Lingual Braces vs. Invisalign: Which Is Better?
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 Works
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!
What Foods Should You Eat With Braces?
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 Avoid
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!
How Invisalign Can Increase Teens’ Confidence
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 Hygiene
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!
Avoiding Sports’ Injuries With Braces
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 Guards
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!
Perks of Lingual Braces
As modern technology has improved the tools and appliances that are now used in orthodontic offices, there are more options than ever for patients to get straighter teeth without the look of traditional metal braces. Lingual braces are an ideal option for patients who want orthodontic care but in the most discreet way possible. By using a hidden apparatus on the tongue-side of your teeth, you can get straight, beautiful teeth without sacrificing your confidence. Find out what other perks lingual braces have and what treatment looks like with this guide!
What Are Lingual Braces?
Braces have come a long way since they were first invented, and patients have more options than ever to get the straight teeth they want without sacrificing their confidence. Traditionally, metal braces were the most common type of orthodontic appliance used but were bulky and aesthetically not very pleasing. With the modern technology that has been developed during the last few decades, one type of braces in particular has become more and more common. Lingual braces are an alternative to traditional metal braces and provide utmost discretion as they are almost completely hidden. Unlike traditional braces whose brackets are attached to the front of the teeth, lingual braces are attached to the back side (tongue-side) of teeth, making them practically hidden from view. Fortunately, lingual braces can provide the same results as traditional braces but in a manner that is nearly undetectable. These braces are particularly helpful for patients, especially teenagers, who think braces are unattractive or distracting. Now, more than ever, patients can receive the orthodontic treatment they need without putting it off for aesthetic reasons.
How Lingual Braces Differ From Other Options
While the obvious advantage of choosing lingual braces over other orthodontic appliances deals with the invisibility of the braces themselves, there are other reasons why lingual braces might be the best option for you. Since their invention in the 1980s, lingual braces have slowly gained recognition as a viable option for orthodontic treatment. In fact, very few dentists even offer this technique because special training is needed to perform it. You will still need X-rays, molds and impressions of your teeth to begin treatment, just like you would when getting any other orthodontic treatment. The process is relatively easy to install them, as the brackets are glued to the lingual side of the teeth with a wire and elastics (if needed) to help move the teeth into position. Lingual braces are always on during treatment, so they are constantly shifting your teeth into the correct position without you or others noticing. A similar treatment to lingual braces is called Invisalign, which uses a removable aligner to straighten teeth. Invisalign is a popular option because the aligner is clear and removable so most people don’t notice it’s there, but not everyone is eligible for Invisalign. While Invisalign is a great option, lingual braces tend to be more helpful for patients with specific concerns. Athletes benefit greatly from lingual braces as it helps prevent mouth injuries since the brackets aren’t on the front of the teeth. Musicians, like those who play a wind instrument (flute, trumpet, clarinet, etc.), are also common wearers of lingual braces as they tend to not get in the way as much when playing. Lastly, those patients who don’t qualify for Invisalign typically choose lingual braces as it is the second most discreet option available. Depending on your needs and your orthodontist’s recommendation, you can choose which option you would like to get the beautiful teeth that you want, in the way that you want.
How To Begin Treatment
As mentioned previously, you must be eligible for certain types of orthodontic treatment to receive them. If you are interested in lingual braces, you will first need to visit with your orthodontist to have a consultation and evaluation to determine whether lingual braces are your best option. If you are a candidate, you will have impressions taken of your teeth which will be sent to a lab to create your custom-made brackets and wires. Afterwards, the brackets and wires will be bonded to your teeth to begin treatment. It is important to note that while lingual braces are a great way to keep your treatment unnoticed by others, the braces themselves are more difficult to clean since you can’t see them. For this reason, it is extremely important to clean your teeth thoroughly each day because it will be easier for food to get stuck and bacteria to grow in areas that are hard to see or reach. Another reason why it is important to consult with your orthodontist before choosing lingual braces is the price. Traditional braces typically range from $3,000-7,000, but lingual braces can be anywhere from $8,000-10,000. For patients who are on a budget, this is something to consider as you are in the decision-making process. Check with your dental insurance to see how much they can cover for orthodontic treatment. While many plans don’t offer coverage for adults over 18, many do partially cover children under 18. How much coverage will depend on your provider, so make sure to contact your insurance company for figures and amounts before you or your child begins treatment.
Get Started Today
At Belmar Orthodontics, our team is certified and trained for installing lingual braces. We are ready to help you and your family get the smile you deserve in a way that is most comfortable for you. For a consultation about lingual braces or more information about orthodontic treatment options, call our office at (303) 225-9016. Your journey to a healthier smile starts today, so call now!
Signs That You Might Need 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 Orthodontics
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.
Interesting Facts About Teeth and Dentistry
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 Have
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!
Why Is Orthodontic Care So Important?
Many patients receive orthodontic care during childhood or early adolescence. As modern technology has advanced, so has the need for orthodontic care in patients of all ages. Whether your symptoms are severe or not, orthodontic care can help monitor face and jaw development, reduce the risk of impacted teeth and correct life-time dental issues. Early detection and treatment are essential for good oral health and maintaining a beautiful smile. No matter what your age is, find out how orthodontic care can benefit you now and what effects it can have on you in the future with this guide!
Benefits of Orthodontics
Just like any other product you buy or activity that you participate in, orthodontics is an investment. It is an investment of time, money and patience, but the results can be life-changing. There are a variety of options to choose from when receiving orthodontic care, and many are so discreet that you hardly even notice that they’re there. Orthodontic treatment helps establish good oral health and can pave the way for a healthy smile now and in the future. A healthy bite and a good-looking smile is just as important at age 60 as it is at 16, and orthodontic treatment is the way that you can ensure that you have both. For kids, some benefits of early orthodontics include:
- Observe the progress of incoming teeth
- Guide teeth into their ideal positions
- Monitor face and jaw development
- Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
- Detect hidden dental issues
As technological advances in dental science has improved, there are more options than ever for adults seeking orthodontic treatment. Many times, adults have been struggling with specific orthodontic issues since childhood that have never been resolved, but orthodontic care can fix that. Even though orthodontic treatment is most successful during adolescence as teeth and jaw bones are still developing, adults can still enjoy improvements to their oral health with orthodontic treatment at any age. Whether it be traditional metal brackets or other discreet options, like Invisalign, there are plenty of ways to straighten teeth. Some of the many benefits that adult orthodontics provide include:
- Faster treatment time than former orthodontic techniques
- Correction of life-time dental problems
- More discreet treatment methods
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
When To See An Orthodontist
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit by age 7 or 8 to prevent the progression of any orthodontic issues that may be present. Even if you do not detect any dental issues with your child, it is still important that they get evaluated early on so that their teeth and jaw development can be properly monitored. If you notice that your child has bite problems or protruding teeth, it is time for them to see an orthodontist. Bite problems, such as a crossbite, cause the jaws to develop unevenly, while protruding teeth can be fractured or injured much easier than normal teeth. For both children and adults, there are certain signs that you should look out for that may necessitate an orthodontic visit. Some of these symptoms include difficulty chewing or biting, jaws that shift or make sounds, grinding/clenching teeth, biting the cheek or roof of the mouth, protruding teeth, and facial imbalance or asymmetry (facial features out of proportion). Even oral habits, such as thumb-sucking, affect how the mouth develops and can necessitate orthodontic treatment. For many patients, orthodontic treatment isn’t necessarily needed but is wanted to improve self-confidence and give them a prettier smile. Whatever your reason is, orthodontic care can help you reach your goals and improve your oral health at any stage in life.
How You Can Start
After you make the decision to begin orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, the first thing to do is schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for a consultation. This consultation will allow both of you to establish appropriate goals, address concerns and develop a treatment plan. Additionally, taking good care of your teeth at home by maintaining an oral health regimen is important to keep your teeth healthy and prepare them for orthodontic treatment. Consistent brushing and flossing each day will protect your teeth and gums from plaque, tooth decay and cavities. During orthodontic treatment, it’s essential to maintain this routine to avoid any complications from occurring, which can extend treatment time and be costly to fix.
If you have questions regarding orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our talented staff is dedicated to you and your oral health goals, and will strive to help you get the beautiful smile that you deserve!
Teeth Cleaning Habits To Have With Braces
Good oral hygiene is one of the most important goals that we should all have to maintain the health and strength of our teeth and gums. Once we get braces, however, our oral hygiene regimen will change to account for the new appliance in our mouths that we will have to clean around. Whether you have traditional braces or lingual braces, cleaning around the brackets and wires is essential in preventing cavities and tooth decay. There are many options to choose from to clean between teeth, such as a proxabrush, and other tools to thoroughly brush around the brackets, such as an electric toothbrush. Find out what all you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright with braces with these tips!
Extra Care For Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic care is one of the most helpful and important dental treatments that patients have readily available to them. While there are many versions of braces that help straighten our teeth and fix misaligned bites, there are certain precautions that we need to take to ensure proper care for our orthodontic appliances and teeth. Brackets and wires in the mouth make it easier for food particles to get stuck in, which can lead to dental problems, like cavities. Proper oral hygiene is essential during your time with braces to avoid any preventable issues that can lengthen your treatment time or need special care to be fixed.
Since braces naturally create nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen everyday so that you can avoid tooth decay and gum problems during orthodontic treatment. If teeth and brackets are not kept clean, permanent damage can occur to the tooth enamel, as well. When this occurs, white spots (tooth decay) can begin appearing on the teeth where the enamel surface has lost minerals, which cannot be reversed. Bleeding or inflamed gums, called gingivitis, is also common whenever patients don’t clean their teeth thoroughly enough with braces, and it can be very painful. While it is not likely that all of these issues will occur if you miss brushing your teeth or flossing well a few times, you will be more prone to an increased risk, which will hurt your oral health and complicate the rest of your orthodontic care.
Teeth Cleaning Options
Although cleaning your teeth with braces isn’t too difficult of a process for most patients, there are some tools that you can use to better clean around the hard-to-reach areas in your mouth and make your time cleaning more efficient. First and foremost, make sure that you (or your child) are brushing after each meal. It may seem insignificant, but brushing after you eat removes food particles that are stuck in braces, reduces staining and prevents bacteria buildup. Secondly, use a threadable floss or floss threader to clean underneath the wire of your braces. A floss threader works by inserting the pointed end between the teeth and under the archwire. From there, move it back and forth until it is able to thread the floss between the teeth. Then, you can floss the two teeth, on either side, to remove all food that may be stuck there. If you’re having trouble with your floss getting stuck, consider using waxed floss, which slides between the teeth easier and doesn’t get snagged.
After brushing and flossing, using a proxabrush is helpful in cleaning between each bracket. Commonly referred to as an interproximal brush or “Christmas tree brush,” a proxabrush is placed between two brackets, below the archwire, and uses an up-and-down motion to remove any lodged food particles that brushing and flossing can’t get to. Clean the brackets with the proxabrush on both sides, starting either up from the bottom or down from the top, and repeat between each tooth. Another option for hard-to-reach areas is an oral irrigator, which uses a pulsating stream of water to remove plaque and food debris. Mouthwash is also a helpful tool to kill and bacteria that may have been left after brushing and flossing. For an extra clean, try using an electric toothbrush to maximize cleaning and brush those difficult areas of the mouth that are hard to reach.
The foods we eat and the diet we have affect our oral health and can interfere with orthodontic appliances. Eating sugary or starchy foods can let plaque develop around the brackets, which can lead to cavities, staining or even gum disease. Sticky or chewy foods, such as caramel, taffy, chewing gum and corn on the cob, should also be avoided as they can easily become stuck between brackets and be difficult to remove. Hard foods, such as candy, beef jerky, nuts and popcorn, are also no-nos as they are known to break wires and loosen brackets. If you’re going to eat hard or crunchy foods, such as apples or carrots, make sure to cut them into small, bite-sized pieces to avoid any possible damage.
Regular Orthodontic Checkups
Even if you or your child are following these rules, it is essential that you visit with your orthodontist regularly so that they can monitor teeth movement and adjust any wires or brackets. Your orthodontist or hygienist can show you how to use the tools previously described and give you additional teeth cleaning supplies to aid you during treatment. For more questions about how to clean your teeth with braces or what foods to stay away from, contact Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!
Space Maintainers and Permanent Teeth
Whenever a child loses a tooth prematurely, a space maintainer may be needed to keep the space open so the permanent tooth can grow in correctly. Losing a baby tooth is a natural occurrence, but some baby teeth must be extracted due to dental decay. A space maintainer is a custom-made appliance that helps permanent teeth grow in correctly and prevent future oral health complications. If you are worried about the gap in between your child’s teeth, learn how a space maintainer can keep your child’s teeth straight and allow for proper tooth development!
Why Baby Teeth Fall Out Prematurely
Most children get their first full set of baby teeth by the age of 3, and these help them eat their food while serving as placeholders for their future permanent teeth. Occasionally, baby teeth are lost prematurely or permanent teeth erupt later than they should, so space maintainers have become a popular way to support the child’s mouth until the gaps are filled with permanent teeth. There are many reasons why children lose their baby teeth earlier than expected. For one, some experience trauma to the mouth, such as tripping or getting hit in the mouth with some object. Others lose teeth due to “baby bottle decay,” which occurs whenever a child falls asleep at either breast or bottle, or walks around with a bottle for large amounts of time. The sugar content in the milk causes enamel to decay and cavities to appear, which can lead to premature tooth loss. Genetic influences can also affect whether permanent teeth develop or not, which can leave gaps in the mouth. Although rare, some children suffer from oral infections that are severe enough to cause tooth loss, but this is not as common as an injury or baby bottle decay. Even though losing baby teeth prematurely is not inherently bad, the consequences of not having a tooth in the space where a permanent tooth will eventually erupt can cause some complications with malocclusion that will need orthodontic care later on. Space maintainers provide the mouth with the proper space for permanent teeth to erupt into while ensuring that other teeth do not crowd that area until the tooth develops.
How Space Maintainers Help
Space maintainers basically “hold space” for permanent teeth once a baby tooth has been lost prematurely. When adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room because of the lost space. For this reason, dentists recommend space maintainers to hold open any spaces left by the missing tooth. These devices are typically made of acrylic, with loops and bands made of steel wire to hold them in position. Space maintainers ensure that your child develops their permanent teeth in the right locations while giving support to the surrounding teeth. Teeth are notorious for moving or becoming loose without the support of surrounding teeth, so space maintainers also help other teeth stay in their proper places and not move into the gaps where the missing teeth were once located. Space maintainers aren’t for everyone, though. If your child loses a baby tooth shortly before a permanent tooth is expected to develop, a space maintainer isn’t necessary. For those patients whose permanent teeth won’t be developing for an extended amount of time, space maintainers come in handy to guide those teeth into proper alignment whenever they do erupt.
Type of Appliances
For those who choose space maintainers, they come in two different options: removable and fixed. Removable devices are made of acrylic and use artificial teeth to hold open the spaces. These are ideal for older children who are capable of removing and cleaning them on their own. For children with several missing teeth, partial dentures are another option to maintain the spaces in the mouth. Fixed maintainers are attached with dental cement to the teeth beside the gap. These are helpful for young children or those who have lost back teeth. Fixed retainers can be fitted on the upper or lower jaw to maintain space for front or back teeth. The device that your child will be given will depend upon the number and location of missing teeth in their mouth, but age is also considered, as well.
There are quite a few different options to choose from if your dentist recommends a fixed maintainer for your child. Some of the most popular options include:
- Lingual holding arch: Used to maintain space for lower back teeth on both sides.
- Band-and-loop device: Recommended when one or more baby molars are lost in one dental arch. Stainless steel wire that is held in place by orthodontic bands that allows the permanent tooth to erupt without blocking it.
- Distal shoe appliance: Fitted over the baby first molar and maintains the space for the permanent molar once the tooth is lost.
- Transpalatal arch: Fitted on the upper jaw to preserve space on both sides of the dental arch. Held in place by wire fastened around the surrounding teeth.
Each of these devices are custom-made to fit to your child’s mouth. The dentist will take impressions of your child’s teeth, then send that impression to the dental laboratory to create the appliance.
Advantages of Child Orthodontics
With the modern technology and tools that are available to dental patients, child orthodontics has become more popular and necessary to maintain the oral health of young kids. Especially if your child loses a baby tooth prematurely, visiting with an orthodontist early on can help detect hidden dental issues, observe the progress of incoming teeth, decrease the risk for permanent tooth extractions and guide incoming teeth into their ideal positions.
If your child is in need of a space maintainer or is having issues with crowded teeth, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our team is dedicated to your oral health and is ready to help your family get the beautiful smile that they deserve!