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About Orthodontics

Retaining Your New Smile

January 16th, 2019

Even though your braces have been removed, your orthodontic treatment isn’t quite finished yet. Retainers must be worn routinely after treatment in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments, and bones adapt. You’ll be required to wear your retainer full time (twenty-four hours a day) for the first six months (except while eating and brushing your teeth), after which your wear time will typically be reduced to just at night while you sleep.

Why do I need retainers?

Your teeth will shift and become crooked again if you do not wear your retainers.  Bone remodeling around the roots of your teeth allows the braces to move your teeth.  Research demonstrates that remodeled bone requires up to six months to regain original strength.   As the bone restores its strength, your retainers maintain your beautiful smile by holding the crowns of your teeth in their proper position.

Removable Retainers

The main advantage of removable retainers is their ease of use. You can take them out when you eat and when you brush and floss your teeth. Most importantly, removable retainers need to be used as directed to be effective. There are downsides to using a removable retainer, however. They can easily be forgotten at times; and if you are not wearing them as prescribed, they can't do their job of retaining your teeth. Even worse, because they are removable, they are easy to misplace.

Types of Removable Retainers

  • Essix (Clear) Retainers: The Essix retainer is a clear, removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. Similar to clear aligner trays, Essix retainers contain no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements, and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding at night.
  • Hawley Retainers: The Hawley is one of the most common types of removable retainer. It consists of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six front teeth and an acrylic framing to hold it in place. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large selection of colors or patterns.

Permanent (Bonded) Retainers

Permanent retainers are placed onto the inside surface of your top and bottom front six teeth. They are made of small, thin brackets which are connected with a wire. Once your permanent retainers are placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since they are permanently affixed to your teeth. Because teeth start to shift naturally as we age, permanent retainers typically offer better long-term results for keeping your teeth straight than removable ones do. You can’t forget to put it in; it’s already there!

Retainers help to maintain your new, healthy smile; but they only work if you wear them as prescribed. You've worked hard for that great smile, so don't take any chances. Remember to keep your retention appointments and follow Dr. Godwin's instructions, and you can have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!

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!

Improve Your Smile . . . Improve Your Life

August 22nd, 2018

The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is a beautiful smile and a good bite—meaning straight teeth that mesh well with the teeth in the opposite jaw and look great. A good bite makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak. It not only improves your dental health but your overall health as well.

Wear Your Smile With Pride

Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, studies prove that it's one of the first things others notice about you.  Many people find a beautiful smile adds to self-confidence, self-esteem and can even lead to career advancement.

Make Your Mouth Healthy

Straight teeth aren't just attractive, they're healthy as well. Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a "bad bite," a condition known as a malocclusion that involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. Correcting the problem can create a great looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment gives you a healthier mouth. That's because crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and possibly tooth loss. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they'll last.

Feel Free To Live Your Life

Orthodontics is easier today than ever before with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and your schedule. Whether your looking for traditional braces or a nearly invisible, removable option such as Invisalign®, we can personalize your treatment to suit your needs. As part of your comprehensive dental care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain your teeth, and your smile, for a lifetime.

An orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Godwin is easy to set up, and better yet…it comes at no cost!  Give us a call to schedule your complimentary initial consultation today.

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

August 24th, 2017

When patients come to our office for their first orthodontic assessment, we’re often asked, “How did my teeth get crooked to begin with?” Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons, ranging from genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral diseases. Here's an overview of the common causes of crooked, twisted or overlapped teeth:


The most frequent cause of crooked teeth is genetics. Most of us have about as much control over how our teeth develop as we do over the color of our hair or our eyes! The dental traits that can lead to the crowding of teeth and jaw misalignment are often inherited from our parents.

Crooked teeth are also, in some cases, related to the size of our mouths. If your mouth is too small, there’s a greater chance of crowded teeth that can then cause other teeth to shift from their normal position. Misaligned jaws can also lead to issues like underbites and overbites – abnormal protrusions which result in the upper or lower teeth extending beyond each other.

Bad Habits

Some habits that form during infancy can create a ripple effect that won’t become noticeable until many years later. This can apply to infants that often suck their thumb or fingers for comfort, or use a pacifier for self-soothing, especially if this habit extends well into toddlerhood. Although these behaviors seem harmless (and even helpful to tired parents) they can often lead to the child developing crooked teeth as they grow older.

There are other, mostly unconscious, habits that can contribute to an ongoing misalignment of the jaw and crowding of the teeth, and they include things like breathing through the mouth, tongue thrusting, and reverse swallowing.


The permanent teeth underneath your baby teeth are directly affected by the health of those baby teeth. If these baby teeth are prematurely lost due to decay, trauma, or other factors, the permanent teeth will shift when they start moving upward. We look at baby teeth like small anchors for permanent teeth that should help to guide them as they erupt through the gums. If those anchors are missing, the permanent teeth may come up in unexpected places.

In addition, taking excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having healthy permanent teeth free of discoloration or decay. Harmful oral bacteria is able to spread into the gums and reach permanent teeth still buried there. Once it attaches to a tooth’s enamel, the bacteria will begin eroding it even before it has a chance to fully erupt.

Illness or injury

Facial trauma, such as a jaw injury or mouth injury, can have the effect of moving teeth out of place. Losing teeth or having your jaw shift due to injury or illness often means that the remaining teeth will slowly shift to make up for that lost space over time. Seeking out orthodontic treatment for these issues is especially important because our bodies compensate for harm much more quickly than the slower changes that happen from genes or bad habits.

Can crooked teeth be prevented?

Dental abnormalities such as underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are often inherited traits that can’t be avoided. Orthodontic treatment with braces will be necessary to correct the condition once your child is old enough to wear them. However, certain early childhood behaviors that may also contribute to the development of crooked teeth can be avoided. These include:

  • Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Losing baby teeth to decay before permanent teeth have naturally pushed them out of their sockets.
  • Allowing pacifier use to continue after front teeth have erupted

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment

Once Dr. Godwin has fully examined your issues, he’ll be able to establish a diagnosis, followed by outlining the best treatment for your teeth or misaligned jaw. Depending on the gravity of the problem, treatment could range from something as simple as a retainer, to something as commonplace as braces, to a more complex option like oral surgery.

While orthodontic treatment can begin at any age, there is definitely a recommended time to begin treatment. Starting at an early age ensures the best possible result, often with the least amount of cost. The American Association of Orthodontists has recommended that children receive their first orthodontic evaluation at the first sign of a problem, usually between ages 7 and 8. Issues like crooked or crowded teeth can benefit greatly from this kind of early intervention and possible treatment. If problems are discovered, it is not unusual to begin orthodontic treatment at that age. In fact, specific conditions such as crossbites and crowding of the teeth are easier to correct at an early age. Early treatment also benefits from the growth process of the jaw which helps move teeth to normal positions.

If you have questions about your child’s teeth, get in touch with Bel Air Orthodontics today to schedule a complimentary initial consultation to find out what we can offer you. We’re here to make sure your child grows up with a beautiful, straight, and most importantly, healthy smile.

Great Granddad's Braces Making A Comeback?

March 1st, 2017

Styles come and styles go. Skinny jeans and retro sunglasses made a comeback, so will we start seeing 1920's orthodontic hardware popping up in mouths from Maryland to Manhattan?

You decide.... At left is a set of full-banded braces, circa 1929, fashioned from metals including gold bands on the top teeth.  At right is an example of modern braces featuring translucent brackets and the heat-activated nickel-titanium wires developed through NASA. We think you'll agree: Braces have come a long way!

Today braces have been embraced as a modern-day fashion statement and are considered "a cool thing to have" by the younger generation. And it's not just children and teenagers who are happy to wear braces -  twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients are now adults who are choosing orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles. No wonder it's socially acceptable, with Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise, Faith Hill and Britney Spears strutting the red carpet with their dazzling braces-filled smiles. After all, who doesn't want to look like a movie star!

Studies show that a combination of factors have contributed to the current acceptance of orthodontic appliances. First, the technology has improved considerably over the past 20 years or more. Not only have traditional braces become more lightweight and discrete, but they have become more effective, leading to shorter treatment times with less discomfort. And of course there are now a range of less conspicuous methods of straightening teeth, from clear ceramic braces to virtually invisible options such as Invisalign®. Secondly, a greater awareness of the health importance of having good teeth has made people more open to orthodontic treatment. And last but not least, as more people are opting for orthodontic treatment the likelihood of being teased in the schoolyard for having braces has dramatically decreased. Today's youth agree that all the cool kids are doing it.

Chances are, your great-grandfather's braces won't make a comeback any time soon. If you'd like to learn more about today's orthodontic treatment options and which one is right of you or your child, contact us today to schedule a complimentary initial exam.

Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Braces Clean

February 1st, 2017

It's National Dental Health Month, and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics thought it would be a great time to share some oral hygiene tips.

Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to keeping your teeth clean. It is essential that you put some extra effort into preventing tooth decay while wearing braces. When your braces are finally removed, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here are a few tips to help you keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces:

The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, Nothing But The Tooth

When you brush, take time with each individual tooth and pay careful attention to the spots around the braces where food can become trapped. Brush for two to five minutes using a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for best results. Using an oral rinse every day will help too. Rinsing with mouthwash helps to disinfect the entire mouth, including the spots under the braces where you brush can't always reach.

It's All About The Angles

Place your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole t00th. It's important to clean the front surface, inner surface (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. Be sure to clean along the gum line - a key spot for plaque buildup. Don't forget to also brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth.

Brush After Every Meal

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it's important that you take the time to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth. These food bits interact with the natural bacteria in your mouth and can cause plaque buildup and decay. If you are eating somewhere that you can't brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

Like A Boy Scout, Always Be Prepared

The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep in in your purse, backpack or car.

Fluoride Is Your Friend

Fluoride - a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay - can help keep your teeth strong! Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. When choosing your fluoride products, look for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness.

Pointy Brushes Reach Tiny Places

Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxy brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped, small brushing devices. They come in handy for reaching spots round your braces that standard brushes can't. Feel free to ask our clinical assistants for a sample and instructions for using the interproximal brushes at your next regularly scheduled appointment.

Find The Floss That's Right For You

Regular floss works for many patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patient like the all-in-one products, such as Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces. These products are relatively inexpensive and available at your local drugstore, so try them all to see which one works best for you.

Be Gentle With Your Teeth

Always avoid biting pens and other hard objects, and use your teeth for chewing food only - not as tools to open containers! Also, if you are a habitual tooth-grinder, let us know. We can help you address that habit to protect your teeth.

Eat Braces-Safe Foods

When you have braces, there are certain foods that you must avoid. For starters, sticky foods such as caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and are difficult to remove during brushing. Avoid hard foods too, such as nuts and candy. Those goodies can bend wires and even break a bracket. So just what can you eat? We recommend soft foods that are low in enamel-busting acids, such as bananas, mangoes, milk, poultry and pasta. Don't worry, most of these dietary changes are temporary. Soon you'll be back to eating your favorite foods.

Get Regular Checkups

It's your job to take care of the everyday cleaning, but make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment. Your dentist should be seen twice a year for a deep, thorough cleaning. With professional tools, your dentist hygienist can remove plague and tartar buildup that can form around your braces, bands or other appliances which can lead to cavities. Cavities can prolong your orthodontic treatment, and no one wants that.

As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth healthy during your orthodontic treatment. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know. We're always here to lend a helping hand.

When Are Two Phases Of Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?

December 29th, 2016

Although we can treat dental problems at any age, some developmental problems are best treated in two separate phases. That's why we follow the American of Association's recommendation that every child have an orthodontic evaluation at age seven. Two-phase treatment is a very specialized process designed for young children.  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.

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

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

This early intervention consists of a first phase of treatment when both permanent and baby teeth are present. Phase I 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. By starting early, your child has the best chance for good results. When all conditions warrant beginning a second phase of treatment, a re-evaluation is done and the necessary remaining treatment is determined and a plan established. The second orthodontic phase involves correction of tooth position, space closure, and other refinements which are important to function and stability.

If you have concerns about your child's dental development, call Bel Air Orthodontics at 410-838-2244 to schedule a complimentary initial examination.

Put Your Best Smile Forward With Invisalign

August 1st, 2016

Invisalign® clear aligners are one of our most popular treatments for straightening teeth, and for good reason. In addition to their effectiveness in resolving a wide range of orthodontic issues, they are also clear, comfortable, and removable!

It is no wonder that Invisalign is one of the requested aesthetic treatments in our office. More than 2.5 million patients worldwide have been treated with Invisalign, and that number grows daily.

Why choose Invisalign for your treatment?

Since Invisalign aligners are discreet, they are hardly noticeable when you speak and smile, and because they are removable, you can eat and drink whatever you want. Just remember to brush and floss before putting your aligners back in. Treatment with Invisalign a great alternative to metal braces, and the results are just as amazing!

Invisalign Treatment Details

Invisalign’s virtually invisible aligners are made of a thermoplastic material uniquely developed for the Invisalign® treatment plan. They look similar to teeth-whitening trays. Over the course of treatment, you will be supplied with a series of aligners. When the aligners are placed on your teeth, they cause them to shift gradually from their current positions. After about two to four weeks, you will switch to the next set of aligners, which continue the teeth-straightening process. For the best results and a timely outcome, you need to wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day.

Visits to our office are a necessary part of any orthodontic treatment plan. We will schedule regular appointments to see you, usually about once every four to six weeks, to make sure your treatment is progressing according to plan.

The length of your Invisalign treatment depends on the severity of your case and can only be determined during your consultation at our office; however, the average case takes about 12 - 18 months to complete for adults.

We are proud to offer Invisalign as a safe, effective way for our patients to achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted. Find out what Invisalign® can do for you by contacting our office and scheduling a complimentary initial consultation.

An Overview of Orthodontic Appliances

June 1st, 2016

Orthodontic treatment corrects the alignment of your teeth and jaws so that you can speak clearly, chew food effectively, and look attractive when you smile. This is done by putting sophisticated gadgets in your mouth. While many of these dental devices look similar, Dr. Godwin uses a wide variety of orthodontic appliances to straighten your teeth and repair jaw problems.

Orthodontic appliances are devices that move your teeth, change the position of your jaw, or hold your teeth in their finished positions after the orthodontist removes your braces. These devices may be attached to your teeth or removable.

Braces straighten your teeth. Options range from traditional metal braces, made of high-grade stainless steel, to ceramic braces made of clear materials that are less visible on your teeth than metal braces. Braces straighten your teeth using brackets and archwires.  Spacers are small plastic rings fitted between your back teeth before your braces are placed. These spacers create space between your teeth to optimize the alignment your braces provide.

Retainers hold teeth in their finished position after your braces come off.  A Hawley retainer is the most common type of retainer; it features an acrylic plate that rests against the roof of your mouth and a wire crossing in front of your teeth. Essix retainers are quite popular as well, as they are durable and nearly invisible. Some retainers can even be affixed to the lingual, or tongue side, of your teeth.

Bite plates correct a deep bite, where the upper front teeth come down too far over the lower front teeth to cause bite problems. Holding arches prevent the back teeth from moving forward to crowd the front teeth. A lower lingual holding arch prevents your permanent molars from migrating forward. Other holding appliances can maintain space between teeth after you lose baby teeth and before the permanent teeth come in.

A Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is an appliance that places pressure on the upper jaw (maxilla) by turning a midline screw.  The pressure separates the mid palatal suture making the upper arch wider. It's used to correct crossbites and to create more space for crowded teeth.

Contact our office today to learn more about the orthodontic appliances we use to straighten smiles, and to schedule a complimentary initial evaluation for you or your child.

Orthodontic Misconceptions

May 4th, 2016

When you think of a person wearing braces, the first image that likely pops into your head is an awkward middle-school child with a mouth full of metal brackets and rubber bands. You may be surprised to learn that many of our patients don’t fit that stereotype, however.

We have patients of all ages who take advantage of a broad variety of orthodontic treatments. There are many misconceptions about orthodontics, so we’d like to put a few of them to rest.

Orthodontic treatment is just for kids

Although teenagers often visit our office to get braces, adults represent a growing proportion of our orthodontic patients. Whether you’re eight or 80, a consultation with our orthodontists can identify problems with your teeth, jaws, or bite that can be corrected by orthodontics.

Traditional metal braces are my only option

Advances in orthodontic technology have come up with improved braces and other orthodontic appliances that are much less noticeable than the braces of yesteryear. Aesthetic orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign® clear aligners and clear, ceramic braces are available to you.

Orthodontic treatment is only helpful for crooked teeth

Sure, a crooked smile is a common reason for patients to seek orthodontic care; but orthodontic interventions can help with a range of dental health problems. From missing teeth to overbites and jaw misalignment, we can help with many problems related to your teeth, gums, and jaws. Straight teeth are also easier to keep clean, so there’s less risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Orthodontic treatment is too expensive

As with any medical procedure, orthodontics can be pricey. However, our team works with patients to identify affordable payment plans, insurance coverage, and third-party financing that reduce the financial burden.

Don’t let preconceived ideas about braces deter you from getting the orthodontic care you need! Call Bel Air Orthodontics today to schedule a visit.

Invisalign® - Designed To Fit Your Teeth And Your Life

March 16th, 2016

The fact is, most of us aren't born with a red carpet smile; and that's where Dr. Stephen Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics can help.  It's no secret that braces make your teeth strong, healthy and beautifully aligned,  but did you know you can get the beautiful straight teeth you've always wanted without traditional braces?

We're proud to offer a clear alternative option for straightening teeth called Invisalign®, which uses a series of nearly-invisible, removable aligners that no one can tell you're wearing. Today, we thought we would answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about Invisalign®.

Q: How is Invisalign® treatment different than traditional braces?

A: Not only does Invisalign effectively straighten teeth, Invisalign aligners are comfortable and durable, and provide patients the opportunity to enjoy their favorite activities such as sports and playing instruments, activities that can be challenging while wearing braces. Also, Invisalign's near-invisibility is a popular feature. Treatment is very inconspicuous, making it easier to fit in rather than call attention to treatment. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, patients can remove them at meal times, as well as properly brush and floss to maintain healthy hygiene during treatment. Finally, Invisalign treatment has fewer emergencies because there are no wires or brackets to break.

Q: How does Invisalign® work?

A: Using proprietary 3D computer imaging technology, Dr. Godwin will to map out a precise treatment plan from start to finish.  Based on your individual treatment plan, a series of custom-made, clear BPA-free plastic aligners is created specifically for you. As you wear each set of aligners, your teeth gently and gradually begin to shift into place. Approximately every two weeks you will begin using the next set of aligners which will continue the teeth straightening process and ultimately give you the smile you've always wanted.

Q: How long does treatment take?

A:  The length of treatment depends on the severity of each case and can only be determined after an comprehensive evaluation with Dr. Godwin. Choosing to straighten your teeth with Invisalign is an important decision. That's why we'd like you to take the time to learn everything you need to know before making that decision. For more information, call our office to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Why Should You Care About Straight Teeth?

March 7th, 2016

It goes without saying that straight teeth are attractive, but there are many other reasons why you should care about straight teeth. Straight teeth help you to effectively bite, chew and speak. They also contribute to healthy teeth and gums, and may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Teeth that work better also tend to look better - a nice "side effect" of orthodontic treatment.

An Attractive Smile Is A Wonderful Asset

Think the way your teeth look doesn't really matter? Survey says: think again. According to a study conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists, people often make snap judgements about an individual based solely on the condition of their teeth. The study also confirmed that a healthy, attractive smile contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image which are important qualities at every age. A person's self-esteem often improves as orthodontic treatment brings the teeth, lips, and face into proportion. In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve a person's general attitude towards life.

Straight Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

You may be surprised to learn that straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease and injury. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain, so they are prone to more plaque, a colorless, sticky film composed of bacteria, food and saliva. Decay results when the bacteria in plaque feed on carbohydrates (sugar and starch) we eat or drink to produce acids that can cause cavities. Plaque can also increase the risk of periodontal (gum) disease.When teeth are properly aligned, these risks decline, resulting in better oral health.

Properly Aligned Teeth = Better Physical Health

Studies show that properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Aligned teeth create a better bite, which can reduce stress and strain on your supporting bone and gum tissue. When left untreated, many minor orthodontic problems may become worse, contributing to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing, and misalignment of the jaw joints. This can lead to speech difficulties, digestive issues, chronic headaches or pain in the face of neck.

According to the American Association, straight teeth may also reduce injuries to teeth. Protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in an accident. Proper tooth alignment reduces the risk of tooth fracture.

For many, treatment by an orthodontic specialist is less costly than the additional dental care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years. So, no matter what age you are, it is never to early or late to enhance your smile. To learn  more about how orthodontics can enhance your smile and dental health, call to schedule your complimentary initial exam.

Understanding Retainers After Braces

November 18th, 2015

If you recently completed treatment with Bel Air Orthodontics, we'd like to congratulate you! Now that your braces have been successfully removed, Dr. Godwin will or has provided you with retainers.

After braces are removed, your teeth can shift out of position if they are not stabilized. Retainers provide that stabilization. They are designed to hold teeth in their corrected, ideal positions until the bones and gums adapt to the treatment changes.

Wearing retainers exactly as instructed, says Dr. Godwin, is the best insurance that the treatment improvements last for a lifetime.

To learn more about retainers, the advantages of wearing retainers after your orthodontic treatment, and how to properly care for them, visit the Retainer Instructions section of our website.

Orthodontic Misconceptions

August 6th, 2015

When you think of a person wearing braces, the first image that likely pops into your head is an awkward middle-school child with a full mouth full of metal brackets and elastics. The good number of our patients don't fit that stereotype, however.

We have patients of all ages who take advantage of a broad variety of orthodontic treatments. There are many misconceptions about orthodontics, so we'd like to put a few of them to rest.

Myth #1 - Orthodontic Treatment is Just For Kids

Although teenagers often visit our office to get braces, adults represent a growing proportion of our orthodontic patients. Whether you're seven or 70, a consultation with Dr. Godwin can identify problems with your teeth, jaws, or bite that can be corrected by orthodontics.

Myth #2 - Traditional Metal Braces Are My Only Option

Advances in orthodontic technology have come up with improved braces and other high-tech orthodontic appliances that are much less noticeable than the braces of yesteryear. Aesthetic orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign® clear aligners and ceramic braces are available to you.

Myth #3 - Orthodontic Treatment Is Only Helpful For Crooked Teeth

Sure, a crooked smile is a common reason for patients to seek orthodontic care, but orthodontic interventions can help with a range of dental health problems. From missing teeth to overbites and jaw misalignment, we can help with many problems related to your teeth, gums, and jaws. Straight teeth are also easier to keep clean, so there's less risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Myth #4 - Orthodontic Treatment Is Too Expensive

As with any medical procedure, orthodontics can be pricey. However, our team will work with you to identify convenient payment plans, insurance coverage and third-party financing that can make orthodontic treatment affordable. Orthodontics is one of the best investments you can make in yourself or your child's future, and we will work with you to create a payment plan that meets your specific needs.

Don't let preconceived ideas about braces deter you from getting the orthodontic care you need and the smile you deserve. Call our office today to schedule your complimentary orthodontic evaluation.

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