All about Lingual Braces – What You Need to Know about these Invisible Metal Braces

All About Lingual Braces - What You Need to Know about these Invisible Metal Braces

If you or your child has crooked teeth and need braces, you are not alone – more than four million people in the United States have braces. About one-fourth of those wearing braces are adults. There are several types one can get: lingual braces, traditional, or even clear braces.

While braces do a good job of making your teeth look and function nicely, many people are unhappy with the way traditional braces look. Traditional braces typically have a lot of metal brackets, wires and rubber bands that sit on the outside of the teeth, where they can be seen when you smile, talk, laugh and eat.

Fortunately, Dr. Natalia Valderrama, our orthodontist at Valderrama Orthodontics offers lingual braces. These technically advanced braces are virtually invisible. This is very important for anyone who is concerned with how he or she appears, such as business people, teachers, medical professionals, and other individuals. Anyone who works in front of a camera may opt for lingual braces. People who play wind instruments or engage in certain sports, such as contact sports, may prefer lingual braces over traditional braces. While it is not surprising to see teenagers with traditional braces, teenagers can be especially sensitive about their appearance.

About Lingual Braces

Traditional metal braces go on the front of teeth, where they are easily seen. Lingual braces, by comparison, go on the back of the teeth where they cannot be seen.

Not all orthodontists offer lingual braces; only dentists who have taken specific continuing education courses have the know-how to use the equipment required to place lingual braces. Patients should seek out the care of orthodontists with the training and experience to place lingual braces correctly.

Dr. Valderrama not only has that training but she is also the only Orthodontist in Brevard County with actual existing cases and more than 10 years of experience in lingual braces.

Are Lingual Braces Right for You?

Lingual braces are not right for everyone. These braces do not work well for children or for adults with exceptionally small teeth, as short teeth do not provide enough room to glue the braces on the backside of the tooth. People with excessive bite problems, such as severe overbite, underbite and crossbite, may not be able to have lingual braces.

Some people have trouble adjusting to lingual braces because the position of the braces affects the tongue. At first, some patients may have trouble swallowing without thrusting their tongue against their teeth. The force of the tongue pushing against the teeth during swallowing can even lead to more dental issues. Fortunately, you can learn how to swallow without thrusting your tongue by touching your teeth together lightly and then your palate or the roof of your mouth before swallowing.

Other patients may have trouble speaking clearly for the first few weeks after getting lingual braces. To overcome this, try over-enunciating your words.

Caring for Your Lingual Braces

Keeping your teeth clean is important, no matter which type of teeth straightening approaches you use. Removing food particles and bacteria from the surface of teeth and braces is important in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Because your lingual braces are hiding behind your teeth, you may forget they are there when you brush. The placement of lingual braces can also make harder to check whether you have brushed away all the food particles. If you have trouble cleaning your lingual braces, try using a toothbrush with a narrow tip, which can make it easier to clean the back surface of your teeth.

To keep your teeth and your lingual braces in top condition, brush after every meal. Be sure to brush each tooth at its gum line, and both above and below the brackets of your sublingual braces. Also, usually while in lingual braces, more frequent appointments for cleanings with your general dentist are required. Typically every 3 months a cleaning is needed to keep lingual braces clean.

 

For more information about lingual braces, and to find out if lingual braces are right for you, speak with an orthodontist with the training and experience in these special braces. You might be glad to learn that you can get straighter teeth without the embarrassing appearance of metal brackets and wires of traditional braces. Call Dr. Natalia Valderrama at Valderrama Orthodontics in Suntree, Melbourne today. 321.425.5050 or visit us at www.valderramaortho.com to learn more.

 


How to Floss with Lingual Braces

floss with lingual braces

Flossing when you have lingual braces or any type of traditional braces for that matter, is not easy. In fact, it is time consuming, difficult, and can be painful if not done properly. Unfortunately, if you want your orthodontic treatment to work, you need to floss and you will have to floss a lot.

Want to make it easier to floss with lingual braces? The tips and tricks we have provided may make it easier to floss when undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Use the Floss Threaders Provided by Dr. Valderrama

After Dr. Natalia Valderrama puts on your lingual braces, you will be given a small kit filled with dental supplies to take home. Inside that kit is a dental product known as a floss threader. This dental supply will be used multiples a day and will make it so much easier to floss.

Dental floss threaders help guide your floss into all those hard-to-reach places you will have when you wear braces. Without the use of a dental floss threader, you would spend considerable time trying to work the dental floss around all the wires and brackets in your mouth.

Never used a dental floss threader before? The following steps explain how to use one:

Create a long line of dental floss that is approximately 18 to 20 inches long
Take one end of the dental floss and thread it through the threader. Pull the floss through the threader until you have reached the five inch mark on the floss.
Gently guide the threader with the dental floss in it around any wire or bracket.
Gently remove the threader and continue to floss as you normally would.
Remove the dental floss when complete and repeat for each hard-to-reach section
Don’t Rush Through Flossing with Lingual Braces

No matter what you do, whether you use a floss threader or you just floss regularly, do not rush through the flossing process. If you rush through flossing you could bend or break the wires or brackets or even damage your teeth. Make sure you leave enough time to floss your teeth without rushing through it.

Brushing is Just as Important as Flossing

Flossing is just one of the things you need to do to keep your teeth and gums healthy while wearing lingual braces. You will also need to frequently brush your teeth.

It is recommended that you brush your teeth after each meal and when you are done snacking. It may sound excessive, but food can easily get stuck in the wires and brackets. Brushing your teeth after every meal helps remove food particles and plaque. If left on the teeth, the food particles and plaque can cause you to develop a number of dental problems that include tooth decay and gum disease.

Brushing, just like flossing, is going to be more time consuming when you have braces. The following steps explain how to properly brush if you have lingual braces:

Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line

Move the toothbrush in straight motions that go back and forward

Move the toothbrush over every surface of the teeth – back, front, and tops

Work the tip of the toothbrush into the back of your teeth so you can remove any plaque that is stuck to the back of your teeth

Don’t brush too hard as you could damage your teeth and gums or detach your braces from your teeth.

Don’t forget to brush your tongue. When you brush your tongue, you remove harmful bacteria from the mouth. If the bacteria was left in your mouth, it could spread to the teeth and cause cavities and tooth decay.

Have questions about how to properly brush and floss when you have lingual braces? Let Valderrama Orthodontics help you. Our friendly office staff will gladly answer any questions you may have about how to properly brush and floss while wearing braces. Feel free to call our office if you have any questions. We will do our best to answer them for you. If you still have questions, we can show you how to properly brush and floss during your next scheduled appointment.


Keep Your Teeth White with Braces

Although you’re wearing braces to achieve a straight, beautiful smile, cleaning your teeth often becomes more difficult while you’re wearing them. Using whitening products while you have braces isn’t recommended by dental professionals, so what can you do to keep teeth looking clean and white? Here’s a look at some easy tips that can prevent discoloration and ensure your teeth stay looking bright while you’re going through orthodontic treatment.

Tip #1 – Be Diligent About Oral Hygiene
While you’re wearing braces, it’s important to be even more diligent about oral hygiene to keep teeth clean and white. It’s recommended to brush teeth three times a day, and flossing should be done at least once a day. Get into the routine of cleaning at least three times, and it’s a good idea to brush, or at least rinse, after every meal. A good oral hygiene routine can help prevent stains and keep your smile sparkling.

Tip #2 – Spend More Time on Each Tooth When Brushing
Since your braces can get in the way, it’s easy to miss areas of your teeth. Spend a bit more time on each tooth when brushing. Brush at various angles and between the archwires of the braces, ensuring that each part of the tooth is getting cleaned.

Tip #3 – Consider an Electric Toothbrush
Many people wearing orthodontic appliances find that an electric toothbrush makes cleaning teeth much easier. These options often are more effective at cleaning around brackets and wires. They do a better job of breathing up tartar and plaque, ensuring that you keep your teeth looking bright and beautiful. Talk to your dentist or Dr. Natalia Valderrama, our orthodontist, about the best electric toothbrush to use while you’re wearing braces. But be careful applying to much force to your teeth while using the electric toothbrush. Sometimes, the strong vibration brakes the brackets off the teeth!

Tip #4 – Floss with Super Floss
If you’re having a tough time flossing with regular floss, consider using super floss. Super floss is made up of soft spongey floss that easily cleans around appliances, regular floss for flossing between teeth, and a stiffened-end threader, which can be used to floss between your wires. Adding super floss to your dental hygiene routine can make it easier to make sure you’re eliminating food particles and plaque from all those nooks and crannies. There is also a product called Platypus, which you can buy online, that makes flossing easier and faster!

Tip #5 – Beware of Drinks and Foods that Stain Teeth
Try to avoid consuming drinks and foods that can stain your teeth, such as beets, blueberries, coffee, sports drinks, dark juices, red wine, dark sodas, blackberries, pizza and spaghetti sauce and black tea. If you do eat any of these items, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly and brush teeth soon to keep them from staining teeth.

Tip #6 – Skip Sugary Foods and Beverages
Sugary foods have the ability to cause tooth decay, resulting in discolored teeth. It’s important to skip sugar foods and beverages, particularly sticky candies that can get stuck in your braces. Go for healthy fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy proteins instead of foods laden with sugar. Just remember, sugar isn’t only found in cakes, cookies, and candies. It’s hiding in many different foods, so check your labels. Carbohydrates can also break down into sugar on your teeth, so limit foods like white breads, white pastas, mashed potatoes, doughnuts and potato chips.

Tip #7 – Drink with a Straw
If you do drink sugary beverages or drinks that may stain your teeth, make sure you’re drinking with a straw. Using a straw keeps liquid from touching your teeth as much, reducing the chance that your drink will stain your teeth. It’s a simple way to prevent stains and keep teeth looking great while you’re wearing braces.

Tip #8 – Don’t Forget Regular Dental Visits
Along with taking care of your teeth and braces daily, one of the best tips for keeping your smile white and bright is to make sure you’re keeping up with regular dental visits. Not only can your dentist give you a professional cleaning and check for any potential problems, but a dentist can answer your cleaning questions and give you more advice on keeping your teeth white while you’re wearing braces.


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.

 


What to Do When You Break a Bracket

break a bracket

Traditional braces are a great option for straightening the teeth of preteens, teenagers, and adults. Unfortunately, sometimes the brackets come loose or break off the tooth entirely. This is a common problem and completely repairable once you visit our Orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama,  in Viera/ Melbourne.

Reasons Brackets Come Loose or Break

There are two primary reasons why brackets break. The first reason is that you are eating a lot of hard or sticky foods that really should not be eaten while wearing braces. These foods include nuts, tough meats, raw vegetables and chewy and/or hard candies. The second reason is that the dental cement used to bond your braces has worn out over time.

Steps to Take When Your Bracket Breaks

Almost everyone who wears any type of braces experiences a broken bracket at some point during the treatment process. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make your broken bracket more comfortable while you wait for your orthodontic appointment.

1. Identify the bracket that has broken.

When you feel a bracket come loose, it’s best to get a mirror to view the bracket. This will tell you if the bracket has simply come loose or completely come off the tooth, and it will allow you to see if the wire is bent or broken. You should also check to see if the bracket has completely come loose from the wire. If it has, it may not be safe to leave the bracket in your mouth, even if you use dental wax. This is because it could fall completely off the tooth again, and you might accidentally swallow it. If you notice the bracket is completely off your tooth and off the wire, you should remove the bracket from your mouth and store it in a container until you visit our orthodontist in Melbourne.

2. Place some orthodontic wax over the bracket.

Once you have identified the bracket, place a little orthodontic wax over it to prevent the bracket from rubbing against the inside of your mouth. This will help lower the discomfort and prevent sores and cuts on your cheeks and tongue. If the wire has also broken, you can place orthodontic wax over the broken parts of the wire as well.

3. Move the wire to prevent discomfort.

If the wire is merely bent, you can use the tip of a pencil eraser to move the wire to a more comfortable position while you wait for your urgent orthodontic appointment to get your braces repaired.

4. Schedule an appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Natalia Valderrama in Melbourne

Once you realize your bracket and/or wire has broken, you should schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Viera/Melbourne to have it repaired. Broken braces can affect your treatment time if they are not repaired promptly.

Getting Help with Broken Brackets

Dr. Valderrama and her wonderful team can repair your broken brackets and wires by examining the tooth, wire and bracket and reattaching a new bracket. If your wire is significantly bent, we can also straighten the wire or replace your wires so that you can continue your teeth straightening treatment.

 

If you keep experiencing broken brackets and wires, you may need some tips and tricks from Dr. Valderrama in order to keep your braces in good condition throughout the teeth straightening process. This can include tips on how to keep your braces clean with brushing, flossing and rinsing, how to angle the toothbrush to remove all the food particles from the edges of the braces and how much pressure to use while brushing. We can also give you a reminder of the types of foods that are safe for braces and the types of food you should avoid as well as how to eat certain foods to ensure they do not put too much pressure on your brackets. Also, please be careful with electric toothbrushes as the vibration and pressure could break also brackets if it is too high.

To schedule an appointment with our orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama and her wonderful orthodontic team in Viera/Melbourne to see if traditional braces would be right for you or to schedule an urgent appointment for a broken bracket or wire, call us at 321-425-5050 or 321-544-4127.


Preventing Tooth Discoloration During Treatment

Avoid going through the experience of having your braces removed only to discover that your teeth aren’t bright and white, as you thought they would be, but instead are discolored by following these dental tips. Each of these dental tips, if practiced throughout your entire orthodontic treatment, will help minimize tooth staining and discoloration.

Ditch the Whitening Toothpastes

Many people assume that using whitening toothpaste will help avoid unsightly stains and discoloration that can occur while wearing braces. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happens.

If you used whitening toothpaste while wearing braces, once the braces are removed your teeth will appear to have visible spots. This happens because the brackets on your teeth prevent the whitening toothpaste from being able to reach certain parts of the teeth. The toothpaste actively works to whiten the surfaces of the teeth it can reach but leaves the covered areas untouched which results in large, visible spots once the brackets are removed.

Work to Stop Bad Habits That Stain Teeth

Keep your teeth as bright and white as possible by working to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. These bad habits would stain your teeth even if you weren’t wearing braces, but the staining is worse with braces.

Just like with whitening toothpaste, the tobacco will stain only the parts of the teeth that are not covered by brackets. When the brackets are removed, the exposed parts of the teeth will have a brown or yellow tint while the parts of the teeth that were covered with brackets will either appear white or a lighter shade of yellow or brown.

Choose Your Drinks Wisely

A major cause of staining and discoloration while wearing braces is the drinks you consume. Drinking certain dark colored or acidic drinks will dull the original color of your teeth and cause them to appear discolored.

Drinks that you should avoid consuming include:

  • Dark colored teas
  • Coffee
  • Sodas especially if they are brightly colored
  • Wines – both red and white
  • Sports drinks
  • Juices

The best drink to consume is water or milk, but it is unrealistic to believe that you will only consume these two beverages. If you do feel like consuming any of the beverages that may cause staining and discoloration to your teeth, use a straw. Drinking through a straw will minimize the amount of contact the beverage has with your teeth which will reduce the likelihood that staining and discoloration will happen.

Avoid Sugary Treats That Use Artificial Coloring

Food manufacturers tend to use artificial coloring in snacks and sugary treats. While the bright colors may attract your attention and make you want to try a sugary treat or snack, it can cause your teeth to become discolored and stained, especially if you are wearing braces.

Try to avoid all sugary treats and snacks that contain any type of artificial coloring. It may be difficult to avoid your favorite treats and snacks, but doing so will help keep your teeth bright and white.

Follow a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

It is tempting to want to avoid brushing and flossing when you are wearing braces, but if you want to keep your teeth white and bright it is something you need to do on a regular basis.

A good oral hygiene routine will typically include the following:

  • Brushing after every meal
  • Brushing after snacking
  • Flossing not only between your teeth but around the wires and brackets
  • Removing bacteria and buildup on the tongue by brushing your teeth or using a tongue scraper
  • Take your time so your teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • Clean the back, front, and sides of your teeth

Schedule Regular Cleanings with Your Dentist

Regular professional cleanings are so important when you are wearing braces. Not only will it keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it will remove any staining or discoloration that has appeared before it has a chance to set and become permanent.

Regular cleanings should be scheduled every three months when you are wearing braces. After the braces are removed you may only need cleanings every six months.

Worried about tooth staining and discoloration? Ask Dr. Valderrama for help during your next appointment or during your consultation. Dr. V can provide you with recommendations for things you can do to avoid teeth staining and discoloration while wearing braces.