Braces FAQ

Orthodontic Emergency Tips

December 13th, 2013

We are in the midst of the holiday season and that means crazy times for all of us.  Our calendars are full with holiday shopping, celebrations and gift giving.  Our time seems to be limited on the normal daily activities.  Throw in an orthodontic emergency and you scramble to try and fit that appointment into your schedule.

Bellard Orthodontics feels your pain during this time and we would like to help alleviate some of your discomfort.  Although true orthodontic emergencies are rare, below are some tips on handling these situations with holiday cheer.  Of course, you may call our office to assist you if these tips do not help.  If you need to reach us after hours or while our office is closed December 19 - January 1 for the holidays, call 409-782-6760 and we will call you back to help you as soon as possible.

General Soreness

It is common for you to feel sore a couple of days after your braces or retainers have been adjusted.  Remember, this is temporary and very normal.  To help with the soreness, rinse your mouth with warm salt water.  If you are allowed to take over-the-counter pain medicine, take what is normally given for pain.  Eating may be uncomfortable, as well, eating soft foods will be much easier on your mouth.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores do happen and for some patients, it is more common than with other patients.  These sores can appear inside the cheeks, on the lips and even on the tongue.  Unfortunately, they can be uncomfortable.  Braces do not cause the sores but they can trigger or aggravate the area.  Using a topical anesthetic such as Orabase or Ora-Gel will give immediate relief.  Apply the ointment as often as needed.  Make sure to use a cotton swab to keep from other areas getting infected.

Tenderness of the Mouth

When you get your braces, your mouth is not use to having this new appliance.  It may take a while for your mouth, cheeks, lips and tongue to get use to the new feeling.  Eating with your new braces can be irritating.  A small amount of relief wax will help by giving a cushion between your cheek and braces.  You can pinch off a small piece and roll it into a tiny ball.  Flatten the wax and place it completely over the area of braces that is causing the discomfort.  This trick will help make eating and talking so much easier and you will feel better in no time.  If you accidentally swallow the wax, do not worry because it is completely harmless. If the irritation does continue, please call Bellard Orthodontics.  You may need an adjustment to help out.

Noticeable Food Stuck Between Braces or Teeth

This is more of an embarrassment, or a bit of an uncomfortable situation, than it is an emergency. Fortunately, this is an easy fix with a piece of dental floss. A small knot tied in the middle of the dental floss will help with the removal of the food.  You may also use an interproxal brush or pick to help oust the food that is stuck between the teeth and braces.  Always remember to be careful not to hurt the gums or damage the braces.

If You Lose a Rubber or Wire Ligature to the Bracket

If a rubber ligature, which holds the wire to the bracket, should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. If it is a small wire ligature, you can simply remove the wire by using sterile tweezers.  There are times when the wire ligature sticks out and pokes into the lip.  You may simply bend the wire back with a cotton swab or pencil eraser.

Wire Pokes

There are times when the wire feels as if it slides out the back or out of the bracket.  This will cause your mouth to get irritated and be quite uncomfortable.  You can use a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to push the wire so it is flat against the tooth.  Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate the patient’s mouth. If you cannot get to the wire because it is in a difficult position, use your relief wax to cover the wire.

If you cannot come in to our office anytime soon or the wire is extremely bothersome, give us a call so we may schedule an appointment to clip your wire.

What if I Have a Broken Bracket

Brackets are what holds the wires of the braces in place.  Brackets are strong and tough but if you eat hard, crunchy or sticky types of food, they can loosen and even come off the tooth.  If hit hard enough in the mouth, the same result could happen as well.  This is why it is best to avoid foods that are not friendly to braces and wear a mouth guard during any type of physical activity.

The best thing to do if a bracket breaks or comes loose is contact our office. Dr. Bellard will want to examine your mouth and decide the best approach to fix your bracket. If you are unable to get to our office right away, you can do a quick fix by using sterile tweezers to slide the bracket until it is between the teeth.  Turn the bracket back to the correct position and place it back on the center of the tooth.  Remember this is just a temporary fix.  It is best to see Dr. Bellard as soon as possible.

Emergency Orthodontic Care!

October 29th, 2012

Our team knows that orthodontic emergencies are never convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, our team is committed to your dental health and we are more than willing to see you after hours or over the weekend. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If you have an orthodontic emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call. If you are calling us after hours, please follow the emergency prompts to learn how you may be able to solve the problem yourself, or, if you cannot, how to get in contact with our team.

Common issues include:
*Broken Brace
*Broken Wires
*Tie has come off of a Brace
*Loose Expander
*Poking Wire Tie
*Sharpness Felt on the Tongue Side of a Brace
*Loss of a Separator
*Initial Soreness
*Wire Poking

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you visit our office, but please never hesitate to call!

Don't forget your mouth guard for this fall’s sports season!

October 8th, 2012


At our office we know how important it is to protect your face while playing sports. Fall brings an increase in outdoor activities and a greater chance of damaging your precious mouth and pearly whites. Our team also knows sports-related injuries are common among children. It’s been found that 70 percent of parents said their biggest worry is that their child will get hurt while playing sports. Another 67 percent admitted their child doesn’t wear a mouth guard when playing sports such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer.

That’s why we’re doing our part to spread the word that facial sports injuries can be avoided simply by reminding your kids to wear mouth guards. Ask us—Our team will provide a mouth guard for any patient in active treatment.

In addition, the following tipscan help your kids stay safe on the field. Please remind them to:

• Wear mouth guards during contact sports
• Wear a helmet
• Stretch before and after a game or practice
• Wear protective eye wear
• Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin
• Be observant—even as a spectator

All of these can reduce injuries. Only by using a mouth guard and other forms of facial protection can kids with and without braces avoid serious sports injuries. Lastly, please give us a call if you have any questions about mouth guards or your treatment with our team!

You're Never Too Old to Treat Yourself to a New Smile!

September 18th, 2012

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best!

Can Braces Work for Adults?

People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?

Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give our team a call, so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs.

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

September 10th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments vary from dental treatment, in that they primarily address malocclusions, jaw spacing and tooth alignment, rather than the actual health of the teeth. That is why it is often more difficult for parents to determine when a child needs orthodontic treatment rather than dental treatment. So how can you know it is time to take your child to the orthodontist?

Bad Bite - As the adult teeth begin to replace primary teeth, bite occlusions can develop. These often become visible to parents between middle childhood and the pre-teen years, although an orthodontist can identify a bad bite with early evaluation.

Visible Tooth Crowding - If your child's newly emerging teeth are already crowded, you should make an appointment with our office to discuss braces.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism) - Children who grind their teeth at night may do so unconsciously, but the condition requires treatment to prevent the development of headaches, TMJ, and tooth damage. Oral appliances are available to correct nighttime tooth grinding.

Difficulty Chewing, Biting, or Speaking - If your child is displaying difficulty speaking or eating, or if he or she often experiences cheek biting, schedule an orthodontic consultation.

Asymmetry - If your child's face is asymmetrical, or if his or her teeth do not meet together in a natural way, orthodontic treatment may be necessary.

Evaluation and Preventive Care
Even if your child has no visible tooth or jaw alignment problems, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit the orthodontist for an initial examination no later than age seven. The reason for early evaluation is because orthodontists are capable of finding subtle problems with the jaw and teeth growth and spacing before they become more pronounced and also more difficult to treat. By bringing your child in for an evaluation, you may be able to treat orthodontic conditions with shorter and more simplified treatments that are also more affordable than treatment during the teenage and adult years.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

August 29th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments are used to correct malocclusion, a condition more commonly known as a bad bite. The length of treatment time varies depending on the severity of the bite problem.

What is a "bad bite"?
A bad bite occurs when spacing or alignment problems are present. This often includes teeth that are protruding, crowded, or crooked. Sometimes teeth appear straight, but have an uneven bite because the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. Teeth that are irregularly spaced - either too far apart or too close together - can also cause bite problems.

Frequent causes of bite problems:

  • Heredity
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Premature tooth loss
  • Accidents

Benefits of orthodontic treatment:

Appearance -
Correcting a bad bite often creates a more attractive smile, which frequently raises the patient's self esteem.

Preventing Decay -
It also results in a healthier mouth. It is much more difficult to thoroughly clean teeth that are crooked, protruding, overlapped, or crowed. This may allow plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment corrects these conditions, so cleaning can be more efficient.

Avoiding Alignment Issues -
An uneven bite can interfere with the motions of chewing and speaking. This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, which may require pricey cosmetic restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers, to correct. It can also lead to problems with the jaws. Orthodontic treatment lessens the likelihood of those issues, as well.

 

Types of orthodontic treatment:

- Braces: Metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the front of teeth. Wires and elastics are attached to the brackets to straighten teeth.

- Invisalign®: Advanced 3D computer images of the patients' mouth are used to create clear, custom aligners that slowly move teeth. They are nearly invisible and are more comfortable than traditional braces. They are also removable, which makes it possible to continue with normal brushing and flossing.

- Retainers: A retainer is a removable piece worn inside the mouth that uses pressure to force teeth to move into proper alignment. They are used after braces are removed.

 

Length of orthodontic treatment:
Treatment typically ranges from 12 - 36 months. Factors include the age, cooperation level, and growth occurrence of the patient. The complexity of the case also impacts the treatment time.

 

 

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