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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