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What are the different types of retainers you may receive?

December 1st, 2016

There are 3 main types of retainers:

1) Essix (clear) Retainers – Essix retainers are clear, removable retainers that fit over the entire arch of your teeth (upper and lower). They look very similar to Invisalign’s clear aligner, but serve a different purpose since they are retaining your teeth as opposed to Invisalign aligners that actually move your teeth. Essix retainers tend to be the most popular type of retainer after comprehensive treatment because patients are more likely to wear them due to their clear appearance.

2) Hawley Retainers – Hawley retainers are also removable and are made of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior (front) teeth and acrylic that fits on the inside of the teeth. Hawley retainers help maintain the positioning of your teeth like Essix retainers, but also allow for some small adjustments to your bite that may be needed after the completion of orthodontic treatment. They also allow for baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to replace them during the retention phase. As a result, Hawley retainers are usually used after phase I orthodontic treatment is completed.

3) Bonded Retainers – Bonded lingual retainers, sometimes known as “permanent retainers” or “fixed retainers”, are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower front teeth. The advantage of this retainer is that patient compliance is not an issue since patients do not have to worry about wearing and removing their retainers. However, a big disadvantage is that these retainers are considered a “plaque trap” since food tends to get stuck around them after eating. Therefore, it is imperative to keep them very clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth, as well as the wire itself. Don’t forget to continue to floss normally but be gentle around the fixed retainer to prevent the glue from breaking. Fixed retainers are an option for some patients but not everybody. If interested, speak with the doctor and he will let you know if this is an option for you.

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

November 17th, 2016

The AAO, or the American Association of Orthodontists, recommends that a child’s initial orthodontic evaluation should occur no later than age 7 and/or if there are noticeable orthodontic issues particularly pertaining to the bite or jaw. Usually by age 7, several permanent teeth have erupted which allows for a proper orthodontic evaluation. Majority of children do not need treatment at this age and will simply be placed under an annual observation program until they are ready for braces when most of the adult teeth are in (typically age 11-12). However, there are some conditions that require earlier treatment known as phase I orthodontic treatment. Without phase I, the child may need to have teeth extracted and/or need to undergo jaw surgery at a later age. This can easily be avoided by undergoing phase I orthodontic treatment if it’s required. Take advantage of our FREE consultations and get your kid(s) scheduled for an appointment to determine if they require any orthodontic treatment.

How often should I brush & floss my teeth while in braces?

November 3rd, 2016

Patients should thoroughly brush their teeth AT LEAST three times a day (after every meal) and floss AT LEAST once a day before bed. Brushing, flossing, and maintaining regular cleanings with your dentist, are important in order to maintain good oral hygiene over the course of having your braces. This helps prevent cavities and gum infections (gingivitis, periodontitits, etc.) from developing. Some dentists will recommend getting cleanings more frequently than every 6 months while in braces. Be sure to follow the recommendations suggested by your dentist’s office. If you need help flossing and/or brushing with braces, please don’t hesitate to ask one of the assistants for a demonstration! We are more than happy to go over it with you again!

Can I play sports with braces?

October 20th, 2016

Yes! Of course you can, but you MUST wear a mouthguard for any and all contact sports. Even if you do not have braces, you should still be wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports as a safety measure. Remember…we are not sharks and only get one set of adult teeth! If you play sports and need a mouthguard, you can purchase one at most sporting goods stores. With braces, make sure to purchase one that reads “Orthodontic” or “For Braces” on the packaging. We also sell some at the office so feel free to ask the front desk for more information—they’d be happy to assist you!

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