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HOW TO HAVE A BRACES-SAFE HALLOWEEN

October 17th, 2018

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.

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.

Foods That Can Damage Tooth Enamel

August 8th, 2018

We've all heard the saying, You Are What You Eat, and that's particularly true for your teeth and gums. Several factors affect wear and tear on tooth enamel. Diet is a major factor, with certain foods increasing the likelihood that your enamel will become discolored or decayed. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics suggests that you pay close attention to the foods you eat to keep your pearly whites looking healthy and clean.

What causes enamel damage?

Tooth enamel is primarily composed of minerals that are strong but susceptible to highly acidic foods. When acid reacts with the minerals in enamel, it can result in tooth decay. Strongly pigmented foods can also damage enamel by discoloring the surface of the tooth. Acidic foods are the greatest source of enamel damage. To determine whether a food is acidic, look up its pH. Scientists use pH, on a one-to-seven scale, to define the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Foods with low pH levels, between a one and three, are high in acidity and may damage your enamel. Foods with high pH levels, such as a six or seven, are far less likely to cause enamel harm.

So which foods should you avoid?

Watch Your Citrus Intake

Even though a squeeze of lemon or lime can turn a simple glass of water into a fun beverage, it's not always the best choice for your mouth.  Fruit juices, especially citrus, apple, and berry varieties, are loaded with the kinds of acids that wear down tooth enamel. Of course, juices also have some great-for-you qualities, too—like vitamins and antioxidants, so don't write them off completely. Just drink them in moderation. Frequent fruit juice consumption has been linked to an increased risk of enamel erosion. As an extra measure, try eating them with a meal — as opposed to on their own — so they're less likely to harm your teeth. Also remember to use a straw, rinse afterward, and choose calcium-fortified juices that may pose less of a hazard to tooth enamel.

Sugary Foods Are Scary For Your Teeth

We all know sugar is bad for our teeth, but it’s important to know why. The bad bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars to create acids and cavities are an infection caused by acids. The point here is that sugars in your mouth are often the first step in cavity formation. It’s virtually impossible to eliminate all sugars from your diet, but it’s important to try to minimize sugar intake (especially refined sugar) as much as possible. It’s also crucial to not let sugar linger in your mouth for a long time. So, brushing your teeth after meals or at least drinking lots of water is vital.

Ice Is For Chilling, Not Chewing

You’d be surprised at how many people think ice is good for their teeth. It’s made of water, after all, and doesn’t contain any sugar or other additives. Chewing on hard substances can leave your teeth vulnerable to a dental emergency and damage enamel.  Break the habit and enjoy water in its pure, liquid form. Your teeth and your braces will thank you.

Not All Coffee Is Good For You

In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately, many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.

Sticky Foods Are Your Mouth's Worst Nightmare

Sticky foods are off-limits for those and braces since they can damage brackets and wires. Sticky foods can also damage your teeth since they tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. If you find yourself eating dried fruits or trail mix often, make sure to rinse with water after and to brush and floss carefully.

Swap Out Soda With Water

Guess what? Sugar isn't the biggest culprit when it comes to a fizzy drink's impact on teeth. These beverages—diet or not—strip minerals from tooth enamel because of their high acid content. Caffeinated beverages, such as colas can also dry out your mouth. If you do occasionally consume soft drinks, don't sip them all day long and try to drink alongside a cup of water.

Watch out for sports drinks

They may sound healthy, but sugar is a top ingredient for many sports and energy drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sports drinks are especially bad idea for adolescents and young adults whose tooth enamel is less mature and more porous. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar or drink water instead.

With some easy preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong, and healthy for years to come! Give us a call at Bel Air Orthodontics to learn more.

Help Us Stuff The Bus

July 23rd, 2018

Stuff the BusBel Air Orthodontics is a proud partner and official drop-off location for Harford County Education Foundation's 2018 Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. The annual Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive helps stock HCEF’s Tools for Schools Resource Center, a store where Harford County teachers can shop for free school supplies for their classrooms and students in need throughout the school year.

Here’s How You Can Help Us Stuff the Bus

We’ve set a goal to raise $1000 in school supply donations, and we need your help. We want to make donating easy and fun, so we’re kicking off the supply drive with our Fill Our Pool For Back to School Raffle. For all the Raffle details, visit our Contest page. As an official drop-off location, donations will be accepted from both our patients and the community through September 14th, so please share this information with your family and friends.

School Supply ListLooking for items to donate? You can download this list of school supplies requested by HCEF's Tools for Schools Resource Center. All Fill Our Pool Raffle donations will go to HCEF’s Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. To learn more about the Stuff the Bus Campaign and The Harford County Education Foundation, visit www.harfordeducation.org.

Together, we can make a difference!

The Dog Days of Summer . . . Have You Ever Wondered Where The Phrase Came From?

July 16th, 2018

The dog days of summer are known for being among the hottest of the season. Such days conjure up listless floating in the pool, scrambling to find shade and, of course, dogs panting in the heat.

With the hottest, sultriest days of summer upon us, the team at Bel Air Orthodontics decided to do a little research to find out what this expression actually means.  Some say that summer’s “dog days” signify hot days “not fit for a dog”, while other’s suggest that it’s just another crazy old saying their grandmother made up. Despite the phrase's association with heat-struck canines, it has nothing to do with them. Well, it turns out that it has nothing to do with earthbound dogs anyway. Here are some fun facts that may just surprise you.

When Are the Dog Days of Summer?

The Dog Days aren’t just when your dog starts panting on a sweltering summer day. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of the Sirius, the Dog Star.

What Are the Dog Days of Summer?

Well, it turns out that the phrase dates back to ancient Rome. The Latin phrase, dies caniculares, or “days of the dog star” was what the Romans called the period from mid July to mid August. Some ancient stargazers concluded that during those months Sirius, aka the dog star, rose in conjunction with the sun. They believed the star’s brightness added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.

Sirius is by far the brightest star in the nighttime sky, but the star has nothing to do with the heat. The sun gets all the credit for that. Sirius, part of the constellation Canis Major, is actually about half a million times farther away from the sun—something the Romans didn’t know. So when they blamed the “Dog Star” for boosting the heat during the summer, they were barking up the wrong tree.

The Meaning of the Dog Star Today

These days, the expression refers to the hot, lazy days of summer which typically run from July through early September. While the Dog Days of summer are sure to bring sweltering heat, they also bring fun times. We hope your Dog Days of summer are filled with family, friends, poolside fun, and vacation adventures!

Stay Cool With These Braces-Friendly Summer Treats!

July 9th, 2018

Summer's in full swing and it's hot! With temperatures in the 90's and humidity over 70 percent, it's no wonder that everyone is looking for some fun ways to cool off. Just because you are in braces doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious summer treats – it just means you have to make sure they are braces friendly. The team at Bel Air Orthodontics gathered three delicious and simple recipes that are easy on your braces and taste delicious too!

Energy Boost Fruit Smoothie

fruit smoothieThis delicious fruit smoothie is a great summer snack because it’s refreshing, full of fruit and is super easy to make. The blended texture will be easy on your braces and your taste buds will be sure to thank you. Switch up the ingredients and experiment with different fruits or even try adding yogurt. You can never go wrong with a fruit smoothie, especially when it’s summertime! Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 cup of pineapple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium orange, peeled
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • 1 cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend on medium/high until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Want to eat something healthy and refreshing? This peach frozen yogurt is easy to make and is braces-friendly as well. You'll need these four simple ingredients:

  • 2-3 teaspoons of honey
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small lemon
  • 1 container of Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or Plain Yogurt)
  • 16 ounces of frozen peaches

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. THAT'S IT! You can serve it immediately like a soft serve right out of the blender or chill it in a container in the freezer and scoop it out later. You can also change it up a bit and make strawberry, pineapple, cherry or mango frozen yogurt. Combine a variety of frozen fruits and make mango-peach or strawberry peach yogurt for a refreshing summertime treat.

Key Lime Pie Bites

If smoothies or frozen treats aren't what you're looking for, these mini key lime pies are the perfect refreshing after dinner dessert on a hot day. Ingredients you will need are:

Crust:
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
Filling:
2 eggs, separated
⅛ teaspoon salt
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake papers. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and place one tablespoon of the mixture in each cupcake paper, pressing the mixture down. In a medium bowl, beat together egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Then in a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, lime juice and flour, and beat until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix until blended. Then, gently fold in the egg whites. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in each paper and bake for 25 minutes. Once baked, allow them to cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until served.

Whether you're making these refreshing treats for yourself or to take to a gathering with friends, they're sure to be a hit.  If you have a favorite braces-friendly treat you'd like to share, send us the recipe. Stay cool and have a great summer!

Caring For Your Invisalign Aligners

May 21st, 2018

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

Follow These Steps To Care For Your Aligners:

Keep Your Aligners Clean

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

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

Keep Your Teeth Clean

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

Keep Aligners in Clean, Safe Places

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

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

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

Orthodontic Emergency? We're Here To Help!

April 19th, 2018

We know that orthodontic emergencies are never convenient or timely. The good news is that true orthodontic emergencies are rare, and we're always available whenever you need us. As a general rule, you should call our office if you have a broken appliance or are experiencing an abnormal amount of discomfort. We'll evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule an appointment to take care of any problems you may be experiencing.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference between a major orthodontic emergency and a minor issue:

Acute, Direct Injury To Mouth, Jaw or Teeth

Whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, if you injure your mouth, jaw, or teeth, you should seek immediate care with your orthodontist and/or dentist. If the injury affects your orthodontic appliances, they may need adjustment or possible replacement, depending on the extent of the injury.

Broken or Distorted Removable Orthodontic Appliances

A distorted or broken removable appliance should be adjusted or replaced as soon as possible and should not be worn until the adjustment or repair is made. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

The following solutions may help you relieve discomfort for minor orthodontic issues:

Irritation of Lips or Cheeks 

Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax makes an excellent buffer between the braces and your mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation.

Loose Bracket or Band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, please don't discard it! Place it in an envelope and  bring it to your emergency appointment for repair.

Loose or Protruding Wire

Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and cause irritation of the gum. A broken archwire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek, needs to be seen as soon as possible for replacement or adjustment.  To temporarily relieve discomfort, use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. If the wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stick to a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt to chewing. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.  If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar discomfort. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the sore area. You can also put wax on the braces to lessen the temporary discomfort. We'll show you how!

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.

Easter Basket Do's and Don'ts For Kids In Braces

March 28th, 2018

With Easter just around the corner, you  might be daydreaming about all those delicious treats hidden in baskets and colorful eggs. If you're worried that you won't be able to enjoy your favorite candies and treats this Easter, fear not! There are several traditional candy options that are safe as long as you do some major brushing and cleaning afterwards. Here are some helpful tips for a fun, braces-friendly Easter holiday.

What You Can Eat In Moderation

When it comes to foods you can eat with braces, focus on two words: soft and healthy. With a little creativity, you can still splurge during Easter without eating anything that's damaging to your braces. Here are a few examples of what you can eat this Easter:

  • Marshmallows: Peeps are an Easter classic! They're on our "Safe" list because they're a soft and melt-in-your- mouth treat; however, the gooey marshmallow can get stuck in your braces. If you indulge, make sure you brush thoroughly immediately afterwards.
  • Soft chocolates: Just make sure they don't have any caramels, nuts or a hard shells. Look for melt-in-your-mouth options like peanut butter eggs, M&M's and chocolate bunnies or foil eggs.
  • Ice cream: Enjoy them in classic Easter colors like pink or blue.
  • Baked Goods: Cupcakes, cookies and brownies are the perfect canvas for Easter-themed indulgences.
  • Hard-boiled Eggs: Decorate the outside, then enjoy the soft center!

Coming up with ideas for Easter basket treats while wearing braces can be half the fun, so use your imagination and have a great time!

What You Should Avoid

If you or your child has braces, you need to think twice before sinking your teeth into those Easter basket treats. Anything that is hard, chewy and/or sticky may cause damage to orthodontic brackets and wires. Here are some specific examples of Easter candy that should be avoided if you have braces:

  • Sticky Candy: Jellybeans, Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, Taffy, Nerds
  • Caramels: Milky Ways, Snickers, Pay Day, Twix, caramel eggs
  • Gummy candy: Gummy Bears, chewing gum
  • Hard candy: Hard-shelled Easter eggs, Jolly Ranchers
  • Chocolate with nuts: Almond Joy Bars, Jordan Almonds

By keeping these candies away from kids, parents can avoid bent wires, broken brackets and extra trips to Bel Air Orthodontics for repair. Damaged braces or appliances can increase treatment time, and no one wants that! Make sure to always keep your braces and your smile in tip-top shape.

A Healthier Option For Easter Fun

Instead of candy, there are lots of other things to place in Easter baskets that can make Easter morning just as special and fun. Try creating a themed basket based on a favorite hobby such as gardening complete with seed packets and digging-in-the-dirt tools, or art with paper and colored pencils or paints. You can also balance the yummy sweets with non-edible treats like games, movie tickets or gift cards.

There are tons of great ways to make sure that your family wakes up with a smile on their faces on Easter, and these are only a few. The only limit is your imagination! Dr. Stephen Godwin and the Bel Air Orthodontics team wish you all a “Happy Easter!”

Top Ten Tips For Keeping Your Braces Clean

February 7th, 2018

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.

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.

Is It Time To Update Your Insurance Benefit Information?

January 10th, 2018

It’s the start of a new year and for some of you that means the acquisition of a new insurance policy or changes to your current policy. If your dental benefits have changed for 2018, please contact our office as soon as possible to update your orthodontic benefit information.

We will be happy to verify your new benefits and file the appropriate claims so that you receive the maximum benefit for your orthodontic treatment.

For your convenience, you can now download and complete our Change of Insurance Form available at the Patient Forms page of our website. If you are unsure about your orthodontic benefits or your insurance options, we recommend that you first contact your employer’s human resources department. Additionally, our financial coordinators are happy to work with you to determine your benefits. As always, feel free to give us a call if you have any questions.

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.

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Correctly?

August 17th, 2017

You've been brushing your teeth most of your life,  but have you ever considered whether you’re brushing your teeth correctly? The importance of brushing teeth properly is often overlooked, but it's one of the most important things you can do to maintain your oral health. While brushing your teeth properly isn't rocket science, it does require a conscious effort to make sure it's done right. Here are some tips to make your brushing routine as effective and safe as possible:

  • The most common pitfall that keeps people from brushing properly is that they don't brush long enough. Dr. Godwin recommends that you brush for two minutes (that’s 120 seconds), twice a day, with a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush. As an alternative, you can use a powered toothbrush for increased cleaning efficacy. If you have braces, teeth are much harder to clean because food often gets trapped around your brackets and wires. That means you'll need to increase your brushing time to five minutes.
  • Brush the outside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45° angle to the gum line. Concentrate on small areas at a time until you’ve cleaned your entire mouth.
  • Brush the inside surfaces of your teeth using the same motion, and chewing surfaces using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions.
  • Gently brush your tongue (or use a tongue scraper). This will remove bacteria and dead cells from your tongue and lead to fresher breath.
  • Pay particular attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth, around dental and orthodontic appliances, and near fillings, crowns, or any other restorative work.
  • Choosing a toothpaste depends on your individual needs and preferences. Many different types are available for oral health issues such as tartar, gingivitis, or sensitive teeth. But proper brushing technique is the most important tactic for removing tartar from your teeth.
  • We recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles begin to wear, whichever comes first. It’s also advisable to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick, since the bristles of the toothbrush can trap bacteria and allow them to proliferate.

Along with flossing, proper brushing will keep your mouth healthy and beautiful. Please let the team at Bel Air Orthodontics know if you have questions about your brushing and/or flossing routine. As always, we're here to help!

Conspiracy Theory - Not Your Typical Retainer Story

August 10th, 2017

Have you ever wondered where all those missing retainers go?

Well, our patients have some amazing stories to tell. Fact, fiction or just plain silly . . . only our patients know for sure. All we ask is that the stories entertain us, and many of our patients deliver just that. We thought we’d share a few of the stories we have received as a regular Blog feature. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we have!

It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya—a conspiracy!! There is no way an observant guy like me could lose his retainer. It must have happened during third period lunch.  I was sitting down eating and talking to my friends, Billy and Bob, about where we were going to skate that day when out of nowhere that dreaded bell rang. It was time to go back to class.  I took my uneaten stuff and tossed it all in the trash.  Now, I know what you’re thinking . . . I took my retainer out, left it on the tray, and when it was time to go, I tossed it in the trash with everything else.  BUT NO, it’s not my fault. Here’s how it really happened:

While waiting in line to get me meatloaf surprise, I noticed that our lunch lady was giving me the eye.  Now, of course, I just caulked it up to the fact that I looked so good that day. You should have seen her eyes light up when I flashed my newly de-metaled smile. But what she was really checking out was whether or not I was wearing my new retainer. Ew, right! Why would she be checking that out, you must be asking yourself.  Well, this is where the conspiracy theory comes in.

Okay, we’ll start from the top. There is the good orthodontist, Dr. Godwin, or the Godfather, as I like to call him.  He is the one who set this whole deal in motion. Then there’s his Underboss, the receptionists, who help advise the Godfather and upset parents about the “missing” retainer.  Of course, we can’t forget his soldiers, the orthodontic assistants. They are the ones who get the goods from the associates (i.e. the lunch ladies) . . . do you see where this is going?

So this is how it goes down.  When a kid is distracted, the lunch lady swoops in with her wily ways and takes the retainer.  Since it’s not sitting on the tray, the kid totally forgets about it (you know . . . out of sight—out of mind).  She then cleans them and makes a note of who she stole which retainer from.  At the end of the week, one or two of the soldiers collects all of the retainers and brings them back to the headquarters—the orthodontic office. They clean them up and get ready for the phone call from the upset parents— “Kevin lost his retainer. Can I bring him in and get him fitted for a new one?”  The underbosses, being sweet as they are cunning, tell the parents, “It’s not a problem; just bring him in.”   That’s when they go in the back to find his lunch lady-delivered retainer so diligently marked and set aside.

When the kid comes in, the soldiers get to work making a fake mold (after all, they don’t need a real one when the old retainer is in the back), and they tell the kid to come back in a few days.  The Godfather (aka, Dr. Godwin) even comes in and pretends to poke around his mouth making it all seem like an authentic visit.  So, after a few days, the kid comes back and the Godfather gives him his old retainer without anyone being the wiser.  Once he’s gone, they all have a laugh and split the profits. (Cash and/or cookies, that is!)

Now, you’ll know this conspiracy theory is true if I’m found sleeping with the fishes with cement molds stuck to my feet . . Oh, that notorious Godfather!

Cool Off With A Braces-Friendly Frozen Treat

August 3rd, 2017

Summer's in full swing and it's hot! With temperatures in the 90's and humidity over 70 percent, it's no wonder that everyone is looking for some fun ways to cool off.

So, what's better on a hot summer day than a cool, refreshing summertime treat. Luckily, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have just the thing . . . a few Braces-Friendly Recipes to beat the heat. You can find the complete recipes below:

Watermelon Sorbet watermelon sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2-3 cups watermelon, diced, no seeds or rind

Directions:  In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and lime juice on medium high for 1-2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill this "syrup" at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the watermelon chunks in a food processor or blender and liquefy them. Add the chilled syrup to the watermelon puree and blend. Freeze sorbet in an ice cream make according to manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately.

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Want to eat something healthy and refreshing? This Peach Frozen Yogurt is easy to make and is braces-friendly as well. Ingredients you will need are:

  • 2-3 teaspoons of honey
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small lemon
  • 1 container of Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or Plain Yogurt)
  • 16 ounces of frozen peaches

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. THAT'S IT! You can serve it immediately like a soft serve right out of the blender or chill it in a container in the freezer and scoop it out later. You can also change it up a bit and make strawberry, pineapple, cherry or mango frozen yogurt. Combine a variety of frozen fruits and make mango-peach or strawberry peach yogurt for a refreshing summertime treat.

Whether you're making these refreshing treats for yourself or to take to a gathering with friends, they're sure to be a hit. Have a great summer!

Help Us Stuff the Bus

July 17th, 2017

Stuff the BusBel Air Orthodontics is a proud partner and official drop-off location for GEEF’s 2017 Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. The annual Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive helps stock GEEF’s Tools for Schools Resource Center, a store where Harford County teachers can shop for free school supplies for their classrooms and students in need throughout the school year.

Here’s How You Can Help Us Stuff the Bus . . . We’ve set a goal to raise $1000 in school supply donations, and we need your help. We wanted to make donating easy and fun, so we’re kicking off the supply drive with our Fill Our Pool For Back to School Raffle. For all the Raffle details, visit our Contest page. As an official drop-off location, donations will be accepted from both our patients and the community, so please share this information with your family and friends.

School Supply ListLooking for items to donate? You can download this list of school supplies requested by GEEF's Tools for Schools Resource Center. All Fill Our Pool Raffle donations will go to GEEF’s Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. To learn more about the Stuff the Bus Campaign and The Greater Excellence In Education Foundation, visit www.geefinc.com.

Together, we can make a difference!

Summer's Here - Is It Time For An Orthodontic Visit?

June 26th, 2017

Isn't it amazing how fast the school year flies by? Soon your summer calendars will be filled with summer camp and family vacations, and you may have forgotten all about your orthodontic appointment.

Please make sure you put Bel Air Orthodontics on your summer calendar.

Summer's a great time to start orthodontic treatment, schedule a growth and development checkup, or make an appointment for that overdue adjustment or retention exam.

Our summer schedule is filling fast, so before heading off on your next summer adventures, give us a call. We hope you're having a fun-filled summer season!

Gone Fishing . . . A Fishy Retainer Story

June 13th, 2017

Have you ever wondered where all those missing retainers go?

Well, our patients have some amazing stories to tell. Fact, fiction or just plain silly . . . only our patients know for sure. All we ask is that the stories entertain us, and many of our patients deliver just that. We thought we’d share a few of the stories we have received as a regular Blog feature. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we have!

This is the story of Albert Elvis Renaldie the 4th, but you can call me Joe. It is the tragic story about how I got separated from my girlfriend, Sue. Let me tell you a little about how Sue and I met before starting this story. Being retainers, Sue and I were made together and therefore became life partners, a bit like an arranged marriage. On April 28th, Sue and I were sent to a lovely home in the mouth of a girl named Rachel. Rachel was a one-room apartment kept at about 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit and came with a complete set of white, adult teeth that needed protection. In our home, Sue lived on the ceiling while I lived on the floor. We were lucky that Rachel cleaned herself twice a day because we had heard terrible stories of homes that built up with germs and grime so much that . . . uhh . . it’s too nasty to talk about. Anyway, Sue and I lived happily in our home for about a month occasionally escaping into a larger world three times a day in order for Rachel to spice up our home. During that time, we were placed next to Rachel on some surface where we were able to see the world around us. This is where the story begins . . .

One bright and sunny day, Rachel decided to go fishing with her family. Being residents of Rachel’s mouth, Sue and I went along for the ride. At the lake, things were going pretty smoothly until Jodi, Rachel’s mother, offered her some gummy worms; appropriate, seeing as they were fishing. Before eating the gummy worms, Rachel took Sue and I out of her mouth and placed us on a small shelf in her brother’s tackle box. Sue and I were admiring the beautiful lake when all of a sudden, I was pickup and attached to the end of a hook.  “This is interesting bait,” Rachel’s brother, Drew, said as he tied me on tightly. “I wonder if the fish like it because it is shiny, sea weedy quality?”

And with that, I was cast out into the lake on the end of a fishing pole. Drew was wrong about me. The fish did not think that I was interesting or edible. Instead of being gobbled up by some massive, killer fish, the fishing line got caught on a stray log and they had to cut it loose, leaving me in the lake to fend for myself. I was just about to give up and think that this was the end, when a bald eagle flew down and picked me up in its talons. For a second, I thought by some strange fate that the eagle was going to drop me back into the tackle box, but the eagle kept on flying. It flew over hills and valleys . . . Okay, maybe just to the other side of the lake, but for a small retainer like myself, that seemed like forever. The eagle must of thought that I looked like a nice decoration for its home because it weaved me into its nest and that is where I have been ever since.

All I could think about is what Sue is doing without me. Does she miss me? Will she be given a new life partner? Is she even alive? Oh, what I would give to see her one last time before I die, or plummet 100 feet to the ground when its time for the eagles to do some house cleaning. Hours, then days passed. I guess I’ll never know Sue's destiny or my fate . . . So that is where my story ends.

Say Cheese . . . It's National Smile Month

June 5th, 2017

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.

The Dreaded Stink Bugs - Not Your Typical Retainer Story

May 30th, 2017

Have you ever wondered where all those missing retainers go?

Well, our patients have some amazing stories to tell. Fact, fiction or just plain silly . . . only our patients know for sure. All we ask is that the stories entertain us, and many of our patients deliver just that. We thought we’d share a few of the stories we have received as a regular Blog feature. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we have!

The dreaded stink bugs were everywhere! They were waging war with the restaurants, grocery stores, and even the neighbors. Then, alas, my very own home was part of their invasion. It seemed all of Maryland was in peril. I battled them mercilessly with my trusty flyswatter only to find five more take the place of the those I had just killed. Thick creatures these stink bugs are. The flyswatter was an inferior means to an end with them. SPLAT . . . SWAT . . . and a couple of crunches from the good old boot, only to have them explode in a gush of thick, tangy goo and splatter on my face and arms—YUK! The stench everywhere, my eyes stinging from their foul innards, and my mouth salivating to get the excess splatter out of my mouth. I decided it was time to take this fight to the next level. It was time to bring out the big guns against these smelly fools! That’s right, chemical warfare is what the fight had to come to.

Day after day, I used my chemical weapons to destroy them outright. We saw their numbers were dwindling. With the cold winter fast approaching, the great stink bug empire was scattering fast. They knew their defeat was nigh, and they had to think fast and strike hard in order to stay in the game. All their attempts were to no avail, until one day when they struck me in a means I could have never predicted.

On a cold snowy night when the air was still, a small regiment of stink bugs formed a stealth force and infiltrated my bedroom during my sleepy time. I awoke suddenly, sniffed and knew something was wrong. I immediately moved to stand up and turn on the light, but the blanket was strapped down tight. I was bound to the bed and could hear faint little chuckles. No doubt in my mind that it was the stink bugs. Then a strong scent came over me and knocked me out.

I awoke many hours later startled. I immediately pushed the blanket, and it lifted off of me without a struggle. I stood up and scanned the perimeter of my bedroom confused and thought it may have been a dream. I told myself I must be getting paranoid over these stink bugs. As I walked out of my room, I froze in place. Eyes widened in horror . . . jaw dropped in shock as the realization came over me  - My treasured retainers were no longer in my mouth! It looks like those dreaded stink bugs had their ultimate revenge!

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!

Why Are Straight Teeth So Important?

April 17th, 2017

You may be wondering why Dr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics work tirelessly to give our patients straight teeth. While it's no secret that everyone wants a great smile, you may be surprised to learn that straightening your teeth can offer so many more benefits.

Straight Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Straight teeth are easier to keep clean which leads to better oral hygiene, fewer cavities, and healthier gums. A healthier smile also means a healthier bite. When you upper and lower teeth fit together the way the should, it's easier to bite, chew and speak. Various bite problems from overbite to underbite can cause excessive wear of your teeth and possible jaw joint problems. Correcting these orthodontic problems can prevent decay, gum disease and even tooth loss.

Improve Your Smile  - Improve Your Self Esteem

Your smile is your greeting to the world, but not everyone is born with beautiful, straight teeth. Misaligned, crooked and crowded teeth may be a source of embarrassment or self-consciousness for some people. The good news is that orthodontic treatment can correct these problems which can give you self-esteem and confidence that comes with straight teeth and a healthy smile.

Appearance Does Matter

Truth be told, appearance does matter. Studies have proven over and over again that a great smile can literally change how you feel about yourself and how people see you - at work and in your personal life. People with straight, healthy teeth demonstrate high self-esteem and confidence and this comes through to everyone they meet. Like it or not, your smile is a reflection of you.

To see how much better your smile can be, contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontic for a complimentary initial exam. We offer a variety of treatment options that can give you the smile you've always wanted.

Great Granddad's Braces Making A Comeback?

March 1st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

President's Day Fun Facts

February 20th, 2017

Today marks President's Day, a day known for celebrating of both George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's combined birthdays. President's Day was created in 1971, when President Richard Nixon combined the birthdays of two of our most well-known presidents into one single federal holiday.

In honor of President's Day, we thought we'd share a few fun facts about our nation's presidents:

  • Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, carried letters, bills and notes in his tall stovepipe hat;
  • George Washington is the first president to be featured on a postage stamp;
  • Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, broke the so-called "20-year curse," in which every president elected in a year ending in zero died in office;
  • Harry S. Truman was the first president to have his Inauguration and speeches televised;
  • Abraham Lincoln was the tallest of the U.S. president measuring six foot, four inches tall;
  • Virginia is the birthplace of more United States presidents than any other state, followed by Ohio and Massachusetts;
  • There were four presidents born in February including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Harrison and Ronald Reagan. Most celebrate President's Day in honor of the first two.

Share these fun facts with your family and friends!

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

January 9th, 2017

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.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas - Our Version of a Holiday Classic

December 21st, 2016

With the holidays just around the corner, we decided to have a little fun with one of the oldest and well-known Christmas poems around, the classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  Legend says that the original version of the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore on Christmas Eve in 1822 during a sleigh ride home from Greenwich Village after buying a turkey for his family.

Our orthodontic version, on the other hand, was inspired by our love of the holidays and our desire to keep things fun for our patients. We hope you enjoy it . . . Happy Holidays from all of us at Bel Air Orthodontics!

Maximizing Your Flexible Spending Account

December 2nd, 2016

Open enrollment season for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for the coming calendar year is in full swing. Enrolling in your employer's flexible spending program is a great way to significantly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for orthodontic treatment that may not be covered by your traditional medical or dental insurance plans. The FSA is not a replacement for conventional dental insurance, but rather a means of augmenting that insurance. Here's how they work:

What Is An FSA?

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-free account that allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses. You choose the annual amount to contribute to your account, and your employer deducts your salary contribution before calculating your taxes. Paying for eligible expenses, such as orthodontic treatment, with these pre-tax dollars saves you money. Since eligibility varies from plan to plan, be sure to check with your human resources administrator for details on your benefits.

Use It Or Lose It Rule . . . Act Now To Maximize Your 2016 Benefit

Participating in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a great way to stretch your health care dollars, but keep in mind that they do come with restrictions. The most controversial provision, known as the Use It Or Lose It Rule, requires that you use all of your tax-advantage dollars within the plan's coverage period or you forfeit any remaining pre-tax dollars. For many, December 31, 2016 marks this year's deadline to incur expenses and use dollars set aside in a FSA. The end of the year is rapidly approaching, so now is a great time to put your FSA dollars to good use. To find out how your remaining FSA dollars can be used for orthodontic treatment, contact our office today.

Sign Up Now For Flex Spending To Cover 2017 Orthodontic Expenses

If your company offers a FSA account, now is the time to start thinking about allocating dollars to your account for 2017. Since many plans allow you to apply FSA dollars to orthodontic care, it's a great time to schedule a new patient exam or a growth and development follow-up visit to evaluate your child's orthodontic needs for the upcoming calendar year. Give us a call . . . we're here to help you understand your and your child's orthodontic care and to provide you with the necessary information to take advantage of FSA tax-free benefits for orthodontic treatment.

How To Have A Braces-Safe Halloween

October 2nd, 2016

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.

Bel Air Orthodontics Gives School Nurses A Helping Hand

September 21st, 2016

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. We hope everyone has a great school year!

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.

Age 7 - The Magic Number For An Orthodontic Check-Up

June 22nd, 2016

The Magic Age SevenMany parents assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to see an orthodontist, only to discover that treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. Did you know that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven?

That's right - age seven.

Okay, so what's so important about age seven, you ask? By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth making it an ideal time for evaluation. With early screening, Dr. Godwin can spot subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth. The first molars have typically come in, providing an opportunity to check for malocclusion, or "bad bite." Also, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

While many young patients may not be ready to start treatment, early evaluation allows Dr. Godwin to choose the optimal time to begin treatment. For some children, early evaluation may signal a need for early interceptive treatment.  Early identification of problems often leads to easier or shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. Studies also show that early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring on years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene.

Good dental health starts early. To learn more about the benefits of early treatment, visit our website or download this brochure, courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

If your child is nearing his or her seventh birthday or you have concerns about your child's dental development, give Bel Air Orthodontics a call to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

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.

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.

Rethink Your Drink For Better Dental Health

January 21st, 2016

We've all heard the old saying, "You are what you eat", but did you know that it's just as important for your teeth as it is your body. Your choice of drink has a big impact on your waistline as well as your dental health.  A study from the University of Maryland Dental School  found that soft drinks (diet or regular soda), fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks weaken tooth enamel. They are even harder on your teeth if your are wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces, retainers or aligners.

According to the study, it's the acid in these drinks that dissolves tooth enamel. Once enamel dissolves, it does not come back. Having a sugary beverage every now and then isn't the problem. It's when you sip it continuously that you get the constant breakdown of enamel.  To keep your teeth healthy and strong, Dr. Godwin recommends that you avoid soda and sports drinks and reach for water to keep you hydrated.  If you do occasionally indulge in a soda or sports drinks, drink it quickly rather than taking a swig every few minutes. It's also a good idea to use a straw to reduce exposure to your teeth. Brushing your teeth afterwards, or at least swishing with water, can help remove the sugar from your teeth.

To learn more about the dangerous pH levels of soft drinks and what you can do to avoid damage to your teeth, download this flyer courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Soft Drinks + Orthodontic Treatment = A Recipe For Disaster

Orthodontic Resolutions To Start Your Year Off Right

January 13th, 2016

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.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas . . . Our Version of a Holiday Classic

December 14th, 2015

With the holidays just around the corner, we decided to have a little fun with one of the oldest and well-known Christmas poems around, the classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  Legend says that the original version of the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore on Christmas Eve in 1822 during a sleigh ride home from Greenwich Village after buying a turkey for his family.

Our orthodontic version, on the other hand, was inspired by our love of the holidays and our desire to keep things fun for our patients. We hope you enjoy it . . . Happy Holidays from all of us at Bel Air Orthodontics!

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!

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.

Age 7 - The Right Time For An Orthodontic Checkup

October 7th, 2015

Every October, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) takes the spotlight during National Orthodontic Health Month. It’s a time when orthodontists reach out to patients and their community to increase public awareness about the benefits of orthodontic care.

As part of that effort, Bel Air Orthodontics is spreading the AAO’s message about the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation. Even though most people think of pre-teens and teens when they think of orthodontics, there are good reasons why all children should get an orthodontic evaluation much sooner. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child get an orthodontic screening no later than age seven.

Why is age seven considered the optimal time for screening?

By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth making it an ideal time for evaluation. With early screening, Dr. Godwin can spot subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth. While many young patients may not be ready to start treatment, early evaluation allows us to choose the optimal time to begin treatment and provides a greater opportunity for an effective treatment outcome.

What are the potential advantages of interceptive treatment?

Early treatment allows Dr. Godwin to:

  • Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • Correct thumb-sucking and help improve minor speech problems

Problems to Watch for in Growing Children

If you notice any of the following in your child, it’s time to schedule an orthodontic evaluation:Problems to watch for in growing children

  • Early/late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger or thumb sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8

Additional information on early interceptive treatment is available at the AAO’s website. To view and/or download their handout entitled “Problems to Watch for in Growing Children” click the image above.

Orthodontics does more than create beautiful smile – it creates a healthier you. If you have questions about your child’s dental development, contact our office at 410-838-2244 to schedule an evaluation.

Bel Air Orthodontics Gives School Nurses A Helping Hand

September 17th, 2015

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.

Back-To-School Scheduling

September 3rd, 2015

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!

Do You Know Where Your Mouthguard Is?

August 26th, 2015

With school and fall sports just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to remind all our patients to protect their teeth and orthodontic appliances while out on the playing fields.  According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, school-aged athletes have more than 3 million teeth knocked out in youth sporting events annually.

So how do you protect your teeth? One of the most important pieces of sports equipment you can wear on the field is a mouthguard, especially when playing contact sports such as soccer, football and field hockey. Wearing a mouthguard can help kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. In fact, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation reported that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.

Whatever your sport, the right protective gear can save your face, your teeth, and your braces. If you or your child suffers dental trauma such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, Dr. Godwin suggest 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.

If you're wearing braces, Dr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics are happy to supply you with a special orthodontic mouthguard. Feel free to ask us more about mouthguards and sports safety at your next visit. Have a great sports season!

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!

Stay Cool with a Braces-Friendly Summer Treat!

July 20th, 2015

Summer's in full swing and it's hot! With temperatures in the 90's and humidity over 70 percent, it's no wonder that everyone is looking for some fun ways to cool off.

So, what's better on a hot summer day than a cool, refreshing summertime treat. Luckily, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have just the thing . . . a few Braces-Friendly Recipes to beat the heat. You can find the complete recipes below:

Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2-3 cups watermelon, diced, no seeds or rind

Directions:  In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and lime juice on medium high for 1-2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill this "syrup" at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the watermelon chunks in a food processor or blender and liquefy them. Add the chilled syrup to the watermelon puree and blend. Freeze sorbet in an ice cream make according to manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately.

Cool Frozen Yogurt

Want to eat something healthy and refreshing? This Peach Frozen Yogurt is easy to make and is braces-friendly as well. Ingredients you will need are:

  • 2-3 teaspoons of honey
  • Juice from 1/2 of a small lemon
  • 1 container of Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or Plain Yogurt)
  • 16 ounces of frozen peaches

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. THAT'S IT! You can serve it immediately like a soft serve right out of the blender or chill it in a container in the freezer and scoop it out later. You can also change it up a bit and make strawberry, pineapple, cherry or mango frozen yogurt. Combine a variety of frozen fruits and make mango-peach or strawberry peach yogurt for a refreshing summertime treat.

Whether you're making these refreshing treats for yourself or to take to a gathering with friends, they're sure to be a hit. Have a great summer!

Summer's Here - Is It Time For An Orthodontic Visit?

June 30th, 2015

Can you believe that summer is officially here? It's amazing how fast the school year flies by. Soon many of you will be heading off to summer camp, traveling on that well-deserved family vacation, or just spending time relaxing by the pool.

At Bel Air Orthodontics, summer is often our busiest time of the year. Our summer schedule is filling fast, so call now to schedule your next visit. Summer is a great time to start treatment, schedule a growth and development checkup, or make an appointment for that overdue retention exam. So, before you head off on that next summer adventure, give us a call.

We hope you have a fun-filled summer season!

Baltimore Magazine Names Dr. Godwin "2015 Top Dentist"

June 15th, 2015

Dr. Godwin was recently recognized by Baltimore Magazine in its selection of "Top Dentists" for 2015. Annually, Baltimore Magazine surveys more than 2,000 dentist in Baltimore and five surrounding counties to find out where they would send a member of their own family for dental treatment. The dentists who got the most nods from their peers are the ones who made the Top Dentists list.

Dr. Godwin was honored to be nominated by his peers as one of Harford County's top orthodontists for the sixth consecutive year. For the complete list of this year's "Top Dentists", which are categorized by dental specialty, pick up a copy of the June issue of Baltimore Magazine.

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

May 19th, 2015

When patients come to our office for their first orthodontic assessment, we're often asked, "How did my teeth get crooked to begin with?" Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons, ranging from family genetics to mouth deformities and serious oral disease.

When extra teeth or abnormally large teeth create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement), the culprit is usually genetic in nature. Other inherited traits involve jaws that are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth, and misaligned jaws that did not form properly in vitro. Other causes of crooked teeth are early loss of baby or adult teeth, undue pressure on the teeth and gums, misalignment of jaw after facial injury or common oral health problems in children such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or prolonged use of a bottle or pacifier.

Having crooked teeth isn't just a cosmetic issue; it can lead to serious health problems as well. Crooked teeth can:

  • interfere with proper chewing;
  • make keeping teeth clean more of a challenge, increasing risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis;
  • strain the teeth, jaws and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth.

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment for Crooked Teeth

While orthodontic treatment is beneficial at any age, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests, as we do, that parents take their child for orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Early evaluation can rule out potential issues with permanent teeth eruption and abnormal jaw development. In fact, specific conditions such as crossbites and jaw development issues are easier to correct an an early age.

If you have questions about your child's teeth, contact our office to schedule a complimentary initial examination. We're here to make sure your child grows up with a beautiful, straight, and most importantly, healthy smile.

Adults and Braces: Not Just For Kids Anymore

May 6th, 2015

Adult bracesDespite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontic treatment to correct their smiles. With longer life expectancies than previous generations and a greater awareness of the benefits of a healthy smile, today’s adults are taking better care of their teeth, as evidenced in a survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. This study showed that the number of people ages 55-64 with missing teeth has dropped by 60 percent since 1960.

Orthodontics can improve the overall health of teeth and their supporting structures leading to a properly aligned and functioning bite. By aligning your teeth, orthodontic treatment makes it easier to remove plaque - a colorless sticky film of bacteria, food particles, and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth. Plaque feeds on sugars and starches to form an acid that endangers teeth and gums. With proper alignment, the likelihood that your teeth will last for a lifetime is greatly increased.

What Are My Options?

Orthodontic technology has come a long way in the past few decades. The major advances in orthodontic tools and techniques mean that the options for adult patients are far greater than ever before. And adults – just like teen and pre-teens – can benefit dramatically from the enhanced self-esteem that comes with a confident smile.

Traditional Metal Braces

The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crowded teeth or a significant bite problem requiring major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics.

Clear Ceramic Braces

If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but they are much less visible than traditional metal braces. If you choose this option, you’ll have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda and other dark beverages since these items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.

Invisalign® Clear Aligners

Another popular option for adults who need orthodontic treatment is Invisalign, a nearly-invisible alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign consists of a series of custom-made clear aligners that are created specifically for you.  In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from six to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating certain bite problems or severely overcrowded teeth; however, many adults are candidates for this nearly-invisible treatment option.

The best way to find out which orthodontic treatment option is right for you is to visit our office for a complimentary initial consultation. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Godwin will recommend the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create a smile you’ve always dreamed of.

A Better Smile . . . A Better World

April 27th, 2015

Panda bearDid you know that through proper orthodontic elastic wear you're helping both your treatment progress and helping save the Southern Bald Eagle, Gray Wolfe and other endangered animals?

Elastics (a.k.a. rubber bands) provide a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or the aligning of one arch to the other and are used periodically throughout orthodontic treatment.

wildlife elasticsDr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics use the "Wildlife Series" elastics manufactured by American Orthodontics who contributes to the World Wildlife Fund. By faithfully wearing your elastics, you'll be doing your part in preserving and protecting endangered and threatened animals all over the world. This additional incentive may be just the motivator you need to wear elastics as prescribed!

To learn more about the World Wildlife Fund Program, visit their website.

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

April 6th, 2015

April is National Facial Protection Month, and Dr. Stephen Godwin 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 that you take these simple steps to prevent injuries so you can stay in the game:

  • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports; if you are wearing braces, make sure you use a mouthguard designed specially for orthodontic patients;
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets reduce the 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;

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, even your life. If you or your child suffers dental trauma such as a knocked-out or broken tooth, Dr. Godwin suggest 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 and parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of taking precautions to preserve their teeth and protect them from facial injuries.

Why Are Straight Teeth So Important?

March 27th, 2015

You may be wondering why Dr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics work tirelessly to give our patients straight teeth. While it's no secret that everyone wants a great smile, you may be surprised to learn that straightening your teeth can offer so many more benefits.

Straight Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Straight teeth are easier to keep clean which leads to better oral hygiene, fewer cavities, and healthier gums. A healthier smile also means a healthier bite. When you upper and lower teeth fit together the way the should, it's easier to bite, chew and speak. Various bite problems from overbite to underbite can cause excessive wear of your teeth and possible jaw joint problems. Correcting these orthodontic problems can prevent decay, gum disease and even tooth loss.

Improve Your Smile  - Improve Your Self Esteem

Your smile is your greeting to the world, but not everyone is born with beautiful, straight teeth. Misaligned, crooked and crowded teeth may be a source of embarrassment or self-consciousness for some people. The good news is that orthodontic treatment can correct these problems which can give you self-esteem and confidence that comes with straight teeth and a healthy smile.

Appearance Does Matter

Truth be told, appearance does matter. Studies have proven over and over again that a great smile can literally change how you feel about yourself and how people see you - at work and in your personal life. People with straight, healthy teeth demonstrate high self-esteem and confidence and this comes through to everyone they meet. Like it or not, your smile is a reflection of you.

To see how much better your smile can be, contact the team at Bel Air Orthodontic for a complimentary initial exam. We offer a variety of treatment options that can give you the smile you've always wanted.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

March 17th, 2015

St. Patricks DayLucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold - it must be St. Patrick's Day! If you're not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick's Day? It's easy . . . You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish." On St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.

All kidding aside, St. Patrick's Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish decent will celebrate with their friends and family by cooking up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, Dr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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

Want To Share Your Smile With The World?

March 4th, 2015

The American Association of Orthodontists wants to know What Makes You Smile and they’re inviting orthodontic patients everywhere to post a “Smiling Selfie” @ mylifemysmile.org.

The American Association of Orthodontists’ (AAO) new and improved website now features a What Makes You Smile campaign. Their What Makes Me Smile gallery is a selfie collection showcasing the smiling faces of happy orthodontic patients around the world.  If you’d like to submit your own selfie the process is simple. Here’s how it works:

Who Can Submit A Photo?

Patients who are currently in active treatment or who have completed orthodontic treatment are invited to take a smiling selfie and post it to the AAO's website at mylifemysmile.org.  Patients under the age of 18 may participate, but must have the signature of their parent or guardian on the release form provided.

What Are The Photo Requirements?

  • The AAO is looking for smiling photos that show your teeth and/or orthodontic appliances on your teeth, so show off your grin.
  • The AAO will accept vertical, horizontal and/or square selfies. JPG files are preferred and images should range in file size from 100KB to 2MB.
  • The AAO reserves the right to deny selfie submission due to poor photo quality or poor taste.

How Do I Upload My Selfie?

Simply visit the AAO’s What Makes Me Smile gallery and click on the Submit Your Photo link. From there, simply follow the steps provided to upload your image.

Submit Your What Makes Me Smile Quote

The American Association of Orthodontists wants to know What Makes You Smile. Maybe it’s your best friend, a favorite fishing spot, or a walk on the beach. Our patients are always smiling, so this should be the easiest part of the process.

Provide The Name Of Your Orthodontist

Before you hit the SUBMIT button, make sure you provide the name of your orthodontist (please use Stephen L. Godwin vs. Bel Air Orthodontics), along with the city and state where your treatment is provided. The AAO will use this information to verify that your orthodontist is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. The AAO requires that your orthodontist be a member of the American Association of Orthodontists in order for you to participate.

If you are interested in being featured on the AAO's What Makes You Smile selfie gallery and need assistance, we can handle the process for you. Simply contact, Sherry Dillinger, our Professional Relations Coordinator, and she’ll lend you a hand. We're proud of the healthy, beautiful smiles we help create and we'd love to share them with the world.

Visit the AAO's What Makes Me Smile page to view the selfies posted by orthodontic patients everywhere. You can scroll through the images and read patient quotes by placing your cursor over the images. They're sure to make you smile!

AAO What Makes You Smile Release

Top Ten New Year's Resolutions For Orthodontic Patients

January 7th, 2015

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.

Our Holiday Version Of A Christmas Classic

December 17th, 2014

With the holidays just around the corner, we decided to have a little fun with one of the oldest and well-known Christmas poems around, the classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Legend says that the original version of the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore on Christmas Eve in 1822 during a sleigh ride home from Greenwich Village after buying a turkey for his family.

Our orthodontic version, on the other hand, was inspired by our love of the holidays and our desire to keep things fun for our patients. We hope you enjoy it!

When Are Two Phases of Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?

November 24th, 2014

Although we can treat dental problems at any age, some developmental problems are best treated in two separate phases. That's why we follow the American of Association's recommendation that every child have an orthodontic evaluation at age seven. Two-phase treatment is a very specialized process designed for young children.  Because they are growing rapidly, children benefit enormously from orthodontic appliances that modify the relationship between upper and lower jaws, balance the face and develop room for erupting teeth.

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

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

First phase treatment is indicated in cases of:

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

This early intervention consists of a first phase of treatment when both permanent and baby teeth are present. Phase I treatment involves the patient's muscles and jaws more than the teeth, although some concerns regarding tooth positioning may be addressed.

The goal of this first phase of treatment is to create the healthiest environment possible for the eruption of permanent teeth. It is not intended to eliminate all future orthodontic needs. By starting early, your child has the best chance for good results. When all conditions warrant beginning a second phase of treatment, a re-evaluation is done and the necessary remaining treatment is determined and a plan established. The second orthodontic phase involves correction of tooth position, space closure, and other refinements which are important to function and stability.

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

Maximizing Your Flex Spending Dollars

November 4th, 2014

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-free account that allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses. You choose an annual amount to contribute to your account, and your employer deducts your salary contribution before calculating your taxes. Paying for eligible expenses, such as orthodontic treatment, with these pre-tax dollars saves you money. Since eligibility varies from plan to plan, be sure to check with your human resources administrator for details on your benefits.

Use It Or Lose It Rule . . . Act Now To Maximize Your 2014 Benefit

Participating in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a great way to stretch your health care dollars, but keep in mind that they do come with restrictions. The most controversial provision, known as the Use It Or Lose It Rule, requires that you use all of your tax-advantage dollars within the plan's coverage period or you forfeit any remaining pre-tax dollars. For many, December 31, 2014 marks this year's deadline to incur expenses and use dollars set aside in a FSA. The end of the year is rapidly approaching, so now is a great time to put your FSA dollars to good use. To find out how your remaining FSA dollars can be used for orthodontic treatment, contact our office today.

Sign Up Now For Flex Spending To Cover 2015 Orthodontic Expenses

If your company offers a FSA account, now is the time to start thinking about allocating dollars to your account for 2015. Since many plans allow you to apply FSA dollars to orthodontic care, it's a great time to schedule a new patient exam or a growth and development follow-up visit to evaluate your child's orthodontic needs for the upcoming calendar year. Give us a call . . . we're here to help you understand your and your child's orthodontic care and to provide you with the necessary information to take advantage of FSA tax-free benefits for orthodontic treatment.

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.

Age 7 - The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-up

October 7th, 2014

Every October, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) takes the spotlight during National Orthodontic Health Month. It’s a time when orthodontists reach out to patients and their community to increase public awareness about the benefits of orthodontic care.

As part of that effort, Bel Air Orthodontics is spreading the AAO’s message about the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation. Even though most people think of pre-teens and teens when they think of orthodontics, there are good reasons why all children should get an orthodontic evaluation much sooner. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child get an orthodontic screening no later than age seven.

Why is age seven considered the optimal time for screening?

By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth making it an ideal time for evaluation. With early screening, Dr. Godwin can spot subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth. While many young patients may not be ready to start treatment, early evaluation allows us to choose the optimal time to begin treatment and provides a greater opportunity for an effective treatment outcome.

What are the potential advantages of interceptive treatment?

Early treatment allows Dr. Godwin to:

  • Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • Correct thumb-sucking and help improve minor speech problems

Problems to Watch for in Growing Children

If you notice any of the following in your child, it’s time to schedule an orthodontic evaluation:Problems to watch for in growing children

  • Early/late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger or thumb sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8

Additional information on early interceptive treatment is available at the AAO’s website. To view and/or download their handout entitled “Problems to Watch for in Growing Children” click the image above.

Orthodontics does more than create beautiful smile – it creates a healthier you. If you have questions about your child’s dental development, contact our office at 410-838-2244 to schedule an evaluation.

Keeping Track Of Your Appointments Has Never Been Easier

August 28th, 2014

Keepting Track of Your AppointmentsSummer’s winding down and soon your calendars will be filled with school activities, fall sports events and family responsibilities. Though your calendars may be full, the team at Bel Air Orthodontics would like to remind everyone about the importance of maintaining your orthodontic appointments.

Access Your Account - Any Day, Any Time, Anywhere!

Staying on track with your appointments is important to the success of your orthodontic treatment. 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, contact our office today for information on how to set up your online account.

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 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 advanced 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.

Visit Our New Mobile Optimized Website and Patient Portal

If you haven’t visited our Patient Portal recently, you may be pleasantly surprised. Our website has been updated and optimized for all use on all mobile devices, making it more accessible and easier to navigate. If you have any questions regarding the online patient portal or appointment scheduling, feel free to give us a call.

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.

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

July 16th, 2014

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!

Toothsavers Gaming App Inspires Young Kids To Brush

May 6th, 2014

Are you looking for a fun way to inspire your young kids to brush their teeth? The Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths has released a free mobile game app, Toothsavers,  which is designed to motivate kids to maintain healthy oral habits and have fun while doing it.

This interactive game encourages kids to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day by enlisting them in rescuing friendly fairy tale characters from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress who cast a wicked teeth-rotting spell on the kingdom. The Toothsavers game includes three freatures to help parents and their kids learn about the importance of dental health:

  • The game calls on kids to be heroes. In a timed, finger-swipe brushing game, they can save 10 characters in a fairy tale kingdom from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress.
  • The two-player version of the game allows for kids to "brush" the teeth of their friends and parents when the mobile device is held up to their mouths.
  • The app also offers a real-life toothbrushing companion for kids and parents to keep track of their brushing progress, as well as morning and nighttime reminders.

The mobile game app, geared toward children ages 3 to 6, is available for free in the App Store and Google Play for Android and iOS devices. There's also a great overview of the gaming app on the web at 2min2x.org.

While this interactive game is geared towards children who are typically too young to start orthodontic treatment, we believe it's never to early to introduce your children to the benefits of good oral health. Click the image below to watch a preview of the Toothsavers game.

Play It Safe - It's National Facial Protection Month

April 21st, 2014

April is National Facial Protection Month, and Dr. Stephen Godwin 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.

A sports-related injury can happen in an instant. Without the proper protective gear, young athletes could find themselves on the bench instead of the playing field this spring. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events. They also reported that athletes who don’t wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.

Despite their known benefits, many young athletes are not wearing mouth guards during sports competitions and practices. In a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists, 67% of parents admitted that their child does not wear a mouth guard while playing baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball and many other contact sports.

Our job at Bel Air Orthodontics is to help our patients obtain healthy, beautiful smiles. The last thing we want to see is a patient injured and sidelined because they weren't properly equipped. That's where parents come in. Simple and relatively inexpensive protective gear - such as a mouth guard - can dramatically decrease the risk of oral and facial injuries. That's why Dr. Godwin is encouraging parents to talk with their dental professionals about the right mouth guards for their young athletes and urges coaches to require that young athletes wear their mouth guards at every practice and every game.

Here’s How You Can Play It Safe:

Whether at a practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood, it’s important to take these precautions to protect your face and teeth from injury:

  • Wear a  mouth guard when playing contact sports to help prevent injuries to the teeth, mouth and jaw; if you are wearing braces, please make sure you ask us for a mouth guard designed specifically for orthodontic patients;
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact;
  • Wear protective eye wear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable;
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin;
  • Be alert - as a player or a spectator.

If 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.

Click the line link below to watch this short, fun video showing that mouth guards are better for protecting kids than wrapping them in bubble wrap.

Bubble Wrap Play It Safe Video

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 and parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of taking precautions to preserve their teeth and protect them from facial injuries.

Is It Time To Update Your Insurance Benefit Information?

January 14th, 2014

It’s the start of a new year and for some of you that means the acquisition of a new insurance policy or changes to your current policy. If your dental benefits have changed for 2014, please contact our office as soon as possible to update your benefit information. We will be happy to verify your new benefits and file the appropriate claims so that you receive the maximum benefit for your orthodontic treatment. For your convenience, you can now download and complete our Change of Insurance Form available at the Patient Forms page of our website. If you are unsure about your orthodontic benefits, we recommend that you contact your employer’s human resources department.

Teen's Dental Health Corner

November 11th, 2013

teen girl brushing teethLet’s face it, educating kids about the importance of oral health can be challenging, especially when it comes to teens. But no matter how difficult, it’s important that they learn to properly care for their teeth, especially if they’re in braces.

The good news is that there are plenty of online oral health resources available. For example, MetLife recently released the Teen Dental Health Center - a new section of their Oral Health Library that is specifically designed for kids ages 11-18. The Teen Dental Health Corner, just like the Kid's Corner, provides age-specific articles and videos - all designed to help teach oral health in engaging and entertaining ways. Topics included on the teen site are relevant to their life stage and experiences: healthy eating, braces, mouthguards, dental projects for school and careers in dentistry. Their dental care video entitled, Oral Hygiene for Braces, is a helpful tool for patients in orthodontic treatment. To view this video and more, visit their website at www.oralhealthlibrary.com.

For children under the age of 11, MetLife's offers the Kid's Dental Health Corner. From interactive games and coloring pages to healthy tips and their Kids and Cavities Movie, the site keeps young children entertained while they learn the benefits of a healthy smile. Here's a sample of what you'll find on their site:

  • Plaque: What is it and how to get rid of it
  • What's wrong with sugary snacks, anyway?
  • Am I at risk for tooth decay?
  • Snack Smart food list.

If you have questions about oral health and caring for your braces, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

How To Have A Braces-Safe Halloween

October 21st, 2013

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, courtsey 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:

Click 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.

What Happens If I Have An Orthodontic Emergency While On Vacation?

June 7th, 2013

Dr. Godwin and the teaSummer vacation funm at Bel Air Orthodontics don't want you to spend your summer vacation worrying about or dealing with an orthodontic emergency, so here are a few helpful reminders to keep your orthodontic appliances in check:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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