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Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Retainer Safe This Summer

June 16th, 2021

Summer is in full swing! It’s time for lazy days on the beach, summer cookouts and family vacations. But before you rush out the door to your next summer adventure, the team at Bel Air Orthodontics wants to remind you about the importance of keeping your retainer and your smile safe this summer.

Here's a fact: More retainers are lost over the summer than any other time of the year! Why, you ask? There a number of factors, but it comes down to the fact that your retainer is spending too much time out of your mouth! Summer fun brings a change in your daily routine, more meals with family and friends, and that usually means more opportunities to lose, break or forget your retainer.

Your retainer is an important part of your orthodontic treatment, so follow these tips to keep your retainer and your smile looking great:

  • Never Wrap It In A Napkin - While a retainer on the table might not be the most appetizing sight, hiding it in a napkin is a quick and sure way to accidentally send your retainer into the trash can!
  • Keep It Away From Fido – It’s a fact, dogs love the smell and taste of saliva on retainers, and they’ll go to impressive lengths to get their canines on them. Never leave your retainers on a night stand, counter, or table where they can jump up and snag the appliance. Remember, dogs like to chew on things . . . this includes retainers!
  • Don’t Be Random – While spontaneity is a good thing in life, it’s a bad thing when it comes to storing your retainer. If you put your retainer in random places, you’re bound to eventually forget where it is. Instead, create designated spots to keep your retainer. Whether it’s the same spot in your purse or backpack, a special drawer in your bedroom, or a cabinet in the kitchen, you’ll always know where it is.
  • Take Them Out When Swimming – More than one retainer has ended up lost in the ocean surf, the bottom of a lake or public pool. Don’t let the next one be yours!
  • Don’t Put It In Your Pocket - Your retainer is more fragile than you think. Placing it in your pocket often leads to loss or breakage. Just imagine the look on your Mom’s face when she discovers that she tossed that pair of jeans or jacket in the washer and dryer without knowing the retainer is tuck away in the pocket. Let’s just say that story doesn’t end well.
  • Don’t Throw It In Your Sports/Gym Bag – Let’s face it, your smelly gym bag is no place for your retainer! Picture the contents of that gym bag . . . dirty sneakers, empty food wrappers, and a host of other undesirable things. Once your retainer is in there, you’re likely to damage, forget or misplace it.
  • Clean It With Luke Warm – NOT HOT WATER -  While keeping your retainer clean and bright is important, never use hot water to clean it or boil it to sterilize. Heat will distort and damage your retainers. Instead, soak your retainers in a denture cleaning product like Efferdent® once a week to keep them clean.
  • Don’t Leave It In The Hot Car – Temperatures in a closed car during the summer can reach temperatures in excess of 130 degrees. Retainers will melt in these temperatures, so remember to take them with you.
  • Label Your Retainer Case – If you do happen to misplace your retainer, your chances of having someone return it are much greater if your name, phone number and/or email address are on the case.
  • Don’t Forget To Wear It – If you are wearing your retainer when you’re supposed to, you’re much less likely to lose it.  Make wearing your retainer as prescribed your new healthy habit!
  • Always Keep Your Retainer In Its Case When Not In Your Mouth – This is Dr. Stephen Godwin’s number one rule! Your case is designed to keep your retainer safe when it’s not in your mouth, so remember to use it.

If you do happen to have a retainer mishap over the summer, make sure you contact us as soon as possible so that we can schedule an appointment to make a replacement appliance. Remember, every day that your retainer is not being worn, tooth movement is occurring. So don’t delay, call the team at Bel Air Orthodontics today if you have any questions about your retainer wear and care. We hope you have a safe, fun-filled summer!

Say Cheese . . . It's National Smile Month

June 1st, 2021

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.

Does Your Child Need Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?

May 12th, 2021

When most people think about orthodontics, they imagine teenagers getting their first set, or adults who want to correct their smiles later in life. Rarely does the thought take you to a child who still has some baby teeth in their mouths. With that in mind, it may surprise you to learn that some developmental problems are best treated at any early age, often in two separate phases.

What is Two-Phase orthodontic treatment?

Two phase orthodontic treatment refers to a specialized process combining tooth straightening along with physical and facial changes. The purpose of this approach is to take advantage of unique opportunities your child’s growing facial structure provides. Because they are growing rapidly, children benefit enormously from orthodontic appliances that modify the relationship between upper and lower jaws, balance the face and develop room for erupting teeth.

Phase One

The phrase “timing is everything” is relevant in a lot of situations, including planning orthodontic treatment for your children. When working towards a straighter, healthier smile, the first step should be an initial comprehensive evaluation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Stephen Godwin. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven to determine if there is a problem that would benefit from early treatment, and we agree. Early evaluation gives us the chance to find and diagnose many common dental issues before they have a chance to become more serious and require more intensive treatment.

This early intervention consists of a first phase of treatment when both permanent and baby teeth are present. Phase One treatment involves the patient's muscles and jaws more than the teeth, although some concerns regarding tooth positioning may be addressed. The goal of this first phase of treatment is to create the healthiest environment possible for the eruption of permanent teeth. It is not intended to eliminate all future orthodontic needs. Catching and treating conditions such as jaw discrepancies or overcrowding issues early-on is the most effective way to achieve lasting results.

First phase treatment is indicated in cases of:

  • Severely protruding upper teeth
  • Severe crowding
  • Crossbites
  • Lower teeth impinging on the roof of the mouth
  • Openbites
  • Jaw disharmony
  • Teeth not erupting and/or erupting out of normal position

Phase Two

The second phase is where everything begins to come together. Phase-Two treatment, when warranted, will usually be initiated once your child’s permanent teeth have erupted, typically around age 11 or 12 . The second orthodontic phase involves correction of tooth position, space closure, and other refinements which are important to function and stability. This phase will incorporate treatments that will look more familiar, such as full upper and lower braces.

Some of the major advantages of two-phase treatment are:

  • Reduces the need to remove permanent teeth
  • Improved self-image during the formative years
  • Lessens the risk of tooth fracture
  • Improves ability to bite and chew
  • Often decreases the time required in full braces
  • Improves speech development

If you have concerns about your child's dental development, call Bel Air Orthodontics at 410-838-2244 to schedule a complimentary initial examination with Dr. Stephen Godwin or contact us through our website here. Together, we will help your child develop safely and properly, so they can have the most attractive and functional smile possible.For additional information on two-phase orthodontic treatment visit our website.

The Seemingly Perfect Pitch . . . A Retainer Story Out Of Left Field

April 26th, 2021

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 . . .

A Seemingly Perfect Pitch

I was standing on the pitcher’s mound, ready to deliver the perfect pitch to my younger  cousin, David. He lifted his bat with confidence, and with my eyes glued to the catcher’s glove, I threw the first pitch. WHAM, the ball soared high, stretching across the clear blue sky. It looked so gracious gliding into the horizon until we realized that the ball was heading straight for our neighbor’s yard. David and I exchanged  worried looks. “This is bad,” I said. The expression on David’s face said it all.

“What are we going to do?” David said abruptly. I looked around for a second, before making a brave decision.

“I guess I’ll have to climb the fence,” I croaked. I started for the fence, trying to conceal the fear within my body. When I finally reached the fence and started climbing, I remembered that our neighbor had huge dogs that he kept outdoors. It’s not that I have anything against large dogs, but these dogs have had a long history of abuse from what I’ve heard. As soon as I got to the top of the fence, my jeans  got caught on a strip of metal. I fell to the opposite side putting a minor tear in the left leg of my jeans. To my surprise, the dogs were nowhere in sight. I got up slowly and started creeping up to the baseball, only to trip on an old galvanized bucket that was lying in the yard. I held my breath, but there was still no sign of the dogs. “I was one lucky duck” I thought.

I shot right back up, brushed the dirt off my jeans, and trudged toward the ball. I picked it up and took a deep breath. I found it hard to suppress a triumphant smile.  I decided that it was time to leave, but as I took my first step toward the fence, a rubber ducky toy was waiting beneath my foot. QUACK! “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I mumbled.

The jingle of dog tags filled the air, followed by agile footsteps. That’s when David yelled, “RUN!” I launched myself toward the fence as the dogs followed a little bit too closely for comfort. I was just about to throw myself onto the fence when one of the dog’s teeth sank right into my behind. I yelped as a surge of pain swept through me. Not only did the dog bite my rump, but it tore the back of my jeans open causing my retainers to fall out of the pocket. The dogs were distracted by the strangle plastic objects so that was my cue to make a hasty escape. I hopped over to the other side of the fence where David welcomed me with open arms and a worried look.

“C’mon David,” I said, “I’ll tell you all about it when we get inside. I think my retainers just saved my life!”