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Braces for Teeth Gap: Will Braces Fix My Gap?

January 27th, 2020

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

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

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

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

Four Reasons Why Gaps Happen

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

Mismatch Size Between Jaw Bone and Teeth

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

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

Missing Teeth

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

Oversized Labial Frenum

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

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


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

Thumb sucking

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

Swallowing incorrectly

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

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

Can I Prevent Tooth Gaps?

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

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

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

Will Braces Fix My Gap?

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

Why Fix My Tooth Gap?

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

How Braces Work

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

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

How Long Will I Have To Wear Braces?

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

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

Dental Care Once the Braces are Removed

January 1st, 2020

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

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

What to Expect

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

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

Retainers and Equipment

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

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

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

Cleaning and Upkeep

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

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

Easing into New Foods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smiles For Life Orthodontics

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

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

Treat Your Overbite And Transform Your Smile

December 23rd, 2019

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

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

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

What Causes an Overbite?

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

The Downside of a Deep Bite

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

Tooth decay

An increased number of mouth sores

Chewing difficulties

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

Typical treatment options

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

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

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

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

How To Clean Retainers So They Last

December 9th, 2019

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

Why Wear Your Retainer

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

Why Are Retainers Important

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

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

Types of Retainers

There are two types of retainers. Removable and permanent.

Removable Retainers

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

Permanent Retainers

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

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

How To Clean Retainers So They Last

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

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

Permanent Retainers

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

Removable Retainers

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

1. Heat and Retainers Do Not Mix

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

2. Dish Soap Over Chemicals

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

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

3. Soak

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

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

4. Clean Your Case

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

5. Keep it Safe

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

6. Replace

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

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

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

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