Bites That Can Lead to Chipped Teeth

Bites That Can Lead to Chipped Teeth

Imagine chewing on food when you hear a strange sound inside your mouth, like something breaking off. What just happened? You chipped a tooth. How did that happen?

The cause might be your bite.

Having an incorrect bite can affect how you speak, eat, swallow, and sleep. The good news is that you can fix both chipped teeth and a bad bite. We will explain how.

What is a Incorrect or “Bad” Bite?

Your orthodontist might use the term malocclusion, which literally means “bad bite” in Latin. It’s an overarching term for several different kinds of bad bites (the way the top teeth and bottom teeth come together). And those bad bites can cause chipped teeth, among other problems.

Here are common bad bites that lead to chipped teeth:

 1. Protrusive incisors. You’ve probably heard this called an “overbite in lay terms.” This occurs when the upper teeth extend too far forward (protrude) or in front of the lower teeth (see Photos 1-3). Technically this is called overjet…but we will use “overbite” for the article. An “overbite” can be caused by a number of different things: thumb sucking; nail biting; lip biting; misaligned jaws, or even heredity. Protrusive teeth in children can lead to teasing or bullying. It can also compromise a person’s ability to chew correctly. Having protrusive teeth can make them more prone to trauma/being chipped during a fall.

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2. Prognathism. This is also known as an “underbite.” It is the opposite of an “overbite”, when the lower teeth extend too far forward in front of the upper teeth. The teeth do not interdigitate properly and this can cause excessive wear and chipping of the enamel (See Photo 4.)





3. Retrusive incisors. This occurs when the teeth slant inward at an angle. Common causes are when the teeth erupt at an angle, crowded teeth, accidents, tooth extractions, or tooth disorders. As with other malocclusions, retrusive teeth can affect chewing. (See Photos 5-7.). Having retrusive incisors does not allow the proper range of motion for your lower jaw.   As your lower jaw closes, often the lower front teeth can traumatically collide with your upper teeth causing chips, breaks and fractures of the upper or lower front teeth.     

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4. Edge-to-edge bites. This occurs when the biting edges of the upper front teeth bite directly onto the lower front teeth. This can interfere with chewing, particularly with the incisors. (See Photo 8) and lead to chips in the front teeth.

How Do I Fix a Chipped Tooth?

The sooner you fix your chipped tooth, the better. If the chip extends to the interior nerves, you could experience pain when chewing or drinking cold or hot drinks. A chipped tooth, when severe, can allow bacteria to infect the pulp of the tooth, which would then necessitate a root canal.

Most of the time, a chipped tooth can be fixed in two ways: dental fillings and dental bonding. Both of these can be done fairly quickly by your dentist. However, if you do not address the bite that is leading to the chipped teeth, then you will just break them again.

How Do I Fix My Bad Bite?

An orthodontist can correct a malocclusion in a number of different ways. The treatment will be determined by the severity of the problem. Here are the steps to correcting a bad bite.

Step 1: Diagnosis. Before an orthodontist can create a treatment plan, they need to know the source of the problem. When you come into our office, we will take a series of photos and x-rays that will show the placement of the teeth and the position of the jaws in relationship to each other.

Step 2: Treatment Planning. We will suggest a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique situation. Some options will include:

    • Braces. This is the most common option for treating a bad bite in both children and adults. They consist of brackets and wires and other materials that put pressure on the teeth to move them into correct alignment.
    • Invisalign. These are like plastic invisible braces. They are an alternative to braces and utilizes trays that fit over your teeth and slowly move them into correct alignment. We will take a 3D scan of your teeth and will create the trays from the scan. You change the trays weekly and visit our office approximately every 12 weeks for in person checkups. Once you have started treatment we even do virtual checkups to save you time.
    • Palate Expansion. Palate is another name for the roof of the mouth. This procedure is usually used to treat kids and teens when the upper jaw is too small to accommodate incoming adult teeth. An expander is attached to the upper molars and gradually widens the palate, so the adult teeth have room to grow in properly.
    • Surgery. This is the most intrusive option and is reserved for severe malocclusions and is done only after jaw growth is complete. Surgery takes place about one or two years after wearing braces to put the teeth in the proper alignment within each jaw.

Step 3: Overview of Cost. We work hard to make orthodontic treatment affordable. We have payment plans to suit different budgets. Of course, we accept most insurance plans, and we will file the paperwork with your insurance company. And if you pay the full amount of treatment upfront, we offer a discount.

If you are ready to achieve a correct bite you can schedule a consultation by calling 843-871-4411 or request an appointment online via our contact form.

Three Reasons Braces Are Better Than Invisalign for Busy Moms

Three Reasons Braces Are Better Than Invisalign for Busy Moms

As a mom, you’re the chef, chauffer, tutor, and nurse all rolled into one. But you’re also a woman who needs to take care of herself, even when it comes to your teeth. And braces may be a necessity, since crooked teeth can cause TMJ, interfere with proper cleaning, increase tooth decay, and increase the risk of breaking a tooth. You don’t need to add these problems to your already-full plate!

You have a choice between braces and Invisalign, but which would be the best option for a busy mom? While it is your choice, Reagin Orthodontics recommends braces for moms with young kids. Here are three reasons why.

  • Braces require less mental energy. With Invisalign trays, you have to remember to take them out and put them back in. Our moms tell us they like braces because once the braces are on, they don’t have yet another thing to keep track of. You can get them and forget about them, so to speak.
  • Braces don’t get changed out every week. Aligners are created to be worn a week or two at a time. Then you get a new set to wear. But who can keep up with which set of trays you’re on? You’re busy keeping track of schedules, pacifiers, meals, and a million other things. With braces, you don’t have the constant change!
  • Braces don’t get lost. They don’t get turned into an art project for school or a chew toy for the dog. Keeping up with a home full of small kids means one thing—chaos. You don’t have to worry about losing braces or finding them in the toilet. And with braces, you don’t have to say, “Don’t Touch!” a thousand times a day.

Are Braces Safe for Nursing Moms?

One question we often get is whether braces will affect milk production or introduce metals into breast milk. You don’t have to worry. Braces contain no chemicals that have an effect on milk production. They’re completely safe for you—and your little one.

Do Many Moms Get Braces?

You may think that adults don’t wear braces, but that’s not true. Today, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult. That means 25% of the moms in your play group probably has braces already! You won’t look weird. In fact, you’re setting a great example for your kids by taking care of yourself.

How Do I Get Braces?

Getting braces is easy—and it doesn’t take as much time as you think. First, schedule a free consultation at one of our locations, whichever is the most convenient for you. We will do an initial exam and let you know what we recommend. Then, you can work with our staff to find a time to place your braces. Once that’s done, you’ll have adjustments done every 8-12 weeks. We even offer virtual appointments for those times when you can’t get away for a visit.

Even busy moms need to take care of their teeth. Call or email us today to set up an appointment.

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School

When you’re at home, taking care of your braces or Invisalign tray is easy because it’s a part of your everyday routine. But how do you keep up those good habits when you spend all day at school?

The good news is taking care of your braces or Invisalign at school doesn’t have to disrupt your normal routine. Just follow the tips from Reagin Orthodontics for your dental care at school and you’ll get an A from your orthodontist!

What to Do at School If You Have Braces

  • Keep a care kit in your locker. You can use a pencil case or cosmetic bag to store items you might need to care for your braces or Invisalign tray at school. Here are the essentials to include:
  • Toothbrush and paste. Both of these items can be travel-sized so they don’t take up as much room. You can stop by your locker after lunch and grab these for a quick cleaning.
  • Dental floss, threaders, and picks. You don’t want to walk into math class with food stuck in your teeth or braces after lunch. These items are essential for getting to those hard-to-reach spots between and behind your braces.
  • Small mirror. You can take a quick look between classes or after a snack to make sure nothing got lodged in your teeth or braces.
  • Orthodontic wax. This can ease any discomfort if your parts of your braces irritate your lips, gums, or the lining of your cheeks. Use a piece of the wax to create a barrier between the braces and that sensitive skin inside your mouth.
  • Braces-friendly snacks. Chances are, you’ll get the munchies at school. But some items in the vending machine will hurt your braces, so keep some soft foods on hand in case you get hungry or have after-school activities.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does this help you stay hydrated (which is important), but it also helps removes food particles from your teeth. Water also rinses away any sugar, bacteria, acid, or other items that could harm your mouth.
  • Build in time to brush after lunch. Brushing at lunch can significantly lower the chances of tooth decay and cavities, so don’t skip this step. If you know your next class is across campus, just grab your care kit, take it to lunch with you, and stop by a bathroom that’s on the route to the class you’ll be going to.
  • Keep our phone number nearby. Sometimes emergencies happen. Brackets come loose and wires can become uncomfortable. You can call our office any time and we can schedule a time for you to visit one of our offices.
  • Get a mouth guard for sports. Even if you’re just a part of gym class, you can get popped in the mouth. Not only can it be painful, but the hardware in your mouth can cause cuts and damage to the inside of your mouth. And if you play a sport, a mouth guard is a no-brainer. Many athletes lose teeth because they don’t protect them.
  • Carry lip balm. When you have braces or Invisaligners, your lips can become dry. The solution is simple: keep some lip balm on hand. Stash it in your locker or backpack for easy access. (Just don’t leave it out in the heat. It could melt!)   

What to Do at School If You Have Invisalign

If you wear an Invisalign tray, you’ll need to follow the same instructions as someone with braces. However, there are some differences in caring for them at school. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Keep a care kit in your locker.  You’ll need to brush your teeth after lunch just as if you had braces. Your aligners can get stained over time if you’re not careful. Putting aligners back in your mouth without brushing your teeth can also increase the likelihood of cavities.

In addition to the items listed above, here are other items you’ll need to include:

  • Your case. If you need to take your aligners out (or even your retainer), your case will protect them and help keep them from getting tossed in the trash at lunch or lost during gym.
  • Your “outie” removal tool.  Sometimes, your Invisalign tray can be tight, especially when you switch to a new set. If this happens at school, you can use your removal tool to remove your aligner.
  • “Chewies.” When you first get a new set of trays, they can feel “off” as your teeth get used to them. We can give you some “chewies” (basically small rolls of gauze) for you to bite down on during the first few days. This will help them fit better and give you better overall comfort.
  • Brush after lunch. We’ve already emphasized how important this is. Don’t get lazy about it!
  • Take out your tray for contact sports. Your Invisaligners will fit your teeth closely, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out during non-contact activities. But if you are a wrestler, hockey player, or similar high-contact sports, you’ll want to take out your tray and put it in its case for safe keeping.
  • Hold onto your old trays. Once you’ve moved on to a different set of trays, keep the old ones. If you do happen to lose your current aligner, you can use an old one while we get a new set made and mailed to you. Wearing the old set keeps your teeth from shifting back into old positions.

Caring for your braces or Invisaligners at school doesn’t have to be a hassle. Just follow our tips and call us anytime if you have questions or problems.

Have a great school year!

What to Do When You Get Braces—3 Important Steps

What to Do When You Get Braces—3 Important Steps

Getting braces from Reagin Orthodontics is an important step in your dental care, but what you do when you get those braces is just as important as the braces themselves. So, what steps should you take after you get braces? Here are three easy-to-follow steps: 1.) manage your discomfort; 2.) be careful about the foods you eat; and 3.) take care of your braces. Let’s talk more about those steps.

How to Manage Pain When You Get Braces

One common issue with braces is the discomfort. While you will experience some soreness and biting pressure when you first get your braces, it will fade with time—usually within three to five days. Fortunately, you can do several things to ease the soreness:

  • Chew soft sugar-free gum. Yes, gum! Research has shown that chewing gum for five minutes after you get braces can reduce pain associated with orthodontic treatment. Continue every four to eight hours for a week to relieve discomfort. Just make sure you use soft sugar-free gum that doesn’t stick to your braces!
  • Salt-water rinses for your cheeks and gums. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of lukewarm water and rinse when you experience soft tissue discomfort in your mouth. It can help reduce inflammation. As a bonus, it also helps remove leftover food stuck in your teeth and braces.
  • Eat soft food. When you first get your braces, you’ll want to avoid hard-to-bite foods. Stick to soft items like fish, pasta, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, soups, scrambled eggs, and shakes. And cold foods like apple sauce and ice cream help your mouth feel better, too.
  • Take medicine. You can use over-the-counter pain relief like Ibuprofen if you experience discomfort after getting or adjusting your braces. You can also use a topical numbing gel like Anbesol or Orajel for soft tissue irritations.

Foods to Avoid When You Get Braces

The good news is, you’ll be able to eat most of the same foods you enjoyed before you got braces. However, you’ll need to stay away from a few things because they’ll damage the components of your braces. They can cause wires or bands to snap—and that means more time in treatment. We know you don’t want that! Here are some of the foods you’ll need to avoid when you get braces:

  • Very Chewy foods: big bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, hard chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, bubble gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candy
  • Foods you bite into: corn on the cob, raw apples, raw carrots

You can still eat foods like apples and carrots. Just cut them into smaller pieces so you can pop them in your mouth instead of biting into them.

Foods aren’t the only thing to avoid chewing when you get braces. You’ll also need to stop habits like biting pencils, pens, and fingernails. If you stay away from all of these things, you’ll be able to get your braces off as soon as possible, and we know you want that!

How to Take Care of Your Braces

Braces may look indestructible, but they’re not. They require care and maintenance. Here are a few tips on caring for both your teeth and your braces.

  • Brush after every meal. Even when you have snacks. That’s because those braces have a gazillion tiny places where food can get trapped—and that causes plaque buildup. Not good. Be sure to rinse with mouthwash and floss once a day. These basics can ensure you don’t spend more time in the dentist’s office than necessary.
  • Invest in a waterpik. This helpful tool can remove food from hard to reach areas, and aid in keeping plaque off of your teeth. You can pick one up at any pharmacy or online.
  • Floss carefully. Too much force can damage your braces, so be gentle. You might even try using a floss threader or braces floss sticks. We will show you how to floss with braces, so don’t worry—you’ll be a pro!
  • Eat with a fork and knife. Especially with finger foods like burgers and pizza. Biting into food (rather than placing a bite inside your mouth) pushes the food up behind and between your braces, and it can get stuck there—again, causing plaque.
  • Fall in love with chocolate. When you need a little sugar pick-me-up, avoid candy that sticks to your braces, such as hard candies and sugary gum. Chocolate is softer and melts in your mouth. Who knew you’d have a good excuse to eat chocolate? But don’t go overboard. The bacteria in plaque loves sugar.

Life with braces will take some adjustment—no pun intended! The team at our offices will walk you through what to do when you get braces so you can feel confident in taking the steps to make the process easier. We want you to experience the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of this orthodontic care. Call us today to talk more about your braces or your overall dental care. Or if you’re interested in getting braces, be sure to contact us for a free consultation.

Best Sports Mouthguards: What You Need to Know

Best Sports Mouthguards: What You Need to Know

You want to take care of your teeth. That’s why you brush, floss, and see your dentist for regular check-ups. You also know it’s important to protect them when you play contact sports, but you may not know the best sports mouthguards to use or how to purchase them. That’s where we come in. We’ll help you understand your options for buying a mouthguard for playing the sport you love.

Kinds of Sports Mouthguards

You’ve seen players using sports mouthguard on the TV, but what kinds of mouthguards are those athletes using? And which one is the best mouthguard to use? If you play sports for teams like Summerville High School, Cane Bay Middle School and High School or other local teams knowing your options is important, and so is choosing the best for you. Here are the three basic types:

  •  Stock Mouthguards. These are the most commonly used type of mouthguard, and they’re the least expensive, too. You can find them at most retail sporting goods stores. However, research from the American Dental Association has shown that stock mouthguards are the least effective sports mouthguards. That’s because they’re pre-formed so you can’t adjust them to your mouth’s nature bite.
  • Mouth Formed Mouthguards. This is also called the “boil-and-bite” mouthguards. These mouthguards soften when placed in boiling water before being inserted into the mouth. The heat from the water softens the mouthguard so it molds to the user’s mouth. These are also available at sporting goods stores.
  • Custom Mouthguards. As the name suggests, these kinds of sports mouthguards are made by dentists and orthodontists to fit the user’s mouth. They cost more than the other two kinds of mouthguards, but they are much more comfortable and provide better protection against injuries. Prices are typically 150-200 depending on customization options.

No matter what kind of sports mouthguard you choose, make sure you or your child wear them. Although parents know their value and importance, 67% of them admitted that their children do not wear a mouthguard during organized sports. That’s because the mouthguards are not required.

How Custom Sports Mouthguards Are Made

When you opt for a custom mouthguard, the process of having one made is quick and easy. First, you’ll need to make an appointment with our office. During your visit, our staff will use a digital scanner to create a 3d image of your mouth. Next we 3D print a model of your teeth. Finally a mouthguard will be created with superheated thick plastic. If your child is using a custom mouthguard, they will need a new one every few years as they grow and mature.

Why You Need a Sports Mouthguard

The American Association of Orthodontists reported that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth than those who wear one. But that’s not the only reason to wear a mouthguard. They can also help prevent injury to your jaw and mouth. Even the most expensive mouthguards cost significantly less than repairing an injury.

Getting the best sports mouthguard is an important decision, and we’d like to help. Contact our offices and we will schedule an appointment for you to discuss your options. Your dental health is too important to ignore.

Can I Use My HSA to Pay for Dental Needs?

Can I Use My HSA to Pay for Dental Needs?

You want to take care of your teeth, but you also want to make your money stretch as far as possible. That’s why we offer payment plans to suit different budgets. But did you know you can also use your HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account) to pay for your dental needs—including braces?

Not sure how it works? Don’t worry. We’ve got all the information you need to help you use your HSA or FSA for your family’s dental needs.

HSAs, FSAs, and Orthodontics:

If you’re not familiar with an HSA or FSA, these are savings plans available to people who enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). You can’t use an FSA with other health plans, and you sign up for the HDHP with your employer during open enrollment, so check with your benefits administrator to see what your options are. If you go the HDHP route, the contributions you make to the HSA are taken out of your paycheck before taxes, which means you’ll pay less in taxes on that money. Then when you need the money, you can use it for approved medical expenses. And it most cases, that means dental work, including braces.

How to Use an FSA for Braces and Other Dental Needs:

Once you’ve set up your FSA or HSA and have start putting money away each month, here are three steps to make those dollars pay for your dental work:

Come in for a consultation. Just set up a time to visit and talk about your concerns. We can even do an initial consultation online, so that’s an option if you’re super busy or if you’re unable to come into the office.

Once we’ve done an evaluation of your dental needs, whether braces, crowns, root canals, or other procedures, we will give you a quote of the total cost of the orthodontic portion of treatment. We will also give you a length of time you will have to pay for the treatment. With braces, including Invisalign, you can make monthly payments, and we even have a payment calculator online to help you figure that amount.

Choose your payment approach. When you sign up for an HSA, you’ll probably receive a debit card (or paper checks in a small number of health plans). You can use the debit card or checks to pay for your dental needs each month. Some HSA accounts allow you to pay for medical and dental bills online, so that’s an option as well.

If you haven’t saved enough money in your HSA or FSA, you can designate part of that money for your dental needs and pay the rest of the cost out of pocket. The good news is that you can use health savings contributions from year to year to pay the balance. As long as you keep money in the account, you can keep making payments, as long as it’s in the same calendar year as the treatment.

One more thing: If you have money in your FSA or HSA to pay for braces upfront at the beginning of treatment, we offer a discounts on treatment paid in full. So keep that in mind, too!

Keep track of paperwork. The IRS is a stickler on following its rules, so make sure you keep a copy of all the paperwork associated with any dental work done using an HSA or FSA. This is super important in case you get audited.

Also keep track of paperwork regarding our agreement for payment. That way, there’s no question about how much your paying and why.

Using FSAs and HSAs for Adult Dental Needs:

One question we get asked often is whether you can use an FSA or HSA for your own dental needs or if it only applies to kids. If your braces or other dental work is considered necessary for your health and well-being, usually it is in some component, you can use the savings account for your braces as well as your kids. On the other hand, cosmetic dental procedures like teeth whitening or veneers are not covered.

We know your dental needs are important, and we want to help you maximize your HSA and FSA dollars. Give us a call today or go online and sign up for a virtual consultation. You can be on your way to a better smile in no time!

What’s a Virtual Orthodontic Consultation?

You have wanted to get to an orthodontist to see if aligners or braces would be a good option for you, but you just don’t have the time. We’ve solved that problem for you with our virtual consultations. Here’s a quick rundown of the process.

  1. Give us some basic information. We need to know a few details. We’ll ask you:
    • Is the consultation for you or a family member? You may be asking about a child or a dependent, so we need to know how to tailor our responses to best fit your needs.
    • Why are you thinking about straightening your teeth? People give us lots of reasons. They may want more confidence, a better bite or a dentist may have recommended it. You may just be curious how much it would cost. We get it!
    • What is your smile like? Most smiles fall into four categories: crowded, spaced, protruding, or bite (overbite, underbite, open-bite).
    • What type of treatment are you interested in? In our office, we offer clear aligners, advanced metal braces, and clear braces.
  2. Send us some pictures. We need to see your pearly whites! We’ll explain how to take pictures of:
    • your molars (side of your mouth)
    • upper teeth (called the upper arch)
    • bottom teeth (called the lower arch)
    • bite (front teeth—overbite or underbite)
  3. We get back to you via email! Once you send us the information and photos, our team will assess your needs and give you our recommendation for treatment.
  4. Come to the office. Once you have the consultation and our recommendation, you can decide which approach you’d like to take. If you’d like to move forward, we will schedule an appointment in our office for a full evaluation. We will take x-rays and do an exam to make sure we tailor the treatment for your specific dental needs. You will likely have the option of starting treatment the same day as well.
  5. Get started! Our pricing and in office financing can be customized so that a new smile won’t leave you with a frown on your face. We want you to experience the self-confidence and better health that orthodontics can provide.

Sending us your information takes less than five minutes. In less time than it takes to get coffee, you can begin the process toward a great smile you’ll be proud of!

There’s nothing holding you back, so get your virtual orthodontic consult today!

First Dates and Braces: What to Know

Going on that first date can be nerve-racking. Picking out the right outfit. Choosing the restaurant. What to talk about. The butterflies in your stomach. Could this person be “the one”? If these unknowns weren’t enough, you have one other issue to contend with: your braces.

What’s the best approach for a successful first date when you have braces? Read on. We’ll give you the best tips to make that first date successful.

What to Wear with Braces

No, we’re not talking about the right outfight or the right shoes. We’re talking about your smile. It’s the most important accessory you’ll ever put on. In fact, a research study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that nearly half (48%) of adults believe that a smile is the most memorable thing about a person after a single meeting.

It’s tempting to cover up your smile, especially if your braces are new. But here’s the good news: nobody will know you are anxious about your braces unless you give it away with your body language and interactions. If you embrace your braces as a part of your style and unique personality, and if you act with confidence on that first date, you’ll impress the person all the more. Go ahead and smile and laugh like you normally would. You can’t hide your braces, and you’ll have more fun if you just relax and let the real you shine through.

If you want to walk on the wild side, try colored braces. You can choose the color that suits your skin tone, eye color, or even the outfit you plan to wear. And if lipstick is your thing, you can choose a bold color that will frame your face well and show off your braces.

What to Eat with Braces on a First Date

Nothing puts a damper on your first date like having spinach stuck between your teeth. With a little planning ahead of time, though, you can enjoy a meal without wearing it on your braces.

First, choose the restaurant beforehand if possible. That way, you can go online and read the menu. Look for brace-friendly options. Pasta (or other soft food) is a good option; salad, not so much. Soup is also a good choice. Second, avoid foods with lots of herbs (like garlic bread) or minced onion. The small pieces can get lodged in your brackets. Third, stick to smaller bites and chew on the side of your mouth. Lastly, drink lots of water. This will help dislodge any particles stuck in the nooks and crannies of your braces.

What to Bring on a Date If You Have Braces

When you get braces, you’ll want to put together a cleaning kit to take with you when you go out, especially when you go to a restaurant. Include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, brace wax, a hand-held mirror, sugar-free gum, and lip balm.

After dinner, excuse yourself to the restroom. Take the kit with you and brush your teeth and swig some mouthwash. Check the mirror for any leftover debris. If brushing isn’t possible, use your hand-held mirror to look for particles in your teeth. Pop in some gum for fresh breath.

How to Kiss with Braces

Let’s clear up one big myth: if two people with braces kiss, the chances of the braces locking are one in a million. This misconception began in the early days of braces when the hardware was much, much larger and bulkier, which made locking more possible (although still unlikely).

However, kissing with braces is different than kissing without them. You will learn the skill in time, but here are a few pointers to make the adjustment easier.

  1. Start with your mouth closed. This will allow you to get used to the feel of the braces in your mouth (or theirs).
  2. Be gentle. Braces can cause injury to soft tissue, like your lips or the inside of your mouth. That soft tissue can also get caught in the brackets, which will definitely ruin the moment.
  3. Try dental wax. This can make kissing more comfortable. Your partner might not even notice the braces if you use the wax correctly.
  4. Ease off the lip pressure. Landing a hard, passionate kiss may lead to a painful end if your lips (or theirs) get pressed too strongly against your braces. Easy does it.

On a first date while wearing braces, don’t stress out. Remember, the other person is just as nervous as you are. And we bet your date won’t even notice your braces—they’re too preoccupied by what you might think about them! Remember, confidence is always attractive, whether or not you have braces.

What Is Halitosis—And How Do I Fix It?

Everybody gets bad breath once in a while. That favorite Italian restaurant with the garlic bread can leave your breath smelling not-so-fresh. However, some people struggle with bad breath even if they don’t eat a pound of garlic for dinner.

Halitosis—often called bad breath—is the condition in which a person’s breath smells bad, unattractive, or alarming. Unfortunately, some people feel so embarrassed about the halitosis that they won’t talk to anyone about it—not even to their dentist.

Here’s the good news: lots of people have halitosis. In fact, nearly 50% of the population have bad breath on a regular basis. You’re not alone. Even better news: halitosis is easy to treat and even prevent. We’ll explain what causes halitosis and how to treat it

What Causes Halitosis?

Lots of things can cause halitosis. You may be suffering from one or more of them. Think of halitosis as a symptom of a problem. Once you know how you can get bad breath, you’ll know how to fix it. Here are some of the most common culprits:

  • Oral Hygiene. About 90% of people with halitosis suffer from a problem within the mouth. Issues can include the following: 1) cavities; 2) gum disease; 3) cracked fillings; 4) poorly cleaned dentures; 5) poorly cleaned braces. The simplest preventative step is to see a dentist twice a year for a check-up and cleaning.
  • Mouth, Nose and Throat Infections. According to the Mayo Clinic, nose, sinus and throat issues (like allergies) that can lead to postnasal drip may also lead to bad breath. Bacteria feeds on the mucus your body produces when it’s battling a sinus infection, leaving you sniffly and stinky.
  • Garlic isn’t the only cause of halitosis. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets can also cause it, as can eating too many sweet. Drinking too much coffee and alcohol may also contribute to halitosis.
  • Medical conditions. Common maladies include diabetes (because of blood sugar levels); asthma; acid reflux. Less common causes can include lung disease; certain cancers; blood disorders; and kidney and liver disease.
  • Dry mouth: Saliva rinses and removes leftover food from your mouth and helps break it down. If you don’t make enough saliva, one result may be halitosis. Your mouth gets dry when you sleep at night, which is why you may wake up with unpleasant “morning breath.”
  • Smoking and tobacco. Tobacco products destroy your body as well as your breath. They leave their own odor behind, but they can also dry out your mouth (see above). Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease, which is also another cause of bad breath.

How to Treat Halitosis

The good news is you can probably get rid of halitosis by taking a few proactive steps at home. Besides brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, here are a few habits to decrease the likelihood of halitosis.

  • Brush your tongue. Why? Because it’s the home of lots of bacteria. Clean it often with a tongue scraper and rinse with mouthwash afterward to kill the germs.
  • Rinse with mouthwash. Your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere, so you need to use mouthwash. Swigging the minty fresh liquid around can kill the germs hiding in your mouth.
  • Brush along the gumline. It’s easy to get lax with brushing your teeth. Make sure you brush along the gumline because that’s where the leftover food is, and left there long enough, it will grow bacteria. Bacteria = halitosis.
  • Say goodbye to the bad habits. Cut back on the caffeine and tobacco, both of which can cause bad breath. The same goes for foods that cause bad breath. Increase your water intake.
  • Chew sugar-free mint gum. Sugar-free is better for your teeth. Mint makes your breath smell fresher. And the gum stimulates your mouth to create more saliva.

If you don’t see an improvement with these at-home remedies, visit your dentist. With an exam and cleaning, they can rule out any hidden oral problems and work with you on finding adequate resources, which may include using different dental products or a visiting your primary care physician.

Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk with your dentist about halitosis. They’re the best resource for helping you find the right solutions.





So, How Do Braces Actually Work?

Braces are often a common stage in many people’s lives, whether it’s a part of your teenage years, adult life, or otherwise. As with many things that are an accepted part of life, you might accept the technology without having a concrete understanding of how, exactly, it functions.  

Have you ever wondered just how braces actually work? We’re here to give you an orthodontist’s explanation.

diagram of a toothHow Braces Work

Your teeth are housed in a special kind of bone called alveolar bone. The roots of your teeth sit in a fossa (depression or hollow) of alveolar bone called the socket. They’re connected to the socket by periodontal ligaments.

Whenever pressure is applied to your teeth, the periodontal ligaments compress and the bone on the side receiving the pressure responds by resorption. On the side opposite of where pressure is being applied, bone is deposited. 

So, as braces apply the ideal amount of pressure to your teeth, over time they will slowly move through the alveolar bone through this process of resorption and deposition of bone. Orthodontists look at where we want the teeth to move, and from there we use braces and physics to move them in the proper direction. 

How Long Will I Have To Wear Braces?

How long it takes for braces to straighten your teeth depends on your specific situation. Typically, braces need to be worn for between 12-18 months for most people.

Do Braces Hurt?

You will experience soreness with braces, but you won’t experience constant discomfort. The time when your teeth and gums will feel most sore is when you first get braces and after adjustments because that is when the pressure on the alveolar bones is the greatest. You can compare braces pain to a bruise—if you push on the bruise, it becomes more sore, but it does eventually go away.

The Periodontal ligament gets compressed and that is what causes the pain associated with braces. Chewing soft sugarless gum can momentarily release the pressure on the ligament and thereby help relieve the orthodontic pain. 

How Do I Know If I Need Braces? 

Braces can improve the cosmetic appearance of a smile, but their use goes far beyond aesthetics. Braces also help correct problems related to your bite, and a healthy bite can prolong the life of your teeth.  

Your teeth have a significant impact on your health, and it’s important to care for them properly – which includes taking preventative measures like seeing an orthodontist early on. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends getting a screening at age 7. With early treatment, orthodontists are able to catch and correct early issues before more severe problems develop. 

However, braces are for both kids and adults—there is no age limit to getting braces. In fact, 25% of orthodontic patients are adults! If you think you or your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We offer free consultations and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. We also have lots of great resources on our site – whether you’re curious about what life with braces is like, what to expect during a visit, and more.