Colorado Orthodontics

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How long should I wear braces?

November 11th, 2019

After the initial question why get braces is asked, most people jump to their next pressing question: how long do you need to wear them?

This is a question that every orthodontist hears just about daily, but it’s a very valid curiosity and concern. Paired with the expensive of braces and the additional attention your teeth will require with them on, you want to feel that the length is doable and won’t put too much stress on your oral hygiene routine for too long.

Unfortunately, committing to braces is a long term decision, and once they’re on, you’re in it for good. The benefits of getting braces greatly outweigh the cons, but if you’re concerned about the duration of how long you’ll need to wear them, this informational blog can help clear up any questions.

How Long Will You Need Braces?

Everyone is different, so no patient care plan for your braces will be exactly the same.  Many factors are considered when you’re getting braces, and each of these detimiring items will reflect on the length you’ll wear them.

Some of the biggest aspects that come into play when considering the duration include:

  • The patient’s age
  • The extent of misaligned teeth
  • Preexisting skeletal & dental issues

Once all 3 of these things are considered, a more accurate time length can be assigned to your personal orthodontic case. Don’t walk into your appointment with any expectations, but instead remain open to all of your options and be willing to work with your orthodontist when it comes to your treatment plan.

The Average Time Length For Wearing Braces

Typically, a rough estimate of 20-23 months is given when it comes to a time period for wearing your braces. Some of the lucky few will be able to get their issues fully handled with braces in a year or less, but no shorter than a 6-month time period. These cases aren’t as common as those which take a year or more, but it can happen, especially if the procedure is done for more cosmetic and personal reasons than major dental needs.

You can usually expect to wear your braces no longer than a maximum of 3 years. While this does sound like an alarmingly long time to have metal over your teeth, keep in mind this is the worst case scenario.

Two years, give or take, is a much more accurate idea of the length this braces process will take for you.

Alternatives To Traditional Braces

Though for many years traditional wire braces have been the answer to most placement problems with teeth, a more recent treatment has been gaining steady popularity. Invisalign, though a bit more expensive, offers a quicker and less invasive treatment.

It’s a quicker, less painful process and has less of an effect on your life. Plus, the design of them is nearly invisible, so it’s a discreet solution to avoiding the bulky, obvious appearance of traditional wire braces. Discuss with your orthodontist if Invisalign may be a better solution for you.

Is Invisalign Right For Me?

October 17th, 2019

The decision to get Invisalign for yourself is a very important one to make. There are many factors that go into this decision-making process, from financial situations to insurance coverage to the procedure time frame. While this form of orthodontic attention is minimally invasive and doesn’t affect your life too majorly as far as changes go, it’s still a big step to take, but it’s growing rapidly in popularity as more are choosing this option for them.

Who Can Benefit From Invisalign

Anyone with the need for tooth placement correction can benefit from Invisalign. It’s a much easier process than traditional wire braces, with less pain, less of a hassle, and a more discreet solution to crooked teeth. Because of this, everyone is an excellent candidate, but not everyone chooses invisalign.

The Best Candidate

Many adults are choosing the cost of Invisalign over traditional braces due to the discreet design, the lowered risk factors, and the short time period you need them. Anyone who may need Invisalign should evaluate the pros and cons against traditional braces and go with what feels is the best fit for their budget and lifestyle.

Common Concerns & Questions

If you’re considering getting Invisalign, you likely have lots of questions or worries you’re unsure about before you’ve made the official decision. Everyone does! Here are some of the most common questions that get asked about Invisalign.

Invisalign FAQs

Q: How long does the Invisalign treatment take?

A: One or two years, on average.

Q: Can I take off my Invisalign piece?

A: Yes, but in order for it to properly work, you need to keep it in your mouth for 22 hours a day.

Q: Is Invisalin painful?

A: In general, no! There may be some discomfort after being fitted for your piece until your mouth adjusts to it.

Q: Do you need to switch aligners?

A: Yes. Due to your teeth shifting and being corrected, your aligner will need updated frequently.

Q: How often will I get a new Invisalign aligner?

A: Once or twice a month, a new aligner will be given to you by your doctor, as your teeth change and shift back into place.

Q: Does insurance cover Invisalign?

A: Unfortunately, it often doesn’t. This is the main reason traditional braces are chosen instead.

Q: How often do I need to clean my Invisalign piece?

A: You should clean your aligner before putting it back in your mouth each time it’s been removed.

Q: Can Invisalign aligners cause damage to my mouth?

A: Unlike wire braces, there are no harmful pieces that could cause your mouth injury if used correctly.

Q: Can You Have Invisalign With Braces?

A: Some doctors will use both, or transition during one stage into the other treatment plan.

Q: Do I have to wear a retainer afterwards?

A: Many patients do wear a retainer for a period of time after getting their Invisalign aligners removed. This isn’t uncommon with wire braces either.

How Do I Take Care of My New Retainer?

October 3rd, 2019

80% of teenagers and half of the American population wears, or has worn, braces at some point in their lifetime. A very common aftercare practice once braces are removed is to continue the maintenance of your newly straightened teeth with a retainer.

This is ideal because it’s a removable object, smaller, and much easier to conceal, plus poses less of a threat of cavities. Brackets on the braces are excellent spots for food to sneak into, but a retainer can be removed for eating, cleaning, and brushing.

Of course, this is only beneficial if you’re diligent about keeping up with the care of your retainer. A poorly cleaned and maintained retainer will be just as risky in your mouth as the expensive braces, so it’s important not to slip up and let the care of your retainer get away from you.

Important Retainer Care Notes

Just like any other medical gear, a retainer needs some special attention in order for it to do its job correctly. Following these care rules for your retainer will save money by preventing breakage, and protect your teeth, while bringing you closer to a perfect smile every day.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Special steps need to be taken to keep your retainer clean and free of potentially problematic food particles, germs, or debris that could hurt your teeth. These tips will help you prevent issues and stay on track with your smile!

  • Brush your retainer well each morning when you wake up and before bed
  • Use warm water, but never hot water
  • When brushing, use gentle strokes with a clean toothbrush
  • If you eat, brush your teeth before returning the retainer into your mouth
  • Be sure to brush your teeth and tongue each time you clean your retainer as well
  • Don’t eat with your retainer in, unless otherwise instructed by an Orthodontist

Storing Your Retainer

There aren’t many circumstances where your retainer should be out of your mouth, but of the rare times that it needs to be, make sure you’re properly storing it. Your Orthodontist will provide you with a case and instructions on how to store it, and when you’re allowed to take it out from your mouth.

Make sure you follow these instructions, or you may lose or break the retainer. Keep it with it’s container, and keep that container with you if you have the retainer inside of it. Always be sure to clean it before returning the retainer to your mouth, as well.

Fixing or Adjusting Your Retainer

If something goes wrong with the piece of hardware, don’t try and mess with it yourself. Broken, cracked, or bent retainers are not going to help your teeth, and you probably can’t adjust it back to its original position on your own. Allowing a damaged retainer to stay in your mouth can mess with your progress.

Wearing a retainer after braces is meant to continue the correction that the brackets were doing in a less invasive way, so it’s important to take just as good care of your retainer as you did the braces.

When Should I Visit The Orthodontist?

October 3rd, 2019

Braces, tooth cleaning, alignment, and brushing… these are all considered aspects of our oral health. An Orthodontist plays an important role in caring for our teeth and dental hygiene, but many people wait too long before paying this specialist a visit.

When should you schedule that appointment? When is an Orthodontist required over your regular dentist? And what sort of issues does Colorado Orthodontics correct, anyway? These are all common questions with easy answers!

General Dentist vs Orthodontist

Technically, an orthodontist is a dentist, since they deal with dental health and hygiene. However, they are more focused on the teeth, the alignment of them, and their place within your jaw. A dentist exists to ensure overall health, cleanliness, and function of your mouth and teeth as a whole.

A lot of special education goes into giving an orthodontist this knowledge in moving and straightening teeth, which sets them apart from the rest of the dental practice careers. Both dental experts are equally important, and most people visit both during their lifetime!

When To Schedule An Appointment

Even if you understand the differences between the two dental experts, it’s hard to know when to pay the money and clear your schedule to actually go and see an orthodontist. Bite the bullet, so to speak, and make that call when you experience any of these 4 circumstances.

1. Your Dentist Refers You

Most of the time, your dentist will notice changes in the mouth that require a specialist’s opinion during a routine oral hygiene check-up. They will notice a problem with the spacing or allignment in the teeth that is abnormal, and give you a referral to an orthodontist. If your dentist does this, it’s important to follow through and check up with the specialist.

2. The Development Of Uneven Teeth

As children grow, and their teeth fall out and come in as permanent pearls, you may notice slight issues with them. Sometimes, it’s excessive spacing. Other times, overcrowding. Simply crooked teeth may also be noticed. If you have a concern or question about the spacing on your, or your child's teeth, it’s best to see an orthodontist before it gets worse and the teeth shift and make room.

3. Bite Issues

Jaw alignment is just as important as tooth alignment. An orthodontist should be seen if you ever notice your teeth, or a child’s teeth, are resting abnormally in the mouth as a default setting. Overbites, underbites, crossbites, and an open bite are examples of red flags that should warrant an appointment.

4. Abnormal Tooth Growth

As teeth grow in, they sometimes like to appear out of place. Sometimes behind or in front of existing teeth, or deeper in the gum than they should be. This isn’t as common as crooked or uneven teeth, but it’s just as serious - if not more! Teeth appearing where they should not could cause great damage down the road if not seen as soon as possible and fixed by an orthodontist.

Member - AAO Board Certified - ABO Colorado Orthodontic Foundation

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