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Bottled Water: Friend or Foe?

January 16th, 2020

So, you’re working out, eating kale, ditching the soda, drinking endless bottles of water and hopefully, recycling the empties!  You’re feeling pretty good about yourself – but, are you doing your teeth more harm than good?

You may be choosing bottled water over tap because you think it’s a healthier, tastier and more convenient; but studies show that  choosing bottled water over tap can actually be detrimental to your dental health?

When we choose bottled water over tap water, we deprive our pearly whites of something we may need. Most brands of bottled water fail to include a vital ingredient for dental health: fluoride. Fluoride plays an important role in maintaining good oral health because it helps strengthen our teeth. Stronger teeth mean a lower chance of tooth decay, and who doesn’t want that?

The good news is that the American Dental Association has endorsed both community water fluoridation and products that contain fluoride as a safe way to prevent tooth decay. If bottled water happens to be the preference for you or your family, you don’t necessarily have to force everyone to start drinking tap water. Just check the label and make sure the brand you purchase contains fluoride. It’s essential to remember that switching up the water you drink isn’t going to put you on the fast track to perfect teeth, though. We recommend that you visit your dentist every six months and floss and brush daily. If you're wearing braces, keeping teeth clean and healthy can often be challenge. For our top ten tips for keeping braces clean, read our previous blog.

If you have any questions about fluoride or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to give the team at Bel Air Orthodontics a call.

Got Braces? We've Got Some New Year's Resolutions For You!

January 2nd, 2020

It's that time of year again; a time when we're thinking about those all too familiar New Year's resolutions. Promising to spend less, exercise more and clear the clutter are often at the top of our list, but this year the team at Bel Air Orthodontics has decided to keep our New Year's resolutions easy and entertaining. We've vowed to laugh more, smile often and have more fun. In the spirit of that fun, we came up with a few resolutions for our patients in orthodontic treatment. Tell us what you think, and share your own New Year's resolutions with us on our Facebook page!

  • I will wear my elastics religiously.

  • I will not flick my elastics at my brother or sister!

  • I won't call my orthodontist during the Super Bowl with an emergency.

  • I will brush my teeth at least twice a day for no less than two minutes. (Five minutes would be better!)

  • I won't eat jolly ranchers or other sticky, chewy foods while I have braces.

  • I won't gross out my parents or friends by smiling with food in my braces.

  • I will not lie to my mom when she asks about my brushing.

  • I won't let the dog wear my retainer (or eat it for that matter!)

  • I will remember to wear a mouthguard when playing sports.

  • I will simply stop complaining about my braces!

Happy New Year from the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

A Sacrifice For Santa

December 16th, 2019

Have you ever wondered where all those missing retainers go?

Well, our patients have some amazing stories to tell. Fact, fiction or just plain silly . . . only our patients know for sure. All we ask is that the stories entertain us, and many of our patients deliver just that. We thought we’d share a few of the stories we have received as a regular Blog feature.

Here's Our Latest Story . . .

It was December 23rd, just a few days from Christmas. Tomorrow night, Santa would take his annual journey and deliver presents to all the world. I went to settle in for bed, first stopping to brush my teeth. As I took my retainers off, a swirling portal appeared around me, drawing in air; then, it sucked in my retainers! I wasn’t going to let my retainers get away from me, so I hopped into the portal right after them. I emerged on the other side of the portal, shivering from the sudden cold. I was facing a window in a huge room where I could see the falling snow. I turned around, and I will never forget what I saw. I was standing in the middle of Santa’s workshop! Little elves with pointed ears bustled about, manning the machinery on a conveyor belt which was spewing toys of all shapes and sizes. Christmas carols were playing, and the workshop was adorned with Christmas decorations.

I heard, above the racket of the toy factory, someone saying, “Ho, Ho, Ho! These retainers will be perfect for the job!” In the center of the room, I saw Santa at a workbench covered with papers, surrounded by a ring of elves jumping up and down. I found myself with conflicted feelings. On one hand, I wanted to tackle the man for stealing my stuff; but on the other, I wanted to hug him because he was Santa—one of the most lovable guys around. I went to over to Santa’s workbench and tapped on the shoulder of one of his elves. I must’ve surprised him when he turned around, because he said, “Oh gingersnap! Why is a CHILD in here? Santa! Get her out!”

Santa looked at me and chuckled. He said to the elf, “Jingles, this is the girl whose retainers you took. I think she may have snuck in through the portal.” I stared down at Jingles and asked, “Why did you steal MY retainers?” Jingles ran and hid himself behind Santa’s large self.

Santa explained to me, “My dear. Christmas isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s hard work. With all the resources being used by humans every day, some years, we don’t have enough materials to make toys for every boy and girl..” He waved his hand in the air and a sparkling imaged appeared. It showed a little boy in his bed, dreaming of a toy car for Christmas.

Santa said, “We needed a toy for this child, the last little one on our list. However, the workshop didn’t have enough materials. We needed your retainers to melt down for the plastic which would become the last wheel on his toy car.” He held up a small retainer case decorated with small candy canes and gingerbread cookies. “You can still have them back if you want them."

I knew I had a choice. I could leave with the retainers, or I could give them up to make that little boy smile on Christmas morning. I said to Santa, “You can keep them. I hope you make the little boy happy.” With a smile and a twinkle in his eyes, Santa thanked me. The elves cheered, and Jingles even came out from behind Santa’s back. Santa gave me one last smile. He waved his hand in front of my eyes, and the workshop faded to black.

On December 25, Christmas Day, my family and I visited a friend’s house. The family had a little boy. He was playing with a small toy car. The car was different from most others I had seen. There were only three black wheels. The last wheel was white. Believe it or not, I gave up my retainers to help Santa save Christmas, especially for this little boy!

We hope your holidays are filled with the joy of giving!

Orthodontic Emergency? We're Here To Help

December 4th, 2019

We know that orthodontic emergencies are never convenient or timely. The good news is that true orthodontic emergencies are rare, and we're always available whenever you need us. As a general rule, you should call our office if you have a broken appliance or are experiencing an abnormal amount of discomfort. We'll evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule an appointment to take care of any problems you may be experiencing.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference between a major orthodontic emergency and a minor issue:

Acute, Direct Injury To Mouth, Jaw or Teeth

Whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, if you injure your mouth, jaw, or teeth, you should seek immediate care with your orthodontist and/or dentist. If the injury affects your orthodontic appliances, they may need adjustment or possible replacement, depending on the extent of the injury.

Broken or Distorted Removable Orthodontic Appliances

A distorted or broken removable appliance should be adjusted or replaced as soon as possible and should not be worn until the adjustment or repair is made. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

The following solutions may help you relieve discomfort for minor orthodontic issues:

Irritation of Lips or Cheeks 

Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and your mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation.

Loose Bracket or Band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, please don't discard it! Place it in an envelope and  bring it to your emergency appointment for repair.

Loose or Protruding Wire

Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and cause irritation of the gum. A broken archwire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek, needs to be seen as soon as possible for replacement or adjustment.  To temporarily relieve discomfort, use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. If the wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.  If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar discomfort. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the sore area. You can also put wax on the braces to lessen the temporary discomfort. We'll show you how!

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