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Woman holding Invisalign retainer in one hand with an impression of a mouth in the the other

While many teenagers need orthodontic care, some don’t like how traditional braces make them look or feel. With advances in modern technology and appliances that have been developed, teenagers have more options than ever to straighten their teeth without having to lose their confidence. Invisalign Teen offers the same benefits as traditional braces, but with the ability to use a clear, removable aligner. While nearly undetectable, teenagers will be able to get straight teeth without anyone knowing. Learn how Invisalign works and how your teenager can benefit from its groundbreaking system!

 

What Is Invisalign Teen?

Most teens will need orthodontic care, but many don’t like the look of traditional braces. Luckily, modern advances in orthodontic technology have created other options for them, such as Invisalign Teen, that allows kids to get straight teeth in one of the most discreet ways possible. Invisalign Teen eliminates the need for metal braces and brackets by replacing them with clear, removable aligners. Clear aligners work just as effectively as traditional braces but without the self-consciousness that metal braces typically bring. Before treatment begins, however, your teen will need an examination by their orthodontist and have diagnostic X-rays and impressions (molds) taken of their teeth. Crowded teeth and/or wisdom teeth may need to be removed before treatment begins so that the aligners can fit properly in the mouth. The orthodontist will then create a set of aligners that your child will wear, one after another, for the space of one to two years. These aligners will straighten their teeth over time, and each aligner will be replaced with another one as teeth begin shifting into proper alignment. Most patients will be required to wear their aligners anywhere from 20-22 hours per day, so your teen will need to be careful and consistent during their time with Invisalign.

 

Invisalign Teen offers many benefits other than invisible treatment. With Invisalign, your teen won’t have to sacrifice their favorite foods that tend to get stuck in traditional braces; all they need to do is remove the aligner to eat and drink, and they’re good to go. Your kid will also be able to continue playing the sports and activities that they love, and they’ll have less emergency visits since there are no wires or brackets that can break. Invisalign allows kids to use a mouthguard when playing sports and continue playing their instrument because it is removable. With Invisalign, your child will have newfound freedom that other orthodontic treatment can’t provide.

 

Taking Care of Invisalign Aligners

As with any other orthodontic appliance, your child will need to take strict care of their Invisalign aligners to keep them clean and free from damage. After they remove their aligner to eat or drink, it’s important that they brush their teeth before putting the aligner back in to prevent bacteria from building up on their teeth, which can lead to tooth decay. Additionally, your teen needs to brush their aligner each night before bed to keep them fresh and clean. Your teen will most likely be wearing their aligner for one to two weeks at a time, with a checkup every six to eight weeks to pick up their new aligner, so it’s essential that they keep their aligners in a safe place during that time. Aligners can break when dropped or can be damaged by pets or little siblings, so proper storage whenever they’re not being used will keep any accidents from happening.

 

Importance of Good Oral HygieneYoung boy brushing teeth while smiling

Having a good oral hygiene regimen will protect your child’s teeth from disease and keep their treatment plan on track. If teeth aren’t taken care of, orthodontic care can be slowed down as the orthodontist will have to address their cavities or tooth decay before treatment can continue. Brushing and flossing are essential before, during and after orthodontic care to keep teeth healthy and strong. Make sure that your teen is brushing with a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen their tooth enamel. Consistent flossing will also keep teeth decay-free by removing food particles that can get stuck and allow bacteria to grow. Additionally, using a fluoride mouthwash can aid brushing and flossing by adding the extra punch that teeth need to fight plaque and decay.

 

Scheduling A Consultation

If your teen would benefit from Invisalign, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016! Our team of dedicated professionals is experienced with fitting Invisalign Teen and helping your child feel comfortable and satisfied during orthodontic treatment. Call today to begin your teen’s treatment for a beautiful, confident 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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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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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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Orthodontic professional showing a patient a model of a mouth that has two different types of braces on it.

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

 

History of Orthodontics

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

What Do Orthodontists Do?

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

 

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

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

 

Facts About Braces

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

 

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

How Do Orthodontics Help People?

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

 

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

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Woman that is cleaning her braces brackets with an interdental brush.

Braces is an exciting time for getting that straight smile you’ve always wanted. The not-so-exciting part about braces though, is that they give you a greater risk for cavities. Because there are appliances attached to your teeth, they can become havens for bacteria and plaque buildup. Proper oral hygiene, avoiding certain foods can help you prevent cavities during your time with braces!

 

Your First Orthodontic Appointment

Finding cavities before you get braces is key to ensuring that you have a healthy smile before getting brackets and wires on your teeth. With braces, you will meet often with your orthodontist to have your braces adjusted.  However, you still need to go to your dental appointments to make sure you don’t have cavities during braces.

 

Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces and lingual braces all have brackets and wires that go on your teeth. Before you get fitted for these braces, you will have dental x-rays taken by the dentist to detect cavities. It’s very important to get your exam so tooth decay is detected. Otherwise, you could end up with large cavities during braces. If cavities are found, they must be fixed before we put your braces on.

 

Young woman with braces that is at a dental appointment having her teeth examined.

Oral Hygiene Is a Must

The status of your smile and your oral health will depend on what you do once you get your braces. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing 1-2 times. That recommendation is for patients who don’t have braces. When you have braces, you have to be extra meticulous with oral hygiene practices and you will have to do them more than you used to. That means, brushing after every single meal if you can.

To avoid cavities during braces:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste, and brush for 2 minutes every time, making sure to go in all different directions to dislodge food.
  • Floss your teeth. This is a habit many people skip with braces because it takes a bit more time. However, it’s time well spent. Floss at least twice a day, using threadable floss. This kind of floss allows you to thread it through the spaces between your teeth, pulling it through so you can floss like normal. It makes flossing a breeze and helps prevent cavities during braces.
  • Use orthodontic cleaning tools. A waterpik is a great water-spraying tool that can help you dislodge stuck food. A braces brush (that looks like a Christmas tree brush) can get food out of brackets.
  • Watch what you eat! More sugar means more cavities during braces. Limit how much sugar you eat. You want to avoid sticky, sugary foods such as taffy, Starbursts, dried fruit, gummies, fruit snacks, caramels, and anything similar.

 

Close-up view of a woman's mouth as she is brushing her teeth with braces.

Developing Cavities During Braces

Sometimes, tooth enamel is simply weak and tooth decay happens, despite all your hard effort to avoid cavities. When you eat, sugars in your food mixes with mouth bacteria to create plaque. That plaque sticks to your teeth and slowly eats it away, creating decay. You only need plaque stuck in the right place to develop cavities during braces. When you have hidden tooth decay, you may start to feel symptoms such as a toothache, tooth sensitivity or pains with hot and cold. When you see these signs, get dental x-rays taken to see if you have cavities during braces.

 

If there is a cavity, you actually can have it fixed even if you have braces. It all depends on where the decay is. In most cases, cavities during braces can be fixed because many will lie on surfaces not covered with brackets or wires. You would have the decay drilled out and filled as you normally would. However, if you have a band on your teeth or brackets and wires right where decay is, we would have to remove the bracket or wire while you get it fixed at the dental office. We would then have you come back to our office to get your dental appliance reattached. Patients can sometimes develop such severe cavities during braces that they will need root canals. However, if you are taking care of your teeth, you won’t ever have to worry about that.

 

 

Best Option to Avoid Cavities

If you are worried about cavities during braces or have seen a family member get cavities during braces, then getting braces might make you nervous. However, no matter what braces option you choose, the benefits of a straight, beautiful smile can last a lifetime. It’s definitely worth it to get braces; you will just have to be careful to take care of them. If cavities during braces are a concern, consider the benefits of using Invisalign aligners. This is one of our most popular orthodontic options for teens and adults because it is a hidden option for straightening your teeth.

 

Invisalign transparent aligners are a series of custom-made aligners (like retainers) that fit incredibly snug to your teeth. We take digital calculations of your mouth, where we then design transparent aligners around the shape of your teeth and where we want them to be 18-24 months from that time. Each week, you will switch to a new aligner, which will slowly put pressure on different areas of your mouth, shaping the teeth into a straight line. The aligners are clear and designed to be virtually unnoticeable on your teeth.

 

When it comes to cavities during braces, you are the one that decides if you will get them with this orthodontic option. That’s because that are completely removable for eating, drinking, flossing and brushing your teeth. It takes less time to brush and floss because of this and there are no appliances on your teeth. This can reduce your risk for cavities during braces, especially if you already know that you have weak tooth enamel. For any questions about cavities during braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Girl that is pulling her smile wide with her fingers and she is happy and wearing braces.

Many adults and teens feel like they will look childish with braces on. However, that still doesn’t stop more than 4 million people wearing braces each year in the U.S. Yes, braces are harder to clean and require more care. However, that care only takes a few extra minutes each day, and you have orthodontic options that can make you extremely happy with your braces. Find out how you benefit from orthodontics!

 

Your First Week with Braces

When you first get brackets and wires on your teeth, you will have tooth sensitivity for a few days. That sensitivity and soreness will wear off, but during that time, stick to soft foods such as pasta, yogurt, mashed potatoes, etc. Over-the-counter painkillers (like acetaminophen) can help curb pain that first week and at each braces adjustment.

 

Your braces will feel bulky in your mouth at first, but will quickly start to feel normal. Even though there are changes with braces, you can be successful with your treatment if you do everything the orthodontist tells you. This includes using your bands like they tell you, having good oral health and avoiding foods that can cause you trouble.

 

There are foods you want to avoid that will either break your brackets or wires or that will become stuck in them. Many foods on this list are also full of sugar, which is what makes plaque that coats your teeth. When plaque sits on the teeth, it decays them and erodes them. Avoid foods like:

  • Hard candies
  • Chewing on ice
  • Apples, carrots, and hard fruits and veggies
  • Popcorn (because of kernels), nuts and chunky peanut butter
  • Chips and hard snacks
  • Caramels, licorice, taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Starbursts, Sugar Daddies, Skittles and similar candies
  • Corn on the cob
  • Dried fruit, fruit snacks and gummies (which get stuck in brackets and teeth)
  • Gum

Young girl making a heart shape with her hands and smiling with her braces.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Caring for your teeth through proper oral hygiene is essential if you want to love your braces and if you want your teeth to be in good shape when they come off. Patients who skip brushing and flossing will end up with tooth decay, tooth erosion (worn away areas of the teeth) and stains on their teeth when the braces come off. Don’t let that be you! Follow these tips for taking care of your braces successfully:

  • Brush, brush, brush! Aim for three times a day instead of just the recommended two times. The American Dental Association recommends that patients brush for at least 2 minutes every time, at least morning and night. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be more gentle on your teeth and switch out your brush every 3 months.
  • Floss your teeth. Flossing is the thing that is most often skipped, especially by children and teens. However, flossing gets about 40% of your tooth surfaces that brushing misses. It is one of the only ways to dislodge stuck food that will decay your teeth. Floss 1-2 times a day. However, invest in flossers or threadable floss, which you can pull through the cracks in your teeth, getting under the wires. This makes flossing so much easier.
  • Use a Waterpik and brush. Patients often get food stuck in their teeth that flossing and brushing can’t get out. A waterpik is a small device that shoots water. You shoot the water where you want to dislodge the food or particles in brackets or in between the teeth. A braces brush looks like a tiny Christmas tree. It can get all the gunk out of your brackets and wires with ease.
  • Don’t chew on non-food items! Pencils, fingernails, and any other hard item can break your braces.

 

Benefits that Braces Can Give You

Some patients love their braces, while others don’t. If you are the latter, just remember why you are getting braces: you are looking forward to that beautiful, straight smile. You only have braces on for 1-2 years. If you get through that time, you get to have a straight, beautiful smile for life. Studies show that your smile goes a long way as well. It’s one of the first things others notice about you. In studies done about straight teeth vs. crooked teeth, the impressions others got were quite impressive:

  • Invisalign (Align Technology) found that people with straight teeth were 45% more likely to be hired for a job.
  • They were seen as 58% more likely to be wealthy and successful.
  • People perceived people with straight teeth as healthier, happier, and even smarter than others.
  • A whopping 73% of people were more likely to trust someone with straight teeth as well!

 

Whether you love your braces or not, just remember the amazing benefits that come from having  a straight smile. It will not only improve your social life, but straighter teeth are easier to clean and less prone to tooth decay and oral health diseases as well.

 

Group of people smiling, some with braces.

Being Happy with Your Braces

The best way to be happy about your braces is to choose braces that you love. Some patients prefer metal braces because they are the most economical choice, while others like Invisalign because they are removable. Patients also enjoy clear, ceramic braces that are like traditional braces, but made from white, ceramic material. If you want the sturdiness of metal braces, but want them hidden like Invisalign, you can also choose our lingual braces option.

 

These are braces hidden behind the teeth. If you are self-conscious about your appearance and want to straighten your smile quickly, this may be the option you want. No matter what you choose, remember that this is your only time with braces! Enjoy going through this journey and even get your braces at the same time as your friends to make it more fun. For tips about adjustments, appointments and any extra tips for your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Red head girl that is smiling at the camera.

Deciding to get braces is a an excellent decision that will not only improve your oral health and your smile, but your confidence as well. There are countless benefits to straightening your teeth. However, the first step is choosing a braces option that is right for you. Do you want the strongest braces you can get? Is there a bite problem that you need to correct? Do you want to hide your braces as much as possible? Your goals and lifestyle will determine what braces option is right for you. Learn how the popular lingual braces compare with other options!

 

Lingual Braces 101

Back in the day, there was only one option for straightening your teeth: metal braces. Many people have these bracket-and-wires option that is attached to the front of your teeth. In fact, it is still one of the most popular braces options today. This is partly because traditional metal braces are one of the only options that children can use to correct bite and alignment issues. However, over the years, it became more important to provide an orthodontic option that can still correct bite and alignment issues, but in adults. The main kicker was that many teens and adult shy away from braces because they don’t like the metal showing on their teeth.

 

That is why lingual braces were created. 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 being sent to a special lab, metal backings for the teeth are made that are then bonded to the back of your teeth. These also have small metal brackets and wires that discreetly correct bite and alignment issues over time.

 

Image collage of a person's smile and their lingual braces.

Traditional Braces Vs. Lingual Braces

There are not many differences between lingual braces except for the following:

  • Lingual braces are custom-made specifically for a patient. Traditional braces are always the same brackets and wires that are used for all patients. Lingual braces have to be fit to a person’s individual teeth.
  • The braces are hidden with the lingual option. Brackets, wires and all metal is attached to the back of the teeth instead of the front. You can go your entire treatment without anyone knowing you have braces.
  • This option is ideal for musicians. Brackets and wires on the front of the teeth can interfere with wind instruments in some people. When the brackets and wires are on the tongue-side of the teeth, you don’t get those problems.
  • Athletes also benefit because there are no brackets or wires that can shred the cheeks if an injury happens in contact sports.
  • You straighten your teeth while keeping your smile bright and beautiful with lingual braces.

 

We love traditional metal braces, lingual braces and all our other orthodontic options. It generally comes down to aesthetics with most patients, and that’s where lingual braces has traditional metal ones beat. The comparison between ceramic braces and lingual braces is almost exactly the same, as ceramic braces are modeled after traditional metal braces. The only difference is that they are made of white ceramic material instead of metal material.

 

Close-up view of a person's smile.

Why Lingual Braces Over Invisalign?

There are many patients that wonder why they shouldn’t simply get Invisalign. These transparent aligners are offered at our office, and they do excellent work to straighten the teeth. We actually recommend these to many teens and adults. However, they do have their limitations, which is why we recommend lingual braces over Invisalign in some cases. Invisalign treatment works to straighten a patient’s mouth in secret. Lingual braces seek to achieve this same incredible benefit. However, only lingual braces can correct bite and alignment problems that are severe.

 

The metal-and-bracket design makes them incredibly sturdy for drawing a bite in if a person has overbite. It can also do the opposite and correct underbite and other other type of bite problem. However, Invisalign aligners have a much harder time with that because they don’t have brackets and wires. Both options are great if a patient simply wants to straighten their teeth. Both options are also very hidden in the mouth, making them appealing to teens and especially adults. However, when bite problems exist, you want to kill two birds with one stone by straightening and correcting bite. If this is you, then opt for lingual braces instead of Invisalign.

 

Choosing Your Braces

We take choosing specific braces on a case-by-case basis. There are four amazing braces options available for patients to choose from, and each were designed to target different things that patients need. Patients want the sturdiness of metal braces, but don’t always want them visible. That is why lingual braces are a great hybrid of the other types of braces we offer. You get the functionality and strength of metal, but the hidden feature like Invisalign provides. We want every patient to be sure about their braces option before they have their orthodontic appliance made. To find out which option will suit you best, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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