How to Properly Maintain and Clean Braces

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Braces are a temporary solution to crooked, misaligned or gapped teeth. They serve as a cosmetic solution that straightens the teeth and jaw and makes your teeth look good so that they can make an excellent first impression when meeting someone else for the first time. There are many components to braces including brackets, straps, wires, elastics, and rubber bands. These components differ in shape and material depending on what type of brace you get and also depend on your needs in terms of comfort or aesthetic appeal.

How to Clean your Braces

In order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you should clean your braces regularly. You can use a toothbrush, floss or mouthwash. Braces are an important part of most people’s daily lives and can also help to improve the appearance of your teeth. It is important for one to maintain braces and clean them properly every day or you can be highly susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Braces, on the other hand, are not only important for your smile but also for your oral health as well. Braces should be brushed and maintained after every meal or snack to maintain their effectiveness. Braces are essential tools for a healthy smile for someone who has misaligned, gapped or protruding teeth. However, over time, food and other substances can get stuck between your teeth and gum where the braces cannot reach. Using a toothbrush can be quite tedious and tedious for cleaning out the small spaces. Some dentists recommend using mouthwash to clean your braces between visits to the dentist because it is gentle enough to remove plaque and food particles without damaging your teeth or gums. It also helps to freshen breath as well as provide remineralization of teeth enamel so that they become stronger and harder. Brushing should always be done in an up-and-down motion with a slow, gentle pressure on each tooth for at least two minutes per day so that you can effectively remove plaque buildup.

Braces are not just for aesthetics, they play an important role in ensuring we have straight teeth and good overall oral health. In order for them to function properly, they need to be adjusted and tightened on a regular basis by your orthodontist. In addition to checking the tightening the braces regularly, it is also important to keep an eye out for signs that indicate you need more care than usual such as discoloration or plaque buildup on your brackets.

How to Maintain your Braces

When it comes to picking up food particles from between the brackets, dental picks for braces do a great job at cleaning between teeth. They are easy to use with little effort required by the user – especially for braces which can cause limited dexterity when cleaning between the wires and brackets. There are many tools on the market that can help you manage maintaining braces like dental picks and wax. However, if you have any immediate trouble with your braces or brackets such as them falling off or painful wires then you should visit your orthodontist right away. Maintain your braces by brushing them at least twice a day with toothpaste or baking soda. If you need stronger toothpaste, use one that has whitening properties. Additionally, mixing in some peroxide into the paste will make it more effective as well as help remove plaque from between your teeth.

We’re working with Invisalign Near Me Deals

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Orthodontic Center OC offers the latest technology in orthodontics, Invisalign, and braces. We’re proud to be an Invisalign Near Me Deals featured office. We equip you with all the information you need about braces before deciding on treatment.  We’ve been featured on their website for our deals and we’re proud to announce that we’re now featured on the homepage! Let us help you get perfect teeth with a smile that’s symmetrical and healthy. If none of our 5 convenient Orange County locations are local to you, Invisalign Near Me Deals offers a user-friendly directory where you are able to find an Invisalign orthodontic office local to you that offers deals!

At Orthodontic Center OC, we offer a warm and welcoming environment with all the latest equipment and technologies, so it’s never been easier to find the best orthodontic care for your needs. You can even book a free consultation – just fill out our online form today! Orthodontic Center OC has not only some of the most convenient locations for Invisalign in OC, but is also one of the most affordable! We offer a cost-effective solution that is sure to meet all your needs.

The Benefits of Getting Braces

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There are a lot of benefits of getting braces whether you’re an adult or a child. They are obvious advantages, such as straighter teeth. However, they also have their cons as well, such as discomfort, food limitations and additional oral care that’s needed daily. When you have crooked or crowded teeth, braces can help make everything look a lot better and help you to have less or more space between your teeth. Opting out of braces can allow bacteria and cavities to grow causing decay so it’s important to see your dentist or orthodontist to see if you’re a candidate for getting braces.

Braces can Fix Jaw Misalignment

An advantage of braces is that they can fix jaw misalignment problems such as overbite or underbite. This can be fixed by using additional wires and brackets on the teeth to train them to move in the opposite way of your bite. Which in turn, moves the teeth to a more ideal position for chewing, biting, and being less susceptible to cavities, decay and poor oral hygiene. It can also fix problems with overlapping teeth, crooked teeth or large gaps between the teeth. Teeth can become misaligned for numerous reasons, which include things like improper eating habits, sucking a thumb at an early age, teeth damage from biting, and gum disease.

Some adults have jaw disorders such as overbite or underbites, which make getting braces mandatory in order to eat, chew, talk and smile normally. For people with crooked teeth, wearing braces is more difficult and can be more uncomfortable than the traditional metal braces while the teeth shift into place. After your treatment is over it is crucial for a patient to wear the retainer given to them by their orthodontist. Not wearing your retainer gives teeth the opportunity to become misaligned again and make it more likely that they will shift or move resulting in a completely new orthodontic treatment plan to get your teeth straight again.

Bruxism Can Misalign Teeth

Bruxism is another issue that can lead to teeth misalignment. Bruxism occurs when you grind or clench your teeth while you are asleep during the night. Clenching and grinding are usually the result of stress, tension or a hard bite and should be treated with a nightguard if you’re aware that you are clenching and grinding you teeth at night.  Having a nightguard prevents the teeth from touching and in result does not allow the teeth to grind or clench. In addition, severe bruxism can also cause TMJ which can be extremely painful so it’s important to see your orthodontist if you think you may be suffering from Bruxism so you can start your orthodontic treatment and get your teeth and jaw aligned correctly to prevent any further damage to your teeth.

We Can Help!

At The Orthodontic Center of Orange County, we offer multiple different orthodontic treatments such as braces or even Invisalign to help straighten your teeth and give you a straighter and healthier smile. If you are wanting to learn more about how braces could benefit you but aren’t sure where to start- give our office a call and we will set you up with a consultation where we can go over any questions or concerns that you may have, such as which orthodontic treatment is right for you.

Sleeping with Braces and How to Cope

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Sleeping without having braces is much different than sleeping with them and anyone who has ever had braces can tell you how and why. In the first few days with your new braces you might find yourself having trouble sleeping from the soreness of your gums and cheeks. This is a very common thing to go through in the beginning of orthodontic treatment. Not every patient will experience this but a majority of patients do, so there are a few things that can help ease your pain while your adjust to your new life with braces.

Pain Relievers

Our staff and orthodontists highly recommend taking acetaminophen to help reduce any pain or discomfort the braces may cause in your first few days with them. If you are in an extreme amount of pain it is recommended to take one ibuprofen (Aleve) with one acetaminophen (Tylenol Extra Strength) combined they help reduce any type of swelling and diminish any pain caused by the braces.

Cold Foods and Drinks

Cold foods and drinks provide the same effect as ice packs, popsicles and ice cream; they not only taste delicious, but can actually help ease pain by numbing your mouth and reducing overall inflammation on the gums. Always brush after eating any type of food that has a large amount of sugars to prevent any decay. Simply sucking on an ice cube or sipping on iced water for relief is always a great route to take as well if you aren’t looking to add the extra sugar into your diet.

Rinsing with Warm Salt Water

Oftentimes soreness and irritation develops along the gums and cheeks as they adapt to tightened wires and metal brackets. Rinsing with warm salt water solution will help reduce infection and alleviate soreness caused by irritation from the braces on your gums and cheeks.

Gum Massages

Massaging your gums with your fingers can actually alleviate pain, especially if your gums are swollen or irritated. Massaging the gums can help to relax the soft tissues in the mouth, and in the process your newly tightened braces feel a little bit more comfortable. For the best results try applying an ice pack to your cheeks before massaging.

What to Expect when Getting Braces

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Preparing for braces can seem a little intimidating at first but as long as you are prepared there isn’t anything to be worried of. These following tips will educate you and can help you get ready for when you get your braces.

Prepare yourself mentally

It’s normal to feel nervous before your orthodontic appointment. The best cure for unsettling nerves is to become educated on the treatment! Do some research of your own regarding what it’s like to get braces as well to reduce any lingering fears. It can also help to read about other people’s experiences with braces and what to expect from a patient’s point of view. Prepare yourself mentally so you go into your appointment knowing what’s going to happen next and what purpose it serves in your braces treatment.

Preparing for soreness and slight discomfort

You will experience a little soreness in your gums when you first get your braces on and its best to prepare so it doesn’t hurt as much. One of the best things to do is to take some Tylenol a couple of minutes before going to your appointment. By the time you get them on it will start taking its role and relieving the discomfort.

Clean your teeth thoroughly before

In order to have the cement adhere to your teeth correctly, your orthodontist needs a plaque-free surface, so if you want to avoid a professional clean before your application it’s best to gently clean your teeth after your last meal before your appointment to avoid a cleaning during your appointment.

What Can you Expect After your Braces are On?

Trouble eating: For the first couple of days you may experience discomfort when chewing or biting. Its recommended to eat softer foods such as yogurts, jello, bananas and soups to make it easier to eat.

Sore Gums and Teeth: You may feel as if your teeth are being stretched which is normal when tightening the wire taking pain relievers such as Tylenol and applying a cold compress can help reduce pain and discomfort.

Braces Rubbing on Side of Cheeks: When you get braces, the skin inside of your mouth may rub with your brackets. Wax is important to use and helps reduce this friction against them and helps discomfort

Signs you Need Braces

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If you have ever been self conscious about your smile or your teeth, had any jaw or tooth pain it may be time to consider getting braces or Invisalign. While there are so many different indicators that you may need braces, our Orthodontists will be able to go over all of your questions and concerns with a consultation at any one of our 5 locations in Orange County. Below are a couple signs that you may need braces for a healthier and happier smile.

Gaps in Teeth

Having large gaps between your teeth can be a telltale sign that you need braces in the future. Having gaps in your teeth leaves you at risk for tooth decay, jaw misalignment and eating difficulties. Food can get caught between your teeth which can cause irritation in your gums and possible infection. An infection in your gums or tooth can lead to decay and tooth loss so it’s important to speak to your Orthodontist about treatment plans as soon as possible.

Painful/Difficulty Biting

If you are having any pain or discomfort when biting down it is likely you are in need of braces. The misalignment of your teeth may be the factor to this pain and why it is uncomfortable or painful to eat sticky or hard foods. Misaligned teeth that cause pain is very common and easily fixed with either braces or Invisalign.

Pain in Jaw

If you suffer from any sort of pain or clicking in your jaw it is likely that your teeth and jaw are misaligned. While it can be easy to ignore occasional jaw pain it’s very important to bring it up to your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible to avoid any other issues later on down the road. By simply realigning your teeth with braces or Invisalign you can eliminate jaw pain as long as there is no other underlying issue.

Crowded Teeth

Having crooked or crowded teeth is also another telltale sign that you will require braces in the future. You are at major risk for tooth decay and infection with crowded or crooked teeth because of the lack of efficient space between your teeth to properly floss.

What If I Can’t Afford Braces?

Luckily, Orthodontic Center of Orange County offers in-house payment plans for all patients whether you have good credit, bad credit or no credit at all. In-house payment plans start at only $70/month with a credit check and $99/month without a credit check for patients who may have bad or no credit. Ortho Center OC also offers financing through Care Credit and Lending Club as additional flexible financing options.

Contact Ortho Center OC for a Free Orthodontic Consultation

If you are interested in starting your journey to a healthier and more beautiful smile, contact any one of our 5 locations in Orange County for a free consultation with our Orthodontist. We are happy to sit down with you and go over all of your questions and concerns and see which orthodontic treatment would be right for you, whether that is Invisalign or Braces. Visit our website and fill out the contact form or give our office a call to schedule your complimentary consultation, today!

Tips and Tricks for Keeping your Braces in Optimal Condition

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By correcting dental misalignments and having braces you are already on the road to a straighter smile. Going to your orthodontist appointments every few weeks isn’t always enough to keep your braces in optimal condition. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene is a huge factor in taking care of your braces to ensure that there aren’t additional problems to tackle when you have them taken off at the end of your treatment.

  1. Use the Toothpaste, Floss and Mouth Wash Recommended by Your Orthodontist

Be sure to ask your orthodontist what toothpaste, floss, and mouth wash will be best for you during your orthodontic treatment. It’s important to use toothpaste that will eliminate bacteria. Bacteria that are not properly cleaned can lead to cavities, halitosis, or gum disease. While some brands of oral health products can contain harsh ingredients that can actually damage metal braces so it’s important to go over this information with your orthodontist. Using a mouth wash after you have brushed and flossed your teeth is always recommended, but it’s important to eliminate mouthwashes that have red or green colors as the dyes in those products can discolor the metal materials and elastics on your braces.

  1. Brush and Floss After Eating

Brushing and flossing your teeth after eating with braces can be complicated and at times, frustrating to say the least. When brushing and flossing to rid extra food debris from your mouth you have to show extra precaution as to avoid breaking any wires or dislodging any metal brackets. Having a toothbrush with soft bristles will not harm your braces but will be very effective in removing leftover food particles hiding between your teeth. Because your teeth are covered by wires and brackets at all times during your orthodontic treatment it’s crucial to brush and floss after eating so no food particles are stuck or left behind lingering around all day. By taking the extra time to floss and brush every time after eating throughout the days you are benefiting yourself by keeping your braces clean and your teeth free from potential cavities.

  1. Invest in an Oral Irrigator

Investing in an oral irrigator is well worth the expense and a great alternative and addition to flossing as it will eliminate food particles left behind or that is stuck between your teeth. An oral irrigator is a wand-like device that emits water from its attached tank. The pressure from oral irrigators will dislodge any leftover food, bacteria or plaque that is between your teeth or on your gums. While flossing with braces can be extremely time-consuming and rather frustrating, oral irrigators are an easy way to supplement flossing into your daily routine without completely avoiding or eliminating flossing altogether.

  1. Don’t Eat Harmful Foods

Believe it or not, specific foods and your diet can be very impactful on your braces. While there are countless foods out there that are okay to eat and drink with braces there is also a rather large handful to avoid as well. A general rule of thumb for foods to avoid with braces includes but is not limited to anything sticky, hard, tough, or crunchy. It’s important to avoid any type of food that could be considered harmful to your braces, gums, or tongue. Ask your orthodontic for a list of foods to avoid if you have any questions about any specific meal or foods you can eat.

  1. Don’t Miss Any Appointments

Missing any scheduled appointments are futile to the longevity of your orthodontic treatment. Skipping appointment dates or rescheduling for a much later date can be harmful to your braces as the wires need to be tightened regularly. By missing those scheduled appointments your teeth will have more room to shift and move and it is almost guaranteed that your teeth will not be aligned with your treatment plan. This means you will most likely have to wear your braces for longer than first anticipated.

Whether you are wearing braces for 10 months or 2 years the results will be more successful and your teeth and braces will maintain their optimal condition by following the recommended tips above. It’s important to keep visiting your Orthodontist for your scheduled appointments and ask your doctor if you have any questions along the way. Our doctors pride themselves on giving their patients healthier and more beautiful smiles every day. If you have any questions about how you can keep your braces in optimal condition during the course of the treatment, give us a call and one of our braces specialist will be able to go over any questions or concerns that you may have.

Invisalign over Metal Braces

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If your parents didn’t opt for getting you braces as a child, have no fear! It’s not too late! Considering the origination of Invisalign, more and more adults are discovering the beautiful smile they have always desired and with much less of embarrassment. Those days of smiling at your third-grade crush at lunch with PB &J stuck in your braces are over.

Metal braces in general are unattractive, clunky, can be painful, and are overall distracting. Invisalign are as the name suggests, are practically invisible. Invisalign is a tray made of clear thermoplastic material making it hardly noticeable that you have aligners on. Any type of mouth shifting treatment can cause discomfort however, Invisalign provides less pressure. Stained teeth and red gums are also a problem when traditional braces are removed. It’s difficult to brush and flossing around metal braces. You need to maneuver around your wires to get to the parts you can’t normally reach. With Invisalign, you can remove the tray and do what you need to do. You are also able to whiten your teeth when needed.
The list goes on and on about foods you have to avoid when you have metal braces. The clear aligners can be removed while you’re eating. We recommend you to avoid or limit your sugar consumption in general. However, indulging every now and then is no problem when you don’t have to think about damaging your metal brackets. Sports activity also doesn’t need to take the backseat when you have Invisalign. Playing any sport with metal braces makes it harder when of the fear of the metal scraping and cutting your mouth is looming over you. Invisalign can be taken out when playing and even with it on you don’t have to worry about anything happening to the inside of your mouth.
If the appearance of metal braces has been holding you back from a straighter smile, Invisalign could be a great option. Give Invisalign and Braces in Orange County a call to set up a free consultation and find out if Invisalign is right option for you.

Healthy Snacks That Won’t Damage Your Child’s Braces

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You know what your child shouldn’t eat while they have braces, but what should they eat? When your child gets home from school they always look for a quick bite that provides the energy boost a little kid needs. Now that they have braces, many foods they use to be able to eat need to be avoided, such as carrot sticks and hard cheeses. Any food that’s too hard, crunchy, or chewy can damage brackets and wires and will need an extra trip to your orthodontist. Our dentists at Orthocenter recommend these healthy and braces-friendly options for your child’s midday snack.

Fruits and Vegetables

Strawberries and bananas are great, soft fruits that are easy on your child’s braces. If you want to incorporate greens such as kale and spinach, blending it along with sweet fruits will mask the grassy flavor making it palatable for children to drink. For apples and carrots, you should cut them in thin slices if your child would still want to eat them making their braces less susceptible to damage.

Meat and Dairy

Cheese and dairy provide the calcium and vitamin D that children need. You can give your child braces-friendly soft cheeses like string cheese and cream cheese. Yogurts and similar products are also a great option to give your child calcium. For meats, anything that doesn’t require much chewing such as chicken, ham, and eggs is full of the protein that children need.

These are dentist-approved foods to give your children. Parents only want the best for their children and they want to provide healthy nutrition-rich foods that are also delicious. Let us know what your child’s favorite snack is on their next visit to Orthocenter. If you have any other questions about foods your children should or should not eat contact us!

Handling Orthodontic Issues at Home During COVID-19

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Due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic almost all Orthodontic offices are closed or only open to emergency appointments. So, how can you handle potential orthodontic issues that may arise at home? There are a few different steps that can be taken while you are at home during the pandemic to keep your mouth free from any discomfort and maintain any temporary fixes.  If you are experiencing any extreme discomfort it is extremely important to notify your orthodontist as soon as possible to alleviate any pain you may be experiencing.

Tools and Supplies to Keep on Hand

Being sure to keep these tools and supplies on hand will ensure that you are readily prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues.

  • Orthodontic Wax
  • Dental Floss
  • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
  • Topical Anesthetic
  • Salt-Water Rinse
  • Interproximal Brush

Experiencing Discomfort

While it is normal to experience discomfort while you are going through our orthodontic treatment, however, orthodontic discomfort should not last any longer than a couple of days at most. If you are having severe discomfort or pain it’s important to rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution and take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to alleviate some of the discomfort. Be sure to contact your Orthodontic office if the pain persists longer than a couple of days as there could be an underlying issue that may need to be addressed or discussed.

Mouth Sores or Irritation

Sometimes braces and wires can be irritating to a patient’s mouth, especially when eating, and can cause irritation or even mouth sores.  While braces themselves do not cause mouth sores, they can be precipitated or exacerbated by the irritation of the brackets. While mouth sores are not actually considered an orthodontic emergency, prompt relief can be achieved by applying orthodontic wax or topical relief such as ora-gel or orabase to the ulcerated or irritated area. By placing orthodontic wax on top of the bracket that is causing irritation you are creating a smooth surface barrier between the bracket and inside of your mouth to help eliminate irritation. Orthodontic wax and topical relief can be purchased at any drug store or large supermarket while you are awaiting your postponed orthodontic appointment. If after multiple days the irritation and or mouth sores do not subside, be sure to call your Orthodontist to create an appointment to help find the underlying cause or issue regarding the irritation.

Protruding Wires

Occasionally the ends of wires can come loose and ultimately can irritate the inside of your mouth. By using a Q-tip or disinfected tweezers try to push the exposed wire flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position coat the exposed wire with orthodontic relief wax to provide immediate relief until you are able to see your Orthodontist.

Loose Bands or Brackets

If any of your orthodontic braces or brackets have become loose or fallen off please contact your Orthodontist immediately. Experiencing a loose or broken bracket does qualify as an orthodontic emergency so it is crucial to call your Orthodontist immediately following the orthodontic issue regarding your brackets to make an appointment.

While we are all ready to get back to our normal lives; if you have an orthodontic issue during these times not all issues qualify as an emergency. If you have any questions regarding what qualifies as an orthodontic emergency, give our office a call, and braces or an Invisalign specialist will be able to answer any and all of your questions and guide you in the right direction regarding what steps you need to take to keep your smile healthy during COVID-19.