Our Blog

Winter Braces Survival Guide

January 6th, 2019

Winter is the perfect season for building snowmen, dusting off the sleds, and making holiday memories with friends and family. However, sensitive teeth and poor oral hygiene can also come alongside the winter months, leading to pain and discomfort during an otherwise cheerful season. Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect against seasonal problems and enjoy the winter wonderland while wearing orthodontics. Read on for our best tips to help you care for your smile all winter long!

Remember Your Routine

During the holidays, many of us may switch up our schedules by sleeping in, traveling, and spending more time sipping warm drinks. However, don’t neglect good dental habits just because the season is bustling with activity. Remembering to brush for two minutes twice a day, flossing daily, and consistently wearing any removable retainers or aligners will ensure that you can enjoy your healthiest smile.

Be Sensitive to Your Teeth’s Needs

The drop in temperatures and harsh winds can leave your teeth more sore or sensitive than usual. Luckily, there are several strategies you can use to combat pain. If your sensitivity is mild, breathing only through your nose when outside may be effective enough to minimize any soreness. For more intense sensitivity, consider brushing teeth with desensitizing toothpastes, which can dramatically ease discomfort and help with tooth sensitivity.

Don’t Forget Your Lips

Wind, sun, and cold temperatures can harm the delicate skin on your lips, so be sure to protect them from damage. If chapped lips bother you this season, petroleum jelly is a cost-effective option that locks in moisture. You can also combat both the cold and UV rays by wearing a daily lip balm with SPF 15 or higher. To improve your skin overall, drink plenty of water and consider installing a humidifier in your home to provide extra moisture to help keep your lips healthy this season.

Treat Yourself and Your Smile

While it may be tempting to indulge in a variety of seasonal foods during the holidays, it’s best to avoid hard and sticky foods that can damage your braces, get stuck in your teeth, and promote tooth decay. Be sure to also limit sweet drinks since they are high in acidic content, can damage your tooth enamel, and expose your teeth’s inner layers to the cold. Regardless of the weather, there are plenty of braces-friendly, holiday treats like pumpkin pie, ice cream, pudding, and sliced fruits that are sure to keep you happy and your teeth, healthy.

Winter Can Create Positive Change for Your Teeth

Don’t let the weather impact your smile’s health. Be sure to maintain daily routines of brushing and flossing while keeping up with your orthodontist appointments to get your best smile this season and beyond!

Celebrate the Holidays with Braces-Friendly Beverages

November 30th, 2018

With the holidays here, it's time to start prepping for holiday parties and gatherings. But if you’re looking for fun and braces-friendly holiday drinks, we’ve got you covered.

Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate

If you enjoy cinnamon-flavored, wintery drinks, then this is perfect for you! Add some marshmallows for extra sweetness.

Find the recipe here.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

If you are in the holiday mood and love gingerbread, try this twist on frozen hot chocolate!

Find the recipe here.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This is one of the more famous drinks around the holidays. Experiment with this healthier version that uses real pumpkin puree and honey in the recipe.

Find the recipe here.

Spiced Vanilla Pear Apple Cider 

This easy-to-prepare cider recipe combines both pear and apple for a holiday favorite.

Find the recipe here.

Ginger Latte

This minimalistic recipe is perfect if you have ginger, sugar, and almond milk around the house.

Find the recipe here.

Caramel Vanilla Bean Hazelnut Milk

This holiday drink gets you in the festive spirit with its hazelnut and vanilla bean combo. Even better, it substitutes dates for sugar to make the drink sweeter. (Blending the dates makes them braces-safe!)

Find the recipe here.

Cherry Bombs

This drink is a play on the kid-favorite Shirley Temple.

Find the recipe here.

Iced Mint Protein Mocha

This sugarless recipe combines mint and coffee to make a refreshing caffeinated drink. It’s also a great pick-me-up for winter mornings.

Find the recipe here.

As always, we recommend foods and drinks with little to no sugar.  Not only are they better for your dental health, but minimizing your sugar intake is better for the rest of your body, too. These drinks are some fun ideas to get you started with your holiday planning, but there’s one more thing to remember: keep up with your regular dental hygiene to ensure you maintain that sparkling smile!

All About TMJ for National TMJ Awareness Month

November 4th, 2018

If you experience throbbing headaches, pain and tenderness in your jaw, or have difficulty chewing, you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from a TMJ disorder. This November is TMJ Awareness Month, and we’re breaking down the causes, symptoms, and treatments of TMJ disorders so you can learn the most effective ways to stay pain-free year -round. 

What is TMJ?

Every person has two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that rest in front of each ear. These joints allow your jaw to move in hinge and sliding motions so you can talk, chew, or swallow. When TMJ disorders strike, they can cause pain and restriction of the jaw, along with a myriad of other unpleasant side effects that can critically damage quality of life, including:

  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth (jaw locking)
  • Tenderness and pain in the jaw
  • Pain in or around the ears
  • Migraines and tension headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Oftentimes, there are a number of factors that can contribute to painful TMJ disorders, ranging from stress, to teeth grinding, to a bad bite. Most of these factors place undue pressure on your jaw’s joints, leading to the characteristic symptoms of pain, tightness, and restricted range of motion.

Treatment Options for TMJ

Because TMJ disorders can affect your ability to speak, eat, and even sleep, managing the pain and discomfort brought on by TMJ problems can feel overwhelming. However, regardless of stage, there are a number of effective treatments for patients to try. While most TMJ disorders are resolved with conservative treatments, surgical intervention is sometimes needed to relieve discomfort and pain. Some conservative treatments include an adjusted diet, bite realignment, wearing a mouth guard, or restorative dentistry. Patients with stress-induced TMJ may find counseling and exercises to be helpful.

If patients have TMJ caused by malocclusion (an improper bite), one of the most effective treatments is orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment can correct the improper bite and ensure that the jaw functions without compensating for misaligned teeth. In many cases, orthodontics can also reduce rates of jaw clenching or teeth grinding, since misaligned teeth are more prone to these TMJ-inducing habits.

If you routinely suffer from painful TMJ disorders, take the first step toward a pain-free life by scheduling an appointment with us today. By determining the causes of your pain, we can discuss treatment options that will transform the way you feel and leave you with your happiest, healthiest smile yet.

Be Picky If it's Sticky! Halloween Advice for Your Best Smile Yet

October 10th, 2018

Halloween is right around the corner and many Americans are eagerly awaiting the festivities, candies, and sweets that the holiday brings. While families are stockpiling their sugary treats, it’s crucial to be extra mindful of orthodontic and dental care this season to keep your teeth healthy, clean, and pearly white. In preparation for the sweet season, we’ve compiled these expert tips that will keep your smile looking its best during Halloween and beyond!

Do remember to maintain regular dental care routines.

It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene when you have braces— especially during a season known for candy consumption! Remember to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, replacing your toothbrush every three to four months (or sooner if you notice the bristles are fraying). Continue to floss once a day as it will help remove plaque and food particles stuck in your braces or teeth.

Don’t snack on and off throughout the day and night.

It’s best to have Halloween candy or other sugary foods around mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals, which helps maintain the pH balance in your mouth and rinse away food particles. Snacking, especially on sugary snacks, can increase your risk of cavities because there is less saliva to mitigate the bacteria or acid in the mouth.

Do choose candy carefully.

Although reducing your sugar intake is a safe way to lower your risk of developing cavities, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your dental health or braces! Soft chocolates like Hershey Bars, Reese’s Cups and Three Musketeers make excellent choices for a healthy smile this Halloween. Just be sure to avoid chocolates that have nuts or caramel inside (Snickers…we’re looking at you!)

Don’t get into a sticky situation.

Sticky, chewy, and gummy candies are the most difficult to thoroughly remove from your mouth—plus they put your braces (specifically wires and brackets) at risk. These candies additionally stick to the grooves of teeth and increase risk of tooth decay, making them the worst candy for both your oral health and orthodontic treatment.

Do treat yourself to sweet options beyond the candy bag.

While candy is certainly in abundance during the Halloween season, encourage your family and friends to enjoy more braces-friendly treats like fruit, milkshakes, or cookies since they tend to stick to braces and teeth less than candy.

Don’t forget to drink water.

Water is a dental superhero, loosening food that gets stuck in braces and washing it away. Fluoridated water can even help prevent tooth decay, so be sure to stay hydrated for better oral health.

By establishing healthy braces habits this season and beyond, you can enjoy your healthiest and happiest smile yet. If you have any questions about orthodontic care or want to schedule an appointment, call us today. From all of us, we wish you a happy and safe Halloween!

Schedule your Consultation Today!

Contact Us!
call email