braces

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!

How much do you know about your toothbrush?

October 22nd, 2012

Taking care of your smile is nothing new! People have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years. In fact, the first “toothbrush” was created around 3000BC! Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed edge to rub against their teeth for cleaning.

The first toothbrush with bristles – similar to today’s toothbrushes – was invented in 1498 in China. Brushes were made out of bone or bamboo with bristles made from the hairs on the back of a hog’s neck.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nylon bristle toothbrush was introduced and people quickly became aware of practicing good oral hygiene.

Here are some other interesting facts about your toothbrush (and toothpaste):
• Most people are said to use blue toothbrushes over any other color
• The first toothpaste was used in 500 BC in China and India
• On average, children smile about 400 times per day
• Your toothbrush should be replaced every two months
• The first known toothpaste was used in 1780, Crest was introduced in 1955 and Colgate in 1873

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!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 2nd, 2012

Happy October! For those who don't know, it’s National Orthodontic Health Month.

Our team realizes that this month-long event is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene. National Orthodontic Health Month also aims to recognize the dedicated work of orthodontists and other dental professionals.

To avoide orthodontic emergencies, our team recommends that patients avoid the following Halloween treats, or recipes with these ingredients:

• Caramel
• Nuts
• Popcorn (including un-popped kernels)
• Taffy
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Licorice
• Bubblegum
• Ice

Avoiding the above will help ensure that you don't encounter any unwanted orthodontic issues! If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, ask us on Facebook, or ask our team during your visit this month!

Looking for a delicious braces-friendly fall dessert? We’ve got a great recipe!

September 25th, 2012

You have braces, and you’re probably wondering what to eat. You can’t have gum, popcorn or other delicious but braces-unfriendly foods. But fear not! Our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists have a delicious recipe that will satisfy both your sugar craving and hunger when the weather gets cold.

Apple Bombolini
Ingredients:

Rustic dough
• 9 ounces cake flour (about 3 cups)
• ½ cup all purpose flour
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• Pinch sea salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into large pieces
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 2 tablespoon cold water

Apple sauce filling
• 4 Granny Smith apples
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon water

Diced apples:
• 4 Granny Smith apples
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• ½ lemon, juiced

Directions:

For the dough: In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients and mix for 5 seconds to blend. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until the butter is about the size of peas. Add the cold water and blend until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a roughly shaped ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Applesauce filling: Peel, core, and slice the apples. Put the apples with the rest of the ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and cook until the apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, and refrigerate.

Diced apples: Peel, core, and cut the apples into large slices. Toss with the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and set aside.

Assemble the bomboloni: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out to1/4-inch thick round. Cut into 6-inch rounds. Place about 1/4 cup of the Apple Sauce Filling onto the center of each round. Top with a few pieces of the Diced Apples. Pull the sides up towards the center to form a bundle, pinching the dough together towards top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before baking

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.

What questions should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

September 4th, 2012

Are you thinking about orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment? Consider making your first step an orthodontic consultation. During the consultation we will address your questions, concerns, and talk about a treatment plan that would best suit your situation.

We want you to feel prepared and in charge of your orthodontic treatment decisions, so keep these questions in mind when you come in for your appointment.

• If I do need some adjustments to my teeth, what options will I have besides braces?
(This will help you determine what approaches we use to straighten your teeth.)

• What kind of preparation is needed to get braces? How many visits will it take?
(It’s important to know how many appointments may be needed and what you will need to do between appointments to be ready for braces.)

• Can I expect any pain when getting braces?
(Ask about the ways we address pain management.)

• What determines how long I have to wear braces?
(The length of treatment will vary from patient to patient. During your consultation we can evaluate your teeth and jaw alignment to determine the correct course and length of treatment.)

• How will braces affect my lifestyle? Foods I can eat? Activities I can do?
(You may find that little needs to change in your daily routine to have a successful orthodontic outcome. We can discuss and address any changes so you can be prepared before you get your braces.)

• Who will be involved in the orthodontic work? Whom can I expect to see during my adjustment visits?

• What will my orthodontic work cost? What is the ”average” cost and what could be the maximum?
(Make sure you are clear about what your insurance covers, who contacts the insurance company for pre-authorization, who files the insurance forms, and what flexibility there is to pay the remaining amount not covered.)

Your initial orthodontic consultation may just be the first step in relieving a lot of pain and discomfort in your life. Going in with the right questions will help you to understand the entire process and prepare you to do your part for your own dental health. Be sure to bring a list of your questions!

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.

 

 

Preventing Decay While Wearing Braces

August 20th, 2012


Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

1. Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, popcorn can also bend or break your braces.
On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.

2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can't always reach.

3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can also find many of these items at your local pharmacy.

4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
It's important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.

When Should I Schedule an Orthodontic Evaluation for My Child?

August 13th, 2012


Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during the toddler years. But many are unaware of when orthodontic treatment should begin. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven or before, when children usually have a mixture of adult and baby teeth. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, the evaluation is helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with emerging teeth -- regardless of how subtle.

Children have more formidable bone structures than teenagers and adults, and as they grow, orthodontic appliances can help guide jaw growth, which may prevent the development of an overbite or under-bite, as well as tooth crowding due to space limitations. Orthodontic treatment is also helpful for guiding newly emerging adult teeth into a proper alignment, which is not only aesthetically advantageous, but also helpful in preventing tooth decay.

Why Early Evaluation?
Taking your child to the orthodontist for an evaluation means that you may be able to identify problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Early treatment often equals a more simplified treatment plan, which is beneficial to both children and their parents. Often, earlier treatment can cost less to correct a problem than delayed treatment.
If a problem is detected, our team will discuss corrective options and provide a recommended treatment schedule. Depending on your child's orthodontic needs, he or she may benefit from:

• Palatial Spacers - Helpful for correcting a crossbite by expanding the width of the upper jaw.
• Fixed Functional Appliance - Helpful for correcting severe upper tooth protrusion.
• Headgear - Helpful for guiding healthy growth of new teeth and the jaw. Headgear is removable, but usually must be worn at least 10 hours per day.

If your child is approaching the age of seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination.

What are the Early Signs of Orthodontic Problems?

August 8th, 2012


Visibly crooked teeth are not the only reason to take your child into the orthodontist. There are some subtle things to look for as well, which may indicate the onset of more serious orthodontic issues. Many orthodontic issues are much easier to address if treated and corrected during a child's development.

Waiting until facial development is complete or until the permanent teeth have come in can make correction of many orthodontic issues more challenging. Both children and adults can benefit from orthodontic care at any age, but addressing issues early is almost always the ideal choice.

If you're wondering if you or your child might have need for orthodontic care, there are some things you can be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most common warning signs of orthodontic issues:

• Difficulty when chewing or biting
• Chronic mouth-breathing
• Sucking the thumb, the fingers, or any other oral sucking habits that continue after the age of six
• Overbite - when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by more than 5mm
• Top front teeth that cover more than 25% of the bottom teeth while biting
• Underbite - when the top front teeth go behind the bottom row of teeth when biting
• Crowded, crooked, overlapped, misshapen, misplaced teeth or extra teeth of any size
• Crossbite - when one or more teeth tilt toward the cheek or toward the tongue causing excessive stress on the jawbone
• The center of the top and bottom teeth don't line up
• Uneven teeth-wearing
• Baby teeth coming out too early for the child's age
• Pain in jaws
• Clicking in the jaw joints
• The jaw shifts off-center while chewing or biting
• A jaw that protrudes, or recedes, too much
• Difficulty speaking or enunciating clearly
• Chronic biting of the inner cheek or roof of the mouth
• Asymmetrical facial structure
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth

If you notice that either you or your child has one or more of these conditions, they could be signs that there is a risk of orthodontic or health problems. The sooner these problems are addressed, the wider and brighter you will be able to smile going forward!

Understanding Orthodontic Appliances for Jaw Growth Correction

August 1st, 2012

Children and adults who visit orthodontists often feel confused and a little frightened because of the various metal tools and appliances. Knowing the applications of such devices can help ease a patient's mind when undergoing treatment. Dentofacial orthopedics is a specialty that uses appliances to adjust the jaws for ideal compatibility. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends these treatment options for children between the ages of eight and twelve to make adjustments during developmental stages. Adults also experience dental changes throughout their lives and can benefit from dentofacial orthopedic appliances. Some common problems with jaw alignment or development include:
  • Underdeveloped lower jaw
  • Protrusion of upper teeth
  • Malocclusions
  • Crossbite
  • Overbite
Orthodontic Appliances for Correcting Jaw Growth Problems

Jaw-correcting appliances are either fixed or removable. Fixed appliances are applied to the teeth with the use of cement. Removable appliances require dedication from the patient to wear the devices as instructed. You will receive better results by wearing your orthodontic gear and following the treatment plan designed for your specific needs. Understanding the potential results will help you stay motivated, and parents can help their children to follow recommendations. Some appliances can cause slight discomfort during adjustment periods, but wearing them regularly will help shorten the time frame for treatment. Here are some of the most common appliances for correcting jaw growth problems.
  • Headgear: This appliance is removable and consists of a stainless steel facebow and fabric safety strap. The orthodontist fixes metal bands to your upper-back teeth where you attach the facebow. The safety strap wraps around your head and secures the facebow. Headgear affects jaw growth and tooth movement by applying pressure to the upper teeth and maxilla.
  • Herbst® Appliance: Typically permanent, these appliances attach to the upper and lower molars to hold the mandible forward. The purpose of this type of treatment is to eliminate an overbite. With expansion screws, the Herbst can also widen the jaw.
  • Mara: This appliance pushes the mandible forward to reduce overbite. Crowns are placed on your top and bottom molars, and a metal elbow connects the crowns.
  • Bite Corrector: This appliance is combined with braces to correct different malocclusions. Metal bars with enclosed springs apply pressure to both the upper and lower jaws. The placement of such bars will depend on the bite type.
  • Bionator: This removable appliance guides the lower jaw so that it grows in proportion to the upper jaw. Children can develop aligned bites by wearing bionators.
  • Palatal Expansion: There are two options for placement, fixed, or removable palatal expansions, to fix crossbites. The appliance attaches to the upper-back teeth and widens the jaw.
You will get used to the feeling of most appliances within one month, and the adjustment period is easier if you follow the treatment plan designed by our staff. The average time it takes to correct jaw problems is 12 months, so you can expect to see a more beautiful smile in about one year.

Burning Invisalign® questions, with Dr. Bellard

July 23rd, 2012


Are you wondering what Invisalign treatment is really like, and what effect it will have on your day-to-day activities? Will it slur your speech? Will people know you're in treatment? You're not alone in your concerns!

Dr. Mark Bellard, and our team thought we’d share this list of questions and answers for anyone pondering Invisalign treatment at Bellard Orthodontics.

How exactly does Invisalign work?
Using 3-D computer imaging technology, Invisalign creates a series of custom-made, clear aligners exclusively for your teeth, based on the treatment plan that we specify for you. Each aligner moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.

Will I experience pain during treatment?
Most people experience temporary discomfort for a few days after a new aligner is placed. This feeling of pressure is normal and is a sign that Invisalign is working by sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination.

Can other people see that I'm in treatment?
One of the benefits of Invisalign is that the aligners are clear. You can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.

Can I smoke during treatment?
We discourage smoking while wearing the aligners as they may become discolored.

Are there any foods I shouldn’t eat while in treatment?
You can eat normally during the entire course of treatment. One of the advantages of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable. Simply take the aligners out before each meal, brush when you're finished eating, then reinsert the aligners afterward.

What about chewing gum?
We recommend removing your aligners for all meals and snacks, as gum and other chewy substances can stick to the aligners.

How often must I wear my aligners?
Aligners should be worn all day, except when eating, brushing, and flossing.

Will my speech be affected by the aligners?
As with any orthodontic treatment, aligners may temporarily affect your speech. If this does happen, your tongue will adjust within a day or two and your speech should return to normal.

How do I clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your aligners is by brushing and rinsing them in lukewarm water.

How often must I visit the office during treatment?
For most patients, visits every 4-6 weeks are frequent enough for us to determine that your treatment is progressing properly. We will provide you with a specific schedule that supports your individual treatment plan.

If you have additional questions about the Invisalign treatment, please give our office a call, or visit us on Facebook!

Top ten tips for keeping your BRACES sparklin’ clean!

July 17th, 2012




Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:


1. One tooth at a time. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.


2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.


3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.


4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.


5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.


6. Remove the moving parts. If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.


7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.


8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.


9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces.


10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office - we’d love to help!

We hope this helps, and remember to give our team a call if you ever have any questions!

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

June 14th, 2012




The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. It can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain your teeth—and your smile—for a lifetime.

Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.

Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!

Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. We can personalize your treatment to suit all of your needs!

Summer is Almost Here- Tips for a Bright, White Smile!

May 31st, 2012

Summer is only weeks away, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for most of our patients. Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, hitting America’s open roads or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to as spring winds down and summer begins on our Facebook page!

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks or dark colored juices- Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile your working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth- everyone knows when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to try and swirl your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after- your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Wishing you a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

May 23rd, 2012

Memorial Day weekend, a time to remember and honor the men and women lost while serving for our country. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of summer, and for many folks getting out of town for three days after being cooped up in the classroom or the office spells sweet, sweet relief.

What about you? What are you up to this Memorial Day weekend? Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just hitting the great American open roads, we’d like to hear all about it!

Our entire team wishes you a happy, safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

"What Should I Expect During My Initial Consultation?"

May 10th, 2012

Great question! When you first come in for your initial consultation we will conduct a comprehensive examination to assess your oral health. This will better enable us to determine the best treatment method for you.

Your orthodontic evaluation will consist of an oral and facial examination to assess your oral health. We will have you take intraoral and facial photographs as well as panoramic and cephalometric X-rays to help determine the proper orthodontic treatment method. Then, an impression of your teeth and bite will be taken to construct a model of your mouth. (This will help us when examining your diagnostic records).

At your second appointment, we will discuss your options with you. Our team feels it’s important to take the time to carefully examine your diagnostic records after your consultation so that we can more thoroughly prepare for your treatment. This additional preparation will ensure that you receive the best orthodontic care possible. At this time, we encourage you to ask us any questions you may have about your treatment.

If you are seeking orthodontic treatment for your child, our staff asks that both you and your child attend the initial consultation. We feel it is important that both you and your child completely understand the doctor’s recommendations before we proceed with treatment.

Give us a call today and schedule a consultation! We look forward to hearing from you!

May is “Get Caught Reading Month”! What’s on your reading list?

May 4th, 2012

With the school year close to winding down for a lot of our patients at Bellard Orthodontics, we wanted to remind all our patients about the importance of reading. Sure it’s easy to keep putting off reading this time of year, but reading is a vital step in brain development and literacy. And if you needed any more reason to read, May marks “Get Caught Reading Month.”

Today, we thought we’d ask: What's on YOUR reading list? What are some of your all-time favorites? Out of ideas for great reads? Ask us for suggestions, and our team would be happy to provide a few. You may also ask a local librarian for some ideas on what to read next!

Happy reading! Be sure to share with us your book picks or your all-time favorite novels or literature on our Facebook page!

“When should my child visit for an orthodontic consultation?”

April 16th, 2012

Great question! Braces were originally considered to be best appropriate for teens. But these days, kids as old as seven are beginning their orthodontic treatment. Because preadolescent kids are typically not self-conscious, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists suggest it could be a good idea to start early.

Experts, however, say it depends on the treatment required. Some children who get braces at an early age end up in a second phase of treatment, and end up having braces well into their teenage years despite starting young.

Most orthodontic treatment begins between ages nine and 14, and the folks at AAO estimate most orthodontic treatment lasts from one to three years, with two years being the average. It’s important, however, that children be screened no later than age seven for us to assess what the best age for treatment is.

We hope this helps! Please give us a call if you have any questions about your child’s treatment! See you soon!

Why do I need a braces adjustment so often?

March 28th, 2012

When you have braces, your wires will need to be replaced with new ones regularly. It is the slow, steady pressure placed on your teeth that move them into their desired positions, so these adjustments are a vital aspect of your treatment. We have set out a specific treatment plan to achieve your optimal results, and keeping up with your appointments will allow your treatment to be completed in the predicted amount of time.

Scheduling your adjustments sooner than planned may result in more pain and discomfort, because your teeth haven’t been allowed to settle into their new positions properly. Skipping appointments or scheduling them farther apart will result in a much longer treatment time. Visiting our office regularly will also allow us to answer any questions you may have, check for damaged appliances, and monitor your progress.

Am I Too Old for Braces?

March 21st, 2012

Orthodontic treatment for adults is becoming more and more common. In fact, the number of adults getting braces has actually climbed 24 percent since 1996! More adults than ever are realizing that orthodontic treatment is not just for kids, and can help improve the aesthetics and health of a smile of any age! In society where appearance matters and can help make the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing wisely to invest in orthodontic treatment.

Some of the most common reasons our adult patients come to us considering orthodontic treatment include:

  • Teeth that are crowded or spaced apart, sometimes as a result of tooth decay or gum disease
  • Pain or pressure from crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw
  • A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly

Most of all though, adult patients come to our office seeking a healthier mouth and a more confident smile! Orthodontic treatment at our office can be successful at any age, and adults especially can appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.

As an adult patient, we recognize that you have different needs than our younger patients, and we will work with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.

If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit for a consultation. We understand you have a busy schedule, and will work with you to find a time that is convenient for you. Please visit our website or give our office a call to schedule your appointment today!

How do I prevent tooth decay during my treatment?

February 27th, 2012

Great question!
If you are brushing and flossing daily during your orthodontic treatment with, we think that’s great! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every 3-to-6 months in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing (and visiting our office, of course). Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health, especially during orthodontic treatment.
Tooth decay, which is caused by sugars left in your mouth, can turn into an acid, which in turn can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay because adolescents tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines, combined with regular dental visits, help keep tooth decay away.
If you have any questions, please be sure to ask our team during your next adjustment appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

What's the deal with retainers?

February 23rd, 2012


If you recently completed treatment at Bellard Orthodontics, congratulations! Now that your braces have been removed, Dr. Bellard will provide you with retainers. Here are some things to remember when you receiver your retainers:

* Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.

* Take your retainers out when eating...and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)

* Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and only a small amount of toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water.

* When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case.

* Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing aloud to get used to them quicker.

* Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken, give us a call immediately.

* Try to remember to bring your retainers to your appointments.

* Retainer replacement is expensive...with proper care they will last for years!

* Remove retainers when swimming or during any sporting activity in which the retainers could fall out and get broken or lost (cheerleading, basketball, etc.) or when you should be wearing a mouth guard (football, lacrosse, etc.).

* Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

February 15th, 2012

The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. It can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan with Dr. Mark Bellard, orthodontic treatment can help you retain you teethand your smilefor a lifetime.

Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.

Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!

Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. From clear braces to removable aligners and totally invisible lingual (behind the teeth) braces, Bellard Orthodontics can personalize your treatment to suit all your needs.

February is American Heart Month

February 7th, 2012

Did you know February is American Heart Month? It’s a great time to take notice of the health of your heart, says Dr. Mark Bellard. Cardiovascular disease remains American's number one killer, according to the American Heart Association. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care.

Visiting our office on a regular basis can help prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages. And because people with dental insurance are more likely to visit their dentist when they should, a healthy mouth begins with a visit to Bellard Orthodontics. In observance of Heart Month, Dr. Mark Bellard says it’s also important to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25). If you have any questions about heart health, or about your treatment at Bellard Orthodontics, please give us a call today.

The benefits of a beautiful smile

January 11th, 2012

Dr. Mark Bellard and our team know having an attractive smile puts a spring in your step—or two—as well as increases your self-confidence, no matter if you’re 14 or in your late forties. Smiling not only makes people happy and puts them in a good mood, doing it often can even help you live longer, according to previous studies!

If you’ve been hiding your smile because you have crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth, it’s time to consider orthodontic treatment at Bellard Orthodontics. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn how quickly and efficiently today’s most advanced correction techniques can straighten your smile!

Don’t hide your smile any longer—give us a call today to schedule yours or your child’s orthodontic consultation.

Happy New Year from Bellard Orthodontics

January 3rd, 2012

At Bellard Orthodontics, the New Year is a time to look back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. Our wish is that our patients continue to keep their teeth healthy, as well as wear their rubber bands, headgear and appliances as prescribed during their treatment.
We look forward to meeting those patients who are planning to begin their orthodontic treatment this year - we think it's a great resolution!

Happy New Year from Dr. Mark Bellard and all of us at Bellard Orthodontics,!

Have you had a check-up lately?

December 12th, 2011

Even if you brush and floss daily, as well as maintain your braces it is still important to visit your local dentist every 6 months, or as recommended. Why?

• Your dentist can detect and treat tooth and gum problems that you may have never felt or noticed.
• Even thorough daily oral care may not be enough to prevent cavities and oral decay.
• Frequent visits can allow your dentist to treat a problem early to prevent future complications.

During an oral exam your dentist can check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing.

If you have not visited a dentist in the past six months, please let us know! Dr. Mark Bellard will be happy to provide a few great references here in the area!

-- Dr. Bellard & Team

How important is your smile? From Bellard Orthodontics

December 8th, 2011


At Bellard Orthodontics, we know having a beautiful smile is important to you. It’s important to us, too.

And speaking of smiling, in a poll conducted by Glamour Magazine earlier this year, people were asked, “If you had to pick between having perfect teeth, eyesight or hair, which would you choose?”

Well, 44 percent of folks out there chose teeth! In addition, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, or AACD, conducted a study and found that 99.7 percent of those polled believed a smile is an important social asset. Respondents said straightness, whiteness, cleanliness, as well as the sincerity and sparkle of one’s smile were all important factors not only socially, but career-wise as well.

Take the next step toward a healthier, brighter smile! Please contact our Beaumont, TX orthodontic office and schedule your initial orthodontic consultation. See you soon! Happy holidays!

board certified american board of orthodontics member american association of orthodontists texas dental association texas monthly magazine