Download Our App

Education

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.

How To Clean Invisalign

February 20th, 2020

Now that you have chosen to use Invisalign aligners, it is important to ensure they stay in tip-top shape. They work best when they receive proper maintenance. Taking the time and effort to ensure your Invisalign system is in good working order is critical for a better smile. When properly cleaned, your Invisalign aligners will deliver the results you desire. Not sure how to clean Invisalign? You’re in the right spot.

The team at Smiles for Life Orthodontics is here to serve you. No matter your stage of life, from tween years to twilight years, you can enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile. Reach out today for a consultation.

Why Is It So Critical to Clean Invisalign?

There are many reasons to keep your Invisalign aligners clean. The most basic reason is that this habit helps to keep your whole mouth clean, as well. Good oral hygiene is crucial, with or without aligners. The benefits of good oral hygiene include healthy teeth and gums and fresh breath. Once Invisalign aligners are part of your routine, it is essential to keep them in excellent shape.

Other issues can arise if your Invisalign aligners do not receive adequate, consistent cleaning. They can develop stains, and this causes your teeth to discolor, affecting the smile you’re trying to make perfect. Dingy aligners make for a dingy smile. You can avoid this problem by paying attention to the cleanliness of your Invisalign.

Bacteria is definitely a dirty word when it comes to your Invisalign. The grubby little germs can thrive in neglected aligners. Bacteria build-up will affect the overall health of your teeth and gums and can even pose a threat to your heart. It also is likely to give you a case of dragon breath. Regular cleaning of your Invisalign aligners will remove the offensive odor-causing bacteria.

How to Clean Invisalign Correctly

So now that you know the dangers of dirty aligners, how do you keep them clean? The good news is that it is not difficult at all to provide proper care for your Invisalign and your mouth. Invisalign maintenance merely involves forming a couple of key habits.

Be Consistent in Your Scrubbing

There are a handful of things you need to do. And to be effective, you need to do them regularly and consistently. This will build the necessary habits to keep your oral health in great shape.

The first habit to establish is to clean the trays each morning and night, following your doctor’s instructions. Hopefully, you already have the habit of brushing your teeth every day at those times. So it is just a matter of including the Invisalign trays in your routine when you wake up and before bed.

Give your aligners a rinse any time you take them out. This plan is a simple habit that helps to keep your trays clean. A quick rinse under the water can minimize the build-up of saliva in the aligners. You should wear your Invisalign as much as the orthodontist recommends. But when they are out, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way.

Give Your Invisalign a Soak

To help control odor and keep your trays looking their best, soak them once a day. You can use a standard denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals. After a soak, use a spare toothbrush to brush stray food particles off the trays. Give your aligners a quick rinse, and then they are in good shape again.

Before popping them back in your mouth, do a thorough brushing and flossing on your teeth. This is a crucial step. Many Invisalign users find that their oral health improves once they begin caring for their trays. Good habits bring good results.

Be Prepared

Make sure you can maintain your great habits by having a plan for caring for your aligners. One of the top excuses for why patients don’t do their cleaning is that they don’t have enough time. You can avoid this pitfall with a little bit of planning.

First, be ready with the tools on hand to keep the aligner trays clean. Spare toothbrushes are a good start. And having a case or container close by for mealtimes and teeth brushing times is helpful. 

It is also important to have a portable care kit for your trays. When you are at school or work and need to remove your aligners, you should have a safe spot to put them. Do not leave them out in the open, since this puts them at risk of bacteria build-up. That exposure also makes them more likely to end up lost or damaged. 

We recommend that you have more than one storage case if possible. This habit will allow you to keep one at home and one with you to use when you are out and about.

Remember that you will get a new set of aligners every few weeks. If you will be out of town when it’s time for a new pair of trays, be sure to plan with your doctor so you can take the aligners with you.

 

Brushing Teeth for Kids: How To Get Them To Do it

February 2nd, 2020

When you think about all the stuff that kids have to figure out, it's pretty remarkable. Day in and day, out children face something most adults do not have to handle anymore: something new. Children have to learn all the little things that adults take for granted. Even something like brushing teeth for kids is a new skill to learn.

As a parent, you know that the little things can be the most important for your child’s overall health. And learning to brush their teeth correctly is a critical skill for kids to master. Good oral hygiene is one the keys to a healthy life, and its benefits extend beyond the mouth.

The Smiles for Life team loves to partner with families in their orthodontic journey. If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s teeth are developing, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Brushing Teeth for Kids: Build Up Good Habits

When parents wait too long to introduce teeth brushing habits, children can resist the intrusion. So experts recommend starting very early and following the following guidelines:

  1. Before teeth appear for your baby, gently wipe your child’s gums after they eat. Use a wet washcloth wrapped around your finger and give the gums a quick couple of swipes.
  2. Once teeth break through, you can introduce a toothbrush with a soft head. You can also use toothpaste at this time but use a minimal amount. About the size of a grain of rice is sufficient.
  3. At age three, children can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  4. Parents typically need to help brush their child's teeth until their kiddo is around six years old.

Teaching a skill like proper teeth brushing can take more time than you might expect. And until the child can adequately clean all surfaces of their teeth, they will need you to help or monitor as they brush.

And once they get the knack, be sure to continue reminding them each morning and evening. And periodically watch to make sure your child is still doing a good job on their own. 

Poor dental hygiene can bring tremendous discomfort and poor health, so proper brushing teeth for kids is crucial. We can help spare kids from painful or costly dental procedures by simply teaching them how to brush their teeth. 

Don’t let your kids off the hook. They must brush their teeth at least twice a day: in the morning when they wake up and before they go to bed in the evening. And if they eat something particularly sticky during the day, another brushing is in order.

How Do You Get Your Kids to Brush?

Brushing teeth for kids doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s actually a simple way to help ensure lifelong health. But, of course, kids don’t think that way. They like to have fun, and standing in front of a mirror for two minutes can seem like an eternity to most children. Try some of these tips to help take the work out of this vital daily routine.

Be There 

One of the most important things you can do is stay by their side as they establish this habit. Just being there next to them can help them form routine and consistency. 

Once they move onto solo brushing, your job isn’t done. Spot checks remain necessary, even into the teen years. Think of it as an episode of the TV show “Undercover Boss” and pop in unexpectedly to monitor their technique. Kids need to know that there could be someone checking in, or they may just squeeze the toothpaste and make faces in the mirror for a few minutes.

And a post-brushing quality assurance check is a good idea too. A sniff test for the minty freshness of well-scrubbed teeth can give you useful data here. Your child will learn that they can’t skip out on this job, and you can stay on top of their oral health. And when they have done a great job, tell them!

Bring the Song and Dance

Brushing teeth for kids can have a little bit of a party element added in. For younger children, especially, it can be something they look forward to and participate in enthusiastically. 

Make up songs about teeth brushing. Set a timer that has a funny sound when it goes off to tell them they brushed long enough. Or work on some dance moves in front of the mirror while brushing. There are even toothbrushes that have built-in timers and music to help your child stay on track.

Some children enjoy having a parent read them a short story while they brush. Literacy and hygiene all rolled into one! 

Let Them Watch Some Videos

Some children are visual learners and do well if they can watch a demonstration of a new skill. You could search online for videos on proper teeth brushing techniques for your child to see. And if the video is of another child rather than an adult, that is even better. Most kids respond well to other youngsters and peers. 

Back It Up with Bling

A reward system can be highly effective in helping your child establish and maintain a good teeth brushing habit. Stickers, quarters, screen time, or little prizes can be awesome motivators for kids. Since it can take up to two months for a person to build a new habit, offering some encouragement in the form of a reward can help them stick with it that long. Kind of like going to your job because you know there will be a paycheck coming, right?

We’ll Help Your Child Love Their Smile

So much of parenting involves worrying about your child’s health. We partner with families to help take some of that worry off their plates. Our friendly, expert staff looks forward to the chance to meet you and walk through the orthodontic process together. 

From traditional braces to Invisalign aligners, Smiles for Life has many options for you to consider. Call for an appointment and let’s get to know each other.

Braces for Teeth Gap: Will Braces Fix My Gap?

January 27th, 2020

There is an old saying that a smile is worth a thousand words. A smile is something genuinely amazing because one simple smile can have a ripple effect far greater than you ever imagined. If you’re not confident in your smile because of gaps and you feel self-conscious about smiling, then you might find yourself missing out on some amazing moments in life.

You might have thought, “will braces fix my gap?” but you haven’t ever taken the plunge because you feel like you will just deal with it, and you don’t need to spend the money on it.

While every smile is beautiful, it’s important you feel good about yours. You should be able to confidently wear a smile with any outfit you choose. While it might be an expense, your smile and confidence are worth every penny.

Are you ready to change your smile and change your life? Read on to see how gaps happen in the first place, and if braces will be the fix for you.

Four Reasons Why Gaps Happen

Diastema, also known as a gap between teeth, usually happens between the two front teeth. Any teeth can have spaces between them, so read on to find out why gaps occur.

Mismatch Size Between Jaw Bone and Teeth

If there is a size difference between the jaw bone and teeth, then gaps can happen. This mismatch can cause either overcrowding if people have large teeth, or gaps if people have smaller teeth.

It is fairly common for people to have lateral incisors that are too small, and this leaves a lot of space between the front teeth and the next tooth. Your teeth will move around with all this space leaving you with gaps.

Missing Teeth

Missing teeth is an obvious reason for why there would be gaps between teeth. The missing teeth give more room for other teeth to move around, which can cause other gaps as well.

Oversized Labial Frenum

The labial frenum is the thin piece of skin that attaches to your top lip to the top of your front teeth. (You just check to see if you had one, didn’t you?)

Sometimes the labial frenum is too big, and it connects much lower than the front teeth. If this happens, it blocks the space where your front teeth should go.

Habits

There are at least two habits that cause teeth gaps. Thumb sucking and swallowing incorrectly.

Thumb sucking

Thumb-sucking pulls the teeth forward overtime. This is a slow process, but it can lead to gaps, little by little.

Swallowing incorrectly

When you swallow, your tongue should press up against the roof of your mouth. Some people press their tongue against their teeth instead. Similar to thumb sucking, this process over time will push the teeth forward and can create gaps.

Tooth gaps can be frustrating, but is there anything you can do to prevent gapping in the first place? Read on to find out, and to find solutions for your gap.

Can I Prevent Tooth Gaps?

In most cases, it is difficult to prevent tooth gaps since tooth gaps can be caused by teeth that are too small. However, if a habit causes the gap, you can retrain yourself and break this habit to prevent further gapping.

Overall, there isn’t much you can do to prevent tooth gaps, which can cause frustration when you aren’t happy with your smile. You might feel like you have been doing everything right as far as taking care of your teeth and gum health and visiting the dentist for your regular cleanings, but you still aren’t happy with your smile.

Fret a little, but not too much because there are easy solutions that can get you the smile you want and deserve.

Will Braces Fix My Gap?

To save you the suspense and finally answer the question, will braces fix my gap, yes, braces can fix your gap. It’s more than just a simple yes, so let’s dig deeper into why you might want to fix your tooth gap and how braces will help.

Why Fix My Tooth Gap?

If habits cause your gap, then over time, your teeth might become loose and even painful when chewing or biting. In this case, you will want your gap fixed.

How Braces Work

Hundreds of different components go into braces. Each person needs something a little different. Some people have fairly straight forward corrections while others need more aggressive work done. Regardless of what work you need to have done, you can have straight, gap-free teeth. All the pieces that go into braces and orthodontics all have the same purpose - applying pressure to change the shape of your bone.

As the pressure is applied continuously over time, your teeth will move. Your orthodontist will be able to guide your teeth and bite, so over time, your gap will become smaller and smaller until it’s finally gone. Braces can be a slow process, but since your bone is changing shape and form, you don’t want it to be done quickly.

How Long Will I Have To Wear Braces?

For people wearing braces, it can seem like forever. It adds one extra step to your mouth care routine, and it limits some of your favorite foods like caramel apples and popcorn. In general, most people need to wear braces for about 18 months to two years. If there is more work that needs to be done, it will take longer. Movement is a slow and steady process and not something that should be rushed. In the end, what is a year or two compared to the rest of your life? The question you should be asking yourself isn’t, “will braces fix my gap?” it’s, “am I ready for the smile of my dreams?”

At Smiles for Life, it is our goal to give you the best smile possible. Give us a call today to see if braces are the right choice for you.

Dental Care Once the Braces are Removed

January 1st, 2020

Getting your braces removed is a big deal and definitely a time for celebration. However, dental care doesn’t stop when those braces are removed. To keep your teeth straight and beautiful, you’ll need to do some long term maintenance.

It’s not a whole new regiment, but there are some steps you’ll want to adopt to maintain your new smile. Here at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, we want you to be prepared for every step in the braces process, from initial consult to that final appointment to get them removed.

What to Expect

Once the braces are off, you’re likely to be uncomfortable because you’ve gotten used to your wires. Give it a few weeks to adjust. Let your lips remember what bare teeth feel like. Just like getting used to life with braces in the first place, you’ll need to make some adjustments.

You’ll want to learn about the new equipment you will have and rebuild your dental routine. As tempting as it is to jump right into all the foods you weren’t allowed to have with braces, you shouldn’t move too fast into overly crunchy or chewy foods.

Retainers and Equipment

After your braces are removed, your orthodontist will fit a retainer that’s made especially for you. It’s critical to wear that retainer as directed for the first few months after the braces are removed. Your teeth have been slowly moved into position and kept there by wires for a while. Therefore, your retainer will keep your teeth aligned while your jaw and gums adjust to the new position of your teeth.

Taking care of your retainer is almost as important as remembering to wear it. Keep your retainer in its case when it’s not in use, such as while eating and sleeping. Clean it as instructed by your dentist, and don’t forget to store it with a little water inside. Letting it become dry can cause cracking or other damage.

Switching from braces to retainers may make speaking difficult. Your mouth needs to get used to working around a new device and may cause you to slur words or produce a lot of saliva. Practice talking and normal daily functions with your retainer in, and this difficulty will pass soon.

Cleaning and Upkeep

Now that your teeth are straight, you may be tempted to jump into making them pearly white. However, your teeth will most likely be sensitive to harsh cleaners, hard brushes, and drastic temperature changes. Give it a few weeks to a month before you get your teeth whitened. Your dentist will be able to assess when it is safe for you to get a deep whitening.

Your dentist will be able to help you choose the best brush and toothpaste type to keep your teeth healthy and avoid discomfort. You’ll want to schedule regular cleanings and keep up with your routine dental care.

Easing into New Foods

For months, maybe years, you’ve resisted eating taffy and kept clear of jawbreakers and hard pretzels. It’s time to celebrate and binge your favorite taboo foods. But not so fast!

Your teeth will be sensitive to new foods, and you should ease in slowly. Again, your teeth were recently repositioned in your mouth. Eating things that are very chewy, super hard and crunchy could shift them back to their original position. Then you’ll be back where you started.

Also, avoid things that are very cold or hot, because your teeth will be temperature sensitive. The first few weeks after the braces are off can be uncomfortable and jumping right in can push your experience into pain rather than discomfort.
Smile

The absolute most important part of getting your braces off is to smile. You’ve spent a good amount of time building your perfect smile, so you should show it off. Spread your smile everywhere you go. Let your beautiful pearly whites lighten someone’s day. Sharing a genuine smile can create a ripple effect of happiness for those around you.

In addition to brightening another person’s day, smiling has shown evidence of bringing up your happy brain chemistry levels. Additional confidence and lower stress levels have been correlated to smiling more frequently. According to this article from Psychology Today, smiling can benefit you in many unexpected ways. Such as:

  • You look younger by livening up your face and bringing a shine to your appearance.
  • You look thinner by tightening the muscles around your mouth, bringing up your look.
  • Smiles elevate your mood by reverse muscle memory triggering the release of happy chemicals in your brain.
  • Even forced smiles can give you a boost.
    Smiling triggers more pleasure in your brain than chocolate, but chocolate is still yummy.
  • Studies correlate a prediction of the success of marriage to the frequency of genuine smiling.
  • It makes you seem more courteous and competent, and most of all, more kind to those around you.
  • It can predict your lifespan, or so the theory states. Studies have shown that athletes that smiled in their professional photos versus those that didn't live more years.
  • Smiles are contagious. When you smile at a stranger, they’ll smile too. You may have also just brightened their day and made it better for them.

Post braces dental care is important to keep you and your teeth healthy and stunning for years to come. We’re happy you’re here at Smiles For Life Orthodontics and want to help you make the most of your smile.

Smiles For Life Orthodontics

Dr. Irelia Machado is so excited to be a part of this journey, and genuinely enjoys helping you find your perfect smile. Through consistent training and a passion for education, she and her team maintain the highest levels of knowledge in the ever-evolving orthodontics field.

They are available to answer questions, address concerns, and share their own experiences around braces and post-braces dental care. Give us a call if you have any questions about any step in this process.

Treat Your Overbite And Transform Your Smile

December 23rd, 2019

A beautiful grin helps you to greet the world with confidence. It’s also a crucial part of your overall oral health. However, did you know that overbites, also called deep bites, are very common in our modern world?

A slight overbite doesn’t usually cause any oral health challenges and can be left alone. However, if your upper teeth significantly overlap your lower ones, there is a good chance that your dentist might recommend that you visit an orthodontist for an evaluation and possible treatment plan.

Keep reading to discover how you can correct your overbite and transform your smile.

What Causes an Overbite?

A genetic malformation of the jaw often causes deep bites. Other common reasons include missing teeth, extended thumb sucking and pacifier use as a young child, clenching and grinding teeth, and gum disease. Regardless of the reason for your overbite, you can be confident that an orthodontist can correct your bite.

The Downside of a Deep Bite

Although overbites are a common problem for many people, you should consider treating a marked bite problem before you experience too many of the disadvantages that come with an imperfect bite. Some of the issues that arise from a severe overbite include:

Tooth decay

An increased number of mouth sores

Chewing difficulties

Living with an uncomfortable overbite is no fun. The positive news is that Smiles for Life Orthodontics specializes in turning major overbites into well-aligned smiles so you can say goodbye to a sore mouth.

Typical treatment options

Your overbite didn’t develop overnight, and straightening your teeth will take time and effort. Braces are the most widely used way to correct a misalignment in your bite. Expect to wear braces for anywhere from one to three years, followed by a retainer to keep your teeth in the proper position.

Don’t worry if the prospect of a mouth filled with metal brings back unhappy memories of middle school. Worry not, since many of today’s braces are nearly invisible. We’ll help you to choose the best type of braces to fit your treatment needs and budget.

Lastly, you don’t need to live with the consequences of your self-image and oral health that come from an overbite. The professionals at Smiles for Life Orthodontics know how to comfortably and affordably help you achieve a beautiful smile.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for a thorough evaluation of your bite and an honest discussion of appropriate treatment options.

How To Clean Retainers So They Last

December 9th, 2019

You will always remember the day you get your braces off. You can’t help but run your tongue over your slippery teeth and will smile at yourself at every reflective surface you pass. You have every right to be smiling. It’s an exciting time when you finally get your braces off, so make sure to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape. Below are tips on how to clean retainers, so they will last.

Why Wear Your Retainer

While braces served their purpose, the only fun thing about braces is getting to pick different colored bands every few weeks. The long term care and health of your teeth begin the moment you get your braces off. You will have to have a retainer to make sure the smile you worked so hard to get will stay that way. Read on to find out what you’ll need to do to make sure your retainer stays in good shape, and how to clean retainers so it will last for the long haul.

Why Are Retainers Important

You probably know what retainers are since most people end up getting some orthodontic work done in their lifetime. They are generally made out of a plastic and metal combination. No two retainers are alike since they are custom-fit to each person.

After you have done the hard, and sometimes painful work of wearing braces now comes the retainer. Retainers are so important to maintain your teeth shape. Even though your bones have now changed shape, your teeth will want to continue to move around. For people who have smaller teeth and a larger jaw bone, the teeth will want to spread out, causing gaps. If you have already spent a lot of time and money on braces, you probably don’t want to spend more time and money on braces again.

Types of Retainers

There are two types of retainers. Removable and permanent.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers are made of plastic and metal. Just like they sound, these retainers are removable for doing things like eating and talking. It is recommended that retainers are worn full time for the first 4-6 months after getting your braces off, and then indefinitely at night after that.

Permanent Retainers

After braces, most people get a permanent retainer on their bottom teeth to keep them aligned. Some people have had their permanent retainer in for 15-20 years.

Continue reading for some tips to get the most out of your retainer.

How To Clean Retainers So They Last

The retainer and the case both need to be cleaned frequently. Your mouth is filled with bacteria, which means your retainer, and the case will become filled with bacteria if they aren’t properly cleaned.

The care of both permanent and removable retainers are important to maintain your oral health and your retainer durability.

Permanent Retainers

If you have a permanent retainer bonded to your teeth, then you will need to take extra care when you are flossing. You will most likely need to use a floss threader to get the floss behind your bar. Flossing underneath the bar to make sure there isn’t a plaque build-up is a must.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers require a bit more maintenance than permanent retainers. If you’re wondering how to clean retainers so they last, then follow these 6 tips as an easy guide for how to clean retainers, so they last.

1. Heat and Retainers Do Not Mix

The heat will damage the plastic parts. For example, the dishwasher is not a good place to clean your retainer because the water is too hot. It’s also not a good idea to leave your retainer on your dashboard or put it in the microwave. Make sure to use warm water when cleaning and not with hot water.

2. Dish Soap Over Chemicals

A little dish soap, warm water, and a soft-bristle brush are all you need to keep your retainer clean.

Your retainer can carry bacteria, like Streptococcus, which will make you sick. It might seem like you want to bust out the heavy-duty chemicals to clean, but the harsh chemicals can cause damage to your retainer, and it’s not a good idea to put those chemicals in your mouth.

3. Soak

Equal parts mouthwash and lukewarm water can create a solution that will kill bacteria and freshen up your retainer. Don’t let the retainer soak for too long, and don’t do this too often.

You can also talk to your orthodontist to see if you can use a denture cleaning solution.

4. Clean Your Case

A clean case is just as important as keeping the retainer clean itself. You can quickly clean your case with a small amount of dish soap and lukewarm water. Wash and dry your case every day.

5. Keep it Safe

When you are in the first few months of post-braces life, it gets annoying to take your retainer out for every meal. Make sure you keep your case with you at all times so you can put your retainer in a safe place. Yes, it’s annoying to do this, but having to get a new retainer is much more annoying (and more expensive).

6. Replace

As with anything, you should probably inspect it before putting something into your mouth. If you notice some wear, weird spots or anything unusual about your retainer, then you should probably get a new one. Take it into your orthodontist, and they can determine if it’s time for a new one or not.

Even with the proper care and maintenance, removable retainers won’t last forever. They typically last about ten years. You will also have to go in occasionally to get fitted for a new retainer.

At Smiles for Life, your oral health is of the utmost importance to us. We know that the proper care of your mouth will lead to a beautiful smile that will last you a lifetime. Give us a call today and let us help you achieve your smile dreams.

Tips for Managing the Wires on Braces

November 25th, 2019

Are you ready to commit to fixing your bite, but you feel a little nervous? Never fear; devoting the time and upkeep that braces require will pay off with a beautiful smile.

Follow along for tips to effectively managing the wires on braces.

Basics of braces

Once you decide that you’re ready to tackle correcting your bite, it’s time to consider what type of corrective appliance fits your needs best. The most common methods used to fix your misaligned and overcrowded teeth include:

Metal braces

The traditional braces, otherwise known as metal braces, use a combination of metal brackets, wire, and rubber bands to push your teeth into the proper position.

Ceramic braces

If you would like a less noticeable type of braces, ceramic braces fit the bill. They use ceramic instead of metal, with wire and rubber bands.

Invisalign

A clear aligner, like Invisalign, replaces traditional braces with a series of aligners that work to move your teeth into place slowly.

Your orthodontist will carefully examine your teeth to decide which type of orthodontic appliance best fits your situation. Read on to learn more about managing the wires on braces if you opt to use wire braces to improve your smile.

How braces work to transform your smile

Traditional wire braces do a terrific job of correcting misaligned bites. Indeed, many orthodontists rely on them to correct severe misalignments and overcrowded teeth. An additional benefit is that they are typically a less expensive way to achieve a beautiful smile.

You’re most likely familiar enough with braces to know that your new braces will include brackets, wire, and rubber bands. The wire does the bulk of the work by slowly pushing your teeth into proper alignment. Your orthodontist will tighten the wire to move your teeth throughout multiple appointments.

Now that we've given you a speedy introduction to how braces work, let’s move on to how you should care for the wires on braces.

Tips for caring for the wires on braces

As soon as you begin orthodontic treatment, it’s essential to spend time caring for your teeth and gums every single day. After all, you don’t want to go through the whole journey of wearing braces to end up with a mouth filled with cavities and plaque-covered teeth.

We won’t deny that it can be challenging to clean your teeth when you wear braces. However, with effort, you can keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape while you’re in braces.

Here are some no-nonsense things that you can do to protect your smile while wearing braces:

  • Never forget to remove the rubber bands from your mouth before cleaning, so you have total access to your teeth and gums.
  • Brush your braces at least twice a day. Hold your brush at a forty-five-degree angle while brushing from the top of the wire to the bottom. Pay particular attention to removing food debris.
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day with your favorite toothpaste. Aim to brush at a forty-five-degree angle for a minimum of two minutes.
  • Flossing isn’t anyone’s favorite activity, but it’s essential if you hope to keep your teeth cavity-free and your gums healthy. Floss once a day with your favorite flosser. Read here about the variety of dental flossing products on the market today.
  • An American Dental Association (ADA) accepted mouthwash is a terrific way to rinse away the tiny crumbs of food that like to get stuck in your braces and between teeth. What’s more, a beneficial mouthwash helps to prevent white spots from forming on your teeth. Here’s more information about choosing a mouth rinse when you wear braces.

Along with all of the above cleaning tips, make it a habit to visit your dentist every six months. Regular appointments help you to remedy problems with your teeth and gums before they turn into significant issues. Your dentist will also give your teeth a thorough cleaning, and you’ll love how fresh your mouth feels after an appointment.

Establishing a total daily cleaning routine is a terrific first step in maintaining overall oral health. The second part of caring for the wires on braces involves eating a healthy diet. Follow along for diet tips that will help to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Eat a braces-friendly diet

Did you know that what you eat and drink each day can make a dramatic difference in what your smile looks like post-braces? It’s true. You have the power to improve the health and appearance of your teeth and gums by sticking to a braces-friendly diet.

In general, expect your mouth to be a little sore right after you get your braces and after each adjustment. You can give your mouth time to heal by eating soft foods. Examples of foods that won’t irritate your mouth include yogurt, eggs, mashed potatoes, pasta, and well-cooked vegetables.

Stay away from chewy bread, ice cream, hard cheeses, citrus fruits, and spicy food until your mouth is less sensitive.

Once your gums are back to normal, you can move away from a soft-food diet. Dentists recommend that you eat a variety of healthy foods every day. Make sure that you drink multiple cups of water and include nutrient-rich foods in your daily meal plan.

You won’t need to give up delicious food while you wear braces. Indeed, we highly recommend that you treat yourself to a wide assortment of tasty treats. However, you’ll want to avoid things like hard nuts, hard candy, sticky foods, chewing gum, chewy bread, and hard, uncooked vegetables.

Ask your orthodontist for advice on creating satisfying meals that you can count on to keep your teeth and gums secure.

Final thoughts

Lastly, paying close attention to your oral health routine is a vital part of successful orthodontic treatment. Don’t allow the wires on braces to deter you from thoroughly cleaning your teeth and gums. A consistent cleaning routine, combined with a braces-friendly eating plan, is a sure way to help achieve your best smile.

Smiles for Life Orthodontics understands the commitment that it takes to undergo orthodontic work successfully. We promise to do our part by giving you the highest quality service in Flower Mound, TX. Contact us today to find out how orthodontics can give you your happiest smile.

How Thumb Sucking Negatively Affects Teeth and What to Do About It

November 15th, 2019

Do you delight in watching your thumb-sucking toddler sleep? Sadly, while a small child with a thumb in their mouth is adorable, this habit can set your child up for years of dental woes. Let’s look at why, after a childhood spent thumb sucking, teeth struggle to show their best smile in adulthood.

Thumb Sucking and Young Children

Is there anything sweeter than watching your infant self-soothe by sucking on their thumb? Who hasn’t breathed a sigh of satisfaction when their cranky toddler finally falls asleep with a thumb in their mouth? The answer is that parents throughout time have rejoiced in the power of thumb sucking to soothe a young child.

However, while the American Dental Association says that there is nothing wrong with a young child sucking on their thumb, there comes an age when it’s time to break the thumb sucking habit. Indeed, it’s essential to break the habit well before the time when a child’s permanent teeth first begin to appear. Keep reading to find out how, through thumb sucking, permanent teeth can end up needing a lifetime of expensive dental care.

Thumb Sucking and Teeth

Thumb sucking is one of those things in life that is fine for an infant and toddler but can become a problem if it persists into the preschool years. A child risks damaging the alignment of incoming permanent teeth if they are still sucking their thumb when permanent teeth start to appear.

Sadly, we often see the results of prolonged childhood thumb sucking on teeth in our orthodontic practice. Too many teenage patients come to us with severely misaligned smiles after a childhood spent with a finger in their mouths. Misalignments in a teenager’s bite often show up as:

  • Crooked Teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crowded Teeth

Along with the appearance of the teeth, other symptoms of a misaligned bite include such things as difficulty chewing, tooth decay, speech issues, and mouth breathing. Over time, an untreated bite problem can lead to jaw pain and significant wear and tear on the teeth.

Correcting Misaligned Teeth

Unless your child’s misaligned bite is minimal, there’s a strong chance that your dentist will suggest an orthodontic consultation. At the initial consultation, the orthodontist will take complete x-rays and perform an extensive examination to determine if orthodontic correction should take place to correct the problem.

If your orthodontist believes that orthodontic treatment is necessary to fix the misalignment, the treatment options vary according to the severity of the bite’s misalignment. Typical orthodontic treatments to correct a lousy chomper include:

  • Extraction of teeth to reduce overcrowding
  • Invisalign
  • Braces

Braces are an orthodontic treatment of choice for many people who suffer from improperly aligned teeth. One of the terrific benefits of wearing braces to correct a bite problem is that braces can successfully improve even the worst types of bite issues. Read on to learn how to care for your child’s smile while they wear braces.

How to Care for Braces

It can take years to correct misaligned teeth with braces. During that time, your child must protect their teeth and gums from such things as decay and gum disease. We won’t pretend that cleaning the teeth around the metal and wires that come with braces is an easy task, because it’s not.

Although not a simple job, daily oral cleaning is vital to a beautiful smile in the future. You can help your child’s former thumb sucking teeth correction to run more smoothly through adhering to the following oral health steps.

Brush

There is no substitute for brushing teeth a minimum of two times a day for at least thirty seconds at a time. Look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride for total cavity busting power.

Floss

Who enjoys flossing? Don’t forget to pester your child about flossing each day. Flossing is the most sure-fire way to get all of those itty bitty bits of food out from between teeth. Failure to floss can result in cavities and the start of gum disease.

Oral Rinse

Consider adding an oral rinse to your teenager’s daily oral health routine. Rinsing with an effective oral cleaner is an efficient way to wash away any food debris that remains stuck between the teeth and braces after meals. Read here for information about oral rinses and braces.

Diet

We know that it can feel next to impossible to monitor the food intake of the average braces-wearing teenager. Still, it’s worthwhile to try and remind your teen about healthy eating and drinking habits while wearing braces. Here’s an excellent article on food to eat and avoid while wearing braces.

Change Elastics

Your orthodontist will recommend how often to change the elastics that go with braces, and your teenager must follow the advice. The elastics must function correctly to help the metal braces to do their job. Tired rubber bands aren’t taut enough to work effectively.

Fortunately, rubber bands for braces come in many different colors and patterns. You’ll probably find that switching out the elastics might be the one thing about wearing braces that your teen won’t neglect to remember. Read more about how elastics can be a fashion statement here.

It’s Never Too Late

Is it ever too late to fix your smile? Although we’ve focused on teenagers in this article, it’s never too late to improve your bite. We see many adults at our orthodontic practice, and we happily tell them that a beautiful smile is never beyond reach.

As Harvard Medical School notes, you’ll need to work harder to correct your smile with braces than would your sixteen-year-old counterpart. The bones in your jaw finished growing by the time that you reached adulthood, and it’s more challenging to fix an alignment issue completely. Still, with patience and effort, there is a strong chance that you’ll end up with a smile that makes you want to smile.

When it comes to prolonged childhood thumb sucking, teeth tend to end up misaligned. The positive news is that there is help for a misaligned bite. It’s never too late to turn a mouth filled with crowded, ill-matching teeth into a smile that you’ll be delighted to share with the world.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics in Flower Mound, TX, for a painless assessment of your orthodontic needs.

10 Terrific Dentist Anxiety Tips That Will Save Your Smile

October 21st, 2019

Does the idea of going to the dentist make you queasy? You’re not alone; dental phobia is a real thing, but it’s possible to overcome it. Keep reading for ten dental anxiety tips that will help to keep your teeth and gums in terrific shape.

Fear of the Dental Chair

Are you afraid of visiting the dentist? It’s possible that as many as twenty percent of Americans worry before an appointment, and many of them avoid regular check-ups due to extreme fear. Unlike phobias that don’t need addressing, routine dental appointments are too vital to your health to skip.

There are many reasons that you might fear the dentist. Perhaps you had a painful experience in the dental chair when you were young. Maybe your dental terror stems from

  • A fear that the dentist will cause you pain
  • Fear of shots and the thought that they might not work
  • Panic when you hear the sound of the drill
  • The nervousness of having someone working in your mouth
  • The embarrassment that you haven’t taken care of your teeth

Whatever the root cause of your fear, the fact remains that your dental health is critical to your overall health.

Downsides of Dental Avoidance

No matter how terrifying going to the dentist might seem, it’s never a smart idea to forget to schedule routine appointments. Inadequate levels of oral hygiene lead to a variety of nasty problems. Examples of what happens when you avoid the dentist include:

  • Bad breath
  • Cavities
  • Plaque and tartar
  • Tooth loss
  • Gum Disease
  • Infected teeth
  • Discolored teeth

Scientists also theorize that there is a connection between gum disease and heart disease. It’s possible that the inflammation present in diseased gums spreads into the bloodstream and causes a narrowing of arteries. The evidence of a link between bad gums and the heart is a significant deal since more than one-quarter of all Americans will die from cardiovascular disease.

Even more, researchers also think that gum disease plays a part in developing (1) osteoporosis, (2) lung infections, (3) cancer, and (4) rheumatoid arthritis.

Are you starting to understand why you must put aside your dental phobia? If so, here are ten dentist anxiety tips that will have you in the dental chair before you know it.

10 Dentist Anxiety Tips

dentist anxiety tips

Now, we’re sure that you know that you don’t need to be afraid of the dentist. Still, unreasonable fears can be just as powerful as authentic ones. The terrific thing about phobias is that it’s possible to overcome them.

Follow our ten best dentist anxiety tips to begin moving past your dental fears.

1.  Look for a dental practice that caters to dental phobics.

Trust us; fear of going to the dentist is such a common concern that many dentists take steps to alleviate anxiety. Ask about how the office helps dental cowards when you make your first appointment.

2. Technology for the Win

If possible, choose a dental clinic that offers things like

  • Television
  • Music
  • and a warm blanket.

3. Don’t go to your first visit alone.

You’ll feel more relaxed if you know that someone you love is waiting for you in the lobby.

4. Arrive on time, but not too soon.

The last thing that you want is a long wait before you see the dentist. Bring that magazine that you’ve meant to read with you so that you’ll be too distracted for your imagination to run wild.

5. Use some of these sure-fire relaxation techniques throughout the visit.

You’ll be surprised how much control you have over your anxiety when you find a helpful calming method.

6. Ask your dentist for appropriate sedation options.

Many patients appreciate the calming quality of nitrous oxide and oral sedatives. It might even be possible to snooze your way through a complicated dental procedure.

7. Don’t fall into the trap of being a martyr where discomfort is concerned.

Pain-free dentistry is a reality, and it’s the job of the dentist to make sure that you don’t feel any pain while they’re working in your mouth.

8. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the dentist to explain what they’re doing throughout a procedure. A soothing voice is often enough to help you through dental work.

9. Take Breaks

Stop whenever you need a break. A sensitive dental team will give you time to relax when necessary.

10. Make your next appointment before you leave the office.

You’re more likely to come for a follow-up appointment if you don’t have to contact the office later to schedule it.

Lastly, today’s dental offices are welcoming places that specialize in painlessly keeping your smile bright and healthy. Use our dentist anxiety tips as a safety blanket to guide you through your next dental experience. You’ll enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile in return.

Smiles for Life Orthodontics delivers excellent orthodontic care to patients in Flower Mound, TX. Contact us for our gentle, complete orthodontic services.

5 Reasons Why Flossing is Important

October 15th, 2019

Do you ever ponder why your dentist asks about your flossing habits during every check-up? The reason is that they know that flossing is an essential part of oral health. Follow along for five of the biggest reasons why flossing is important if you want to maintain your smile.

Those In-Between Teeth Spaces

Have you ever thought about how much gunk ends up resting between your teeth after you eat? Restaurant owners know that food sometimes gets stuck between teeth. That’s why you’ll find a handy toothpick holder near the cash register.

The danger to your overall oral health is that you can’t possibly notice all of the little bits of mealtime that find their way between your teeth each day. What’s more, you can brush and brush your teeth and still not entirely clean those in-between your teeth spaces. Even worse, all of the stuff that stays lodged between your teeth can destroy your smile over time.

5 Reasons Why Flossing is Important

why flossing is important

There’s no doubt failing to floss leaves your smile in danger. Consistent flossing helps to remove the gunk and plaque that’s hiding in the tiny, hard-to-see spaces inside your mouth. Although researchers continue to examine the role that flossing plays in your overall dental health, there are some clear benefits to it.

1. Improve Appearance

Do you want to keep a welcoming smile for years into the future? Oral-B notes that regular flossing is a terrific way to improve the overall brightness of your teeth. Combine a bright smile with the appearance of healthy gums, and you have a recipe for a smile that has real staying power.

2. Prevents gum disease

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, plaque on your teeth can lead to gum disease. Research suggests that the bacteria found in plaque causes an inflammatory response that contributes to gum disease. Flossing helps you to avoid problems such as

  • bleeding gums
  • receding gums
  • tooth and bone loss.

3. Reduce your chance of developing heart disease

One of the insidious dangers of gum disease is that it appears to play a part in the development of heart disease. Recent research reveals that you have a twenty percent higher chance of developing heart disease if you have gum disease. One theory is that gum disease spurs on the narrowing of arteries, leading to cardiovascular disease.

4. Stop tooth decay between teeth

Who doesn’t dread the sound of a dental drill? Dentists know that flossing is a crucial step in avoiding cavities. A sliver of sticky candy caught between two teeth can result in cavity-causing plaque within two days. Avoid the sound of a dental drill by flossing your teeth once a day.

5. Freshen your breath

You know how a mouth filled with fresh smelling breath makes you feel ready to greet the world each morning? You can keep the confident vibes flowing by flossing away the trapped little bits of food in your mouth that can cause a real stink. It’s true; a comprehensive oral care routine will reward you with fresh breath.

By the way, who hasn't noticed the tremendous variety of dental floss products on the market today? The terrific benefit to having a choice of flossing products is that you can find one that you will want to use each day. Read here for an informative article about the vast selection of dental floss available today.

Now that you know five of the best reasons to take time to floss, it’s time to put flossing into your daily oral hygiene.

Complete care for your smile

Of course, flossing isn’t enough, by itself, to keep your smile in sparkling shape. No, you’ll need to stick with a complete tooth care routine if you want to protect your smile long-term.

You don’t need to purchase all sorts of pricey gadgets to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Instead, consistent care is the key to ensuring that your smile will remain with you for a lifetime.

Make the following steps part of your oral health program.

Brush

The foundation of any teeth cleaning plan rests on effective brushing. Did you know that many people don’t take enough time to clean their teeth thoroughly? Experts say that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time.

Floss

Recent studies recommend flossing before brushing at least once per day. Check out this article on flossing techniques from Colgate. It’s extra essential to floss if you wear braces as it can be challenging to keep the spaces between your teeth clean.

Swish

Consider adding a mild mouthwash to your daily cleaning routine. Remember that swishing with a mouth rinse doesn’t replace the need to floss.

Dentist

Don’t forget to see your dentist for a check-up every six months. Checking in with your dentist twice a year is a smart way to take care of small dental issues before they turn into painful problems. A significant benefit of a dental visit is that the dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth to remove any accumulated plaque.

Orthodontic tips- Do you wear braces?

Flossing while you wear braces is extremely important since little remnants of food can very quickly turn into destructive dental plaque. Rely on your orthodontist for advice on effective flossing techniques.

Healthy diet

The American Dental Association stresses the vital part that nutrition plays in keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. In general, you should aim to drink plenty of water and eat a variety of healthy foods. Limit snacks and sugary foods to special occasions.

Trust us; your smile depends on sticking to healthy oral health habits.

Last thoughts

Lastly, your smile can last a lifetime if you give it proper care. Healthy oral hygiene habits give you the surest opportunity to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. Make sure that you follow our reasons why flossing is important to develop an oral care program that fits your needs.

We want to help you dazzle the world with your most beautiful smile. Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for complete orthodontic services in Flower Mound, TX.

Invisalign vs. Braces: How to Make the Best Choices

September 26th, 2019

You want a terrific smile, and you’re ready to do the hard work necessary to achieve one. Now that you’re committed to correcting your smile, you’ll need to choose an orthodontic appliance. Let’s examine the pros and cons of Invisalign vs. braces for fixing a misaligned bite.

As we begin looking at traditional braces and Invisalign, keep in mind that both appliances are terrific options. They both do an excellent job of correcting misaligned teeth. The key to your orthodontic happiness is to choose the device that best fits your lifestyle.

Now that we have that bit of advice out of the way, here’s the scoop on Invisalign vs. braces.

What To Know About Invisalign

How many people do you know using Invisalign right now to achieve a beautiful smile? We guess that you know quite a few. Clear aligners, like Invisalign, have boomed in popularity due to their invisibility and relative ease of use.

Clear aligners certainly have plenty of advantages. Some of their most exciting perks include:

  • Near invisibility
  • Easy to remove for eating and teeth cleaning
  • Comfortable

Of course, there are a few downsides to choosing a clear aligner to straighten your teeth. Examples of things that wearers complain about include (1) easy to lose, (2) must remove them to drink anything other than water, and (3) dry mouth.

Invisalign vs. Braces: What To Know About Traditional Braces

Traditional braces enjoy a well-deserved reputation as a stellar teeth straightener. In the past, patients worried that wearing braces meant living with a mouth filled with unattractive metal. Today’s braces are less noticeable, and you can individualize them with a range of colorful bands.

Why are braces such a popular choice for orthodontic correction? Some of the best reasons to invest in braces include

  • Corrects even the most severe misalignment's
  • Realigns teeth relatively quickly
  • Impossible to lose

While there’s no doubt that braces are useful appliances, there are also significant downsides. Cons to consider include

Lastly, when it comes to Invisalign vs. braces, rely on your orthodontist for expert advice. Each orthodontic appliance does a superb job at straightening smiles, and your decision should be the one that will most effectively improve your smile. Whether you choose braces or a clear aligner like Invisalign you can be confident that you’ll soon have a beautiful smile to show the world.

Contact our Smiles for Life Orthodontics office in Flower Mound, TX, for all of your orthodontic needs.

What’s the Best Age for Braces?

September 15th, 2019

What’s the best age for braces? Do you want to perfect your smile but you’re afraid that you might be too old? Here’s what you want to know about improving your bite at any age.

The Best Age for Braces

Is there a best age for braces? Experts say that the ages of ten through fourteen are an excellent time to invest in braces if phase I was not needed. The reason that the tween/early teen years are a terrific time to straighten teeth is since the head and jaw are still expanding and it’s easier to correct an imperfect bite.

However, don’t give up on correcting your smile if you are long past your teen years. It’s possible to achieve a beautiful smile through an orthodontic correction at any age. It makes sense that your age shouldn’t stop you from seeking help with your smile as orthodontic appliances, like braces and clear aligners, perform the same way regardless of your number of birthdays.

Do You Need Braces?

Now that you know that you’re not too old for braces, the next step is to find out if you’re the right candidate for orthodontic treatment. The good news is that orthodontic appliances do a fantastic job of correcting a wide range of jaw issues, and there is an excellent chance that orthodontic treatment will give you a beautiful smile. The surest way to discover if braces will aid your bite is to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist for a comprehensive examination.

It’s always a smart idea to consider braces if your orthodontist believes they can fix your jaw issue. Issues like (1) overbites, (2) underbites,(3) crowded teeth, and (4) crooked teeth can lead to painful problems down the road. Untreated issues can result in:

  • Damaged tooth enamel
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth loss
  • Jaw pain
  • Gum disease

Lastly, the best age for braces is the one that you’re at right now. It’s never too late to correct your bite and create a beautiful, pain-free smile. Smiles for Life Orthodontics works to perfect smiles all over Flower Mound, TX.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics to achieve a smile that you’ll want to share.

Flossing and Heart Disease: Is There a Connection?

August 20th, 2019

Sure; you know that regular flossing helps to keep your gums healthy. But, did you know that researchers now believe proper oral hygiene can improve your heart health? Here’s why understanding the connection between flossing and heart disease is vital for your well-being.

Growing Evidence of a Connection

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if scientific research revealed a no-question relationship between something that we do and our health? Sometimes, as with cigarette smoking, the evidence is pretty overwhelming. Other times, as with flossing and heart disease, the evidence reveals tantalizing clues that point toward a connection.

We’re learning more about the possible link between a healthy mouth and heart health all the time. One of the reasons that researchers are so interested in finding a possible connection is the sheer number of people who die from heart disease each year. More than one-quarter of all deaths in the United States each year are the result of heart disease.

Current Research Findings

Scientists now understand that people who have gum disease have a higher than average chance of having heart disease. Studies show that people with infected gums have as much as a twenty percent higher risk of developing heart disease. While that information alone isn’t evidence of an absolute connection, there is a growing belief that poor oral health does contribute to a sick cardiovascular system.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School, for instance, theorize that periodontal disease increases inflammation in the body. Your immune system fights inflammation and, over the long run, the immune response damages arteries and leads to heart disease.

Gum disease also increases blood pressure. Some of the downsides of living with high blood pressure include (1) heart disease, (2) strokes, (3) heart attacks, and even (4) dementia.

Flossing and Heart Disease

The exciting news about a possible connection between periodontal disease and heart disease is that you have the power to improve your oral health. A regular dental maintenance program is a sure way to improve the state of your gums. Some things that you can do to ensure a healthy mouth include:

  • Brush and floss daily
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • See your dentist regularly
  • Eat a low sugar diet
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Limit your daily alcohol intake

Interestingly, too many of us neglect daily flossing even though nearly everyone knows that it’s a vital part of a complete oral hygiene program. Read here for tips on an effective flossing routine.

It’s undoubtedly challenging, although extremely vital, to maintain tip-top oral health when undergoing orthodontic treatment. Don’t neglect to floss while you’re wearing braces as it’s even more essential that keep the areas between your teeth clean at this time. Consider using a water flosser to keep your smile clean. Ask Smiles for Life Orthodontics for terrific advice on braces and oral hygiene.

Lastly, with evidence mounting of a connection between oral health and heart fitness, it makes sense to opt for a healthy oral hygiene routine. Indeed, brushing, flossing, and heart disease come together for overall health. It’s time to make taking care of your smile a priority.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for a friendly and comprehensive approach to your orthodontic needs.

What To Eat After Getting Braces (and What To Avoid)

August 10th, 2019

You did it. You committed to fixing your bite. Here's what to eat after getting braces to make sure that the orthodontic work pays off in a terrific smile.

What To Eat After Getting Braces

If you're investing the time and financial resources into a new smile, it makes sense to do everything possible to promote healthy teeth and gums. Along with a routine of brushing and flossing, a healthy diet is a terrific way to make sure that you'll end up with a beautiful smile.

Some of the best things to eat while you're wearing braces include:

  • Dairy products
  • Lean meats
  • Soft fruits (say yes to bananas!)
  • Peanut butter
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Grits
  • Soft-textured bread

Treat yourself to things like (1) smoothies, (2) ice cream, and (3) chocolate for a sweet indulgence that's braces-friendly.

Foods To Avoid After Getting Braces

Unfortunately, you'll need to eliminate, or at least restrict, some foods from your diet while you're wearing braces. The common factors in foods to avoid are that it might damage the various parts of your braces, or stick around long after you've eaten. Food remnants that you can't remove while brushing and flossing can cause tooth decay and gum problems.

Oral-B gives a great rule of thumb by suggesting you avoid foods that are "sugary/ hard/ sticky or chewy." Examples of no-no foods include:

  • Sticky candy
  • Gum
  • Hard candy
  • Sugary soda
  • Hard fruit (ex. Whole apples)
  • Meat from the bone (avoid tearing with your teeth)
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Extra thick pizza crust
  • Chewy bagels
  • Tortilla chips

Don't lose heart if you see some of your favorite foods and treats on the list. You won't be wearing braces for long, and you'll soon have a beautiful smile as a reward for your restraint.

Lastly, when you're deciding what to eat after getting braces, concentrate on safety. Focus on choosing foods that won't stress your oral appliance and get stuck between your teeth. Fortunately, with a little bit of imagination, you'll discover that it's easy to indulge in delicious meals while you're wearing braces.

Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics to discover how close you are to a fantastic smile.

How Do Braces Work To Fix Your Smile?

July 20th, 2019

A sad fact of living with misaligned teeth is that it keeps you from sharing your smile with the world. Braces are a time-tested way to turn a mouth full of twisted teeth into a radiant smile. So, how do braces work to fix an imperfect bite?

Do you need braces?

The surest way to know if you could benefit from wearing braces is through a consultation with an orthodontist like Dr. Irelia Machado at Smiles for Life Orthodontics. Your orthodontist will thoroughly examine all aspects of your bite to develop a treatment plan that will result in a beautiful smile.

Our patients typically find us through their dentist. Some of the reasons that braces might be in order include (1) Overbite, (2) underbite, (3) missing teeth, (4) TMJ, and (5) having a hard time chewing food.

How do braces work?

Braces might look complicated, but the basic principle is simple. They create a correctly aligned smile by pushing the teeth into the proper position. It takes time for the teeth to move into the right spot, and patience during the orthodontic process is crucial. Read here for a description of the different parts that make up a set of braces.

Put aside any fear of braces being painful. You’ll probably feel a little bit of tenderness in the days following an adjustment, but you’ll most likely find wearing braces a tolerable experience. Try taking an over the counter pain reliever and eating soft foods like ice cream to reduce any pain associated with your braces.

Cleaning your teeth

It’s vital that you keep your teeth and gums clean while you’re wearing braces. There’s no denying that it’ll take more work to keep your mouth clean when you have braces but the downside of slacking include cavities and gum disease. 

Keep your mouth in tip-top condition by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and always remembering to floss. Consider switching out your manual toothbrush for an electric one. Make a mouthwash rinse part of your regular dental care routine.

Above all, don’t forget to check in with your regular dentist every six months. The dentist will deep clean your teeth and gums while also keeping a close eye on the overall health of your mouth. Bi-annual dental visits are a terrific way to ensure the health and beauty of your smile.

Lastly, how do braces work to create a beautiful smile? Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for a full description of how braces will push your teeth into the proper position and leave you with a smile that you’ll want to share.

 

Why Does My Jaw Hurt? 5 Reasons For An Aching Jaw

July 6th, 2019

You wake up to an aching jaw that grows more annoying throughout the day. If you recognize this painful scenario, it's time to find out the answer to "Why does my jaw hurt?". Let's look at five typical reasons for jaw pain.

Why does my jaw hurt

Nearly everyone suffers from an aching jaw at some point in their lives. The reasons for jaw pain vary from simple, easily treated situations to complex problems requiring an advanced treatment plan. Here are five causes of jaw pain.

Dental problem- Jaw pain can spring from things like a (1) cavity, (2) cracked tooth, (3) infection, and (4) gum disease. Don't neglect to make an appointment with your dentist if you suspect that a dental problem is at the root of your aching jaw.

Stress- Are you stressed with work and daily life? One of the sneaky ways that life's weight shows itself is through a tense jaw. Too much jaw clenching and teeth grinding will undoubtedly result in an unhappy mouth.

Sinus- If you struggle with your sinuses, you've probably experienced the unique way that sinus pain and pressure masquerades as jaw pain. You can suspect a sinus issue if your jaw pain comes along with things like (1) dizziness, (2) post-nasal drip, and (3) forehead pressure. Your doctor can help to determine if your jaw pain comes from a sinus issue.

Headache- Migraines and cluster headaches are notorious culprits behind an agonizing jaw. In the case of a migraine, blood vessels and nerves combine to create intense discomfort. If your jaw pain subsides as the problem eases, there is a decent chance that the migraine caused the jaw pain. Check with your doctor if severe headaches persist.

TMJ- One of the most common causes of jaw pain is TMJ. The temporomandibular joint works to connect the lower jaw to your skull. There are a host of reasons that TMJ can bring about a sharp pain whenever you open your mouth. Symptoms include:

  • Tender jaw
  • Painful chewing
  • Difficulty opening jaw
  • Clicking sound when opening jaw
  • Pain around ears

Successful TMJ treatment often includes orthodontic assistance. Misaligned teeth and bites often cause jaw joint problems, so it responds well to braces. Smiles for Life Orthodontics specializes in helping patients to overcome TMJ syndrome so that they can have a pain-free smile.

Treatment

When should you seek help for your aching jaw? In general, professionals say that home remedies like rest and ice are useful first steps. Avoid chewy foods and concentrate on relaxing your jaw. If home remedies fail to curb the pain, it is time to seek professional assistance. Schedule a time with your dentist for a complete evaluation.

Lastly, the next time that you ask yourself, "Why does my jaw hurt?" relax and remember that you don't need to endure long-lasting jaw pain. Dental professionals are experts at diagnosing and solving all types of jaw-related issues. When your treatment needs include orthodontic work, contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, and we'll have you living a pain-free life in no time.

 

Elastic Bands

June 18th, 2019

Everything You Must Know About the Elastic Bands in Your Mouth

orthodontic elastic band

Elastic bands are the key to transforming your smile. These little ligatures combine with your braces to do the heavy moving required to realign your teeth correctly. Read on for everything that you need to know about the elastic bands that will help to make you want to smile.

Elastic bands basics

Most of the braces that your orthodontist uses to create your new smile consist of multiple parts. The brackets are metal parts that bond to your teeth. The archwire travels through the brackets to push your teeth into proper position. The elastic bands, also called rubber bands, connect the archwire to the brackets.

Another type of rubber band, called the interarch rubber band, stretches in your mouth as it moves your upper and lower teeth into a beautifully aligned bite. The interarch rubber bands, also known as elastics, get quite a work-out and it’s common to put a new set on each day. Additionally, you’ll need to take them off whenever you want to eat.

elastic bands colors

Colorful rubber bands

We won’t pretend that wearing braces is fun, but we do think that you’ll enjoy choosing the elastic bands that are crucial to making your braces work. Rubber bands for braces come in a wide range of colors, making it possible to customize your look and have fun turning your mouth correctors into a fashion accessory.

Choose colors that (1) highlight your school, (2) celebrate the season, (3) boost your favorite sports team, and (4) make you smile. We help our clients choose elastic band colors all the time, and we’ll help match a shade to your style. We have the solution whether you want a  color that blends in with your teeth or you want your braces to show your undying devotion for the Dallas Cowboys.

Maintenance requirements

If you want a gorgeous smile when your braces come off, it’s essential that you properly maintain the elastic band while it’s working so hard in your mouth. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about giving the elastic bands used within the brackets any extra attention as that is the job of your orthodontist. Instead, you need to turn your attention to the interarch elastic bands that work to bring your upper and lower teeth into position.

Don't neglect to remove your elastics before you eat. You could damage seriously damage the archwire and bracket hooks on your braces if you forget to take the interarch elastics out of your mouth before picking up your toothbrush.

It’s also vital that you remove the elastics before taking a bite to eat. Although it’s easy to feel lazy and not want to bother with taking out your interarch rubber bands before eating a quick snack, keep in mind that your future smile depends on keeping every part of your braces in tip-top condition. 

Comprehensive cleaning 

Thoroughly cleaning your teeth is a crucial component in caring for your teeth while wearing braces. An unfortunate aspect of wearing braces is that your teeth are prone to decay and discoloration if you don’t practice a diligent cleaning routine. Make sure that you understand your orthodontist’s cleaning advice and carry out every cleaning step at least twice a day.

Check out more cleaning tips here.

Finally, elastic bands are an integral part of the braces that shape your teeth into your best smile. Understanding their role and how you can care for them is the first step in the direction of a happy mouth. Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for complete information on how braces can fix your bite and give you a terrific smile.

Braces Colors

June 4th, 2019

Choose Braces Colors That Suit Your Style

braces colors

Did you know that braces can be a beautiful fashion accessory? It’s true, gone are the days of the one-look-fits-all metal braces. Here’s the scoop on how you can choose from the variety of braces colors on the market today to enhance your unique style.

Choose less noticeable braces

There are terrific options available if you don’t want people to notice that you’re wearing braces. Both Damon Smile and Invisalign Braces, for example, make it nearly impossible for anyone to see that you have braces on your teeth. A full-service orthodontist, like Smiles for Life Orthodontics, can fit you with a set of barely noticeable braces that will help to create the beautiful smile that you deserve.

braces color options

Braces colors to fit your style

The challenging thing about thinking of braces as a fashion accessory is that they stay in your mouth all day, every day, for many months. Fortunately, the elastic bands that help to improve your bite come in all sorts of fantastic colors. With a vast array of braces colors to choose from, you have the opportunity to enhance your smile while also having a little bit of fashion fun at the same time.

Express your personality and sense of style by choosing braces colors that make you happy. Pick colors that will make you smile every time that you look into the mirror. Consider using elastic band colors to highlight:

  • School colors
  • Seasonal holidays
  • A Favorite sports team (Dallas Cowboys, perhaps)

We love helping our patients pick elastic band colors, and we’ll happily help bring your braces colors ideas to life.

Proper cleaning

While you’re investing in fun colors for your braces, it’s essential that you remember the importance of brushing and flossing. A downside to wearing braces is that it makes it harder for you to keep your mouth clean, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. You can prevent oral health problems by taking the time to maintain a clean mouth.

A healthy mouth is a critical component in a beautiful smile. Some of the smart steps that you can take to keep your mouth healthy include:

  • Follow your orthodontist’s cleaning advice
  • Schedule a dental cleaning every six months
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods

Lastly, choose some of the many braces colors available today to make wearing braces more fun. Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for all of your orthodontic needs.

Permanent Retainer

May 21st, 2019

Is A Permanent Retainer The Answer To Your Perfect Smile?

Is A Permanent Retainer The Answer To Your Perfect Smile

The last thing that you want, after months in braces, is to worry about losing your beautiful style to tooth movement. Of course, a little bit of shifting in your mouth is natural but too much change will kill the smile that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Let’s look at how a permanent retainer might save your smile.

Permanent retainer

What is a permanent retainer? It’s a common type of retainer that consists of thin wires cemented behind your teeth to keep them from shifting out of position. Since it’s cemented into place, a permanent retainer is also known as a bonded or fixed retainer. Although the location where we fit the retainer depends on your individual needs, it’s common to place them behind the front bottom teeth.

When you’re choosing a type of retainer, it’s smart to examine the pros and cons of the different kinds of appliances to see if it fits your lifestyle and pocketbook. Take a look at the perks and negatives of the permanent retainer.

Permanent retainer perks

Permanent retainers are a favorite of many patients, and it stands to reason that this type of orthodontic appliance has a lot of perks going for it. Some of the most significant plusses include:

  • Protection against loss- You can’t lose it since it’s cemented in your mouth.
  • Comfort- There’s a good chance that you won’t notice the retainer while your chewing and talking.
  • Cosmetic- The bonded retainer hides on the backside of your teeth, so it isn’t noticeable when you open your mouth. Go ahead and show the world your biggest smile.
  • Usability- One of the biggest problems many people face when you are using a retainer is remembering to put it into your mouth each night. You’ll have peace of mind in knowing that your retainer is keeping your smile safe even when you forget you’re wearing it.

Oral hygiene for braces

Permanent retainer downsides

No appliance is perfect, and some negatives come with using a permanent retainer. Common downsides include

  • Oral hygiene- Do you stick to a rigorous schedule of brushing and flossing? A fixed retainer might not suit your needs if you sometimes slack off in your oral hygiene routine. The danger to your teeth and gums that food can get stuck in the retainer wires and cause decay and gum issues. We’ll give you stringent cleaning instructions if you choose to invest in a permanent retainer.
  • Incomplete protection- It’s possible that the teeth that are not directly protected by the retainer might move out of alignment. In this case, you might also need to use a removable retainer to maintain proper tooth alignment.

Retainer care

Along with diligent brushing, many patients have good luck using a water flosser to remove debris from around the retainer wires. You most likely developed terrific oral hygiene habits while you were wearing braces and it’s imperative that you continue to treat your teeth and gums kindly so that your smile will last a lifetime.

Lastly, there is a variety of outstanding retainers available to help you maintain your hard-won smile. We’ll help you to decide if a permanent retainer is your best option. Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics for all of your orthodontic needs.

Essix Retainer

May 7th, 2019

Use An Essix Retainer to Protect Your Smile

Use An Essix Retainer to Protect Your Smile

You’ve invested time and money into achieving your new smile, and we know that you want to maintain your beautiful grin. Did you know that choosing the right retainer is the key to keeping your teeth in perfect order? Take a look at the Essix Retainer and how it can fit into your orthodontic maintenance program.

Like all orthodontic retainers, the Essix Retainer prevents your teeth from moving out of their proper position. Teeth naturally tend to move a little within your mouth, and an orthodontic appliance works to minimize the movement. The Essix is custom made to fit over the entire arch of your teeth for maximum protection from the pressures within your jaw that result in tooth movement.

Essix Retainer benefits

There are all types of orthodontic retainers on the market, and you’re sure to find one that fits your needs. Some of the significant pros of choosing an Essix Retainer include the fact that (1) you can quickly remove it to clean both your teeth and the retainer and (2) the see-through material blends with your teeth so that you won’t mind wearing it throughout the day.

Removable retainer downsides

Although there are potent reasons to choose a removable retainer like the Essix, it’s essential to consider the disadvantages when you’re deciding on the appliance that best suits your lifestyle and budget. Some of the common downsides include:

  • Loss of the device
  • Damage to the retainer when you’re not wearing it
  • An increase in saliva production
  • Can house bacteria if not well cleaned

There’s no doubt that the most concerning downside from the viewpoint of your smile is that it’s tempting to skip wearing a removable retainer too much of the time. Since a retainer can only protect your smile when it’s inside your mouth, the ability to neglect wearing one for enough time each day is a negative that you should consider before opting to purchase an Essix Retainer.

how to clean retainer

Caring for an Essix Retainer

Despite the potential cons, there is no denying that the Essix Retainer gives you the ease that comes from a comfortable and easy to wear dental protection appliance that’s perfectly designed to fit your mouth. It’s also quite possible to overcome the danger of a lost retainer by implementing some smart habits right away.

The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that you invest in a retainer case and make sure that your retainer goes into the case whenever it’s not in your mouth. Prevent severe damage by keeping it away from heat sources and dogs.

One of the best reasons to choose an Essix Retainer is that it’s not hard to keep it clean. It’s a smart idea to wash the retainer in lukewarm water every time that you remove it from your mouth. Add a little bit of mild dish soap to a soft toothbrush to remove debris. Use a cotton swab to get into all of the tiny spaces where food particles tend to accumulate.

Lastly, you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and money into achieving a beautiful smile. Protect your teeth by investing in a high-quality appliance, like the Essix Retainer, to keep your teeth where they belong.  Contact us at Smiles for Life Orthodontics, and we’ll fit you with an outstanding retainer today.

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

LEARNING HOW TO CLEAN YOUR RETAINERS

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
Free Online Consultation!