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The Best Toothbrushes for Braces

November 29th, 2020

One of the most common requests parents ask Smiles for Life Ortho is for toothbrush recommendations. We understand that every patient has different needs, so it makes the best toothbrushes for braces a bit subjective.

That being said, we do hear what works and what doesn’t from our patients. Below are some of the top brands based on suggestions from those who know best.

How Are Your Brushing Habits?

You could have the best toothbrushes for braces, but they aren’t much help if you have poor technique. Unfortunately, those who wear braces find themselves at greater risk for dental decay.

It’s important to not only brush your teeth but the braces themselves. Even more important is reaching the space between the bone and the metal. Consider investing in a water flosser to use instead of traditional strings. The added obstacles make it challenging to keep everything clean.

A Brief List of the Best Toothbrushes for Braces

Whether you prefer electric, manual, or other styles of toothbrushes, we have you covered. Here are our top picks to maintain cleaner teeth with braces:

Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B Pro Smartseries 5000

How can you feel confident that your child is brushing correctly? With the Oral-B Pro Smartseries 5000, you never have to guess again. With the smartphone integrated app showing you where to clean, you can quickly develop better brushing habits.

Those who brush too hard will enjoy the pressure sensor reminding you to ease up. Best of all, there is a floss setting that gently gets between gums. This electric toothbrush uses different motions to offer in-depth cleaning every time.

Manual Toothbrush: Oral-B Ortho Soft

The Oral-B Ortho Soft offers a brushing experience similar to seeing a hygienist. Not only are the bristles soft, but the shape is specifically formatted for braces.

The head is smaller than a traditional brush, making it ideal for kids. However, older wearers and adults may find that a difficult feature to use. As for the neck, it stretches further than standard toothbrushes for easier reach. The bristles also form a V-shape to allow for improved cleaning.

All-Ages Toothbrush: Easy Braces Ortho-Brush

Easy Braces Ortho-Brush understands that not all patients are children. Some brace wearers do so later in life for a variety of reasons. That being said, many toothbrushes can feel like they only fit in smaller mouths comfortably. 

Easy Braces is designed with small gaps between bristles to prevent spotting. Their secret is that each brush uses both long and short bristles alternatively. This allows you to eliminate more gunk between teeth and braces effectively.  

Water Flosser: Waterpik WP 100 Ultra Flosser

It’s tough enough for adults to use string floss, let alone for kids. Add in braces, and it feels nearly impossible. The Waterpik 100 Ultra is designed to clean around gums and braces effectively. The pressure varies from 10 to 100 PSI for all preferences, while the tip rotates 360 degrees to ensure you clean everywhere you need to reach. Best of all, using it only adds about a minute to brushing schedules.

Not Sure Which One is the Best Toothbrush for Braces?

Finding the best toothbrush for braces can be challenging without all of the answers. Luckily, we will happily discuss your needs during your next check-up.

Schedule us for new consultations, Invisalign, Damon Smile, and other procedures. Smiles for Life Ortho is your trusted orthodontist that local residents prefer.

A List of Healthy Foods You Can Eat With Braces

July 25th, 2020

If you’re like many people, 2020 has created a shift where more people eat meals at home. One of the benefits of cooking your meals is that you get to control what you eat. Let’s look at good foods to eat with braces that will make you want to keep cooking.

Yes, Eating Right Matters When You Wear Braces

Wearing braces is a terrific investment in your health. Not only will it improve your dental health, but braces also helps boost your overall fitness. Eating braces-friendly food is a huge part of successful orthodontic work.

The materials that the orthodontist uses in your braces aren’t invincible. Sticky foods, for example, can attach to wire and cause them to break down. Smart meal decisions will protect your orthodontic device from harm.

Another reason that your food choices matter is to safeguard your teeth themselves. Your teeth are especially vulnerable to tooth decay and discoloration when you wear braces. Comprehensive dental hygiene, cleanings, and diet are great ways to keep your smile in top shape.

Good Foods to Eat With Braces

What should you eat to ensure a beautiful smile for years into the future? Don’t worry; the range of braces-friendly foods isn’t as limited as you might think. As always, it’s best to keep your body functioning at a high level by incorporating a wide selection of foods into your daily diet.

Please check out our list of good foods to eat with braces. You most likely already enjoy many of them. Start building a healthy eating plan around your dining favorites and slowly bring new tastes into your diet.

10 Foods to Eat With Braces

The following foods are not on the list in any particular order of importance. One thing that all of the following foods share is that they help you eat well while wearing braces. Of course, there is no end to the amount of terrific nutritious choices available to you, so take our suggestions as merely starting points.

Dairy Products

Do you love soft cheese? Is a big bowl of ice cream your go-to comfort food? If so, get ready to indulge because soft dairy products are beneficial to your braces and overall well-being.

However, we don’t recommend eating ice cream right after you’ve had orthodontic work. New braces can make your mouth sore, and ice cream might make it feel worse.

Seafood

You don’t need to stop going to your favorite sushi place. Soft seafood tastes delicious and won’t mess up your orthodontic work.

Eggs

Scrambled eggs, omelets, and other egg dishes taste delicious and won’t get stuck in your braces. Don’t forget that there are many other dishes besides plain scrambled eggs. Here are some exciting ways to dine on egg dishes.

Soups

Do you recall how your mother made soup whenever you were sick? She knew her stuff because healthy soup contains a bunch of nutrition in each bowl.

Pasta

Pasta can keep its rightful place on your menu. Spaghetti and other pasta types are a part of a terrific diet if your portion sizes stay on the low side.

Smoothies

The hot days of a Texas summer call out for smoothies. Toss your favorite fruits and vegetables into the blender for a snack that brings a smile. Check out these smoothie recipes from Prevention.

Pancakes

Is there a more delightful way to ease into your weekend than a yummy stack of pancakes for breakfast? Go ahead and enjoy pancakes without worrying about your braces.

Homemade Cookies

Have you spent hours baking over the last few months? If so, you can keep creating freshly baked cookies that will inspire your spirit. Any soft dessert fits your dental needs.

Tender Meats

While you should steer clear of chewy meats, tender meat is on the menu.

10. Steamed Vegetables

With so many fresh vegetables available during the summer, there’s no reason to skip vegetables. Steam your favorites until they soften enough to keep your braces safe.

Are you eager to start eating some of our delicious edible ideas? Keep reading for some more helpful advice on how to achieve a beautiful post-braces smile.

Protect Your Developing Smile

Along with eating safe foods, you can do other things to protect your smile. Here are some no-stress steps you can take to ensure a beautiful braces-free smile.

Visit the Dentist

Don’t neglect your regular dentist visits. Your dental professional knows how to keep your teeth super clean underneath your braces. The dentist will also stay on top of any potential gum and tooth decay issues before significant damage occurs.

Consistent, Careful Cleaning

There is no substitute for multiple, daily cleaning when it comes to preserving your teeth. Listen carefully to your orthodontist’s advice concerning how to care for your teeth and gums. Everyone at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, for example, will go over everything you’ll need to know about oral hygiene before leaving the office with your new braces.

A practical home oral hygiene plan consists of cleaning, flossing, and a dental rinse. Read this article from The Toothbrush Expert for what to look for in a dental rinse. The key to oral health rests on your willingness to spend a few minutes taking care of your teeth and gums each day.

Listen to Your Orthodontist

You make a long-term commitment to your oral health when you opt for braces. Don’t flub your time and money up by ignoring the advice of your orthodontist. Trust us; we know the ins and outs of everything having to do with orthodontic appliances.

Combining a smart diet with excellent oral hygiene gives you the best chance of a gorgeous, lifetime smile.

Last Thoughts

Lastly, choosing good foods to eat with braces doesn’t mean giving up delicious treats. Try including our ten terrific foods in your daily meals. A little bit of restraint in your food choices now will help ensure that you’ll love your future smile.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for high quality and attentive care in our Flower Mound, TX office.

Different Types of Retainers

March 23rd, 2020

Completing your orthodontic treatment is a great feeling. Getting your braces off feels amazing and freeing. And the fact that you have wonderfully gorgeous straight teeth is also pretty cool. Once you enjoy that feeling for a few minutes, it will be time for your orthodontist to talk with you about the different types of retainers. The retainer is likely the final piece of your ortho journey.

Although your teeth are now mostly hardware-free, they have yet to attain complete independence. They still need some help to stay in place so that you don’t undo all the work from the months you spent getting straight teeth.

For any orthodontic help for you or your family, check out Smiles for Life. Our experienced and friendly staff can answer your questions and get a plan in place for your beautiful smile.

Cleaning and Maintenance

No matter which type of retainer your orthodontist suggests, you will need to be careful to clean it properly. Your doctor will go over instructions for cleaning, and you should take the time to ask any questions you can think of about your new retainer. 

Brush your retainer regularly with a toothbrush and water. Check with your orthodontist if it’s ok to use toothpaste. Some materials can develop scratches when you use toothpaste, and the scratches can harbor bacteria.

Your orthodontist might also suggest a retainer cleaner. These options are usually in a tablet or powder form. You add them to water and soak the retainer in the solution according to package directions. Talk with your doctor to see if you should use something like this for your retainer.

Hang Onto It!

Helpful obvious hint: retainers are not free. Typically, your orthodontic fee covers your initial retainer. But if you lose it or damage it, you will have to pay for a replacement. 

Generally speaking, at least when you first get the retainer, you should wear it around the clock except when you are eating. Here are some tips to make sure you hang onto yours, keep it in good shape, and avoid dumpster diving:

  • Do not place it on a cafeteria tray. You can almost guarantee it will end up in the trash. The same goes for fast food trays. (Anyone else ever dig through a DQ garbage can before?)
  • Do not place a napkin over it in an attempt to be discreet. Again, this leaves your retainer destined for the garbage can.
  • Keep it away from pets.
  • When you are eating, consider tucking it safely into a purse or pocket to avoid accidentally throwing it away. Better yet, put it in its case first.
  • Keep it out of direct heat. Retainers left in hot cars or near other heat sources can melt.

Different Types of Retainers for Today’s Straight Teeth

As orthodontic care has changed and evolved over the years, so have the different types of retainers you have available. Your orthodontist may decide which choice is best for you, or they might leave the decision up to you. Here are the usual options for you to consider.

Hawley Wire Retainers

The Hawley wire choice is what most people think of as a retainer. These are the ones with the hard plastic piece that forms to the palate. And they have a wire attached that goes around the teeth. Today’s Hawley retainers come with the choice of colorful plastic to make them a little more noticeable if they are sitting next to a dinner plate. 

This type of retainer is removable, which is why it so often ends up the subject of a garbage searching expedition. You must remove it before eating, so you have to take extra care not to lose it.  

Some benefits to having this style of retainer:

  • They have staying power and are built to last.
  • They are relatively simple to fix and adjust.
  • They allow the bite to settle.
  • They can have a fun color. Add a bit of personality to your newest fashion accessory.
  • They are simple to clean and maintain.

These standard and go-to retainers do have some drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • They are visible in the mouth. There is no hiding the wire.
  • They are simple to lose. 
  • They do not protect against teeth grinding since the biting surfaces remain exposed.
  • They are costly to replace.
  • They can give teeth room to move a little bit.
  • They can feel uncomfortable against the palate at first.

Clear Plastic Retainers

This type of retainer is a modern evolution of orthodontic care. It will do the best job of keeping your teeth in their new positions. Here are some other benefits of choosing a clear plastic retainer:

  • They prevent the wearing down of teeth due to grinding.
  • They are just about invisible.
  • They are not as expensive to replace as other styles.
  • They can be corrective. If your teeth shift a bit over time, the clear plastic retainers can help move them back in place.

And the disadvantages of these retainers?

  • They are not as strong as other types since they are made of plastic.
  • Their nearly invisible nature makes them extremely easy to misplace. Take our word for it.
  • Over time, the plastic can discolor, adding a yellow tint to your teeth when you wear the retainer.

Permanent Retainers

This last type of retainer is bonded directly to your teeth. Do you have problems with losing things? Problem solved! This durable option offers a few critical benefits:

  • They can’t accidentally end up in the trash.
  • They have a very long life span.
  • They are not visible to others unless they are getting really up close and personal.

There are a couple of drawbacks to permanent retainers. 

  • They are harder to clean and maintain and require more work for brushing and flossing than do other retainers.
  • They can feel irritating to your tongue at first.
  • They are not removable.

Smiles for Life Is Ready to Serve You

With the renowned Dr. Machado at the helm, Smiles for Life is eager to help you achieve your dream smile. Reach out today for your complimentary consultation.

Does Getting Your Braces Off Hurt

March 5th, 2020

As time marches on, and the day arrives to get your braces off, you probably have a lot of questions. After all the inevitable discomfort that comes with having orthodontic work done, this day is a relief. But some people want to know, does getting braces off hurt? In fact, most patients have a lot of questions about this process.

At Smiles for Life Orthodontics, we love partnering with families for all their smile needs. From braces to retainers, we have you covered. You will enjoy expert care from our friendly team from start to finish.

Now that it’s time to say “Adios” to your braces, let’s take a look at some common questions and concerns that patients have, including the pain factor.

How Long Will It Take for My Braces to Come Off?

Aside from the day you got into braces, the removal is probably one of your longest appointments. From start to finish, you should plan on about an hour in the orthodontist’s chair. They will take an impression of your new bite to fit you for a retainer during this appointment as well. 

You also need to plan about ten extra minutes for the doctor to go over the care and maintenance of your retainer. And don’t forget to account for the time you spend smiling in the mirror at your new reflection, because that part is the most fun piece of the braces journey.

How Will They Remove the Braces?

Removal of your bling is a pretty simple process, but it takes time to get all of the brackets off. The brackets have a bonding compound on them to keep them in place. The orthodontist or an assistant will use special pliers to pry off each bracket.

Once your teeth are bracket-free, the adhesive remains behind. The orthodontic team will use a polishing tool to remove this so that you have smooth teeth before you walk out the door. They will check over your teeth to make sure everything looks right and that none of the bonding compound is still on.

So, Does Getting Braces Off Hurt?

Here is the great news. It doesn’t hurt! You have likely spent months dreading your ortho appointments and the inevitable soup and smoothie diet that follows. But for this appointment, you should be totally comfortable. The tools for removing the cement compound sometimes irritate the gum line, but the irritation goes away quickly and is not a cause for concern. 

Some patients feel pressure as the brackets pop off, but there shouldn’t be any pain unless you are really sad and broken-hearted about leaving your braces behind. If you think you will miss them too much, the orthodontist can even put your braces in a plastic baggie for you to keep!

Occasionally, some people experience a bit of sensitivity in their teeth and gums for a few days. If this happens to you, it is a good idea to wait a couple of days before enjoying chewy or crunchy foods. Cold foods might feel uncomfortable for a little while, as well. Typically, within a week, everything is back to normal.

How Will My Teeth Look and Feel?

Your chompers are probably going to feel and look better than they ever have before. Assuming, of course, you were diligent about your brushing and flossing throughout treatment. A few minutes of polishing cannot make up for poor oral hygiene. But if you were careful about taking care of your teeth while the braces were on, then you’re going to be thrilled with how they look and feel now.

In some rare cases, the brackets leave a slight discoloration where they were attached to the teeth. Please make sure to consult with your orthodontist before utilizing any whitening products. In general, is it a good idea to avoid any whitening process for at least 30 days after the braces come off.

Your teeth will feel smooth and sleek, and your mouth might feel really spacious. You might even think that your teeth look bigger since you’re seeing them unencumbered for the first time in months. Soon, you will grow accustomed to their magnificence. Enjoy!

How Do They Fit My Retainer?

Once the braces are off, the ortho team will take impressions of your bite and palate. These go to a lab where they make your new retainer that you will pick up at the next appointment. For some patients, making the mold is the worst part of getting their braces off. But even that step is quick and painless.

What Comes After the Appointment Is Over?

You will make another appointment to get your retainer. At that time, the orthodontist will make sure it fits properly and will go over instructions for taking good care of it. Your next step is to keep your teeth, gums, and retainer in the best condition possible. Nothing should change with your oral care as you work to keep your beautiful smile healthy and stunning.

The most important thing you can do to make all the hassle and discomfort of braces worth it is to wear your retainer. This simple step is the key to keeping your smile as bright and as straight as possible. Of course, using a retainer means appropriately caring for the device. The better you treat your retainer, the better it will treat you. 

You will likely have one more appointment after a month or so for a retainer check. At that point, you probably won’t need to return. You and your teeth will be free to shine.

Be sure to continue with regular dental cleanings, check-ups, and x-rays, per your dentist’s instruction. With proper care and faithful retainer use, your new smile should hold steady.

Smiles for Life Is Here to Serve

Are you thinking about braces for you or a family member? The Smiles for Life Orthodontics staff are happy to be of service. We create a personalized treatment plan for each patient so that you get the best possible outcome. Reach out today to start your journey to a beautiful smile.

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