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10 Tips for Orthodontic Braces Care

By Blog, Braces, Orthodontics, sacramento braces

man with bracesSo, you’re finally starting your journey to a straighter smile. The braces are on, now what? Fortunately, braces are pretty low maintenance, but there are quite a few things patients can do to make their orthodontic experience more effective and comfortable.

Here are ten tips from our orthodontists at Markham Orthodontics to help you care for your braces!

1. Know what to expect

When you first get braces, it’s perfectly normal for your teeth and mouth to be sore and/or tender. Your lips, cheeks, and gums may also be irritated for up to two weeks while they get used to the braces. Try a saltwater rinse or over-the-counter pain reliever to help reduce the amount of pain or discomfort you feel.

Also, don’t fret if your teeth feel loose. The braces loosen your teeth to move them into the correct positions. Once your teeth are in their proper places, they will be as strong as before!

2. Quit bad habits

When you have braces, you’ll have to choose between breaking your bad habits or breaking your brackets. Biting your fingernails, chewing on pen caps or ice cubes, and using your teeth as tools all pose threats to your brackets and wires.

Continuing these habits can lead to a costly orthodontic emergency.

3. Brush often

Orthodontic patients should brush after every meal to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Be sure to brush for at least two minutes and to reach the front, back, and top of each tooth.

Ask your orthodontist about the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your teeth and braces.

4. Floss

Your orthodontist can also help you choose the right type of floss and provide a floss threader to make the process simpler. We recommend flossing after each meal, but we also know that takes a lot of time and effort.

Make it a habit to at least floss every evening so food and germs don’t attack your teeth and gums. We want your teeth to be just as healthy after braces as they were before!

5. Eat the right foods

When you first get braces, stick to eating soft foods to avoid causing more pain and discomfort to your mouth. However, even when your mouth is healed, it’s best to eat foods that won’t damage your braces or get stuck between the brackets.

6. Avoid the wrong foods

Here are some foods to avoid while wearing braces:

  • Sticky foods like caramels, gum, and Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Chewy foods like bagels, beef jerky, and granola bars
  • Crunchy foods like popcorn, chips, and nuts
  • Foods that require biting into like corn on the cob, apples, and carrots

7.      Wear a mouth guard

Mouth guards protect the teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports. An orthodontist can create a custom mouth guard to provide you with the best, most comfortable protection. Be sure to properly clean and care for the mouth guard.

8. Use dental wax

While your mouth is getting acclimated to the braces, dental wax will be your new best friend. Simply place the wax over the brackets and wires that are irritating your gums to get some relief. This will also prevent blisters and sores from developing.

9. Wear rubber bands appropriately

Rubber bands, also called inter-arch rubber bands and elastics, are used to correct malocclusion. Be sure to wear the elastics exactly as your orthodontist has instructed. Typically, patients are required to wear them 24 hours a day. The rubber bands should be changed at least three times a day since they will lose elasticity.

10. Know when to call your orthodontist

Contact your orthodontist if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe pain after receiving braces
  • Loose wires and bands
  • Damage to the braces from a sports accident
  • A broken elastic hook
  • If you run out of bands or wax

Of course, always contact your dentist or orthodontists in any dental emergency. Our orthodontic team is here to serve you whenever you need our expert care.

To learn more about how we can help you achieve a beautiful, aligned smile, call (530) 823-8771 today.

up close photo of woman wearing clear bracket braces

Clear Bracket Braces and Other Inconspicuous Orthodontic Treatments

By Blog, Clear Bracket Braces, Invisalign, Orthodontics

up close photo of woman wearing clear bracket bracesThe choice between living with crooked, gapped, or crowded teeth and chunky metal braces isn’t an easy one. Most teens and adults can’t decide which is more embarrassing. Thankfully, there’s a third option! Clear bracket braces are just one of the more discreet orthodontic options available to those seeking to align their smile.

Want to learn more? Read this blog to discover everything you need to know about the most inconspicuous orthodontic options.

Clear Bracket Braces

Also called clear ceramic braces, this orthodontic treatment functions just like traditional metal braces. Aside from their discreet appearance, ceramic braces offer these advantages:

  • Highly effective: Clear braces are as effective as traditional metal braces for treating mild to severe dental issues like overbite, misalignment, and gapped teeth. There is a bracket secured to each tooth and a wire running through each bracket. These wires are tightened regularly to apply gentle pressure that moves teeth into the proper positions.
  • Use of epoxy: This bonding adhesive is not as hard on the enamel as the bonding material used for metal braces so you’re less likely to experience sensitivity once the braces are removed.
  • Less responsibility: Clear aligners can be difficult to keep up with, and if they aren’t worn for at least 22 hours a day, they aren’t effective. Ceramic braces can’t be removed, so the only thing you have to remember is to maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Comfort: Metal brackets scratch and irritate the soft tissues inside the mouth. Ceramic is much smoother so you don’t have to use wax as often.

The most common complaints about ceramic braces are (1) they are more expensive, and (2) they stain easily.

Most dentists and patients agree that the cost of clear bracket braces is totally worth it! To make this option more affordable, our dentist offers payment plans and options for almost any budget.

As for staining, patients should follow these tips to prevent discoloration:

  • Limit your intake of coffee, tea, and soda
  • Brush and floss after meals
  • Use a dentist-approved whitening toothpaste

Invisalign®

Adults and teens who are seeking the most discreet way to straighten their smiles often choose Invisalign clear aligners. This modern orthodontic option utilizes multiple sets of heavy-duty plastic aligners to gently move teeth into place. Most patients are suitable candidates for Invisalign but check with your orthodontist to make sure.

It’s important that Invisalign patients understand the amount of responsibility that comes with removable aligners. The ability to take out the aligners can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you don’t have to worry about uncomfortable metal brackets and food getting stuck in them. On the other hand, you do have to worry about misplacing, throwing away, and not properly using the aligners. Invisalign must be worn for at least 22 hours a day to achieve desired results. Your teeth and aligners must be cleaned after every meal as well.

Besides being nearly invisible, Invisalign clear aligners are extremely comfortable and effective. To learn more about how this modern orthodontic option can improve your smile, talk to your orthodontist today.

Other Orthodontic Options

At Markham Orthodontics, our team is passionate about helping you achieve the smile of your dreams in the fastest, most conservative way possible. In addition to clear bracket braces and Invisalign, we also offer the following options:

  • Six Month Smiles®
  • Fastbraces® accelerated treatment
  • AcceleDent®

Schedule an Initial Consultation

Contact an experienced orthodontist near you today to learn more about clear bracket braces and Invisalign. He will help you decide which option is best for improving your smile.

Contact our experienced and helpful team today at (530) 823-8771.

close-up of braces

How much do braces cost?

By Blog, Braces, Clear Bracket Braces, Invisalign, Orthodontics, sacramento braces

close-up of bracesOne of the first things people notice about you is your smile. If that fact makes you cringe, you’re probably one of the millions of people with crooked, gapped, or overcrowded teeth. Thankfully, modern orthodontics offers multiple solutions to an imperfect smile—traditional metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign®.

One of the first questions patients ask when considering braces is: How much do braces cost? The truth is, the cost of braces is different for everyone. Factors that contribute to braces cost are insurance coverage, the orthodontist’s pricing, and the length of treatment required to correct your smile.

Even so, our orthodontist can give you information about your orthodontic options and their average cost.

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces have come a long way over the last few years. Orthodontists now use much smaller brackets that don’t require additional wires or elastic ties to keep them in place. As a result, they are far less bulky and much more comfortable than ever before. In addition, traditional metal braces offer some serious benefits. For example:

  • Metal braces treat severe issues of crowding, spacing, and malocclusion.
  • Treatment time is often shorter.
  • They are the strongest and most durable option.
  • Metal braces typically cost less than other orthodontic options.

Speaking of cost, traditional metal braces cost ranges from $3,000 to $5,000.

Clear Braces

For patients who desire a more subtle orthodontic option, clear braces are an excellent choice. Metal brackets are replaced with tooth-colored ceramic brackets to provide patients with low-visibility along with the same benefits of traditional braces.

A common issue with this option is that the brackets become stained over time. However, this can be avoided by reducing your consumption of common teeth-staining agents like coffee, tea, and dark-colored fruits. Your orthodontist can also recommend a whitening toothpaste and other oral health care treatments that will combat staining.

Typically, clear braces cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

Invisalign®

For obvious reasons, Invisalign clear aligners are one of the most popular orthodontic options among teens and adults. Along with being nearly invisible, these braces are also comfortable and convenient.

Patients love the option of removing their aligners while eating because this means there are no diet restrictions. However, having removable braces requires more responsibility from the wearer because the aligners can easily be misplaced and must be worn at least 22 hours a day.

Unfortunately, Invisalign isn’t an option for everyone. A quick oral health exam can determine whether you are a suitable candidate.

This innovative option is the more expensive of the three at $3,500 to $8,000.

Payment Options

To relieve some of the stress about braces cost, many orthodontists offer a few different payment options. At Markham Orthodontics, we offer the following financing options:

  • Most credit cards
  • CareCredit® cards
  • Affordable payment plans

Of course, we also accept most insurance plans which should cover a portion of the braces cost. Our team is happy to sit down with you to discuss a payment plan that works best for your budget and to help you with any insurance billing and paperwork.

Schedule an Initial Consultation

Braces cost shouldn’t stop anyone from achieving a beautiful, healthy smile. To learn which braces option is best for you, contact an orthodontist near you today.

To meet with our friendly, experienced team, call (916) 924-8970 today.

different kinds of braces

What different kinds of braces can I choose from?

By Blog, Invisalign, Orthodontics, sacramento braces

different kinds of bracesWhen you are looking into braces for yourself or your child, you may wonder how many different kinds of braces are available. Fortunately, there are several options. The best option for you or your child depends on you or your child’s unique needs, goals, desires, and finances.

At Markham Orthodontics, Dr. David Markham can help you with whatever orthodontic option you choose. And you can rest assured you or your child will be in excellent hands, as Dr. Markham is Board-Certified in orthodontics.

What different kinds of braces are available for young children?

Because many current or potential future orthodontic issues can be fixed more easily when children are still developing, it is a good idea to have your child screened by an orthodontist by age seven. Known as early intervention orthodontics, the aim is to guide growth and development of the jaw and correct problems caused by poor oral habits, such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.

A second stage of treatment often follows early intervention orthodontics, but the earlier treatment means the second phase is less complicated, shorter in duration, and more affordable.

Since the jaw and face are still growing and developing, some issues can be fixed quickly and easily with a simple removable appliance or partial braces. This early intervention helps prevent tooth crowding, growth abnormalities, and jaw malpositioning. In some patients, it the answer to avoiding future jaw surgery.

Early intervention also helps boost self-esteem, especially with patients who have several orthodontic issues.

While not all young children need early intervention, it is worth coming in for a complimentary evaluation. Then, you can either know everything is developing as it should or learn what we can do for your child to prevent future dental issues.

The different kinds of braces for teenagers

The most common braces parents choose for their teens involve traditional metal brackets and wires. However, some parents do decide to go with clear, ceramic brackets or Invisalign® clear aligners. There are pros and cons for each option.

Traditional Braces

Bracket-and-wire braces are the best option when treatment needs are complex. It is also the more economical option.

Metal and ceramic brackets both work the same way. In fact, the only differences between them are aesthetics and cost. While the clear ceramic brackets are much less visible, certain foods and drinks can stain the ceramic. Of course, stained ceramic brackets are much more noticeable than when they are clear. Also, ceramic brackets are more expensive.

Most teenagers don’t mind the look of traditional braces. After all, they see them on most of their friends at some point or another. Also, if they have self-esteem issues because of their crooked smile or overbite, the braces alert everyone that something is being done to correct their smile issues. Therefore, the presence of braces actually boosts their self-esteem.

The biggest cons when it comes to traditional braces involve diet and oral hygiene. It can already be hard enough to convince some teens to brush and floss as they should, and the brackets and wires make these tasks even harder. Also, the list of foods to avoid can be daunting.

It might be worth going over the “not allowed” items with your teen to see if they can go a year or two without them. Some examples include:

  • Crunchy foods, such as ice and popcorn
  • Sticky foods, such as Starburst and caramels
  • Chewy foods, such as licorice and bagels
  • Hard foods, such as pretzels and nuts
  • Food you bite into, such as apples, carrots, and corn on the cob

Invisalign For Teens

If your teenager is more interested in Invisalign, the question you will have to ask is, how responsible is your teen? The clear aligners are removable, which removes food restrictions and makes oral hygiene much easier, but there are risks.

The aligners must be worn at least 22 hours a day. If your teenager cannot keep this commitment, traditional braces are the best option. Also, because they are removable, the aligners can get lost, broken, or damaged when out of their mouth.

Different Kinds of Braces for Adults

More and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment, especially with the invention of Invisalign. In fact, one out of five orthodontic patients is an adult.

Invisalign allows for the gentle, smooth movement of teeth by going through a series of custom-made, clear aligners. These aligners are practically invisible, so they allow you to improve your smile discreetly. They are also comfortable and allow you to avoid the common pains associated with traditional braces, such as tightening day and injuries from poking brackets and broken wires.

Another great advantage of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable. This means you take them out to eat and perform oral hygiene. Therefore, you don’t have to deal with food restrictions or learning how to floss around braces.

However, if you cannot commit to wearing your aligners for at least 22 hours a day, you may need to go with traditional braces. If you worry about aesthetics, you may want to consider clear ceramic brackets.

Which orthodontic treatment is best for you?

If you have questions or would like to set up a complimentary orthodontic evaluation, one of our friendly, knowledgeable team members would love to talk with you. Give us a call today at (916) 924-8970, so we can get you started on your journey to a more beautiful smile.

toddler boy holding a blue mouthguard to reduce teeth grinding

Have you heard your child grinding his teeth at night?

By Blog, Braces, Orthodontics, Teens

toddler boy holding a blue mouthguard to reduce teeth grindingDo you ever go into your child’s bedroom at night hoping to hear the sweet sounds of easy breathing but instead hear the harsh sounds of gnashing and grinding teeth? The sounds, which are caused by bruxism, can be alarming and concerning.

Should you be worried? Do you need to bring your child to the dentist immediately?

The truth is that bruxism can be quite common in kids. And most outgrow it by the time their permanent teeth come in.

But there are times treatment is warranted. Keep reading to find out what Dr. David Markham at Markham Orthodontics has to say about children who grind their teeth.

Why is my child grinding his teeth?

The medical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching is bruxism. Experts estimate that approximately 20-30 percent of children have bruxism. It usually occurs during deep sleep phases, but some children grind away all night or even during the day.

Most kids who grind their teeth don’t even realize they are doing it. Usually, it is the parents or siblings who identify it by hearing them grinding their teeth.

With some patients, coming up with a reason for their bruxism can be difficult. But there are known contributors to consider.

Common causes of grinding teeth in children include:

  • Misaligned teeth can increase the risk of bruxism.
  • Stress—especially anger or nervous tension. Children are sensitive to their surroundings, and things like starting a new school, worry over grades, changes in routine, parents going through a divorce, or fighting with a friend or siblings can bring on bruxism.
  • A response to pain. Just like people tend to rub sore muscles, sometimes children grind their teeth to ease the pain of teething or an earache.
  • Hyperactivity or a competitive, aggressive, or “Type A” personality.
  • Certain medical conditions or medications. Some conditions are linked to bruxism, such as GERD, cerebral palsy, night terrors, and epilepsy.

What are the possible negative effects of grinding teeth?

Again, most children grow out of bruxism by the time their permanent teeth come in. However, there can be negative effects that may warrant treatment.

If your child has any of the following, you may want an evaluation for possible treatment:

  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Facial or jaw pain
  • Frequent headaches or earaches
  • Overly sensitive teeth
  • Clicking or popping in the temporomandibular joint
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Wear to tooth enamel
  • Soft tissue damage, such as the inside of the cheek

What is the treatment for a child who is grinding their teeth?

If the cause is related to stress, tension, anger, or fear, sometimes the parents can help alleviate this by talking with their child. When children receive reassurances and know they can talk about their feelings and concerns, and that their parents hear them and want to help, it can work wonders.

If related to hyperactivity or an aggressive, competitive, or “Type A” personality, a relaxing bedtime routine may help. Consider a warm bubble bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music right before bed.

In more extreme cases, children may need professional help. This may include treatment such as counseling or biofeedback.

If the above measures don’t help and your child experiences damaged teeth, facial or jaw pain, or frequent headaches or earaches, your dentist may prescribe a nightguard to protect the teeth and keep them from grinding.

The night guard is similar to a protective mouthpiece athletes wear, but it is customized to mold to your child’s teeth. It can take some getting used to, but most children who wear them regularly find it harder to sleep without it than with it. And positive results can happen quickly.

If Your Child is Grinding His Teeth

Even though most children outgrow bruxism, the wisest choice is a thorough dental evaluation to determine the extent of damage and discuss treatment options.

Call Markham Orthodontics at (916) 924-8970 today to schedule a complimentary evaluation.