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Dr. Stephen Godwin

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.

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!”

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.

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!

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.

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.

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 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!

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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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