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Plaque vs. Tartar

April 23rd, 2019

Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s the Difference?

plaque vs tarter

Plaque vs. tartar? You’ve undoubtedly heard that plaque and tartar aren’t terrific for your teeth. Keep reading for the low down on plaque and tartar and why it’s so essential to your oral health that you prevent them from getting a toehold in your mouth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is an invisible enemy that lives on your teeth and, left unchecked, can lead to cavities and tooth loss. According to the American Dental Association, plaque is an invisible bacteria-filled film that covers each tooth in your mouth. The bacteria springs into action and creates acid every time that you eat something that contains sugar. The acid attacks the enamel on your vulnerable teeth and, over time, leads to disaster in your mouth.

plaque - before and after

Although there isn’t anything pleasant about plaque, the happy news is that it’s possible to remove plaque through a routine that includes (1) brushing, (2) flossing, and (3) professional cleanings. Thoroughly cleaning all surfaces of your teeth, including between each tooth, is essential to protecting your smile from the destructive powers of plaque.

The truth about tartar

Tartar is the substance that forms when you fail to remove all of the plaque from around a tooth. When it’s left undisturbed, plaque transforms into the superhard material known as tartar. One of the most significant dangers that come from too much tartar in the mouth is that it has a nasty tendency to develop around the gum line and cause receding gums along with the beginning stages of gum disease.

tarter - before and after

Unlike plaque, which goes away through daily cleaning, the only way to successfully remove tartar from your mouth is through an uncomfortable visit to the dental. Indeed, anyone who has ever experienced the picking away of tartar during a professional dental cleaning can tell you that it’s a far better option to prevent the tartar from accumulating in your mouth in the first place.

How to win the plaque vs. tartar competition

As you can see, when we think about plaque vs. tartar, it’s vital to your oral health that both substances disappear from your mouth. The best way to ensure a happy smile is through

  • Brush a minimum of two times a day
  • Daily flossing
  • Drink water
  • Minimize sugar and sticky foods in your diet
  • Change your toothbrush every few months
  • Regular visits to the dentist

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the foods that you eat play a big part in helping you to fight plaque. Experts recommend that you include things like (1) fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, (2) dairy products, (3) foods and drinks containing fluoride, and (4) sugar-free chewing gum in your plaque-busting diet.

Make sure that you don’t sabotage your oral health habits by consuming things that will increase the level of plaque activity in your mouth. Stay away from (1) candy, (2) carbonated drinks, (3) carb-loaded bread and chips, and (4) things that might dry out your mouth.

Lastly, make the effort today to reduce the chance that plaque and tartar will make a home on your teeth. After all, a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime is well worth a little extra brushing and flossing.

We love helping our patients achieve beautiful smiles. Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for help with all of your orthodontic needs.

What Is An Overbite?

April 9th, 2019

What is an overbite and how to correct it?

what is an overbite

What is an overbite? A deep overbite can affect your desire to smile and can even make it difficult to chew food effectively. Here’s what you must know about overbites and the effective treatments that will have you showing off your beautiful smile in no time.

What is an overbite - the basics

In general, you’ll know that you have an overbite if your front teeth overlap the teeth below them. While an overbite can result from your genes, it’s also possible to develop one through thumb sucking and drinking from a bottle as a toddler. Grown-up habits like biting on your nails also produce an overbite situation.

Figuring out if your overbite warrants attention from an orthodontist often requires the expert advice of your dentist. Keep in mind that minor overbites often fall within the normal range and might not need any treatment. Your dentist will examine your overbite to help you to determine if you should seek additional treatment from an orthodontist to correct it.

Potential Problems with an Overbite

Once you find out that your dentist thinks that a referral to an orthodontist is necessary, you might be tempted to delay making that first appointment. However, before you forget about following up on treatment for your overbite, please consider the problems that come with delaying treatment. Some of the troubles that come from untreated misaligned teeth include:

  • Chewing problems
  • Cleaning challenges that impact overall oral health
  • Chipped and broken teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Speech difficulty

Luckily, you don’t need to continue to suffer from an overbite as there are effective and affordable treatments available today that will correct your uneven bite and replace it with beautifully aligned top and bottom teeth.

correcting an overbite

Overbite treatment at Smiles for Life Orthodontics

The good news when you’re suffering from a pronounced overbite is that since overbites are so common, there are terrific treatments available to correct the problem. Overbites respond well to treatment at any age, so it’s never too late to invest in improving your smile.

We always start developing your treatment plan by taking a series of x-rays so that we can determine the exact nature of the overbite. Our staff believes in developing a close partnership with our patients, and we’ll work with you to put together a treatment plan that meets your needs and budget. Typical overbite treatment methods involve fitting you with a custom set of braces that will move your teeth into proper alignment over some time.

The severity of your overbite helps to determine how long you’ll need to wear the braces to achieve the desired result. Expect your correction plan to take at least one to two years. Although correcting your overbite will take time, your patience will find a reward in a beautiful new smile.

Lastly, now that you know the answer to what is an overbite it’s time to contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics. We’re experts in creating beautiful smiles, and we can’t wait to have you join our Smiles for Life family.


How to Clean Retainer Pieces

March 20th, 2019


learn how to clean your retainer pieces

Since your retainers are in the mouth a big part of the day, they should be brushed and cleaned on a regular basis. They should never go in your mouth or in the case without getting a good cleaning first. That will eliminate the chance of plaque or bacteria building up on them.

Below are some helpful tips and hints from Dr. Machado at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, to keep your retainers as clean as the first day.

Avoid Hot  Water

You might think that hot water is best while cleaning your retainers because it will disinfect them, but it could also create some permanent changes.

Retainers have acrylic components that can be deformed by too much heat or pressure. Instead, use antibacterial hand soap with warm water and a clean toothbrush. This will keep your retainers like new.

Don’t Use Toothpaste on Retainers

Dr. Machado and the team recommend avoiding the use of toothpaste for retainers. Many brands have abrasive components on them that could easily scratch your retainers, leaving irregular surfaces where bacteria can grow.

Instead, rely on a mild dish or hand soap and warm water to remove most contaminants you have from daily use and meals.

It is very important after cleaning the retainers to let them dry before placing them on the case.  A moist environment can allow bacteria to grow.

Use Cleaning Tablets – Carefully

Sometimes lukewarm water and dish soap aren’t always enough to eliminate more strains of bacteria from the retainers. You can soak your retainers once a week with denture cleaner tablets. You can also use distilled water with some baking soda.

Floss Bonded Retainers

After orthodontic treatment, bonded retainers might be placed on the lingual surfaces of the anterior teeth. This might create some difficult to reach areas.

With those bonded retainers make sure you use floss threader between every tooth. And then brush those areas.  This will prevent plaque and tartar build up behind the teeth.

Damaged Retainers

It is important to clean your retainers as gently as possible and never to place them in your pockets without the case to avoid breakages.

If your retainers break, you will need a replacement. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to prevent any shifting on your teeth.

Welcome to Our Blog

March 6th, 2019

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly 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 doctors and staff - we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!

American Dental Association American Association of Orthodontists Texas Association of Orthodontists Southwestern Society of Orthodontists