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Bel Air Orthodontics

Are Braces Right For You?

December 10th, 2018

It’s not uncommon to have permanent teeth that are crooked, crowded, or improperly aligned, which is why braces are a common solution for teens and adults who desire a beautiful smile.

So, with that being said, how do you know if braces are right for you? Typically your dentist will be able to point out any issues with your teeth at your regular six-month cleanings and will likely send you or your child to see an orthodontist for a consultation. Many factors go into whether braces would be right for you or your child. If you’re thinking about investing in braces, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

Fortunately today, orthodontics has advanced to the point where corrective devices, such as braces and retainers, are less obvious, more comfortable, and can be worn for shorter periods of time. Modern orthodontic treatments offer numerous options for the typical issues people face, such as crooked teeth or jaw alignment problems.

Treatment time varies and is often determined by the patient’s age, bite, and treatment type. For most patients in braces, treatment time ranges from one to three years. Once your teeth have reached their final positions, a retainer is worn to keep the newly straightened teeth in place. Retainers are custom-made devices that are initially worn all day, aside from meals, and then eventually are rolled back so they’re just worn at night.

While braces are typically associated with dental issues in children, more adults are undergoing treatment as well. About one in every five braces wearers are adults; a sign that it’s never too late to correct any oral issues. Part of this is due to the technological advancements in orthodontics. For instance, new braces feel much better and come in a variety of styles — including clear, ceramic brackets and Invisalign® removable aligners — so they’re far less obvious. Plus, the wires on braces are now made from advanced metals, which are stronger and lighter, so they get the job done much more efficiently. Additionally, insurance plans are increasingly covering orthodontic treatment, making braces a much more feasible and affordable option for families on a budget.

When weighing whether or not braces are in your future, it’s important to study all of your options about the styles of braces and what treatment option is best for you.  It might take a few years of treatment, but braces can give you that winning smile you've always wanted. If you have questions regarding the types of treatment we provide for our patients, call Bel Air Orthodontics to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. We look forward to meeting you!

Avoiding Delays During Your Orthodontic Treatment

October 3rd, 2018

Many of our patients are excited to start orthodontic treatment, but they also look forward to getting them off to reveal their amazing new smiles. Your commitment to treatment protocols and caring for your braces can affect how long your treatment takes. While there is no way to predict exactly how quickly your teeth and bite will move into their correct position, there are ways that you can help the process move along smoothly and timely. Here are a few ways you can avoid progress delays during your orthodontic treatment.

Keep Your Scheduled Visits

When days are filled with carpooling, work demands, and errands, you may be tempted to delay or cancel an appointment thinking that it will have little or no impact on treatment goals when in fact the opposite is true. Each of your visits while you are undergoing treatment is carefully planned to move your teeth a specific way in a certain time frame. Regular visits allow our team to make necessary adjustments to your braces and identify any problem areas that need correcting. Postponing or canceling these important visits can extend treatment time and significantly delay your progress — adding weeks or even months to the total treatment time.

Take Care of Your Braces

A surefire way to delay your orthodontic treatment is to continually damage your braces. An occasional break or bend of the brackets and wires is not uncommon, but if you encounter damage too frequently, it will interfere with the treatment timeline. You can prevent damage to your braces by always wearing a mouth guard when playing sports. You should also be mindful of the foods you eat to avoid breakage, especially those that are hard, sticky and chewy — such as popcorn, nuts, taffy, caramel, gum, corn on the cob and hard pretzels. It's also important to limit foods high in sugar.

Repair Damaged Braces As Soon As Possible

If your braces break or get damaged, contact our office right away. Ill-fitting brackets and wires aren’t capable of effectively correcting your teeth, which can cause major setbacks in the entire treatment process. Similarly, if you wear Invisalign® aligners and break or misplace them, notify our office immediately. It is critical that you replace your trays as soon as possible so that treatment can progress on schedule. Failure to notify our team of any issues can even create bigger, more permanent problems that require you to spend more time in braces.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Habits

It's always important to practice good oral hygiene, but this is especially true when you are straightening your teeth. When you are wearing braces, food and debris can easily become trapped around the brackets and wires. This puts you at a greater risk for infections and cavities, which can complicate and prolong your treatment. As a general rule, brush your teeth after eating meals and snacks to keep teeth and gums healthy throughout the duration of your orthodontic treatment. Seeing your regular dentist for exams and cleaning will also keep your teeth and gums in tip-top condition, enabling teeth to move more efficiently.

Follow Instructions From The Bel Air Orthodontics Team

Apart from routine adjustment visits, patient compliance will play an important part in treatment time and results. For example, many patients with braces will also need to wear elastics (aka rubber bands) at some point during their treatment. These rubber bands play a critical role in aligning your teeth and bite. Failure to follow instructions as directed is a guaranteed way to prevent your teeth from moving as scheduled.

Getting braces may seem like a long road, but we're here to tell you it is well worth it! Whether you choose traditional braces, Invisalign or other orthodontic procedures, the team at Bel Air Orthodontics is here to help you reach the best possible treatment outcome in the least amount of time and visits. By following these easy tips, you can stay on track with your orthodontic treatment and achieve the teeth and smile you’ve always wanted.

As always, your Bel Air Orthodontics team is here to help answer any questions you have along the way.

Back To School With Braces

September 5th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improve Your Smile . . . Improve Your Life

August 22nd, 2018

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

Wear Your Smile With Pride

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

Make Your Mouth Healthy

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

Feel Free To Live Your Life

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

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

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!

Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Retainer Safe This Summer

July 2nd, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Your Colors Say About You?

June 4th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caring For Your Invisalign Aligners

May 21st, 2018

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

Follow These Steps To Care For Your Aligners:

Keep Your Aligners Clean

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

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

Keep Your Teeth Clean

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

Keep Aligners in Clean, Safe Places

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

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

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

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

April 30th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orthodontic Emergency? We're Here To Help!

April 19th, 2018

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

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

Acute, Direct Injury To Mouth, Jaw or Teeth

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

Broken or Distorted Removable Orthodontic Appliances

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

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

Irritation of Lips or Cheeks 

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

Loose Bracket or Band

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

Loose or Protruding Wire

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

General Soreness

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

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

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!”

Bottled Water: Friend or Foe?

March 12th, 2018

So, you’re working out, eating kale, ditching the soda, drinking endless bottles of water and hopefully, recycling the empties!  You’re feeling pretty good about yourself – but, are you doing your teeth more harm than good?

You may be choosing bottled water over tap because you think it’s a healthier, tastier and more convenient; but studies show that  choosing bottled water over tap can actually be detrimental to your dental health?

When we choose bottled water over tap water, we deprive our pearly whites of something we may need. Most brands of bottled water fail to include a vital ingredient for dental health: fluoride. Fluoride plays an important role in maintaining good oral health because it helps strengthen our teeth. Stronger teeth mean a lower chance of tooth decay, and who doesn’t want that?

The good news is that the American Dental Association has endorsed both community water fluoridation and products that contain fluoride as a safe way to prevent tooth decay. If bottled water happens to be the preference for you or your family, you don’t necessarily have to force everyone to start drinking tap water. Just check the label and make sure the brand you purchase contains fluoride. It’s essential to remember that switching up the water you drink isn’t going to put you on the fast track to perfect teeth, though. We recommend that you visit your dentist every six months and floss and brush daily. If you're wearing braces, keeping teeth clean and healthy can often be challenge. For our top ten tips for keeping braces clean, read our previous blog.

If you have any questions about fluoride or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to give the team at Bel Air Orthodontics a call.

Eat Healthy Food - Your Teeth Will Thank You!

February 19th, 2018

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

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

Enjoy Calcium-Filled Dairy Products

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

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

Eat Your Leafy Greens

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

Use Natural Scrubbers

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

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

Think Before You Drink

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

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

Give the Gift of Good Health this Holiday Season

December 13th, 2017

Before you finish your holiday shopping, we have one more gift suggestion for you!

If a hockey or lacrosse stick is on the holiday wish list, we'd suggest that parents or grandparents tuck another gift in the package - a mouth guard. Dr. Godwin and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics recommend the use of a mouth guard for all contact-related sports to athletes of all ages. With various winter sports now in full swing and the holidays just around the corner, it is a great time to pick up a mouth guard for your favorite athlete. Great as a Christmas stocking stuffer or Hanukkah present, something as simple and affordable as a mouth guard can protect smiles and prevent sports-related dental injuries.

Each year, two million teeth get knocked out due out due to sports-related injuries such as a baseball to the mouth. According to WebMD and the American Dental Association, sports injuries are the main source of tooth and mouth injuries in older adolescents and adults. In some cases, these injuries result in permanent damage to the jaw, teeth or surrounding facial bones. Surprisingly, dental injuries are one of the most easily avoidable sports injuries. Yet a recent study commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) found that sixty-seven percent of parents stated that their children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports.

A mouth guard may be one of the least expensive pieces of protection gear available to young athletes, and it can provide a lifetime of savings - especially when you compare the cost of a mouth guard to the cost of losing or damaging a tooth.

If you have athletes on your holiday gift list, make sure they're protected in 2018!

There are several types of mouth guards, and if you're wearing braces you need to wear a mouth guard designed specifically for orthodontic patients. The "Boil and Bite" guards available at most sporting goods stores should not be used while you are in active orthodontic treatment. To pick up a free orthodontic mouth guard or to learn more about which mouth guard is right for you or your child, contact our office.

Keeping Your Retainers Safe This Holiday Season

November 15th, 2017

The busy holiday season is just around the corner, and so are the social activities and parties that go with it. It's also a time when Bel Air Orthodontics is busy replacing broken or lost retainers. Why you ask? There a number of factors, but it comes down to the fact that your retainer is spending too much time out of your mouth! Holiday fun brings a change in your daily routine, more meals with family and friends, and that usually means more opportunities to lose, break or forget your retainer.

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

  • Never Wrap It In A Napkin - While a retainer on the table might not be the most appetizing sight, hiding it in a napkin is a quick and sure way to accidentally send your retainer into the trash can!
  • Keep It Away From Fido – It’s a fact, dogs love the smell and taste of saliva on retainers and they’ll go to impressive lengths to get their canines on them. Never leave your retainers on a night stand, counter, or table where they can jump up and snag the appliance. Remember, dogs like to chew on things . . . this includes retainers!
  • Don’t Be Random – While spontaneity is a good thing in life, it’s a bad thing when it comes to storing your retainer. If you put your retainer in random places, you’re bound to eventually forget where it is. Instead, create designated spots to keep your retainer. Whether it’s the same spot in your purse or backpack, a special drawer in your bedroom, or a cabinet in the kitchen, you’ll always know where it is.
  • Don't Put It In Your Pocket - Your retainer is more fragile than you think. Placing it in your pocket  or purse often leads to loss or breakage. Just imagine the look on your Mom’s face when she discovers that she tossed that pair of jeans or jacket in the washer and dryer without knowing the retainer is tuck away in the pocket. Let’s just say that story doesn’t end well.
  • Clean It With Luke Warm – NOT HOT WATER -  While keeping your retainer clean and bright is important, never use hot water to clean it or boil it to sterilize. Heat will distort and damage your retainers. Instead, soak your retainers in a denture cleaning product like Efferdent once a week to keep them clean.
  • Label Your Retainer Case – If you do happen to misplace your retainer, your chances of having someone return it are much greater if your name, phone number and/or email address are on the case.
  • Don’t Forget To Wear It – If you are wearing your retainer when you’re supposed to, you’re much less likely to lose it.  Make wearing your retainer as prescribed your new healthy habit!
  • Always Keep Your Retainer In Its Case When Not In Your Mouth – This is Dr. Godwin’s number one rule! Your case is designed to keep your retainer safe when it’s not in your mouth, so remember to use it.

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

How To Have A Braces-Safe Halloween

October 25th, 2017

Halloween is a fun time of year, but before you head out to trick-or-treat, Dr. Godwin would like to offer a few tips for keeping your braces healthy and happy.  While Halloween treats are tempting, it's important to remember that many can cause havoc for trick-or-treaters with braces.  Treats that are sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy can potentially cause damage to braces, clear aligners, and other orthodontic appliances.  In addition to patient discomfort, a broken bracket or loose wire may prolong treatment and require additional appointments.

The team at Bel Air Orthodontics knows how hard it is to avoid all Halloween treats, so we encourage you to enjoy braces-friendly alternatives rather than feel that you are missing out on all the fun.  Dr. Godwin recommends that a few sweets can be okay occasionally, provided that you remember to brush and floss after eating.  Check out our frighteningly-good Halloween recipes and braces-friendly tips below so that you can enjoy the holiday and still be on pace to achieve your healthy, beautiful smiles.

Braces-Friendly Treats

In general, orthodontic patients should look for foods that are soft and easy to chew.  Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, peanut butter cups, milk shakes, gelatin, ice cream treats, and most soft cookies and cakes are good examples of braces-friendly treats.

Treats to Avoid

Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment should avoid treats that are sticky, hard, chewy or crunchy, such as caramel, nuts (including candies that contain nuts), licorice, jelly beans or taffy, hard pretzels, bubblegum, candy corn, and popcorn.

Here Comes The Good Stuff!

Now that you know the do's and don'ts, here are some fantastic recipes courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists and The Braces Cookbooks, perfect not only for patients with braces, but everyone looking for a yummy homemade treat!  That way no one will feel left out this Halloween, and your party will be a monster success. To scare up your own Halloween party, try these recipes that are easy on your orthodontic hardware:

Downloadable recipes courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists:  

Even-More-Fun-Orthodontic-friendly-Halloween-Recipes

Just follow the above "Even-More-Fun" link for the full list of recipes below.

  • Frightful Finger Cookies
  • Pumpkin Cookie Pops
  • Goblin Goodies
  • Graveyard Shakes
  • Halloween Parfait
  • Mounds of Brains Cookies
  • Spider Bites
  • Goblin's Gooey Apples
  • Jack-O-Lantern Brownie . . . Enjoy!!

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

Do You Know Where Your Mouthguard Is?

October 5th, 2017

With school and fall sports in full swing, 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 Scheduling

September 13th, 2017

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

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

Access Your Appointment Information 24/7

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

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

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

August 24th, 2017

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

Genetics

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

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

Bad Habits

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

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

Timing

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

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

Illness or injury

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

Can crooked teeth be prevented?

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

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

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment

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

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

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

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!

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!

April Is National Facial Protection Month . . . Make Sure You Play It Safe

April 3rd, 2017

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.

Top Ten Ways To Keep Your Braces Clean

February 1st, 2017

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

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

The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, Nothing But The Tooth

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

It's All About The Angles

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

Brush After Every Meal

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

Like A Boy Scout, Always Be Prepared

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

Fluoride Is Your Friend

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

Pointy Brushes Reach Tiny Places

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

Find The Floss That's Right For You

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

Be Gentle With Your Teeth

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

Eat Braces-Safe Foods

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

Get Regular Checkups

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

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

Invisalign - A Metal-Free Alternative

January 18th, 2017

When it comes to straightening your teeth to achieve a healthy smile, having a mouth full of metal braces may not be YOUR ideal solution. Lucky for you, we offer a cosmetic alternative: Invisalign®.

The results from Invisalign® users indicate that it's a comfortable, effective option for straightening teeth. In addition, Invisalign provides a "nearly invisible" option that allows you to avoid the dreaded “metal mouth.” We can help determine if Invisalign is right for you, but this article will explain why so many adult patients are calling Invisalign the best choice for straightening your smile.

Metal-Free Braces

While you can get brackets to more closely match your enamel color (making them more discrete), Invisalign is designed to be invisible. Aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic are worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move your teeth. Since there are no metal parts to change the look of your smile, your Invisalign aligners can straighten your teeth while allowing your pearly whites to shine through. If you’re an adult, who tends to be self-conscious, Invisalign may be an excellent choice for you. People may not even notice you’re straightening your teeth with Invisalign!

Eat, Brush, and Floss Easily

Another particularly attractive aspect of Invisalign is the freedom it allows. While traditional metal braces can make eating, brushing, and flossing difficult, this is not the case with Invisalign. The aligners are easily removed for these activities, which gives you the freedom to live life as usual.

More Comfort

Invisalign consists of smooth, comfortable plastic instead of  traditional metal brackets and wires that are more likely to irritate your cheeks and gums. For many adults, that's an important advantage.

Straightening your teeth to improve your smile and overall oral health is an important decision. To learn more about Invisalign and to find out if it’s right for your smile,  schedule a complimentary initial consultation with Bel Air Orthodontics today!

When Are Two Phases Of Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?

December 29th, 2016

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

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

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

First phase treatment is indicated in cases of:

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

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

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

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

Age 7 - The Right Time For An Orthodontic Checkup

October 26th, 2016

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.

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

October 19th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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!

What Is Expected Of Me During Orthodontic Treatment?

August 22nd, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Something To Smile About - Orthodontic Treatment For Adults

July 6th, 2016

If you think twice before smiling, it may be that you need orthodontic treatment. Your smile expresses confidence and comfort about the appearance of your teeth and gives others a great first impression. However, if your teeth protrude, have noticeable gaps, or are crowded and crooked, you may feel anxiety about showing the world anything more than a tight-lipped smile.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one out of five orthodontic patients is an adult. Not only can the correction of dental misalignment improve self-esteem, it can also fix bite problems that can lead to poor dental health.

Special Considerations: Braces for Adults

If you didn’t get braces as a teen, don’t worry; the option of adult braces is still open. While the process of repositioning teeth is similar for all ages, special considerations are required when dealing with an adult mouth. While teens rarely have serious gum disease, adults often do. Periodontal problems, which may include gum recession, bone loss, and missing teeth due to decay or trauma, must be resolved before orthodontic treatment begins.  These conditions may make orthodontic treatment slightly more complex and extended in length.

Another important consideration for adults seeking orthodontic care is aesthetics. In the past, many professional adults have avoided orthodontic treatment because of big, bulky, metal braces. Thankfully, today’s orthodontic treatments are far less noticeable. From mini brackets and ceramic brackets to Invisalign® clear aligners, today’s orthodontic appliances are small, sleek and, in some cases, nearly invisible.

It is never too late for a beautiful smile! We invite you to schedule a complimentary initial evaluation to review how orthodontic treatment may benefit your smile.

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.

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

June 13th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

An Overview of Orthodontic Appliances

June 1st, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rubber Band Horoscope: What Your Color Says About You

May 18th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orthodontic Misconceptions

May 4th, 2016

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

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

Orthodontic treatment is just for kids

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

Traditional metal braces are my only option

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

Orthodontic treatment is only helpful for crooked teeth

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

Orthodontic treatment is too expensive

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

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

Orthodontic Emergency? We're Here To Help!

April 25th, 2016

We know that orthodontic emergencies are never convenient nor timely. The good news is that true orthodontic emergencies are rare, and we're always available whenever you need us. As a general rule, you should call our office if you have a broken appliance or are experiencing an abnormal amount of discomfort. We'll evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule an appointment to take care of any problems you may be experiencing.

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

Acute, Direct Injury To Mouth, Jaw or Teeth

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

Broken or Distorted Removable Orthodontic Appliances

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

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

Irritation of Lips or Cheeks 

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

Loose Bracket or Band

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

Loose or Protruding Wire

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

General Soreness

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

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

Sports Safety Q and A - Guard Your Smile!

April 13th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q:  Are sports drinks bad for my teeth?

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

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

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

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

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

April 6th, 2016

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

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

Did You Know? . . .

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

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

Introducing The ITero Element Digital Impression Scanner

March 28th, 2016

Impressions Just Got Easier Thanks To Our Latest Technology . . . The iTero Scanner

Bel Air Orthodontics is always looking for ways to provide our patients with the latest cutting-edge technology. With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that our practice is now using the iTero Element Digital Impression Scanner. This technology makes it possible to create digital impressions in just a few minutes, without the need for messy putties or the gooey discomfort associated with other traditional impression techniques.

The iTero Element Scanner ensures a more accurate impression from the first appointment, resulting in a more efficient and comfortable experience for our patients. Digital impressions also give us the benefit of seeing the teeth instantly in 3D, so that patients can watch first hand as their model is generated on screen. From this scan, we create digital study models, formulate an orthodontic treatment plan, and generate Invisalign® aligners and other orthodontic appliances.

How Does The iTero Scanner Work?

The iTero Element scanner digitally captures the structure of the teeth and gums at 6,000 frames per second using break-through optical technology. The scanner is a small, hand-held wand that is connected to a portable computer screen. The scanner is simply held over the teeth, where it quickly and comfortably scans all sides to create a 3-D image that is digitally saved. The scanned image is instantaneously displayed on the computer screen, improving communication during the consultation and treatment process.

Ultimately, this new technology makes the all-important impression process quick, convenient, precise and comfortable. With the iTero Element digital scanner, we hope to make a great first “impression” with our patients!

To learn more, visit www.itero.com or watch their latest video.

Invisalign® - Designed To Fit Your Teeth And Your Life

March 16th, 2016

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

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

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

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

Q: How does Invisalign® work?

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

Q: How long does treatment take?

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

Flossing Buddies For Braces

February 4th, 2016

February is National Dental Health Month, and the team at Bel Air Orthodontics want to remind everyone about the importance of good oral hygiene and the role it plays in the health of your teeth and the success of your orthodontic treatment.

Brushing for two minutes, two times a day is the golden rule when it comes to taking care of your teeth; but did you know that brushing alone isn't enough to keep your mouth clean and disease free? The gum tissue between your teeth where your toothbrush can't reach is prone to infection. That's why flossing regularly is just as essential to your overall health care as brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests flossing at least once a day to promote total oral health.

Flossing With Braces

Flossing is more important that ever when you're in orthodontic treatment. Braces can catch food and allow plaque to build up around them, increasing the risk of gum disease. Flossing removes plaque from the areas of your teeth that your toothbrush can't reach. If you don't remove this plaque, it can harden into tartar and lead to gum inflammation and disease. Fortunately there are products to help you successfully floss around and between your braces. Here are some handy helpers that make it easier to floss while you're in treatment:

Floss Threaders

A floss threader is the most common tool to help you floss with braces. Made of a special, rigid plastic, a threader works like a sewing needle to help you guide the floss under the archwire so that you can floss as usual. Here's how it works:

  1. Pull off 12 to 18 inches of your preferred dental floss.
  2. Insert one end of the dental floss about five inches into the loop of the threader.
  3. Pass the floss threader under or over the archwire.
  4. Remove the threader from the floss and floss gently back and forth and up and down into the gumline between the teeth.
  5. Repeat the process between each tooth.

Stiff-Ended Floss

Made with a bendable but rigid segment at its end, this special floss works much the same as a floss threader. Products such as Oral-B's Super Floss have three unique components—a stiffened-end dental floss threader, spongy floss and regular floss.

Simply maneuver the stiff end under the archwire of your braces, pull it through and floss as usual. All three flossing tools work together to give you maximum benefits.

Oral Irrigators

An oral irrigator, such as a Waterpik®, works by shooting a very fine jet of water between and around teeth to clear away plaque and food. This system can make cleaning around your braces much easier and more thorough. Dr. Godwin highly recommends the use of an oral irrigator throughout orthodontic treatment.

Regardless of the type flossing tool you use, make sure that you floss on a regular basis - at least once a day. Though flossing may add one more step to your daily routine, it's just as important to achieving a healthy smile as brushing. As always, let us know if you have any questions about the best way to keep your teeth clean and healthy while you're in treatment.

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.

Orthodontic Misconceptions

August 6th, 2015

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

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

Myth #1 - Orthodontic Treatment is Just For Kids

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

Myth #2 - Traditional Metal Braces Are My Only Option

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

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

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

Myth #4 - Orthodontic Treatment Is Too Expensive

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

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

Dig In . . . It's National Cheesecake Day

July 30th, 2015

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

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

Lime-Graham Cheesecake Nibbles

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

Crust:

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

Or

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

Filling:

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

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes.

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

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

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

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

Start Your Orthodontic Treatment Off Right

July 13th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do Braces Move Teeth Anyway?

July 7th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Say Cheese . . . It's National Smile Month

June 8th, 2015

According to the American Dental Association, a person’s smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature. While smiling is a great way to get yourself noticed, it turns out that it can also help your body function better. Since June is National Smile Month, we thought it would be a great time to share some good reasons to show off your pearly whites:

Smiling Makes You More Attractive

Studies now support what we’ve long known . . . we’re more attracted to people who smile. Smiling, happy people are perceived to be more relaxed, confident and approachable—a characteristic that we’re naturally drawn to.

Smiling Changes Your Mood

There’s nothing quite like a cheerful smile for perking you up, as well as those around you. So next time you’re feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better.

Smiling is Contagious

It turns out that emotions are catchy. When someone is smiling, they lighten up the room, change the mood of others, and make things happier. Dr. David Lewis, a psychologist and Director of Research at Mindlab International, says, “Seeing a smile creates what’s known as a halo effect, helping us to remember happy events, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.”

Smiling Relieves Stress

According to a study at Columbia University, smiling can help to reduce symptoms associated with stress. Studies show that chronic stress does significant damage to the body and mind, so the next time you're stressed out, try to put on a smile. Better yet, find something to laugh about. Studies show that laughing reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and gives you a quick burst of energy.

Smiling Boosts Your Immune System

“The research is clear,” says Christopher Peterson, PhD, a University of Michigan professor. “There is a link between optimistic attitudes and good health.” His research supports that smiling, optimistic people have a more robust immune system. So, what are you waiting for . . . smile your way to better health!

Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers & Serotonin

Studies show that smiling releases natural “feel good” brain chemicals which reduce pain and make us feel happy. So remember to smile every day. Not only will you be happier, you’ll be healthier too.

Smiling Makes You Look Younger

The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don’t go for a face lift, just try smiling your way though the day. You’ll look younger and feel better!

Smiling Helps You Stay Positive

Try this test: Just smile for 30 seconds. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard, right? When we smile, our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!”

A smile is one of the most simple, inexpensive and wonderful things you can do . . . Share yours with the world today!

Sources: Abel, MH, Hester, R. (2002); The therapeutic effects of smiling; British Dental health Foundation (2005); Positive Psychology News (2008) Health & Emotional Benefits of Smiling.

Curious About The Benefits of Invisalign®?

May 28th, 2015

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

No Food Restrictions

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

Oral Hygiene is a Breeze

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

Nearly Invisible Treatment

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

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

What 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.

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.

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

Your Pal, Fluoride

February 24th, 2015

There are so many ways you can protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment.   We recommend you brush your teeth at least two times per day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from damage by making smart food choices. But did you know there is another, often forgotten, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride, a mineral found in your water and many dental products can keep your teeth strong!

What is Fluoride And How is It Used?

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. It comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth enamel. Some examples include fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, as well as fluoride treatments at your dentist's office. Systemic fluoride is swallowed and benefits the teeth before and after they erupt in the mouth. Examples include fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements.

The topical fluoride preparation used in the dental office is a much stronger concentration than that in toothpastes or mouth rinses that are available at your local pharmacy. A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients are asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Your dentist may also prescribe a fluoride product such as fluoride gels or antibacterial mouth rinses.   Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect their patients' oral health; so if you have questions about fluoride treatments and their benefits, don't hesitate to ask Dr. Godwin and/or your general dentist.

Look For The American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance.

When choosing your own over-the-counter fluoride products, be sure to check for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been examined carefully by the ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs and have met it's criteria for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth and share your beautiful smile!

Is It Time To Toss Your Toothbrush?

February 18th, 2015

Has your toothbrush seen better days? No matter what type of toothbrush you use - electric or manual  - when the bristles become frayed and worn, it is no longer effective for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy. The American Dental Association recommends you change your toothbrush every three months, and so do we! Also keep in mind that you should replace your toothbrush after an illness to avoid re-infection.

Choosing The Right Toothbrush

So which kind of toothbrush is right for you? Whether manual or electric, choose a toothbrush that is appropriate for your age and oral health needs.

Size: The head of the toothbrush should allow you easy access to all your teeth, especially those hard-to-reach molars. A toothbrush that is too large will be cumbersome to maneuver in a smaller mouth, while a toothbrush that is too small won't be as effective in reaching all the surface areas of your teeth.

Bristle Type: A soft-bristle toothbrush is your best bet to achieve a comfortable, safe, and effective teeth cleaning. Medium and hard-bristled brushes can damage your enamel and gums, especially if you tend to be an aggressive brusher.

Expert Recommendation: Make sure the toothbrush you choose has undergone rigorous safety and effectiveness testing. Look for the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of approval or consult our team for recommendations on the best type of toothbrush to meet your needs, especially if you are wearing braces.

Technique: Finding the right toothbrush is the first step in great oral health. The second is ensuring that you're using the right brushing technique. Placing the toothbrush closer to the gum line and brushing with gentle circular motions for two minutes is important to achieve the best results.

Do you have questions about choosing the right toothbrush for your smile? If so, contact our office or ask us at your next appointment.

Top Ten Tips For Keeping Your Braces Clean

February 10th, 2015

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.

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.

Bel Air Orthodontics Gives School Nurses A Helping Hand

September 30th, 2014

It's back-to-school time, and that means the school nurses have their hands full. To make they're job a little easier, Bel Air Orthodontics recently visited schools throughout Harford County to make sure that nurses are prepared to handle orthodontic emergencies during the school day. Our complimentary kits provide school nurses with much needed dental supplies such as orthodontic wax, floss, toothbrushes and paste, along with a Nurse's Guide which is filled with helpful tips and emergency care information.

With some minor intervention and guidance from the school nurse, many of our patients with minor emergencies such as broken brackets, loose and/or poking wires can return to class and finish out their school day. So if you're not sure how to handle an orthodontic emergency while at school, stop by the nurse's office. They've got the know-how and supplies to help you out thanks to the team at Bel Air Orthodontics.

Since some orthodontic emergencies may require repair by your orthodontist, Dr. Godwin also recommends that you contact our office as soon as possible so that we can address your concerns and/or schedule an appointment.

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.

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

August 14th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 6th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

Age 7 - The Right Time for an Orthodontic Check-up

October 8th, 2013

seven year oldsEvery 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 30th, 2013

To make sure our patients have a great back-to-school experience, Bel Air Orthodontics recently visited nurses in schools throughout Harford County to make sure that they 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 intervention and guidance from the school nurse, many 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

August 28th, 2013

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

Access Your Appointment Information 24/7

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

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

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

August 2nd, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Welcome to Our Blog!

April 25th, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctor and staff – we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!

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