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.

Summer is a great time to consider orthodontic treatment for children of school age, as summer vacation offers greater flexibility and a chance to adapt to orthodontic appliances. However, summer days are often less structured than days during the school year, so there are certain challenges that may be presented. Vacations and events that are out of the ordinary may throw patients off from their regular routine, so it is important to consider how these things will effect orthodontic treatment.

Braces in the Summer

1. Braces Care

When travelling to new places, it is easy to forget things like toothbrushes and dental floss that are pertinent to braces care. Leaving food debris, acid, and sugar on the teeth overnight or throughout the day can make the teeth much harder to clean, however. When travelling, it may be helpful to make a checklist of things to bring so that you don’t forget. Making a habit of brushing teeth first thing in the morning and after each meal may also help you to keep your routine regular so that your teeth don’t suffer.

2. Orthodontic Appointments

When travelling and attending events, it is easy to overlook orthodontic appointments. Missing appointments can prolong the amount of time that treatment takes, however. If you know that you will be out of town or very busy for a week or longer, make sure to talk to your orthodontist about the time that you will be away so that you can schedule your appointments in advance or otherwise schedule around your plans.

3. Retainer Care

When you have already had your braces removed, it is easy to let yourself slack off on your orthodontic care, especially through summer trips and travels. However, failing to wear your retainer at night or as scheduled may allow your teeth to begin moving back to their original positions, undoing all of the hard work that your braces did. Make sure that you take your retainer with you throughout your travels, maybe keeping it in a special place so that it doesn’t become damaged or get left behind.

4. Food and Beverages

Summer parties are a lot of fun, but there are often many offerings that may not be the best for patients with braces. Soda, corn on the cob, and sweet treats can get stuck between the teeth and braces, possibly causing decay or demineralization. Remember the advice that your orthodontist gave you and be sure to steer clear of foods that may negatively affect your teeth and your smile. There are plenty of tasty options that are okay with braces, so be sure to put your orthodontic care first.

If you’re looking for some new pearly whites this summer, call us 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.

Patients generally consider any unexpected event associated with braces to be an orthodontic emergency, especially if the event or occurrence causes discomfort. If any unexpected event occurs, patients are urged to call our office and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible. However, many orthodontic emergencies are actually somewhat minor and can be attended to by patients while waiting to be seen. These actions by the patient can help to eliminate discomfort, but the orthodontist should still be seen later for a more permanent solution.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Protruding Arch Wire

A protruding arch wire can poke the cheeks and cause pain and irritation. An orthodontist should be contacted immediately if an arch wire is protruding, but if the patient cannot be seen, there are steps that can be taken to relieve discomfort and prevent further irritation. The arch wire should be pushed back with a pencil eraser until it is flush with the tooth to stop it from touching the cheeks. If the arch wire cannot be pushed back, relief wax should be applied to the wire to reduce irritation.

Loose Ligatures

The small wires that connect the arch wires to the brackets may come loose and cause irritation. If this occurs, the ligature should be put back in place or removed using sterile tweezers. Loose ligatures often cause a domino effect, so an orthodontist should be notified immediately to properly replace the ligatures as soon as possible.

Loose or Broken Brackets

Brackets may come loose or be broken during play or while eating foods that should be avoided while wearing braces. If a bracket is not centered on the tooth, it should be slid back into place using tweezers. If the bracket has rotated on the wire and the orthodontist cannot be seen immediately, it is possible to flip the bracket back to the proper side in between two teeth, and then carefully slide the bracket into place until help can be sought.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are very common when braces are new. An orthodontist should be notified of the sores, but actions can be taken to alleviate discomfort. Ora-Gel or another topical numbing agent can be applied to the areas of the mouth where the sores occur. Dental wax can be applied to the pieces of the braces that are causing irritation to prevent further damage. Most sores will go away as the body adjusts to the braces, but minor adjustments by the orthodontist may help to rectify some issues.

SummerBraces

It is nearly time for summer vacation for many students across the country. If you and your child’s orthodontist have been talking about possibly beginning orthodontic treatment, summer may be the perfect time to get started. Free from some of the regular obligations that the school year brings, summer can give kids a chance to get used to braces, spacers, or other orthodontic appliances.

1. More Flexible Schedule

With the more flexible schedule that the summer allows, it makes it much more convenient to consult an orthodontist if there are issues or concerns after treatment begins. If children need to be brought in to make adjustments or need to attend frequent appointments, they don’t have to miss school and try to make up lessons. Parents have a little more freedom to set up schedules to work around their work schedules, without the additional pressures of working around children’s school schedules.

2. More Time to Devote to Care

During the school year, waking up and getting ready is a hectic rush and bed times must be met to make the next day smoother. This makes it difficult to add in the additional care needed to ensure that braces or other orthodontic appliances are completely cleaned. During the summer, children can take all the time that they need to get used to cleaning their braces, spacers, or other appliances. By the time they start school again after summer vacation ends, the additional care needs will be just a regular part of the daily routine.

3. Less Peer Stress

While it may seem trivial, summer is also ideal for beginning orthodontic treatment because there is less peer stress. Kids can be mean and spacers and braces can cause severe alterations in a child’s appearance-sometimes even large tooth gaps at the beginning of treatment. Removing this additional stress from a child’s treatment period may help them to feel more confident about the process. Allowing them to get used to their own appearance with braces or orthodontic appliances before facing peers again can make a huge difference.

4. Greater Control Over Food

Adjusting to the changes in diet that are dictated by beginning orthodontic care can be difficult when “no-no” foods are served for lunch at school. Kids may be more tempted to ignore the advice of orthodontists and indulge in their favorites when they are readily available. Beginning orthodontic treatment during the summer allows kids to get used to the changes in diet so that they will have more practice avoiding the temptations when offered off-limits foods.

Call an Orlando Orthodontist Today

Summertime is fast approaching, so be sure to begin the process as soon as possible. If you’re in search of an Orlando orthodontist for the summer, call us today to schedule a consultation.

Orthodontic Expanders

Certain orthodontic techniques have shifted over the last several years, especially the increased introduction of orthodontic expanders. In the past, it was common to extract teeth in order to create space in the mouth. Now, orthodontists are trying to save healthy teeth by expanding the arches to correct crowding issues. Expanding the arches is successful in creating more space in the mouth in most cases, but it may cause large gaps to form between the teeth. This can be unnerving for patients and their families.

When to Use an Expander

The roof of the mouth contains two bones which are joined in the middle. When children are young, these bones are joined together by cartilage. At around the age of 14, this cartilage begins to be replaced by bone. If patients can be treated prior to this period of maturation, the roof of the mouth can actually be expanded to help avoid tooth crowding. It is important to treat patients long before the bones begin to permanently fuse.

Appearance of a Tooth Gap

When the expander begins to work, a large gap will typically appear between the top front teeth. This is a sign that the two bones of the palate have been separated. The gap will disappear after further orthodontic treatment. While it may be uncomfortable because of the altered appearance, patients should rest assured that this gap is temporary and necessary to effectively correct misalignments caused by crowding.

Stabilization Period

After the palate has been widened, orthodontists will leave the expander in for a few weeks to several months in order to allow the body to adjust to the newly expanded palate. New bone may form to accommodate the spacing. The teeth may begin to come back together because of the elasticity of the gums and the gap may diminish or disappear even before the expander is removed. This is also normal, but does not happen in every case. After the expander is removed, the palate may come back together slightly. Orthodontists typically anticipate this change by expanding the palate slightly more than needed.

Advantages of Using an Expander

An expander can help patients to avoid costly surgeries and treatments later. Crowding issues may cause teeth to become painful or to rot. An expander will help to naturally make space in the mouth. Expanders can be used even before a patient’s permanent teeth erupt so that the teeth can come in comfortably and free from complications.

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.

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.