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Young woman looking towards the side of the room with a smile on her face.

As modern technology has advanced, so have the opportunities to straighten teeth in a multitude of ways. Because of this, lingual braces and Invisalign have become popular options for orthodontic care due to their discretion and near-invisibility. While lingual braces have brackets and wires attached to the backside of the teeth, Invisalign offers braces-free care with the use of clear, removable aligners. Both options have their pros and cons, and should be chosen upon an individual’s needs and wants. Find out whether lingual braces or Invisalign is the best option for your orthodontic needs with this guide!

 

What Are Lingual Braces?

Millions of teenagers and adults have braces put on each year, and most pick the traditional metal braces that we’re all so used to seeing. However, traditional braces can be bulky, annoying and embarrassing for teenagers and adults alike, and many patients feel like they’re distracting. Lingual braces are another option for patients who prefer invisible treatment over big, bulky braces, plus they can achieve the same straight, beautiful teeth that other treatments provide. Instead of wearing braces on the outside of teeth, lingual braces attach the brackets and wires to the backside (lingual side) of teeth for an inconspicuous and nearly-invisible treatment. Other than aesthetic concerns, patients opt in for lingual braces as they make it easier to play wind instruments, such as the flute or tuba, and they’re more functional for athletes that play contact sports. However, not every orthodontic office offers lingual braces; orthodontists have to complete specialized training to be able to install lingual braces, so you’ll have to do your research to find out who in your area is qualified to perform treatment.

 

Additionally, lingual braces can take longer to get used to since they’re on the backside of your teeth, close to your tongue. They can make swallowing more difficult as the tongue can’t thrust between your teeth as easily as it could before. Patients also have to have long enough teeth to provide enough room for the braces to be glued onto them, so children and those with small teeth typically don’t qualify for this type of treatment. Lastly, treatment time is usually longer with lingual braces than traditional braces. The entire process depends on your orthodontist and how well you take care of your teeth during treatment, so treatment time varies from patient to patient.

 

How Invisalign WorksYoung woman smiling while holding an Invisalign aligner in front of her

Another option for patients who prefer invisible orthodontic care is Invisalign, which uses clear, removable aligners to fix malocclusion over a period of several months or years. Some patients highly dislike the look of metal braces, lingual or not, and Invisalign offers them the care they need without having to sacrifice their confidence at work or social events. Many enjoy Invisalign because its unique treatment allows them to remove their orthodontic device during eating, drinking, flossing and brushing, making these daily activities much more manageable. They let you eat all of your favorite foods, you can’t break a wire or bracket, oral hygiene isn’t hindered and they’re virtually invisible.

 

Wearing Invisalign retainers does take time, effort and patience, however. One aligner is worn for one to two weeks before replacing it with the next one in line. You’ll have a checkup every six to eight weeks to monitor your teeth and receive a new batch of aligners to wear for the next several weeks. During this time, Invisalign aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours of the day, which is a huge commitment for busy people. Aligners also need to be carefully washed and cleaned with a toothbrush each night to keep bacteria from growing. Since they’re removable, Invisalign aligners can be easily lost, misplaced or broken by a fall or child, so extreme care will be necessary to keep them intact.

 

Making A Choice

Both lingual braces and Invisalign are viable options for patients who want orthodontic care that is undetectable and discreet, but whichever you choose is up to you and your orthodontic needs. The first step that you’ll need to take is to visit with your orthodontist for an evaluation of your teeth and to discuss which of the two would work best for your wants and needs, plus the orthodontist’s recommendation. Remember that while Invisalign is a great option for those who want to take their orthodontic care into their own hands, it requires extreme responsibility and care for the aligners you’ll be using. Lingual braces, on the other hand, will always remain in your mouth, so you won’t need to worry about losing anything like you do with Invisalign, but flossing and brushing can be more difficult as you’ll have to do it all from the backside of your teeth. Your choice should be based on what you are willing and not willing to do during treatment, so do your research on both options to be fully informed on what to expect.

 

Schedule Your Consultation

To be evaluated for lingual braces or Invisalign, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 to schedule a consultation. Our team is qualified and experienced at installing both lingual braces and Invisalign, plus we can give you extra tips on how to keep your teeth brilliant and healthy during treatment. Call today to start your journey to a more beautiful smile!

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Young woman showing smile with her fingers pointed towards her mouth

As modern technology has improved the tools and appliances that are now used in orthodontic offices, there are more options than ever for patients to get straighter teeth without the look of traditional metal braces. Lingual braces are an ideal option for patients who want orthodontic care but in the most discreet way possible. By using a hidden apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth, you can get straight, beautiful teeth without sacrificing your confidence. Find out what other perks lingual braces have and what treatment looks like with this guide!

 

What Are Lingual Braces?

Braces have come a long way since they were first invented, and patients have more options than ever to get the straight teeth they want without sacrificing their confidence. Traditionally, metal braces were the most common type of orthodontic appliance used but were bulky and aesthetically not very pleasing. With the modern technology that has been developed during the last few decades, one type of braces in particular has become more and more common. Lingual braces are an alternative to traditional metal braces and provide utmost discretion as they are almost completely hidden. Unlike traditional braces whose brackets are attached to the front of the teeth, lingual braces are attached to the back side (tongue-side) of teeth, making them practically hidden from view. Fortunately, lingual braces can provide the same results as traditional braces but in a manner that is nearly undetectable. These braces are particularly helpful for patients, especially teenagers, who think braces are unattractive or distracting. Now, more than ever, patients can receive the orthodontic treatment they need without putting it off for aesthetic reasons.

 

How Lingual Braces Differ From Other OptionsUp close photo of woman's mouth with lingual braces

While the obvious advantage of choosing lingual braces over other orthodontic appliances deals with the invisibility of the braces themselves, there are other reasons why lingual braces might be the best option for you. Since their invention in the 1980s, lingual braces have slowly gained recognition as a viable option for orthodontic treatment. In fact, very few dentists even offer this technique because special training is needed to perform it. You will still need X-rays, molds and impressions of your teeth to begin treatment, just like you would when getting any other orthodontic treatment. The process is relatively easy to install them, as the brackets are glued to the lingual side of the teeth with a wire and elastics (if needed) to help move the teeth into position. Lingual braces are always on during treatment, so they are constantly shifting your teeth into the correct position without you or others noticing. A similar treatment to lingual braces is called Invisalign, which uses a removable aligner to straighten teeth. Invisalign is a popular option because the aligner is clear and removable so most people don’t notice it’s there, but not everyone is eligible for Invisalign. While Invisalign is a great option, lingual braces tend to be more helpful for patients with specific concerns. Athletes benefit greatly from lingual braces as it helps prevent mouth injuries since the brackets aren’t on the front of the teeth. Musicians, like those who play a wind instrument (flute, trumpet, clarinet, etc.), are also common wearers of lingual braces as they tend to not get in the way as much when playing. Lastly, those patients who don’t qualify for Invisalign typically choose lingual braces as it is the second most discreet option available. Depending on your needs and your orthodontist’s recommendation, you can choose which option you would like to get the beautiful teeth that you want, in the way that you want.

 

How To Begin Treatment

As mentioned previously, you must be eligible for certain types of orthodontic treatment to receive them. If you are interested in lingual braces, you will first need to visit with your orthodontist to have a consultation and evaluation to determine whether lingual braces are your best option. If you are a candidate, you will have impressions taken of your teeth which will be sent to a lab to create your custom-made brackets and wires. Afterwards, the brackets and wires will be bonded to your teeth to begin treatment. It is important to note that while lingual braces are a great way to keep your treatment unnoticed by others, the braces themselves are more difficult to clean since you can’t see them. For this reason, it is extremely important to clean your teeth thoroughly each day because it will be easier for food to get stuck and bacteria to grow in areas that are hard to see or reach. Another reason why it is important to consult with your orthodontist before choosing lingual braces is the price. Traditional braces typically range from $3,000-7,000, but lingual braces can be anywhere from $8,000-10,000. For patients who are on a budget, this is something to consider as you are in the decision-making process. Check with your dental insurance to see how much they can cover for orthodontic treatment. While many plans don’t offer coverage for adults over 18, many do partially cover children under 18. How much coverage will depend on your provider, so make sure to contact your insurance company for figures and amounts before you or your child begins treatment.

 

Get Started Today

At Belmar Orthodontics, our team is certified and trained for installing lingual braces. We are ready to help you and your family get the smile you deserve in a way that is most comfortable for you. For a consultation about lingual braces or more information about orthodontic treatment options, call our office at (303) 225-9016. Your journey to a healthier smile starts today, so call now!

 

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Woman smiling with white teeth and braces

Keeping teeth clean during braces is an important part of your oral health regimen, but keeping teeth white with braces sometimes presents a problem. Teeth whitening with braces is a common practice that orthodontic patients have done to keep their teeth white during orthodontic care. Which teeth whitening treatment you use will depend on what type of braces you have. Achieving a whiter smile is not impossible with braces, but will need extra effort and care to protect your braces. Find out how you can both whiten and straighten your teeth at the same time with these tips and tricks!

 

In-Office versus At-Home Treatments

Teeth whitening has been a popular choice of treatment for dental patients for years now, but orthodontic patients can now receive the same treatment, too, while getting their teeth straightened at the same time. Keeping your teeth clean while undergoing orthodontic treatment is an important step in maintaining good oral health, and teeth whitening options can enhance that process. With the variety of treatment options that orthodontic patients now have to straighten their teeth, there are plenty of ways to whiten teeth while receiving care. For patients who prefer whitening their teeth at the dental office, one option that patients can choose is “chairside bleaching.” This process requires one or two office visits in which a strong bleaching agent is applied to the teeth combined with a special light to accelerate the whitening effect and lift stains. For patients with brackets on the front of their teeth, chairside bleaching can cause a two-tone effect after traditional braces are removed, so sometimes it is best to bleach after your treatment is over. For patients with lingual braces (on the backside of teeth), though, it is relatively easy to whiten teeth during treatment since teeth whitening focuses on the front of the teeth and not the back. Removable braces and retainers also allow for successful teeth whitening as they allow all of the teeth to be uncovered.

 

Many patients prefer at-home teeth whitening treatments over in-office treatments because it allows them the flexibility to decide when and where they whiten their teeth. For at-home treatments, gel similar to those used in dental offices will be given to you that is inserted into a customized tray which is fit to your mouth. The gel uses peroxide to bleach the tooth enamel and whiten the tooth. Even those with braces can use these custom trays after braces have been placed in the mouth. The trays have to account for the space that brackets use so the gel doesn’t displace the bracket from the tooth. With at-home treatments, though, there is a larger risk of sensitivity and gum irritation if bleaching material leaks out of the tray. Both options for teeth whitening allow patients the freedom to get the best results during their orthodontic treatment but still get the same benefits that braces offer.

 

Things To Consider

When deciding on which type of teeth whitening you should do, it is important to remember that the type of braces you have dictates what kind of teeth whitening you can receive. As teeth shift during orthodontic treatment, tooth sensitivity and gum irritation can increase when using mouth trays or teeth whitening strips at home. Traditional braces use brackets on the front side of the teeth to correct malocclusion while other options, like lingual braces, use brackets on the backside of teeth to straighten teeth. Whitening teeth with lingual or removable braces is much easier for patients than those with traditional braces as brackets prevent a good portion of the tooth from bleaching agents. For this reason, most orthodontists recommend using teeth whitening products once braces are removed for most effectiveness. If you do choose to use teeth whitener during treatment with traditional braces and you feel some sensitivity/tenderness, make sure to avoid whitening for a while to give your teeth a break. Chewing gum can also help with any pain you might feel from whitening agents, as well as using sensitivity toothpaste. For additional insights into what to expect when using teeth whitener with braces, meet with your orthodontist to discuss which option is best for your mouth.

 

Everyday Teeth WhiteningWoman putting whitening stripes on teeth while looking in the mirrow

Many patients use everyday teeth whitening products to improve their smile rather than going to a dental office or using expensive products. As teeth whitening has become more popular, more and more products have been created to enhance smiles in the comfort of one’s home with a smaller price tag than traditional methods. For anyone, with or without braces, using a teeth whitening toothpaste is a great and easy way to whiten your smile and maintain good oral health at the same time. Even if you have sensitive teeth, there are still plenty of options for toothpaste that whiten teeth without putting your sensitive mouth at risk. There is also teeth whitening mouthwash that whitens and protects teeth from stains while freshening your breath at the same time. Switching from a manual to electric toothbrush can further whiten your teeth by polishing away surface stains that appear under braces. With all of the different dental items that can be tailored to your individual needs, you can have a whiter smile with braces in no time.

 

For more information on how you can whiten your teeth during orthodontic treatment, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our team is committed to helping you and your family get the healthiest and brightest smile possible!

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Woman with straight teeth on one side of mouth and teeth with braces on other side

Many orthodontic patients use braces so that they can have straight teeth, but that’s not the only reason why orthodontic care is so important. Having straight teeth can minimize the likelihood of tooth decay and tooth loss while improving your bite, which affects your ability to chew and speak. Correcting crooked teeth can also improve your oral hygiene and strengthen teeth. Learn more about the positive effects that straight teeth can have on your oral health through this guide!

 

How Straight Teeth Can Help You

One of the main goals of braces is to create a straight smile and correct any orthodontic issues that may prevent teeth from remaining straight. While orthodontics does focus on straightening patients’ teeth, this is not the only purpose of receiving orthodontic care. Whenever a patient has malocclusion, or bad bite, caused by crowded or crooked teeth, daily oral hygiene can become a difficult task. Malocclusion can also stem from teeth that are out of alignment, or jaws that do not meet properly. Thumb sucking or accidents to the teeth can also cause malocclusion. As oral hygiene becomes more difficult to maintain, the likelihood of dental complications, such as tooth decay, periodontal disease, and tooth loss, increases. An improper bite that goes unaddressed can negatively affect chewing and speaking, and wear down tooth enamel. Correcting these problems is of utmost importance to your orthodontist as they seek to give you the best care possible. Orthodontic care that helps straighten teeth can decrease and ultimately eliminate the chances of any of these complications from arising. With straight teeth, patients can better brush and floss their teeth, which will help strengthen them, while easily monitoring any changes that may occur.

 

What To Expect With Orthodontics

As you begin your orthodontic treatment, there are a few tips that you should know to prepare yourself for what will be expected of you during your time with braces. Although there are some challenges with straightening adult teeth versus children’s teeth due to the pliability of the jawbone, modern technology allows any adult of any age the opportunity to correct crooked teeth with remarkable success. You will first meet with an orthodontist for an evaluation and orthodontics consultation to determine what option is best for your mouth. Any oral health issues, such as gum disease, will have to be resolved before you can begin treatment. Adults have a variety of options to choose from for their orthodontic care, with many discreet options, such as ceramic or clear braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign clear removable retainers, that are available for your needs.

 

For children, treatment is similar to that of adults and can start as early as the age of 7. Having an orthodontic examination early on can prevent the progression of orthodontic issues that are present and allow the orthodontist to monitor the development/eruption of teeth. Aesthetically-minded treatment options, such as incognito lingual braces, are available for young children who may be self-conscious about their orthodontic care. Most children and adults can expect treatment for 1-3 years, followed by a period of time in which a retainer will be used to keep teeth in their newly aligned positions. Regular dental and orthodontic visits will be necessary to track the progress of teeth and manage any plaque or tartar buildup that could accrue between teeth.

 

How To Keep Your Straight Teeth HealthyFather and son brushing teeth in bathroom

Once you or your child finishes orthodontic treatment, it is important to continue certain oral health standards to maintain the health of your gums and teeth. Eating a healthy diet, with or without braces, while limiting the amount of sugary foods you consume, will prevent plaque that can stain or damage your teeth. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing each day will also prevent any plaque buildup, prevent cavities, and keep your teeth clean. Good oral hygiene is especially important for patients wearing braces because you are more susceptible to plaque buildup around brackets and underneath wires. For additional protection, consider using a mouth guard while playing any sports or activities that could damage your mouth, if hit. Creating a good oral health regimen before you start orthodontic treatment will help you have a healthy mouth during and once braces are removed.

 

For more information on the importance of straight teeth on oral health and what you can do to get the straight teeth that you want, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! If you’re ready to change your smile for the better, our team is ready to help you reach that goal for you and the rest of your family!

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Smiling senior couple in front of blue background

Most orthodontic patients receive their braces at a young age, typically during the teenage years. Are the teenage years the best time to receive braces, or will treatment work just as well as an adult? With the technological advances that have occurred, adult orthodontics have more options than ever to straighten smiles of all ages. Some benefits of adult orthodontics include correction of life-time dental issues, faster treatment time than former technology, and increased confidence. If you’re ready to change your smile, learn how adult orthodontics can help you through these tips!

 

Braces Throughout The Years

Modern advances in orthodontic treatment has revolutionized how quickly children and adults alike get the healthy and straight smiles they want, and allowed people of all ages to improve their oral health, no matter their age. For many years, traditional metal brackets were the only option to straighten teeth, but as technology has advanced, a variety of aesthetic bracket systems have been developed to give you the smile you want with braces that are less noticeable and easier to maintain. Permanent braces now come in two options: metal or ceramic. Ceramic braces are matched to teeth color, making them nearly invisible during treatment.  Lingual braces are also an option, which are completely disguised from others as they are attached to the back of the teeth. Removable orthodontic appliances have recently come into play as a clear plastic aligner that is used and removed as needed. These aligners are advantageous to adults because they are less visible and easier to clean and maintain, which comes in handy for those adults busy with work and family life. As the options for braces have broadened throughout the years, so has the number of adult patients being treated for braces. Technological advances in the orthodontic industry now allows for more patients, even those who have passed the prime age for orthodontic care, to change their smiles during any part of life.

 

Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists reports that of the 4.5 million Americans that are currently receiving orthodontic care, 25% of them are adults. Although childhood is the ideal time to receive braces, adult orthodontics has become a popular option for those who couldn’t receive treatment during adolescence. Some benefits of adult orthodontics include:

 

  • More discreet treatment methods
  • Correction of lifetime dental issues
  • Faster treatment time
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence

 

Adults ultimately have more options when choosing what braces and treatment plan is best for them. Orthodontic care protects both kids and adults against tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, impaired speech, chewing and jaw problems. While cost is a factor, you will still need an oral evaluation and orthodontics consultation to determine your candidacy for certain procedures and treatments. For the first time, adults of any age who have otherwise healthy teeth can benefit from orthodontic treatment at any point in life.

 

What To Expect With Adult OrthodonticsSenior man putting teeth aligner in mouth

Typically, it is more difficult to manipulate an adult’s fully-developed jawbone compared to the pliable jawbone of a child, but modern-day advances now allow orthodontists to correct crooked teeth with great success and precision. Any oral health issues, such as periodontal (gum) disease, will have to be resolved before teeth can be straightened, so meeting with your dentist and orthodontist will be an important first step to take before treatment can begin. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment to correct any cosmetic or bite issues, consider the following:

 

  • The entire process may take longer for an adult than a child. Typical treatment time averages two years, but varies from person to person.
  • Fully-developed bones in adults have stopped growing, so some structural changes cannot be achieved without surgery.
  • Adults may need to see a periodontist, as well as a dentist and orthodontist, to ensure that treatment will not be complicated by bone loss due to gum disease.

 

Adults who have had teeth removed in the past might have difficulties with orthodontic care as old extraction sites might not be suitable for teeth to move into. Adult patients receiving treatment also have a higher risk for root absorption than children do as their bodies reabsorb the root of the tooth, leaving no room for anchorage. This process causes teeth to loosen and fall out over time due to gum instability. Since braces and other appliances are cemented directly to the teeth themselves, it is important that all patients, even adults, maintain good oral health practices that will prevent the areas around the brackets from developing plaque and tooth decay, which will ensure that they get the best (and healthiest) smile possible.

 

Schedule An Appointment Today

If you are interested in adult orthodontics or are wanting to improve the look of your smile, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a consultation to learn about which options are available for you. Our dedicated team of professionals are determined to help you get the smile that you want and improve your oral health!

 

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A brunette woman putting on red lipstick as she gets ready for a New Year's Party. She is wearing ceramic braces on her teeth.

You may wonder what the differences are between metal, ceramic, and lingual braces and how they compare to Invisalign treatment. All are a bit different and they are both made and worn differently. Braces are made from various materials and designed specifically for your mouth.

 

Metal Braces and Your Teeth

You’ve likely seen someone wearing metal braces and you know that they make your teeth straighter. But how? It takes a bit of science and the right orthodontic appliance to make that beautiful smile happen. With the most common type of braces—metal braces—you have a stainless steel material that is shaped into specific orthodontic parts that will all go together in your mouth. Often those parts are molded and shaped in a special lab that then ships those parts to orthodontists.

 

Labs will even do custom-made brackets and wires for patients when the need arises. However, most braces have a specific design like metal braces do. Metal braces have several parts that include:

  • Brackets: These stainless steel pieces are those little squares bonded to the middle of each tooth. We use a special bonding glue that will stay on your teeth for the entire duration of your treatment, but will come off easily with the right orthodontic material. Your brackets are small anchors that hold a wire in place. They will have tiny rubber elastics placed around them to protect your teeth and prevent stuck food.
  • Archwire: This metal wire will pass through the brackets on each tooth, all the way to the back of your mouth. Many patients have a bracket that wraps around the back molar that stabilizes this archwire. The wire will follow the curve of your jaws in an elongated have circle. When a thicker archwire is placed or when this archwire is adjusted, it can help move the teeth into place because of the force placed on the brackets.
  • Ligature Elastics: These are the rubber elastics we mentioned. The elastics are what keep the archwire sturdy so it can straighten your teeth.

 

Dental models that have orthodontic appliances on the teeth. An example of metal braces and ceramic braces is seen.

How Teeth Straighten

Your archwire will be adjusted very slightly at your orthodontic appointments every 4-6 weeks. That slight adjustment may seem very small, but it’s what your mouth needs to make a true, straightening change. The appliance is not the only thing changing your teeth into a straighter position. Your teeth are the hardest substance in the body and can even be harder than many metals. Straightening them would seem very difficult, when it’s not. It simply takes time.

 

Your teeth can take a ton of force from chewing, biting, eating, talking and other actions because they are rooted into your jawbone. However, the jawbone is much weaker than the teeth are. So why doesn’t your jawbone get breaks in it when you chew hard things? You have something called the periodontic ligament that is around every tooth root as it goes into your jaw bone. All those ligaments are shock absorbers for your jaws when you chew, minimizing the force your jawbones take. These are key to straightening the teeth.

 

When orthodontic appliances are on the teeth, they will apply a very slight pressure to your teeth and to the periodontic ligaments that surround them. When that pressure is constantly there, your body will produce acids in the jawbone area that will break down tiny parts around the teeth. With new space created, the teeth can shift. Your body will naturally deposit more minerals in areas that have changed to strengthen the jawbone once more. Over time, your jaw is literally breaking itself down on a microscopic level and then rebuilding itself. That is why orthodontic treatment takes months. However, the result is worth it.

 

A close-up view of metal braces that have the ligature elastics around the brackets. The braces are on a dental model.

Ceramic and Lingual Braces

Ceramic and lingual braces are very similar to traditional metal braces, but are made a bit differently. Lingual braces are also a metal braces type, and most types are made from stainless steel in a lab. There can be other types of metal used or a combination of metals. These braces will have brackets and wires just like traditional metal braces, except that they will be placed on the back of a patient’s teeth.

 

Because of placement, children are not usually candidates for lingual braces because of the size of the teeth. Dental impressions of the back of the teeth are made so that metal coverings can be made for the tooth backs, which is a bit different than traditional metal braces. More anchoring is needed with lingual braces, and this is how it is done. The metal material will cover the entire tooth back with a bracket in the center of the tooth, and each is placed individually when a patient gets their appliance. The archwire works the same as other braces.

 

Ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces in their design and how they work. However, they are made from ceramic material, which is naturally white already. This makes the braces blend in with the teeth more, and the metal can even be frosted to blend in with whiter teeth.

 

Invisalign: Customized to the Patient

Invisalign treatment is an orthodontic option that is vastly different than your other options. The most noticeable difference is that there is no metal or ceramic material in your appliance. A patient will have digital images taken of their mouth. With that image, custom aligners are made that a patient will switch out each week. These are a type of plastic material patented by the Invisalign company. It’s a strong enough plastic to cause the same type of shifting you want your teeth to do. Aligners fit snug in the mouth as they are custom made, are switched out each week, and must be worn 20-22 hours of the day. If you are interested in any of these types of braces or want to see how the braces are put on a patient, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 with your questions!

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Large gold balloons that say "2019". There is a beautiful brunette woman standing in the middle of the zero and one that is smiling at the camera.

Millions are ready to make changes in their life with the start of a new year. If you haven’t already, consider adding resolutions to transform your smile in 2019. This is quite easy to do if you have the right tips to get started. Whether you want a whiter smile, straighter smile or you want to change your oral health issues, you can achieve it.

 

Resolutions 2019

Making New Year’s resolutions is something that countless millions will do in the month of December. For many, the start of a new year is a time for reevaluating health and life goals, and a time when many recommit to goals they didn’t quite reach. Some of the top resolutions include:

  • Eating healthier
  • Exercising more
  • Smiling more
  • Saving money
  • Making better health choices
  • Sleeping enough
  • Being social

 

Did you notice that oral health isn’t anywhere on the top resolutions that people make? Oral health is often overlooked because it seems like something so small compared to your overall health. However, your oral health is directly related to how healthy you are. Improvements to your smile and mouth health can improve your health and wellness.

 

Many chronic conditions become worse if your oral hygiene is lacking. Some include diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and anything that has to due with your nutrition. With chronic oral health problems such as extensive tooth loss, your overall health will decline rapidly. You may not be able to eat, and chewing, biting, smiling and other basic functions will become difficult. However, most oral health issues are avoidable by simple habits done daily. You have heard of most of these habits already, as they are the basics you hear from the dentist every time you go in for a visit. However, most people can improve their technique with oral hygiene even if they are already doing the basics.

 

A redheaded young adult that is smiling and tilting her head. She has braces on her teeth.

Small Changes, Big Results

Our patients either have braces on their teeth or they are looking to get them. Great oral health is needed if you want to get braces on your teeth. We make sure that our patients are free of cavities and gum issues before orthodontic treatment happens. That means, a dental visit is needed to check for any dental issues beforehand. When dental issues are there, they are fixed and great oral hygiene must be followed thereafter. That includes:

  • Brushing. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. With braces, brush after every meal. Use a proxabrush tool or a Waterpik to dislodge stuck food. Brush in all different directions, especially with the brackets. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or when the bristles become frayed.
  • Flossing. This step is skipped often, but is so important to your smile! Flossing gets 40% of your tooth surfaces. If you want a better smile with braces, you gotta floss or that smile will be damaged. Whether you have braces or are getting them, make the decision to floss 1-2 times every day, using floss threaders or threadable floss.
  • Nutrition: Skip the sugary foods as much as possible. This leads to plaque production and tooth decay. Avoid carbonated drinks or ones with citrus that leads to tooth erosion.

 

Continuous Oral Problems

If you brush, floss, visit the dentist and use oral health aids like mouthwash and fluoride, you may wonder why you still get cavities and gum problems. Studies show that your smile and oral health can be determined by genetics in some cases. Some genes that run in families or specific cultures can make you more susceptible to oral health diseases. For example, those of African descent have specific genes that make them more susceptible to gum disease.

 

If you have specific conditions that run in your family such as heart disease or diabetes, oral health problems will likely follow suit. This is not inevitable, but something you must be aware of. If you have any sort of chronic condition, make sure you are doing all that you can to have good oral hygiene habits throughout your day. If you continue to have frequent oral problems or issues with your smile, we can go over proper oral hygiene methods during one of your orthodontic appointments. Great oral hygiene and following proper techniques is very important to keeping your teeth healthy and strong, especially with braces. Sometimes, all it takes is changing up your technique or what you are eating to have better oral health and a better smile.

 

A close-up view of a person's smile that has clear, ceramic braces on the teeth.

Cosmetic Changes to Your Smile

If you want to completely transform your smile in 2019, don’t wait to get orthodontic treatment. Studies show that getting braces is a great way to not only help you reduce your oral health problems, but an excellent way to get a better smile. Orthodontic treatment generally takes 18 months or less from start to finish. Some patients only need braces for 6 months depending on their teeth and what treatment option they choose.

 

There are many orthodontic options patients have to transform their smile, and half of them are invisible options. That means, you can’t see the appliances on your teeth. You have the options of:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – These are the classic metal bracket and wire option that is most commonly chosen by patients.
  • Ceramic Braces – These have the same bracket and wire design of metal braces, except that they are made out of white ceramic material. This helps decrease demineralization during your orthodontic treatment.
  • Lingual Braces – This is a discrete metal braces option that is 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.
  • 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.

To choose your option today, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

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A beautiful brunette woman smiling at the camera with her hands cupped under her smile.

There are four main types of braces that include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual and Invisalign treatment. When patients want sturdy metal for effective straightening power, but they don’t want visible metal, lingual braces is the option to choose. This consists of an orthodontic appliance attached to the back of the teeth. With any orthodontic appliance attached to the teeth, there will be an adjustment period for patients.

 

Why Get Braces?

Many people wonder why they would need orthodontic treatment if they are already seeing a dentist. However, a dentist is not the same as an orthodontist. Both have gone to dental school, but only an orthodontist can correct bite and alignment issues that would cause oral health diseases, problems with speech and issues with eating. Straighter teeth are teeth that are easier to clean, helping you avoid oral health diseases.

 

The teeth are less likely to crack, chip, fracture or break from uneven biting pressure when they are straighter. Studies show that people who straighten their teeth often feel more attractive, confident and motivated, and others view them that way as well. Braces can not only help reduce your risk of oral health problems (or help them to go away), but they can make you feel like a million bucks from the beautiful smile you receive.

 

A collage of images of the mouth with metal braces and with lingual braces.

What Are Your Options?

In the past, traditional metal braces were the only braces option patients could get. Today, there are four main orthodontic options. Those include:

  • 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.

Adjusting to Lingual Braces and More

For many patients, the adjustment period with their orthodontic appliance will be a new experience. Getting braces on the teeth is a new and exciting chapter for anyone that is starting on their journey to a better smile. However, your mouth does have to physically adjust to orthodontic appliances. With traditional metal, ceramic, or lingual braces, there are orthodontic parts that will be bonded to the teeth with a cement-like bonding material.

 

The application of that bonding material with your teeth will place extra pressure on them for several days. You may have to take an over-the-counter painkiller (like Tylenol) to help ease that aching feeling. Soft foods like yogurt or pasta will be better after the braces application for sensitive teeth. Your tongue will have to adjust to orthodontic appliances as well. For traditional metal braces on the front of your teeth, they may feel bulky as they rest against your lips.

 

With lingual braces, your tongue may feel more crowded or may constantly run into the brackets. With both of these options, a patient’s mouth becomes used to the appliances so quickly that they won’t even notice the braces after a few days. Your smile won’t look bulky with your appliance, but it will start to look straighter over time. Cleaning your teeth will take a bit more work, but this too will become second nature to you. With each new braces adjustment, your teeth may feel a bit sore, but that feeling will go away quickly.

 

A young adult woman sitting in an orthodontic chair smiling at the hygienist.

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

You can spend 18 or more months straightening your teeth, only to have them be decayed at the end of your treatment. However, this doesn’t have to happen if you are taking meticulous care of your teeth with braces on them. Patients should be brushing and flossing their teeth whether or not they have braces on them. The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush their teeth at least twice a day. With braces, you want to brush them very well after every meal to dislodge food that would cause decay.

 

Flossing is key as well, as flossing gets about 40% of your tooth surfaces that brushing misses. If you skip flossing all the time, all those tooth surfaces can decay. With braces, you won’t be able to do the normal flossing you’re used to. Lingual braces can be even harder if you can’t see where you are flossing. This is where flossing tools for braces come in handy. Invest in threadable floss or flossers (which is very similar). This is floss that you stick through the cracks in your teeth and pull through like a sewing needle. You floss the tooth, scraping the teeth as you go, and pull the floss all the way through the tooth to start on a new one. It only takes a minute or so more than normal flossing, but will help prevent decay with your lingual braces.

 

Braces Are an Investment

Your teeth may take a bit more time to keep clean with braces on them than they were before. However, with braces such as lingual braces, you’re making your smile straighter and more beautiful for years to come. That straightness will not only help make cleaning the teeth easier for years, but it will help your appearance and your confidence. If you want all the benefits of a beautiful, straight smile, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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A brunette woman with red lipstick on tilting her head to the right slightly and smiling at the camera.

Several decades ago, traditional metal braces were the only option available for patients to get a beautiful, straight smile. However, the traditional take on braces changed when lingual braces were introduced. These are metal braces that go in your mouth, except they are bonded to the back of your teeth instead of the front. This option is a popular one for teens and adults, as they can hide their metal braces in their mouth as they straighten the teeth.

 

What Are Traditional Metal Braces?

Metal braces are “traditional” because the bracket-and-wire design they have has been used for decades. Before 1970, orthodontists anchored metal brackets to the center of each tooth and wound wires around the teeth to straighten them. After 1970, orthodontists continued to use metal anchorage devices (called brackets) on the front and center of each tooth.

 

A metal archwire was sufficient for straightening when it ran along the upper and lower jaws across the front of the teeth. Traditional braces use a system of archwires and brackets that are bonded to the teeth to shift them into their ideal position. When we see you at your frequent checkups, we will adjust the archwire, which will exert more pressure on your teeth, moving them in place.

 

The back molars will have metal bands that fit all the way around the back molars of the teeth. This is where the archwire will attach and be stabilized. Both top and bottom jaws will have these bands on them. The brackets on each tooth will have a rubber band around them, which are removable. They help keep your bracket hooks from catching on your mouth.

 

Close-up view of the inside of a patient's mouth with lingual braces on the teeth.

How Are Lingual Braces Different?

Lingual braces are similar to traditional metal braces. Many people don’t aesthetically like the look of metal braces, but they love their final straight smile. Metal braces are the strongest and are highly effective for achieving a beautiful smile. What can patients do if they want a straight smile but they don’t want braces front and center? Put that metal on the inside of the mouth between the teeth and the tongue!

 

Lingual braces are metal braces just like the traditional version, except that they are on the tongue-side of your teeth. However, there isn’t as much room on the back of your teeth like there is on the front of your teeth. If you notice, there is also a bit of a curve to the back of some of your teeth. That bracket-and-wire design can’t be exactly like the traditional version, but the design can be similar.

 

Using the same idea as traditional metal braces, you can achieve the same results as traditional braces, only with a hidden treatment apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth. Patients that choose this option have impressions made of their mouth that focus on the backs of their teeth. After those impressions are sent to a special lab, metal backings for the teeth are made that are then bonded to the back of your teeth. They are almost like metal coverings for the entire tooth back, and often are silver or gold in color. These metal coverings also have small metal brackets and wires that discreetly correct bite and alignment issues over time. The concept is similar, but the design is tweaked to give lingual braces the same stability as traditional metal ones.

 

A close-up view of a woman's teeth that are beautiful and straight.

The Invention of Lingual Braces

  • The push for hidden braces first started in the 70s with celebrities and public figures that wanted straighter teeth without visible metal braces.
  • Craven Kurz and Jim Mulick were the first to develop prototypes for these braces in 1975. Craven Kurz was an orthodontist who later founded the American Lingual Orthodontic Association. Jim Mulick was the man Kurz partnered with from the UCLA School of Dentistry.
  • The first prototypes of lingual braces led to tongue irritation and bracket breaks, which were resolved by inventing an inclined plane for these braces.
  • Lingual braces are usually made of stainless steel, but they can also be made out of titanium.
  • Craven Kurz applied for a patent in 1976 and the first lingual braces were produced in 1979. Ormco was the company Kurz partnered with that eventually created 7 different generations of lingual models until the current model.
  • Each model involved changes to the orthodontic appliance including the additions of hooks and crannies, anterior and molar brackets and hooks, inclined planes, torque values, transpalatal bar hooks and a heart-shaped inclined plane.
  • There are various designs of lingual braces that will vary based on how they look and how they are attached to the teeth. We use the “Incognito” style, but you may also hear types such as “iBraces”, “In-Ovation”, “STb Light Lingual System” and “Suresmile Lingual QT”.

 

How Do You Benefit?

Getting braces at all is a major step in the right direction if you want to be successful. Studies show that people who straighten their teeth often feel more confident in themselves, and their actions become more confident. Due to social, economic or aesthetic concerns, many patients may have the desire to straighten their teeth, but they don’t want to have metal braces on their teeth. For adults with careers or active social lives, they may view traditional metal braces as something only children and teens have.

 

However, at least 1/4th of patients with braces are adults. You simply may not see those braces because they have invisible braces like lingual braces. Lingual braces can achieve the same effect as regular metal braces without being seen. For a career setting, you can keep your white smile as it slowly becomes straighter overtime. For athletes, there isn’t a worry about dental injuries, as brackets and wires won’t cut up the cheeks or gums. Those who play wind instruments will find that lingual braces are much easier to play with than traditional braces. You get both the aesthetic appeal with sturdy straightening power with lingual braces. If you would like your free consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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

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

 

How Do Braces Change Your Teeth?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Changes You Want to Avoid

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Continue Dental Services During Braces

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

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

 

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

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