Am I Too Old For Braces?

If you’re like most people, when you think about orthodontics, you think of a teenager wearing metal braces. This may lead you to wonder, am I too old for braces? This stereotype has had a lot of staying power throughout the years, but thankfully, it’s not the case! Orthodontic treatment has a variety of benefits for patients of all ages, including adults. While it’s true that we do have many younger patients, there’s been a large increase in the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in recent years. About 1 in every 5 current orthodontic patients is over the age of 18!

You only have one smile, and if you’ve spent your life feeling unhappy or self-conscious about how your teeth look or function, now’s the time to look into improving your oral health. It’s never too late to achieve a healthy, confident smile! Here at Dudley Smiles, we’re proud to offer multiple treatment options to correct a wide range of orthodontic issues, including crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, and more. 

Let’s explore what orthodontics really is and how our expert team can help you achieve the beautiful smile you deserve!

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a dental specialty. An orthodontist is a dentist who has had additional years of education and training in diagnosing and correcting bite abnormalities. They also learn how to successfully straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaws, and improve the overall function and health of the mouth.

An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Dudley is able to diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial abnormalities. When these conditions are left untreated, they can get worse over time, leading to premature wear and tear on the teeth, gum tissue, and bone. This can eventually lead to pain in the face and neck area, headaches, and even difficulties with chewing or speaking. 

Orthodontists are able to diagnose and treat these types of issues, improving both the function and appearance of your smile. 

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Why are more adults now choosing orthodontic treatment?

As we get older, we often begin to learn more about how our oral health is related to our overall health. This can lead many people to begin to seek out orthodontic treatment, in order to better care for their teeth and gums. 

We also see many adult patients who started orthodontic treatment when they were younger, but never completed it and are looking to do so now. Another common desire is touchup treatment, since teeth that were straightened in a patient’s youth may shift over time, due to age, genetics, or improper retainer use. In these cases, we have multiple options, including monitoring the teeth, providing new retainers, or re-treating with braces or aligners. 

Finally, there are a number of adults who have never had orthodontic treatment but are simply looking to improve the cosmetic appearance of their smile. This can lead to improved self-esteem and can even have a positive impact on their personal and professional lives!

What orthodontic options are available for adult patients?

No matter what your reason for seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult, there are more options for you to choose from than ever before! Dudley Smiles offers the following treatments for a total smile makeover.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the most popular orthodontic treatment and with good reason! Braces are one of our most efficient treatments, particularly for more severe or complex cases. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, with innovations in the design making them much more comfortable and light-weight than previous models. The total treatment time in today’s braces also tends to be shorter than it used to be.

Ceramic braces

These function in much the same way traditional braces do but use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. The brackets can be clear, white, or tooth-colored, and for a nearly invisible treatment option, they can be used with elastics or ties that are also clear, white, or tooth-colored. Ceramic braces can be an excellent choice for patients who want a more subtle way to straighten their smile, but because they are more delicate than metal braces, we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Instead of brackets and bands, the Invisalign system uses a series of clear, customized, removable aligners. These are custom-designed for each patient to fit snugly over the teeth, and gently move them into the desired positions over time. Aligners are made of a soft but strong thermoplastic resin and are replaced with the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the shifting teeth. 

All three of these options can be a great fit for busy adults! You can trust that Dr. Dudley will only recommend the treatment he feels will work best with your smile, lifestyle, and goals. 

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Get the smile you’ve always wanted with Dudley Smiles

Here at Dudley Smiles, we believe that each patient is unique, and so is their smile! There is no “one size fits all” treatment, and Dr. Dudley is dedicated to creating a treatment plan that fits your individual needs. We’ll give you everything you need for a positive orthodontic experience and long-lasting results!

If you’re ready to take the first step to discovering the smile of your dreams, contact the team at Dudley Smiles today and schedule a free consultation with Dr. Dudley!

Maintaining Orthodontic Treatment At Home

There is no doubt times are changing. As the CDC continues to encourage social distancing and more local governments are enacting “safer-at-home” orders, life is starting to look quite different. This may leave you wondering where that leaves your orthodontic treatment or if you can even continue on. The good news is you don’t have to worry! There’s a multitude of ways for maintaining orthodontic treatment at home while keeping in touch with Dr. Dudley

With today’s technology along with a few simple habits, you can keep your smile on track from home! Whether you’re currently undergoing braces treatment or wearing Invisalign aligners, you can keep working towards the smile you’ve always dreamed, while still practicing social distancing. We’ve put together a guide on how you can take quality care of your smile while helping slow the spread of COVID-19, no matter what type of treatment you’re pursuing! Keep reading below to find out more. 

Invisalign 

If you’re wearing Invisalign aligners, you can simply proceed with treatment as usual! If you’re approaching the end of an aligner series, and don’t have the next one, don’t worry. If this happens, wear the most recent aligner in the series for 15-18 hours a day. It’s crucial that you don’t stop wearing your aligners, as this can drastically slow your progress, and even cause your teeth to move back to their original position in your mouth. Because of this, if you do not have more aligners, continue to wear the last aligner you have until our office reopens. 

At Dudley smiles, we know accidents happen, and aligners may get lost or broken. If this happens while our office is closed, simply return to the previous aligner in the series and continue to wear that one until your next in-office visit. You should also continue to wear any elastics as directed by Dr. Dudley. If you run out, that’s no problem. Just get in touch with a member of the team and we’ll be happy to mail you more!

Braces

Orthodontic treatment is a big investment in your health and we know you want to do everything possible to protect that investment. That’s why it’s more important than ever to follow the guidelines put in place by Dr. Dudley at the onset of your treatment. When you’re undergoing braces treatment, any deviation from your plan can lead to problems down the road. Continue wearing any elastics as directed by Dr. Dudley to keep your teeth moving in along as planned. If you run out, just let us know and we’ll be happy to mail you more!

If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort related to your orthodontic treatment, we’re here to help! If you have any wires sticking out, you can use a pair of small cuticle scissors to trim the end. Then, you can place a small amount of orthodontic wax on the end of the wire to relieve any pain. Additionally, if you find you have a loose bracket, don’t worry! Just let us know and once our office is reopened, Dr. Dudley will see you right away. Until then, however, you can try gently sliding the bracket back to the center of the tooth. Be sure to avoid all sticky and chewy foods until your next in-office visit!

Retainers

If you’re in the final stages of your treatment, it’s very important that you stay on track! Wearing your retainers as directed by Dr. Dudley will give you the long lasting results you desire and protect your smile investment. If you lose or break a retainer, just let us know! We can set up a virtual appointment to discuss your options and figure out what works best for you. Be sure to keep your retainer especially clean during this time. Plaque and bacteria from your teeth can build up in your retainer, which can lead to oral health issues. By keeping your retainer clean, you can stop any buildup and protect the overall health of your teeth and gums. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling any orthodontic equipment. 

Maintaining Orthodontic Treatment At Home

General Oral Health

The biggest factor in taking care of your smile while staying home is the most simple: keeping up your daily oral care routine. Fixed surface appliances like braces add more area for plaque to build up. If you have access to an electric toothbrush, they are great for removing stubborn plaque! A water flosser is also a great tool to have at home, especially while keeping up your treatment in the time of social distancing. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss every night before bed, to best support your smile progress! By taking good care of your mouth, you’re taking care of your whole body. 

As our offices are closed, it’s more important than ever to stay away from any and all restricted foods! By doing so, you can avoid any preventable accidents, saving a trip to the office. We want to do everything possible to keep your treatment going smoothly during this uncertain time. Avoid any foods that are sticky, hard, or crunchy. You may also want to consider cutting food into smaller bite-sized pieces or even steaming it to make it easier on your braces. Keep in mind this won’t last forever. Doing what’s necessary now will save more work in the future! 

If you have any kind of emergency, we’re here to help! While our office may be closed, we’ll remain available by phone and email to answer any questions you may have. Additionally, if you have any serious issues that can’t be addressed by virtual consultation, we can schedule an emergency appointment in our office with minimal staff present. Your health and safety is our top priority! We want to help you achieve the smile of your dreams while ensuring the health of you, your family, and our team.  

Staying home doesn’t have to set back your smile progress! Follow these guidelines and you’ll have the smile you deserve, without leaving the comfort of your home.

Playing Sports While Wearing Braces

Many of our Dudley Smiles patients play sports, either for their school, in their community, or just for fun. They’re often concerned that beginning their braces treatment will keep them on the sidelines for the season. If you’re an athlete, you may be worried about playing sports with braces and how they will affect your performance, or even keep you from playing. 

This is a common concern but the good news is that it’s unfounded! You can continue playing any sport you enjoy during your orthodontic treatment, but you’ll need to take precautions to keep your braces and mouth safe. We’re focused on protecting your braces from damage and making sure you don’t injure your teeth or gums. To learn more about how you can protect your braces and your mouth while playing sports, keep reading! 

 

Understanding Mouthguards

Mouthguards are the single best way to protect your teeth when you’re in the game. 

They do a great job of protecting your teeth no matter what sport you’re playing, even high-contact sports like football and hockey. Best of all, they’re simple to use. We recommend wearing them for low-impact sports, too, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, causing small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

When you know the differences between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard, you can make the best decision for you based on what you need it for. These over-the-counter options provide effective protection for you and will be able to meet all your basic needs. 

If you play sports while wearing braces, one of the best investments you can make is an orthodontic mouthguard. Regular mouthguards do provide some protection, but they’re made of a rigid material called thermoplastic, which heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth. This kind of mouthguard can’t adjust well as your teeth move, so it may end up working against your braces. This can interrupt or delay your treatment.

Not only that, but a regular mouthguard that has molded itself too snugly around the brackets could shift them or even knock the brackets off completely if you sustained a hard enough hit. This could mean extra orthodontic visits or increase your total treatment time. 

Orthodontic mouthguards are made from a high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps protect the brackets from any impact-related damage, and can also prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your braces (yes, it’s exactly as bad as it sounds!) Since they’re made of silicone, they are more flexible which helps prevent damage to your brackets. Orthodontic mouthguards can be slightly larger than regular mouthguards, but they’re just as comfortable.

Over-the-counter mouthguards

Shock Doctor

One of the most well-known brands, Shock Doctor mouthguards are considered some of the best orthodontics mouthguards on the market. Because they are made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they’re more comfortable than options and help reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.

Vettex

If you’re in braces and regularly play sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself, but still allow you to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they’re still an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, they have a more generalized design and aren’t made specifically for athletes in braces. 

Tapout

Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style with a distinct design promoting airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they can re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. Because they’re meant to adjust based on your current bite, athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment can use them, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.

SISU

SISU mouthguards are also a newer type of mouthguard.  They are very thin, thus can be a little more comfortable to some people if they do not like the bulk of the other types of mouthguards.  They are made of a harder material, so sometimes does not provide as much cushion. They can be re-boiled to fit the teeth, so they are great for orthodontic patients as their teeth move.

Injuries from playing sports in braces

Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, a direct hit to your mouth while you’re in wearing braces and playing a sport still needs attention. If it happens, get in touch with our office as soon as possible. We’re always available if you have an orthodontic emergency! Once we know what’s going on with you and your braces, Dr. Dudley will be able to tell if we need to schedule you for an emergency appointment or not. Remember, the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by always wearing a mouthguard! An orthodontic model is the best option, but even a basic mouthguard will help prevent hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.

Playing Sports While Wearing Braces

Protect your game-changing smile with Dudley Smiles Orthodontics

Mouthguards are a crucial investment in your oral health. They protect your teeth while they move into their new permanent positions. They also protect the straightening process itself! They work hard to protect your smile investment. We encourage all of our patients to wear any kind of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when participating in sports or other physical activity.

Whether you’re a current patient or have an appointment to get your braces on soon, we understand that you may be nervous about the impact they’ll have on your ability to play sports. We’d be happy to set your mind at ease! Our team is always here to answer any questions you may have or to talk through any concerns you have. With mouthguard protection and our skilled staff behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!

Types Of Braces

Here at Dudley Smiles Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer a variety of unique orthodontic treatment options to patients of all ages in our Kent and Issaquah offices. Our expert team is committed to creating personalized treatment plans that are designed specifically for your unique smile! Using the latest techniques and innovative technology, Dr. Dudley is able to successfully treat a wide range of orthodontic issues, including

  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps/Spaces between teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Impacted teeth

We treat these using a variety of treatment methods, including traditional braces. As the most common type of orthodontic treatment, braces have gone through quite a transformation over the years. Not only are today’s braces smaller and more aesthetically pleasing, but they also move the teeth more efficiently, leading to a better orthodontic experience all around! 

Once you decide to pursue braces treatment to improve your oral health and align your smiles, you may wonder what options you have. At your initial appointment, Dr. Dudley will perform an orthodontic examination that will help him determine which treatment option is right for you, your smile, and your lifestyle. 

Let’s take a closer look at the types of braces we offer and how they differ, and how they can give you a confident smile you’ll love!

Types Of Braces

A note about traditional braces

Braces are exceptionally good at fixing complex tooth issues and can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might, which has the potential to shorten your treatment time. Because every case is different, treatment time with metal braces will vary from patient to patient. The average is anywhere from 18-36 months. You can often start to see improvement in a short time, which can be very encouraging. 

Taking care of your traditional braces can be a little tricky in the beginning, but it gets easier over time. A good dental hygiene routine is essential for oral health, particularly during orthodontic treatment. There are a lot of tools designed to make cleaning braces easier, such as waterpiks to help rinse any hard to reach areas and ortho picks to make flossing easier. We recommend brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and flossing every night before bed.

Some foods will need to be avoided while wearing braces in order to protect them, including anything sticky or crunchy since these can damage the brackets and wires. This won’t last forever, though, and will all be worth it once your braces come off and you see your beautiful new smile!

As a patient in braces, you can expect follow-up visits with us every 4-8 weeks or so throughout the treatment process. During these appointments, Dr. Dudley will change the bands that are attached to the brackets and may replace the wire as well. Check-ups tend to be fairly quick, so you can get back to school or work on time! Though there may be some slight residual soreness after each adjustment, it should be temporary. These visits are a very important part of the overall treatment plan and help us ensure the best results in the least amount of time, so try your best not to miss them. 

Metal braces

Metal braces are one of the most recognizable symbols of orthodontics, and also the most common type of treatment. Thanks to a mix of stainless steel, nickel, and other high-quality metals, the brackets are very durable and long-lasting. 

Modern metal braces are much more comfortable and lighter than they used to be, and they’re also customizable, thanks to a variety of fun colored bands to choose from! These braces deliver excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more serious or complicated.

Metal braces also tend to be a little more affordable option, since they don’t require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments do. The overall strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness of traditional braces keep them the top treatment for orthodontics, year after year. 

Types Of Braces

Ceramic braces

Sometimes referred to as clear braces, tooth-colored braces, or aesthetic braces, ceramic braces function in much the same way metal braces do, with the added benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While ceramic braces are about the same size and shape as metal braces, they’re better able to blend in with a patient’s natural smile for a more subtle straightening option. 

Although ceramic braces are tough, the material they are made from can be prone to chipping or cracking. Since metal braces can hold up to more pressure than ceramic ones, they may be a better option for those who have severe corrections that need to be made. 

Ceramic brackets are often slightly costlier than metal brackets, as well. Since they can be more expensive and are more prone to breaking, we believe ceramic braces are generally better suited to adults and older teens. That said, ceramic braces can be an excellent option for many patients. They are an incredibly discreet and efficient way to straighten smiles! 

Find braces that work with your smile at Dudley Smiles Orthodontics

At Dudley Smiles Orthodontics, we know every smile is unique, and what works for one patient may not be a good choice for another. That’s why Dr. Dudley creates a customized treatment plan for every patient! With his education, skills, and experience, you can be sure that he’ll only recommend the course of treatment that’s best for your smile. 

If you’re in Kent, Issaquah, or the Sammamish area, we’d love to give you more information on how braces can give you a healthier, straighter smile. Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!

What Can I Eat With Braces?

Like any new adventure in life, choosing to improve your smile with braces from Dudley Smiles is exciting but can come with quite a few changes. While most of these are minor, some will take a bit of getting used to! For instance, food restrictions can be one of the biggest learning curves when it comes to braces. These limitations can be frustrating, especially in the early days of treatment, but avoiding certain types of food throughout the orthodontic process is necessary to protect your braces while we straighten your teeth.

It’s important to us that you feel confident in the treatment process, and we want to provide you with a positive orthodontic experience in a stress-free environment. To help you get a handle on some of the dietary changes on the horizon, we’ve put together this quick list of braces-friendly food you can safely indulge in. We’ve also included a few of our favorite tips for getting through your orthodontic journey with your smile and sense of humor intact. Keep reading below to learn more!

Hang in there: patience is key

Investing in your oral health is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but it does take time and effort. Whether you’re in braces for a few months or a few years, there will be times when you feel as though it’s taking forever. We promise this part is only temporary! Treatment will go much more smoothly for you if you can accept from the beginning that you’ll have a few limitations while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Follow our recommendations, stay positive, and before you know it, we’ll be removing your braces and revealing your brand new smile! 

Healthy teeth lead to a healthier mouth (and a healthier YOU)

Oral care is always important, but when you’re in braces, it becomes even more essential to take good care of your teeth and gums. You should have a good dental hygiene routine in place the entire time you’re in treatment – and beyond that, too! We recommend that you brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss every night before bed. That’s not where oral care ends, though. You should also pay attention to your diet, and aim for food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. 

What Can I Eat With Braces?

Foods you can emBRACE

Not all of us know what a healthy and varied diet looks like. Let us help! Below you’ll find some of our favorite foods that are good for your braces and your total body health.

Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and protein, and also provides you with a boost of beneficial bacteria. The coolness and texture of it can be soothing if your mouth is feeling sore following an adjustment, and it’s an excellent choice for strengthening your teeth and improving your oral health. Enjoy it plain, Greek-style, or topped with fruit and honey, but be sure to brush your teeth afterwards since even plain yogurt contains naturally-occurring sugars. 

Smoothies

Some days, eating can feel like a real chore. Nothing sounds good, and you just can’t seem to summon up the energy to make something. This may happen occasionally as a braces patient, and can be exacerbated by any feelings of tenderness after an appointment. Smoothies are great for times like these, and can provide you with a quick blast of healthy vitamins and minerals. There’s such a big variety of fruits, vegetables, and other add-ons to choose from that you’ll never get bored, and the temperature and texture can be soothing for sore teeth, too.

Chicken noodle soup

It’s not just for sick days! This comfort food is a staple for a reason. It’s packed with minerals, gelatin, and collagen that work together to build strong teeth and bones, so it nourishes your body while giving your jaws a break from chewing. The protein and vitamins found in a cup of chicken noodle soup can even speed up the rate at which you heal, which can be especially helpful if you’ve been experiencing any irritation or soreness in your mouth.

Sweet potatoes

Even though these root vegetables are often relegated to Thanksgiving, they’re a delicious addition to any meal throughout the year! The keratin they contain helps tooth enamel form properly, and they’re full of vitamin A, which maintains the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. With so many different ways to eat them, you can almost always count on sweet potatoes to provide you with a healthy and filling side that’s still soft enough to eat when your teeth and jaws are feeling tender.

Fish

Occasionally, you may have days where you don’t want to put any pressure on your teeth at all. This is relatively common right after your braces are put on, or following an adjustment appointment. Even bite-sized pieces of beef, pork, and chicken can feel like too much when you’re dealing with residual soreness!

Because it’s naturally soft and flaky, fish can be a fantastic alternative to tougher cuts of meat. Fattier fish like tuna and Atlantic salmon in particular are a great source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb and use calcium more effectively. That’s a really good thing when it comes to improving your oral health, since calcium plays a big role in protecting the teeth and gums from disease.

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that we mentioned words like soreness, swelling, and tenderness several times above. Don’t worry! It’s common for your mouth to feel slightly tender immediately after your braces are put on or following an adjustment, but this is only temporary. During this time, you may find it helpful to stick to softer foods, like soups, shakes, mashed potatoes, pasta, and rice. If you’re feeling like a little pick-me-up, frozen yogurt, popsicles, and ice cream taste great and can provide your mouth with some cool relief. 

What Can I Eat With Braces?

Make the most of your braces with support from Dudley Smiles

There’s no denying that braces require a little bit of extra effort on your part, especially where food is involved. But you’ll be surprised by how quickly the treatment process goes! Remember that making these changes to your teeth and jaws will benefit not only your smile, but many other aspects of your life as well. We think every single one of them is worth the wait!

Would you like to learn more about braces and how they can give you the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted? Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation.

Top Tips For Going Back To School With Braces

With summer almost over and most kids heading back to school, there’s no better time to discuss how to properly care for braces inside the classroom. This is especially important information for children and teens who are returning to school for the first time since starting orthodontic treatment!

Like any other new undertaking, braces comes with their own set of challenges. But Dudley Smiles is here to help make the transition from late summer nights to early mornings a little easier! Keep reading below for a few of our favorite tips for confidently heading back to school in braces. 

Be prepared with a braces kit

All students in braces benefit from keeping a basic care kit in their purse, backpack, or locker, especially if they haven’t been a patient for very long. Having a few commonly used items nearby helps kids feel prepared for any minor issues that might pop up during the school day. Some things we recommend for the kit include:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • orthodontic wax
  • lip balm
  • an unsharpened pencil

Brackets and wires create nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and other debris, so we encourage brushing after lunch, with a quick floss added if there is time.

Patients may experience mild irritation from their braces occasionally, especially inside the lips and cheeks, or along the gumline. A pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax placed over the area causing problems can be an excellent way to reduce that and find some relief.

If a wire comes loose and is poking the gums or cheek, the eraser end of a pencil can be used to nudge them back into place. Orthodontic wax can be placed over the area for further stability.

Braces can cause and exacerbate lip dryness, chapstick or lip balm is a must-have accessory throughout the year.

assistant scanning patient's teeth

Pay attention to the rules

Whether a patient is at school, home, or anywhere in between, the same rules apply. This is especially important when it comes to food restrictions, which can be one of the biggest learning curves to come with braces. School can make it even harder for kids to choose lunches and snacks that are safe for braces! It’s usually easy enough to manage food restrictions at home where parents are in charge of buying groceries, but it may be a bit more difficult for patients who prefer school lunches or have regular access to a vending machine for snacks.

To keep orthodontic treatment on track, we suggest parents check the school’s lunch menu every week for options that are braces-friendly. Examples of this would be lean meat, mashed potatoes, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and cooked vegetables. If the child is a picky eater, packing a lunch can make life easier for both the patient and the parent sometimes! Pasta, soups, and other soft options are good options for kids who have a Thermos, while sandwiches can be cut into smaller bites the night before. This makes eating and chewing much easier for students in braces, especially after adjustment appointments.

Don’t forget snacks! Patients need to avoid foods like pretzels, chips, and some raw fruits and veggies, but there are still plenty of healthy options available, such as applesauce, yogurt, and bananas. These are gentle on braces, and will also help keep kids feeling full and satisfied throughout the school day.

Food isn’t the only lunchtime consideration, since what a child chooses to drink at school can also affect their braces. Drinking from a water bottle throughout the day will keep kids hydrated and wash food particles away from the teeth and braces, too. Stick to plain water, though, and skip any soda or fruit juices. These liquids can stain the teeth and increase the risk for cavities. For the times when a sweet drink is all that will do, use a straw to keep the sugar away from the teeth, and brush as soon as possible.  

Be safe

For student athletes or children who have regular P.E. classes, an orthodontic mouthguard is recommended. A properly fitted orthodontic mouthguard is designed to be worn with braces, and will protect braces from damage and a child’s mouth from injury during sports and other physical activities. Orthodontic mouth guards are usually available at major sporting goods stores, along with non-orthodontic models. Dr. Dudley is also happy to recommend or order one for patients and parents who would prefer to go through our office instead.

Dr. Dudley looking at a patient's teeth

Sending students back to school with a smile 

It’s not uncommon for kids going back to school with new braces to feel nervous since they aren’t sure what to expect. Even patients who have been in braces for a while can struggle with feeling a little anxious at first! Thankfully, it only takes a short amount of time for life with braces to become just another part of a child’s daily routine.

At Dudley Smiles, we work hard to make every patient’s orthodontic journey as rewarding and exciting as possible. If you’d like more information on how to navigate the new school year while wearing braces, get in touch with our office and our expert team will be happy to help. Every child deserves a straight-A smile, and Dudley Smiles will help your child achieve exactly that!

Your First Visit

It’s exciting when you finally take the first step towards straightening your smile with orthodontics. You’ll not only be improving your appearance, your oral health will benefit, as well. However, this is also a big step, so it can feel a little overwhelming in the beginning, particularly if you aren’t familiar with the orthodontic process. You may not know much about the treatment options or what to expect in the days and months ahead. 

Here at Dudley Smiles, we know that orthodontic treatment is an investment across the board, and we take the trust you place in our practice seriously. We always want you to feel informed about and confident in the care that we provide, and that begins with your initial visit to our Issaquah or Kent offices! Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this free consultation, and what will happen afterwards. 

Your first visit at a Dudley Smiles office 

You’ll always be greeted warmly when you visit our office! For your first visit, we’ll take extra special care of you. We’ll show you around the office, introduce you to some of our team, and then you’ll meet Dr. Dudley. Following this, we will take some digital photographs of your teeth, along with a panoramic and cephalometric x-ray if necessary. These images are the best way for us to see your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue, so we can ensure everything is growing and progressing the way it should be. 

Once he’s reviewed these records, Dr. Dudley will join you in a private consultation room to point out any specific areas of concern and explain what you can expect from treatment by showing you photos and videos of similar cases. He will then present you with your customized treatment plan and walk you through the process. Depending on the developmental stage of the teeth and jaws, it may be best to begin treatment right away, or at a later time. Whether you’re planning to start treatment now or later, this is the best time to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

To ensure you fully understand the orthodontic process, during this appointment our team will cover:

  • any oral issues you’re experiencing
  • if treatment is needed immediately
  • what treatment options are available to correct the problem
  • if any teeth will need to be removed
  • an estimate of how long we expect your treatment to take
  • the total investment required for treatment
  • any payment or financing options we have available to you

At Dudley Smiles, we take an individualized approach to treatment, which means we  consider your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals when working out a treatment plan for you. This method allows us to produce superior results and a rewarding orthodontic experience for each and every patient we treat!

Dr. Silas with a patient

Investing in a healthier smile

After you decide on a treatment plan with Dr. Dudley, we’ll go over the investment needed for your new smile. The total treatment costs will vary from case to case, but we’ll break down all the applicable fees for you before any treatment actually begins.

At Dudley Smiles, we don’t stop at flexible appointment scheduling and flexible treatment options. We also offer flexible payment options! We never want cost to be an obstacle to you obtaining the orthodontic care you need, so we offer discounts to patients who pay in full at the front end, and we will also work out monthly payment plans to fit every budget. If you have insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, we’ll file your claim for you and help you maximize your benefits. 

The next step in your orthodontic journey

Once your initial consultation is complete, we’ll schedule an appointment for you to come into one of our offices and receive your orthodontic appliance! Depending on the type of treatment, you’ll then have follow-up appointments with us every 6-10 weeks or so. During these visits, Dr. Dudley will adjust your appliance if necessary, monitor the movement of the teeth, and check to be sure that everything is progressing the way it should be. 

These visits are an essential part of your orthodontic treatment, so it’s important that you keep them. We do our best to schedule appointments for a day and time that’s convenient for you, we know that life happens, too, and you may sometimes need to reschedule. If you’re running late or can’t make your appointment for any reason, we simply ask that you let us know as soon as possible. We’ll be happy to reschedule your appointment for another day in order to keep your treatment on track!

Dr. silas talking to a patient's mom

Your best smile is waiting for you at Dudley Smiles

Your smile lasts forever, so it’s important that you put it in only the best hands. That’s exactly what you get when you choose Dudley Smiles as your orthodontic team! Our expert team has been busy creating beautiful smiles for patients in Issaquah, Kent, and the surrounding communities for many years. The innovative techniques and cutting-edge technology we use allow us to deliver the very best results for you in the shortest amount of time possible. We also use only the most necessary and efficient treatment for your specific needs to give you a personalized and rewarding experience at each and every visit.

Orthodontic treatment is one of the most important investments you can make for yourself or your family. Would you like to know more about how orthodontics can benefit you or your family? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE exam and get ready to take the first step toward the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve!