How to Keep your Braces Clean

March 29th, 2019

The biggest, and perhaps most difficult change to make when you get braces is learning a whole new oral care routine. No longer will your routine involve just running into the bathroom, quickly brush and floss, and go on with your day. Instead, your new oral care routine will be a bit more complex and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve put together these braces hacks to learn how to keep them clean.

Braces Hack #1: Use the Right Type of Toothbrush

It’s extremely important to make sure you’re brushing with the right type of toothbrush. Using the wrong type when you have braces can cause a number of problems. Doing so can damage the enamel on your teeth, scratch your gums, bend the wires of your braces, and damage the brackets that are bonded to your teeth.

The type of toothbrush that you should be using if you have braces is one with the following features:

  • Soft-bristles
  • Smaller head on the toothbrush
  • Manual or battery powered
  • No frayed bristles

Note: You may need to replace your toothbrush more than every three months when you have braces as the bristles on your brush will fray faster due to the wires and brackets.

Braces Hack #2: Proper Tooth Brushing Technique When You Have Braces

Brushing your teeth with braces isn’t all that different from brushing without braces. The only real difference is that you’ll want to brush gently to avoid damaging the wires and brackets. It’ll also be a bit more time consuming since you’ll be working the toothbrush around all the brackets and wires.

Here’s the proper way to brush your teeth when you have braces:

  • Step 1: Gently rinse your mouth out with warm water to remove any large food particles
  • Step 2: Make sure you’re holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle
  • Step 3: Use small, gentle forward and backward motions when brushing
  • Step 4: Brush all of the surfaces of your teeth, including chewing surfaces and inner and outer surfaces.
  • Step 5: Move your toothbrush around so you’re brushing between the wires
  • Step 6: Brush your tongue and roof of your mouth

Note: To keep your teeth and braces really clean, you’ll want to brush after every meal and right before bed.

Braces Hack #3: How to Floss with Braces

Another important part of your new oral care routine with braces involves flossing. You can’t just run the floss between your teeth anymore. Instead, you’ll have to work it around the wires, brackets, and in between your teeth. Luckily, there is a small dental tool that helps a lot known as a floss threader.

A floss threader helps you get the floss in those hard-to-reach areas. Once the floss has been threaded into those hard-to-reach areas, you can effectively remove any plaque or food particles that have gotten stuck between your teeth.

Braces Hack #4: Use an Interdental Toothbrush

Interdental toothbrushes are a new dental tool that should become part of your new oral care routine. These tiny little bristled brushes are used to clean around the wires and brackets of your braces. This tiny toothbrush reaches those areas which your regular toothbrush may miss.

Braces Hack #5: Try to Avoid Foods that Cause Tooth Decay or Damage Tooth Enamel

Watching what you eat throughout the day can really help to make your oral care routine a little easier to do. Avoiding foods that are known to increase your risk of tooth decay or damage your braces or the protective enamel on your teeth can help keep your mouth healthy and clean.

Some foods you may want to avoid (or only consume in moderation) include:

  • Soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Potato chips
  • Crackers
  • Extremely sugary foods or drinks such as coffee-based drinks, milkshakes, and energy drinks
  • Hard candy
  • Toffee and other sticky foods or candy

Have additional questions about how your oral care routine will change once you have braces? Feel free to ask any questions you may have during your orthodontic consultation with the orthodontists at OrthoCare Orthodontics.

During the orthodontic consultation, our orthodontists will explore treatment options with you, discuss what types of results you can expect to see, and answer any questions you may have about orthodontic treatment. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you improve your smile!

Which Type of Retainer is Best?

March 15th, 2019

Whether you had extensive orthodontic treatment or just partial treatment, once your treatment with braces is complete, you'll need a retainer. Retainers are designed to keep your teeth from shifting back to their previous positions after your braces are removed.

Types of Retainers: Permanent, Clear Plastic, and Hawley

There are permanent (i.e., fixed lingual retainer), clear plastic, and Hawley retainers. These retainers serve the same purpose; however, as with any product or appliance, each type of retainer has its own pros and cons. Let’s explore these three types of retainers below.

Permanent Retainers

A permanent retainer consists of a wire that is bonded to the back of the teeth. If your teeth were rotated, had a lot of space between them, or were crowded prior to treatment, a permanent retainer may be a good option for you.

Pros:

  • Since this retainer is bonded to your teeth, you won’t have to think about putting it in or taking it out.
  • You probably won’t damage it
  • You can’t lose it
  • It isn’t visible
  • Most people state that permanent retainers are more comfortable than their removable counterparts

Cons:

  • Pieces of food may get stuck in the wire; therefore, brushing after meals is very important
  • Floss threaders need to be used. These allow you to floss between the retainer and your teeth.
  • Some movement of the teeth may occur; however, any movement is minimal
  • Brushing and flossing is essential to ensure plaque does not build up

Clear Plastic Retainers (Brand Names: Essix, Vivera, and Zendura)

These retainers resemble Invisalign trays because they’re thin, clear and fit securely over the teeth.

Pros:

  • Since the retainer is nearly invisible, no one knows you are wearing
  • Because the retainer is form-fitted to each tooth, these retainers are comfortable to wear
  • Clear retainers are removed for cleaning and eating
  • By molding the retainer to fit each tooth perfectly, the clear retainer does the best job at preventing the shifting of teeth

Cons:

  • These clear retainers are more expensive than traditional Hawley retainers
  • Since these retainers aren’t as durable as their traditional counterpart, they’re not recommended for people who play contact sports or grind their teeth
  • Cleaning a clear plastic retainer using a product like toothpaste can damage the material
  • Due to normal wear and tear, you may need a new retainer over time

Hawley Retainer

When you think about a retainer, chances are you picture the Hawley retainer. These retainers are made of acrylic that is molded to fit the inside of the roof or floor of the mouth. There are metal wires that wrap around your teeth to hold the retainer in place. These retainers are removable.

Pros:

  • When cared for properly, Hawley retainers can last for a long time
  • These retainers are durable, stain-resistant, somewhat adjustable and easy to care for
  • Can be taken out before eating, brushing, and flossing
  • Hawley retainers are available in a variety of colors
  • You can clean your retainer using a toothbrush and toothpaste or denture cleaner

Cons:

  • People who grind their teeth will quickly wear down these retainers
  • Talking and swallowing while wearing these retainers can be challenging.
  • Losing your retainer can be costly
  • The metal wire of this retainer is visible
  • You may produce more saliva than usual while wearing this retainer
  • Bacteria can accumulate if you don’t clean your retainer properly

Your orthodontist will discuss your retainer options and which type is best for your situation. After your braces are removed, it’s critical to wear your retainer as recommended by your orthodontist. If you don’t, your teeth will likely shift over time.

Contact OrthoCare Orthodontics today to learn more about how we can help you attain the beautiful smile you have always wanted. We have two offices located in Charlotte, North Carolina. We also have offices located in Spartanburg and Rock Hill, South Carolina. Contact one of our offices today to schedule your free consultation.

Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign

February 25th, 2019

Choosing whether to use Invisalign or traditional braces to improve your smile is perhaps the most important decision you will make on your orthodontic journey. The type of treatment you choose to use will not only determine the length of your treatment and how much it costs, but it will determine the results you see when treatment is completed.

While an orthodontist is the only person who can tell you exactly what type of orthodontic treatment is best for you, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about both Invisalign and traditional braces. Learning more about these options can help you make a well-informed decision about which type of treatment is right for you.

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are what most people think of when they think of orthodontics. This is the mouth full of square brackets, rubber bands, and wires.

Benefits of traditional braces include:

  • Effective at correcting all types of problems from minor overcrowding of the teeth to major spacing issues or tooth misalignments
  • Helps if teeth need to be rotated during treatment
  • Able to correct bite issues such as overbite, crossbite, and underbite
  • No removable parts, such as trays, that can be lost or misplaced
  • Aspects of your treatment, such as tightness of the wires and how your teeth move, can easily be adjusted each follow-up appointment you have with the orthodontist which helps if problems arise during treatment
  • Works great with teens who have bones that have not finished growing

Possible drawbacks of traditional braces include:

  • Treatment time varies depending upon the complexity of the problems that need to be corrected
  • Orthodontic devices cannot be removed, meaning they are visible
  • Multiple food restrictions are in place to prevent damaging of the brackets and wires
  • Multiple office visits will be required throughout treatment so the wires can be tightened and brackets can be fixed if broken
  • Can take time to learn how to properly brush and floss with traditional braces

Pros and Cons of Invisalign

Using a series of clear plastic aligner trays, Invisalign subtly shifts your teeth into proper alignment. Just like with traditional braces, there are benefits and drawbacks to Invisalign.

Benefits of Invisalign include:

  • Orthodontic devices, which are clear plastic trays, are almost invisible
  • Great for correcting spacing issues and minor misalignment of teeth
  • Plastic aligner trays are removable which allows you to eat and drink what you want during treatment
  • Treatment may be more comfortable as there are no pointy wires or brackets
  • Cleaning your teeth with Invisalign is no different than before you started treatment
  • Fewer follow-up office visits are needed as treatment is almost all self-administered

Potential drawbacks of Invisalign include:

  • Not able to be used if you have had some types of previous dental work, such as crowns or bridgework
  • Requires a lot of self-discipline as the trays need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day and switched out on schedule
  • Cannot correct bite issues as it does not change the shape or structure of the jaw
  • Alignment trays can be misplaced or go missing

Orthodontic Treatment is Customized to Meet the Needs of the Patient

Every person has different needs when it comes to the type of orthodontic treatment that is recommended. Even two people who have similar problems that need to be corrected to improve their smile could be given two different recommendations for treatment.

A number of different factors go into determining what type of orthodontic treatment to recommend. Factors such as:

  • Types of malocclusion – the clinical term for incorrect placement or misalignment of teeth – that need to be corrected
  • Personal preferences – such as willingness to follow strict food restriction guidelines or comfort level with having visible wires and brackets
  • Budget for treatment - the cost of orthodontic treatment varies
  • Previous dental work - such as bridges, implants, or dental crowns
  • Age at the time of treatment – some treatment options work better when a patient is still growing while others work better after the bones have fully grown

An orthodontist will take all these factors into consideration and create a customized treatment plan that meets your needs.

Work with an Orthodontist to Choose the Right Treatment Option for You

Before making a final decision regarding which type of orthodontic treatment to use, schedule a consultation with the orthodontists at OrthoCare Orthodontics. An orthodontic consultation is important because sometimes your preferred treatment might not be the most effective way to improve your smile. Your first orthodontic appointment allows you to explore treatment options with an orthodontist and find out which one is right for you.

Are you ready to take the first step to improving your smile and oral health? Call OrthoCare Orthodontics today to schedule your complimentary orthodontic consultation at any of our four office locations located in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Will My Teeth Stay Where My Orthodontist Moved Them?

January 23rd, 2019

Change is a natural part of life. Just as our bodies change throughout our whole life, our teeth change too. We start out with no teeth, then get baby teeth, and shed those in favor of permanent teeth. Sometimes there are problems with tooth placement and jaw positions. That’s where the orthodontist is called in to bring about a change for the better, and transform misaligned teeth and jaws into a healthy and beautiful smile.

After orthodontic treatment is complete the most reliable way to keep your teeth where you and your orthodontist moved them is by wearing your retainers as prescribed. Your teeth will not stay where your orthodontist moved them unless you do. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment concludes are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

When treatment is complete, there is a “settling in” period; teeth adjust as you bite, chew, swallow and speak – actions that all place forces on your teeth. These small changes in tooth position are not a failure of orthodontic treatment, but are a natural process. If your retainer is not worn as prescribed, however, large changes occur instead. Large changes are disappointing to the patient, and to the orthodontist. If you are in retainers, and should you notice an unwanted change in your bite or your smile, or if you should lose a removable retainer or damage a fixed retainer (bonded in behind teeth), contact your orthodontist right away. Don’t give teeth an opportunity to shift. Commit to wearing retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist and limit undesirable changes!

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