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How To Handle Orthodontic Emergencies While On Vacation

June 24th, 2019

School is out and summer vacations are just around the corner. Vacations are all about fun, so the last thing you want to do during your summer vacation is to think about or deal with an orthodontic emergency. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are a few helpful reminders to keep your orthodontic appliances in check:

We're A Phone Call Away

First and foremost, remember that the team at Bel Air Orthodontics is here for you whether you are in town or away on vacation. If you have an orthodontic emergency, give us a call immediately and we'll do our best to address the problem over the phone.

Find A Helping Hand

Second, if we are unable to help you fix the problem over the phone or if you have difficulty reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists will lend a helping hand to another orthodontic patient and get them out of discomfort. In fact, Dr. Godwin has helped many out-of-town summer campers himself. It's important for you to schedule a visit with us once you return from vacation so that Dr. Godwin can assess the problem and make any necessary adjustments to your orthodontic appliances. Please keep in mind that broken braces, wires or other appliances will not be repaired at your regular adjustment appointment unless you notify us in advance.

Keeping Your Braces Safe

Third, if you lose your retainers, don't panic! Call our office immediately so that we can schedule an appointment to take scans for new appliances. Vacations and great food go hand in hand, so we realize that it can be more challenging to keep track of your retainers while away from home. To avoid losing your retainers, please do not wrap them in a napkin. Dr. Godwin suggests putting your retainers in their case for safe keeping.

Last but not least, if you have braces, Dr. Godwin urges you to steer clear of the following foods to avoid broken brackets and/or wires while you are on vacation:

  • Chewy, sticky or gummy food . . . For example, we know that Boardwalk favorites like salt water taffy and caramel popcorn are temping summertime treats, but they're off limits to patients in braces!
  • Apples, pears and other whole foods . . . They're fine if you cut them into thin wedges or bite-size pieces before consuming.
  • Bagels and hard rolls
  • Bubble gum
  • Popcorn
  • Corn on the cob - unless you cut it off the cob
  • Hard candies
  • Hard cookies, pretzels and nuts

Follow these tips and you can have a worry-free vacation. Have a great summer!

Say Cheese . . . It's National Smile Month

June 12th, 2019

According to the American Dental Association, a person’s smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature. While smiling is a great way to get yourself noticed, it turns out that it can also help your body function better. Since June is National Smile Month, we thought it would be a great time to share some good reasons to show off your pearly whites:

Smiling Makes You More Attractive

Studies now support what we’ve long known . . . we’re more attracted to people who smile. Smiling, happy people are perceived to be more relaxed, confident and approachable—a characteristic that we’re naturally drawn to.

Smiling Changes Your Mood

There’s nothing quite like a cheerful smile for perking you up, as well as those around you. So next time you’re feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better.

Smiling is Contagious

It turns out that emotions are catchy. When someone is smiling, they lighten up the room, change the mood of others, and make things happier. Dr. David Lewis, a psychologist and Director of Research at Mindlab International, says, “Seeing a smile creates what’s known as a halo effect, helping us to remember happy events, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.”

Smiling Relieves Stress

According to a study at Columbia University, smiling can help to reduce symptoms associated with stress. Studies show that chronic stress does significant damage to the body and mind, so the next time you're stressed out, try to put on a smile. Better yet, find something to laugh about. Studies show that laughing reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and gives you a quick burst of energy.

Smiling Boosts Your Immune System

“The research is clear,” says Christopher Peterson, PhD, a University of Michigan professor. “There is a link between optimistic attitudes and good health.” His research supports that smiling, optimistic people have a more robust immune system. So, what are you waiting for . . . smile your way to better health!

Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers & Serotonin

Studies show that smiling releases natural “feel good” brain chemicals which reduce pain and make us feel happy. So remember to smile every day. Not only will you be happier, you’ll be healthier too.

Smiling Makes You Look Younger

The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don’t go for a face lift, just try smiling your way though the day. You’ll look younger and feel better!

Smiling Helps You Stay Positive

Try this test: Just smile for 30 seconds. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard, right? When we smile, our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!”

A smile is one of the most simple, inexpensive and wonderful things you can do . . . Share yours with the world today!

Sources: Abel, MH, Hester, R. (2002); The therapeutic effects of smiling; British Dental health Foundation (2005); Positive Psychology News (2008) Health & Emotional Benefits of Smiling.

Making Your Orthodontic Treatment Comfortable

June 3rd, 2019

We want you to have the best possible orthodontic experience … one that will leave you smiling in more ways than one! However, having braces means you’ll have to alter your lifestyle a little. You’ll need to be careful about what you eat, make sure you brush and floss regularly, and protect your braces if you play sports. If you care for your braces properly, your treatment should be smooth sailing!

The best way to ensure your comfort during orthodontic treatment is to eat a braces-friendly diet. Certain foods are better suited for the purpose, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So what types of foods should you eat if you have braces?

The best are low in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and string cheese instead of chips. A healthy dinner might include most types of vegetables, as long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!

Post-Tightening Foods

If you’ve just had your braces tightened, you’re probably feeling a bit of discomfort. That’s completely normal and should disappear in a day or so; but in the meantime, you’ll want to stick to easy-to-chew foods:

  • Pudding
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soup
  • Ice cream
  • Applesauce
  • Peas
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta

Foods to Avoid

Anyone who wears braces—whether fixed or removable—should avoid excessive snacking and aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It’s also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to your braces, including:

  • Hard and crunchy foods
  • Gum and chewy, sticky foods
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn

Hard, crunchy, or chewy foods can bend wires, or even rip a bracket right off your tooth! Any kind of damage will result in a longer treatment time and additional office visits. You won’t have braces forever, so save the sticky snacking for after they’re removed.

If you have questions or concerns about making your treatment comfortable, give the team at Bel Air Orthodontics a call. We're here to help!

Do It Yourself Dad - A Retainer Story To Remember

May 20th, 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 this month's story . . .

Do It Yourself Dad

“Ow, ow, ow!,” Laura sighed heavily and sat up in her bed, pulling her night mask off and switching on the light. Yanking an orange retainer out of her mouth, she surveyed it contemptuously. The mouthpiece had been causing her pain for a few days now, and she couldn’t sleep with the constant irritation it put on her gums. She had tried everything, from Orajel to Tylenol, but the pain wouldn’t go away. Looking at the clock, she noted it was already 10 pm. “I have school tomorrow!,” she thought. “I have to do something about this so I can sleep!”

Trotting downstairs to where her parents were playing solitaire and muttering under their breath about politics, she proclaimed her dilemma. “My retainer doesn’t fit right!” At the voice, they both turned and her dad smiled in a familiar way that made her wish she hadn’t said anything.

“I’ll fix it!”, the handyman father declared as he jumped up and grabbed the orthodontic device out of her hands before she could protest. Her mom just shook her head knowingly.

“This will all end in tears,” Laura’s gloomy brother, Michael, decreed from the couch as Laura smiled nervously and followed her father into his workshop. He was already at work, pulling out various power tools and sealants. The “fix-it-yourself” vibe floating off of him that was almost too strong to bear. “Don’t worry,” he placated. “I’ll have this fitting right faster than you can fry a pan of bacon!”

Laura did not understand how this was a good analogy seeing how the breakfast meat always took a long time to cook. How she was supposed to not worry? Her father was notorious for his repairman attitude that resulted in them rarely calling a professional to patch up anything. This was sometimes a good thing as he was very skilled with plumbing, electronics, and vehicles. The home repairman saved them lots of money, but with delicate things like retainers, Laura didn’t trust him for a second.

A horrid sound snapped her out of her rumination, and Laura realized with dismay that for some ludicrous reason her dad was starting up his industrial sander. The sandpaper whipped by at an incredible speed as he held the mouthpiece down to the surface, scraping away layer after layer of plastic. After a few moments, he held my retainer up and frowned, his daughter flitting around him like a panicky butterfly. “Hmm . . .” he pondered. “I think I took too much off.”

And so, that was the end of my retainer. The moral of this story . . . beware of the Do-It-Yourself Dad. He means well, but some things are better left to the professionals!

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