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Braces, Featured, Uncategorized

Everything You Need To Know About Braces Elastics

What are elastics for braces used for? Will I need elastics on my braces? How long should I wear elastics for braces? How often should I change my elastics?

What are elastics for braces used for? Will I need elastics on my braces? How long should I wear elastics for braces? How often should I change my elastics?

These are just some of the many questions we often get from our perspective or current braces patients. If you’re an existing patient or are about to embark on your braces journey, you may be wondering some of these same questions! Check out some of the most common questions our doctors get and our answers below! 

What are Orthodontic Elastics?

Orthodontic elastics, also commonly known as “rubber bands”, are just that; small rubber bands that orthodontists use to help your braces move your teeth and bite into the ideal placement.

Orthodontic elastics are typically made from a strong and stretchy medical-grade latex material of varying sizes and elasticity for particular needs. 

Why do Orthodontists use Elastics?

The reason is simple. To help correct teeth alignment, your braces work by placing pressure slowly and gently on your teeth and jaw to move them gradually into place.

The point of elastics is to help provide an additional connective force to shift your teeth in specific directions.

If you look at braces closely, you will notice hooks on the brackets where these elastics are attached to move the teeth into a specific alignment. 

Your orthodontist will create a pattern for you to follow depending on the movement they are trying to achieve! 

How Frequently Should I Change My Elastics?

This varies across from one case to the next – but if you are asked to wear them “full time” you will need to replace them 3-4 times in a 24-hour period.

Why? Because elastic bands lose their elasticity over time as they get stretched out and can no longer apply the appropriate force to shift your teeth. 

If you don’t change your elastics and continue using the loose bands, while it may feel more comfortable, it could hinder the progress of your treatment.

Do you Sleep with Elastics for Braces?

Yes! Elastics should be worn all day, every day during the prescribed correction period, with the only exceptions being:

  • Brushing of teeth
  • Eating 
  • Replacing them with new bands

The reason is simple, the longer you keep the elastics on, the more time they have to ensure sufficient pressure on your teeth to move them into the desired alignment. This will help ensure your malocclusion (overbite, underbite, open bite, etc.) is corrected.

The less you wear them, the less effect there is, and the longer the treatment might take.

Can you wear Elastics with Invisalign?

At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, our doctors are experts in clear aligners and are able to correct any bite with either braces or Invisalign. For certain bites this necessitates using elastics while wearing your Invisalign clear aligners.

Want to Learn More?

Are you wondering if you will need elastics for your braces or Invisalign treatment or have any other questions about elastics for braces?

Schedule your complimentary consultation online with us at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics and we will help advise what would be the safest and most effective solution for you.

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Braces, Featured

Braces 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

With nearly 5 million Americans receiving treatment at any given time, braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments available. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment with traditional braces, here is a quick guide on everything you need to know to get started.

With nearly 5 million Americans receiving treatment at any given time, braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments available. 

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment with traditional braces, here is a quick guide on everything you need to know to get started. 

What Are Dental Braces For?
One of the key benefits of wearing braces is to help correct the patient’s bite by realigning their smile’s natural position. Both traditional and lingual braces (braces behind the teeth) work by slowly moving teeth into their ideal positions over time. 

When Should You Start Wearing Braces?
You should schedule a consultation with your local orthodontist to get a comprehensive understanding of your dental needs. If required, they will recommend a suitable treatment plan for your smile. Many patients receive treatment beginning in their early teen years, however, depending on the severity of the patient’s dental needs, treatment may begin earlier or later. 

The Benefits of Braces 
Improving self-esteem and gaining confidence from a better smile is one of the main reasons people opt to get braces. 

However, beyond pure cosmetic reasons, braces also help to correct a multitude of other health issues like:

  • Improvement of speech impairment
  • Reduced cavities and gum disease
  • Decrease issues of teeth grinding
  • Minimization of injury from overbites or protruding teeth
  • Overall enhancement of oral health
  • And more…

Additionally, compared to the past, there are now a wide variety of dental braces available to choose from. If you’re worried about the way metal braces look, depending on the complexity of your condition some orthodontists can offer other options like ceramic braces or Invisalign.

The Cons of Braces 
Like most medical treatments, braces require some slight adjustments to your normal ways of life, these include:

Adjusting Your Diet
Depending on the type of treatment that you choose, your orthodontist will recommend to avoid certain types of foods (typically sticky and hard food) to avoid breaking or ruining your braces during treatment. 

This requires quite some commitment, but it is definitely worth it in the end. 

Keeping Up with Your Dental Routine
Having braces may make it a little more challenging to upkeep your dental routine but it is critical that you do, to avoid tooth decay issues down the road.

Brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly after every meal to avoid trapped food in the wires, brackets, or gaps is one essential step we recommend to all of our patients. 

Follow our tips here!

Have other questions about braces?
At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we offer a wide range of dental braces to suit your needs. 

Learn more about how we can help you on your journey to correct your smile – give us a call at 703.753.4777 or request a complimentary consultation online.

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Braces

5 Simple Tips to Relieve Sore Teeth After Braces Tightening

Feeling a little sore in your mouth after a trip to the orthodontist to tighten your braces? There is nothing to worry about! In fact, it is a sign that your teeth are actively shifting towards their new positions and that your treatment is working.

Feeling a little sore in your mouth after a trip to the orthodontist to tighten your braces? There is nothing to worry about! In fact, it is a sign that your teeth are actively shifting towards their new positions and that your treatment is working. 

Depending on each individual, some may experience slight discomfort for the 1st to 3rd day while others may not even feel anything at all.

If you fall within the first category and are wondering if there are any useful things you can do to help relieve the soreness or pain – there is!

Check out these useful tips that can help you cope better with sore teeth after braces tightening.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

This is one of the most effective methods of pain relief. If you know that you experience significant discomfort after every trip to the orthodontist, make sure you plan ahead and take some over-the-counter pain medication prior to your appointment. 

Tip: Take it around an hour beforehand and avoid taking the medication regularly – only for the day of your brace’s adjustment.

Oral Pain Reliever

Not a fan of pills? Another effective alternative would be oral anesthetic gels that you can apply directly on the sensitive parts of the teeth or gum to help it numb the area so that you do not feel the moving of the teeth so acutely.

Downside: Some of these gels may taste a little bitter so it may not be for everyone.

 Ice Pack for Pain Relief

Want a more natural pain-relieving method? Well, you can opt for the convenient and simple method of icing your cheeks or jaw area near the site of soreness. The coldness of the ice pack can help not only to numb the area but also reduce inflammation overall.

Tip: Make sure you only ice each area for less than 10 minutes at a go to avoid ice burns or frostbite.

Massage Your Gums

Help improve your blood circulation and relieve soreness in your gum area by gently massaging them in small circular motions over the area of soreness or along your gum line.

This helps nutrient-rich blood rush to the area to help improve healing in the gum tissues.

Stick to Soft Foods

The few days after a session of tightening is when your teeth are the most sensitive, hence sticking to soft foods that do not require you to bite with effort or minimize pressure on the teeth would be ideal.

Stay on the safe side and go for the super-soft types of food for your diet in the few days immediately after your appointment. Go for food like mashed potatoes, smoothies, soups, and the like.

Need a Friendly Orthodontist to Consult on Your Dental Issues? 

Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics is your friendly Gainesville Virginia orthodontist who can help on this exciting journey! 

Call us today to get started 703.753.4777 or request a complimentary consultation online.

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Braces, Invisalign

How to Fix Crowded or Crooked Teeth

Are you experiencing problems with crowded or crooked teeth and looking for solutions? You are not alone.

Are you experiencing problems with crowded or crooked teeth and looking for solutions? You are not alone – misaligned teeth and overlapping teeth are an incredibly common phenomenon across all age groups from children to the elderly.

Before we delve into the solutions, let us first understand what the common causes are, associated problems and why it would be beneficial to fix them in the long run!

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

There is a whole range of reasons that could result in crooked or crowded teeth which include some of the following:

  • Genetics -e.g., extra tooth or abnormally large teeth
  • Jaws being too small to fit the full set of teeth.
  • Misaligned jaws due to improper development as a child
  • Repetitive behaviors like sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, and more
  • Poor nutrition resulting in inadequate dental development
  • Injuries
  • And more

Why Fix Them?

Are you wondering if it is such a widespread problem, why do people bother fixing it? Well, there are quite a few reasons for that.

Self-Esteem – For many, a crooked smile could cause a lack of confidence in smiling or being incredibly self-conscious during social interactions. This could snowball into many other psychological developments over time.

Oral Hygiene – Misaligned teeth make it hard to thoroughly clean the crevices where food particles may remain stuck. Being unable to maintain oral hygiene is a sure-fire way to invite tooth decay and gum diseases if left untreated over time.

Speech Problems – In some severe cases, crooked teeth can impact the person’s ability to articulate properly.

How to Fix Crowded and Crooked teeth?

Good news! There are many different available treatments out there to help anyone suffering from such problems overcome this issue.

Braces

One of the most straightforward and common treatments for crowded teeth is via braces. Today, there is quite the variety you can choose from:

  • Traditional Metal Braces – which uses metal brackets and wires to straighten your teeth Ceramic Braces – similar to the above but are tooth-colored for more subtlety.
  • Invisalign – A new and convenient technology that uses specially molded clear aligners to gradually shift your teeth into shape. In the past, this was reserved for minor cases but now can treat any patient! 

Retainers

For less severe cases (where only one to two teeth correction is required), retainers can also be used as a treatment.

An additional bonus: Retainers are usually made of molded plastic and wire which makes them easily removable compared to traditional braces. 

Veneers

If you are looking for a purely aesthetic solution your dentist could talk to you aboutveneers for less severe cases.

By applying composite or porcelain “covers” on the front of the teeth, it can help to give the impression of straight white teeth.

Do note that the actual issue with misalignment is not corrected in this case!

Crowns

Again, this is an option that a cosmetic and/or family dentist would do for you. This requires significant tooth restructuring where various teeth need to be “cut down” in order for a metal or tooth-colored “cap” to be placed on your tooth. Because of this reason, crowns are usually the least recommended option.

Keen to Resolve Your Problem with Crowded or Crooked Teeth Once and For All?

Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics is your neighborhood orthodontist who can help on this exciting journey! Dr Cole or Dr Dunegan will evaluate if you are a good candidate for orthodontic treatment or can work with your dentist to make sure that you get an outcome you love!

Call us today to get started 703.753.4777 or request a complimentary consultation online.

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Braces, Featured, Invisalign

Invisalign Vs. Traditional Braces – What Should I Do?

Invisalign Vs. Traditional Braces – What Do I Do? This is a question that we get daily as we consult with patients on the treatments available to achieve that perfect smile. It’s no wonder…a great smile can go a long way.

Scientific research suggests that people who smile are perceived as more attractive and confident than those who do not flash their pearly whites. When it comes time to invest in orthodontics to improve your beautiful smile, choosing the best option can be daunting. Comparing Invisalign to traditional braces is a great way to determine what orthodontics make most sense for your unique smile.

How is Invisalign Different?

Unlike traditional braces, in which brackets are affixed onto each tooth and connected by wires, Invisalign corrects orthodontic problems using multiple sets of clear trays. These trays are specially formed to fit your teeth, allowing you to wear them 24/7.

Aesthetics

One of the primary advantages of Invisalign is that the clear trays are nearly invisible. Particularly for adults self-conscious about appearing professional with traditional braces, Invisalign can correct orthodontic issues without capturing the notice of others. Their nearly invisible appearance is one of the topmost reasons that orthodontic patients choose Invisalign.

The complexity of the Orthodontic Problem

Invisalign works well for people who have relatively minor problems, such as crooked teeth or small gaps in between teeth. For more complex problems, particular issues with bite or vertical problems (i.e., one tooth being significantly higher than another), traditional braces may be better at pulling teeth into alignment.

Eating and Drinking

Invisalign trays are removable, meaning that you cannot eat or drink while wearing them. Unlike traditional braces, however, you are not limited to the food you can eat. Chewy, sticky, or hard foods may be eaten, provided that you brush your teeth before reinserting the Invisalign trays.

In the end, only can weigh the pros and cons of Invisalign versus traditional braces. Consult with us here at Dunegan & Cole to understand how these orthodontic interventions may work for your unique situation. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to find out if you or your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

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Braces

3 Things You Should Know About Getting Braces Off

This is the day you have been waiting for, asking for, dreaming of – braces are coming off. Here are 3 things you need to know about “deband day” when your braces come off.

This is the day you have been waiting for, asking for, dreaming of – braces are coming off. Here are 3 things you need to know about “deband day” when your braces come off. 

  1. Initially your gums may look a little puffy or swollen. No problem. Just rinse with some warm salt water (1tbsp/8oz of water – 40sec in the microwave) and brush your teeth and gums well. Remember 2x/day for 2 min. The swelling should improve after a couple days to a couple weeks. If you still feel like you have too much gum tissue then you can ask one of our doctors about gum recontouring.  
  1. Right after your braces come off is when your teeth are most likely to shift. This is why it is so important to wear your retainer. You will either get a clear invisible style (Essix), a hawley retainer, or a fixed bonded retainer. You can read about different retainer styles here. At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we recommend wearing retainers about 8-12 hrs/day – most prefer to do this at nighttime. 
  1. Finally, you can eat anything you want RIGHT AWAY. That’s right, braces are off and it is time to party! Go crazy with all that sticky, crunchy, chewy food (link to foods to avoid during braces) you have been craving. If you have cheated at all during the process, you can now enjoy guilt-free 😉 

Congratulations to those finishing their braces journey and for those wanting their own smile transformation you can click here to schedule your free consultation with one of our board-certified orthodontists!

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Braces

The Importance of Orthodontic Elastics

Most patients at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics will need to wear elastic rubber bands at some point during orthodontic treatment. The main reason patients are instructed to wear elastics is to correct their bite. If teeth do not fit together properly, Our staff will recommend that they be used.  We may also recommend using elastics […]

Most patients at Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics will need to wear elastic rubber bands at some point during orthodontic treatment. The main reason patients are instructed to wear elastics is to correct their bite. If teeth do not fit together properly, Our staff will recommend that they be used.  We may also recommend using elastics to close or open spaces.

Elastics are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as our team recommends will help move your teeth into the desired positions. It the responsibility of the patient to wear the elastics as directed by their doctor. We may ask you to wear your elastics full time, meaning that they should only be taken out and replaced with a new set when you brush and floss your teeth three times a day. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part-time, like only during the day or only during sleep. Elastic bands should be thrown away after each use and never reused. Sometimes when you start your elastics your teeth, jaw, and mouth will experience soreness.  Dr. Dunegan and Dr. Cole recommend to take Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to control the discomfort for the first two or three days.

If you still have any questions, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit. Any of our team members can answer your questions about your elastic wear and offer tips. Remember, wearing your bands as prescribed by Dr. Dunegan or Dr. Cole and their staff is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces or Invsialign®. Never go too long without your elastics – if you lose them or run out in between appointments, stop by our office during business hours or call us and we will mail you some!

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Braces, Early Treatment, Invisalign First

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Crooked teeth are caused by a number of different factors. These factors range from genetics to mouth deformities. Extra teeth or abnormally large teeth can create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement of teeth) that is is usually genetic in nature. In some cases jaws are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth. In […]

Crooked teeth are caused by a number of different factors. These factors range from genetics to mouth deformities. Extra teeth or abnormally large teeth can create a malocclusion (crookedness or misplacement of teeth) that is is usually genetic in nature. In some cases jaws are too small to accommodate a full set of teeth. In other cases misaligned jaws that did not form properly develop during the childhood years.

 Can you prevent crooked teeth?

In most cases, underbites, overbites, and crooked teeth are genetically derived and can’t be avoided. Invisalign or braces is be necessary to correct the condition once the child is old enough to wear them. However, certain early childhood behaviors can contribute to the development of crooked teeth that can be avoided. These include:

  • Thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Losing baby teeth to decay before permanent teeth have naturally pushed them out of their sockets
  • Allowing pacifier use to continue after front teeth have erupted

The health of baby teeth directly effects the health of the permanent teeth . Permanent teeth begin to drift and erupt crookedly if the baby teeth above them are lost prematurely due to decay or damage. Baby teeth are like anchors for permanent teeth that help guide them as they erupt through the gums.

In addition, excellent care of baby teeth is vital to having permanent teeth free of discoloration or decay. Harmful oral bacteria can spread into the gums and reach permanent teeth still buried in the gums. Once attached to a tooth’s enamel, bacteria will begin eroding the tooth before it has a chance to take its first bite!

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Braces

6 Tips for Keeping Your Braces Clean from Dunegan Orthodontics!

With braces, it is more important than ever to keep your teeth and gums their healthiest and here are six tips for keeping your braces clean from Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics! Braces and other orthodontic appliances create more opportunities for food particles and bacteria to collect and thrive. Getting braces requires adopting a new oral hygiene […]

With braces, it is more important than ever to keep your teeth and gums their healthiest and here are six tips for keeping your braces clean from Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics! Braces and other orthodontic appliances create more opportunities for food particles and bacteria to collect and thrive. Getting braces requires adopting a new oral hygiene routine and good habits that promote the healthiest environment for your teeth and gums. The American Association of Orthodontics also offers additional tips on everything orthodontics.

Tips for Keeping Your Braces Clean

When you have braces you must be diligent in cleaning your teeth to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth, and decay. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you’ll experience better results and reduced treatment time. Read these tips to help you keep your teeth and braces their cleanest.

  1. Take it one tooth at a time. Spend at least 10 seconds of brushing on each of your teeth. Make sure to pay close attention to the front side (bracket side) of your teeth, the back of your teeth as well as the chewing surfaces.
  2. Remember your angles. It is important for gum health to brush the top teeth with your brush angled down and the bottom teeth with your brush angled up. This will keep loosen food particles from your teeth and gums and optimize your gum health.
  3. Always be prepared. To make sure you are taking the best care of your teeth with braces, it is imperative to take a toothbrush and toothpaste with you wherever you go. Having your toothbrush with you will allow you to remove sticky food particles after eating in a timely manner which helps avoid plaque build up.
  4. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste. Rinse with fluoride mouthwash at least once a day.
  5. Floss, floss and floss. Floss your teeth once a day. This is one of the most important cleaning exercises you can do to help prevent gum disease. Flossing will help prevent plaque from building in between your teeth thus reducing your risk of decay. Flossing also helps reduce bad breath.
  6. See your dentist twice a year. It is your job to clean your teeth every day. Visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide.

How Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics Can Help

At Dunegan & Cole Orthodontics, we have been creating beautiful smiles in Gainesville, VA for over 25 years. Following these tips for keeping your teeth clean during orthodontic treatment will expedite the time it takes to achieve your lifelong smile.

We are pleased to provide individualized, caring service because we know that every person and every smile is unique. If you are interested in a beautiful healthy smile and would like to know if you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment, please request a complimentary consultation today.

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Braces

THE EVOLUTION OF BRACES

Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? At Dunegan Orthodontics we think of modern orthodontic appliance as sleek, efficient technology, but this was not always so! Take a look at the highlights of the evolution of  braces. Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome […]

Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? At Dunegan Orthodontics we think of modern orthodontic appliance as sleek, efficient technology, but this was not always so! Take a look at the highlights of the evolution of  braces.

Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome

  • According to The Angle Orthodontist, Aristotle and Hippocrates first thought about methods for straightening teeth between 400 and 300 BC.
  • The Etruscans, in what we know as Italy, buried their dead with appliances that maintained spaces to prevent the collapse of their teeth and jaws during life. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains in various locations that have metal bands wrapped around the teeth.
  • A Roman tomb was discovered in which the teeth were bound with gold wire, including documentation of the wire’s use as a dental device.

18th Century: A French Development

  • ​​French dentist Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged as the father of modern dentistry. In 1728, he published a book that described various methods of straightening teeth. Fauchard also used a device known as a “blandeau” to widen the upper palate.
  • Louis Bourdet was another French dentist who published a book in 1754 that discussed tooth alignment. Bourdet further refined the blandeau and was the first dentist to extract bicuspids, or premolar teeth between canines and molars, for the purpose of reducing tooth crowding.

19th Century: Orthodontics Defined

  • Orthodontics ​​started to become a separate dental specialty during the early 19th century. The first wire crib was used in 1819, marking the beginning of modern orthodontics.
  • During this period, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite, and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, and copper were used – as was brass in the form of loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures.
  • Edward Maynard first used gum elastics in 1843 and E.J. Tucker began making rubber bands for braces in 1850.
  • Norman W. Kingsley published the first paper on modern orthodontics in 1858 and J.N. Farrar was the first dentist to recommend the use of force over timed intervals to straighten teeth.

20th Century: New Materials Abound

  • Edward Angle developed the first classification systems for maloc​​clusions (misaligned teeth) during the early 20th century in the United States, and it is still in use today. Angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which was renamed the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930s.
  • By the 1960s, gold was universally abandoned for stainless steel.
  • Lingual braces were the “invisible” braces of choice until the early 1980s, when tooth-colored aesthetic brackets made from single-crystal sapphire and ceramic became popular.

Today

As we arrive in the present, you need only to look at your own braces to see how far we’ve come. Your treatment plan was probably created with a 3D​ digital model, and we’re likely using a computerized process to customize your archwires. Perhaps you have clear aligners, self ligating brackets, or highly resilient ceramic brackets with heat-activated wires.

Orthodontics has come a long way from the days of Aristotle, and even the bulky wrap-around braces of just over 60 years ago. Regardless of your specific treatment plan, the development of high-tech materials and methods has made it possible for your orthodontic experience to be as effective, efficient, and comfortable as possible. Call our office to schedule your first Orthodontic consultation!

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