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Close-up view of a child's braces

Did you know that about 1/4th of all people with braces are children? Millions of Americans receive orthodontic treatment for bite and alignment correction and for straightening the teeth. However, adults require treatment differently and for longer than a child would need, and child orthodontics have different goals for patients than adult orthodontics do. Both of these areas of orthodontics differ, but are also very similar in techniques used to create a beautiful smile.

 

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment is one of the easiest ways to help improve your health. Braces can help correct major oral health problems and can help avoid dental emergencies in the future. In children and adults, braces straighten the teeth so that they are aligned properly for speech, eating, biting and more. Straighter teeth are easier to clean and easier to manage, which leads to better health. Teeth must come in at specific places in the mouth for both children and adults. Child orthodontics focuses on that proper bite and tooth placement, and adult orthodontics seeks to improve the look of a smile.

 

Child Orthodontics

Did you know that children often wear braces, only to get them again as adolescents? Child orthodontics is a popular orthodontic option for at least 1/4th of braces wearers. Dentistry has been around enough centuries to know that the teeth, bite, alignment and growth happen in a specific way. Teeth must come in at the right spot and must be aligned in a specific manner in the jaw. As a child begins to get their baby teeth, some may be crooked. Depending on oral health conditions, and problems such as thumb-sucking, the shape of the teeth and bite can change.

 

Some children will have teeth that protrude outward, inward, or teeth that are in various directions. This leaves them open to the risk of broken or fractured teeth, tooth decay and problems with speech and development. Child orthodontics is the first phase of getting braces early. It focuses on getting the jaws lined up correctly and the teeth resting on each other in the right way. Once that happens, the baby teeth can fall out and the adult teeth can smoothly come into place. Child orthodontics will correct the major issues a child’s mouth has when they are around 7 or 8 years old. Starting at 11 and later, braces will seek to make the teeth look more attractive.

 

Young girl patient having her teeth and braces examined by an orthodontist

Adult Orthodontics

Most people think that teens make up the majority of patients with braces. However, adult orthodontics is very popular as well, with about 1/4th of all orthodontic patients being adults. There are more adults wearing orthodontic appliances than you realize, especially because of the “invisible options” they have that children don’t have.

 

Adults have a harder time with straightening their teeth than children do. By adulthood, the mouth and jaws have stopped growing, making them less moldable than a child’s jaws. The treatment that would have been easy for a child may take twice as long for an adult, or may require surgical orthodontics to achieve a straight smile, or proper bite and alignment. However, adults get the benefits of Invisalign treatment and lingual braces, which most children can’t have.

 

Invisalign is an “invisible” straightening option for adults and teens that uses a strong, clear aligner to straighten the teeth. Digital scanning creates customized aligners that a patient changes out ever 1-2 weeks, which slowly shift the teeth into their proper place. This invisible option allows adults and teens to brush, floss, eat and play sports without brackets and wires in the way. Lingual braces is another “invisible” straightening option. It has metal brackets and wires, except they’re placed on the back of the teeth. Only an adult can use these, as the baby teeth are not large enough for lingual braces to fit. Both adult orthodontics and child orthodontics correct bite, alignment and tooth issues, but the options available to the two age groups differ slightly.

 

Young boy with braces and headgear to correct bite and alignment problems

Why Choose Either Option?

When considering orthodontic treatment, there are various aspects you have to think about that include cost, health changes, aesthetic appeal and more. Many people think that braces are very expensive, when they are actually quite affordable. Your family may even save more money over time because of the oral health problems that are avoided by proper orthodontic treatment. A major reason so many people have orthodontic treatment is that they want to improve their smiles. Not only does a straight smile look beautiful, but it helps patients feel more confident. Studies show that child orthodontics helps children feel more confident in school and they do better academically.

 

Braces can correct speech problems caused by bite and alignment issues. They can straighten the teeth, making them easier to clean, and thus reducing problems with tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. People socially perceive patients in a more positive way if their smiles are straighter and healthier. No matter if you choose orthodontic treatment for aesthetic appeal or for health reasons, the benefits are worth the time, effort and money you put into your treatment.

 

Conservative Treatment

Dr. Hardy practices a conservative approach to orthodontic treatment. While it is important for children to have an early orthodontic assessment to look for serious dental concerns (around age 7), the majority of children will not require orthodontic treatment before age 11. Your child might need child orthodontics or they may only need orthodontic treatment as a teen. Some people are naturally born with straight teeth that don’t pose them a problem, or their teeth start to shift later on in life. Whether your child needs child orthodontics or you need adult orthodontics, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016 for your free consultation!

 

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Close-up view of metal brackets and wires on teeth

It’s the year 2018 and a lot has changed in every field of medicine since the year 2000. Orthodontics is no exception, and there are always new advances in how your teeth are straightened and cared for. There are many braces options available to patients that were not available in years past. However, some services—such as Invisalign—have been around longer than you might think. Find out when different orthodontic practices and services were available to patients and how orthodontic treatment looked before the year 2000.

 

How Old Is Orthodontic Treatment?

Many people think that orthodontic treatment is fairly new. However, people have been straightening their teeth for many centuries. Their methods were simply much cruder than the braces and orthodontic appliances you know today. Many mummies from Ancient Egypt have been found wearing orthodontic appliances to straighten their teeth. Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Etruscans have also been found with various types of “braces” and other mouth appliances.

 

To give you an idea of how long orthodontic treatment has been around, writings by Hippocrates (a Greek physician) have been found about the subject from 400 b.c. Even back then people were concerned about crooked teeth and how they looked. However, there weren’t very good methods for straightening the teeth, so there weren’t many advances in orthodontics until just a few centuries and decades ago.

 

Woman smiling and holding her Invisalign aligners

Past Orthodontic Methods

People centuries ago did not have the best methods for straightening teeth. However, over the centuries, many people made advances or tried various methods such as the following:

  • Ancient Egyptians used metal parts and wires to try to straighten the teeth, as has been seen on mummies.
  • Celsus, a Roman writer from around 1 A.D., wrote about trying to straighten your teeth by pushing them into place.
  • Several years later, a Roman named Pliny recommended filing your teeth down if you wanted them a certain size.
  • Pierre Fauchard was born in 1728, and through his various methods and research in straightening teeth, is now considered the “Father of Dentistry”. One of the methods he tried on patients was forcefully pulling and moving the teeth into place with forceps. He would then tie those moved teeth to others so they could heal back into the mouth again.
  • Dental impressions began in the 17th century by Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann. Impressions make models of the teeth, and this method was so successful that impressions are still used today.
  • In the United States, barbers and medical doctors often pulled infected teeth and performed orthodontic treatment. The treatment varied from person to person and generally involved pulling teeth without numbing medicine.
  • J.S. Gunnell invented a form of headgear in 1822 that was successful in straightening the teeth. However, that headgear was large and fastened to the jaw outside the mouth and pushed on the teeth.
  • Before 1970, professionals in orthodontics wrapped wires around each tooth, anchoring them with a bracket on each tooth. This method required a lot of metal in the mouth.

 

Two young boys that both have braces on their teeth

Modern Braces and Appliances

Modern orthodontic treatment is very straightforward and easy. Orthodontics has advanced so much that people can even straighten their teeth without any visible signs that they are doing so. When you think of braces, you probably think of the metal brackets and wires that so many wear. Traditional metal braces consist of a metal bracket attached to each tooth with a metal wire going through the bracket. This orthodontic treatment method mimics past metal treatments that were done throughout the centuries. However, the brackets and wires take up minimal space in the mouth and gently straighten the teeth.

 

Ceramic braces are another modern option for patients that are most similar to metal braces. They involve the same look and design, except they are made from white, ceramic material. Even the archwire can be made white for a patient. Lingual braces also use a metal bracket and wire design, except that they are attached to the back of a patient’s teeth. These were created in 1976 and provided patients with a way to straighten their teeth without visible brackets on their teeth.

 

Invisalign is the most incognito way to straighten your teeth. Created in 1997, this orthodontic treatment consists of transparent aligners that are switched out each week. A patient will wear the aligners 20-22 hours a day with the freedom to remove them for eating, drinking, sports, playing instruments and more. In about the same time as traditional metal braces (sometimes less), patients can get straight teeth. This is an amazing option, as any teen or adult can straighten their teeth without others knowing.

 

Orthodontic Treatment Today

Many advances in dentistry happened around 1970 and later. This is when the design of metal braces was perfected to what we know it to be now. The future will surely hold many more advances in orthodontic treatment as the years go by. No matter what type of appliance is available or what you choose to have, we recommend straightening your teeth. Not only can it significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, but straighter teeth can raise your confidence and help you be more successful. To have your free braces consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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Close-up view of 4 wisdom teeth that have been pulled

The wisdom teeth are back molars that, on average, come in between the ages of 17 and 21. Wisdom teeth can put pressure on the rest of your teeth and make them crooked if something isn’t done about them. You don’t want wisdom teeth to undo all the hard work you spent getting your teeth straight. Find out how wisdom teeth affect your oral health and what to do about them if you are planning on getting braces or if you just got them off!

 

Your Permanent Teeth

Every person gets two sets of teeth during their lifetime: the baby teeth and the permanent teeth. If you are reading this, then you have already likely lost all your baby teeth. That means you are left with your permanent, adult teeth, which you will have for the rest of your life. Well, at least most of them. The majority of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed to help keep their mouth healthier. You have several sets of large teeth in your mouth, which are called the molars. These are the bigger teeth towards the back of your mouth that help you chew up food.

 

Most people have all of their permanent teeth by their early teen years. However, there are up to 4 teeth that come into the mouth later on, usually between the ages of 17 and 21. These are the wisdom teeth, and no they are not teeth that provide you with your wisdom. These are a third set of molars that come in as you transition from a young adult to an adult. As a people, we don’t really use these third molars, but our ancestors in centuries past may have had much more use for them when it came to chewing meat.

 

However, one of the reasons they are called the “wisdom teeth” is because this transitioning stage from young adulthood to adulthood. This is generally a time when people rapidly mature and make many life changes, which helps increase their wisdom. Hence, the “wisdom teeth”.

 

X-rays of a person's mouth highlighting the wisdom teeth

What to Do About the Wisdom Teeth?

As mentioned, we don’t really use these third molars in our day. In fact, the wisdom teeth can actually cause your smile more harm than good. They come into your mouth at an angle, which can put pressure on your closest molars. The wisdom teeth can push those molars, causing all the teeth to start pushing into each other. This creates a crooked smile. The pressure and angles of these wisdom teeth coming in can weaken the second molars or crack them. When the wisdom teeth start coming into the mouth at an angle, they are called “impacted teeth”.

 

Generally, the wisdom teeth crowding or damaging your teeth isn’t painful. However, if you develop tooth decay because of the wisdom teeth, and it gets severe, then you will feel pain. Some patients will have the wisdom teeth sit right underneath a layer of gum tissue. That this layer can collect bacteria and food particles, which can actually lead to an infection in your mouth, which you don’t want. Other patients also have bone or other teeth blocking the wisdom teeth, so they will never come in very well and will really damage your smile. Hence, the reason why they are so often taken out. You don’t really need them and they generally cause mostly problems instead of benefits.

 

What Is Surgical Orthodontics?

Many people are born with 4 wisdom teeth. However, depending on genetics, some people may only have 1, 2 or 3 wisdom teeth or even none at all. It all depends on the genetics you have. Some will have them only in their top jaw or only in the bottom jaw. However, there are so many problems with these teeth that we recommend that they be removed before your smile is affected. Surgical orthodontics and surgical dental procedures can remove the wisdom teeth.

 

These procedures will either use topical anesthetics or will put a patient completely under to remove the wisdom teeth. We take full x-rays of both the top and lower jaw of your teeth so you can see the angle and trajectory of your incoming wisdom teeth and how they will affect your oral health. Generally, the gums are cut right above where the wisdom teeth lie. Then, they are removed with dental tools and the gum flaps are put back in place and closed up. In just a few weeks, you will feel good as new and you won’t have problems with your wisdom teeth. For such a simple procedure, it’s worth it to protect your smile and to keep it straight.

 

Young girl getting a wisdom teeth pulled by a dentist

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

Just like any other part of your body, it may take many steps and actions to keep those parts healthy. Your smile is something that takes work to maintain, but luckily it’s not hard work. All you have to do is brush your teeth at least twice a day as recommended by the American Dental Association. They also recommend flossing at least once (if not more), using mouthwash and fluoride products, and seeing your dental professional often.

These things don’t take much time and effort, but those small actions can save your smile and keep it healthy and straight throughout life. If you need tips for keeping your mouth healthy or you want to know more about what you should do with your wisdom teeth removal, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

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Dental professional explaining dental care to a young girl

Even though most patients have braces for about 18-24 months, every patient’s care is different. Orthodontic treatment for one patient may be extensive, while another patient will have a very short and simple experience with braces. Find out how Dr. Hardy plans out your orthodontic treatment and how that treatment will look with different braces appliances.

 

Do You Need Braces?

Countless millions of people will require orthodontic treatment in order to fix bite and alignment problems. They also get braces to fix crooked teeth and to reduce problems with tooth decay and gum disease. Over 4 million Americans a year receive orthodontic treatment via braces. Many of those people are teens, but about 1/4th are children and about 1/4th are adults. Studies show that many people see braces as a luxury and even go without many needs and wants in order to have them. This is not only for aesthetic appeal, but also for health reasons.

 

Countless studies prove that orthodontic treatment can help make a person more confident. When your smile is beautiful, you will smile more. Smiling will help you feel happier and more confident, and you will actually start to appear that way to others. Studies also show that people with straighter smiles as viewed as healthier, wealthier, more attractive, and more trustworthy. If all of those qualities appeal to you, consider receiving orthodontic treatment. If you have oral health problems as well, you may actually need braces to help those problems stop.

 

Orthodontic Treatment for Children

We perform child orthodontics for many patients. Development in children is vitally important in the younger years before age 10. Children lose their baby teeth around ages 7 and 8. They immediately start to have their permanent, adult teeth come into the mouth. This is a time when we can examine a child’s bite and alignment to make sure the adult teeth will come in correctly.

 

Some children don’t have enough room in their mouth to have their adult teeth grow in or they grow in crooked. This can lead to significant problems with speech impediments. If the teeth are crooked, this can place uneven pressure all over the mouth, leading to broken, cracked and chipped permanent teeth. Crooked teeth also lead to pockets of plaque that toothbrushes and floss can’t get to. This leads to decay problems. Straightening the teeth with orthodontic treatment can not only fix bite and alignment issues, but can straighten the teeth in childhood, so they come in correctly as a child grows.

 

Orthodontic Treatment for Teens and Adults

For children, we take x-rays of their teeth to detect bite and alignment issues. We show our patients problem areas in their x-rays and suggest orthodontic appliances to best realign the bite and alignment of the jaws. For children, teens and adults, the teeth will be straightened to avoid serious dental problems. We offer 3 types of either metal or ceramic options to patients for their orthodontic treatment including metal braces, lingual braces and ceramic braces. All consist of a bracket-and-wire design, but all are different.

 

Depending on your preferences, you can choose to have either metal or ceramic brackets and wires on your upper and lower teeth. Or, you can choose to have metal lingual braces, which are metal braces placed on the backs of your teeth. Once you choose your orthodontic appliance, we take impression molds of your teeth. Those molds will harden and we will use them to plan out a trajectory of your orthodontic care. Based off of how crooked the teeth are and what appliance you choose, we will break down your orthodontic treatment into a series of months and will see you every 4-6 weeks to tighten wires on your teeth in order to move the teeth during that timeline. When you get your braces, you will also get all the information you need about your chosen braces appliance and what timeline you can expect for your straightening.

 

Man receiving transparent aligners in a dental office

Invisalign Treatment

In decades past, traditional metal braces were the only option given to patients. In modern times, many teens and adults are opting for more and more discreet straightening options. The most invisible method for receiving orthodontic treatment is through Invisalign transparent aligners.

 

Invisalign is a fairly modern orthodontic treatment where the teeth are straightened with transparent aligners instead of the traditional metal wires and brackets. Invisalign teen and Invisalign for adults are both comprised of custom-made aligners that a patient changes every week. We digitally design Invisalign aligners based off of digital impressions of a patient’s teeth. Using this initial impression, we can digitally map out a patient’s orthodontic treatment. This is beneficial to teens and adults alike. They can visually see how their teeth will change over the months and how the end result will be. Plus, no goopy putty required!

 

The hard Invisalign aligners efficiently place pressure on the teeth and slowly move them into place over time. Instead of tightening brackets and wires at orthodontic appointments, patients receive new aligners and have their teeth examined to see if they are on course with their treatment. This treatment option lasts about as long as traditional metal braces, but can be shorter for many patients.

 

Choosing Orthodontics That Are Right for You

If you are considering getting orthodontic treatment, don’t wait! A straighter smile has incredible benefits for children, teens and adults alike. Straighter smiles bring more confidence to people, and others will see that confidence. To learn about what orthodontic treatment option is right for you and to get started on your customized plan, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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girl who has braces

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

 

Choosing Your Braces Style

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

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

 

close up of braces

 

Getting Your Braces Put On

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

 

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

 

The Process for Other Options

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

 

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

 

girl getting her braces adjusted

Your Orthodontic Experience

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

 

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