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Life with Braces

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!

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.

Back To School With Braces

September 5th, 2018

With the start of a new school year, parents and kids everywhere are heading out to stock up on back-to-school supplies. If you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, we'd suggest adding a few extra supplies to your backpack. Here's a list of items that will help make your school year braces-friendly and worry free:

Orthodontic wax - Sometimes braces can be irritating to the mouth. If you have a poking wire or a loose bracket, a small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer for your gums. It will keep you in school and out of discomfort until you can visit our office for repair.

Elastics (rubber bands) - If Dr. Godwin has prescribed elastics, they must be worn as instructed. Often, they are worn 24/7, except while eating and brushing your teeth. During the school day, you should remove the elastics for lunch, but don't forget to replace them with fresh, clean elastics when you are through. Packing an extra bag of elastics will ensure that you have them available at all times.

Travel toothbrush and Floss - Keeping your teeth and braces clean throughout orthodontic treatment is a priority. Besides that, your friends and teachers don't want to look at food stuck to your braces - Yuk!  Keep your teeth and Dr. Godwin happy . . . Remember to brush after every meal.

Floss Threaders and Interproximal Brushes -  Orthodontic appliances can often make flossing and brushing more challenging. Products like floss threaders and proxy brushes can help take the hassle out of cleaning around brackets and wires. Proxy brushes are great for removing trapped food particles that can get lodged in and around orthodontic appliances. Floss threaders and products like Oral-B Superfloss are made with special, rigid ends that make flossing with braces much easier and more effective.

Retainer case - If you are wearing removable orthodontic appliances, you'll need to take them out before eating lunch. When retainers or other removable appliances are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Most retainers are lost in school cafeterias or restaurants, so keep yours safe . . . Take your retainer case to school!

Braces-friendly snacks and/or lunches - Pack non-stick snacks and lunches that are easy to chew and won't damage your orthodontic appliances. Don't forget to stay away from sugary drinks and treats that can lead to cavities. There are lots of braces-friendly alternatives. For more ideas, visit bracescookbook.com

If you have any questions, or need any of the above items for your backpack, feel free to contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics. We hope you have a fun and successful school year!

Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Retainer Safe This Summer

July 2nd, 2018

Summer is in full swing! It’s time for lazy days by the pool, summer camp 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 that 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. 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 us today if you have any questions about your retainer wear and care. We hope you have a safe, fun-filled summer!

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!

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.

It's National Facial Protection Month - Here's How You Can Play It Safe

April 9th, 2018

April is National Facial Protection Month, and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics want to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports. Whether at practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood, a sports-related injury can happen in an instant. That's why it's important to take precautions to protect your face and teeth from injury. Dr. Godwin suggests you take these simple steps to prevent injuries so you can stay in the game:

  • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports; if you have braces, make sure you use a mouthguard designed specially for orthodontic patients;
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets reduce of risk of head injury by absorbing the energy of an impact.
  • Wear protective eye wear. According to the Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries, protective eye wear designed specifically for the sport can prevent more than 90 percent of all eye injuries;
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin;
  • Be alert - as a player or spectator!

Did You Know? . . .

  • Athletes who don't wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. Mouthguards are particularly important if you are in orthodontic treatment.  A minor blow to the face can be uncomfortable if you don't have braces; but add metal to the mix and a minor blow to the face can leave you with abrasions and cuts inside your mouth from your soft tissue being pressed against the brackets and wires on your teeth;
  • Sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits in children ages 12 to 17 according to the Center for Disease Control;
  • Whatever your sport, the right protective gear can save your teeth, your face, and even your life. If you or your child suffers dental trauma such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, Dr. Godwin suggests that you contact your dentist for immediate attention. For those in braces, it's also important to contact our office to schedule an appointment for repair since damage to braces can lengthen treatment time and affect treatment results.

About National Facial Protection Month: Every April, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Society, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry team up to remind parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of taking precautions to preserve their teeth and protect them from facial injuries.

Eat Healthy Food - Your Teeth Will Thank You!

February 19th, 2018

Having a consistent, healthy diet, is good for your body AND for your smile. Many people don’t realize how important their food is for their teeth. Just like unhealthy food can cause your enamel to wear away and stains to occur, healthy foods can keep your teeth strong and can even make them whiter.

Some of the best foods for healthy teeth may come as a surprise. These foods are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet and make the effects of your good oral hygiene that much more effective. Other than maintaining your teeth by brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist twice each year, adding these nutritious bites will make a huge difference in the health of your teeth.

Enjoy Calcium-Filled Dairy Products

Cheese - If you're one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. For one, it is low in sugar and high in calcium and protein, but that’s not all. Cheese is also an essential part of a healthy diet because it contains casein, which is a protein that is particularly useful for fortifying the tooth enamel. An American Academy of General Dentistry study published in the May/June 2013 found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects' mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay.

Yogurt - Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. Yogurt is a tasty treat that also contains something called phosphates, which actually work to remineralize teeth. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar and top it off with some fresh fruit.

Eat Your Leafy Greens

It turns out the Popeye was right – eating leafy greens, such as spinach and kale helps promote oral health. They're full of vitamins and minerals and are high in calcium, which builds your tooth's enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. In addition to vitamins, eating leafy greens gives you a boost of antioxidants. These substances remove damaging oxidizing agents from your body. The benefits of antioxidants extend to healthy teeth and gums too. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad, throw some kale on a pizza, or try adding some greens to a smoothie.

Use Natural Scrubbers

While the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples and pears, might be sweet, but they're also high in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of these fruits also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn't the same as brushing your teeth, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack some apple slices in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.

Crunchy vegetables, like carrots and celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, but they act a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. They’re also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Having a hard time eating these crunchy fruits and vegetables with braces? Remember to cut them up into bite-size pieces to keep your braces safe.

Think Before You Drink

Along with adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you're drinking. Soda and sports drinks are bad news for your teeth, and NOT recommended particularly while you’re in braces. Some all-natural fruit juices are also loaded with sugar and acid as well. Sugary drinks contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity. Consider milk or water instead. Milk offers protein and almost half of your daily calcium.

Taking the time to think through what you’re eating every day is really important for both your oral and overall health. You may already eat some of these great foods for your teeth, but it doesn't hurt to add all of them to your diet and create the healthiest smile ever. If you're still not sure what to eat while you have braces, just ask. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics is here to help!

What Role Do Elastics Play In Orthodontics?

January 29th, 2018

It is not unusual for elastics (a.k.a. rubber bands) to be prescribed as part of your orthodontic treatment when you are wearing braces. Your braces, which consist of brackets and wires, work by gently applying pressure to the teeth, and that pressure causes them to move into the correct position. In some cases, elastics are placed on your  braces in strategic places in order to apply additional pressure.

How Elastics Work

Customized for each patient, the elastics typically stretch over tiny loops on the top and bottom brackets. When worn as prescribed, these tiny elastics will apply the gentle and steady pressure needed to guide your teeth into the desired position and align one arch to the other. Without the use of these elastics, you may not be able to achieve the results you want, or you may have to wear braces for a longer period of time.

The Do's and Don'ts

Elastics must be worn as prescribed, and patient cooperation is essential to a successful outcome. Here's how you can do your part:

  • DO - Change your elastics at least once a day. Remember to always wash your hands before removing and replacing the elastics;
  • DON'T - Double up on elastics as this will cause too much pressure on the tooth or teeth and can actually harm the root of the tooth;
  • DO - Get in the habit of carrying around an extra bag of elastics and replace them as soon as one breaks. By consistently wearing your elastics, you may shorten the overall time needed to wear braces;
  • DON'T - Guess how they should be worn. If you are unsure where to place the elastics, call our office immediately so that we can help you get your elastics placed correctly;
  • DO - Remove your elastics when eating and brushing your teeth, but remember to replace them when you are done.
  • DON'T - Overstretch or overuse the same elastics or they will lose their strength and will be ineffective. You can avoid this by changing your elastics daily.
  • DO - Call us immediately if you lose or run out of elastics. Please do not wait until your next regularly scheduled visit.
  • DON'T - Forget to wear them consistently, as directed. By wearing your elastics exactly as prescribed, you will get better, faster, and more comfortable results. Generally, any discomfort from the elastics will disappear within a day or two, so hang in there.
  • DO - Have fun with your braces and elastics. Elastics come in many different colors, so pick your favorite colors and show off your gorgeous smile!

Elastics are a key part of your orthodontic treatment, and learning how to remove and replace them correctly is an important part of your treatment. Before we send you on your journey to a happy, healthy smile, we'll make sure you understand all there is to know about taking care of your  braces. Of course, if you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, be sure to give the team at Bel Air Orthodontics a call.

Got Braces? We've Got The Perfect New Year's Resolutions For You!

January 2nd, 2018

It's that time of year again; a time when we're thinking about those all too familiar New Year's resolutions. Promising to spend less, exercise more and clear the clutter are often at the top of our list, but this year the team at Bel Air Orthodontics has decided to keep our New Year's resolutions easy and entertaining. We've vowed to laugh more, smile often and have more fun. In the spirit of that fun, we came up with a few resolutions for our patients in orthodontic treatment. Tell us what you think, and share your own New Year's resolutions with us on our Facebook page!

  • I will wear my elastics religiously.

  • I will not flick my elastics at my brother or sister!

  • I won't call my orthodontist during the Super Bowl with an emergency.

  • I will brush my teeth at least twice a day for no less than two minutes. (Five minutes would be better!)

  • I won't eat jolly ranchers or other sticky, chewy foods while I have braces.

  • I won't gross out my parents or friends by smiling with food in my braces.

  • I will not lie to my mom when she asks about my brushing.

  • I won't let the dog wear my retainer (or eat it for that matter!)

  • I will remember to wear a mouthguard when playing sports.

  • I will simply stop complaining about my braces!

Happy New Year from the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

Keeping Your Retainers Safe This Holiday Season

November 15th, 2017

The busy holiday season is just around the corner, and so are the social activities and parties that go with it. It's also a time when Bel Air Orthodontics is busy replacing broken or lost retainers. 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! Holiday 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.
  • Don't Put It In Your Pocket - Your retainer is more fragile than you think. Placing it in your pocket  or purse 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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 holidays, 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 us today if you have any questions about your retainer wear and care. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

How To Have A Braces-Safe Halloween

October 25th, 2017

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.

Back-to-School Scheduling

September 13th, 2017

Staying on track with your appointment scheduling is important to the success of your orthodontic treatment. Now that schools are back in session, Dr. Godwin would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports and family responsibilities to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit your orthodontist. After-school appointments are typically filled a month in advance, so remember to plan ahead and schedule your next appointment before leaving the office.

While some orthodontic procedures have special time requirements that may conflict with work or school, we'll do our best to find an appointment time that is convenient for you. For more information on appointment scheduling, visit our website at www.belairortho.com/appointment-scheduling. As always, please remember to give us advance notice if you're unable to make your regularly-scheduled appointment. Early notification allows us to offer your reserved time slot to other patients and permits us to effectively accommodate everyone with busy schedules.

Access Your Appointment Information 24/7

Did you know that patients at Bel Air Orthodontics have access to their appointment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week? From our website's Patient Portal, you can look up your appointments, access your account details, and establish email and/or text reminder preferences with a click of a mouse. If you haven't already signed up for this convenient service, contact our office today to set up your online account login.

We hope you enjoyed the lazy days of summer. Have a great school year!

It's Back-to-School Time . . . Are You Ready?

September 6th, 2017

It's back-to-school time, and parents everywhere are checking school lists, buying classroom must-haves, and scrambling to find that perfect pair of sneakers. If you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, we'd suggest adding a few extra supplies to your backpack. Here's a list of items that will help make your school year braces-friendly and worry-free:

Orthodontic wax - Sometimes braces can be irritating to the mouth. If you have a poking wire or a loose bracket, a small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer for your gums. It will keep you in school and out of discomfort until you can visit our office for repair.

Elastics (rubber bands) - If Dr. Godwin has prescribed elastics, they must be worn as instructed. Often, they are worn 24/7, except while eating and brushing your teeth. During the school day, you should remove the elastics for lunch, but don't forget to replace them with fresh, clean elastics when you are through. Packing an extra bag of elastics will ensure that you have them available at all times.

Travel toothbrush and floss - Keeping your teeth and braces clean throughout orthodontic treatment is a priority. Besides that, your friends and teachers don't want to look at food stuck to your braces - Yuk!  Keep your teeth and Dr. Godwin happy . . . Remember to brush after every meal.

Floss Threaders and Interproximal Brushes -  Orthodontic appliances can often make flossing and brushing more challenging. Products like floss threaders and proxy brushes can help take the hassle out of cleaning around brackets and wires. Proxy brushes are great for removing trapped food particles that can get lodged in and around orthodontic appliances. Floss threaders and products like Oral-B Superfloss are made with special, rigid ends that make flossing with braces much easier and more effective.

Retainer case - If you are wearing removable orthodontic appliances, you'll need to take them out before eating lunch. When retainers or other removable appliances are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Most retainers are lost in school cafeterias or restaurants, so keep yours safe . . . Take your retainer case to school!

Braces-friendly snacks and/or lunches - Pack non-stick snacks and lunches that are easy to chew and won't damage your orthodontic appliances. Don't forget to stay away from sugary drinks and treats that can lead to cavities. There are lots of braces-friendly alternatives. For more ideas, visit bracescookbook.com

If you have any questions, or need any of the above items for your backpack, feel free to contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics. We hope you have a fun and successful school year!

Braces Cookbook 2 - Comfort Food With A Gourmet Touch

May 24th, 2017

While teens with braces may worry about whether their colored rubber bands go with today’s outfit, adults in orthodontic treatment have different concerns, like gracefully making it through business meetings and dinner parties. These issues are becoming more common, as approximately 1 in 5 people in orthodontic treatment are adults, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.

Author Pam Waterman, who spent five years in braces as a teen and one as an adult, recognized how tricky it can be to navigate adulthood with braces. So she teamed up with Chef Amee Hoge to create The Braces Cookbook 2: Comfort Food with a Gourmet Touch.

The result is a creative collection of 50 recipes appropriate for those in braces, including entrees as well as breakfasts, appetizers, desserts and vegetarian dishes. For those looking to expand their cooking skills or impress dinner guests, many of the recipes feature optional gourmet additions courtesy of Chef Hoge, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

The Braces Cookbook 2A robust resource, Cookbook 2 supplements its recipes with survival advice for adults in braces. The authors offer coping techniques for adults in the business world, tips for difficult days, and practical suggestions for dining out and grocery shopping.

Cookbook 2 follows Waterman’s popular The Braces Cookbook: Recipes You (and Your Orthodontist) Will Love, which she co-wrote with her then 12-year-old daughter, Brenda and was directed at children and teens in braces.

Check out these sample recipes; one savory and one sweet:

Crabmeat Appetizers

When you've adjusted to your braces to the point of eating bread (!!), try these quick-to-assemble treats. A few minutes under the broiler, and they're ready to serve. You can also put them together a few hours ahead of time; just cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for a few hours until you're ready to broil them.

2 cans (about 5oz each) flaked crabmeat
1 loaf dark rye party bread (I find it in front of the deli counter. Each slice is about 2" square, and 1/4-inch thick, and there are probably 40 slices in a loaf; one loaf would make a double batch)
1 large cucumber
1 package(8 oz.) sliced Swiss cheese
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (to taste - about 2 Tablespoons)

On a large cookie sheet, lay out 20 slices of the party rye. Peel and slice the cucumbe into 1/4-inch slicesr; lay one slice on each slice of bread. Drain the crabmeat, and mix it with mayo or Miracle Whip to your liking (I go easy on the mayo myself). Put about a tablespoon of the crabmeat mixture on each cucumber. Fold and tear each slice of Swiss cheese into 8 pieces. Lay one slice on each appetizer. Broil until cheese is lightly golden.

Butterscotch Brownies

My mother started making these "non-chocolate" brownies when I was a little girl. Since she in turn has lived with our family since our oldest daughter was one, our girls have renamed them "Grandma's Tannies." By any name, they're fabulous, and oh so soft.

1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
(optional: 1 cup butterscotch bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Baking time 40 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine oil and brown sugar, using an electric mixer and blending well. Add eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt, then add vanilla. Spread batter into a greased 9"x9" pan. If desired, sprinkle 1 cup butterscotch bits over top. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. After cooling one minute, swirl the bits with a knife to give a marbleized effect. Cover pan with foil keep to brownies soft, or cut them in squares and store them in a covered container.

By adapting many of your family favorites into braces-friendly recipes, boring applesauce and mashed potatoes at every meal is a thing of the past. The recipes in this book will quickly become family favorites. Both The Braces Cookbook 2 and the original Braces Cookbook are available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Enjoy!

Debanded At Last - A Tribute To Parents

May 10th, 2017

With Mother's Day just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to share a poem written by a mother of an orthodontic patient. It's a fun tribute to all the parents out there who endure the trials and tribulations of a child in orthodontic care. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Invisalign® - Is It Right For You?

April 26th, 2017

adult invisalignWe believe you’re never too old to straighten your teeth. Many of our patients are adults who are currently undergoing treatment. Did you know that roughly 30 percent of all orthodontic patients these days are adults?

Whether you had braces as a teen but your teeth have shifted, or you have never undergone orthodontics but always wanted to, we can help you enjoy straighter teeth, an improved bite, and a more beautiful smile.

Invisalign® clear aligners are a progressive-phase orthodontic treatment designed for patients who need mild-to-moderate correction of crowded or crooked teeth. This system utilizes a series of custom-made trays that gradually shift your teeth into their targeted positions. Instead of frequently returning to our office to have braces tightened, you simply swap the trays out every few weeks.

Invisalign® clear aligners are a great treatment option for adults. They are easy to wear and are not visible to most people. If you’re considering Invisalign, you’ll need to be diligent about wearing the aligners at all times and make them part of your lifestyle for the duration of treatment.

Among the things, you may worry about with treatments to straighten your teeth is missing out on your favorite foods. This can affect your daily life and make special occasions less fun, as well. The following foods are forbidden with traditional metal braces, but not with Invisalign®!

  • Hard foods, such as candy, uncut carrots and apples, and hard chips
  • Chewy foods, such as bagels and many kinds of meat
  • Sticky foods, such as fruit roll-ups, toffee, bubble gum, and caramels
  • Foods that can get stuck under wires, like popcorn, seeds, and nuts

Don’t let the idea of metal brackets and wires discourage you from seeking orthodontic treatment. With Invisalign®, you can get a perfect smile without anyone knowing!

Braces Care On The Go

March 23rd, 2017

Wearing braces can feel like a major lifestyle adjustment. Suddenly you're faced with situations you never really thought of before. What happens when you indulge in the spinach dip appetizer at your favorite restaurant? How do you handle lunchtime at school, when you're away from the comfort and convenience of your bathroom at home? Fortunately, adapting to life with braces isn't as overwhelming as it may seem. With a little preparation and a few handy supplies, you'll be a braces-wearing pro in no time.

To help make your orthodontic experience as convenient as possible, we'll send you home with a on-the-go braces care kit filled with essential orthodontic items for keeping your braces clean and comfortable.  We’ve also put together this list of helpful tips and additional dental items we recommend that will help you care for your braces while you’re at school or work.

Go Prepared

Remember to take your on-the-go braces care kit with you. It contains a toothbrush, floss, dental wax, interdental proxy brush and brushing timer. When you wear braces, it's much easier for food and bacteria to build up on the teeth throughout the day. Good oral hygiene is incredibly important to keep your smile looking as healthy as possible. You may also want to pack some toothpaste, floss threaders, a retainer case (if needed), and some OTC pain medicine. If your school nurse requires a permission form for over-the-counter medication use during the school day, our office will be happy to make that available to you.

Use Your Time Wisely

Take advantage of breaks and the lunch hour to give your braces and teeth a once over. Make sure you don’t have any food debris caught in your braces, and take the time to brush and floss. If you’ve just had your braces adjusted recently, you may feel some mild discomfort in your gums or cheeks. This is where the OTC medications and wax you packed will come in handy.

Eat the Right Food

You can prevent any possible mishaps or breakages with your braces by steering clear of foods that are sticky, chewy, and crunchy. Gum, candy, popcorn, hard chips, apples that aren’t cut into bite-sized pieces, nuts, beef jerky, and ice fall into this category. The last thing you want is to break a bracket in the middle of the day.

Choose a Removable Option

If you know before you begin orthodontic treatment that traditional braces will be a challenge due to employment and/or social situations, think about trying a removable option. For many adults with hectic schedules, clear Invisalign® aligners are convenient braces-free option. Clear aligners can be just as effective as braces for most teeth-straightening needs, and they can be removed while you’re eating, brushing, and flossing. They also tend to be more comfortable, since they don’t have metal brackets and wires to irritate your gums.

If you follow these tips and stay on your oral health routine at home, you’ll be maximizing the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment but also keeping it as hassle-free as possible. For more information on caring for your braces while on the go, contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

Retaining Your New Smile

March 15th, 2017

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!

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.

Do You Know The "Parts" Of Your Braces? (And Why It's Important)

October 19th, 2016

Loose and/or broken appliances may occur from time to time during your active orthodontic treatment. It is important that you contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics as soon as possible so that we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly for repair. When making that call, it is helpful to know the various parts of your braces so that you can explain your concerns to us in a clear manner.

So, lets review our diagram below to learn more about your braces.

  • Bracket - Small attachments that are bonded to your teeth. Brackets hold the archwire in place .
  • Band - Thin ring of metal fitted around the tooth and cemented in place. They carry tubes, hooks or rotating levers (in other words, they become a handle on your tooth).
  • Archwire - The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment as teeth move to their new positions.
  • Ligature Tie - The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny colored elastic or a twisted wire.
  • Hook - Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.
  • Rubber Bands - Elastic bands that are used to help tooth movement.
  • Buccal Tube - Tube on the molar band that holds the end of the archwire.

If you have any questions about your appliances or your orthodontic treatment, we're here to help. Don't hesitate to give us a call for additional assistance.

What Is Expected Of Me During Orthodontic Treatment?

August 22nd, 2016

During your initial consultation, Dr. Godwin will map out a specific treatment plan for you which includes a timeline of when we expect to complete your treatment.  Like most types of health care, patient cooperation is key in determining the length of treatment and the quality of the outcome.

Creating A Healthy Smile Requires Team Effort & You Are The Key Player

Luckily there are things you can do to ensure that your treatment wraps up in a timely manner and that you have an amazing, healthy smile when braces are removed.  Here's how you can do your part:

  • Make sure to keep your regularly scheduled appointments. Postponing or cancelling can delay treatment;
  • When prescribed, make sure you are diligent about wearing your rubber bands or other appliances according to Dr. Godwin's guidelines;
  • Avoid damage to your braces and teeth by wearing a mouthguard during all sports activities;
  • Steer clear of sticky, chewy or hard foods that can lead to broken brackets and loose wires. Damage to your braces often cause delays in treatment;
  • Keep teeth and gums healthy by brushing and flossing daily, and don't forget to visit your general dentist twice a year for regular dental cleanings;
  • Stay away from sugary and acidic drinks that weaken tooth enamel. Soft drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks contain acid. This acid pulls calcium out of the enamel, dissolves tooth enamel, and causes a process called decalcification. Once enamel is lost, it does not come back - it's permanent!

If you remember to follow these guidelines, you'll be on your way to the dazzling, healthy smile you've always wanted. As for us, out team at Bel Air Orthodontics will do our part to move your orthodontic treatment along efficiently. If you have any questions about your treatment or your responsibilities in care, please feel free to ask.

A Guide To Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

August 10th, 2016

Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your 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 your braces:

Learn Proper Brushing Techniques

Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for best results. Using an oral rinse every day will help, too. Rinsing with mouthwash is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces, as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.

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 and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

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 or even break a bracket. And while you may love apples, carrots, or corn on the cob, they’re too firm or hard to bite into and can damage your braces. Crunchy treats can also harm your orthodontic appliances. It’s best to stay away from chips and popcorn, which can damage your braces. So just what can you eat? We recommend soft foods that are low in enamel-busting acids, such as bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta.

Get Regular Checkups

It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist, as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.

As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth healthy while you wear braces.

Making Your Orthodontic Treatment Comfortable

July 18th, 2016

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
  • Cottage cheese
  • 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 candies
  • Gum
  • 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.

Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Retainer and Your Smile Safe This Summer

June 13th, 2016

family summer funSummer is in full swing! It’s time for lazy days by the pool, summer camp 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 that 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. 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 us today if you have any questions about your retainer wear and care. We hope you have a safe, fun-filled summer!

Rubber Band Horoscope: What Your Color Says About You

May 18th, 2016

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!

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.

Orthodontic Emergency? We're Here To Help!

April 25th, 2016

We know that orthodontic emergencies are never convenient nor 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!

Sports Safety Q and A - Guard Your Smile!

April 13th, 2016

Spring is finally here, and one of the busiest sports seasons is upon us. April is National Facial Protection Month - a great time to remind you how critical it is to protect your teeth, whether you are playing full-contact lacrosse or a game of pick-up basketball. Today, we thought we'd answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get from patients:

Q: Why do I need to wear a mouth guard?

The number one way to protect your head, face, and teeth is to wear a proper fitting mouth guard. What many people don’t realize is that a mouth guards not only protect your teeth from injury, they also help protect the jaw joints, prevent other jaw related injuries such as fractures of the jaw, and even reduce the chance of a concussion. Mouth guards are particularly important if you are in orthodontic treatment with brackets and wires. A blow to the face with braces often results in abrasions and cuts inside your mouth from your soft tissue being pressed against your orthodontic appliances.

Q:  Does my child need to wear a mouth guard if she/he doesn't have any adult teeth yet?

Absolutely! The idea that your children don't need to protect their baby teeth is a fallacy. Those teeth serve a purpose, such as acting as space holders until the adult teeth are ready to erupt. They also help provide a guide for the adult teeth, so protect them at all times.

Q: If I'm hit in the mouth, and a tooth gets knocked out, what should I do?

  • Find the tooth;
  • Hold the tooth by the crown (the surface farthest from the gumline), not the root;
  • If it is an adult tooth, try to put the tooth back in the socket right away. If the tooth cannot be put back in the socket, store it in cold milk (do not store in tap water);
  • Bite down on a gauze pad to relieve bleeding and discomfort;
  • Call your dentist immediately. If you are in orthodontic treatment, also call our office to schedule an appointment for repair of any damage to your appliances.

Q:  Can my teeth be fixed if they are chipped, broken or knocked out?

In most cases, if you see a dentist immediately after a tooth injury occurs, the tooth can be fixed. Unfortunately, the long-term health of the injured tooth may be compromised.

Q:  Are sports drinks bad for my teeth?

According to a study from the University of Maryland Dental School, most sports drinks and energy drinks weaken tooth enamel. They are even harder on your teeth if you are wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces, retainers or aligners. It's the acid in these sugary drinks that dissolves tooth enamel. Dr. Godwin recommends that you avoid all sports drinks and reach of water to keep you hydrated.

Q:  Can I still play sports while wearing my retainer, or is it best to take it out?

Because retainers are often lost or stepped on while playing sports, it is best to remove your retainer while playing sports and use your mouth guard instead.

We hope this Sports Safety Q & A helps. Remember to play it safe this sports season so that you can stay off the bench and in the game!

It's National Facial Protection Month - Here's How You Can Play It Safe

April 6th, 2016

April is National Facial Protection Month, and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics want to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports. Whether at practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood, a sports-related injury can happen in an instant. That's why it's important to take precautions to protect your face and teeth from injury. Dr. Godwin suggests you take these simple steps to prevent injuries so you can stay in the game:

  • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports; if you have braces, make sure you use a mouthguard designed specially for orthodontic patients;
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets reduce of risk of head injury by absorbing the energy of an impact.
  • Wear protective eye wear. According to the Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries, protective eye wear designed specifically for the sport can prevent more than 90 percent of all eye injuries;
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin;
  • Be alert - as a player or spectator!

Did You Know? . . .

  • Athletes who don't wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. Mouthguards are particularly important if you are in orthodontic treatment.  A minor blow to the face can be uncomfortable if you don't have braces; but add metal to the mix and a minor blow to the face can leave you with abrasions and cuts inside your mouth from your soft tissue being pressed against the brackets and wires on your teeth;
  • Sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits in children ages 12 to 17 according to the Center for Disease Control;
  • Whatever your sport, the right protective gear can save your teeth, your face, and even your life. If you or your child suffers dental trauma such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, Dr. Godwin suggests that you contact your dentist for immediate attention. For those in braces, it's also important to contact our office to schedule an appointment for repair since damage to braces can lengthen treatment time and affect treatment results.

About National Facial Protection Month: Every April, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Society, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry team up to remind parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of taking precautions to preserve their teeth and protect them from facial injuries.

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.

Keeping Track of Your Appointments Has Never Been Easier

December 7th, 2015

With the busy holiday season upon us, we'd like to remind everyone about the importance of maintaining your orthodontic appointments. We understand that the hustle and bustle of daily activities, holiday shopping, and family responsibilities can often leave your calendars full and your energy drained. Remembering your orthodontic appointment is just one of many obligations, and we appreciate your efforts to keep your appointments as scheduled.

Access Your Account - Any Day, Any Time, Anywhere

Whether you're in pretreatment guidance, active treatment or retention,  keeping track of  your appointments is important to the success of your orthodontic care.  At Bel Air Orthodontics, we're doing our best to make that easy for you. Did you know that patients at our office have access to their appointment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week? From our website's Patient Portal, you can look up your appointments, access your account details, and establish email and/or text reminder preferences with a touch of the screen or a click of the mouse. If you haven't already signed up for this convenient service, simply call to provide us with your email contact information.

Setting Up Your Email And/Or Text Reminder Preferences

If you haven't already accessed our portal, setting up you email and/or text appointment reminders is simple. You must first establish a Patient Portal account. To access the portal, visit our website and click on the patient portal tab in the upper right corner of the homepage. You will be prompted for a user name and password. To established an account, simply follow the easy online prompts. Once you are logged into the portal, your email and text preferences can be updated or changed at the Account Setting Tab. You'll receive two email and/or text reminders prior to your scheduled appointment.

To Stay On Track - Plan Ahead

To stay on track with your treatment, remember to plan ahead and schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. After-school appointments are typically filled a month or more in advance so scheduling ahead will help you find a day and time that  best suits your needs. While some orthodontic procedures have special time requirements, we'll do our very best to find an appointment time that is convenient for you. As always, please remember to give us advance notice if you're unable to make your regularly scheduled appointment. Early notification allows us to offer your reserved time slot to other patients and permits us to effectively accommodate your busy schedule.

If you have any questions regarding our online patient portal or appointment scheduling, feel free to give us a call. We hope you have a great holiday season!

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.

How To Have A Braces-Safe Halloween

October 19th, 2015

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 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.

Back-To-School With Braces

August 13th, 2015

With the start of the school year just around the corner, parents and kids everywhere are heading out to stock up on back-to-school supplies. If you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, we'd suggest adding a few extra supplies to your backpack. Here's a list of items that will help make your school year braces-friendly and worry free:

Orthodontic wax - Sometimes braces can be irritating to the mouth. If you have a poking wire or a loose bracket, a small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer for your gums. It will keep you in school and out of discomfort until you can visit our office for repair.

Elastics (rubber bands) - If Dr. Godwin has prescribed elastics, they must be worn as instructed. Often, they are worn 24/7, except while eating and brushing your teeth. During the school day, you should remove the elastics for lunch, but don't forget to replace them with fresh, clean elastics when you are through. Packing an extra bag of elastics will ensure that you have them available at all times.

Travel toothbrush and Floss - Keeping your teeth and braces clean throughout orthodontic treatment is a priority. Besides that, your friends and teachers don't want to look at food stuck to your braces - Yuk!  Keep your teeth and Dr. Godwin happy . . . Remember to brush after every meal.

Floss Threaders and Interproximal Brushes -  Orthodontic appliances can often make flossing and brushing more challenging. Products like floss threaders and proxy brushes can help take the hassle out of cleaning around brackets and wires. Proxy brushes are great for removing trapped food particles that can get lodged in and around orthodontic appliances. Floss threaders and products like Oral-B Superfloss are made with special, rigid ends that make flossing with braces much easier and more effective.

Retainer case - If you are wearing removable orthodontic appliances, you'll need to take them out before eating lunch. When retainers or other removable appliances are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Most retainers are lost in school cafeterias or restaurants, so keep yours safe . . . Take your retainer case to school!

Braces-friendly snacks and/or lunches - Pack non-stick snacks and lunches that are easy to chew and won't damage your orthodontic appliances. Don't forget to stay away from sugary drinks and treats that can lead to cavities. There are lots of braces-friendly alternatives. For more ideas, visit bracescookbook.com

If you have any questions, or need any of the above items for your backpack, feel free to contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics. We hope you have a fun and successful school year!

Dig In . . . It's National Cheesecake Day

July 30th, 2015

While it's an unofficial holiday, most people would agree that National Cheesecake Day is worth celebrating. After all, who doesn't love cheesecake. Baked, unbaked, flavored, topped or drizzled, there are plenty of cheesecake recipes that are delicious and braces-friendly. Whether you make yours from scratch or you pick one up at your favorite bakery or restaurant, eat and enjoy without guilt. After all, National Cheesecake Day only comes once a year!

We're helping you kick off your celebration with this recipe, courtesy of The Braces Cookbook, by Pamela Waterman.

Lime-Graham Cheesecake Nibbles

Kick start your taste buds with these tangy lime cheesecakes layered into cupcake papers. The easy crust combines graham cracker crumbs with melted margarine, and the fluffy filling gets its zip from real lime juice. For an even "spicier" version, substitute finely crushed gingersnaps for the grahams.

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 double-square crackers, crushed)
  • 2 Tablespoons margarine, melted

Or

  • 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about 24-30 gingersnap cookies, crushed)
  • 3 Tablespoons margarine, melted

Filling:

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes.

Line two muffin tins with 24 cupcake papers. In a medium bowl, stir together the crumbs and margarine. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each paper. Press down the mixture firmly with the bottom of a small juice glass.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites and the salt until the mixture forms soft peaks. Set aside. In a large bowl, use the mixer to beat together the cream cheese, sugar, food coloring, lime juice and flour until fluffy. Add the egg yolks until well mixed; then use a spoon to gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling into each paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool on the counter for 20 minutes, then keep refrigerated. Makes two dozen.

Optional: Once cooled, top your cupcakes with whipped cream and decorate with green sprinkles or coconut.

Start Your Orthodontic Treatment Off Right

July 13th, 2015

If you recently started orthodontic treatment, you may still be adjusting to your new braces. Believe it or not, you and your braces will become good friends over the coming months and years, so it's important to get your relationship off to a good start. Dr. Godwin has the following recommendations to prevent rocky times ahead:

Floss, floss, floss! Yes, it's a daunting task to floss around your braces, but it's the best way to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. To make the chore easier, ask Dr. Godwin or our staff for floss threaders that can help you get dental floss into otherwise impossible areas. Just a few minutes per day will ensure that you don't face significant dental health issues when the braces come off.

Avoid sticky or hard foods. We know it's tough to forgo toffee, caramel, gum, and other sticky treats, but your braces will thank you. Sticky or hard foods can break a bracket or wire, so it's best to avoid them altogether to keep your orthodontic treatment on track.

Chew with your back teeth. If you're used to taking large bites with your front teeth, it might be time to switch your eating habits. Taking a large bite of food with your front teeth can leave your braces vulnerable to damage. Instead, cut large foods into small pieces and use your back teeth to chew. This is especially important with corn on the cob, which should always be cut from the cob.

Wear your rubber bands (aka elastics) as prescribed. While rubber bands may seem annoying, failing to wearing them according to Dr. Godwin's instructions can increase the length of your treatment by months. Wear them now to avoid problems in the future.

Be patient and give it time. While it does take some time to adjust to braces, it won't be long before your teeth and gums become accustomed to orthodontic treatment. So be patient because it will get easier. Teeth don't move over night, but before long you'll see amazing changes in your smile!

How Do Braces Move Teeth Anyway?

July 7th, 2015

At Bel Air Orthodontics, we hear this question all the time, so we thought we'd give you an overview of how braces work.

Tooth movement is your body's natural response to continuous, light pressure applied by braces over a period of time. As the teeth move, the bone changes shape as pressure is applied.

Traditional orthodontic treatment works when we attach braces and their components onto your teeth. Braces may consist of brackets, bands, wires and other fixed or removable corrective appliances.

Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth. Brackets act like handles, holding the arch wires that move the teeth. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions.

When you first get your braces, the initial wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over  time, however, you will notice we will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for the ideal bite.

Each time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to maintain the right amount of pressure on your teeth. This is why it's so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to six weeks apart to give your teeth time to move at a steady pace and allow us to assess progress and ensure we keep your treatment plan on track.

As for rubber bands (a.k.a. elastics), most of our patients will need to wear elastics at some point during their treatment. Elastics are typically placed from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, pulling on your teeth to move them in a direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite and a beautiful smile.

Not long ago, orthodontists had a single option - stainless steel brackets and wires- and that was about it. Today, however, we offer a variety of treatment options, from traditional  brackets to nearly invisible ceramics. With new, high-tech wires at our disposal, we can now move your teeth faster and more comfortably.

If you have any questions about wires, brackets or elastics, please give us a call. ask your questions during your next regularly scheduled adjustment visit. We always here to help.

Say Cheese . . . It's National Smile Month

June 8th, 2015

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.

Curious About The Benefits of Invisalign®?

May 28th, 2015

Straightening your teeth is an exciting proposition, but for some adults the thought of wearing metal braces for one or more years can be a major obstacle. Luckily, there is another option. With Invisalign® treatment you can get the benefits of straight teeth discreetly. In addition to being nearly invisible, Invisalign® also offers these benefits:

No Food Restrictions

Among the first things you may worry about when you consider treatment to straighten your teeth is missing out on your favorite foods. This can affect your daily life and make social gatherings and special occasions more difficult. Since you'll remove the Invisalign aligners each time you eat, you can continue to eat all the foods you love without any restrictions or worrying about food getting stuck in your wires and brackets.

Oral Hygiene is a Breeze

Since Invisalign aligners are removable, you can take them out of your mouth when it's time for your oral hygiene regimen. You can brush and floss normally, unlike with traditional braces. You will not need any special equipment, like floss threaders, to keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Nearly Invisible Treatment

Unlike traditional braces, which require the placement of brackets on teeth and the connection of metal wires, Invisalign® works nearly invisibly (as its name suggests). Since the clear aligners are nearly invisible, so only your family and any coworkers or friends you wish to tell may know that you are wearing them.

For patients who do not wish to draw attention to their orthodontic work, Invisalign® provides an attractive solution. To find out if you're a candidate for Invisalign® treatment, contact Bel Air Orthodontics for a complimentary initial consultation.

What Role Do Elastics (Rubber Bands) Play In Orthodontics?

March 11th, 2015

rubber bandsIt is not unusual for elastics (a.k.a. rubber bands) to be prescribed as part of your orthodontic treatment when you are wearing braces. Your braces, which consist of brackets and wires, work by gently applying pressure to the teeth, and that pressure causes them to move into the correct position. In some cases, elastics are placed on your  braces in strategic places in order to apply additional pressure.

How Elastics Work

orthodontic elastics wearCustomized for each patient, the elastics typically stretch over tiny loops on the top and bottom brackets. When worn as prescribed, these tiny elastics will apply the gentle and steady pressure needed to guide your teeth into the desired position and align one arch to the other. Without the use of these elastics, you may not be able to achieve the results you want, or you may have to wear braces for a longer period of time.

The Do's and Don'ts

Elastics must be worn as prescribed, and patient cooperation is essential to a successful outcome. Here's how you can do your part:

  • DO - Change your elastics at least once a day. Remember to always wash your hands before removing and replacing the elastics;
  • DON'T - Double up on elastics as this will cause too much pressure on the tooth or teeth and can actually harm the root of the tooth;
  • DO - Get in the habit of carrying around an extra bag of elastics and replace them as soon as one breaks. By consistently wearing your elastics, you may shorten the overall time needed to wear braces;
  • DON'T - Guess how they should be worn. If you are unsure where to place the elastics, call our office immediately so that we can help you get your elastics placed correctly;
  • DO - Remove your elastics when eating and brushing your teeth, but remember to replace them when you are done.
  • DON'T - Overstretch or overuse the same elastics or they will lose their strength and will be ineffective. You can avoid this by changing your elastics daily.
  • DO - Call us immediately if you lose or run out of elastics. Please do not wait until your next regularly scheduled visit.
  • DON'T - Forget to wear them consistently, as directed. By wearing your elastics exactly as prescribed, you will get better, faster, and more comfortable results. Generally, any discomfort from the elastics will disappear within a day or two, so hang in there.
  • DO - Have fun with your braces and elastics. Elastics come in many different colors, so pick your favorite colors and show off your gorgeous smile!

Elastics are a key part of your orthodontic treatment, and learning how to remove and replace them correctly is an important part of your treatment. Before we send you on your journey to a happy, healthy smile, we'll make sure you understand all there is to know about taking care of your  braces. Of course, if you have any questions about your orthodontic treatment, be sure to give the team at Bel Air Orthodontics a call.

. If you happen to forget to wear your elastics one day, don’t

double up the next

How To Have A Braces-Safe Halloween

October 21st, 2014

Halloween Trick or TreatHalloween 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:

Braces Friendly Halloween RecipesClick on the image to download the following recipes:

  • Spider Bites
  • Frightfully Fabulous Cupcake Sandwiches
  • Pumpkin Cookie Pops
  • Peanut Butter Eyeballs
  • Marvelous Molasses Cookies
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Softies
  • Slimy Lime Punch . . . Enjoy!!

More downloadable recipes courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists:

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

Bel Air Orthodontics Gives School Nurses A Helping Hand

September 30th, 2014

It's back-to-school time, and that means the school nurses have their hands full. To make they're 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.

It's Back To School Time. Are You Ready?

August 14th, 2014

School is just around the corner, and parents everywhere are checking school lists, buying classroom must-haves, and scrambling to find that perfect pair of sneakers. If you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, we'd suggest adding a few extra supplies to your backpack. Here's a list of items that will help make your school year braces-friendly and worry-free:

Orthodontic wax - Sometimes braces can be irritating to the mouth. If you have a poking wire or a loose bracket, a small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer for your gums. It will keep you in school and out of discomfort until you can visit our office for repair.

Elastics (rubber bands) - If Dr. Godwin has prescribed elastics, they must be worn as instructed. Often, they are worn 24/7, except while eating and brushing your teeth. During the school day, you should remove the elastics for lunch, but don't forget to replace them with fresh, clean elastics when you are through. Packing an extra bag of elastics will ensure that you have them available at all times.

Travel toothbrush and floss - Keeping your teeth and braces clean throughout orthodontic treatment is a priority. Besides that, your friends and teachers don't want to look at food stuck to your braces - Yuk!  Keep your teeth and Dr. Godwin happy . . . Remember to brush after every meal.

Retainer case - If you are wearing removable orthodontic appliances, you'll need to take them out before eating lunch. When retainers or other removable appliances are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Most retainers are lost in school cafeterias or restaurants, so keep yours safe . . . Take your retainer case to school!

Braces-friendly snacks and/or lunches - Pack non-stick snacks and lunches that are easy to chew and won't damage your orthodontic appliances. Don't forget to stay away from sugary drinks and treats that can lead to cavities. There are lots of braces-friendly alternatives. For more ideas, visit bracescookbook.com

If you have any questions, or need any of the above items for your backpack, feel free to contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics. We hope you have a fun and successful school year!

Do You Know The "Parts" Of Your Braces? (And Why It's Important)

August 6th, 2014

Loose and/or broken appliances may occur from time to time during your active orthodontic treatment. It is important that you contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontics as soon as possible so that we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly for repair. When making that call, it is helpful to know the various parts of your braces so that you can explain your concerns to us in a clear manner.

So, lets review our diagram below to learn more about your braces.

  • Bracket - Small attachments that are bonded to your teeth. Brackets hold the archwire in place .
  • Band - Thin ring of metal fitted around the tooth and cemented in place. They carry tubes, hooks or rotating levers (in other words, they become a handle on your tooth).
  • Archwire - The main wire that acts as a track to guide the teeth along. It's changed periodically throughout treatment as teeth move to their new positions.
  • Ligature Tie - The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny colored elastic or a twisted wire.
  • Hook - Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.
  • Rubber Bands - Elastic bands that are used to help tooth movement.
  • Buccal Tube - Tube on the molar band that holds the end of the archwire.

If you have any questions about your appliances or your orthodontic treatment, we're here to help. Don't hesitate to give us a call for additional assistance.

Back-To-School Scheduling

August 28th, 2013

Back To SchoolStaying on track with your appointment scheduling is important to the success of your orthodontic treatment. Now that schools are back in session, Dr. Godwin would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports and family responsibilities to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit your orthodontist. After-school appointments are typically filled a month in advance, so remember to plan ahead and schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. While some orthodontic procedures have special time requirements that may conflict with work or school, we'll do our best to find an appointment time that is convenient for you. For more information on appointment scheduling, visit our website at www.belairortho.com/appointment-scheduling. As always, please remember to give us advance notice if you're unable to make your regularly-scheduled appointment. Early notification allows us to offer your reserved time slot to other patients and permits us to effectively accommodate everyone with busy schedules.

Access Your Appointment Information 24/7

Did you know that patients at Bel Air Orthodontics have access to their appointment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week? From our website's Patient Portal, you can look up your appointments, access your account details, and establish email and/or text reminder preferences with a click of a mouse. If you haven't already signed up for this convenient service, contact our office today to set up your online account login.

We hope you enjoyed the lazy days of summer. Have a great school year!

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

August 2nd, 2013

Teenager with bracesNow 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. Godwin or the team members at Bel Air Orthodontics.

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