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Young woman with braces playing with strawberries and covering her eyes with them

Whenever you first begin orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will recommend certain foods that you should avoid, and those which will be good for your teeth. Many times, sugary or sticky foods like candy, gum, corn, and nuts shouldn’t be eaten during the duration of your treatment as they are known to damage braces and increase the likelihood of cavities. While there is a list of foods that you should NOT eat with braces, there are plenty of options that you can still include in your diet that are just as tasty as those that you will have to avoid for a while. Find out what foods you should avoid during orthodontic treatment and what foods you can still enjoy with this guide!

 

Foods That Are Good

One of the first concerns that patients have as they begin orthodontic treatment involves the food they should and should not eat. A lot of responsibility comes with braces, as you will have to protect them by watching what you eat, cleaning them daily and adhering to your orthodontist’s instructions. To begin, let’s discuss all of the food that you CAN eat during your time with braces. Softer options are your way to go as your mouth gets used to braces, so eating food like chicken, oatmeal, rice, beans, fish, eggs and yogurt are great ways to get a lot of nutrition without breaking a bracket. Even hard fruits, like apples and pears, are good to eat as long as they’re cut into slices or smaller pieces. Don’t think you’ll be able to get away with not eating vegetables during treatment-even the crunchiest of vegetables can be steamed or sliced into slivers, making them perfectly edible for orthodontic patients. You’ll want to eat foods that you don’t need to chew much, especially after an adjustment. Soups and mashed potatoes work perfectly for a sore mouth, and sandwiches and salads (without nuts) can be eaten once you get used to the feel of braces.

 

Foods To AvoidColorful candies, lollipops and gummies

Unfortunately, the list for foods that you should avoid during treatment seems to always be much longer than those you should eat. However, the new diet that you’ll be working with for the next several months or years is actually beneficial for you in the long run as most of the food you need to avoid is sugar-filled. Hard and sticky foods are no-nos when it comes to braces; candy, caramel, nuts, chips, licorice, taffy and gum are notorious for breaking wires and brackets, plus they cause cavities. Sugary and starchy foods produce plaque and acid, and the more you eat these foods, the more likely it is that you’ll get tooth decay and gum disease. Hard foods like popcorn and ice can make the impact of braces less effective, meaning a longer treatment time and more money. Additionally, the elastic ligatures that are placed on the bracket itself can be stained by foods with strong colorants, such as berries, grape juice and beets. Even though you may feel like you’re missing out on all of your favorite foods, you’ll be surprised that most foods you love can still be eaten with braces if they’re cut smaller or skinned. You’ll need some creativity when figuring out your meal plan during treatment, but the benefits of keeping your teeth healthy and braces intact outweigh the cons of giving up some of your favorite treats for a while.

 

Taking Care Of Your Braces

Watching what you eat is just one step in your oral hygiene regimen with braces. First, begin with the basics of brushing and flossing. Take off your elastics and other removable parts of your braces and begin brushing at a 45-degree angle. Clean each tooth and bracket individually in a circular motion, and floss beneath the archwire to remove any leftover food. Flossing can be difficult with braces, so it might be a good idea if you use a floss threader to get in between teeth and under wires. These two steps are essential to thoroughly clean teeth and prevent decay from forming, so make sure that they are a part of your everyday routine. For an additional clean, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to kill bacteria and give yourself fresh breath. Lastly, always go to your orthodontic cleaning and adjustment appointments. The orthodontist will be able to monitor your tooth movement, fix broken brackets, tighten wires, remove plaque and give you pointers on how to take care of your braces.

 

Get A Beautiful Smile Today

For more information about foods you should and should not eat with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our team has years of experience educating patients on oral health, adjusting brackets and wires and helping patients get the beautiful smiles they deserve. Call today!

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Chocolate cupcakes decorated in red, white and blue with an American flag

The Fourth of July offers fun activities full of fireworks, parades and celebrations. From hamburgers to watermelon to all kinds of delicious treats, Independence Day is a fun day for everyone. Amid all the celebrating, though, it’s important that you take care of your teeth by watching what you eat and which activities you participate in, especially when wearing braces. There are lots of food options to choose from, but it’s important to keep your oral hygiene routine in check to prevent tooth decay. Find out how you can enjoy Independence Day and protect your teeth at the same time with these tips!

 

Commit To A Regular Routine

During this holiday season, our lives go from our normal day-to-day routines to boating, barbecuing and playing with sparklers as we watch the fireworks. The Fourth of July is a week full of festivities that involve a lot of food and fun, but it’s also a time that we easily forget to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Our daily routine should include how we take care of our mouth and teeth, which means we can’t skimp on brushing and flossing, especially with braces. Plaque loves to sit on teeth as long as it can so that acid can form and eat at your tooth enamel. The longer plaque remains on your teeth, the more likely you are to experience tooth decay. During the week of the Fourth of July, it may be tempting to let your kids skip their normal bedtime routine due to a firework show or a late-night party, but even one night of not brushing and flossing lets harmful bacteria wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Braces are especially susceptible to the effects of poor oral hygiene as they easily trap food particles around the brackets and underneath the archwire. One tip that can help your kids remember their oral health during the holiday is to keep a brushing calendar. These calendars are simple and easy to use, and they help kids stay on track each day, no matter what busy activity they’re participating in. You can find a brushing calendar at most department stores or you can ask your child’s dentist for one.

 

Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

Blonde little boy drinking water from a water bottle

beautiful blonde child drink water outdoor

One of the biggest mistakes that kids and adults alike make during the Fourth of July involves the type of food that they consume, specifically sugary foods or meals full of starches. It’s hard to resist a juicy burger with a slice of cherry pie, a sugary funnel cake or a cold lemonade, but these holiday foods are full of sugar and starches that not only affect your waistline, but your teeth, as well. Eating lots of foods high in sugar increases your risk of cavities, even if you’re good at brushing your teeth. It’s easy to hand your child a juice box or can of soda while they’re watching the parade, but it’s more beneficial if you offer healthier choices, like water, to keep them cool and hydrated. It’s even better if you can give your child water that contains fluoride, which hardens tooth enamel and safeguards teeth against cavities. For picky kids, milk and fresh juices are also alternatives to sugar-packed sodas and do a good job at protecting teeth. Before all of your fun activities begin, plan out snacks and healthy options for meals that you can provide that will protect kids’ teeth while they’re out having fun. For those with braces, make sure to avoid hard foods like corn on the cob, chips and candy, and don’t forget about sticky foods like caramel, taffy and licorice. Hard and sticky foods are notorious for breaking brackets and wires, which are no fun to deal with on the Fourth of July.

 

Protect Your Braces

Choosing healthy food options over the holidays is an essential part of protecting braces, brackets and wires. Braces are durable orthodontic appliances, but even they can break from a simple accident, like biting an apple. To maintain the structural integrity of your braces, make sure to brush after each meal (which may be difficult to do when you’re out and about) and use threadable floss to remove pesky food particles from getting stuck. You may even need to use a proxabrush, which is referred to as a “Christmas tree brush” that thoroughly cleans between each bracket whenever normal toothbrushing can’t do the trick. Keeping your teeth and braces clean will prevent tooth decay from developing and will help remind you to watch what you’re eating. Lastly, make sure to schedule regular checkups and cleanings with your orthodontist to remove any plaque that may have built up around your braces and ensure that their functioning correctly.

 

Schedule A Checkup

At Belmar Orthodontics, we are prepared to help you enjoy this year’s Independence Day by providing dental and orthodontic checkups. Our experienced staff is dedicated to your oral health throughout the entire year, and we can help you and your family receive the beautiful smiles that you deserve. To schedule a checkup or for more tips on how you can protect your family’s teeth this Independence Day, call our office at (303) 225-9016. Your journey to a healthy smile begins today!

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Teenage girls playing with braces playing with a ball in the pool

Most orthodontic patients are young adolescents and teenagers, and many of these patients participate in sports that increase their likelihood of having a mouth injury during treatment time. Injuries to the mouth, especially with braces, can be very painful and cause a lot of damage. Protecting your teeth as you play a sport can prevent serious damage and keep your teeth safe. Safety gear, like mouth guards, can protect teeth during a sporting event and prevent costly repairs. Find out how you can protect your child’s teeth with braces with these tips!

 

Common Mouth Injuries

We’ve all experienced some kind of mouth injury, whether from a fall or getting hit during an athletic event. While not all mouth injuries are severe, even the smallest cut or bruise can be painful, especially when it occurs in the mouth. Trauma to the lips, gums and mouth are common since the tissues are so soft and exposed. Teeth can easily cut the lip or inside of the mouth, and a fall can make you bite your tongue. With braces, mouth injuries can cause even more damage as the appliance itself can get lodged into or cut the cheeks, tongue and gums. Other symptoms include swelling, bruising, bleeding and cuts on the lips and tongue. Since there is a rich supply of blood in the mouth, cuts in the mouth tend to bleed heavily in contrast to other areas of the body. It’s especially important for kids to protect their mouths whenever they have an orthodontic appliance on, because braces, brackets and wires are notorious for breaking and poking into the mouth, causing damage. Using protective gear can protect kids’ teeth and braces from injury without them having to give up the sports and activities that they love.

 

Importance of Mouth GuardsA little girl doing karate with a mouth guard in her mouth

One of the best tools to use to protect kids’ teeth while playing sports is a mouth guard. In sports like football and boxing, mouth guards are required, but in most other sports it’s purely optional. Sports’ injuries can include chipped or broken teeth, fractured tooth roots and damage to orthodontic appliances, but mouth guards can prevent those injuries from occurring in the first place. Athletes with braces carry a higher risk of experiencing a mouth injury that is extensive and costly. Mouth injuries with braces can knock out or damage several teeth that are adjacent to one another because of the brackets and wires, so using a mouth guard is an essential tool to protect yourself. Mouth guards for braces are typically wider than normal mouth guards so that they can easily cover the braces, teeth and gums while still providing a comfortable fit. For full protection and functionality, the mouth guard should fit well and not impede your breathing. Fortunately, while mouth injuries are expensive to fix, mouth guards are relatively cheap appliances to buy. You can buy over-the-counter mouth guards at nearly every major store, or you can have a custom-made mouth guard from the dentist that is created from a mold to match the impression of your teeth. Mouth guards are preventative measures to protect your child from injuries before they happen, but accidents still occur even if you’ve prepared yourself. If your child has a mouth injury while wearing braces and their teeth or braces were hurt, make sure to schedule a checkup with their orthodontist so that their appliance and mouth can be reviewed for damage.

 

How To Keep Teeth Healthy

While we can’t always avoid mouth injuries, we can strengthen our teeth by following a few simple rules. Sports aren’t the only way that braces can be damaged; hard candies and foods can cause just as much damage as an injury can. Throughout orthodontic treatment, it’s best for your child to avoid foods like nuts, chips, carrots, ice, gum, caramel and other sticky candies that can break brackets and wires. Brackets are cemented onto the tooth, and whenever they get broken off, it can be extremely painful and cause permanent damage. Your child is also more at risk for cavities whenever they eat these sugary and starchy foods as plaque easily accumulates around the brackets and under the wires. Avoiding these foods in general will prevent the appliances from breaking and decay from forming. Encouraging your child to commit to regularly brushing and flossing their teeth each day will also keep their teeth clean and avoid food particles from getting stuck in their teeth, which can lead to decay. Regular orthodontic checkups will also allow your child’s orthodontist to monitor their teeth movement, recognize any signs of decay and adjust their appliance.

 

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health

If your child is involved in sports and has braces, consider having them use a mouth guard. At Belmar Orthodontics, we can advise you on what mouth guards would work best for your child and their activity, plus we can help fit it for them. When it comes to your child’s oral health, the easy way is not always the best way. Protect your child’s teeth from injury by calling our office today at (303) 225-9016 to find out what else you can do to protect your child from mouth injuries!

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Young woman pointing to braces with a questionable look on her face.

As you begin orthodontic treatment, changes will occur in your mouth that could be uncomfortable or unexpected. Braces help patients get the beautiful and straight smiles that they deserve, but orthodontic treatment is not an easy process. As your teeth begin to shift, you can experience some tooth tenderness, lip sores, or pokey wires. These are all normal occurrences, but some patients can feel uneasy. Regular orthodontic visits can remedy these situations and help you feel back to normal in no time. Find out what to expect with braces and how you can treat these issues!

 

Problems That Braces Can Cause

As you begin orthodontic care, there are some problems to look out for that are commonly associated with braces. Although most of these issues are not serious, it is still good to know what to expect whenever you begin care. Once braces are placed, the process of fixing your malocclusion begins and your teeth will start to shift into their correct positions. As this occurs, soreness and swollen gums are both very common reactions to braces. Swollen gums can also influence tooth tenderness, which normally lasts between 2-4 days after braces are first placed. Dull aches can also accompany tooth tenderness but can be relieved by eating soft foods and an over-the-counter pain medication, if needed. Other common problems with braces include lip and cheek sores, pokey wires, and loose bands and/or brackets. Lip and cheek sores develop as the brackets rub against your mouth but can be remedied by placing a small piece of wax on the part of the braces that’s causing the irritation. Pokey wires can be caused by sticky foods or when a patient picks at their braces, and wax can also be used to cover the pokey piece or you can try pushing the wire back into place with a Q-tip or pencil eraser. Loose or broken bands and brackets normally aren’t considered an emergency and can be covered in wax until the next orthodontic appointment. If the broken bracket holds a rubber band in place or if a bracket on one of the upper or lower front teeth breaks, you will need an appointment as soon as possible to fix the bracket.

 

Serious problems that can be caused by braces include demineralization and gingivitis. Demineralization creates white scars that look like tiny white boxes and outline the area where the bracket used to be. These white scars are caused as food left on teeth come in contact with bacteria and create acid. The acid destroys calcium and phosphate in the teeth, which causes decalcification or white scars. Braces do not cause demineralization, but bad hygiene during treatment usually leads to white scars. Unfortunately, white scars normally don’t disappear after braces are removed and can even lead to cavities. Gingivitis, on the other hand, occurs as the gum tissues become inflamed and is one of the first steps to gum disease. Redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding can result from gingivitis, but can be entirely prevented by brushing rigorously around the brackets and flossing regularly.

 

Importance of Good Oral HygieneUp close photo of woman cleaning in between her braces with a proxabrush.

Many problems that come with braces can be avoided or lessened by sticking to a strict oral hygiene regimen. To properly maintain your braces, make sure to brush after every meal, use threadable floss or a floss threader and use a proxabrush. Even though it may seem excessive to brush after each meal, this practice can get rid of remaining food that may be stuck in your braces and prevent plaque and acid from building up (which helps prevent demineralization and gingivitis). Floss threaders are placed between the teeth and under the wire to aid in flossing. Threaders help you floss between each tooth, which can be difficult to do with braces in the way. A proxabrush is typically referred to as a “Christmas tree brush” and helps clean between each bracket. By placing the proxabrush under the archwire and between each bracket, you can thoroughly clean the bracket and remove any stuck food particles.

 

Maintaining a good diet, especially during orthodontic care, should be another important part of your oral health routine. Sticky or hard foods, such as nuts, popcorn, gum, caramel and chips, can damage your orthodontic appliance and hurt your teeth. Although the temptation may be great to cheat and eat one of these items, the consequence of doing so can be costly and painful. Eating these foods also gives you a higher risk of developing cavities during your time with braces, which can be difficult to treat. Make a list of the foods you should and should not eat, and stick to your oral health goals to keep your teeth and braces healthy.

 

Starting Orthodontic Care On The Right Foot

If you or a member of your family is in need of orthodontic care, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our dedicated staff is ready to help you achieve your oral health goals and get a beautiful, straight smile. Call now to find out what options we have for braces and how soon you can begin treatment!

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Woman smiling with braces

For many patients, getting braces is a big decision that affects oral health. How do you know whether you or your child needs braces, though? Some symptoms are obvious: misplaced or crowded teeth, or teeth that don’t meet normally. Other signs that you need braces are more inconspicuous, though, such as biting the cheek or a jaw that pops or shifts. While some of these symptoms are more serious than others, orthodontic care is the way to go to alleviate pain and correct any underlying issues. Learn about what signs you should be looking for to decide if braces are right for you with these tips!

 

What To Look Out For

As our teeth begin to erupt at a young age, they can fill into improper spaces or cause problems with adjacent teeth. Crooked or misaligned teeth aesthetically aren’t very pleasing for people, and most patients end up receiving orthodontic treatment during some point in their lives. Orthodontic problems don’t always mean crooked teeth, though. While there are some obvious signs that you might benefit from orthodontics, such as crowded teeth or an underbite/overbite, there are other symptoms that are less noticeable but equally as undesirable. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8, but if certain complications are present, your child does not and should not wait until that age to be seen. If you have a young child, look for some of the following symptoms that warrant orthodontic care:

 

  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Early, late or irregular loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting

 

As children age, orthodontic problems will begin to show themselves, but some don’t appear until adulthood. No matter your age or prior orthodontic care, there are other symptoms that indicate a problem and should be addressed by an orthodontist. If you are struggling with a popping jaw, have to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis, are constantly biting your cheeks, and/or noticing teeth or jaws that are out of proportion to the rest of your face, you should have an orthodontic consultation. While many of these symptoms seem harmless or aren’t very noticeable, they can have long-term consequences that can negatively affect your oral health. Braces can remedy these issues so that your oral health isn’t compromised. It’s never too late for you to take charge of your oral health and get the smile that you deserve!

 

Advantages of Early OrthodonticsYoung male teenager smiling on the street with braces

Not all kids will need orthodontic care, but many will. Meeting with your child’s dentist early on will help them determine whether your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment. If you have a child who needs an orthodontic issue remedied, there are certain advantages that come after receiving braces. Having your child evaluated by an orthodontist can help he/she observe the progress of incoming teeth, guide teeth into their ideal positions, monitor face and jaw development, detect hidden dental issues and reduce the risk of impacted teeth. For young children, orthodontic visits can sometimes be scary. Nonetheless, child orthodontic visits are simple and non-intrusive, so as to keep your child comfortable and happy. At Belmar Orthodontics, we do our best to give your child the care they need while making sure that their fears and questions are addressed. For adolescents, our options at include aesthetically-minded treatment options that will help your teen feel less self-conscious about braces. Braces can sometimes be seen as “dorky” or “uncool” for teens, but the list of options your teenager can choose from will give them plenty of choices to get straight teeth while still looking cool. Good oral health habits are started at a young age, and bringing your child in to see the orthodontist will help them establish those habits that will last a lifetime.

 

How You Can Benefit From Adult Orthodontics

Against popular belief, braces and orthodontic care aren’t just for kids and teenagers! In fact, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult; in just the U.S. and Canada alone, more than a million orthodontic patients are adults! You, as an adult, can benefit from the same care that young patients do and fix the orthodontic problems that you’ve been suffering from since childhood. As long as your teeth are healthy, you can receive orthodontic treatment at any age. The most common benefits of adult orthodontics include the following:

 

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

 

It’s important to note, however, that any previous orthodontic problems, such as periodontal disease or decayed/missing teeth, will need to be addressed before an orthodontic appliance can be placed. Once those issues are fixed, you’ll be fitted with braces and can continue your life just as usual. If you so choose, you can even opt in for hidden lingual braces or Invisalign clear, which will get you the straight teeth that you want while being completely unnoticeable. Speak with your orthodontist to determine which braces would be best for your needs before making any decisions.

 

Staying On Top Of Your Oral Health

Before any patient can receive orthodontic treatment, the health of their teeth, gums and mouth will first be evaluated. For this reason, it is important that children and adults alike are brushing twice a day and flossing on a nightly basis. The foods we eat also affects our oral health, as well. Especially during orthodontic treatment, certain foods, like sticky or sugary candies and food, can damage orthodontic appliances and make it easier for tooth decay to develop as plaque builds up on teeth. Brushing and flossing will partly diminish the effects of these foods, but not entirely. Make sure that you and your children are eating a healthy diet with minimal sugary snacks to avoid dental complications during treatment.

 

To ensure good oral health during and after orthodontic treatment, schedule an appointment with Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a consultation.

 

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Picture of smiling female adolescent with braces

As orthodontic technology has improved throughout the years, so have the different appliances that are used to treat children with braces. Depending on their jaw and bone structure, your child may need an orthodontic device to help guide their teeth and jaw into proper alignment. These orthodontic appliances are used to maintain space in the mouth and allow for proper tooth eruption and movement. Find out what types of appliances are available and which is best for your child’s needs through these tips!

 

Benefits of Child Orthodontics

Many, if not most, dental patients will receive some form of orthodontic treatment during their lifetime. Even if one’s teeth doesn’t show any kind of orthodontic issues, it is advantageous that patients, especially children, visit with an orthodontist to maintain good oral health. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8 to prevent the progression of any orthodontic issues that may already be developing. Orthodontic treatment can lead to healthy, beautiful smiles at any age, but is most beneficial when completed at an earlier age. Some benefits of visiting the orthodontist early on include observing the progress of incoming teeth, reducing the risk of impacted teeth, and monitoring facial and jaw development. Early orthodontic evaluations can discover hidden dental issues and decrease the risk for permanent teeth extractions, as well. Early detection of any dental issue is vital in maintaining good oral health for patients of all ages, and should be a goal that all children should obtain from an early age.

 

Types of AppliancesView of child's mouth palate with an orthodontic appliance

Whenever patients think of “orthodontia,” they typically think of braces. For young patients, braces are common orthodontic appliances that they can receive to straighten their teeth and correct any dental issues. Child orthodontics includes other appliances than just braces, though, and these appliances fulfill an important function in your child’s overall treatment. Orthodontic appliances change the way your child’s mouth works by correcting certain bone problems. Headgear, for example, guides the jaw into the proper direction by holding the upper jaw until the lower jaw can catch up with it. Retainers are other useful tools that keep teeth in the correct position after braces are removed, and most children will use some type of retainer during or after their treatment.

 

There are other orthodontic appliances that aren’t as well known but are used quite often in child orthodontics. The Nance “Button” is one of those appliances that uses a holding arch to maintain space in the mouth for children who have lost their baby teeth and are waiting for permanent teeth to grow in. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the first molars might move forward into an incorrect position as they erupt because there is nothing holding them back. The Nance is an acrylic plate (the button) that covers a section of the palate with two metal bands around the back teeth to hold them into position until permanent teeth develop. This process helps maintain the proper space for permanent teeth to grow into. Another less-known appliance is the lower lingual holding arch, which does the same thing as the Nance but for the lower teeth. Two metal bands are cemented to the lower molars, joined by a U-shaped bar that rests behind the lower teeth. This keeps the back teeth from moving forward and maintains the space needed for future permanent teeth to erupt. Lastly, twin blocks are used to correct misalignments in the jaw that cause your child’s top teeth to stick out in front of the lower teeth further than normal. The blocks consist of two plates, one on the upper teeth and the other on the lower. These work together to bring your child’s lower jaw forward into the correct position, but is most successful when inserted while your child’s bones are still growing. They are the fastest-working appliances, and create quick results. Any of these appliances can be used in your child’s orthodontic treatment, so if you have questions about how they function or which one would be best to implement, make sure to ask your orthodontist.

 

What To Expect At The First Appointment

Most adult teeth erupt between the ages of 6 and 12, so whenever your child’s first permanent molars begin developing, the dentist will need to evaluate them to see how they work together. This process is called a “bite check,” and it helps orthodontists determine in what stage your child’s teeth are and what their treatment will require. The dentist will then decide which type of appliance would work best for your child and what instructions they will need to follow to get the best results out of their treatment. When using an orthodontic appliance, good oral hygiene will be necessary to prevent plaque buildup and other dental complications that could extend your child’s treatment time. Having your child brush and floss their teeth every day, along with cleaning whichever orthodontic appliance they’re given, will ensure that they get the healthiest and fastest treatment possible.

 

If your child is due for an orthodontic visit, or if they’re experiencing any of the orthodontic issues that we’ve discussed, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a consultation to improve their oral health. Our dedicated team is ready to help you create a plan for your child to get them the smile that they deserve!

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Closeup of crowded teeth in dental patient's mouth

Upper jaw expansion is an orthodontic treatment that creates more space growth for developing kids by widening the circumference of the palate. This procedure helps correct crossbites, reduces overcrowding, and improves breathing ability. Most adolescents will receive this treatment before 16 years of age, but adults can also expand their upper jaw, if needed, as well. Read on to find out how upper jaw expansion works and what the advantages are with these tips!

 

Jaw Positioning and Malocclusion

Many patients deal with malocclusion, or crooked teeth and a poor bite. A poor bite refers to the way the upper and lower teeth line up, which is affected by the structure of the jaw. A “normal bite” consists of the upper teeth sitting slightly forward of the lower teeth, which allows for proper movement. Malocclusion is normally a cosmetic problem, but when it interferes with how teeth erupt, it can cause crooked teeth and tooth decay. A common cause of malocclusion is having too much or too little room in the jaw, which affects whether teeth grow in crowded or crooked. The shape and size of the jaw can also affect how severe someone’s malocclusion is, but thumb-sucking and tooth loss can also influence this process. For many patients, especially children, malocclusion is caused by a limited amount of space in the mouth for teeth to grow, so they either grow in crooked or the bite is altered. For this reason, many young dental patients receive upper jaw expansion treatments to allow more room in the mouth and prevent malocclusion. As more study and insight has been gained on the structure of the mouth, there are now more possibilities to fix incorrect bites, adjust occlusion and prevent crooked teeth starting from an earlier age.

 

Reasons For Upper Jaw Expansion

Upper jaw expansion is a specific treatment for widening the circumference of the palate to increase the perimeter of the dental arch in the mouth, which creates more space for teeth to grow. When there is enough room for teeth to grow, they are more likely to develop correctly. During childhood, palatal or maxillary expanders are used to aid this process. Through these expanders, dentists can help correct a crossbite that is caused by malocclusion. Normally, the upper teeth should close around the outside of the lower teeth, but when someone has a narrow palate, the opposite can occur and create a crossbite. As the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth, an asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw can develop and change the symmetry of one’s face. This can cause serious complications if not addressed early on. Lastly, upper jaw expansion methods improve breathing ability, which is greatly affected by a narrow jaw. A narrow or deep upper jaw can make it difficult for a child to breathe through their nose and results in constant mouth breathing. While it doesn’t sound very serious, consistent mouth breathing keeps the mouth open at night, allowing for unfiltered bacteria to enter into the oral cavity, causing dry mouth and halitosis (bad breath).

 

Treatment OptionsPatient with dental expander in mouth being treated by dentist

Upper jaw expansion is most successful when done at an earlier age while the mouth is still developing. For adults, those with a crossbite may only need a dental expansion instead of a palatal expansion, but may need surgery if palatal expansion is required to fix concerns. Depending on the age of the patient and the reason for treatment, a rapid palatal expander (RPE) may be used to increase the width of the jaw. The RPE is attached to the upper molars by bonding or cemented bands, and uses a special key that is used to widen the space by turning a screw in the appliance at certain points in time. This process puts extra pressure on the two halves of the upper jaw, which causes extra bone to grow between them. Gradually, by turning the screw with the key each day, the jaw widens to make room available for developing teeth. For adults, removable expanders can be used, as well, whenever the degree of expansion is minimal. Resembling a partial denture, removable expanders are typically made of chrome and recommended for adults as they more easily comply with treatment. After treatment, an orthodontic retainer may be given to maintain the space until all permanent teeth have developed. A third but least common option for expansion is a surgically assisted rapid palatal expander (SARPE), which is a combination of orthodontic treatment and surgery. This is used in the case that expansion cannot be achieved by the appliance alone. A custom appliance is made before surgery, and while during surgery, the upper jaw is intentionally fractured to separate it into movable sections. This allows the bone to grow between the fractures after the appliance is inserted.

 

Pros and Cons

Palatal expanders help straighten teeth, improve breathing and fix incorrect bites, but there are important suggestions to make note of. Since children are most likely to have one, a palatal expander, just like any orthodontic appliance, needs to be thoroughly cleaned each day to prevent plaque buildup and decay around the teeth. For young children, this can be difficult to do without help and can be easily overlooked, so parental supervision is essential. Additionally, the entire process can cost up to $3,000, depending on the degree of correction. For many, there is also some minor discomfort during expansion, but it is well worth it when you’re avoiding an inaccurate bite later in life.

 

For more information on which treatment option is best to fix yours or your child’s palate, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our experienced team is dedicated to improving your oral health and getting you the smile that you deserve!

 

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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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Woman holding two types of retainers for the mouth

After you have your braces removed, most patients receive a retainer that they wear at night to keep their teeth from moving. But what kind of retainer should you have, and how long should you wear it? Retainers maintain oral health after braces by keeping your teeth in the correct alignment. Many people fail to use their retainers properly, and have to be fitted for braces again. Learn how to prevent your teeth from moving after braces and how to keep your teeth straight!

 

Purpose of Retainers

After you complete your time with braces, it will be necessary for you to consistently wear the retainer that your orthodontist advises you to wear. A retainer is an apparatus made of plastic and metal that is custom-made for each patient’s teeth and mouth. No two retainers are alike, but they all serve the same function as they seek to keep our teeth aligned properly after our braces are removed. Most people have to wear a retainer after they get their braces off, but many times people wear retainers to close gaps in their teeth, help with a speech impediment, or address specific medical issues. Retainers are especially important after your braces are removed, though, because our teeth will attempt to return to their original position after treatment. Another type of tooth movement that we want to avoid is natural physiological drift, which happens as the width of our smiles gets narrower as we age and our teeth begin to crowd. This occurs to everyone, but consistently using a retainer can prevent this shift in our teeth.

 

Getting your braces removed is definitely an exciting moment, but keeping your teeth straight is a lifetime effort. Our newly-aligned teeth need time to settle into our soft tissue and jawbone, and wearing your retainer helps this process be successful. Wearing your retainer at night and in between meals allows your teeth to hold their new form and prevents them from shifting back into their old position. As our bodies grow, our teeth follow suit, and retainers maintain the new tooth position that your braces achieved during your treatment. At the beginning, it may be necessary to wear your retainer all day for a few months, or you may only have to wear it at night a few times a week. Your orthodontist will advise you on how long and how often you should wear your retainer, and it is important that you follow all recommendations that you are given.

 

Types of Retainers

There are two main types of retainers that are used: removable and fixed. Removable retainers can be removed whenever you eat and brush your teeth, but typically must be worn full-time for at least one year after you get your braces removed. Hawley retainers are the most common type of removable retainer and is fit to your mouth shape with wires that wrap around your teeth. Invisible, or Essix, retainers are made of clear plastic that makes it look as if you’re not wearing anything, which increases its aesthetic appeal. Depending on the treatment plan you received during your time wearing braces, your orthodontist may recommend only wearing either of these two removable retainers at night. On the other hand, fixed retainers are those that are cemented to the backs of your teeth and kept in place for several years, even decades. This type of retainer is useful for those people who don’t want to worry about constantly removing their retainer or whose teeth have a higher likelihood of post-braces movement.

 

Caring For Your RetainerPicture of different types of waterpiks and teeth cleaning apparatuses

Depending on which type of retainer you use, there are certain instructions that are recommended to properly care for your retainer. For fixed retainers, regular dental checkups are essential to monitor for cavities and clean out any tartar or plaque. When flossing, make sure to use a floss threader that will allow you to go underneath the wire and clean between the teeth. As an additional measure, use a waterpik to rinse out food around the wire. Waterpiks should not replace normal flossing because floss physically removes bacteria from the teeth and gums while a waterpik merely rinses those areas. Although fixed retainers are incredibly strong, they can still break. Try to avoid biting hard foods, like carrots and nuts, with your front teeth to avoid any damage to your retainer. For a removable retainer, make sure to scrub it with soap and a toothbrush daily, or you can try soaking them in denture cleaning tablets or vinegar and water. Whenever you take out your removable retainer, make sure to keep it in a reliable case where it can be protected from pesky pets or avoid being accidentally thrown away. Don’t wear your retainer while playing sports, especially swimming, skiing, or contact sports, and make sure to avoid heat by keeping them away from hot water or hot car dashboards.

 

Tips For Maintaining Your Oral Health

Retainers play a vital role in keeping our teeth straight and preventing oral health problems, such as teeth crowding, but they aren’t the only recommendation for maintaining good oral health. Make sure to continue flossing and brushing your teeth daily, while visiting with your dentist every six months for a general checkup. For more information on the different types of retainers that are available and what would be the best fit for you, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 to learn how to improve your smile and oral health!

 

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Young woman pointing at braces

Braces are incredible devices that can help transform your teeth and reshape your jaws. However, they are not always fool-proof. Every so often, a patient will have a dental emergency. That may be a bad cavity that needs to be fixed, or a bracket or wire will break. There are only a few dental emergencies that can happen with braces. We can help you to know what to do when each of those emergencies happen!

 

Origins of Braces

Orthodontic treatments have been around for a long time-even as far back as the ancient Egyptians! Although their ways were archaic, people for centuries have been trying to fix crooked teeth and develop a prettier smile through orthodontic work. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans were known to have practiced orthodontia, and interestingly, the Etruscans used to attach gold bands to women’s teeth to preserve the position of their teeth after death. Orthodontics saw a surge in progress during the 18th century thanks to Pierre Fauchard. Known as the “Father of Dentistry,” he invented an appliance called a bandeau, which was a horseshoe-shaped piece of metal with regularly spaced holes that fit around the teeth to correct the alignment. He would also use forceps to physically realign teeth into their correct positions and tie them to neighboring teeth until they healed.

 

Orthodontics in the United States exploded during the 19th century. J.S. Gunnell created a type of headgear that fashioned to the head and exerted a soft pull on teeth while Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber which would eventually become one of the most commonly used appliances in orthodontics. But Edward Hartley Angle, the “Father of Modern Orthodontics,” took orthodontics to another level by identifying the true properties of malocclusion, or misalignment, and addressed them with his own set of orthodontic appliances in 1880. Until the 1970s, orthodontist would attach anchored brackets around each tooth with winding wires, but with the invention of dental adhesives, orthodontists could then stick the brackets to teeth surfaces. Stainless steel then replaced gold and silver as the most popular option for wires, due to its manipulability, and became the most cost-efficient option for braces.

 

Dental Emergencies and What To Do About Them

Braces have come a long way since their beginnings many centuries ago, but as braces have evolved, so have the problems that come with them. Although dental emergencies are few and far between when it comes to braces, there are some common issues that can be readily addressed and fixed if serious enough. The least serious issues that you can have with your braces is tooth tenderness and lip and cheek sores. As your teeth become accustomed to your braces, your teeth will most likely be sore for 2-4 days. Using headgear, rubber bands, and springs can add to this soreness, but that discomfort normally goes away in the same amount of time. Eating soft foods and taking an over the counter pain reliever can help dull the ache. Loose or broke bands and brackets are also another annoyance that sometimes occur with braces. Although not considered an emergency, they normally break due to patient’s eating prohibited foods or picking at their braces. Whenever this occurs, place a piece of wax on the spot of irritation and wait until your next orthodontic appointment, unless the broken bracket breaks on one of the upper or lower front four teeth, then call your orthodontist as soon as possible.

 

Protruding wires are not only bothersome, but can stab the inside of your lips and mouth if not fixed. Wires can come loose from eating sticky foods, like candy, or by picking at your braces. If this has occurred, try using a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire in towards the teeth. To avoid accidental damage to the wire, make sure to not bite your nails or pens and pencils. In rare occasions, a piece of the appliance may break and be swallowed by the patient. Although alarming, keep calm and have someone look in your mouth to see if the appliance if visible. If confident that you can remove it, you may carefully attempt to do so. If you are unable to see the piece, are coughing excessively, or having difficulty breathing, that could be a sign that the piece could have been aspirated and you should contact your orthodontist immediately.

 

How To Protect Your BracesMan flossing braces and smiling

Unless under extenuating circumstances, most dental emergencies are avoidable. Maintaining good oral health and hygiene throughout your time with braces is vital in ensuring healthy teeth and gums, and preventing cavities. Food particles are easier to get stuck between braces, and when not cleaned thoroughly, can lead to other dental emergencies, like tooth decay, which can cause major complications. Hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar should be avoided as they are known to break brackets and cause cavities, which you more susceptible of developing while wearing braces. Some of the need-to-avoid foods include hard candy, nuts, apples, popcorn, ice, gum, caramel, and licorice.

 

Because braces are so notorious for getting food stuck in them, make sure that you are brushing after every meal to prevent staining and reducing bacteria buildup in your mouth. Use a soft brush, and brush each tooth by starting at the top and brushing down, then repeating the motion and brushing up around each bracket. Use threadable floss of a floss threader to get the hard to reach areas in between teeth that are covered by the archwire. Using the pointed end, insert between the teeth and gently move the floss back and forth between the two teeth. For added care, use a proxabrush, sometimes called a “Christmas tree brush,” to scrub between each bracket in an up and down motion to get any extra gunk that might be stuck there. For any dental emergencies that you might be having, make sure to contact Belmar Orthodontics at  (303) 225-9016 for your next consultation!

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