How to Brush and Floss with Braces

Brushing your teeth while wearing braces isn’t that much different than brushing without them. After all, you’ll still probably use a toothbrush and floss. However, making sure you do a good job is more important than ever. When you’re wearing braces, food particles and plaque have many more places to get trapped. If you don’t brush and floss properly, your enamel may stain and your teeth may decay around the brackets or bands.

flossing with braces

First, you need to carefully brush and rinse after every meal or snack with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Secondly, you definitely need to take the time to floss well between braces and under all of the wires. Finally, you need to visit the dentist regularly between orthodontic appointments to ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy throughout the process.

If you’d still like more detailed tips, check out the simple and effective braces cleaning tips from Oral-B:

  1. Prepare to brush. Take off elastics, and any other removable parts of your orthodontic appliance.
  2. Clean your braces. Use your brush at a 45-degree angle to clean around the wires and pins of your braces. Brush from the top of each wire and then from the bottom. (Take time to ensure that all plaque and debris are removed, and that you work all the way around upper and lower teeth.)
  3. Brush your teeth. Clean each tooth individually. First, place your brush at a 45-degree angle to the junction between the tooth and the gum, then apply gentle pressure as you move in a circular motion. Do this for about 10 seconds. Use the same brushing action on all outer and inner tooth surfaces, tilting the brush as needed to better reach the insides of smaller front teeth.
  4. Floss once a day with super floss, a type of floss for cleaning around appliances such as braces. Have your dental professional show you how to use this floss, or follow the instructions on the product package.
  5. Rinse and check your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water or mouth rinse, and examine your teeth and braces in the mirror. They should sparkle, shine and feel clean.

Remember, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Carter!


Getting My Invisalign Attachments, Buttons, and Elastic Bands

It’s been a few weeks of my new life with Invisalign attachments, buttons, and bands, but I can honestly say it’s been a pretty simple transition. Before I get into my experience with them, I thought it would be important to describe what each of them actually are. Before I received my attachments and buttons, I actually thought those were interchangeable terms. I feel like I’m learning a whole new language!

invisalign attachments buttons

What are Invisalign Attachments?

Attachments are small tooth-colored dots of dental bonding that are placed on certain teeth. They may be rectangular, square, circular, ellipsoidal or triangular in shape. The shape and placement of a button changes based on the purpose it serves. Attachments may promote tooth rotation, translation, intrusion or extrusion.

What are Invisalign Buttons?

Buttons are small plastic or metal brackets that serve as anchors for bands. One button may be placed on an upper eyetooth and the other on a lower molar, with an elastic band running between them.  In some cases, one of the anchor points may be the Invisalign® aligner itself. 

What are Invisalign Bands?

Bands are small elastic loops that hook onto the buttons. The thickness (or strength) of the bands varies based on need. The purpose of the buttons and bands are to correct any bite issues by encouraging proper alignment.

The longest Invisalign appointment for me, to date, has been the one where I received all of these extra bits and pieces. I was in the office for about an hour and a half while they applied each attachment and button. I’d keep that in mind when you finally schedule that appointment! I’d also recommend, if possible, to do it later in the day in case you have any irritation or soreness. The process itself didn’t hurt, but there is definitely a transition period after having them applied. It was difficult for me to eat for a day or two after I received my attachments, because they seemed sharp against my mouth as I chewed. A few days later, I barely noticed them!

The amount of attachments you receive is totally dependent on your individual Invisalign case. Some people have none, some people have a few, and some people have them on every tooth. I have attachments on every tooth but my top and bottom front teeth, two buttons on my back molars, two anchor points on my top aligner, and a band on each side of my mouth. And yet I still don’t feel annoyed by them! I’d say that is a huge success. The only things that have really continued to affect me in the slightest are my bands. I don’t open my mouth as wide to talk now, so my speech has changed a little bit. Other than that, none of my Invisalign additions are all that noticeable.

If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment!

Holiday Treats for Kids with Braces

There is no denying that festive treats are part of the fun during the holidays. However, many of them are too sticky, hard, or crunchy for people with braces to enjoy. These types of foods can damage the wires or brackets of your braces as well as make your teeth that much more vulnerable to decay. Having traditional metal braces during the holidays can be tough when it feels like you are constantly surrounded by things you can’t have!

holiday treats for kids with braces

There are many holiday treats you should try to avoid. These include:

Candy canes
Jelly beans

Fortunately, there are just as many braces-friendly treats that you can indulge in:

Hershey Kisses
Peanut Butter Cups
Soft Cookies
Pumpkin Pie

The most important thing to remember, though, is to always brush after enjoying any sweets!

Orthodontics: Fact or Fiction

Movies and television would have you believe that the only people who wear braces are middle schoolers, and that the only options available include headgear and pounds of metal. That is simply not the case! We’ve decided to bust through the fiction and give you the honest facts about braces.

truth about braces

Myth: Orthodontic treatment is only for crooked teeth.
Fact: While a crooked smile is a common reason to seek orthodontic care, orthodontic interventions can also help with a wide range of dental health problems. From an overbite to jaw misalignment, Dr. Carter can help with many problems associated with your teeth, gums, and jaws.

Myth: Orthodontic treatment is just for kids.
Fact: Although children and teenagers often visit the orthodontist to get braces, the number of adults who choose to work on their smiles is increasing every year. No matter your age, a consultation with an orthodontist is always an option. It is never too late to smile with confidence.

Myth: Traditional metal braces are the only option.
Fact: Times have definitely changed. Advances in orthodontic technology mean that there are many options! Make sure to ask Dr. Carter about Invisalign® and other less-visible alternatives if you are concerned about having traditional metal braces.

Myth: Orthodontic treatment is too expensive.
Fact: At Carter Orthodontics, we work closely with patients to find ways to make the payment process a breeze. From helping with insurance to providing great payment options, we can make sure you find a price that is right for you.

Myth: Braces are painful and the treatment lasts many years.
Fact: In general, patients painlessly adapt to life with braces after the initial adjustments. In regards to treatment length, it varies from person to person. Some people may be required to wear braces for just a few months!

My First Invisalign Aligners

I recently got my first Invisalign® aligners! I’m currently on set 13 (Where has the time gone?), but I wanted to recap the beginning of my treatment before I move on to other topics. For those of you reading this who haven’t read my previous posts, you can learn more about my first Invisalign appointment before you read on.

Shortly after my initial Invisalign appointment, I came back to Dr. Carter’s office to pick up my first few aligners. I received a new patient kit, which was filled with aligner trays, a special brush, and instructions.

invisalign patient kit

Seriously, this is all it takes for a nice, new smile? I was sold.

invisalign accessories

Of course, the most interesting thing I received that day was my first set of aligners. I was nervous to try them on, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. Yep, these babies are part of my daily routine now.

first invisalign aligners

So how has my treatment been going? Well, I want to shout from the rooftops how excited I am that I’m officially working on my smile for the first time in my life. The best part? The process has been so smooth. That being said, there are a few things I have learned about wearing my Invisalign aligners:

• There should be no eating or drinking (except for clear liquids) while I’m wearing them. They need to be removed every time I eat, drink, or brush my teeth. I’ve actually noticed how much mindless snacking I did before I had the aligners. That’s probably the biggest “change” I’ve seen in my routine. It’s slightly more complicated now than just eating something quickly.
• I initially had a hard time remembering to grab my aligner case before heading out of the door each day. Tossing your aligners into a napkin before you eat isn’t the best idea, you guys. Luckily, you receive two cases. I now leave one in my purse and one by the bathroom sink. No more napkins.
• Ideally, you should wear your aligners for 22 hours a day. Some days I do better than others. I’d say I average between 20 & 21 hours a day, which is still within recommended ranges. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice. Maybe I should set a thirty minute alarm every time I take them out? Might just be a brilliant idea.
• There has been no pain associated with my treatment at all. My front teeth feel a little “achy” on the first day of a new set, but it’s definitely nothing I would complain about. By the second day, I barely feel them.
• I was also a little nervous about my speech being affected, but it’s not too bad! I’ve gotten passed the awkwardness, for sure. Sometimes my “s” sounds come out a little weird, but again, I can’t complain.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised by how easy this whole process has been. I’ll check back in later with more details on my attachments, buttons, and bands and using AcceleDent to speed the whole thing up. If you have any questions, leave a comment below!