orthodontic pain

One of the most common questions orthodontists receive is “will it hurt?” The answer to this question varies between patients because every mouth is different, and everyone has different perceptions of pain or discomfort. Yes, braces make the teeth and tissues sore. The good news is that orthodontic patients respond well to simple pain management strategies. The discomfort associated with orthodontics is also not felt throughout the duration of treatment. Temporary discomfort occurs when braces are tightened, or when teeth undergo an increase in pressure to shift them into a new position. Learn more about pain management when you have occasional braces discomfort and how to make your experience more comfortable.

 

Receiving Braces

As you become accustomed to your new braces, your teeth will likely be tender and you may experience a dull ache for the first 2-4 days. Remember, you just had brackets cemented to each tooth, which is bound to cause discomfort. The reason for this discomfort isn’t completely understood. However, research has shown that when pressure is applied to the teeth, it changes your blood flow. You body also secretes certain proteins such as “substance p” and “prostaglandins”. This applied pressure of the brackets and archwire basically triggers the body’s inflammatory response—the same response you feel when you’ve injured a part of your body.

 

We recommend that our patients eat soft foods during this initial adjustment period. Often, patients need pain management methods after each time your braces are tightened as well. If needed, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol. Some of our patients also find a warm saltwater rinse helpful for pain management. Accessory appliances such as rubber bands, springs or headgear also cause teeth to become sore in some patients. When wearing these appliances as prescribed, your sensitivity will typically go away in 2-4 days or even sooner.

 

Does Your Braces Type Matter?

There are several different types of braces you can receive to straighten your teeth. All of the orthodontic treatment methods we have will most likely make your teeth a little bit sore. This is because your teeth are moving into a straighter position. In order for them to move, there will be discomfort, and that discomfort will be similar with the different braces options you choose. The braces options we offer for your orthodontic treatment include: traditional metal braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign.

 

We wish that we could say you will never have discomfort with your braces. However, you are moving the position of your teeth, which has been permanent up until the point where you chose to receive orthodontic treatment. Moving something permanent is bound to cause a little bit of discomfort, however, that discomfort generally last less than a day. Some patients don’t feel discomfort at all or don’t with every braces adjustment.

orthodontic pain

Orthodontic Treatment Options

  • Metal Braces – Metal braces are the most common type of braces. They are made out of metal brackets attached to the center of each tooth. A metal archwire connects these brackets that are cemented to the teeth. When you come in for your braces adjustment, we will tighten your wires. Your teeth shift constantly and the wires need to be adjusted accordingly. We will adjust your wires each time you come in. The adjustment is slight, but may cause you discomfort. This generally lasts for only the first 24 hours (if at all). We often use rubber bands to bring crooked teeth into place. You may feel discomfort with these rubber bands as well, but only for a similar short time period.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces are very similar to traditional metal braces, except that the materials are made out of ceramic. This helps decrease demineralization that generally happens to the teeth with metal braces. The structure of this type of orthodontic treatment is very similar, so patients can expect about the same level of discomfort (if any) as they would with metal braces. Pain management strategies are the same for these types of braces as well as for lingual braces.
  • Lingual Braces – These are metal braces attached to the back of each tooth. Traditional metal braces are attached to the front of the tooth, and lingual braces are attached to the back. This will create a slightly different experience when the wires are adjusted at an orthodontic visit. A patient may feel that their teeth are more sore on the back than the front. This is because the metal is bonded to the back of the teeth instead of the front. However, discomfort is minimal and will go away quickly.
  • Invisalign – Invisalign is a series of transparent aligners that work to shift your teeth into place. Even though they don’t involve brackets, they are a type of retainer that shifts your teeth. You replace these aligners every 1-2 weeks, so you can expect some discomfort every time you change your aligners. However, if you replace your aligner at night, you can sleep through most of the adjustment period where patients typically experience discomfort.

 

Pain Management with Braces

Pain management is easy when it comes to braces. Millions of people receive braces each year and millions deal with slight discomfort, if any. It’s typical to be slightly sore after receiving braces or an adjustment. However, if you have a braces emergency, come into our office immediately. An emergency consists of: lip and cheek sores, loose bands and brackets, pokey archwires, loose or missing elastic tie, or accidents that caused trauma to your mouth. Many patients find that having their braces is a breeze, and the beautiful smile they receive at the end is quite worth the time it takes with braces. If you have more questions about pain management with your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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