types of braces

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces are still the number one choice for most patients however they have come along way from their initial design. We use high quality metal braces made in the United States. Their small and flat design maximizes comfort while changing the colors each visit gives you something to look forward to!

Clear Braces

Clear braces work in the same manner as metal braces however they are made of ceramic instead of metal. Clear braces offer a more esthetic option for all ages leading to increased confidence while going through treatment. The self-ligating design of Damon® Clear™ braces eliminates the need for elastic ties that often discolor overtime necessary with older types of clear braces.

braces process

It generally takes about 1 hour to place the braces on your teeth. No needle necessary in our office! Braces are set to the teeth using an LED light. Next the wires are placed through the braces and held in place with an elastic tie. 

Adjustment appointments will be spaced out every 4-8 weeks and at those appointments we will change your elastic  (color) ties and sometimes the wires. Most appointments are about 15-20 minutes and can be scheduled before, during, and after school. 

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caring for braces

Adapting to braces

As your teeth start straightening (Day 1!), it is normal for them to feel sore especially while chewing foods. Soreness typically lasts 3-7 days after braces are placed, Therefore soft foods for the first week can be helpful. Also Tylenol or Advil can be taken as directed if needed. The cheeks, lips, and tongue can also feel sore as they adjust to having braces in the mouth but they will toughen up after a few days. As you adapt to your braces, you will find you need fewer measures necessary to maintain your comfort. Please call if you have any undue discomfort.


Brushing & flossing

Brushing your gums IS AS IMPORTANT AS brushing your teeth! Orthodontic appliances accumulate food and plaque which cause tooth decay, white scars, and periodontal disease unless promptly and thoroughly removed. Regular brushing and flossing prevents permanent damage.

Brushing and Flossing

  • 3 times a day for 2 minutes each time
  • Brush ABOVE, BELOW, and IN BETWEEN BRACES
  • Floss nightly before bed with floss threaders or superfloss.
  • Waterpiks® can assist in flossing and soothe puffy gums
  • Over the counter fluoride rinses offer extra protection against cavities

Eating with braces

Hard and sticky foods break braces which cause you to be in treatment longer than you need be. Fortunately, there are different ways to still eat most your favorite foods or subsitutions that can get you through treatment!

Bad news

  • NO gum
  • NO hard foods - do not eat: hard pizza crust, French bread crust, pretzels, bagels, nuts, popcorn, nacho chips, hard tacos, ice, peppermints, Jolly Ranchers®, Lemonheads®
  • NO sticky foods/candy like caramels, Starbursts®, taffy, Skittles®, Snickers®, beef jerky
  • Biting apples, raw vegetables, corn on the cob, and meat off the bone can be too much pressure on the front teeth and should not be done.
  • Soda has sugar and acid which creates a great environment for cavities
  • Biting finger nails, pens, and ice can all cause broken brackets

Good news

  • Veggies can be cooked or shaved and then eaten
  • Apples, bagels, corn on the cob and ribs/chicken can be cut into pieces (off the bone/cob) and then eaten
  • Pringles® are soft enough for potato chips
  • Pirates Booty® is a soft popped popcorn you can eat
  • Chocolates like Hershey® bars and Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups are soft enough

sports & braces

You can still play your favorite sports with braces! We recommend an orthodontic specific mouthguard to protect your lips and cheeks while participating in contact sports. We have complimentary mouthguards for you in our office so just let us know when you need one. Otherwise most sporting goods stores sell braces specific mouthguards (Shockdoctor® is one brand).

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help!

 
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Braces irritation

Placing a small piece of wax over braces that are causing initial irritation can help the soft tissues get used to them.

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Rinsing your mouth with a warm cup of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt can aid healing of irritated lips, cheeks, and gums.

Poking wires

Occasionally, as teeth straighten, a wire may slide out the back of the last bracket and cause irritation to your cheek. If this occurs, dry the area with a cotton ball and place a small piece of wax over the wire until you can come into the office for us to adjust the wire.

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Sometimes a poking wire can be bent out of the way with the end of a toothbrush or eraser.

If it is very long, you may even try cutting it with a nail clipper.

Please call the office to let us know, even if it is after hours! We always have someone on call to manage concerns although most of the time we can walk you through how to get comfortable over the phone. 

Broken braces

If the last bracket in your mouth becomes lost or loose then the wire can remain long and bother your cheek. Call us to inform us and we will either schedule you as soon as possible to make you comfortable or follow instructions for a poking wire until you can come into the office for us to adjust the wire.

Sometimes you will notice the bracket connected to the wire but sliding back and forth on the wire – it is still broken! A sliding bracket is not an emergency but we need to know so that we can schedule time appropriately to repair it.

additional appliances

Sometimes in addition to braces or Invisalign®, an additional appliance is recommended to help correct your bite.  

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Expander

A palatal expander widens the top jaw to fix crossbites and make space for blocked out adult teeth. It is connected to the upper back molars and a key is used to turn the expander in order to widen it. Our team will show you how to adjust the expander when it is placed however is a guide to help at home.

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Forsus™

The Forsus™ is an alternative to headgear and corrects excessive overbites by moving upper teeth back and lower teeth forward. The springs are entirely inside the mouth so visibility is minimal. It can promote favorable growth in adolescents and possibly eliminate the need for teeth extractions or even jaw surgery.

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Elastics

Elastics improve the fit of upper to lower teeth. They are removable so wear them as instructed to keep your treatment on track and end with the best possible alignment!

retainers

Many factors will contribute to the stability of bite correction. Everything from growth patterns, to muscular adaptability, even finger biting/sucking habits, can affect dental future.  The very ability to straighten teeth in the first place provides for the natural tendency for teeth to relapse and retainers are required to keep them from returning to their original position so please wear them as we prescribe. Our doctors will recommend a specific type based on your needs however here are some options we have.

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Fixed retainers (Permanent)

Fixed retainers are small wires glued behind the front teeth and are encouraged to be kept as long as possible (some people have them over 20 years!). The advantage of this type of retainer is it is always present and preventing the teeth from shifting.  Floss threaders (same threaders as for braces) are required to adequately floss under the wire and between teeth.

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Hawley retainers

Hawley retainers are removable and are often recommended when baby teeth are still present however can be used at any time. They have a wire that goes across the front teeth that can be adjusted as adult teeth start to erupt or move.

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Invisible retainers

Removable retainers are made of clear plastic and cover all surfaces of the teeth. They are very esthetic and most people will not realize you are even wearing retainers! These hold the teeth exactly in the final position. Initially (you will need to wear these types of retainers full time except eating and brushing. After some time, we will instruct you to wear your retainer only at night. Teeth can be brushed as normally and retainers are cleaned with a toothbrush or retainer tablets.

state of the art equipment

We use digital radiographs that produce less radiation than conventional film radiographs.. We have an intra-oral scanner that virtually eliminates the needs for uncomfortable impressions with that traditional thick, gooey material. Our services go beyond traditional metal braces to include esthetic self ligating clear braces and Invisalign® clear aligners for ALL ages.

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