Invisalign vs. Clear Braces for Your Teen

invisalign or clear braces

Teenagers often want to correct their smile but they don’t want to walk around with a mouth full of metal, rubber bands, and noticeable brackets. That is why there are the orthodontic treatment options of Invisalign and clear braces.

Invisalign and clear braces are two different types of orthodontic treatment that are designed to improve your teen’s smile by shifting and moving the teeth into their proper place. While both orthodontic options can improve your teen’s smile, one option may be better for your teen. Learn about the differences between Invisalign and clear braces.

Understanding More About Invisalign and Clear Braces  

Before you can learn about the differences between clear braces and Invisalign, you need to know more about what is involved with each orthodontic treatment option.

Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic trays to move and shift your teeth into proper position. Each of the trays is designed slightly different from each other. When you wear them, they force your teeth to slowly shift into the new position. Once the teeth are in their new position, you take out the aligner tray and replace it with the new one. This is done until your teeth reach their final position.

Clear braces, on the other hand, are very similar to traditional braces. When you get clear braces you will have the brackets, rubber bands, and archwire. However, instead of having those bright, noticeable wires and brackets everything is tooth colored. This gives the appearance that you aren’t wearing braces.

Which is More Invisible?

While both Invisalign and clear braces promise to allow you to change your smile without anyone noticing, one is more noticeable than the other. Since clear braces uses wires and brackets, people will be able to see them up close. Invisalign, on the other hand, is almost completely clear. In fact, people hardly notice you are wearing the clear plastic aligners even when they are up close to you.

Which Option Treats Moderate to Severe Orthodontic Cases?

Invisalign is great for correcting overcrowded teeth or gaps. However, it isn’t always successful at treating severe orthodontic problems. If you have severe orthodontic problems, such as extremely crooked or misaligned teeth and crossbites, you may not be a good candidate for Invisalign and will need to get clear braces.

Want Bright, White Shiny Teeth? Choose Invisalign

Staining is a huge issue with clear braces. If you smoke, like to drink dark colored beverages like tea and soda, or eat acidic or brightly colored food, you may develop noticeable stains. The stains won’t be noticeable while you have braces, but once they are moved you may notice them.

People who want bright, white teeth immediately after straightening their teeth may want to consider Invisalign. Staining doesn’t occur as often with the clear plastic trays because you are able to properly brush and floss.

Which Option is Less Painful?

Your teen will experience slight pain, pressure, and discomfort with both Invisalign and clear braces. The pain occurs because the teeth are shifting and moving to their new position which can be uncomfortable.

If your teen is looking for the least painful option of the two treatment options, they will probably want to choose Invisalign. The clear plastic aligner trays don’t cause gum irritation like clear plastic braces. The brackets and wires of can sometimes rub against your teen’s cheek and gums which can cause pain and discomfort.

Which Treatment Options has Food Restrictions?

One of the most frustrating aspects of undergoing orthodontic treatment is having to give up some of your favorite foods. That also happens with Invisalign.

When you eat, you are encouraged to remove the clear Invisalign trays. Removing the clear plastic trays is extremely easy and allows you to eat your favorite foods but you can also break the bumps in your teeth so you have to be careful also.

If you have clear braces or clear aligners,  you will still need to follow the same food restrictions that come with traditional braces. You will have to avoid popcorn, nuts, crunchy and chewy foods, and other things.

Which Option is Right for Your Teen?

It depends on their personalities, does your teen loses their phone,  the keys to their car, or house? Do they have a clean room and organized closet? Do they have good oral hygiene? Do they follow instructions well? Does your teen want to improve their smile? Call Valderrama Orthodontics to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic consultation. Our experienced orthodontist will discuss treatment options with your teen and help them determine what option is the best.

 


What Your Rubber Bands are Doing

what rubber bands do

Rubber bands are an essential office and school supply that helps keep you organized, but that all changes when you undergo orthodontic treatment. Getting braces will change the way you look at rubber bands. Never again will rubber bands be thought of as only a school or office supply, they will be thought of as a valuable tool that helps you get that straight, perfect smile.

Orthodontic Rubber Bands are Different That Office Rubber Bands

While both have the same name and they look similar, they are actually two different things. In fact, you can’t take a rubber band from your desk and use it for your braces. That is not only unsanitary, but it probably isn’t the proper size.

Even though they are two different things, the use of the same name will change how you think of rubber bands. After your braces are removed, you will always think of orthodontic rubber bands every time you hear the word.

Learn about the Different Types of Orthodontic Rubber Bands

There are two types of orthodontic rubber bands: ligature and interarch rubber bands. Each of these rubber bands plays an essential role in helping you improve your smile.

A Closer Look at Ligature Rubber Bands

Every person who gets braces will have ligature rubber bands. Ligature rubber bands are the tiny, colorful rubber bands that are wrapped around the brackets on each tooth. Ligature rubber bands come in a wide variety of colors ranging from neon and traditional colors to clear, tooth-color.

These tiny rubber bands are needed as they help keep your braces on your teeth. Each of these rubber bands is securely wrapped around the bracket, which is bonded or stuck to the tooth. Once it is wrapped around the bracket, the ligature will then hold the archwire in place. The archwire is what helps move or shift your teeth so they will eventually end up in their proper position. If it is not held in place, your teeth will not move the way your orthodontist wants them to and you will not get the smile you want.

Due to their size, delicate nature, and the complex process involved with putting them on, ligatures can only be removed or replaced by an orthodontist. Every appointment you have with your orthodontist to adjust your braces, your ligatures will be removed and new ones placed around your brackets.

A Closer Look at Interarch Rubber Bands

Interarch rubber bands are those large, visible rubber bands that are found on the sides of your mouth when you are wearing braces. These rubber bands loop around one of the brackets on your upper teeth and connect with brackets on the bottom of your teeth. These rubber bands help to re-adjust your jaw alignment by subtly shifting your jaw forward or backwards.

Not every person who undergoes orthodontic treatment will need interarch rubber bands. Your orthodontist will determine if interarch rubber bands are needed. If it is determined you need interarch rubber bands, you may not need to wear them all the time. You may only need to wear them for a certain amount of time during your orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist will provide you with instructions on how to place the rubber bands in your mouth, how long you will wear them, and how often you need to change them out.

Unlike ligatures, interarch rubber bands can be changed out without the need for an orthodontist. In fact, if you have interarch rubber bands you will be replacing them a lot as they need to be removed when you eat and when you brush and floss.

Learn How to Properly Wear Your Interarch Rubber Bands

It is important that you learn how to properly place your interarch rubber bands on your braces. If you don’t put them on the right way you can cause delays to your orthodontic treatment or it could even cause the alignment of your jaw or bite to get worse.

Valderrama Orthodontics will make sure you know how to properly place your interarch rubber bands before your appointment is over. We will have you practice removing the old rubber bands and putting in new one so you know what you have to do. After the appointment, if you have any questions or run into problems, feel free to call our office. Our office staff will gladly help you.


Avoid These Foods During Thanksgiving

foods during thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always a difficult time for people who are wearing braces because so much of the holiday’s celebration centers on food. Usually, being around all that food isn’t bad when you can eat whatever you want, but when you have braces there are a number of foods you can’t eat. Luckily for every food you can’t eat during Thanksgiving, there are a number of other tasty foods that you can eat.

Avoid damaging your braces this Thanksgiving by learning about which foods you should avoid and which ones are safe to eat.

Avoid: Nuts (Pecans, Almonds, Cashews, etc.)

Nuts are usually on the top of the ‘do not eat’ food list when you get braces. So, it should be second nature to avoid eating nuts out of a jar or a bag. Unfortunately, what people don’t realize is many side dishes and desserts include nuts as an ingredient.

Before trying a new side dish or dessert make sure to verify if it contains nuts. The last thing you want to do is start eating only to hit a random hard nut that ends up breaking a bracket off or twisting your wires.

Approved: Ham, Turkey, Roast Beef, or Fish

Any type of main meat option is safe to eat when you have braces. These foods rarely contain hard or sharp pieces that could damage your braces. That means you are able to enjoy the traditional meal of turkey with gravy if you want!

If you do choose roast beef make sure it isn’t too tough to eat. Sometimes tough meat requires a lot of chewing which puts you at risk of damaging the brackets of your braces.

Another thing to consider is the bones in fish. The bones are usually removed, but sometimes one or two are left in the fish. When eating fish make sure you are aware that bones could be present and take precautions so your braces are not damaged.

Avoid: Sticky Desserts

Desserts that contain toffee, caramel or other sweet ingredients may be tempting, but there is a good chance they could damage your braces. The sticky foods tend to latch onto the wires and brackets of your braces. When this happens it can pull the brackets away from your teeth or cause the wire to poke your cheeks.

There are plenty of braces-friendly desserts that you can enjoy. Don’t risk damaging your braces just to enjoy one of this sticky and sweet treats.

Approved: Potatoes (Mashed, Baked, Scalloped, and Sweet Potatoes)

Potatoes are safe to eat because they are so soft. Just be careful with anything that you might add to the potatoes such as toppings like crunchy bacon or any ingredients that might be baked into the dishes. You don’t want to run into a random crunchy piece that suddenly breaks your braces.

Other Foods to Avoid

Some other foods to avoid during Thanksgiving include:

  • Popcorn – any type from traditional popcorn to caramel corn and kettle corn
  • Chips
  • Crunchy apples
  • Corn on the cob
  • Anything that appears overly crunchy, sticky, or hard

Other Examples of Safe Foods to Eat with Braces

Some examples of foods that are safe to eat with braces include:

  • Corn – any type of corn just not one that is on the cob
  • Casseroles – be careful of mixed in ingredients as they can sometimes be crunchy or hard
  • Dressings
  • Cooked green beans, cooked brocoli
  • Biscuits

Remember to Keep Your Braces and Teeth Clean This Thanksgiving

Don’t get caught up in all the excitement of the holidays and forget to brush, floss, and care for your teeth and braces. Make sure you are doing the following things:

  • Brushing your teeth about 20 minutes after every meal
  • Flossing after every meal and if you can’t floss after every meal at least floss once a day
  • Make sure you properly clean all around your teeth and braces. Don’t quickly brush your teeth. Make sure you do a good job as you want to remove all food particles and plaque.
  • Rinse your mouth with water if you are unable to quickly brush your teeth. This will help neutralize any sugars and acids in your mouth until you get time to properly brush.

Do you have a particular food or side dish that you want to eat this Thanksgiving but are unsure if it is okay to eat with braces? If so, let Valderrama Orthodontics help. Call our office and our staff will gladly help you determine if the foods you wish to enjoy will not break your braces.

 


Preparing for Braces

preparing for braces

It may seem like people who get braces just casually stroll into an orthodontist’s office for an appointment and walk out with a mouth full of small brackets and tiny wires, but looks can be deceiving. There is actually a lot of prep work that is involved in the days, weeks, and even months before a person gets braces.

Discover what type of prep work goes into helping a person physically and mentally prepare to get braces.

Complete All Recommended Dental Work

Sometimes before braces can be put on you will need to schedule an appointment with a general dentist to correct certain problems. Some dental problems such as cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease typically need to be treated before braces can be placed.

In some situations, you may even need to schedule an appointment with a dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon to have teeth removed. Removing teeth may be needed to give your mouth enough room to properly fit all your teeth.

Dr. Natalia Valderrama, our orthodontist,  will go over any recommended dental work that needs to be done during your consultation. Once the recommended dental work is completed you can move on to the next step of your orthodontic journey.

Enjoy Snacking on Favorite Treats that Can’t be Eaten When Wearing Braces

One of the most frustrating things about wearing braces is there will be a lot of foods and snacks that you won’t be able to eat. It is often recommended that approximately two weeks before your scheduled appointment for braces that you go out and enjoy snacking on all your favorite treats that you will be unable to enjoy later.

Some of the foods that you won’t be able to eat when you are wearing braces include:

  • Popcorn
  • Extremely chewy snacks such as toffee and caramel
  • Nuts
  • Hard candy
  • Crunchy raw vegetables and fruits such as carrots, celery, and apples
  • Hard snacks such as crackers
  • Ice chips
  • Crunchy chips

Once you have had your fill of your favorite foods and snacks, you should probably remove them from your home. They can be extremely tempting. If you give into the temptation and eat them while wearing braces you could damage the brackets and wires.

Create an Orthodontic Kit

We will give our patients a small kit to take home with them filled with all the tools and dental equipment that will be needed to do everything from cleaning your teeth and gums to temporarily fixing any problems that arise with your braces. While these kits are great for short-term use, they don’t have enough items to prepare you for your entire orthodontic journey.

Make sure you are prepared by creating an orthodontic kit before you get braces. Preparing the kit ahead of time will prevent you having to run to the store to purchase a tool or item you need to fix your braces or relieve any discomfort you feel from your braces.

Things to include in your orthodontic kit include:

  • Waxed dental floss
  • Small dental brushes
  • Threaders
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Orthodontic wax
  • Over-the-counter pain medication – make sure to speak with your doctor or orthodontist before taking any types of medications
  • A card with Dr. Valderrama office’s phone number on it to call in case of an emergency or if you have any questions

Prepare Mentally for Getting Braces by Learning What to Expect

Taking the time to learn about what to expect at your first orthodontic appointment as well as what will happen during the course of your orthodontic treatment can help you mentally prepare.

While every orthodontic patient’s experience will vary, the following are some examples of what to expect during orthodontic treatment:

  • The first appointment typically takes about an hour to two hours
  • The first appointment includes preparing the teeth, gluing the brackets onto the teeth, and placing the wire
  • No pain is involved with getting braces, but you will feel slight pressure
  • Feeling uncomfortable for a few days after getting braces is extremely common
  • Orthodontic appointments will be scheduled every four to six weeks. These appointments will allow your orthodontist to monitor your progress and make adjustments
  • Follow up appointments typically last anywhere from a half hour to an hour

Have questions about how to prepare for braces? Call Valderrama Orthodontics @ 321.425.5050. Our friendly office staff and orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama will do our best to help you prepare for getting braces by answering any of your questions.


Orthodontic Awareness Month

orthodontic awareness month

While children are celebrating the coming of Halloween, orthodontists are celebrating a different holiday of sorts – Orthodontic Awareness Month.

Orthodontic Awareness Month, which occurs every October, may not be an official holiday, but orthodontists still have fun celebrating it. This year to celebrate the staff at Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne, Florida have decided to provide you with a few fun facts about orthodontics, discuss ways to improve your experience if you are wearing braces or other orthodontic devices and provide you with ways you can improve your orthodontic health.

Some Fun Orthodontic Facts

  • At any given time in North America, there are approximately 1 million people who are wearing braces
  • Approximately 70% of those who do wear braces are female.
  • The average age for people wearing braces is between 12 and 15. However, in recent years more and more adults are starting to undergo orthodontic treatment.
  • Aesthetics is often listed as the most common reason to seek orthodontic treatment. The second most popular reason for seeking orthodontic treatment is to correct an overbite.

Orthodontic Treatment Options

Several decades ago braces were the only option available to people who wanted to correct the spacing and alignment of their teeth. Now there are several different treatment options available to correct your smile.

Some of the treatment options that are available include:

  • Traditional braces – this is the type with wires, brackets, and rubber bands
  • Clear braces – similar to traditional braces but with clear ceramic brackets
  • Clear aligners- trays that correct the placement and alignment of teeth like Invisalign or Clear Correct
  • Lingual braces – brackets and wires are placed on the back of the teeth instead of the front

Tips to Make Your Orthodontic Experience Easier

Whether you are a teen or an adult, you will need to make some adjustments after you undergo orthodontic treatment. In an effort to help make your experience easier and as a way to celebrate Orthodontic Awareness Month, we are providing you with some tips that will help you improve your orthodontic experience.

Some ways you can improve your orthodontic experience include:

  • Choose the foods and candies you eat wisely. Eating extremely hard, crunchy or sticky foods can break the brackets, wires, and rubber bands that you are wearing. Try to avoid these types of foods so you don’t end up having to make an emergency visit to your orthodontist.
  • Always carry your orthodontic kit with you. This kit contains all the things you need to fix any problem you encounter. The kits contain toothbrushes, toothpaste, picks, floss, dental wax, and handheld mirrors.
  • Brush after every meal and after snacking. Food can get stuck in your braces which may cause you to experience some pain or discomfort.
  • Keep all your appointments with your orthodontist. These appointments will help spot and fix any problems that may have developed.

Schedule an Early Orthodontic Treatment Consultation for Your Child

Parents often assume that their child will only need braces when they become teenagers, but that isn’t necessarily true. Some children could benefit from undergoing early orthodontic treatment to correct alignment and other issues.

Early orthodontic treatment usually begins between the ages of 7 and 10. Take part in orthodontic awareness month by scheduling an appointment for your child to have an orthodontic consultation. An orthodontist will be able to assess how their teeth and jaw is growing and determine if early orthodontic treatment is needed.

Some treatment options that are often used as part of early orthodontic treatment include:

  • Use of space maintainers to hold the proper spacing between teeth
  • Expanders to widen the arch of the teeth
  • Wires and brackets to correct placement of teeth
  • Extraction of baby teeth that may be causing problems

Call Valderrama Orthodontics to Schedule an Appointment

Think it is time to improve your smile? Call Valderrama Orthodontics at (321)420-5050 to schedule an appointment for a consultation with our orthodontist, Dr. Natalia Valderrama. Our orthodontist will work closely with you to get you the smile you have always wanted. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to welcoming you to our office!

 


The History of Braces

history of braces

Using orthodontic devices to improve your smile is nothing new. In fact, people have been trying different methods to straighten their teeth for hundreds of years. They just weren’t using the same techniques that are used in modern orthodontics.

Wondering how people used to try to straighten their teeth in the past? The following is a brief overview of the history of orthodontic braces.

Devices to Straighten Teeth Date Back All the Way to 400 BC

It is hard to imagine, but orthodontic devices date back all the way to ancient times. Many archeologists have discovered the creation of small devices that appear to have been used to straighten teeth or fill in gaps when teeth had fallen out.

The devices that were used look nothing like today’s modern orthodontic devices with metal wires and ceramic brackets. The ancient orthodontic devices that were found used things like animal intestines, pure gold, catgut, or ropes to push the teeth into their proper position.

The Very First Set of Braces

Due to a lack of record keeping, not much is really known about orthodontics until around 1720s. That is when there is considerable documentation that details some of the methods that were used to improve people’s smile.

Some of the methods that were used around the 1720s are similar to what is used in modern orthodontics. The difference is the devices used in the 1720s were often bigger and bulkier than the devices used in modern orthodontics.

Some of the methods that were used in the 1720s to help improve people’s smile include:

  • Use of a device known as the Bandeau. The Bandeau, which was created by a French dentist, was a giant piece of iron that was shaped like a horseshoe. It was placed in the mouth and used to widen the palate so that teeth would have room to shift and move into proper placement.
  • Tooth extraction. This was the first time that people recommended removing teeth, such as the premolars, to create extra space so that teeth could shift into proper alignment.
  • Jaw placement and growth impacts how teeth grow. Several dentists during this time period discussed how the placement of the jaw and how it grows could determine whether teeth grow in at a proper angle.

The Journey to Modern Orthodontics

Even though people in the 1720s improved their smile using methods that are similar to orthodontics, it didn’t become an actual dental practice until sometime in the 1800s. In the 1800s, dentists decided to specifically work to advance this form of dentistry.

Some of the significant dates in the history of braces include:

  • 1819 – the first wire crib was created and used to help improve the placement of teeth in the mouth
  • 1843 – gum elastics were first used to realign the placement of the jaw
  • 1850 – rubber bands were used to replace gum elastics. The rubber bands were made out of rubber tubing that was cut into thin pieces and used to create bands that fit a person’s mouth.
  • 1880 – dentists started experimenting with using force to move teeth into proper their proper position. It was suggested that applying a small amount of force every few weeks/months could help encourage the teeth to move into proper alignment.

A Look at Modern Orthodontics

Thanks to advances in orthodontic technology, people who want to improve their smile have a number of different treatment options available to them. Some of the modern orthodontic treatment options that may be available include:

  • Traditional braces which include the use of rubber bands, wires, and brackets
  • Clear braces which are similar to traditional braces but use clear ceramic brackets so the braces appear ‘invisible’
  • Invisalign which uses clear plastic aligner trays to shift and move the teeth in the mouth
  • Lingual braces which places the wires and brackets on the backs of the teeth so they aren’t noticeable from the front

Interested in improving your smile? Call Valderrama Orthodontics at (321) 425-5050 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Valderrama to see what can be done to get you the smile you have always wanted.

 


Adult Braces: Why They’re Worth It

adult braces

Getting braces as an adult may be the right decision in order to improve your ability to chew and make it easier for you to properly brush and floss your teeth. Many individuals also feel better about themselves and their appearance after straightening their teeth with braces.

Reasons to Get Braces as an Adult

Adults have many reasons for getting braces and clear aligners. They may be concerned that their crooked teeth are preventing them from excelling in their profession or creating a negative impression while on job interviews. They may also have problems chewing and experience frequent accidental bites to the cheeks. They may have even had braces as a child and their teeth have since shifted, or their parents may not have had the money to purchase braces.

Benefits of Adult Braces

Braces aren’t just for preteens and teenagers anymore. Many adults choose to straighten their teeth in order to improve their appearances and to make it easier to clean every surface of the tooth and between the teeth.

1. You have More Options

Braces no longer have to be metal. Instead, you can choose to wear clear aligners or ceramic braces. Clear aligners are an alternative to metal braces, and they are able to fix many of the same problems as metal braces, including crooked and twisted teeth and bad bites. Clear aligners are nearly invisible when worn, and they can be removed to eat and drink. If you have a bite problem that cannot be correct with clear aligners, you still don’t have to choose metal braces. Ceramic braces are clear, which means they are less noticeable than traditional metal braces.

2. Braces Can Help You Improve Your Oral Health

Teeth that are irregularly spaced, crooked, twisted and crowded can cause problems with your oral health by making it hard for you to brush every surface of your teeth and between your teeth. When food particles and plaque are left on the teeth for an extended period of time, it can result in tooth decay cavities and gum disease. Having your teeth straightened can make it easier for you to crush and floss your teeth, which reduces your risk for developing gingivitis and periodontal disease as well as cavities.

3. You Want to Correct Face and Jaw Pain

Severely crooked teeth and bad bites can lead to jaw pain, headaches, ear aches, TMJ disorder and pain in your face. If you have crooked teeth and are experiencing any of these problems, straightening your teeth and correcting your bite may be able to help lower your face and jaw pain.

4. You Want to Improve Your Appearance

If you constantly worry about how your teeth look when you smile or if other people are judging you on your crooked teeth, straightening your teeth with braces or clear aligners can help you feel less self-conscious and boost your self-esteem. You may even feel like getting additional cosmetic treatments in the future, like teeth whitening or veneers.

5. You Have Dental Insurance

As an adult, you probably have dental insurance either as a plan you pay for as an individual or as part of your employee benefits. Dental insurance often covers most of the costs associated with braces and orthodontic treatments, even if you’re older than the traditional age for braces. You may also be able to pay for your treatments with your HSA or FSA account.

Adult Braces at Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne, FL

If you are considering straightening your teeth with adult clear or lingual braces or clear aligners, our dentist Dr. Natalia Valderrama at Valderrama Orthodontics in Suntree, Melbourne, FL can help you make a decision. Our orthodontist can examine your mouth to determine if you need your teeth straightened, and he can give you all the pros and cons of the various types of braces available to adults, including metal, lingual and ceramic braces or clear aligners or a combination of all. Sr. Valderrama can even answer all of your questions regarding treatment times and oral health benefits.

To learn more about braces for adults and to schedule an appointment for a complimentary consultation,, call us at 321-425-5050.