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.

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!

ABC’s Of Braces: All You Need To Know Before Starting Treatment

Orthodontics has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years, with innovative techniques and technology creating a variety of effective treatment options. But when it comes to creating straighter, healthier smiles for patients of all ages, traditional braces are still one of the best tools we have. Braces have been the top treatment method for a long time, and it’s easy to see why once you take a look at how they work and the results they achieve. With an impressive track record of aligning teeth and improving oral health, traditional braces are an effective, long-lasting, and cost-effective option!

Beginning braces treatment with Dudley Smiles is an exciting time. After all, you’re starting a journey that will lead to a beautifully aligned smile that’s also fully functional! However, many patients still have questions and concerns they want to discuss before their braces are put on. Because it’s important to us that you feel confident in the orthodontic process, we’ve put together an outline that includes everything you need to know before beginning treatment. Keep reading below for the ABC’s of braces!

Dudley Smiles assistant working on a young patient's teeth.

What are  braces made of?

Knowing more about what braces are made of and how these components work together to move the teeth can give you a better understanding of the treatment process.

Brackets

Brackets are the part of braces that we attach directly to your teeth. They are typically made from a mix of durable stainless steel, nickel, ceramic, or other high-quality materials. There are tiny hooks or doors over which the wire is threaded, and brackets are secured by closing the door, or by applying an elastic over the top of the wire.

Glue

Tooth glue is essentially a form of the same composite bonding material we use for tooth-colored fillings or sealants. We use this adhesive to attach the brackets to the teeth. In some cases, we may use metal bands on the back teeth in conjunction with the glue to give braces more leverage and stability.

Wire

The wire is a thin piece of metal that runs from one bracket to another. We change the shape and curvature of the wire throughout the treatment process, which actively moves the teeth where we want them to go. For some patients, the wire will attach all the bottom or upper teeth together. For others, we may choose to cut the wire strategically if connecting only a few teeth makes more sense for the treatment plan.

Elastics

Almost every patient will need elastics at some point in their treatment plan, but they’re especially important for those who need bite correction. Elastics are most often strung between an upper bracket hook and a lower bracket hook, pulling the upper teeth backwards to correct an overbite, or the lower teeth backwards to correct an underbite. We use rubber bands for many different situations, but they can be particularly useful when we want to bring the upper and lower teeth together successfully.

How does the treatment process work?

Once you’ve decided on a customized treatment plan with Dr. Dudley, we’ll schedule you for an appointment to have your braces put on. Since your treatment plan includes information on how each tooth needs to move in order to achieve the best possible position, Dr. Dudley will use it to decide how to place the brackets. Once the brackets have been attached, the wire will be inserted. Bends in the wire will encourage specific and precise movements by providing different types of pressure on different teeth.

This process of tooth movement is called remodeling, and involves minor changes in the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth. When pressure is put on a tooth, cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts form around its root. The pressure of the wire works with the osteoblasts and osteoclasts to create a negative pressure on one side of the tooth. At this site, bone is removed. On the other side of the tooth, bone is reformed. This system of pressure and remodeling slowly moves the tooth into the desired position.

The remodeling process can only occur while constant pressure is being placed on a tooth. Once the pressure stops, the tooth will begin to settle into its new position, but most will begin drifting back to their old positions over time. This is why it’s so important to wear the retainer we give you exactly as directed once your braces come off! Doing so will help keep your teeth in their new, improved positions and prevent any natural drifting from occurring.

Dr. Silas working on a patient's teeth.

Taking care of your braces

You may find that caring for your braces comes with a bit of a learning curve, but hang in there! It just takes a little patience and practice. Because braces create numerous nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and other debris, it’s important that you clean your teeth and gums thoroughly each day. We recommend brushing at least two times each day with fluoride toothpaste, especially after meals and before bed. Pay close attention to the areas between the brackets and gums, and carefully clean between the wires and your teeth. Interdental brushes can make this easier, as they are designed to fit in those hard-to-reach spaces to remove plaque and debris.

Flossing is also an essential part of maintaining oral health, and it should be done nightly. If you find regular floss difficult to manage with braces, try a floss threader! Oral irrigators like a Waterpik are another excellent option. These instruments shoot a small, high-pressure stream of water onto the teeth, targeting food debris and plaque that can form between the teeth and braces.

Keep in mind that all of these tools are supplemental, and should never take the place of brushing and flossing.

Food restrictions

Food restrictions can be challenging, especially in the beginning, but they’re necessary to protect both your braces and your teeth. During the treatment process, you’ll need to avoid anything too crunchy or too chewy, like chips, ice, gum, some raw fruits and veggies, popcorn, and many kinds of candy. The good news is, food restrictions are only temporary! All your hard work and dedication will be worth it when your braces come off and your beautiful new smile is revealed.

Estimated treatment times

Every smile we treat is unique and every patient responds to braces in their own way, so there’s no “one size fits all” estimate when it comes to how long you’ll need treatment. On average, the active stage of orthodontic treatment can last anywhere from 6-24 months, but this may be longer or shorter, depending on your particular case.

Get the smile you deserve with Dudley Smiles

The first step in your orthodontic journey is a FREE consultation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Dudley. If you’re in Issaquah, Kent, or the surrounding communities and would like more information on how braces can give you a straighter, healthier smile, get in touch with us today. The smile you deserve is waiting here for you!

Top Tips To Keep Your Smile In Shape in 2019

As busy as the world is these days, it can be hard to find time to do things just for yourself. The start of a brand new year can provide you with the perfect excuse to focus on YOU! Whether you want to drop a few pounds, hit the gym more often, or improve your oral health, you can take advantage of the energy and excitement this time of year brings to create an even better version of yourself.

If you’re looking to take your smile to the next level in 2019, Dudley Smiles is here to help! To maintain teeth and gums that look and feel great, a good oral hygiene routine is key. We’ve put together some of our favorite tips for achieving excellent oral health and a confident smile below. Keep reading to learn more!

How are your oral hygiene habits?

Most of us have an oral hygiene routine we’re pretty comfortable with. However, it’s still worth reviewing that routine from time to time since guidelines and recommendations can change. If you want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep your mouth healthy, the best place to start is with your brushing and flossing. While it may not seem like rocket science, you’d be surprised how many people get it wrong! Brushing and flossing regularly is the best way to maintain good oral health, but how you carry out these tasks is almost as important as how often you do so.

When bacterial plaque is left to accumulate, it can cause cavities, tooth decay, and eventually, it may even lead to gum disease. In order to successfully remove it, there are some basic steps you should always follow when cleaning your teeth and gums. To get the most out of your dental hygiene routine, you should be:

  • brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, preferably with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste
  • brushing gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline, moving the toothbrush across all surfaces of the teeth to remove bacteria and any trapped food particles
  • flossing at least once per day to remove any bacteria and food that has accumulated
  • using antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes as needed

Although it would be beneficial for all of us to take our oral health seriously, it’s imperative that you do so as an orthodontic patient, especially if you’re in braces. That’s because the brackets and wires can create lots of little nooks and crannies that can trap food debris and bacteria. These areas may take a little more time and effort to clean thoroughly, so if you do wear braces, take care to clean them thoroughly and carefully.

After you’ve brushed up on all the basics of your oral hygiene routine, we recommend trying these additional tips to add a little extra something to your smile!

  • Replace your toothbrush as soon as it begins to show signs of wear (or when you’ve had a cold or any other illness)
  • Brush around every part of your braces if you wear them
  • Brush the surface of every tooth
  • Floss every night before you go to bed, using tools like a floss threader or oral irrigator to get into hard-to-reach areas

You may also want to consider purchasing and using a power toothbrush, such as Sonicare or Oral-B, to help with your brushing.  These toothbrushes may be better at removing food and plaque than a manual toothbrush for some people. Power toothbrushes removes some of the technique that is required for a manual toothbrush.  As an added bonus, they often have a timer on them to tell you when to stop brushing!

A note for our Invisalign patients

If you’re using a clear aligner system like Invisalign to straighten your smile, you may be enjoying a bit more freedom and flexibility than those in traditional braces, but you’re not off the hook when it comes to caring for your teeth! You should also be maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine, and because Invisalign relies on patient compliance to work, you should be:

  • removing your aligners every time you eat or drink anything other than water
  • wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment
  • changing your aligners out on the schedule given to you by Dr. Dudley

If you neglect to follow our recommendations throughout the orthodontic process, it can result in a longer treatment time and may even affect the overall success of the system.

Dudley Smiles team member

Take advantage of the tools you’ve got

We touched on it briefly above, but traditional braces can sometimes make your dental hygiene routine a little more complicated. This is especially true in the early days! Fortunately, there are many products available that have been designed to make the cleaning process easier for you.

Floss threaders are a good example of this. As you might expect from the name, it threads a bit like a needle, and works by pulling one end of the floss through the threader, then feeding the threader under the archwire. This allows you to grab the floss on each end, sliding it up and down the sides of both teeth and under the gums for a thorough job. This can be an excellent alternative to regular dental flossing.

We also love interdental brushes for keeping teeth clean while you’re in braces. Because they fit easily in between the wires and the teeth, they’re able to remove plaque and food debris from areas that can otherwise be hard to reach. Oral irrigators, like Waterpiks, work similarly by shooting a high-pressure stream of water onto the teeth that targets any remaining food debris and plaque that may be stuck between your teeth and braces.

Just remember, as helpful as these products can be, they shouldn’t take the place of your normal oral hygiene routine. They work best when you use them in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing.

Stay prepared for on-the-go care

We’d love it if all of our patients would brush and floss after every meal, but we also know that can be hard to accomplish if you’re always on the go! Get ahead of the game by filling a small bag with toothpaste, an orthodontic toothbrush, and floss. If you’re in braces, add some orthodontic wax, too. This way you’ll have always have a quick fix with you in case any minor emergencies pop up!

Dudley Smiles waiting area

Let your smile shine this year with Dudley Smiles

Here at Dudley Smiles, we’re known for providing patients with more than a beautiful smile. We work hard to give every patient we treat a stress-free, rewarding orthodontic experience from your first appointment to your last. While the simple tips we’ve listed above give you a great start on improving your oral health, our care doesn’t stop there! Our talented team is always here for you should you find yourself needing a little extra help or encouragement, too. We look forward to working with you towards a straighter, healthier smile this year!

Best Dental Hygiene Routine for Braces

As an orthodontic patient, you play an essential role in the success of your treatment. In fact, any journey towards a straight smile should be a team effort that includes you, your orthodontic team, and your general dentist. At Dudley Smiles, that concept is important to us! By working together, we can give you a beautiful smile and improved health at the end of the treatment process, but this depends in part on you following our recommendations. One of the most important things you can do to ensure you receive the best results is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This is a key component of braces care, and even though it may take a little extra time and effort, it will be more than worth it once we reveal your beautiful new smile! Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to keep your teeth and gums clean, healthy, and free from bacteria while you’re in braces.

Avoiding plaque

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that is made up of bacteria, food, and saliva. If you aren’t careful to brush, floss, and rinse thoroughly, it can easily collect on your teeth and around your braces. Over time, this can lead to a number of issues.

Increased risk for cavities and decalcification

Plaque contains a bacteria that can react with the sugars and starches in food, eventually forming an acid that eats away at the enamel on your teeth. This can cause cavities, leave white marks on the teeth, and even lead to gum disease. When plaque is allowed to accumulate around your braces, it can leave stains on your teeth we refer to as decalcification. Unfortunately, the lines and spots that come from decalcification are permanent, so prevention really is key in this case!

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is more commonly referred to as gum disease. This is caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth, and generally occurs in three distinct stages.

The first stage is gingivitis, which occurs in response to an accumulation of plaque irritating the gums. In response, they may be puffy, swollen, or bleed slightly when you brush or floss. 

If gingivitis is left untreated, the plaque can then harden into a substance called tartar. When tartar accumulates, gaps or pockets may form between your gums and teeth. This allows even more tartar to collect in the pockets, exacerbating the problem. This second stage of periodontal disease is known as periodontitis.

If periodontitis is left untreated for too long, pockets of bacteria can form and go deeper beneath the gums, attacking and eventually destroying the bone that holds your teeth in place. This state of advanced periodontitis can cause even healthy teeth to loosen or fall out, and is the third stage of gum disease. It’s also the most serious.

With professional help from an experienced general dentist, and vigilant follow-up care at home, the early stages of gum disease are often reversible. This is one set of symptoms you don’t want to ignore, however. Because gum disease is usually painless, especially in the beginning, you will need to be on the lookout for any signs of it while undergoing orthodontic treatment. That includes bleeding, swollen, or puffy gums. By carefully following Dr. Dudley’s directions on how to care for your braces, you’ll be able to get a great headstart on keeping plaque, bacteria, and tooth decay away.

Dudley patient looking at her braces

The best dental hygiene routine for braces patients

Problems caused by improper dental hygiene can be frustrating enough to deal with on their own, but it doesn’t stop there. Secondary oral health issues can also crop up when plaque and bacteria are allowed to gain a foothold. This can extend the total time spent in braces, and in more serious cases, braces may even need to be removed while we wait for any mouth and gum issues to be resolved before picking treatment back up.

Being in braces often means adjusting both the way you brush your teeth and how often you do it. We recommend brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush after every meal (and preferably after every snack) for at least two minutes each time. This keeps food particles and plaque from gaining any ground in your braces and teeth. To properly clean the brackets, you should angle the brush head against them, and be sure to brush thoroughly underneath the wires, too.

Flossing is a skill that can be tricky to master at the best of times, but it tends to have an even bigger learning curve when you’re wearing braces. But it’s very important for you to floss every night, because even if it seems like all food particles have been brushed away, braces can trap them in places that are hard for you to see and reach. To correctly floss with braces, try the following:

  • Select a piece of floss about 18 inches and slide it under the wire, above the space between the two teeth.
  • Insert the floss halfway through, then hold both ends of the floss. Carefully slide the floss up and down a few times between the teeth. You’ll hear a slight squeaking sound when it’s thoroughly clean.
  • Floss the gum line with the floss in the shape of a “C,” and below the gum line with a soft up and down motion.
  • Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the archwire.
  • Gently remove the floss, threading it under the next wire, and repeating the steps above.

Although this can be time-consuming in the beginning, be patient. The more you practice, the faster you’ll be! You can also look into the products available that have been designed to make this an easier process for braces patients. “Threader floss” has a stiff end that permits flossing between brackets, while a steady orthopick easily slides between the teeth and the bracket wire, removing debris and keeping your teeth clear of bacteria. Electric toothbrushes and oral irrigators give you more power and better reach. All of these tools can work together to make dental hygiene much easier and much more efficient while you’re working on straightening your smile. 

Dudley staff talking to a patient

Keep your braces sparkling clean with Dudley Smiles

Beginning an orthodontic journey with braces can be really exciting, but comes with its own set of challenges, too. While you’ll likely have to make a few adjustments as you go, caring for your braces will be just another part of your daily routine before you know it! Our talented team is committed to making the process as stress-free and positive as possible, so get in touch with us any time you have questions or concerns about the treatment process, or if you want to know more about caring for your braces. Your satisfaction with the experience is as important to us as creating a beautiful, healthy smile for you!

How to Survive Halloween With Braces

Halloween is right around the corner, and while your child is busy planning out the perfect trick-or-treat route and putting the finishing touches on their costume idea, you may be feeling anxious about helping them navigating all those bowls and bags of candy if they’re currently in braces. You want to help keep your child’s braces safe, but you don’t want them to miss out on all the fun Halloween has to offer, either! If you’ve been nervous about striking that balance, we have some good news for you. With a little planning, your child will be able to enjoy plenty of ghoulish goodies this Halloween, and you won’t have to worry about broken brackets, bent wires, or emergency appointments!

Here at Dudley Smiles, October is special for another reason, too – it’s National Orthodontic Health Month. That means it’s a perfect time to talk with our braces patients about how to keep their appliance safe and their smile healthy throughout the Halloween season. With that in mind, we’ve created this special guide to help your child survive Halloween with braces. Below, we’ll talk a little bit more about what candy is safe and which you should steer clear of, plus creative ways to get rid of leftover candy, and some simple reminders on the basics of braces care. Keep reading for more information! 

Candy to stay away from

When it comes to Halloween, one of the scariest things for orthodontists like Dr. Dudley is all the chewy candy people love to hand out to trick-or-treaters! These are bad about sticking to brackets, bands, and wires, and sometimes even pull parts off. Hard, crunchy candies aren’t much better because they place a significant amount of pressure on the braces, which may lead to broken brackets or bent wires. It’s important to keep in mind that every time we have to repair or replace a bracket or band, it sets the orthodontic process back a step. To ensure your child’s treatment plan continues to progress on schedule, be sure to keep sweet treats like these away from their braces.

  • Caramel
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard candy
  • Taffy
  • Licorice
  • Nuts
  • Jelly beans
  • Candy corn
  • Popcorn and caramel corn
  • Chewy candy
  • Candy and caramel apples

We know that this may seem like a lot to avoid, but being in braces doesn’t have to mean sitting on the sidelines as other children dig into their Halloween haul. There’s still plenty of fangtastic foods out there that are braces-friendly and orthodontist approved!

Candy your child can dig into

Soft chocolate is a safe bet for kids in braces, and in fact, any type of chocolate candy bar will generally be okay, as long as it doesn’t contain any caramel or nuts. That means lots of classic candy gets the orthodontic seal of approval, including:

Biting into bigger candy bars can potentially damage the braces on a child’s front teeth, so take advantage of all the fun- and mini-sized bars that are popular this time of year.

Halloween Candy

Creative uses for leftover candy

Here are a few of our favorite ideas for clearing out the candy your child can’t eat, or doesn’t want, right after they’ve picked out everything they want to keep. This helps remove clutter from your kitchen, and can keep it free from the temptation to indulge, too!

Make cookies or brownies

Experiment with using different types of candy as a sub for chocolate chips in your favorite cookie recipes. M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces are great options, and for a little extra texture, you can chop up chocolate bars or Reese’s cups to use in blondies and brownies, too. Do you possess a decent amount of willpower? If so, you could consider these as early holiday cookies, stick them in the freezer for a month or two, then pull them out at Thanksgiving or Christmas. However, we won’t judge you if your family eats them all them right away. Just be sure everybody remembers to brush and floss afterwards!

Donate it

Donating unwrapped candy is a really easy way to brighten someone’s day, and it can give your child a sense of pride to do something kind for others. It may also help take the sting out of not being able to indulge in some of their favorite Halloween treats. A number of charitable organizations accept unwrapped candy donations, including:

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops that are stationed overseas and first responders here at home. To make the experience even more meaningful, you could have your child include drawings or letters for the soldiers they’re sending treats to.

Soldiers’ Angels

Soldiers’ Angels do a “Treats for Troops” event annually. You can click here to find a donation drop-off point, or find information to start a drive of your own.

Ronald McDonald House

The Ronald McDonald House organization is well known for providing a place for families to stay together when a child is seriously ill. Most of their locations will accept donations of unopened candy for families in residence after Halloween. Local chapters can be found here, but we recommend you call ahead first to find out the rules for dropping off candy.

Bring it to work

Share the wealth! Your coworkers will appreciate a little post-lunch treat in the breakroom, or a jar of candy at the edge of your desk. If several of you are watching your waistlines, you could also consider registering your office as a Halloween candy buyback location. Although it’s traditionally been dental and orthodontic offices that participate, many local businesses have begun to show an interest in this program, and you can find out more about it here.

Send it to school

Lots of teachers use individually wrapped candy in their classroom as an occasional reward or a handy learning tool, particularly in elementary schools. Send in a big bag of unopened candy with your child. As an added bonus for their teacher, include a note letting them know how much you appreciate them.

Be mindful of oral hygiene

In all the excitement of Halloween, it can be easy to let dental hygiene fall by the wayside. But your child should actually be taking extra care with their teeth and braces during this time! Even candy that is braces-friendly has sugar, and eating a lot of it can be harmful to the teeth if it’s not removed promptly.

Encouraging your child to practice basic braces care as they make their way through a giant pile of Halloween candy will help to keep cavities at bay! That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing thoroughly every night before bed. This is also a great time to use an oral irrigator, as the water flow will help wash away any stubborn debris that could otherwise build up around the braces and on the teeth.

Dr. Dudley Staff

Happy Halloween from Dudley Smiles

Hopefully, this guide has reassured you that being in braces won’t put a damper on your child’s Halloween celebrations! If you’re still feeling unsure about tackling treat-or-treating with a child in braces, we’re always happy to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you have. Successful treatment with excellent results is a team effort! Whatever plans you have for Halloween this year, we hope your family has a safe, fun-filled holiday full of happy, healthy smiles!

Why Do I Need Rubber Bands With My Braces?

If you’re a current orthodontic patient with Dudley Smiles, you no doubt already know that wearing braces can come with its fair share of challenges. From food restrictions to broken brackets and wires, braces take some getting used to. Rubber bands are another one of those hurdles to overcome, but like everything else associated with braces treatment, they’re an important part of the process to give you a straight, healthy smile!

The fact is, most braces patients will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment in order to correct the alignment of their bite, reduce an overbite or underbite, and in some cases, to open or close spaces. Wearing these bands as directed by Dr. Si will help to move your teeth into more desirable positions, giving you a fully functioning smile, and improving your overall oral health.

We know all these little annoyances can add up, even if they are absolutely worth the end result. Some aspects of treatment can be frustrating, especially if you don’t understand why you’re being asked to do something like wear rubber bands with your braces. It’s important to us that all our patients feel informed about and confident in their treatment plan! Whether you wear elastics full-time or part-time, we want to be sure you understand why we use rubber bands with braces, how they work, and how they benefit your smile. Let’s take a look below to learn a little more!

The role rubber bands play in orthodontics

Traditional braces are one of the most effective ways we have of aligning a patient’s teeth in order to create a straighter smile. Once the brackets have been glued to the teeth, they’ll work in conjunction with the set of wires spanning from tooth to tooth to begin moving the teeth. While this can successfully align the upper and lower sets of teeth separately, something must be connected between the arches to actually correct the bite. There are several options available to accomplish this, including headgear and springs, but the most common method is rubber bands, also known as elastics.

Elastics are often the preferred method for a number of reasons. They’re obviously far less noticeable than something like headgear, and the tooth-colored elastics, in particular, can blend in nicely with your natural smile. They can also be personalized by choosing from a wide range of colors. This is a great way for patients to show off their personality!

Bands are designed to be easy to remove and replace since patients will need to do both frequently. The stretchy, flexible nature of rubber bands will allow you to maintain a full range of motion when engaging in everyday activities like talking, yawning, eating, and brushing your teeth. Elastics are also extremely versatile, cost-effective, and can be used to correct most types of bite problems, including overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites.

Assorted orthodontics elastomeric rings

The different types of orthodontic elastics

There are two types of orthodontic elastics: ligatures and rubber bands.

Ligatures are the smaller of the two, and these fit around the brackets to help the archwire retain its position there. Ligatures will help pull or push your teeth in the direction required by the customized treatment plan Dr. Si creates for you.

The larger form of elastics are simply referred to as rubber bands. These can be placed in several different configurations to match the tensile force requirements of your mouth, with the most common being top-to-bottom and inter-arch configurations. Rubber bands are used to apply pressure to your jaw, helping it achieve the proper alignment for your bite.

Both types of elastics are available in various colors.

How orthodontic bands work

While the brackets, archwires, and ligatures are used to move your teeth along the gumline, rubber bands will help to pull the jaw backward or forwards so the bottom and top rows of teeth can line up correctly.

The process begins when a bracket with a hook is placed along the right and left sides of your bottom and top teeth. Rubber bands are then attached to these hooks on each side of the mouth. The amount of tensile force required to correct your particular orthodontic issue will determine the angle at which these bands are placed. Ultimately, this will improve your smile by allowing your teeth to fit together more comfortably.

Bands can also play an important role in speeding up the orthodontic process, but this will depend entirely on you wearing your rubber bands precisely as directed by Dr. Si!

Using your rubber bands correctly

To ensure your treatment proceeds according to schedule, it’s imperative that you follow our instructions carefully when wearing rubber bands. This will provide you with the best results and help you avoid a longer orthodontic journey.

For maximum effectiveness, you will probably be advised to wear your rubber bands 24/7, taking them out only to brush, floss, put new bands in, and sometimes to eat. As always, this will depend on your individual case. Taking bands off while you are sleeping is not recommended, and you’ll likely hear us warn against doubling up on bands. Although many patients believe it will speed treatment up, it actually slows things down, and can potentially damage the roots.

If you notice some soreness in your mouth, teeth, and jaws the first few days of wearing rubber bands, be reassured that this is completely normal and is only temporary. Keep them in as directed, because wearing your elastics incorrectly can make your teeth more resistant to moving successfully and slow down your treatment progress, It can also keep your teeth consistently sore, since they never have a chance to get used to the rubber bands.

Every time you take a band out, discard it and put on a new one. Depending on your specific case, your daily activities, and the strength of the elastics you use, you may find yourself replacing bands multiple times each day. Make sure you have an extra pack of bands on you at all times to keep things moving smoothly!

Woman smiling showing teeth with braces

Keep your treatment on track with Dudley Smiles

Wearing rubber bands with your braces is a really important part of your orthodontic treatment with Dudley Smiles. They play an essential role in moving your jaw and teeth into the correct alignment, which is necessary to give you that beautiful, straight smile you’ve dreamed of! Dr. Si and the rest of our skilled staff are committed to helping you get through the orthodontic process as easy as possible. If the time has come for you to wear rubber bands with your braces, we’re here to help you through any questions or concerns you might have. If you need a little extra encouragement some days, we’ve got plenty of that to go around, too! Remember, this part of your orthodontic journey is only temporary. Before you know it, you’ll have a smile you want to share with the whole world!

Orthodontics For All Ages

When most people think of orthodontics, the first image that comes to mind is an awkward teen in awkward braces. Even though modern orthodontics has made this an outdated stereotype, it’s a persistent one! So it often comes as a surprise to learn that not only is orthodontic treatment more flexible and affordable than ever before, it can also benefit children, teens, and adults alike. At Dudley Smiles, we believe that everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile whether they’re 8, 80, or anywhere in between. We proudly provide top-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Issaquah, Kent, and the surrounding communities. Are you curious about what treatment may be available for your child? Do you feel your teen could possibly benefit from braces? Have you wondered if Invisalign could work for you as an adult? If you’ve ever wanted to learn a little more about what orthodontics has for every age range, keep reading below!

Orthodontics for children

Although there’s no minimum age for a child to have their first orthodontic visit, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an initial orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re around seven years old. At this age, most kids will have a good mix of primary and permanent teeth. A thorough examination by an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Si gives us the chance to catch any potential tooth and jaw problems early, before they become more serious. When we see children early enough to initiate interceptive treatment, oral issues can often be diagnosed and corrected before they become severe enough to require more invasive treatment. Interceptive treatment is essentially early treatment that can help:

  • correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw so the permanent teeth are able to erupt in better alignment
  • regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • create more space for crowded teeth
  • correct bad habits like extended thumb or finger sucking
  • help improve some minor speech problems

It can be difficult to assess your child’s need for orthodontics by observing their outward appearance alone. Many orthodontic issues are visible only to the trained eye of an experienced orthodontist. When you schedule your child’s first visit to our Issaquah or Kent office, Dr. Si will assess their teeth and jaws. If he feels there is a need for early treatment, our team will work to create a customized plan addressing the specific dental problems your child is dealing with.

That said, there are a few things to look out for that could indicate the need for orthodontic attention, including:

  • losing baby teeth very early or very late
  • Difficulties with biting or chewing food
  • mouth breathing
  • finger or thumb sucking
  • crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • teeth that come together abnormally, or don’t come together at all
  • jaws and teeth that aren’t proportionate to the rest of the face
  • crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight

The first step in any orthodontic treatment is scheduling an appointment for your child’s first orthodontic evaluation. Dudley Smiles offers a free initial consultation to all patients.

Dudley staff working with a patient

Orthodontics for teens

Whether you’ve already been told your teen needs corrective treatment, or merely suspect it,  you’re likely to be feeling a little nervous or apprehensive about it, wondering what to expect. We know committing to orthodontic treatment can be a little overwhelming for you and your teen both, and our team will do all we can to make this process as stress-free and rewarding as possible.

At Dudley Smiles, we have a number of orthodontic options to choose from, both fixed and removable. Today’s appliances are more comfortable and stylish than ever before, and even traditional metal braces come in a variety of styles and materials, with colored elastics available to let your teen customize their look to match their personality. For those who prefer a more subtle treatment option, we also offer Invisalign clear aligner therapy, as well as clear braces. Self-ligating braces are also an option, foregoing the bands for an innovative clip that helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on the tooth, and requires fewer adjustment appointments overall.

The burning question on most teens’ minds is “how long will I be in braces?”  Unfortunately, there’s no concrete answer to that because every case varies, and every patient responds to treatment in their own way. However, we’ll usually able to give a general estimate on treatment time, based on a few key factors.

Early (interceptive) treatment — As mentioned above, having your child seen by an orthodontist by about seven years old makes it easier to catch potential problems before they have a chance to become more serious. When we’re able to diagnose and treat oral issues in the beginning stages, we can often cut down on the total time needed in braces, sometimes by a significant amount.

The issue being treated — Because each patient will react to treatment in their own way, the total orthodontic process will vary depending on how quickly a teen’s body responds, and how much work is actually needed to correct the issue.

Expected patient compliance — Your teen will play a major role in their own treatment! By following Dr. Si’s recommendations, taking good care of their braces or aligners, and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine, patients can help keep their treatment time to a minimum. Compliance is essential to successful orthodontic results, so it’s important that teens be responsible and reliable during the treatment process.

Orthodontics for adults

More adults are choosing to seek orthodontic treatment now than ever before. In fact, figures show that around 1 in 4 current orthodontic patients are over the age of 18. This decision to undergo orthodontic treatment later in life can be chalked up to a few different factors.

One of the most compelling reasons for adult orthodontics is that as we get older, we often begin to realize just how important it is to maintain our oral health, because of how it can affect our overall health. Some adults are finally in a place where they can afford the time and financial commitment to straighten their smile, and want to feel better about their appearance. Modern treatment options are also a factor, as there are several subtle but effective ways to straighten adult teeth now available, like Invisalign and clear braces.

Whatever the reason for choosing orthodontic treatment as an adult, Dudley Smiles is able to offer several options to achieve a beautifully aligned and fully functional smile, including:

  • traditional metal braces
  • self-ligating braces
  • clear braces
  • Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Dudley Smiles staff smiling

Creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Issaquah and Kent

Orthodontics can benefit almost anyone with oral issues, whatever their age. When the teeth are properly aligned, they’re easier to keep clean with brushing and flossing, helping to keep dental problems at bay. Orthodontic treatment can also improve a patient’s cosmetic appearance, boosting their self-confidence and giving them a lasting smile they’ll want to share with the world! And perhaps most importantly of all, our treatment options can correct orthodontic issues before they get worse, creating long-term problems that can end up costing you more time and money.

Dr. Si knows that adults, teens, and children will have different orthodontic needs that require individualized attention and treatment. Our entire team will work with you and your family to recommend only the most appropriate treatments. We’re dedicated to giving our patients the best orthodontic experience possible! If you’re in Issaquah, Kent, or the surrounding areas, and want to know more about what orthodontic treatment can do for you and your family, get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation. We’ve got what it takes to create beautiful smiles for your whole family!

The Dangers Of DIY Orthodontics

The past few years have seen a huge resurgence in the DIY arena. From TV shows to social media, it seems like everywhere you look right now, there’s some kind of “how-to tutorial” or “step-by-step guide” on making something from scratch. Everybody loves a craft project every now and then, whether it’s building or painting something, repurposing everyday things you have lying around the house, or concocting homemade gifts. This can be great for our cultural creativity, but like everything else, the trend can sometimes be taken too far. DIY orthodontics is pretty much a  perfect example of that!

That’s right. We said DIY orthodontics. As hard as it is to believe, this is a thing that has happened frequently enough that the American Association of Orthodontists issued a consumer alert, urging people to “beware of Internet videos and websites which encourage people to try and straighten their own teeth. Moving teeth is a medical procedure and needs personal supervision by an orthodontist… Please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or other objects ordered on the Internet.”

Here at Dudley Smiles, we’re all about resourcefulness and being thrifty, but we also take oral health seriously. Dr. Si is an experienced orthodontist, and we have a team of skilled staff who proud to provide only the highest quality orthodontic care to families in Issaquah, Kent, and the surrounding communities. We have a wide variety of affordable orthodontic options to suit every patient, and you can rest assured that when you seek treatment with Dudley Smiles, you’re in far safer hands than anyone attempting DIY braces! Keep reading below to learn a little bit more about why you should avoid any orthodontic methods that aren’t backed by experience, skill, or science.

So, what exactly is this DIY orthodontics trend?

We know it sounds crazy, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Simply enter “DIY braces” into any search engine, then sit back and watch as it returns hundreds of pages of results. There are even videos that have racked up thousands of views by promising straighter smiles using everyday items like rubber bands, paper clips, bobby pins, and even aluminum foil to move the teeth into more desirable positions. The most popular method appears to be “gap bands,” which are basically cheap elastic hair ties that can be bought anywhere for a couple of bucks. Proponents of DIY braces believe that if you wrap these elastics around your misaligned teeth and wear them for several hours a day over an extended period of time, any gaps will gradually close and your bite will be straightened. Some even claim to have seen results from this method in as little as 45 days.

It’s an unavoidable fact of orthodontics that a significant amount of time, effort, and expense must go into successfully completing the treatment process. We completely understand why people would be attracted to the promise of a cheaper, easier, and faster option for straightening their smile. However, this is truly a case of getting what you pay for (and what you don’t pay for!)

Dudley Smiles staff working with a patient

The dangers involved in DIY braces

Using elastics in dentistry and orthodontics is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it was once a common method for extracting teeth. Practitioners would place a rubber band around the tooth causing the problem, then wait for it to fall out once enough bone and soft tissue was destroyed. However, even this kind of archaic tooth removal was done under the appropriate supervision of a “trained” specialist!

The truth is, there is a very real risk of disastrous results with gap bands, and any other unsupervised methods of DIY orthodontic treatment. The shape of teeth can vary widely, even in the same mouth, so it’s very easy for rubber bands to slide into the soft tissues surrounding them. Once bands become embedded in this tissue, they become difficult to retrieve on your own, if not impossible. If this is left untreated over time, the band will continue on its trajectory, eventually hitting the roots and potentially causing nerve damage. The crowns will also begin to fan out as the roots are pulled together, resulting in erupting, loosening teeth. They may even get to the point that they begin falling out. 

Some of the other serious issues that can result from attempting DIY braces include, but are not limited to:

  • the teeth being moved at the wrong angle, resulting in a crooked smile
  • lacerations from gap bands sinking into the soft tissues
  • pain from the bands slipping below the surface of the teeth
  • the teeth being moved too quickly, causing long-term issues such as loss of root length, gum problems, etc.
  • small bands and makeshift brackets like earring backs or beads are choking hazards
  • the metal in paper clips and other such materials is potentially toxic if used long-term
  • bands that are snapped directly on the teeth can crack enamel
  • infected gums can sometimes result in the need for serious treatment, up to and including tooth extraction
  • a bite that does not fit together from improper diagnosis or the wrong treatment

A careful, experienced orthodontist like Dr. Si knows how important it is to move teeth slowly and safely over a longer period of time in order to ensure the mouth stays healthy, and that the integrity of the results aren’t compromised. Attempting any ill-advised DIY methods to straighten the teeth increases the risk of needing complex and expensive dental procedures in the future to repair any damage, including the repair and replacement of any missing teeth or bone.

Shortcuts to a straighter smile simply don’t exist

When it comes to high-quality orthodontic work, quick, easy, and inexpensive aren’t in our vocabulary. Crafting the kind of beautiful, customized smiles we’re known for requires education, training, and expertise in the physics and biology of moving teeth. This is a complicated biological process involving the bone-dissolving and rebuilding as they move into their new positions, and should be respected and treated as such. Long-term orthodontic success cannot be achieved with DIY methods, and orthodontic treatment should always be done under the supervision of a certified orthodontist like Dr. Si.

Dudley Smiles staff

Trust Dudley Smiles to deliver a straighter, healthier smile

Beauty bloggers and YouTube stars can be fun to watch, but you shouldn’t look to them for any meaningful orthodontic advice. When it comes to quality care and affordable orthodontics, you don’t need to look any further than Dudley Smiles! We ’re dedicated to making it as easy as possible for families in our community to achieve the kind of beautiful, healthy smiles you’ll feel confident in showing off to the world!

If you’re in Issaquah, Kent, or the surrounding area, and want more information about the difference professional orthodontics can make in your smile, give us a call today to schedule your free initial consultation? Our talented team will be able to assess any orthodontic needs you have, and discuss which treatment options will suit you best. Trust Dudley Smiles to get you started on the safest path to a straighter, healthier smile!

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

Everyone has their own unique smile. For some, natural imperfections are nothing more than a unique attribute, but for others, those imperfections may cause discomfort, a loss of function, or self-consciousness. Here at Dudley Smiles, we often hear the same question: how do I know if I need braces? The answer to this will depend on several factors, including the alignment of your teeth and jaw, and the smile that you want to achieve. Dr. Si customizes every treatment plan based on each patient’s particular case, but there are several common conditions that we see in patients and find it helpful to outline when discussing the possibility of braces treatment. This helps prospective patients understand how the oral challenges they face can be corrected with orthodontics. If your smile is struggling with any of the following issues, we encourage you to get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation to explore if braces are right for you!

Overly crowded teeth

When you have teeth that are crowded, it can be difficult to brush and floss effectively. This makes it a challenge to maintain oral hygiene and keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Orthodontic treatment with traditional braces or clear aligner therapy like Invisalign moves teeth into better positions in small increments over time. This will eventually give you a straighter, more evenly spaced smile that is easier to keep clean, and will also lessen any painful facial tension or difficulty chewing.

Gaps between the teeth

Gaps in teeth are a common occurrence. They can happen for a variety of reasons, from genetics to sucking your thumb as a child to gum disease as you age. If your teeth have a little too much space between them, we can identify the cause and create a customized plan that will close the gaps and improve the appearance of your smile.

Missing teeth

Sometimes gaps between the teeth exist because of congenitally missing teeth that never grew in, or permanent teeth that were lost due to injury or disease. We can use braces to move the existing teeth into their proper positions, then place bonded bridges where the missing teeth would have been. This approach allows us to create the kind of plan complete, evenly-spaced smile that patients and orthodontists alike love!

Open bite

When you have an open bite, the upper and lower rows of your front teeth don’t touch and close when you smile or try to chew. Many open bites are related to extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a rounded, angular formation. Whatever the reason for an open bite occuring, it can generally be treated with a combination of braces and an orthodontic appliance known as a ‘crib’ that prevents the pressure of the tongue against the anterior teeth during swallowing, while training a correct swallowing pattern. Once this treatment is complete, you’ll enjoy an aligned bite that allows you to close your teeth and bite into your favorite foods with ease.

Dudley Smiles equiptment

Deep overbite

A deep overbite means that your lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth almost completely overlap the lower front teeth, and out of all the bite disorders, a deep overbite is the most detrimental to the teeth and health of the jaw joints. It can also have an impact on facial aesthetics. Treatment may require orthodontics and restorative dentistry together, or orthodontics alone, depending on the severity of the case. Correcting deep bite misalignment will improve the functionality of your teeth, make brushing and flossing easier, and dramatically improve the appearance of your smile.

Underbite

An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment can cause a great deal of pain at the jaw joint, and the angled pressure of the bite can wear down some of the teeth. For children with underbites, there are quite a few treatment options, including:

  • an upper jaw expander, which can be widened nightly until treatment is complete
  • a reverse-pull face mask, which wraps around the head and attaches to metal bands on the back upper teeth to pull the upper jaw forward
  • traditional braces to adjust the misaligned teeth

Correcting an underbite in adults tends to require more invasive treatment, though braces will usually still be an important part of the treatment process. Other options include:

  • tooth extraction to relieve the pressure of overcrowding, and to help the jaw relax into a more natural position
  • surgery to pull the upper jaw forward and/or push the lower jaw back

Orthodontic treatment will often relieve the pain and discomfort associated with an underbite and make everything from smiling, eating, and even breathing easier for you!

Overjet

An overjet happens when the top front teeth protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. You’ve probably heard this particular malocclusion referred to as “buck teeth” before. Overjet is most effectively treated when diagnosed early, when we can guide a child’s tooth eruption and use growth to our advantage to correct the problem. But adults seeking treatment have nothing to fear –  orthodontic treatment can improve an overjet at any age! Your age and unique orthodontic needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but the options will usually include bite correction devices, braces, removable orthodontic appliances, tooth removal, or even surgery. Whatever your age, once treatment is complete, you’ll be left with a beautiful, balanced smile.

Dudley Smiles staff working with a patient

Find out if braces could benefit your smile with Dudley Smiles

Just like there’s no cookie-cutter answer to the question “how do I know if I need braces?” there’s no cookie-cutter approach to orthodontic treatment. At Dudley Smiles, we take pride in providing individualized care for every patient we see. No matter what orthodontic issue you’re dealing with, our talented team has what it takes to correct it, giving you a beautifully aligned and fully functional smile that will last a lifetime. If you’re in Issaquah, Kent, or the surrounding communities, and would like to know more about what orthodontics has to offer you and your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation. Whatever your best treatment option may be, we’ll provide you with the best orthodontic experience possible!