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

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

 

Common Mouth Injuries

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

 

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

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

 

How To Keep Teeth Healthy

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

 

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health

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

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Woman smiling with braces

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

 

What To Look Out For

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

How You Can Benefit From Adult Orthodontics

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

 

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

 

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

 

Staying On Top Of Your Oral Health

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

 

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

 

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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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Young red haired woman in braces smiling

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 OrthodontistClose up of crooked teeth of girl

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!

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Woman with glasses smiling 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 OptionsFemale mouth smiling with braces as she cleans in between teeth with interdental brush

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.

 

Braces-Friendly Diet

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!

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Smiling senior couple in front of blue background

Most orthodontic patients receive their braces at a young age, typically during the teenage years. Are the teenage years the best time to receive braces, or will treatment work just as well as an adult? With the technological advances that have occurred, adult orthodontics have more options than ever to straighten smiles of all ages. Some benefits of adult orthodontics include correction of life-time dental issues, faster treatment time than former technology, and increased confidence. If you’re ready to change your smile, learn how adult orthodontics can help you through these tips!

 

Braces Throughout The Years

Modern advances in orthodontic treatment has revolutionized how quickly children and adults alike get the healthy and straight smiles they want, and allowed people of all ages to improve their oral health, no matter their age. For many years, traditional metal brackets were the only option to straighten teeth, but as technology has advanced, a variety of aesthetic bracket systems have been developed to give you the smile you want with braces that are less noticeable and easier to maintain. Permanent braces now come in two options: metal or ceramic. Ceramic braces are matched to teeth color, making them nearly invisible during treatment.  Lingual braces are also an option, which are completely disguised from others as they are attached to the back of the teeth. Removable orthodontic appliances have recently come into play as a clear plastic aligner that is used and removed as needed. These aligners are advantageous to adults because they are less visible and easier to clean and maintain, which comes in handy for those adults busy with work and family life. As the options for braces have broadened throughout the years, so has the number of adult patients being treated for braces. Technological advances in the orthodontic industry now allows for more patients, even those who have passed the prime age for orthodontic care, to change their smiles during any part of life.

 

Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists reports that of the 4.5 million Americans that are currently receiving orthodontic care, 25% of them are adults. Although childhood is the ideal time to receive braces, adult orthodontics has become a popular option for those who couldn’t receive treatment during adolescence. Some benefits of adult orthodontics include:

 

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

 

Adults ultimately have more options when choosing what braces and treatment plan is best for them. Orthodontic care protects both kids and adults against tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, impaired speech, chewing and jaw problems. While cost is a factor, you will still need an oral evaluation and orthodontics consultation to determine your candidacy for certain procedures and treatments. For the first time, adults of any age who have otherwise healthy teeth can benefit from orthodontic treatment at any point in life.

 

What To Expect With Adult OrthodonticsSenior man putting teeth aligner in mouth

Typically, it is more difficult to manipulate an adult’s fully-developed jawbone compared to the pliable jawbone of a child, but modern-day advances now allow orthodontists to correct crooked teeth with great success and precision. Any oral health issues, such as periodontal (gum) disease, will have to be resolved before teeth can be straightened, so meeting with your dentist and orthodontist will be an important first step to take before treatment can begin. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment to correct any cosmetic or bite issues, consider the following:

 

  • The entire process may take longer for an adult than a child. Typical treatment time averages two years, but varies from person to person.
  • Fully-developed bones in adults have stopped growing, so some structural changes cannot be achieved without surgery.
  • Adults may need to see a periodontist, as well as a dentist and orthodontist, to ensure that treatment will not be complicated by bone loss due to gum disease.

 

Adults who have had teeth removed in the past might have difficulties with orthodontic care as old extraction sites might not be suitable for teeth to move into. Adult patients receiving treatment also have a higher risk for root absorption than children do as their bodies reabsorb the root of the tooth, leaving no room for anchorage. This process causes teeth to loosen and fall out over time due to gum instability. Since braces and other appliances are cemented directly to the teeth themselves, it is important that all patients, even adults, maintain good oral health practices that will prevent the areas around the brackets from developing plaque and tooth decay, which will ensure that they get the best (and healthiest) smile possible.

 

Schedule An Appointment Today

If you are interested in adult orthodontics or are wanting to improve the look of your smile, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a consultation to learn about which options are available for you. Our dedicated team of professionals are determined to help you get the smile that you want and improve your oral health!

 

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Closeup view of a woman's mouth with braces and elastics

Why use rubber bands with braces? Some people have them, and some people don’t need to use them at all. Along with brackets, archwires, and ligatures, rubber bands are just another part of braces. Rubber bands are extremely helpful as they help move the teeth and jaw into proper alignment. They are connected to the actual bracket and help improve your bite. If your jaw is misaligned, read on to discover how rubber bands might be the option to straighten your teeth and jaw at the same time!

 

Parts of Braces

Modern technology has changed the lives, and smiles, of millions of patients worldwide who have used or currently use braces. Nowadays, braces can be as inconspicuous as we want, with some brackets being attached to the backs of teeth, rather than the front, for a more aesthetic appeal. With the invention of a variety of orthodontic appliances, such as lingual braces, Invisalign, clear braces, and traditional, the patient can decide what braces fits their oral health goals the best. Along with the many types of braces we learn about, there are also other parts of braces that we aren’t as familiar with, such as “bracket,” “archwire,” “springs,” and “ligatures.” We have heard of the different components of braces, but what does an archwire do? How do springs help adjust our teeth? Depending on your needs, your orthodontist will install any of these appliances to help you get the best smile in the shortest amount of time possible.

 

Brackets are the square part of the braces that are directly attached to the tooth, usually through a cement that bonds it to each individual tooth. They are usually made of steel or clear ceramic, and they guide the archwire into the appropriate placement. The archwire is held by brackets and is designed to guide the movement of the teeth during treatment. They are normally made from stainless steel, but also can be made with titanium. Springs go between brackets and around the archwire and are also made of stainless steel or titanium. They function as a force that opens or closes a space between teeth. The archwire and the bracket are connected through ligatures, which are the little rubber bands that wrap around each bracket to hold the archwire in place. For adolescents, these are usually the best part about braces because they come in a variety of colors that kids can choose from, and are changed after each orthodontic visit whenever the archwire is tightened. Although ligatures are rubber bands, they are not the same thing as interarch rubber bands, which have a major impact on jaw and bite alignment.

 

Rubber Bands

Interarch rubber bands, commonly known as “rubber bands” or “elastics,” ensure that your child’s teeth are lining up properly. They adjust bite and jaw position, such as an overbite or underbite, and are connected to the bracket with hooks. They create a force to move the teeth in a particular direction, specifically closer together. The top and bottom tooth bracket are connected through these bands, which adjusts the position of the teeth in the mouth and the position of the jaw. These rubber bands are removed during meals as well as while cleaning your teeth and brackets. Usually, they are replaced daily because of the wear they endure and their likelihood of breaking if used for too long. When worn to adjust a misaligned bite, interarch rubber bands are typically worn at all times, except for when eating or cleaning your teeth. If the treatment is only minor, you might only have to wear the bands at night. The consistent tension on the teeth and jaw is what makes these bands effective. If a patient doesn’t wear their bands in the prescribed manner, whether it be the length of time is too short or you’re wearing more bands than normal, this can lengthen treatment time and move your teeth in an unintended way. Not every patient will have to use interarch rubber bands, but if your orthodontic prescribes you to wear them, make sure that you follow his or her directions exactly and take good care of your bands.

 

Do’s and Don’ts of BracesYoung boy with braces holding toothbrush

While braces have revolutionized the dental and orthodontic professions, there are some rules that a patient needs to follow to protect and get the most use out of their orthodontic appliances. Always make sure to keep your teeth clean when wearing braces. Brushing and flossing under the archwire and between the brackets is essential to remove plaque, which can easily build up on your teeth with braces. To make sure that your teeth are being cleaned entirely, replace your toothbrush every three months or as soon as the bristles are frayed. Go to all of your orthodontic appointments so that they can adjust your archwire and monitor your teeth’s movement. If you delay your adjustments, your treatment time can be increased, which can be expensive.

 

Even though braces are strong, you can still break a bracket or an archwire with the things that you eat. Avoid foods that can get stuck in your teeth or your braces, such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice, and sticky foods like chewing gum or caramel. Try not to eat as much sugary foods as it can lead to tooth decay around the brackets, which can permanently damage your teeth. Especially for active teenagers and adults, use a mouthguard during physical activity or when playing a sport to protect your mouth and jaw from getting hurt. Following this list of do’s and don’ts will increase the likelihood of having a positive and shorter experience with braces.

 

Getting The Smile You Deserve

For other tips and suggestions about orthodontic appliances and which one is best for you, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a comprehensive exam. With our team of qualified and dedicated individuals, we will provide you or your child with the best orthodontic care for a great price. Call now to learn more!

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Young woman with braces on her teeth that is sitting in a dental chair getting dental services.

Getting braces through an orthodontist does not mean you should stop seeing a dentist for dental services. In fact, you may even need to get dental services more often with braces. This is because brackets and wires inevitably raise your risk for getting food and plaque stuck in your teeth. Those substances can then lead to quicker tooth decay, gum problems and tooth erosion. Find out what you can expect from your orthodontic visits and why you should keep scheduling in dental services during your treatment.

 

How Do Braces Change Your Teeth?

Not everyone will get braces during their lifetime. However, for those that do, they can change a smile in incredible ways. You may see children wearing braces from time to time. This is just so they can get a great smile, but that is part of it. Children should see the orthodontist around age 7 or 8 to determine if bite or alignment issues are present. If so, a child could grow up with speech impediments, problems with tooth decay and gum disease, and difficulty chewing, eating and biting. With interceptive orthodontics—or child orthodontics—we can correct those problems so a child develops properly.

 

With adults and teens, straightening treatment generally starts around age 11 or 12 and older. This is when most (if not all) of the adult teeth have come into the mouth. However, it’s common for the adult teeth to come in crooked, which can make people self-conscious about their smiles. When patients decide to get braces to straighten their teeth, studies show that confidence grows and people show their smiles more. That confidence can lead to more success in the future, motivation to do more and be more, and better oral health.

 

Straightening the teeth makes the teeth easier to clean. This is because crooked teeth can create areas in the mouth where the teeth are incredibly hard to clean. If you can’t brush nooks and crannies well or if you can’t pass floss through the teeth, those areas are likely to decay. Teeth that are crooked or at different angles also have different amounts of pressure placed on them, which can cause the teeth to crack or break under pressure. That is why straightening the teeth can help prevent not only dental emergencies, but also problems like tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Young adult woman that is holding a toothbrush and has braces on her teeth.

Changes You Want to Avoid

With your dental health, you always want to invest in dental services like dental cleanings, comprehensive exams and your own at-home cleaning. If not, you can start to develop problems with cavities and gum disease. Both of these conditions (as well as bad breath, oral sores and more) stem from poor oral hygiene. When you eat, bacteria in the mouth mix with sugars in your food to create a sticky film called plaque. That film is acidic and it sticks to your teeth instead of being swallowed. The acid erodes the layers of your teeth, decaying them to create cavities. This is how they form, and they can happen much easier with braces.

 

Three types of braces you can choose (traditional, lingual, ceramic) will require brackets and wires attached to your teeth. The brackets are bonded to the center of your teeth, with a wire that runs through them. Your brackets are areas where plaque and food can easily get stuck. If they become stuck or particles build up around your brackets, this can create areas of decay rather quickly. Many people also don’t floss like they should with braces because it takes just a bit longer. However, when food sticks around and you skip flossing, you are leaving about 40% of your tooth surfaces open to decay. That means, when you get your braces off, you’ll be left with areas of tooth erosion (or craters) and cavities.

 

You also want to avoid foods with dyes in them, including drinks. When you drink or eat something with dyes (like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and drinks died those colors), then your tooth color can change over time. This could mean that you have small squares on all of your teeth at the end of treatment that are a different color than the rest of your teeth. Soda, juices and carbonated drinks can all do this as well, except that they will also wear away parts of your teeth.

 

Dental professional looking at a patient's teeth that has braces on their teeth.

Continue Dental Services During Braces

All of those changes to your teeth can be avoided if you keep up on your personal hygiene at home and dental services in-office. This means, you should:

  • Brush your teeth every single day, after every single meal, for two minutes each time you brush. Practice brushing at 45-degree angles to dislodge food from brackets and cover all the tooth surfaces. Use a proxabrush to dislodge stuck food even easier.
  • Floss each day, at least 1-2 times. Use a floss threader or threadable floss to make this easy for you.
  • Use a waterpik tool if you tend to get food stuck in specific places.
  • Keep up on your braces adjustments and your orthodontic appointments.
  • For dental services, make sure you visit the dentist at least twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings.

 

We want to focus on that last one. Dental cleanings and comprehensive exams are so important for the health of your mouth. With dental cleanings, the hygienists can do thorough cleanings on your teeth and brackets and spot the signs of erosion, decay and color changes. Those professionals can spot the signs of decay and gum issues. If needed, we can work with them to remove certain brackets where dental work is needed. Orthodontists and dentists are not the same even though they have had the same schooling. Make sure you are visiting both during your time with braces. If you want to avoid problems with cleaning brackets and wires, ask us about our Invisalign treatment option. You can do this by calling Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016!

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A young girl having her mouth looked at by a dentist.

More than half the people that wear braces are children and teens. This can be an exciting time for kids to fix bite problems and crooked teeth. However, tooth decay and oral health problems also run rampant during braces if oral hygiene guidelines aren’t followed. Sometimes children and teens need a nudge to help them with their oral health. Find out what they should be doing to care for their braces during this time!

 

Facts About Braces

Did you know that there are over 4 million people in the United States each year that wear braces? About 1/4th of those are adults and the rest are children and teens. Patients use braces as teens to straighten the adult, permanent teeth that have come in. When children have child orthodontics, those brackets and wires are meant to correct bite and alignment issues that could cause a child severe problems in the future. Children can then straighten their permanent teeth later on.

 

There are common oral health problems that many children face today. It’s called tooth decay, and the National Institutes of Health reports that it’s the most “prevalent, chronic disease” among children and adults. 42% of children will have tooth decay before they are 12. 23% of those will have untreated dental decay. About 92% of adults have had tooth decay sometime in their life. The worst part about this is that tooth decay is completely preventable if a child, teen or adult has good oral health through practicing proper oral hygiene.

 

It may take several years for a child to have the right dexterity in their hands to brush and floss correctly. That is why parents must take care of their child’s oral health when they are young, or it could lead to serious problems. Children rely on parents to help their mouth stay healthy. Even teens need to be told to brush and floss, as it’s something they often forget. These habits are especially important during braces, as oral health is most affected when there are brackets and wires on the teeth.

 

A young boy with braces on his teeth smiling at the camera.

Helping Your Child’s Oral Health

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children see a dentist around 1 year or within 6 months of their first tooth coming in. After that, they should go biannually to the dentist. This is how a dentist can start to see signs of bite and alignment problems, which are then referred to an orthodontist.

 

With some orthodontic appointments, a child can be fitted for braces to correct problems that are easy to fix with a young, moldable jaw, but hard to fix when a person is older and their jaws are set. Without braces, you will have to help your child brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends. Use child toothpaste enhanced with decay-fighting fluoride and a toothbrush that fits the size of your child’s mouth.

 

Children will need to floss between their teeth, but might have to start out with flossers for kids. With braces, children should be brushing at least twice a day, but after every meal is even better. They should brush at 45-degree angles, making sure to move in all different directions to dislodge food that has been stuck in the braces. Flossing is incredibly important as well, as it gets 40% of tooth surfaces that are missed if flossing is skipped. Help them learn how to use threadable floss. This gets poked through the spaces between their teeth, pulled through, and flossed like you would normally do. Use a Christmas tree brush or a waterpik to help them dislodge stuck food.

 

Do You Have Good Habits?

One of the best ways to help your child with their oral health is to show them its importance through your own actions. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth, your child or teen may not either. When you’re also not visiting the dentist, odds are that your child isn’t either. If you eat a poor diet full of sugar, then your child will do the same. Children often copy what their parents do.

 

Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, especially when your children can see you. Floss your teeth and teach them how to floss properly as well. When you need to go to the dentist, take your children with you and have them get their comprehensive exams and cleanings. All these oral health measures will ensure their mouths stay clean and healthy for years!

 

Close-up view of a young patient's mouth while they are brushing their braces with a toothbrush.

Other Factors to Consider

Your child can brush and floss their teeth often and may still end up with cavities. Cavities come from plaque in the mouth that has set on the teeth for too long. Your mouth makes plaque when you eat sugary foods and that sugar mixes with mouth bacteria to make acidic plaque. That acid is what causes the tooth decay. However, if you limit your sugar intake to begin with, you won’t have the problem with tooth decay.

 

Unfortunately, sugar is one of the most-consumed substances in the world. It is literally found in almost every food. That is why tooth decay is so common, especially in children. Limit your child’s sugar intake if you want them to have healthy teeth when their braces come off. Teeth that don’t get brushed or flossed often with braces, may end up having cavities, gum disease and eroded areas of their teeth when braces come off.

 

Their food can also leave them with squares on their teeth from the brackets, because the surrounding tooth has been damaged by food. Make sure to consider what your child is putting in their mouth if you want to help them have good oral health! For more tips or answers to questions about your child’s braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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cleaning habits

Braces can keep your teeth straighter, making them more beautiful and attractive. However, if your teeth cleaning habits are poor, your smile will take a hit. How well you take care of your teeth before and during braces will be an indication of how your smile will be after your orthodontic care has come to an end. If you don’t brush and floss the teeth enough, you might damage your smile and weaken your enamel. You must step up your cleaning routine during braces to make sure your smile isn’t full of cavities and oral health problems at the end of your care. We can give you the proper recommendations and guidelines to ensure you keep your smile healthy and strong during your time with braces and throughout life.

 

Brushing With and Without Braces

The American Dental Association recommends brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day to keep your mouth healthy and to lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. We go beyond that twice-a-day recommendation and suggest that you brush your teeth after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup.

 

You should use a soft-bristled brush and use one that’s size fits your mouth well. For teeth without braces, the ADA recommends brushing the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Brush each individual tooth, making sure to go all the way up to the gumline. You use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating the gums and eroding your tooth enamel. With braces, you want to brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket. This will help dislodge food particles that have become trapped inside the brackets, which is extremely easy to do. Brushing your teeth multiple times a day is one of the best cleaning habits for avoiding decay.

 

Flossing the Teeth

We recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day. However, that’s for patients that don’t have braces. When you have braces, it’s even more important to floss each and every tooth. It’s also much more time consuming, but the effort you put into your teeth cleaning habits will pay off in the long run. A toothbrush and mouthwash simply can’t get in between the teeth like floss can, so if you skip flossing, you could have food sit and decay your teeth.

 

You will have to use threadable floss or a floss threader to accomplish this feat with brackets. If you use a floss threader for your teeth, think of your cleaning habits like you’re sewing. You floss the eye of the threader through your teeth and below the archwire. Then you floss the space, pull it out and thread once more. Make sure you don’t apply force or pressure against the archwire as you do this. For some patients, it may take about 10 minutes to floss, but it’s worth taking the time to avoid tooth decay.

 

Caring for Braces

Caring for your teeth becomes trickier with braces. You will find that you have to devote some extra time to caring for your braces, as you know have about 32 teeth that all have brackets that can collect food. During your time with braces, it is particularly important to maintain good oral health through attention to proper oral hygiene and cleaning habits. If you don’t, you could have your braces removed only to find that many of your teeth have areas of tooth decay. You could also be left with demineralization that leaves marks on all your teeth where the brackets were.

 

When it comes to caring for your braces, it’s not only important to clear away food particles that are on the teeth, but to be careful of what foods you put into your mouth. To avoid damage to your braces and your teeth during orthodontic treatment, you want to avoid hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. This means you should avoid eating foods such as hard candy, chips, ice, apples, nuts, popcorn, carrots, corn on the cob, gum, caramel, taffy, licorice, gummies, and similar foods. Prevention is always key for avoid oral health issues!

 

Proper Teeth Cleaning Habits

If you’re going to spend 18-24 months straightening your teeth, you might as well keep those teeth healthy so they look nice at the end of your treatment. Brush your teeth every single day, multiple times a day. Floss as well and be meticulous with your cleaning habits. The better care you take of your braces while they’re on, the more you’ll enjoy your smile when they come off. If you would like help with your cleaning habits or tips, call our Belmar Orthodontics office today at (303) 225-9016!