When Should You Consider Braces?

Have you ever thought about getting braces, but are unsure if you needed them? We will take a look at some of the reasons why teens and adults consider getting braces.

Braces Fix Crooked, Overlapping, and Crowded Teeth

In an ideal world, your teeth would grow and develop in your mouth in a straight, slightly arched line. All the teeth would be neatly placed next to each other and not overlap, slant to the side, or push against each other. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Many people develop crooked, overlapping, or crowded teeth. This can be caused by a number of things ranging from improper jaw development or growth and losing baby teeth too early to injury to the surrounding teeth or improper dental care. Dental braces are designed to slowly shift misaligned teeth and place them into proper positions within the mouth.

Correction of Malocclusion or a “Bad Bite”

Malocclusion occurs when there is a considerable difference between the upper and lower jaw. The difference could be that the upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw which creates an overlap. When this happens it is called an overbite. If the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw, it creates a protrusion of the lower jaw. This is called an underbite.

Braces can be used to help shift your jaw back into proper alignment. With the help of springs, coils, and rubber bands, the braces will slowly and subtly shift your jawline back into its proper place. This does not happen overnight and can take anywhere from six month to several years.

Are Braces Always Used to Fix Dental Problems?

Most of the time people get braces to correct dental problems, such as overcrowding or overlapping, which can cause tooth decay due to the difficulty people have keeping the teeth clean. Also, there are cases where people have spaces, and braces can help close those spaces where food gets trapped.

Sometimes people believe that braces aren’t always used to correct dental problems. They believe braces are used for cosmetic purposes. However, this belief is incorrect. The primary purpose of Orthodontics is always the correction of dental malocclusions and the added benefit to this purpose (secondary result) is a nice cosmetically appealing smile in most cases. Occasionally, even after braces, teeth that are stained or too small need extra help from the general dentist to look better.

However, braces aren’t always used to correct dental problems. They can be used for cosmetic purposes as well.

Some individuals may not experience overcrowding, crooked teeth, or overlapping, but they still are not happy with their smile. Dental braces can help these individuals achieve the smile they have always wanted by slowly and subtly shifting teeth to make them look a certain way.

When Should You Start Considering Getting Braces

It is recommended that children should start considering braces around the age of seven years old. While most orthodontists won’t place braces on teeth at this age, they will conduct an oral examination that could help determine if braces will be needed in the future.

The ideal time to have braces placed is when you really need them, it can vary between the ages of 6 all the way to 14. This is an ideal time because your teeth, head, and jaw are still growing. Since they are still growing, it makes it easier for the braces to shift and move your teeth and jaw into proper alignment.

If you didn’t have braces when you were 14 that doesn’t mean you can’t have braces. Braces can be placed on your teeth at any time regardless of your age. However, the older you are, the longer you may have to wear braces as your growing has been completed and shifting the jawline and teeth may take longer.

What Options are Available for People Who are Considering Braces?

Once you have decided you will get braces, you will have to choose which braces you will want to get. Dr. Natalia Valderrama can provide recommendations for which type of braces will help you get the results you want.

Some options you may have for braces include:

  • Metal or clear brackets – this is where tiny little brackets are bonded onto the front of your teeth. The brackets are connected with a wire and adjusted every so often to help encourage your teeth to move.
  • Lingual braces – Similar to metal or plastic brackets, but instead of the brackets being placed on the front of the teeth, they are placed on the back of the teeth
  • Invisalign – A series of customized clear plastic trays that are worn for a period of time. The trays are designed to encourage your teeth to shift into proper place.

If you are considering getting braces, make an appointment with Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne, Florida. We will gladly help you determine if braces are necessary and help you explore your options.

Tips for Retainer Care

Your retainer is an essential component of teeth straightening and overall improvement of your smile. While taking care of your retainer may seem pretty straightforward, there are some important retainer care tips that you may be unaware of. You can make certain that your retainers lasts as long as possible by taking the best possible care of it. With the following retainer care tips, you can help achieve a beautiful and healthy smile for the rest of your life.

Always Remove Your Retainer Prior to Eating

It’s very important to remove your retainer prior to eating. If you wear a retainer while eating, it becomes all too easy for food particles to get trapped and for bacteria to take hold in the gums and around the teeth. By simply removing the retainer while you eat, you can keep both the retainer and your teeth clean. It’s also much easier to chew properly when you’re not wearing a retainer.

If you don’t have time to perform a full retainer cleaning before you re-insert it after eating, that’s okay. Just take a moment to rinse the retainer under lukewarm or cool water before placing it back in your mouth, and don’t forget to do a daily cleaning later.

It’s usually just fine to drink with your retainer in, but beware of very hot or very cold beverages as they can damage the plastic part of the retainer. If you need to drink ultra hot tea or frozen drinks, remove your retainer beforehand to be on the safe side.

Store the Retainer Properly Each Time You Remove It

It’s important that you store the retainer properly each and every time that you remove it from your mouth. Sometimes it may be tempting to simply place the retainer in a napkin or on a tissue — but this makes it far too easy for the retainer to be accidentally tossed into the trash. Use your retainer case all the time and you’ll keep the retainer protected from accidental disposal and keep it clean at the same time.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Just as it’s essential that you clean your teeth properly each day, your retainer needs to be carefully cleaned as well. Your retainer is constantly in direct contact with your teeth and the soft tissues in your mouth, which means that a dirty retainer can quickly spread bacteria around your mouth. Always remove your retainer first and then clean your teeth and retainer separately.

There are two main ways to clean a retainer properly: brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste or soaking in a baking soda solution. Denture cleaning tablets can also be added to a glass of water for cleaning retainers if desired. Never use very hot or boiling water when cleaning your retainer, as it can damage the plastic and change the shape of the retainer as a whole. There are also cleaning products made especially for retainers.

Don’t Leave Retainers Outside

When you remove your retainer and place it in its case, keep it with you. If you leave your retainer in your car — especially during the middle of the summer or winter — it may be virtually destroyed by the time you try to use it again. Freezing weather can crack the plastic part of the retainer, while hot and humid weather can easily melt and warp the plastic.

Need a Retainer or Help With Your Current Retainer?

Valderrama Orthodontics is a well established orthodontic practice serving patients in the Melbourne, Florida area. They offer pediatric, teen, and adult orthodontics. Their services include retainers, early treatment, traditional braces, clear braces, lingual braces, clear aligners, and sports mouth guards.

Valderrama Orthodontics is very much dedicated to making all patients feel like they are a part of the Valderrama family. They even offer a unique After School Program in which a member of the team will actually pick your child up from school to bring them in for their orthodontic care. You can then meet your child at the office before, during, or after their appointment.

Call Valderrama Orthodontics anytime to discuss retainers or any other orthodontic issues.

The Right Way to Clean Your Braces

Maintaining good oral hygiene is extremely easy when you don’t have braces. You brush, floss, rinse with mouthwash and continue on with your day. Unfortunately, things get more difficult when braces are put on.

All the hardware that makes up your braces from the wires and brackets to the expanders, bands, elastics, springs and screws, present unique challenges that make cleaning difficult. Learning how to work around these challenges and properly clean your braces will help you protect your teeth.

Understanding Why Cleaning Braces can be so Difficult

Before you learn how to properly clean your braces, you must learn about why it is so difficult to clean your teeth when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Cleaning your braces is difficult because there are so many different surfaces where food can get stuck, plaque can build up, and acid can collect. When this happens it can cause germs and bacteria to grow and spread throughout the mouth. Bacteria and plaque growth can cause tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, and even damage the structure of your teeth.

Properly cleaning not only your teeth, but the hardware around your braces will help prevent any damage from occurring that may be caused by germs and bacteria.

How to Properly Use a Toothbrush When You Have Braces

Brushing your teeth when you have braces is different than brushing your teeth without braces. You will still use the same type of toothbrush, either a manual or electric toothbrush that has soft bristles and a compact head, but your brushing technique will be different.

To properly brush your teeth when you have braces, do the following things:

  • Remove any elastic bands you may have in your mouth before brushing
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle right along the gum line.
  • Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion across the teeth
  • Sweep the toothbrush over the biting surface of your teeth
  • Gently brush the tops, fronts, and bottoms of the brackets
  • Brush the wires

Learn Proper Flossing Techniques for Flossing with Braces

Flossing helps remove food that may have gotten stuck between your teeth or under the wires. When wearing braces it is important that you thoroughly floss your teeth at least once a day. This involves taking a silky gloss dental floss and threading it between the teeth and under the wires. This will help remove any food particles that may have become stuck between your teeth or around your braces.

Flossing while on the go can be difficult as it is time consuming. If you don’t have enough time to properly floss your teeth, you can choose to use interdental picks, proxybrushes, or soft picks to remove any food particles. These items are not as effective as traditional flossing, but they will help keep your teeth clean until you can get home and properly floss. Best of all, they are small enough that you can easily fit them in your pocket, wallet, or purse and take them while you are on the go.

Use an Oral Irrigation System to Clean Your Teeth

Even with proper brushing and flossing, food can still get stuck between your teeth and around your braces. An oral irrigation system can help remove any food, plaque, or bacteria that are left behind after brushing and flossing.

Oral irrigation systems take water and create a gentle stream. The stream has just enough force that it can flush out food, bacteria, and germs that accumulate around hard-to-reach places in your mouth.

Using an oral irrigation system can help improve your oral health when you are wearing brace. However, it should never be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. It is still important that you brush and floss several times a day whether you use an oral irrigation system or not.

Your Orthodontics Team is There to Help with Proper Cleaning of Your Braces

Your orthodontics team at Valderrama Orthodontics wants to make your experience wearing braces easier. Our team will take the time to walk you through the proper way to clean your braces and answer any questions you may have about the process. If you should ever run into a problem, you can call our office and we will gladly assist you.

Are you interested in getting braces for you or your child? Call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss orthodontic treatment.

Back to School with Braces

Heading back to school after summer break will certainly put butterflies in your stomach. The idea of meeting new teachers and learning a new schedule can seem daunting! And if you’ve gotten braces on your teeth over the summer, returning to school gets even more nerve wracking. Don’t panic though. We’re here to help with some tips for going back to school with braces.

Create a braces care kit

Some simple tools will help you take great care of your braces at school. Put a kit together and keep it in your backpack, purse or your locker. Just make sure it’s convenient so you can get to it when you notice food is stuck in your braces. Not only can that be embarrassing, but leaving food stuck in your braces is unhealthy for your mouth and can lead to decay.

Your braces care kit should include:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Lip balm
  • Wax for your braces

After lunch or a snack, take your kit to the bathroom and clean your teeth and braces. You’ll avoid walking around with food stuck in your teeth while maintaining good oral hygiene. And if your lips get dry and chapped or your brackets start to irritate your gums or cheeks, you’ll have the right tools in place to alleviate symptoms.

Watch what you eat

Unfortunately, braces require you to avoid some foods and treats. Don’t eat hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy foods while you’re wearing orthodontics. Chewing gum, many types of candy, popcorn, pretzels, corn on the cob, beef jerky, ice and overly starchy foods like tortillas will be off limits during the course of your treatment.

At school, it can be tempting to indulge in some of these foods when you’re with friends who offer to share their own snacks. To avoid eating things you shouldn’t, pack your lunch and keep some safe snacks with you. Foods that are OK to eat include:

  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Raw carrots, apples and celery, cut into small pieces
  • Hull-less popcorn
  • Melon
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Bagels, if torn into small pieces
  • Puddings
  • Sandwich bread
  • Pancakes and muffins without nuts
  • Chicken
  • Meatballs
  • Lunch meat
  • Grapes
  • Cheese

If you do eat sandwiches at school, cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. When you bite into a sandwich, the bread, condiments, meat and cheese can become lodged in your front braces where it’s time consuming to remove. By packing a lunch everyday, you can prepare your foods ahead of time so you have more time to socialize during your lunch period.

Get a mouthguard

If you’re like most students, you participate in sports during school. Whether in PE or as part of an organized team, it’s important to wear a mouthguard while participating in athletics. Getting hit in the face with a ball or bat is not only painful, but it can be devastating to your braces. You can purchase a special mouthguard to protect your braces during these activities. Doing so could save you a lot of hassle and pain in the event of a sports-related accident.

Drinks lots of water

Sure, it’s important to stay hydrated to keep your entire body healthy. But drinking water throughout the day is also good for your teeth. The water will remove food particles from your teeth and braces. Drinking water will also help avoid the desire to drink sugary drinks like soda and juice. If you do decide to indulge in a carbonated beverage occasionally, be sure to use use a straw so you keep the liquid from touching your teeth to the extent possible.

Don’t be embarrassed!

These days, tons of school-aged kids undergo orthodontic treatment. Just look at your classmates’ smiles, and you’ll soon discover how many other kids are wearing braces, too. Don’t feel embarrassed to smile or laugh! Since today’s orthodontic appliances are much thinner and smaller, others will barely notice your braces. So feel free to laugh, smile and talk without restraint!

Do you have other questions about heading back to school with braces? Give us a call to learn more: (321) 432 – 2529.

Contact us today about making an appointment.


Everything You Didn’t Know About Lingual Braces

When it comes to straightening the teeth, there are many different orthodontic options. One of them is lingual braces. Still, many people are not familiar with this relatively new orthodontic appliance. Here is a bit of information to explain everything that you didn’t know about lingual braces:

Exactly what are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are braces that are positioned on the rear side of the teeth, next to the tongue. Since they are not applied to the front of the teeth, they are not readily displayed when you smile, speak or laugh.

Lingual braces are made of metal, just as traditional metal braces are. In addition, they work in a similar manner. They apply consistent but gentle pressure to coax the teeth into proper alignment.

What is the process for receiving lingual braces?

Once your orthodontist has assessed your teeth and confirmed that lingual braces will work for you, he or she prepares a mold or impression of your teeth. This impression is forwarded to a dental lab, where it is used as a guide to create the brackets of your braces. The process takes several weeks. Once the brackets are received back at the dental office, the orthodontist affixes the brackets to the back side of the teeth using dental cement.

How long does the treatment take with lingual braces?

Aligning the teeth with lingual braces usually takes between a year-and-a-half to three years. The time needed to reposition the teeth depends on how severe your misalignment and bite issues are.

Are lingual braces more expensive than traditional braces?

Lingual braces do cost a bit more than traditional braces due to their customized design. However, if you are an adult who is choosing to have your teeth straightened, the extra cost is probably more than worth the investment. Many adults prefer to have their teeth realigned discreetly.

How do you care for lingual braces?

Lingual braces, like other orthodontic appliances, require regular cleaning in order to discourage tooth decay and gum problems. Once your lingual braces are installed, be sure to do the following:

  • Brush twice daily. Even with your braces in place, you will still need to brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes or more. This will help ensure that plaque does not build up on your teeth or your orthodontic appliance.
  • Floss at least once a day. It is also important not to neglect to floss after receiving your braces. A floss threader is often a great option for people who wear braces to ensure that the dental floss can be navigated around the brackets. Even though you may be brushing meticulously, a toothbrush is unable to reach the areas between your teeth.
  • Use an oral irrigator. Oral irrigators or water flossers can help remove food particles and plaque that may become trapped in your brackets or between your teeth. The irrigator includes a wand that directs a concentrated stream of water at the desired area of your mouth to flush away debris.
  • Use a fluoride rinse. Using a fluoride rinse while wearing your braces can help ensure that your teeth remain strong. Fluoride can make your teeth more resistant to damages from bacterial acid. When your tooth enamel is exposed to fluoride, the substance attracts dissolved minerals back to the surface of your teeth to form a new, more acid-resistant tooth material.
  • Visit your dentist every six months. With lingual braces, you still need to receive routine dental cleanings at least every six months to ensure that tartar buildup is regularly removed during your alignment process.

Is there any discomfort associated with lingual braces?

Like other types of braces, your mouth will need to become acclimated to the lingual braces. Initially, there may be a bit of irritation to your tongue. However, wax can be used to cover the braces and make them less irritating as you become accustomed to them. Also, you will have to get used to speaking while wearing the braces.

With traditional braces, patients have to become acclimated to moving their lips over the bulk of the braces on the front of their teeth. With lingual braces, you must become acclimated to moving your tongue while having the brackets bordering the backside of the teeth. Acclimation doesn’t take long at all, but the sensation may feel foreign to your tongue at first.

To determine if lingual braces are right for you, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Benefits of Clear Braces

Teeth that are unevenly spaced or misaligned can negatively affect an individual’s smile as well as his or her overall bite pattern. If these issues are not addressed, undue wear and tear on overused natural teeth will affect his or her smile as well as the health of the overworked teeth.

Orthodontic Treatment Options

Unlike years gone by, when orthodontic treatment is necessary today, patients have a variety of treatment options. One of the most popular treatment options is clear braces (ceramic braces). Clear braces are the same size and shape of traditional metal braces. However, these braces consist of transparent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets that blend well with the patient’s teeth.

Ceramic braces can be used to treat the same issues that metal braces treat, including:

  • Crooked teeth
  • An overbite
  • An underbite
  • An open bite
  • Teeth that are widely spaced
  • Malocclusion
  • A crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • A horizontal overlap (overjet)

Whereas, traditional metal braces significantly affect your smile, clear braces offer transparency:

Therefore, directly after you begin treatment, your smile will remain, for the most part, the same. However, as treatment continues, your teeth will slowly move to their proper positions. Once treatment is complete, you will have the beautifully-aligned teeth you have always desired and, chances are, you will love your new smile!

The Benefits of Clear Braces

Clear Braces Provide Inconspicuous Treatment

Clear braces are perfect for individuals who want to straighten their teeth inconspicuously. The majority of our patients’ state that most people do not even notice they have braces.   

Tooth-Colored Wires

To camouflage their braces even more, some patients choose to have tooth-colored wires as well.

Easy to Replace Brackets

In the event that a bracket breaks or becomes stained, replacement brackets are readily available and can be applied quickly, and easily.


When compared to the clear aligners, ceramic braces are much more economical. Ceramic braces are slightly more expensive than their metal counterpart; however, for most people, the additional cost is well worth the overall benefits received. Furthermore, some patients choose to reduce the additional cost by placing clear braces on the visible front teeth and traditional metal braces on their back molars.

Financing for Clear Braces is Available

At Valderrama Orthodontics, we accept many insurance providers. For a list of these providers, please click here. If your provider is not on the list, please contact our office and we will do our best to assist you.

We also offer our patients a variety of financing options, including:

  • Care Credit
  • In-House Payment Plans
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo

Our After-School Program

Since Dr. Natalia Valderrama has three teenage children of her own, she knows just how busy life can be. For this reason, she has created a program that is designed to assist parents by ensuring their children are able to attend their monthly follow-up appointments.

When you choose to take advantage of our After-School Program, we will pick your child up from school and bring him or her to the office for their appointment. Once his or her check-up and adjustments are complete, your child will remain in our office until you arrive to take him or her home. During this time in our office, your child can work on homework and socialize with the other children participating in the After-School Program.

It is Never Too Late to Improve Your Smile

No matter your age, it is never too late to address teeth and jaw irregularities. Now, with clear braces, you can discreetly attain the smile you have always wanted. Teenagers are ideal candidates for ceramic braces as well.

Dr. Natalia Valderrama, DDS, PA and her staff are dedicated to providing patients with exceptional, compassionate care. As a previous dental brace wearer herself, Dr. Valderrama knows the joy that her patients experience when their braces are removed to reveal their newly revised smile: Beautiful smiles really can change lives!

If you think you or your child needs braces, contact Valderrama Orthodontics today at 321-544-4127 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation, or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form by clicking here.

Protecting Your Braces While Playing Sports

Spring sports are in full swing and summer sports will soon be here, and from softball, to spring football, to dancing, there are so many great options for kids and adults to get moving. If you’re an athlete who has braces or you have a child who wears braces and wants to play sports, it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of your smile while you’re out there having a great time, whether it’s on the baseball field, the football field, or a basketball court.

Can You Play Sports While Wearing Braces?

Even if you’re going through orthodontic treatment and wearing braces, it’s still possible to play sports and have a great time. The braces won’t get in your way while you play, and you can stay active and enjoy your favorite sport while your smile is being transformed. Of course, many sports present potential risk to the teeth, particularly if you’re wearing braces, so it’s essential to learn how to protect your smile when you’re out there having a great time.

Protecting Your Braces and Smile

There’s no need to give up a sport you love if you’re wearing braces, but to stay on course with your current treatment plan, you must protect your teeth and braces when you do play. An orthodontic mouthguard can be used to protect your smile. When you’re playing sports, jumping, running, kicking, and playing, there’s a chance that objects can hit the teeth and result in damage. If this occurs and you’re not wearing a proper mouthguard, you can end up with fractured teeth, bleeding gums, or broken brackets. Failing to wear the right mouthguard can also allow the wires and brackets from your braces to cut your lips and cheeks.

Is a Regular Mouthguard Okay?

A regular mouthguard isn’t the right choice for you if you have braces. Most regular mouthguards are fitted to your teeth, and since your teeth are continuously shifting when you have braces, a fitted, regular mouthguard isn’t going to fit properly for long. You also want to avoid wearing a mouthguard that is tight against the teeth. All it would take is a hit to the mouth and your mouthguard could shift and cause your brackets to pop off your teeth.

The Orthodontic Mouthguard

To protect teeth while wearing braces and playing sports, you need a special orthodontic mouthguard. These mouth guards have a special design to keep the lips from hitting the teeth and they protect brackets and help soften impacts if there’s any impact to your mouth. They are generally larger than regular mouthguards so there is plenty of room for both your teeth and your braces to fit comfortably. Even though an orthodontic mouthguard is a bit larger, they’re still designed to fit comfortably so you’re comfortable and protected while enjoying your favorite sport.

Normal mouth guards are made from hard plastic, and if your mouth were to be hit while playing a sport, it could result in serious damage to your teeth and braces. This could result in additional treatment time and the need for more office visits. Orthodontic options are made from softer silicone to offer cushioning to the teeth and braces to prevent damage. Since they are softer and a bit larger, an orthodontic mouthguard will continue to fit your mouth, even as your teeth shift with your orthodontic treatment.

Taking Care of Your Orthodontic Mouthguard

Once you have an orthodontic mouthguard, it’s important to take care of it properly. Bacteria can colonize in used mouth guards, so every time you take your mouthguard out after playing sports, make sure you clean it. Use a soft toothbrush and a good toothpaste to clean the mouthguard gently, or an anti-microbial solution can be used to rinse your mouthguard to kill bacteria. Make sure you keep the mouthguard in a case when you’re not using it, and don’t leave it sitting in the sun when you remove it.

Even if you do wear your orthodontic mouthguard, injuries can still happen. If you do sustain an injury to the facial area, give our office a call. We’ll examine your teeth and braces to make sure there are no serious issues and deal with any injuries that have occurred. Remember, the best way to prevent injuries is to make sure you’re wearing your orthodontic mouthguard. If you don’t have one, schedule an appointment today to have one fitted to your mouth so you can enjoy your favorite sports safely.






Avoiding Discoloration After Braces are Removed

After months of wearing braces, it’s so exciting to finally get them taken off. You’ve gone through multiple dental appointments, adjustments, and more to enjoy seeing a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, some people end up with tooth discoloration after their braces are removed, which can be frustrating after putting all that time into improving your smile. The good news is that you can take measures to prevent discoloration so you end up with the gorgeous, healthy smile that you want.

What Causes Discoloration When Wearing Braces?

Why do teeth sometimes become stained and discolored when you’re wearing braces? This can happen for many different reasons. Some people don’t deal with discoloration at all. Since traditional braces come with wires and brackets, they have the ability to easily trap food. This can result in bacteria buildup, causing the formation of plaque. The braces don’t actually cause the stains, but it’s the plaque that forms in areas you can’t easily reach while wearing braces that can result in discoloration.

When you’re wearing braces, it’s often tough to remove all the plaque from teeth. This plaque makes acids that can leach away the minerals from tooth enamel. The demineralization of tooth enamel changes the way light is reflected from the surface of your teeth. This results in the formation of white spots in those areas where you’ve been unable to remove plaque. Unfortunately, when plaque builds up on your teeth, you’re also at a greater risk for gum disease and tooth decay while you’re wearing braces.

Tips for Preventing Staining and Discoloration

It’s always important to practice good oral hygiene, but it’s even more important when wearing braces and it’s often a lot more difficult while wearing braces, too. You and your orthodontist can work together to take measures to prevent staining and discoloration so you’re happy with your smile when the braces come off. Here’s a look at some helpful tips to use while wearing braces to avoid problems with discoloration.

  • Tip #1 – Brush and Floss After Each Meal – Usually you’re urged to brush twice a day, but it’s a good idea to brush and floss after each meal when you’re wearing braces. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent the buildup of plaque between brackets and your teeth, which is where plaque often begins to form. Each time you brush, make sure you’re brushing for a minimum of two minutes to eliminate all the plaque. Just make sure you wait about 30 minutes after meals before brushing to avoid damaging tooth enamel.
  • Tip #2 – Eliminate Some Drinks and Foods from Your Diet – It’s a good idea to eliminate some drinks and foods from your diet, such as those high in starches or sugars. Stay away from high acid and high sugar sodas and fruit drinks as well, since they can feed bacteria and damage teeth, particularly while you’re wearing braces.
  • Tip #3 – Don’t Skip Regular Dental Cleanings – Don’t skip regular dental cleanings while you’re wearing braces. In fact, your orthodontists may want you to have cleanings every three months instead of every six months while you have braces on your teeth.
  • Tip #4 – Extra Fluoride May Help – An in-office fluoride varnish may be used to help protect your teeth and prevent discoloration. It can be used before braces are applied and then reapplied as you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. A fluoride rinse may also be used after you brush your teeth to help keep your teeth strong and healthy.
  • Tip #5 – Ask Your Orthodontist About Sealants – Some orthodontists use special fluoride containing sealants to cover your enamel before applying braces. This can help prevent white spots and discoloration.
  • Tip #6 – Consider Using Special Tools – Special tools like an electric toothbrush and a water flosser can help you get teeth cleaner while you’re wearing braces. Certain companies make special toothbrush heads specifically designed for people who wear braces to improve your ability to remove plaque. Water flossers also help remove debris and plaque below your gumline and between your teeth in areas where it’s tough to reach with traditional flossing and brushing.

Preventing discoloration is the best way to make sure you love your smile when your braces come off. However, if you do have a bit of discoloration, your dentist can help. You’ll need to wait at least six months after braces come off to have whitening treatments, but after this time you can discuss in-office whitening with your dentist to decide if it’s a good option for you.






Feel Confident With Clear Braces

If you are planning to get braces, clear braces may be your best option. Not only do they straighten the teeth as effectively as their all-metal counterparts, but they are much more discreet. In fact, when you wear clear braces, people may not even realize that you are wearing braces at all.

What are clear braces?

Clear braces are braces that have ceramic brackets. The brackets of traditional braces are made of metal.

The ceramic used for clear braces can be white or translucent. As a result, clear braces are difficult to discern from your natural tooth material. This means that you can have your dental alignment corrected without feeling self-conscious.

If you are uncomfortable with the thought of metal brackets covering your teeth, you are not alone.  Many people just don’t feel as confident when their appearance is dramatically altered. You may not be comfortable smiling, laughing or even talking while wearing traditional metal braces. This lack of confidence can impair your ability to act naturally in social situations. For adults who regularly interact in business settings or for teens who may already feel awkward due to the developmental changes they are undergoing, this can be particularly problematic.

Like the brackets of metal braces, the brackets of clear braces can still be connected to an archwire using elastic bands. The archwire is adjusted periodically to apply consistent alignment pressure to properly position your teeth. To ensure that the archwire is not noticeable, a frosted or white wire can be used. In addition, the elastic bands that are selected can be translucent or white.

Can clear braces correct the same alignment issues as traditional metal braces?

In the past, ceramic brackets were not as strong as they are nowadays. As a result, less alignment pressure was used with ceramic braces to avoid damaging the brackets. Nowadays, clear braces are much stronger and often offer the same alignment force as conventional metal braces. Thus, you can be confident that the ceramic brackets will not delay or negatively modify your results. Even bite problems can be corrected effectively.

What happens if a ceramic bracket is broken?

Ceramic brackets are quite strong but are still more brittle than metal brackets. If a ceramic bracket breaks or becomes damaged, there is no need to fret. It can be quickly and easily replaced.

Why are clear braces sometimes selected instead of plastic aligners?

Although plastic aligners, such as those used for Invisalign, offer great discretion during your treatment process, they are often unable to correct severe alignment and bite problems. Clear braces can handle difficult alignment issues without significantly altering your appearance during treatment. In addition, clear braces can be used by people of all ages, but clear plastic aligners are usually only prescribed for teens and adults. In order to be effective, most aligners can only be used for a patient whose palate has already finished growing. As a result, kids and young teens may not be suitable candidates.

Clear braces are also a better option for people who may fail to wear their plastic aligners consistently. To provide adequate aligning force, plastic aligners cannot be left out of the mouth for more than a couple of hours per day. Clear braces are put in place by your orthodontist and remain in position until he or she removes them.

Can clear and metal braces be paired during the same treatment?

Clear braces are certainly not the most costly orthodontic option, but they are a bit more expensive than their metal counterparts. To lower the cost of your treatment, your orthodontist may place clear brackets on the teeth that are easily seen when you talk or smile and use metal brackets for the remainder of your teeth. With this option, you pay a bit less than you would for a complete set of ceramic brackets but still enjoy the aesthetic advantages of clear braces.

There are multiple alignment applications available for people who require orthodontic correction. However, many of these options are easily seen when applied to the teeth. Clear braces combine the advantages of discretion and effective alignment. If your teeth are misaligned, clear braces may offer you a way to feel more confident as you have your teeth properly positioned.

To learn more about clear braces and determine whether or not they are right for you, contact our office for a consultation.


Best Oral Hygiene Practices

Most people prefer to keep their natural teeth throughout their entire lifetime. However, teeth that are not cared for properly may eventually become so decayed that they require extraction. In addition, poor hygienic practices may result in advanced stages of gum disease that can cause teeth to become loose within their sockets. Nevertheless, there are things that you can do to help ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy. Here are some of the best dental hygiene practices that you can perform to maintain your oral health:

Brush regularly.

Although you may have heard it a hundred times from your dentist, brushing regularly is important. Your toothbrush is specially designed to sweep plaque from the surfaces in your oral cavity. Since plaque is continually developing in your mouth, it must be removed regularly to prevent it from damaging your teeth.

Plaque is made up of particles of food that are mixed with oral bacteria. The biofilm that is created by the bacteria makes the plaque so sticky that it remains attached to your teeth and gums until it is removed.

Plaque can be particularly harmful to the teeth because the bacteria in it release acid that causes tooth decay. Since the plaque is in direct contact with your tooth enamel, the acid is not diluted. Over time, the acid dissolves the minerals in your tooth enamel and causes cavities to form. It also irritates your gums, resulting in inflammation that can progress to gum disease.

Plaque can be quickly removed using a soft-bristled toothbrush, but it is important to brush long enough to clear away the material. You should brush twice a day for at least two minutes, being sure to clean all of the exposed surfaces that your toothbrush can reach.

Floss daily.

Flossing helps ensure that areas of your teeth that your toothbrush is unable to reach can still be cleaned. You can choose from waxed or unwaxed string floss.  There are even different flavors available, such as mint or cinnamon flavors, for a refreshing boost during your flossing sessions.

Although string floss is inexpensive, effective and the best way to clean between your teeth, water flossing is also an option for effective plaque removal. Oral irrigators use a concentrated stream of water to flush away plaque and debris from between the teeth and along the gumline.

If you choose water flossing, some irrigators have options that allow you to vary the intensity and pulsation of the water stream. Thus, you can give your gums a great massage as you clear away plaque.

Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.

Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can have a detrimental effect on your teeth and gums. Irritants within the tobacco can cause gum irritation and make it easier for oral infections to develop. In addition, people who use tobacco are at an increased risk for oral cancer.

Tobacco usage is also associated with a greater number of complications during dental procedures, such as dental implant restoration failures. Smoking delays wound healing by irritating tissues, reducing blood oxygen levels and impairing circulation.

If you are used to using tobacco and are having trouble finding something else to do with your mouth, consider chewing gum to replace. Chewing a stick of sugarless gum can help clean your teeth and gums as it keeps your mouth busy. Varieties that are sweetened with xylitol can even help get rid of damaging bacteria in your mouth.

Limit soda consumption.

Due to their acidity and sugar content, sodas can cause multiple oral health problems. Simple sugar is a favorite food of the microbes in your mouth. Also, the acid in the soda corrodes your teeth like bacterial acid. Even if you’ve decided to only consume diet sodas, you are still placing your teeth in jeopardy due to the high levels of acid in the drinks.

Instead of sodas, it is best to drink water. The water dilutes acid instead of adding to it. In addition, drinking water is often fluoridated. The fluoride in the water helps remineralize your teeth and make it less susceptible to damage from oral acids.

Visit your dentist.

Even if you are following a great oral hygiene regimen at home, there are some things that only your dentist can do. For instance, your dentist scrapes away tartar, which cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss. Special dental tools are required.

Your dentist can also help recognize problems early enough to provide treatments that help you avoid tooth loss. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist at least once every six months.