The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children begin seeing the orthodontist at age 7. In many cases, the Orthodontist may recommend “Phase I” or “Early Treatment” to address problems before all of the primary teeth have been lost. However, even if the patient is not ready for treatment at that time, it is a good age to meet the doctor and staff and create an ongoing relationship with the office.

Early orthodontic treatment is usually begun after the four front upper and lower permanent teeth have erupted, which typically happens between ages 7-9. The image below outlines certain issues that can be alleviated before they get worse:

Phase I treatment usually takes about 12 months. In some cases, patients can roll directly into comprehensive treatment on the top and bottom arches directly following Phase I. Other times, the Orthodontist may place a bonded retainer to keep things in place until comprehensive treatment is recommended.


March 19, 2018 orthodontics0

The secret to foods you can eat while wearing braces is simple. Replace the crunchy, harder foods with softer foods. Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t like the ultimate comfort food – mac ‘n cheese? Dishes made with pasta are easy to chew and melt away in your mouth. It’s hard to go wrong with pasta. And if you love tacos, give them up for a while and try burritos.

Steamed vegetables are easier to chew than raw vegetables, and a healthy vegetable stir-fry can be a healthy alternative and taste great, too.

When it comes to meat, the menu gets a little trickier. One winning alternative recipe for brace-wearers is Sloppy Joe sandwiches. You can even add a soft veggie to go with it, like mashed potatoes.

Nobody wants to give up dessert and you don’t have to while wearing your braces. All-time favorite ice cream and cake will soften the blow. Puddings are also a sweet treat you can enjoy, along with custards.

Here are some foods you can easily enjoy while enduring your important orthodontia treatment:

  • Breads – sliced bread, soft tortillas, pancakes, nut-free muffins, and biscuits
  • Grains – noodles, pasta, and tender rice
  • Meats and poultry – slow-baked chicken, meatballs, and lunch meats
  • Seafood – de-boned fish, tuna, salmon, and crab

These are the foods you should NOT EAT, while wearing braces, but remember — it won’t be forever.

  • Hard nuts, candies, and hard fruits such as apples and pears
  • Hard vegetables such as carrots and corn on the cob
  • Chips
  • Taco shells
  • Pizza crust (unless home-made and super soft)
  • Pretzels
  • Sticky candies such as taffy, gum, caramels
  • Foods like lemons, limes and sodas are high in acids and cause discoloration

Here are three handy links to resources and incredibly tasty recipes for people wearing braces as well as for the whole family:

The Braces Cookbook

Oatmeal Creme Pies

While having braces may be unpleasantly inconvenient, the short-term sacrifices you make to wear them are well worth the beautiful, straight teeth you’ll have when your orthodontic treatment is over. Then you can laugh, smile and enjoy eating crunchy tacos!


February 14, 2018 orthodontics0

One of the most common concerns about wearing dental braces or retainers is how to maintain good dental hygiene without disturbing the appliances.

If you are having trouble brushing or flossing with your braces, let us know at your next appointment and we can go over proper procedures together.  There are lots of great products on the market to help you out, and we can show you where to find them.  We might even have samples for you to bring home!  Ask us about orthodontic brush heads for electric toothbrushes and threaders to help you floss around your wires.

If you are wearing a retainer, it can be removed to eat.  Then brush and floss before you put your retainer back in. Be careful to put your retainer in the case so it doesn’t accidentally get thrown out with the lunch tray mess.  Our motto is “In your face or in the case”!

Keep your retainer clean by brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Never put your retainer in boiling water or the dishwasher!  Ask us which brands of denture cleaner are safe to use with your retainer, and feel free to stop in and have your retainer cleaned in our ultra-sonic machine any time the office is open.

During your time in braces or a retainer it’s best to avoid sugary foods.  Sugar increases bacteria in your mouth and that’s what causes plaque and cavities.  Remember that clean teeth move faster, so the cleaner you keep your teeth and gums the sooner you can get your braces off!

Some of the most obvious foods to avoid include:

  • Sticky food (Gum, Caramel, Gummies, Toffies and Sticky Buns)
  • Hard food (Hard Candy, Nuts, Ice Cubes, Super Crusty Breads)

If you cut up larger foods that you would normally just bite into you can still enjoy things like bagels, apples, celery, carrot sticks and meat. Just remember to cut the food into bite size chunks and you’ll be able to manage it.  When small pieces of food get stuck in your appliances, the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities gathers in that spot too.  If you avoid eating foods that get caught in your appliances, you will have a much easier time brushing and flossing.

Be sure to brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. Both are very important.

Use only fluoridated toothpaste and ask your orthodontist or family dentist about a fluoride rinse, too!  Continue seeing your general dentist for recommended treatments.

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