Archive for the ‘Braces’ Category

Avoiding Gum Disease While Wearing Braces

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

While braces are a fantastic way to achieve a beautiful and perfectly aligned smile, they also can create difficulties in keeping your mouth completely clean and healthy. It can be tricky to clean effectively around the metal wires and brackets, and if you don’t realize the importance of maintaining a clean mouth, you may be destined for developing gum disease while you are wearing braces.

Know more about Disease While Wearing Braces

The best way to keep your mouth clean is to brush and floss regularly. While wearing braces, this often means several times a day for the best results. When you eat, the food gets caught in the wires and brackets that are part of your braces. Without brushing and flossing the trapped food away, it remains trapped and collects bacteria. This means that the bacteria combines with the acid in your mouth and can begin attacking your teeth and gums.

The more plaque and bacteria that attacks your gums, the greater your risk of developing gum disease. It starts out in the minor stages as gingivitis, but if left untreated will advance to periodontitis. If gum disease reaches this advanced stage, tooth loss can result. Your orthodontic treatment won’t be worth it if you end up losing your teeth!

Instead of fighting the battle of trying to regain healthy gums once you’ve developed gum disease, the better approach is to combat it in the first place. This means making time to brush and floss your teeth so that your mouth is kept clean. You’ll end up with a healthy mouth and an attractive smile, which was the goal of wearing braces in the first place.

Invisalign vs Traditional Braces

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Straightening teeth and correcting alignment used to mean a mouthful of metal braces. Thanks to advances in orthodontics, traditional metal braces are no longer the only option. Today there is a newer treatment called Invisalign, which consists of a series of customized aligners that gradually move your teeth into the correct position.

Benifits of Braces:

Invisalign provides a unique method of improving your smile, along with several other benefits that traditional braces do not offer.


The aligners are created from clear plastic, so they are practically invisible when worn. Unlike the bulky metal brackets and rubber bands worn with traditional braces, Invisalign retainers are hardly noticeable. This is very appealing to people who don’t want their braces to stand out in social or professional situations.


Invisalign retainers are not cemented to your teeth like metal braces. They can be removed for brushing and flossing, so that dental care is simple during your orthodontic treatment. You can also remove the aligners for special occasions like important social events or photographs. However, for the best results, you should follow your doctor’s instructions for the amount of time to wear the retainers.

Faster results

Treatment tends to take less time with Invisalign compared to traditional braces. Aligners are changed every two weeks to gradually move the teeth, which is a faster process than getting an adjustment at the orthodontist every six weeks or so with traditional braces. Often, patients undergoing Invisalign treatment achieve the desired results in only a year.

Tooth Extraction for Braces

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

If you are considering getting braces to improve your smile and the function of your mouth, you might require tooth extractions prior to getting the appliances on your teeth. Your orthodontist may recommend upon consultation that your treatment will be most effective after having some teeth removed. In fact, sometimes tooth extraction is the only way to achieve your goals for orthodontic treatment.

Reasons of Tooth Extraction for Braces

The most common reason for tooth extraction prior to braces is overcrowded teeth, in which space must be created to obtain proper tooth alignment. Doctors often recommend removing the teeth in sets of two or four, taking the same teeth from the top and the bottom at the same time. This helps create a symmetrical smile.

Another problem that can be aided from removing teeth is protrusion, which is when the upper teeth are out too far or the lower teeth are too far back. Tooth extraction can cause needed space to reposition the front teeth and stop the teeth and lips from protruding.

Overbites or underbites also sometimes require tooth extraction. When the upper jaw extends further than the lower jaw (overbite) or the lower jaw extends past the upper jaw (underbite), removing specific teeth can be helpful before moving the remaining teeth into better position. This can help prevent jaw surgery later.

If you and your orthodontist decide tooth extraction is best for you, often you will be referred to an oral surgeon. These specialists are trained to extract teeth with the ideal results and least pain. Usually you can return to your normal activities within a day or two of extraction, while following your doctor’s instructions for eating and oral care. Once your mouth has healed, you can return to your orthodontist to begin your braces treatment.

Deciding When your Child Needs Braces

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

You may have noticed that some kids begin orthodontic treatment at a young age, and others don’t begin until their teen years. The answer is that each patient is different, and the exact reasons your child needs braces will differ from other kids. Any way you look at it, you and your orthodontist will likely share the same goals for your child of a beautiful smile, healthy teeth, and confident attitude. Wearing braces can often help achieve those goals.

Reasons for braces

There are a variety of reasons that kids can benefit from braces. They straighten overlapping teeth or move crowded teeth to achieve the best alignment. Underbites, overbites, and other problems related to how the teeth fit together can also be corrected. Jaw problems and palate issues may be addressed so that the teeth fit better in the mouth.

When to get braces

Many factors contribute to an orthodontist’s recommendation as to when your child might benefit most from treatment. Most experts advise an initial orthodontic screening around age seven, when permanent teeth start erupting. Sometimes early intervention is helpful with young children to guide the teeth, palate, and jaw during growth. Palate expanders are an example of treatment that should be done early for the best results. Early intervention isn’t recommended for all kids, because some issues must be addressed after growth is complete. Your orthodontist can identify any problems that might be treated and suggest the ideal timing for correcting them.

What braces mean for your child

Even though braces are very common among young people today, your child may still have some hesitations about treatment. Appearance is a normal concern, but there are new technologies such as Invisalign or clear braces that are less obvious than traditional braces. Fun, colorful bands may be enough to entice some children to embrace the look instead of fear it. Playing musical instruments is possible for kids with braces, and participating in sports is also acceptable as long as your child wears a mouth guard for protection.

Retainers after braces

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Your braces have been removed and your teeth are perfectly straight! It’s time to just enjoy your new smile since treatment is complete, right? Wrong! It’s time to wear your retainer so that your teeth stay in their new positions. A retainer is a custom-made appliance that continues to train your teeth to remain in place after your braces have been removed.

There are three types of retainers that orthodontists use to secure your new smile:

  • Hawley: The most popular style, this is the traditional metal wire attached to an acrylic piece that fits in the roof of your mouth. You can take it in and out as desired.
  • Essix: This type of retainer looks similar to Invisalign braces or to whitening trays. These are less noticeable than the traditional type, but are also flimsier and more breakable.
  • Bonded: This permanent retainer consists of a wire being glued to the back of your teeth, and it cannot be removed by the patient. Your orthodontist will decide how long it remains in place; some remove the retainer dependent upon wisdom teeth removal, and others keep the retainer in place forever. One downside to this retainer is that tartar is difficult for dentists to remove with the retainer in place, so it’s very important to brush and floss properly and to see your dentist regularly.

Your orthodontist will help you decide which retainer is best for you. No matter what kind it is, the key is to wear it regularly for the recommended timeframe. Initially, that will be all day long for a number of months. Later, you’ll be able to only wear it at night. Remember, if you stop wearing your retainer, your teeth will shift. It may be the last step of your orthodontic treatment, but it’s also one of the most important.

The Don’ts of eating with braces

Monday, June 9th, 2014

It’s not enough just to wear braces on your teeth; you have to hold up your end of the bargain. You must care for them as your orthodontist instructs, and that includes sticking to the diet guidelines. Some foods can loosen or break braces, which will probably mean you’ll have to wear the braces for a longer period of time. Follow these rules to achieve quicker treatment and a great smile.

DON’T eat hard foods with braces

Anything hard cannot safely be chewed with braces. Avoid items like raw apples and carrots, popcorn, nuts, hard candies, crunchy chips, corn on the cob, and ice.

DON’T eat sticky or chewy foods

Braces can be pulled apart by sticky foods. Don’t eat foods like taffy, caramels, gummy candy, jelly beans, caramel apples, and peanut brittle.

DON’T eat sugary foods

Braces make it harder to keep your teeth clean, and sugar can cause cavities, tarter buildup, and stains. Eat sparingly foods like soda, fruit juices, ice cream, candy, cake, cookies, and pie. If you do eat foods high in sugar, brush your teeth immediately afterwards.

DON’T eat highly acidic foods

Items high in acid content can lead to permanent stains and tooth damage. Avoid items such as sodas (even diet ones), citrus fruits, and lemon juice.

DON’T use your front teeth to bite foods

You can loosen your brackets by biting into foods with your front teeth. Cut meat off the bone from ribs or fried chicken, use a knife to cut corn off the cob, and tear or cut pizza into bite-sized pieces.

Rubber bands and your braces

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

If you wear braces on your teeth, there’s a chance that you will be one of the many orthodontic patients who must wear rubber bands as part of their treatment. They play an important role in achieving a perfect smile.

How do rubber bands help?

Braces by themselves only move teeth along the upper or lower sets of teeth, but rubber bands apply constant pressure to move the lower jaw and upper jaw into proper alignment with each other. The goal of rubber bands is to achieve a perfect bite. Repairing the bite is often the longest and most difficult phase of the orthodontic process, but rubber bands help move your jaw into the correct position more quickly. The way that the bands are attached to the braces is customized to each patient to direct tension in the best way for you.

How much should I wear them?

Orthodontists recommend that you wear rubber bands all day, removing them only to brush, floss, replace with new bands, or occasionally to eat. Most of the time you should eat with them in place, as it is helpful for your mouth to learn to work with that tension. Rubber bands should be worn when sleeping and playing sports. Leaving them off for even just one day can erase progress you’ve made.

Will I get used to them?

It takes a few days to learn to take the rubber bands in and out, but after some practice it becomes simple. It’s normal for your teeth, jaws, and mouth to be a bit sore at first, but that goes away. However, if you do not wear your rubber bands consistently, you will have constant discomfort because your mouth won’t get used to them.

What if I don’t wear them consistently?

To achieve the best orthodontic results in the shortest amount of time, you must be committed to wearing your rubber bands as your orthodontist has recommended. Wearing them intermittently will negatively affect your progress, so it’s vital to wear them full time.

Other Types of Orthodontic Devices

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Everyone has heard of braces and retainers. Usually, braces consist of bands, wires, and brackets. A retainer will keep your teeth from shifting back into their natural position. These orthodontic devices are used to straighten teeth and maintain the results after treatment.

Types of Orthodontic devices

Sometimes, the orthodontist will need to use additional devices to complete your treatment. Although not as common as braces, these appliances can be an important component to achieving a straighter smile. After a thorough evaluation, your orthodontist may recommend one of these devices in conjunction with braces:

Fixed Space Maintainers – When a patient loses a baby tooth prematurely, the doctor may place a fixed space maintainer to keep the spot open until the permanent tooth erupts.

Palatal Expander – Positioned over the roof of the mouth, a palatal expander widens the arch of the upper jaw. The palatal expander uses screws to apply outward pressure and stretch the corresponding bones and joints.

Lip and Cheek Bumpers – Your lips and cheek muscles can actually exert pressure on your teeth. These appliances orthodontic  keep the lips and cheeks away from your teeth.

Headgear – Designed to slow the growth of the upper jaw, headgear will hold the back teeth in position while the front teeth are pulled back. Headagear is held in place with a strap across the back of the head and a wire that fits across the front.

Spacers – Rubber bands placed between teeth, orthodontic spacers are used to create enough room so that the doctor can place brackets and metal bands on the back teeth.

Visit our orthodontic dental practice in Burbank, California – Mehdi Fotovat, DDS.

Celebrity Braces

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

If you’re hesitant to get braces because of how they affect your appearance, you might want to consider that even celebrities wear braces to perfect their smiles! There’s nothing wrong with getting orthodontic treatment in an effort to align your teeth, straighten your smile, and dazzle those around you with the beautiful results.

More about Celebrity Braces

Who are some of the rich and famous who have worn braces to improve the appearance and function of their teeth? Some celebrities who have worn braces over the years include Tom Cruise, Nicholas Cage, Gwen Stefani, Danny Glover, and Dakota Fanning. Note that a number of celebrities opted for adult braces, such as Tom Cruise at age 39, Eva Longoria at age 36, and Katherine Heigl at age 28. Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning, and Drew Barrymore are all examples of celebrities who wore braces during their teen years.

It may surprise you that celebrities are willing to be seen with a mouthful of braces. It stands to reason that they must believe it’s worse to smile with crooked teeth. The good news is that, whether you’re a celebrity or not, you have several less noticeable options for braces today. Lingual braces fastened to the backs of teeth, clear brackets, and Invisalign clear removable trays are all practical solutions to conceal braces while undergoing treatment.

So if you’re longing for a Hollywood smile, take a cue from celebrities and consider orthodontics to enhance your smile and improve your self esteem. If they can do it, so can you!

Cavity Prevention While Wearing Braces

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Wearing braces on your teeth can be a hassle, so you certainly want to have both a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth at the end of your treatment. That means you must be diligent about taking care of your teeth while wearing braces, so that you don’t develop cavities in the process. If you are a braces patient, you should know the hazards that increase your risk for cavities, as well as how to avoid getting them.


Cavities result when plaque accumulates on your teeth and gums. Acid from the plaque develops holes in your teeth, and these cavities start out small but can grow into big problems. Small cavities may go unnoticed, but as they progress it can cause pain and tooth sensitivity.

Higher risk

Braces do not cause cavities, but patients wearing braces are at higher risk for developing them. This is due to the increased amount of food that gets caught in your teeth and wires. When bacteria attacks the food debris, it causes plaque buildup and higher chances of cavity formation as well as gum disease.

Cavity free

Before beginning orthodontic treatment, see your dentist for a full examination of your mouth to make sure no cavities are present. If so, the cavities need to be treated prior to any orthodontic work. Once you are cavity-free, braces may be placed on your teeth.

Avoiding cavities

Here are some tips to avoid cavities while you wear braces:

  • Brush after each meal and snacks.
  • Floss every day, even though it can be tricky around wires. Use flossers or other tools your orthodontist suggests to help make flossing easier.
  • Use a mouthwash to combat bacteria left in your mouth.
  • Some patients like using oral irrigators like waterpik to cleanse their mouth and wash away food particles.
  • Limit the amount of sugar you eat and drink because it increases your risks for tooth decay.
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