Dentists and orthodontists suggest braces for various reasons. While some patients choose to get braces to improve personal appearance, orthodontists will most often suggest them to enhance a patient’s overall oral comfort, health, and performance. Before investing in braces it is important to answer a few preliminary questions. Doing a little research beforehand can help to minimize surprises during orthodontic treatment.

What do I need to know before getting braces?

Braces can be costly! Be sure to look around at options for orthodontic treatment. Braces come in all types–and are designed to fit the specific needs of different patients. Traditional metal braces and ceramic braces are mounted on the outside of the teeth. Lingual braces, while very much like traditional metal braces, are mounted on inner surface of the teeth. The Invisalign system is a series of 18-30 clear retainers molded to fit and move teeth.

Each system has its pros and cons, so it is important to choose an orthodontist who knows what is appropriate in each patient’s situation.  Patients who entrust the care of their teeth to the finest orthodontic specialists receive the finest results.

Because the average length of time for treatment is 2.5 years, it is important to remember that wearing braces may warrant a few significant changes in lifestyle habits.  For instance, those with braces should avoid sticky foods (such as taffy-like candy and gum) that could potentially pull on the brackets, as well as hard foods that could place pressure on the brackets while chewing.

Traditional braces have a bracket mounted on the tooth with a wire running through to tighten the teeth—the space in between creates a pocket where food can easily become lodged. It is essential to keep the braces clean to prevent staining and decay on the front of the teeth. (Small brushes are available for reaching the tricky in-between-bracket spots.)

When is it appropriate to get braces? Dentists and orthodontists suggest that having braces earlier in life can be beneficial, as waiting too long can lead to teeth shifting and incorrectly settling. In some cases children can start wearing braces as young as 7 years old. Braces are an easier and less-painful option for the prevention of unwanted teeth movement.

Those who are good to their teeth will find that their teeth will be good to them. Decide today to keep your smile brilliant – contact us to schedule an appointment!

The main appeal of braces is the allure of having straight teeth and a beautiful smile afterward. However, there are many advantages to using braces to gain straight teeth besides just having a more esthetically appealing smile. Braces can help you achieve better overall dental health and can make it easier for you to chew, eat, talk, sing, whistle, play instruments, and basically anything else that you may do with your mouth. Braces Benefits

Minimize Gum Disease and Decay Risks

When teeth are crooked or overlapped, it can be very difficult to properly brush and floss every single crevice. This makes it easier for food debris and sugar from beverages to become trapped in the places that are hardest to reach. When you straighten your teeth with the help of braces, it eliminates these hiding spots, so you can more easily get your teeth completely clean every time you brush. Since gum disease and tooth decay are caused by plaque that builds up, straight teeth can help you avoid these issues.

Decrease Bone Erosion Risks

When the gums do not have teeth to support, they are directly exposed to food and beverages, which can cause the underlying bone to erode over time. Poorly aligned teeth can leave large gaps or can put pressure on the gums that make the gums more susceptible to bone erosion. Braces can help to align the teeth so that the gums are supporting the teeth and are not exposed to the forces that cause bone and tissue erosion.

Improve Speech

When the teeth are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, speech can be affected or impaired. This can cause embarrassing and frustrating slurs and slips that make it difficult for others to understand you. Poorly aligned teeth and tooth gaps can also make it difficult for you to whistle, hum, or sing. Aligning your teeth can help you to speak more clearly and professionally and can help you reach your full potential when it comes to singing, whistling, and playing instruments.

Make Eating Easier

When your teeth are straight, it is easier to chew your food completely and food doesn’t get stuck in your teeth as often, making the whole experience of eating more enjoyable. Chewing food completely is also very important to digestion, so digestion may be improved substantially by straightening the teeth. This can help you to eliminate digestive issues, which may help to improve health and mood and essentially the quality of life.

One of the most important things to think about after getting braces put on is changing your eating habits so that the braces do not get broken and your teeth do not suffer. Braces are not able to withstand the pressure that is put on them when you bite into many types of foods, so continuing to eat as you normally would can cause your braces to break, possibly injuring you or impacting the effectiveness of your treatment. This doesn’t mean that you need to change everything, though; it just means that you need to make some changes to the way you eat to accommodate the braces.

Braces Diet

Eat Softer Foods

When you first get your braces on and for a few days after getting braces tightened, orthodontists recommend that you opt for soft foods. Foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt, rice, and spinach are among the many things that can be eaten. Avoid going on an ice cream binge or leaning towards unhealthy foods that you wouldn’t normally eat just because they are soft. It is as important as ever to make sure that you still maintain a healthy diet.

Cut Foods into Pieces

After your teeth begin to adjust to braces and the tension abates, it can be tempting to dive into your favorite foods without reservation. Even after the tension has subsided, however, you still run the risk of breaking your braces or harming your teeth with certain foods. To avoid depriving yourself while keeping your teeth and braces safe, you can cut up some of your favorite foods so that you can still eat these foods without the risk. Pizza, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and meats should be cut small for best results.

Avoid Sticky and Sugary Foods

Foods and even beverages that are extremely sugary or sticky (think taffy and soda) can get stuck in braces brackets and on your teeth. The sticky residue from these foods can make it very difficult for you to clean your teeth and braces well, which may result in sugar and acid being left on your teeth.

You may wish to take the opportunity to improve your diet and begin staying away from sticky and sugary types of foods altogether. Since many types of foods that are healthy are okay to eat with braces, opting for a healthier diet may make it easier to stay away from foods that are not recommended while wearing braces.

If you’re ready to get started with braces, call us today at 407-447-9060.

Getting your first adjustment after braces have been placed can be scary. Most people have lots of questions about the process, so it helps to have some guidance before you go in. Having a little understanding of what will happen can help to ease the stress of the situation, which is generally the worst part of the experience.

Adjustment FAQ

1. Will My Teeth Hurt?

After adjustments, especially after the very first adjustment, most patients’ teeth are sore for about three to five days. The amount of soreness may vary depending upon how far the teeth have to move. Orthodontists often recommend that patients take a mild over-the-counter pain reliever before leaving the house for an adjustment appointment, as it will help to ease the soreness. After about six months, most patients say that adjustments are not as painful.

2. What Can I Eat Afterward?

Since the teeth are a little sore after braces adjustments, it is recommended that patients eat soft foods for the first several days. These foods include mashed potatoes, yogurt, ice cream, shakes, and any other foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. Chewy foods should definitely be avoided.

3. What Happens at Adjustment Appointments?

Orthodontists remove all of the elastic ligatures that attach the brackets of the braces to the arch wire during adjustment appointments. Orthodontists then remove the arch wire and examine the progress of the braces. Based on the progress, orthodontists may place a new arch wire that is thicker or may decide to use the same or a similarly sized arch wire. After the arch wire is placed, the orthodontist places new elastics.

4. How Long Does the Adjusting Take?

Braces adjustment appointments generally take between fifteen and thirty minutes. The amount of time may vary slightly based on what the orthodontist has to do. If new arch wires need to be placed and the pressure on the teeth has to be increased substantially, the appointment may take a little longer.

5. Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Adjustment Appointments?

  • Temperature sensitivity is something that commonly occurs after braces adjustment appointments. Pain sensations may be experienced when patients eat or drink very hot or very cold items.
  •  The arch wire should never poke any part of a patient’s mouth. The orthodontist should be informed immediately if this occurs.
  • The cell regeneration process occurs after each adjustment, as teeth shift and break down some cells of the gums and bones and cause new cells to be generated. This process usually takes about three weeks, which is why orthodontists usually schedule adjustment appointments approximately every four to five weeks.

If you’re in the market for a clean, sparkly smile, call an experienced Orlando orthodontist at Carlyle Orthodontics today.

Need Braces

If your teeth are slightly crooked or seem to be crowded, you may benefit from braces. However, orthodontic treatment is not an exact science and braces are not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you do require treatment, an orthodontist can work together with your dentist to determine the best solution. However, it may be helpful to look for a few signs that can alert you to a possible need for treatment so that you can speak to an orthodontist about your concerns.

Your Teeth Are Far Spaced

Crowding is not the only issue that can cause problems. If teeth are too far apart due to missing teeth or small teeth, it can cause complications with jaw function. Spaces may also allow teeth to shift in the future, altering the bite as time goes on. Braces can help to close the gaps and keep teeth in place for optimal function and aesthetic appeal.

Your Jaw Shifts

A shifting jaw may make sounds and can sometimes be painful. In children, this may be a sign of a developmental issue that can cause problems later. Braces can help to guide development so that the problem is corrected before real damage is done.

You Bite Your Cheeks Often

If you bite your cheeks often, it could be a sign of an overbite or underbite. In some cases, these issues may also cause your teeth to hit the roof of your mouth when you chew. Braces can help to shift the teeth and jaws back into alignment to correct an underbite or overbite.

You Breathe Through Your Mouth

Breathing through your mouth is often overlooked as a sign that you may need braces. However, mouth breathing can signify complications with the development of the teeth and jaws. An orthodontist may be able to assess whether mouth breathing has to do with development and alignment issues. If this is the case, braces may help to correct the issue or guide development.

Chewing is Difficult

If chewing is difficult, it may cause you to avoid eating certain foods or may make mealtimes stressful. This can be very inconvenient and can eventually affect your health. Braces can help to put the jaws and teeth into proper alignment, which can make eating more enjoyable and help to avoid complications.

Crooked or Uneven Teeth

It may seem obvious, but some people get used to the way their smile looks and don’t see crooked and uneven teeth as an issue. Crooked and uneven teeth can make dental care more difficult, though, which may cause problems with dental health. Crooked teeth may also affect the way that you think of yourself, causing you to smile less and be embarrassed about smiling. Braces can deflect these issues and help you attain a smile that you can be proud to show off.

Adult Braces

Many adults suffer with misalignment of the teeth and jaws, unaware of the ease of adult orthodontics today. There is often the fear of high cost and undesirable appearance. However, changes in orthodontic techniques and procedures have made adult orthodontics more affordable and less noticeable than ever before.  As a result of these changes, more adults are opting to improve their smiles every day. At this time, about one in five orthodontic patients are adults.

Benefits of Adult Orthodontics

The benefits of undergoing orthodontic procedures are the same for adults as for teenagers and children. These benefits include straighter teeth and better alignments of the teeth and jaws. Having straighter teeth can help to improve appearance, which can boost confidence. Straighter teeth can also make dental care easier and improve overall health. In addition, better alignment of the jaws and teeth can make chewing easier and correct issues with speech.

Types of Orthodontic Treatment

There are now many different options for orthodontics that are barely noticeable. A widely popular type of orthodontic treatment is Invisalign. Invisalign uses customized clear plastic trays to straighten teeth. Lingual braces, which are fitted behind the teeth, are also a less noticeable option. For those that require more extensive straightening, white or light braces may help to reduce the visibility of the braces.

Orthodontic Treatment after Complications

Some adults avoid orthodontic treatment out of the mistaken belief that treatment is not possible due to missing teeth or past dental complications. If teeth are missing, orthodontists can customize prosthetics to hold the place so that the remaining teeth come into alignment. If gum disease or other past complications were present, orthodontists may work together with the patient’s dentist or periodontist to customize the orthodontic treatment. Patients should still continue to visit the dentist or periodontist regularly in addition to the orthodontist.

Costs of Adult Orthodontics

The costs of adult braces may vary depending on the patient’s needs. Many dental insurance plans now offer some degree of coverage for orthodontics due to the improvements in dental health that orthodontics provides. Orthodontists can go over all costs with patients before beginning treatment. Orthodontists may also offer payment plans to make treatment more affordable.

Adjusting to Orthodontic Treatment

Certain lifestyle changes may make orthodontic treatment smoother and more effective. Diet alterations and quitting smoking may help to prevent build-up on the teeth when braces are worn. Tooth care may also have to be more strictly followed to prevent complications. Otherwise, most activities can be performed as normal while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Most patients adjust very quickly to the minor differences and the feel of orthodontic devices.

Elastics

Elastics help to improve the way that the upper and lower jaws fit together. Elastics are used in conjunction with braces to align the bite, which can be the most difficult and time consuming part of the process of correcting alignment issues. Braces and wires straighten the teeth relatively quickly, but the elastics help to make sure that the teeth fit together properly in the jaws so that the corrections will be long-lasting and the results will be optimal. Patients should follow the advice given by the orthodontist carefully to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time.

When Should Elastics Be Worn?

Elastics should be worn for the majority of the day, including when eating and sleeping. Orthodontists may advise patients to take the elastics out to brush and floss if the elastics will prevent thorough cleaning of the teeth and mouth. When eating, the elastics will help to shift the alignment of the jaws even more than at other times, so orthodontists usually advise patients to keep the elastics in unless they will interfere with eating a large meal.

When Should Elastics Be Replaced?

Elastics should be replaced often, for best results. After eating, patients should replace the used elastics with fresh elastics to keep the mouth as clean as possible. Patients should wear elastics while sleeping, but should remove the elastics when cleaning the teeth in the morning and put fresh elastics in place. Elastics should be changed at least three to four times daily, with no elastics staying in place for more than twelve hours at a time. Even if elastics do not break or become dirty, the material begins to lose elasticity after more than 12 hours of use and will not be as effective.

Replacing Elastics

An orthodontist will give instruction on how to replace elastics. Patients should be sure that the process of changing elastics is completely understood before leaving the office. When patients are getting used to changing elastics, a mirror should be used to ensure that the elastics are hooked in properly. Over time, patients are usually able to replace the elastics easily.

Failure to Wear Elastics

When patients fail to wear elastics as instructed, treatment may take longer and may not be as effective. Elastics may cause the mouth to be sore for a while, but the mouth will adjust and the soreness will subside over time. If elastics are not worn full time, it will take the mouth longer to adjust to the sensation and the jaws and teeth will become more resistant to movement. If elastics are not worn for a day or a period of time, patients should never double up on elastics, but should replace the elastics as normal and continue with the treatment as recommended by the orthodontist.

About Orthodontics A person’s smile is an important part of the way that they connect to the world. A healthy and beautiful smile can convey confidence, trust, and enjoyment. A smile also reveals the state of a person’s teeth and dental health. Unfortunately, when an individual’s teeth or bite is misaligned, it can affect the way that they are perceived and the way that they feel about themselves. The goal of orthodontics is to help people achieve healthy and beautiful smiles, so that smiling is never a source of concern again.

Types of Orthodontic Problems

There are many different types of problems that orthodontists can help to correct, including:
  • Crowding of teeth
  • Improper spacing of teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Issues with jaw growth

Causes of Orthodontic Problems

The main cause of orthodontic problems is heredity. Misalignments may also be caused by habits such as finger sucking or thumb sucking. Accidents may cause many different types of complications with the alignment of the jaws and teeth. Dental disease may cause the gums to weaken, which can cause the teeth to shift.

Selecting an Orthodontist

Orthodontists receive two to three more years of training than regular dentists to be able to correctly diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities. Only after receiving this specialized training may individuals be referred to as orthodontists. It is important to do research and select an orthodontist that is experienced and meets expectations before agreeing to receive treatment.

What is the Ideal Age for Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can benefit patients of any age. Children should receive the first orthodontic treatment as young as age seven, as certain complication can be corrected beginning at that age. Children and teenagers commonly undergo orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth and correct other issues. Adults can also benefit from orthodontic treatment.

What Is the Patient’s Role in Treatment?

Patients must take an active role in order for treatment to be successful. The orthodontist will evaluate the patient, determine the best course of action, and implement measures to correct alignment issues. The patient must follow the instructions of the orthodontist carefully and attend all appointments for subsequent check-ups. Patients must also maintain outstanding dental health so that teeth and gums remain strong and orthodontic treatment is effective. Orthodontists will regularly track the progress of treatment and make adjustments as needed to help patients achieve the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.

Orthodontic Headgear

Orthodontic headgear is the last thing that most orthodontic patients wish to endure as part of treatment. Orthodontists understand the burden of wearing headgear and try to resolve issues without the use of headgear whenever possible. However, orthodontic headgear is necessary in some cases to help patients achieve straight teeth and properly aligned jaws.

What is Orthodontic Headgear?

Orthodontic headgear is an appliance that is worn over the head that attaches to a device inside of the mouth. Headgear applies more force to the jaws than is possible with braces or other devices alone. The headgear is generally attached to a device called a facebow, which is attached directly to the braces. The headgear is attached to the head by straps and metal arches. The headgear exerts force that is transferred to the facebow, which is then transferred to the braces to allow more movement of the teeth and jaws than would be possible without the headgear.

Headgear Facemask

If the alignment issue stems from an underbite, a facemask may be needed to assist with correction. A facemask is worn mostly outside of the mouth, with a part inside of the mouth that exerts force to pull the upper jaw forward. A headgear facemask typically consists of two pads and a vertical frame. One pad rests on the chin, one on the forehead, with the frame connecting the two. Elastics and wires connect the frame to the braces inside of the mouth. A headgear facemask is sometimes called reverse headgear.

When is Headgear Used?

Headgear is used in cases of extreme underbite or overbite, where more force is required than what can be achieved with orthodontic appliances that are only applied inside of the mouth. Headgear is typically used with patients that are still developing to help guide the jaws into a more desirable position. However, headgear may also be used for adults that need help with tooth spacing and bite alignment following tooth extractions.

Making Headgear Work

Depending on the type of headgear and the severity of the problem, headgear may be worn between 12 and 16 hours a day. If headgear is worn at night, patients must be consistent with wearing the headgear or the results can be reversed very quickly. Patients must carefully handle, maintain, and clean the headgear in order to achieve the desired results.

Headgear exerts significant pressure, so improperly removing or attaching the headgear can be dangerous. Patients should also beware of doing extreme physical activities while wearing headgear, as it can become dangerous. While wearing headgear may take getting used to, the results can make the treatment worthwhile if all instructions are carefully followed.

Teeth Shifting

It can be frightening and disheartening for patients that have just had their braces removed to see their teeth shifting. While wearing a retainer can help to prevent some shifting, it is normal for teeth to begin a process of “settling” that begins immediately following braces removal. It is important for patients to understand why the teeth shift, what degree of shifting is expected and accepted after braces removal, and how to tell if teeth are shifting enough to require additional treatment.

Natural Settling Process

When the braces are on, the teeth are held firmly in the position that the orthodontist desires. When the braces come off, the teeth are susceptible to the natural shifting that all parts of the body are susceptible to. The teeth are also susceptible to outside forces such as the tongue and wear from chewing. Some degree of shifting is expected and may even help the bite pattern to come into better alignment than with the braces on.

Retainer Use

Retainer use is necessary to prevent high degrees of shifting. If a patient follows the orthodontist’s directions regarding retainer use, the teeth will generally only shift slightly and no additional treatment will be needed. Retainer use is most important immediately following the removal of the braces, as this is the time when teeth are settling the most. It is usually necessary for retainers to be used nightly for the rest of a patient’s life after the initial period of continuous wear that is dictated by the orthodontist. Failure to use a retainer as the orthodontist recommends may result in additional treatment to re-correct misalignments.

Front Teeth Shifting

Shifting of the front teeth is undesirable and may lead to a need for additional treatment. If the front teeth begin to shift, the orthodontist should be notified immediately. The orthodontist may be able to correct the shifting before it becomes severe by gluing a bonded retainer to the back of teeth until the teeth stabilize. This is not possible with all patients, however. If the bite is too tight to allow a bonded retainer to be inserted behind the front teeth, the orthodontist may recommend allowing the teeth to shift to the final position and then using other means to close the gap between teeth.

Correcting Shifting

If the teeth begin to slowly shift in the weeks following braces removal, the orthodontist may be able to make adjustments to the retainer or prescribe a new retainer in order to prevent further shifting. If the orthodontist is notified quickly enough, but correction cannot be achieved simply by adjusting the retainer, it may be possible to use a clear aligner that can be worn continuously for a short period of time to correct the minor shifting. If shifting is allowed to continue for too long, it may become severe and require reinstallation of braces. It is highly recommended that patients notify an orthodontist as soon as movement is noticed to make correction as easy as possible.