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The Advantages of Invisalign Over Traditional Braces

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Traditional braces are still used to straighten out teeth and improve smiles, but there are new and more advanced options now available. If you need braces today, you might not actually need those traditional metal wire braces. Invisalign® clear aligners are a very popular alternative for a variety of reasons. Find out more about the Invisalign advantage in this blog.

Both Invisalign and traditional braces can provide you with a confident and beautiful smile, but the advantages of Invisalign are quite apparent. This treatment option has been used by more than four million people to achieve their best smile.

Unlike other types of braces or other clear aligners, Invisalign offers the following advantages:

  • Proprietary SmartTrack® material for more predictable and controlled tooth movements

  • Blue indicator dots for teens to monitor compliance

  • Invisalign Teen Guarantee: If you’re unsatisfied with treatment within the first six months, switch to braces at no additional cost

More advantages of Invisalign:

  • Can treat simple to complex cases

  • Virtually invisible

  • Removable aligners

  • No pain or injuries from wires or brackets

  • Easy to see results

  • Improved oral hygiene

  • More dietary choices

  • Comfort

  • Teeth-grinding protection

Similar to traditional braces, Invisalign applies carefully controlled forces to your teeth, which moves them into a better position. However, instead of being made of metal, they are made of clear, flexible plastic which accounts for many of the advantages previously mentioned.

Invisalign allows you to remove your appliance to clean your teeth easily and allow you to eat your favorite foods. The material is both comfortable and virtually invisible so you’ll be able to maintain your self-confidence now and have a beautiful smile later on.

If you are interested in Invisalign for yourself or your children, contact Orthodontic Associates of Port Huron to learn more at 810-985-9567.

How Braces Are Removed

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Kids with braces know that once their braces are removed, their smile will be much improved. While some people have to wear braces for longer than others, luckily they aren’t permanent and will end up being removed at some point in time. So how exactly are braces removed? Read on to learn more about the process.

Removing braces is typically a fairly quick and painless procedure. It’s actually a lot easier than the process of getting braces put on your teeth in the first place. It makes sense that braces are removed in the reverse order that they were applied. First, the small elastic bands around each bracket will be removed. Your orthodontist will use a small instrument with a hook to remove each band carefully.

Next up is the process of removing the wires on top of the brackets. Your orthodontist will use small pliers to detach those wires from brackets and anchor bands. After that, the brackets themselves are removed using special pliers to remove each one individually. There will be some residue that remains until your teeth are cleaned and polished. The bands are also removed with pliers which can sometimes cause some slight discomfort.

After your braces have been removed, a high-speed dental hand piece will be used to remove excess glue residue from your teeth. Your teeth may be a bit sensitive while they adjust to being without braces.

Your orthodontist will then discuss a further treatment plan with you. Even though your braces have been removed, you’ll still need to take good care of your teeth. You might also be asked to wear temporary or permanent retainers to continue straightening your teeth.

If you think you or your children may benefit from braces, contact Orthodontic Associates today by calling 810-985-9567 to schedule an appointment.

What You Can Do About Coffee-Stained Teeth

Americans love their coffee to give them that extra boost they need to make it through the day. However, one of the problems with drinking too much coffee is that it can actually stain your teeth. At one point in time your only options were to accept those coffee-stained teeth or give up drinking the beverage altogether. Now, thanks to tooth whitening, you can have your coffee and drink it too.

While it’s still recommended that you consider cutting back on the amount of coffee you drink, you can still keep your teeth white. Professional tooth whitening treatments are available from your dentist, and there are also some over-the-counter products you can use at home.

As we age, our teeth naturally get a bit yellow and discolored, but the acid in coffee only amplifies the process. Coffee can stain your teeth and affect tooth enamel. If you’ve had your teeth whitened only to find that it didn’t last very long, it may be because you returned to drinking coffee too soon after the procedure.

The American Dental Association states that you should avoid coffee and other stain-causing beverages for several days after you use a tooth whitening product or have your teeth professionally whitened. This includes tooth whitening products like whitening toothpastes or bleaching whiteners. If you want to use these products, check with your dentist or orthodontist first.

If you find yourself unable to give up coffee like many Americans, your best bet is to have your teeth whitened on a fairly regular basis. A good oral hygiene routine can go a long way towards healthy and attractive teeth. Contact Orthodontic Associates today to learn more about how an orthodontic appliance can help improve your smile. Call 810-985-9567 today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces

If you’re considering getting braces, you might be wondering how the process of brushing your teeth differs from how you’re currently doing it. Your braces will help to straighten your teeth to give you a confident smile, but you’ll still want your teeth to look their best in the meantime.

While you wear braces, plaque and food particles have extra places to gather and become trapped. You’ll want to consider using an electric toothbrush with a larger, rotating brush head to make sure you can get to those hard to reach areas around your braces.

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll be spending about three times the amount of time on your oral care routine than you did before you had braces. With that being said, it still doesn’t take much time out of your day and is certainly a good use of your time.

If you skip out on this all-important routine, you’ll be increasing your risk of gum disease which you surely won’t want to do. Just imagine how great your teeth will look once your braces are removed if you take care of them each and every day.

How to Brush with Braces

  • Step 1: Remove the bands, elastics, and removable parts of your orthodontic appliance.
  • Step 2: Clean carefully around the wires and pins.
  • Step 3: Brush each wire, moving from top to bottom and all the way around both your upper and lower teeth.
  • Step 4: Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Brush each quadrant of your mouth for 30 seconds and clean all areas of each tooth.
  • Step 5: Rinse your mouth thoroughly and then examine your teeth in the mirror to be sure you removed all food particles.

Orthodontic Associates can help get your teeth straightened with several types of braces for adult and adolescents. Give us a call today at 810-985-9567 to schedule an appointment.

Ideas for Packing School Lunches for Kids with Braces

If you have a kid with braces, packing their school lunches can be a bit challenging. Children with braces need to be careful with what they eat. Many parents want to make sure their kids are eating a well-balanced diet but thinking of foods that damage braces or cause pain can be difficult. Certain foods can loosen brackets or cause wire damage to braces. The following are some foods and types of foods that should be avoided for children with braces:

  • Crispy fruits and vegetables (apples, carrots, etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Hard candy
  • Chips or pretzels
  • Sticky foods (gum, caramel, etc.)
  • Pizza crust or taco shells
  • Foods high in acidity (lemons, sodas, etc.)

Unfortunately, it can be a bit difficult for your kid to keep track of what they can or can’t eat, and school lunch menus aren’t designed with braces in mind. Here are some main course ideas for back to school packed lunches for children who wear braces.

  • Cold pasta salad with very small tomatoes and peeled cucumbers
  • Tuna salad
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Chili
  • Miso soup with tofu and veggies
  • Spaghetti with sauce and pureed vegetables
  • Egg salad sandwich
  • Baked potato with cheese and broccoli

If you can come up with two additional ideas based on your child’s preferences, you’ll have two weeks’ worth of school lunch ideas. From there you can slightly modify each idea every week to change them up so they doesn’t have to eat the same meals all the time.

Try helping your children understand the reasons why they should not be eating certain types of food. For all of your braces needs, Orthodontic Associates has you covered. Contact us today at 810-985-9567.

Five Items You Need to Have in Your Child's School Survival Kit for Braces

If your child has recently started wearing braces, you’ll want to make sure they have some type of braces survival kit for going back to school. Braces are a great way to straighten teeth and improve a smile, but they do require a certain amount of care and diligence.

Be sure to ask your child’s orthodontist which items your kid should have with them at all times, whether at school or at home. The following items are commonplace in a braces survival kit and came come in quite handy and even help out in a sticky situation.

  • Orthopick Flossers – No matter which brand you prefer, look for orthopicks made for braces. These are easy to use and quickly slide between teeth and brace wires.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste – You can pack a travel toothbrush or disposable toothbrush which can be used on the go. Pair with a small, travel size tube of toothpaste.
  • Orthodontic Wax – This is necessary for braces if they break or are protruding. The wax can cover up sharp edges and help stabilize loose pieces of the bracket or wiring.
  • Compact Mirror – This can be used at a locker if your kids don’t want to or have time to check out their braces in the restroom.
  • Retainer Case – If your child needs to take their retainer out to eat or clean their teeth, they won’t want to just set it down anywhere.

Others Items You May Want to Include:

  • Orthodontic Rubber Bands
  • Water Jet
  • Floss Threader
  • Tissues
  • Travel Size Mouthwash

Of course, the items your child will need in their braces survival kit depends on the type of braces they wear and their orthodontist’s instructions. Orthodontic Associates is your local Port Huron braces specialist. Give us a call at 810-985-9567 to schedule an appointment.

What Age Should My Child Get Braces?

If you have kids, there’s a good chance that at least one of them will end up needing braces. Braces have been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. They can straighten your child’s teeth and fix several dental issues including

  • Crooked teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Malocclusion (a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws)

Your kid’s dentist will likely be the first one to notice any problems and will send them to an orthodontist who can determine if they need braces. It’s a good idea to take your children in for an orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven years old.

Treatment with braces can begin once a child has lost most of their baby teeth and most of their permanent adult teeth have grown in. This means the ideal time for a child to get braces is between eight and 14 years old. Some kids can start wearing braces at the age of six, so check with your dentist because each individual case is different.

To schedule an appointment to find out if your child needs braces, call Orthodontic Associates of Port Huron today at 810-985-9567.

Studies Show Gum Disease Increases Cancer Risk

If you weren’t already taking your oral health seriously, there is a new reason to do so. Gum disease has been linked to several types of cancers and can increase your cancer risk by 14%. Two separate studies were held and found that both men and women can decrease their risk for developing cancer by taking good care of their gums.

The women’s study found that bacteria from gum disease can spread into the blood and trigger tumor growth. That can lead to several forms of cancer including breast, lung, skin, gallbladder, and throat. Esophageal (throat) cancer was found to be most closely related to gum disease.

The study showed the importance of keeping your mouth healthy, especially for older women. Gum disease is quite common among seniors, with 70% of people 65 and up being affected by it according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The men’s study also found that those who had a history of periodontal disease had a 14% overall higher risk for cancer. That included a 54% increased risk of pancreatic cancer, 49% higher risk of kidney cancer, and 36% and 30% higher rates for lung cancer and white blood cell cancers respectively. Smoking was also a contributing factor, and those men who did not smoke had lower rates of cancer and periodontal disease.

There are several things you can do to help ensure your gums stay healthy including:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day
  • Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks
  • Quitting smoking
  • Visiting your dentist regularly

Schedule an appointment with Orthodontic Associates to find out if you are at risk for gum disease and come up with a plan to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Give us a call at 810-985-9567 today.

Orthodontic Treatments at Any Age: Part 2

Part II: Seniors

As we previously explained in part one of this series, the field of orthodontics has primarily been popular among children and teenagers. Parents are concerned with the health and aesthetics of their children’s teeth, and for good reason. Many parents will fix their children’s teeth, but neglect to take care of their own because they aren’t able to afford both.

Orthodontic Treatments for Seniors

Because adults sometimes neglect their own teeth, they may still need treatment later in life. Raising kids is expensive and many parents don’t have the money to take care of things they need for themselves. Older adults may also have more comprehensive insurance, which makes it less stressful to visit the orthodontist.

Self-confidence is important even later in life, especially when you may find yourself moving in with family or into a retirement community. You’ll likely want to look and feel your best during your golden years, and your orthodontist can get you that smile you’ve always wanted. Advances in technology have led to barely noticeable, clear braces such as Invisalign. Dental implants are also becoming popular among older Americans.

There are some differences between the types of treatments children and seniors may receive. Adults who have been treated for gum disease may need to have their treatment plans adjusted. Adults are typically better at following instructions than kids are, which can make the treatment process easier and faster.

Older adults should at least visit their orthodontist for a consultation to see if they can benefit from any treatment options. Your specific needs will be discussed and your orthodontist will come up with a treatment plan to help you enjoy a beautiful smile.

Orthodontic Treatments at Any Age: Part 1

Part I: Children

Traditionally the field of orthodontics has been associated with children and teenagers. Many older adults do visit the dentist when they experience tooth pain and other dental issues. Braces are commonly worn by kids to correct problems early in life which is why teens and children are more likely to be associated with getting orthodontic treatments. In this two-part series, we will look at the benefits of orthodontic treatments for school age children as well as those for seniors.

Orthodontic Treatments for Children

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children make their first visit to the orthodontist by the age of seven. That means that by the time your kids are in first or second grade they should at least have a consultation with an orthodontist to look for possible dental issues.

Many oral problems that can be solved by braces start early in life, which is why it’s important that your children see the orthodontist by the recommended age. It won’t take long for a professional to diagnose any potential issues and get a head start on them.

Common Orthodontic Problems in Children

  • Jaw Size – Your orthodontist will make sure your child’s jaws are growing properly. The upper and lower jaw don’t grow at the same rate. The upper jaw stops growing about the age of eight while the lower one keeps growing with the rest of the body.
  • Room for Growth – Some kids will have their baby teeth get in the way and prevent their permanent teeth from growing in. Most baby teeth will fall out on their own, but some of them will need to be pulled to ensure that the permanent teeth don’t start growing in the wrong directions.
  • Amount of Teeth – If your child has too many teeth, the extras may need to be removed. If they are short a tooth or two, your orthodontist will likely wait until the permanent teeth have grown in before starting treatment.
  • Snoring – Children who snore may suffer from sleep apnea. This condition has to do with stopping breathing during sleep and can be diagnosed as early as four or five. Your orthodontist can widen a child’s palate to expand their upper jaw and nasal passages which help with breathing during sleep.
See part two of our Orthodontic Treatments at Any Age series where we discuss how orthodontic treatments are becoming more popular for seniors.
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