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What Do Your Colors Say About You?

June 4th, 2018

Even if you're not thrilled about having to wear braces, choosing the color of your rubber bands is sure to bring a smile to your face. Whether you want to express your creativity, coordinate your braces with your outfits, or show some serious school spirit, decorating your mouth with colorful rubber bands makes treatment fun. So what do your rubber band colors say about you? Look no further than our rubber band horoscope.

Red - You're intense and forward-thinking. You don't back down no matter how big the challenge that's presented to you. Red is also the color of the heart, so red rubber bands indicate you're a considerate, caring, and loving person.

Orange - You're fearless, optimistic, a little flamboyant and lots of fun. You have a big personality, and you're not concerned about what other people think about you. On the flip side, orange is also the color of balance and energy. That's good -  being flamboyant and fun definitely takes energy!

Green - A green traffic light means go, right? So, you're a person who's always on the move.  It also means you're generous and kind and level-headed. Green is the color of nature and spring, so it  says you love Mother Earth and may be a spiritual person.

Blue - You're conservative, chilled and cool as a cucumber. You're relaxed and calm, even when your mom says you can't chew any gum or eat popcorn while you're in braces.

Purple - You're the creative type, for sure. You beat to a different drummer and think outside the box. It says you're mysterious, imaginative and like to have fun. Purple is the color of royalty, and when you wear your purple rubber bands you are royally cool!

Pink - You're a romantic at heart and you have a caring personality. You also enjoy having fun with silly games and endless laughter.

Color Combinations - With so many color options, it can be hard to pick just one color. So how do you decide? Luckily, Dr. Godwin and his team allow you to decorate your teeth with two colors. You might choose the colors of your favorite sports team or holiday colors like red and green. If you're still stumped as to what colors to choose, ask the team at Bel Air Orthodontics to give you a few suggestions. We can let you in on all the latest trends!

Caring For Your Invisalign Aligners

May 21st, 2018

In the last two decades, Invisalign® has emerged as the popular, new way to straighten teeth. Invisalign® aligners are made from a clear, thermoplastic material that is custom-made to fit your teeth. Unlike convention braces, they’re nearly invisible and removable which makes them more convenient for many teen and adult patients. However, because they are removable, they do require a higher level of responsibility by the wearers and do require special care. To achieve the best smile results, proper handling and care of your Invisalign aligners is vital.

Follow These Steps To Care For Your Aligners:

Keep Your Aligners Clean

Invisalign aligners are almost like a second set of teeth. They’re exposed to the same bacteria and plaque your mouth is, so you need to clean them as regularly as you clean your teeth to keep them stain and odor free. Brush your aligners gently with a toothbrush and soap in cool water whenever they are removed. If you are somewhere that this is not possible, rinse the aligners and your mouth with water after eating and drinking. Ideally, you should soak them in a mild cleaning solution such as Retainer Brite or Efferdent while you have them removed to remove excess plague buildup.

Don’t soak your aligners in mouthwash. Many popular mouthwashes contain a color pigment. There’s a possibility that soaking Invisalign aligners in mouthwash will tint or stain them.The cases that you use to store your aligners should also be rinsed after each use.

Keep Your Teeth Clean

The beauty of Invisalign® is that you can eat whatever you want while your aligners are removed. However, you don’t want your teeth to marinate in food residue that’s trapped between your aligners and your teeth. Always remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything other than plain water. Eating while wearing your aligners will cause sugar and other food particles to stay on your teeth which can contribute to plaque and tooth decay. You should also be mindful that food and beverages can quickly stain your teeth and your aligners. You’ll want to brush, or at least rinse, your teeth after every meal or snack to avoid these potential problems.

Keep Aligners in Clean, Safe Places

  • When aligners are removed, they should always be kept in bacteria-free, safe zones such as the case provided by our office. Leaving them out on the bathroom sink or the kitchen table is like putting out the welcome mat for bacteria. Plus, no one wants to look at your aligners while they’re eating.
  • Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible which means that they can easily become lost or broken without proper care. We suggest that you keep the storage case with you at all times; never wrap your aligners in a napkin, and keep them away heat, such as a hot car or hot water, which can damage or distort them.
  • Keeping them out of each of small children and pets is also a good idea. Dogs love to adopt clear aligners as chew toys!

Invisalign is a convenient and affordable way to straightened your teeth. While there is more responsibility involved, particularly in taking care of your aligners, it’s still a great orthodontic option for many adults. Just follow these simple tips to keep your aligners looking pristine. Your smile will be the better for it.

For more tips for a successful Invisalign experience and to learn how you can enjoy all the benefits Invisalign has to offer, contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

Congratulations, You Just Got Braces! Now What Can You Eat?

April 30th, 2018

Now that you're wearing braces, it's important for you to avoid eating foods that are sticky, hard, crunchy or chewy. So, what does that leave for you to eat? Luckily, there was someone else wondering the same thing when she first got braces. A food-loving thirteen year old, Brenda Waterman, decided she was going to find a way to have her cake and eat it too, so she and her mother created a variety of braces-friendly recipes that allow you to enjoy many of your favorite treats without causing havoc for your braces.

Their cookbook, The Braces Cookbook: Recipes You (and Your Orthodontist) Will Love, gives orthodontic patients a variety of delicious recipes that are safe to eat with braces. From Be-Nice-To-Me Beverages to Definitely Deserved Desserts, each section includes simple directions, ingredient substitution tips, and some fun orthodontic tooth trivia. Their cookbook also includes tips and advice for packing lunches, what to eat at parties, and braces-friendly restaurant dishes. So, don't worry - there are still plenty of great foods that you can eat during your orthodontic care. Here's a delicious sneak peak recipe from The Braces Cookbook:

Marvelous Molasses Cookies - This was the very first soft-cookie recipe that Brenda's mom collected back in the mid-60's. These molasses marvels melt in your mouth, always stay soft, and have an aroma that is wonderful even before baking. Yum . . . the best of gingerbread and ginger snaps in one!

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl using an electric mixer, combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, salt, and molasses and beat until fluffy. Add cinnamon and ginger. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the baking soda into the warm water; add this water mixture to the molasses mixture alternately with the flour until well blended. Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

When Brenda's mother, Pam Waterman, got braces, she decided to expand her repertoire to include gourmet soft food recipes for the discerning adult palate. In her new cookbook, The Braces Cookbook 2: Comfort Food with a Gourmet Touch, Pam and Chef Amee Hoge created 50 exciting dishes that you can dress up or down, depending on your time, energy and preferences. In this book, Pam includes tips and suggestions for handling the challenges of business lunches and dealing with oral hygiene in the office and on the road. It's a terrific resource for adults who want to straighten their teeth without missing the enjoyment of delicious food.

Both books are available for purchase online or at a bookstore near you. They are also on display in our reception room for your enjoyment. If you have any questions about foods that are safe to eat during your orthodontic treatment, feel free to ask Dr. Stephen Godwin or the team members at Bel Air Orthodontics.

Orthodontic Emergency? We're Here To Help!

April 19th, 2018

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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