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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.


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


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