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Are Braces Right For You?

December 10th, 2018

It’s not uncommon to have permanent teeth that are crooked, crowded, or improperly aligned, which is why braces are a common solution for teens and adults who desire a beautiful smile.

So, with that being said, how do you know if braces are right for you? Typically your dentist will be able to point out any issues with your teeth at your regular six-month cleanings and will likely send you or your child to see an orthodontist for a consultation. Many factors go into whether braces would be right for you or your child. If you’re thinking about investing in braces, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

Fortunately today, orthodontics has advanced to the point where corrective devices, such as braces and retainers, are less obvious, more comfortable, and can be worn for shorter periods of time. Modern orthodontic treatments offer numerous options for the typical issues people face, such as crooked teeth or jaw alignment problems.

Treatment time varies and is often determined by the patient’s age, bite, and treatment type. For most patients in braces, treatment time ranges from one to three years. Once your teeth have reached their final positions, a retainer is worn to keep the newly straightened teeth in place. Retainers are custom-made devices that are initially worn all day, aside from meals, and then eventually are rolled back so they’re just worn at night.

While braces are typically associated with dental issues in children, more adults are undergoing treatment as well. About one in every five braces wearers are adults; a sign that it’s never too late to correct any oral issues. Part of this is due to the technological advancements in orthodontics. For instance, new braces feel much better and come in a variety of styles — including clear, ceramic brackets and Invisalign® removable aligners — so they’re far less obvious. Plus, the wires on braces are now made from advanced metals, which are stronger and lighter, so they get the job done much more efficiently. Additionally, insurance plans are increasingly covering orthodontic treatment, making braces a much more feasible and affordable option for families on a budget.

When weighing whether or not braces are in your future, it’s important to study all of your options about the styles of braces and what treatment option is best for you.  It might take a few years of treatment, but braces can give you that winning smile you've always wanted. If you have questions regarding the types of treatment we provide for our patients, call Bel Air Orthodontics to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. We look forward to meeting you!

HOW TO HAVE A BRACES-SAFE HALLOWEEN

October 17th, 2018

Halloween is a fun time of year, but before you head out to trick-or-treat, Dr. Godwin would like to offer a few tips for keeping your braces healthy and happy.  While Halloween treats are tempting, it's important to remember that many can cause havoc for trick-or-treaters with braces.  Treats that are sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy can potentially cause damage to braces, clear aligners, and other orthodontic appliances.  In addition to patient discomfort, a broken bracket or loose wire may prolong treatment and require additional appointments.

The team at Bel Air Orthodontics knows how hard it is to avoid all Halloween treats, so we encourage you to enjoy braces-friendly alternatives rather than feel that you are missing out on all the fun.  Dr. Godwin recommends that a few sweets can be okay occasionally, provided that you remember to brush and floss after eating.  Check out our frighteningly-good Halloween recipes and braces-friendly tips below so that you can enjoy the holiday and still be on pace to achieve your healthy, beautiful smiles.

Braces-Friendly Treats

In general, orthodontic patients should look for foods that are soft and easy to chew.  Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, peanut butter cups, milk shakes, gelatin, ice cream treats, and most soft cookies and cakes are good examples of braces-friendly treats.

Treats to Avoid

Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment should avoid treats that are sticky, hard, chewy or crunchy, such as caramel, nuts (including candies that contain nuts), licorice, jelly beans or taffy, hard pretzels, bubblegum, candy corn, and popcorn.

Here Comes The Good Stuff!

Now that you know the do's and don'ts, here are some fantastic recipes courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists and The Braces Cookbooks, perfect not only for patients with braces, but everyone looking for a yummy homemade treat!  That way no one will feel left out this Halloween, and your party will be a monster success. To scare up your own Halloween party, try these recipes that are easy on your orthodontic hardware:

Downloadable recipes courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists:  

Even-More-Fun-Orthodontic-friendly-Halloween-Recipes

Just follow the above "Even-More-Fun" link for the full list of recipes below.

  • Frightful Finger Cookies
  • Pumpkin Cookie Pops
  • Goblin Goodies
  • Graveyard Shakes
  • Halloween Parfait
  • Mounds of Brains Cookies
  • Spider Bites
  • Goblin's Gooey Apples
  • Jack-O-Lantern Brownie . . . Enjoy!!

Have a great braces-friendly recipe you'd love to share? Send it to us at info@belairortho.com.

Avoiding Delays During Your Orthodontic Treatment

October 3rd, 2018

Many of our patients are excited to start orthodontic treatment, but they also look forward to getting them off to reveal their amazing new smiles. Your commitment to treatment protocols and caring for your braces can affect how long your treatment takes. While there is no way to predict exactly how quickly your teeth and bite will move into their correct position, there are ways that you can help the process move along smoothly and timely. Here are a few ways you can avoid progress delays during your orthodontic treatment.

Keep Your Scheduled Visits

When days are filled with carpooling, work demands, and errands, you may be tempted to delay or cancel an appointment thinking that it will have little or no impact on treatment goals when in fact the opposite is true. Each of your visits while you are undergoing treatment is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. Regular visits allow our team to make necessary adjustments to your braces and identify any problem areas that need correcting. Postponing or canceling these important visits can extend treatment time and significantly delay your progress — adding weeks or even months to the total treatment time.

Take Care of Your Braces

A surefire way to delay your orthodontic treatment is to continually damage your braces. An occasional break or bend of the brackets and wires is not uncommon, but if you encounter damage too frequently, it will interfere with the treatment timeline. You can prevent damage to your braces by always wearing a mouth guard when playing sports. You should also be mindful of the foods you eat to avoid breakage, especially those that are hard, sticky and chewy — such as popcorn, nuts, taffy, caramel, gum, corn on the cob and hard pretzels. It's also important to limit foods high in sugar.

Repair Damaged Braces As Soon As Possible

If your braces break or get damaged, contact our office right away. Ill-fitting brackets and wires aren’t capable of effectively correcting your teeth, which can cause major setbacks in the entire treatment process. Similarly, if you wear Invisalign® aligners and break or misplace them, notify our office immediately. It is critical that you replace your trays as soon as possible so that treatment can progress on schedule. Failure to notify our team of any issues can even create bigger, more permanent problems that require you to spend more time in braces.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Habits

It's always important to practice good oral hygiene, but this is especially true when you are straightening your teeth. When you are wearing braces, food and debris can easily become trapped around the brackets and wires. This puts you at a greater risk for infections and cavities, which can complicate and prolong your treatment. As a general rule, brush your teeth after eating meals and snacks to keep teeth and gums healthy throughout the duration of your orthodontic treatment. Seeing your regular dentist for exams and cleaning will also keep your teeth and gums in tip-top condition, enabling teeth to move more efficiently.

Follow Instructions From The Bel Air Orthodontics Team

Apart from routine adjustment visits, patient compliance will play an important part in treatment time and results. For example, many patients with braces will also need to wear elastics (aka rubber bands) at some point during their treatment. These rubber bands play a critical role in aligning your teeth and bite. Failure to follow instructions as directed is a guaranteed way to prevent your teeth from moving as scheduled.

Getting braces may seem like a long road, but we're here to tell you it is well worth it! Whether you choose traditional braces, Invisalign or other orthodontic procedures, the team at Bel Air Orthodontics is here to help you reach the best possible treatment outcome in the least amount of time and visits. By following these easy tips, you can stay on track with your orthodontic treatment and achieve the teeth and smile you’ve always wanted.

As always, your Bel Air Orthodontics team is here to help answer any questions you have along the way.

Giving School Nurses A Helping Hand

September 19th, 2018

It's back-to-school time, and that means the school nurses have their hands full. To make their job a little easier, Bel Air Orthodontics recently visited schools throughout Harford County to make sure that nurses are prepared to handle orthodontic emergencies during the school day. Our complimentary kits provide school nurses with much needed dental supplies such as orthodontic wax, floss, toothbrushes and paste, along with a Nurse's Guide which is filled with helpful tips and emergency care information.

With some minor intervention and guidance from the school nurse, many of our patients with minor emergencies such as broken brackets, loose and/or poking wires can return to class and finish out their school day. So if you're not sure how to handle an orthodontic emergency while at school, stop by the nurse's office. They've got the know-how and supplies to help you out thanks to the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

Since some orthodontic emergencies may require repair by your orthodontist, Dr. Godwin also recommends that you contact our office as soon as possible so that we can address your concerns and/or schedule an appointment.

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