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

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

 

What Are Lingual Braces?

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Making A Choice

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

 

Schedule Your Consultation

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

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Young woman 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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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 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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Smiling people of different countries

Our teeth are one of the most important parts of our bodies, and they are each unique to us. Our teeth are like a fingerprint: they are individual to us and never the same as anyone else’s. Teeth perform specific functions that are essential for speaking and eating. Our teeth have enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body and it protects our teeth from decay. The more that we learn about our teeth, the more important it is for us to take care of them. Find out what all our teeth do and how they help us with this guide!

 

Facts About Dentistry

For hundreds, and even thousands, of years, dentistry has been an important aspect of human’s lives. Even though dental technology and knowledge might not have been as well known a few thousand years ago, our ancestors still understood the importance of taking care of their teeth. People have been caring for their teeth for centuries, and historians have found evidence of dental care dating back to 5000 B.C. in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians would use crushed eggshells and ground animal hooves to clean and polish their teeth, before toothbrushes were invented. The first toothbrushes that were used anciently were actually twigs, or tree bark, that our ancestors would chew on, hoping that the frayed ends would clean their teeth. It wouldn’t be until the 1700s when a British inventor created an adapted version of a toothbrush that he had seen in China, one with a bone handle with boar bristles inserted into small holes that lined the brush and then secured with wire. Even up to the 1930s, toothbrushes were still rudimentary, until brushes with nylon bristles and ergonomic handles were developed, which is what we still use today.

 

Facts About Teeth

Although oral hygiene was important to our ancestors, little was known about the function and specifics of teeth that modern technology has allowed us to learn about in our day and age. Teeth are the hardest substances in our bodies, and enamel helps keep them strong and durable. We use teeth to eat, speak and chew, so they’re an important part of how we live. Even though they are hard, white and contain calcium, teeth are not bones! They cannot heal themselves or grow back if they sustain damage, so it’s very important that we are careful with what we eat and the activities that we engage in to avoid any unnecessary trauma. Additionally, teeth contain stem cells. Some researchers are even trying to use dental stem cells to regrow human teeth, which, if they can do it, would mean that we could replace lost adult teeth for the first time in history. Not only do teeth have stem cells, but they are also unique to each one of us and tell a story. Each tooth in our mouths is unique and different from the rest, and never is identical to someone else’s. Our teeth reveal how old we are, what we eat and even areas of the world that we have lived in! They are a lasting record of our life’s history.

 

Our mouths, and the teeth that are found therein, perform amazing functions that facilitate our ability to eat and digest food properly. Although they may be amazing, our mouths have some unusual quirks that most people don’t know about. The following are some of the weird facts about our mouth and teeth that one should think about:

 

  • Teeth form in the womb, months before a child is even born. The crowns of babies’ first 20 teeth are already under the gumline when they are born, waiting to erupt.
  • The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in their lifetime, enough to fill two swimming pools.
  • Plaque found on teeth contains more than 300 kinds of bacteria.
  • Humans spend 38.5 days of their life brushing their teeth.

 

Good Dental Habits To HaveA man and woman brushing their teeth in front of a mirror together

Now more than any generation before us, we have a limitless amount of options to choose from to protect our oral health and develop strong, healthy teeth. Our teeth do so much for us, so it’s important that we do everything we can to protect them. First and foremost, brushing and flossing should become part of our daily routine. Especially if your or your child has braces or an orthodontic device, maintaining a strict brushing and flossing regimen will prevent tooth decay and cavities. Brushing removes debris on the surface of the tooth while flossing removes food particles that can get stuck between teeth or near the gumline, where plaque can easily build up. Furthermore, regular checkups for both you and your child with your dentist and/or orthodontist will allow them to monitor teeth movement and keep your teeth as shiny and beautiful as possible.

 

For more information on what you can do to protect your teeth with or without braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our dedicated team is committed to helping you and your family receive the care that you need and get the smiles that you deserve!

 

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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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Side view of a woman's mouth smiling with braces on

Surgical orthodontics is sometimes needed for those patients whose upper and lower jaws don’t align correctly and a proper bite cannot be achieved. Surgical orthodontics will change the alignment of your jaw, which will affect your teeth. Braces are normally involved in this process to correct teeth movement. Since this is a surgical process, there are many different options for patients to choose from to fix misaligned jaws. Find out whether you’re eligible for surgical orthodontics and what it can do to fix your smile!

 

What Surgical Orthodontics Entails

In some cases, surgical orthodontics is recommended for patients whose upper or lower jaws do not line up properly and thus cannot obtain a correct bite with orthodontics alone. Known also as jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery, this process involves correcting irregularities of the jaw bone and realigns the jaw and teeth to function together properly. Surgical orthodontics also can be used to fix aesthetic concerns about a patient’s profile or jaw shape/size. Since this type of orthodontic work involves correcting the alignment of your jaw, your teeth will most likely shift, as well, so braces are used in combination with this treatment.

 

Those patients who suffer from problems with their chewing, breathing, or speaking due to a misaligned jaw are prime candidates for surgical orthodontics. As mentioned earlier as well, patients who have aesthetic facial concerns can also benefit from these treatments to see what improvements can be made, after consulting with their orthodontist. The downside to treatment is that it cannot be performed until a patient’s jaw is fully formed, so for children and children who struggle with any of the aforementioned issues, they must wait to fully develop before any surgery can be performed. For males, jaw growth typically finishes at age 18, and for females it is completed earlier, at around 16 years of age.

 

What To Expect During SurgeryClose up view of a patient in dental surgery

Surgical orthodontics include both pre and post-surgical phases in which treatment is tailored to the individual patient’s needs and jaw structure. Pre-surgery involves aligning your teeth and moving them into a more ideal position before surgery. In many cases, braces are put on 12-18 months prior to surgery to level and align your teeth in preparation for surgery. Orthodontic surgery on your upper jaw can shift it backward, forward, upward, and downward, while surgery on the lower jaw shifts the jawbone either forward or backward. Surgery is performed by an oral surgeon on the inside of the mouth, so there are no facial scars on the mouth, chin, or other surrounding areas. The surgeon makes cuts in the jawbone, which are then moved into the correct position. Tiny bone plates, screws, wires and rubber bands are used to hold the newly aligned jawbone into their new position. While smaller than the bracket that is fixed onto a tooth with braces, these screws eventually become integrated into the bone over time. In some cases, extra bone may be added to the jaw from your hip, leg, or rib, and secured with screws and plates. During your consult with your orthodontist, you will both discuss the pre and post-surgical treatments that you will be receiving, dependent upon your needs.

 

Post-Surgery Care

After surgery, the oral surgeon will provide you with certain instructions to help in the healing process, such as:

 

  • What you can eat
  • Oral hygiene
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Avoiding strenuous activity
  • Medications to control pain
  • Timeline to return to work/school

 

Typically, you will need to wait at least two weeks after surgery to resume your normal activities. Initial jaw healing occurs at around six weeks, but complete healing can take up to twelve weeks. After the one month post-operation check up, most patients will be in braces for 6-12 months after surgery, in which the orthodontist will then check the progress of your smile and alignment of the jaw. The entire process, including surgery and your time with braces, can last several years, depending on the severity of the issue and what adjustments are needed.

 

The results of surgical orthodontics are varied and can lead to a balanced appearance of your lower face, improved function of your teeth, health benefits from improved sleeping, eating, and chewing, and improvement in speech impediments. Secondary benefits include improved self-esteem and appearance for those who seek out surgical orthodontics for aesthetic purposes.

 

Preventing Surgical Orthodontics

It is recommended that children visit an orthodontist between the ages of 7 to 8 for the main purpose of preventing invasive or drastic treatments later on in life. If a jaw abnormality is discovered earlier on in a child’s life, it can be evaluated and treated sooner without surgery having to be involved. If you or your child are suffering from troubled chewing, eating, breathing, or swallowing, or if you have a misaligned jaw, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for an evaluation. Our trained staff can help prepare you as you make this important step in your oral health and guide you to a healthier smile.

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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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