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You’re approaching the end of your Houston braces treatment and whether you’re wearing Invisalign Clear Aligners, metal Houston braces, or ceramic dental braces, you are going to need to wear retainers after your treatment. You may wear them with reluctance, but you must wear your retainers in order to protect your investment in South Houston braces and keep your teeth straight. However, there are different types of orthodontic retainers that will meet different needs. In this blog post, we will discuss traditional retainers, otherwise known as Hawley retainers. 

What Are Hawley Retainers

Hawley retainers are also referred to as removable retainers or wire retainers. They are made of two parts and two components–the acrylic plastic and the metal wire components. The acrylic plastic is shaped to fit the roof up your mouth and behind your lower teeth. The wire component runs across your teeth. Together, these retainers hold your teeth in place while your teeth settle in the soft tissues of your mouth. How long you wear it will depend on your particular case, but our South Houston family dentist will recommend what works best for you.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Hawley Retainers

As with our Houston braces, there are pros and cons associated with each option.

Pros of Removable Retainers

  • Hawley retainers can be adjusted in case you need a better fit or if your teeth need a slight touch up in their alignment. 
  • Much like the wire that is placed across your Houston braces may break sometimes, Hawley retainers may break on a rare occasion as well, but the good news is that they are easily reparable. 
  • Both rows of your teeth will touch naturally, which makes this option a more comfortable one. 

Cons of Removable Wire Retainers

  • Because these retainers feel slightly bulky, your speech may sound off when wearing them.
  • The way the wire is laid across your teeth makes it rather noticeable when you speak
  • The wire may irritate your lips or cheeks when you first wear a removable retainer after your Houston braces treatment.

Our South Houston Family Dentist Will Determine Whether Traditional Removable Retainers Are Suitable For You

As you near the end of your Houston braces treatment, our South Houston family dentist will take impressions of your teeth so our lab can make your retainers. If we determine that Hawley retainers will work best for you, we will provide you with wearing guidelines. Please book an appointment with us for your next dental check-up so we can make the appropriate recommendation.

Are you, or your child, the type of person who is excited about getting Houston braces and is looking forward to a brand new smile that can be worn confidently? Perhaps you or your child are worried about whether Houston braces treatment will be painful, especially if either of you has heard horror stories or believes some common myths. In this article, we will address some more myths about dental braces and explain the facts so you can feel more confident before you begin your South Houston braces treatment. 

Myth #1: If Houston Braces Move My Teeth, They Must Hurt

We aren’t surprised that this myth is still commonly shared today, since the idea of metal pushing your teeth sounds like it would hurt. However, today braces are far thinner and lighter in weight than they used to be, which has greatly minimized discomfort over the years. Now, regardless of if you choose Invisalign Clear Aligners, ceramic dental braces, or metal dental braces, there will be some minor soreness when you first get them since your teeth aren’t used to them. This will only be temporary though and shouldn’t be intolerable. If it comes down to it, this discomfort is nothing that icing and possibly over-the-counter painkillers can’t alleviate.

After a few days, you will adjust and feel just fine.

Myth #2: After Houston Braces, Your Teeth Will Be Straight For the Rest of Your Life

Although braces do straighten your teeth, all that hard work can be reversed if you don’t follow our recommendations for caring for and maintaining your new smile. This is where retainers come in. Retainers are an orthodontic appliance that must be worn after you finish your Houston braces treatment. We typically tell our patients to wear them all day and all night–except when they’re eating–for at least a year. Afterward, we recommend wearing them every night. This ensures your teeth remain straight and don’t easily become misaligned again.

Myth #3: You Have to Give Up a Lot of Your Favorite Foods When Wearing Dental Braces or Invisalign Clear Aligners

We do recommend you avoid sugary, sticky foods and drinks, as well as crunchy snacks, as this will minimize your risk of cavities and your risk of breaking your braces. Otherwise, you can eat as you normally would, but definitely take smaller bites of your food.

Ready for Houston Braces? Schedule a Consultation With Our South Houston Family Dentist

If you think it’s time for you or your child to begin South Houston braces treatment, then please book an appointment with us so we can begin with a consultation to develop the appropriate treatment plan.

Although metal dental braces are by far the most common malocclusion treatment option for our South Houston dentist patients, ceramic braces are growing in popularity–and for good reason. Here is how they compare to metal braces and when we recommend them to our patients.

What Are Ceramic Houston Braces Like?

Ceramic dental braces are very similar to metal dental braces, except the brackets that are placed on the teeth are either clear or tooth-colored as opposed to silver. 

The archwire, which is placed across the brackets in order to put gradual pressure on them to move the teeth into the correct position, ranges from silver to white, or frosted. This enables the braces to further blend into the teeth for a natural appearance. 

When Do Our South Houston Family Dentists Recommend Ceramic Braces

When compared to Invisalign, another method for correcting a malocclusion that we offer at our office in South Houston is Invisalign Clear Aligners, ceramic braces straighten the teeth faster–in about 18 to 36 months. Invisalign can take about a year, and even longer if a patient’s personal case is more complex. 

How severe and complicated our patient’s malocclusion is will play a major role in determining which type of Houston braces are the most suitable for their case, so we often recommend metal braces to our patients in need of the most complicated corrections, and recommend ceramic braces to our patients whose bites aren’t severe and are more on the mild to moderate side of the spectrum. Of course, we could also recommend Invisalign in mild-moderate cases, but some patients worry they may lose their Invisalign Clear Aligners or get a bit lazy in their treatment, so they tend to prefer ceramic braces.

In addition to bite correction and patient discipline, we also factor in lifestyle and age. If a patient looking into ceramic braces is an athlete and/or is still a child whose adult teeth haven’t fully emerged, then we may refrain from recommending ceramic Houston braces because they tend to be more fragile than traditional metal Houston braces.

Centra Dental in South Houston Offers Affordable Ceramic Houston Braces

If you would like to correct the alignment of your teeth and think ceramic braces may be right for you, then please book an appointment. We will happily complete an orthodontic evaluation to address your concerns and needs so that we can design the best custom treatment plan for you.

Many of our Houston braces patients are children and young teenagers. Dental braces are essential for good dental health and a healthy bite, otherwise, a variety of problems may occur if you don’t get braces. Prior to treatment, parents often ask our South Houston family dentist what age their child needs to be beforehand. Here is what we advise. 

Don’t Wait Until Adulthood to Get Houston Braces

Although it is perfectly acceptable to undergo dental braces treatment as an adult, treatment often lasts longer than it does in children. This is because children’s mouths and heads are still growing, so their teeth are more moldable. Most Houston braces treatments take place between ages 8 and 14 because, by this age, kids should have lost most or all of their baby teeth, but depending on the severity of their malocclusion, we may want to start earlier and set a timeline for you. For example, if their bite is really severe and treatment will take 3 years, you may wish to start at age 10 so that they can be done with their dental braces treatment by age 13 or 14. 

Get an Early Houston Braces Evaluation

In many cases, especially if we have been treating you and your child for years and have been able to see how your child’s teeth develop, we might recommend your child comes in for an orthodontic evaluation when they’re around 7 years old. Our trained family dentists will be able to draw conclusions on how the teeth and jaw will develop and if/how braces treatment will help. We will also be able to determine whether interceptive treatment will be necessary, in the event that your child’s malocclusion is one that will likely worsen over time. This involves using orthodontic appliances as an early treatment. In some cases, there won’t be a need for Houston braces once the interceptive treatment has concluded. 

Houston Braces For Kids at Centra Dental in South Houston

Dental braces today are much more subtle and comfortable than they used to be, so regardless of which age your child begins treatment, we will determine the type of braces that work best for them to achieve a healthy, straight, and beautiful smile. If you think it might be time for your child to get braces, please book an appointment so we can begin with our consultation.

Houston braces are a good idea if you have a malocclusion, which means your bite isn’t ideal and risks being detrimental to your health. An unideal bite is one that consists of crooked teeth, crowded teeth, extra teeth, or even an overbite or an underbite. Although some of our patients may be familiar with crooked and crowded teeth, others may not know much about overbites and underbites. Here is how they can be identified and what problems arise from them. 

Overbite

An overbite often presents itself as “buck teeth” and is one of the most common reasons our south Houston dentist patients need braces. This type of bite occurs in patients whose upper jaw–and consequently, upper teeth–protrude further outward than the bottom jaw and teeth. Now, to be clear, we want some overlap, as this prevents your enamel from wearing abnormally. In doing so, your teeth are stronger and better protected against cavities.

How Does Having an Overbite Affect Your Teeth?

An overbite can easily cause you to have difficulties speaking, much like other malocclusions. Overbites have also been known to cause difficulty with chewing. This is because many of our patients with overbites regularly deal with biting their tongues and cheeks when they try to chew their food. Overbites may also damage your gums and your other teeth because of the improper bite pattern. How severe your overbite is will dictate how severe these side effects are, but thankfully our metal braces and ceramic Houston braces can correct this.

Underbite

A patient has an underbite when their lower teeth tend to protrude outward and are further out than the upper front teeth. You might compare this to a bulldog’s teeth. Because of the abnormal alignment of the teeth, this can cause cosmetic insecurities as well as other dental health problems.

How Does Having an Underbite Affect Your Teeth?

Some underbites are rather minor, but others may be severe. Similar to an overbite, though, the more severe the underbite, the more severe the problems. 

Underbites make it harder for you to chew because the jaws are not clasping around food like they are supposed to. Another problem that results from an underbite is that this makes it harder for you to speak properly. The worst issue that can occur is that you experience pain in your mouth and face due to your misaligned jaws. If unaddressed, the pain can worsen and disrupt your day-to-day.

Houston Braces at Centra Dental in South Houston Correct Bad Bites

These are common reasons why our patients need dental braces. If you or your child have a bad bite, then please book an appointment with our South Houston family dentist. We will complete an evaluation to determine which kind of braces are best for your unique case.

Metal dental braces have long been the traditional, most commonly used method of correcting the alignment of the teeth in both children and adults. Today, though, our South Houston dentist, as well as other dentists in Texas, offer Invisalign and ceramic braces as viable alternatives. With other options available, though, when are metal braces best?

If You Have Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth are fairly easy to spot. Our patients with crowding will also have crooked teeth that overlap one another. Sometimes, people are just born with extra teeth, which can be one of the reasons why crowding occurs, as this disrupts how the teeth are naturally supposed to erupt. If crowded teeth aren’t fixed, this can cause unusual wear patterns in the teeth and encourage excess plaque build-up. Remember, excessive plaque is what causes cavities, meaning our South Houston pediatric dentist patients and adult patients who suffer from crowding are much more prone to cavities.

Plaque build-up in crowded teeth has a domino-like effect. This means that if the patient suffers from excess bacteria build-up, this can quickly turn into gum disease (gingivitis). On top of rapid decay, crowded teeth may cause our patients to feel insecure and self-conscious, especially if a speech impediment occurs because of their teeth. 

If You Have an Open Bite

An open bite (or anterior bite) may not be as common as an overbite, but it is identified as the upper and lower front teeth slanting outwards, so they never touch when a patient closes their mouth. 

With an open bite, the patient will often have a lisp and the teeth will wear abnormally, causing cracks and discomfort.

How Metal Dental Braces Help

Metal Houston braces provide enough force to gradually shift even the most severely crowded teeth to the proper position. They are also highly effective on open bites, which are harder to correct. In essence, metal braces work for virtually every type of case of poor alignment, and because they are so strong, they work quicker than ceramic braces or Invisalign clear aligners would in these patient cases. 

Affordable Houston Braces at Centra Dental

If you or your child are in need of dental braces and are considering metal braces, then please book an appointment for the first consultation. We’ll examine the bite and help determine if metal braces are a suitable option to correct it.

A common worry that many of our South Houston dentist patients have when they are about to undergo dental braces treatment is that they won’t be able to clean their teeth properly, resulting in cavities. This is simply not true, and here is how you can ensure that your teeth remain extra healthy throughout treatment. 

Brush Your Teeth More

Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste is one of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth healthy. When you wear braces, though, you should brush your teeth more often because the face of the tooth is no longer completely exposed, so it’s easy to miss some spots. Our South Houston dentists recommend that you rinse your mouth out with water after every meal and snack you eat and then brush immediately after. This will help make sure that no food particles get stuck in the brackets of your metal dental braces and ceramic dental braces. If you wear Invisalign, this will ensure there is no food stuck in between your teeth that then becomes trapped by your clear aligner trays. Rinsing and brushing often are great ways to prevent cavities. Just be sure you don’t use whitening toothpaste, or you may risk your teeth being uneven in how white they are.

Floss Slowly and Carefully

Flossing is the second thing you can do to ensure your teeth remain healthy and cavity-free. It may be a challenge, but flossing is a MUST. Today, there are several different kinds of braces-friendly floss and our South Houston family dentists are more than happy to teach you how to properly floss while wearing braces.

Be Diligent in Coming to Your Houston Braces Appointments With Our Dentists

Much like how you care for your teeth by coming in for cleanings twice a year, the same rule stands when you wear braces. By coming in for your semiannual teeth cleanings, we can double-check on the progress of your braces treatment, along with your overall dental health, and clean your teeth more deeply and thoroughly than you would at home. If you would like to come in for a cleaning and more tips on taking care of your dental hygiene while wearing braces, then please book an appointment with us. We look forward to embracing your smile!

We understand the excitement our South Houston patients feel when they finally get their Houston braces off, and we also understand the mild disappointment they may feel when they are told that they need to wear a retainer. However, a retainer is much more pleasant than dental braces and just as important. Here are the different types of retainers and how to wear them to get the most out of your new smile.

Different Types of Orthodontic Retainers

There are 3 kinds of orthodontic retainers and which we recommend you wear depends on your particular circumstances. Here is how they differ.

Bonded Retainer

A bonded retainer is exactly what it sounds like. Bonded retainers are also called permanent retainers because, like dental braces, they are cemented to the teeth with dental-grade cement. Except, rather than being glued on the front of your teeth, they are bonded behind the teeth. Although most of our patients wear them indefinitely, we may also remove them after time has passed if they are causing excessive irritation or plaque build-up. 

We often recommend bonded retainers to younger patients who may struggle to be responsible with their retainer or if we think the teeth will shift back to their crooked position too quickly and easily.

Hawley Retainer

More common is the Hawley retainer. This type of retainer is removable and is also called a wire retainer. It’s made up of two parts, each made of plastic or acrylic, which the patient can pick the color for. The top portion is molded to the shape of the roof of your mouth and the bottom portion is molded to the back of your lower teeth. Thin, yet strong wire runs is attached to both parts. The upper retainer has a wire that runs across the front of your teeth, whereas the bottom retainer has a wire that hooks on top and around the teeth to keep them from shifting.

Transparent Retainer

The last type of retainer is a transparent one. It is made similar to Invisalign in that it is removable and made of thin plastic, but this type is molded perfectly to the new alignment of the patient’s teeth. 

How to Wear Different Retainers After Houston Braces

Now, for how long should our South Houston patients wear Hawley retainers and transparent retainers?

We often recommend wearing them at all times, except at mealtimes, for 6 months to a year. This is because the teeth will have a natural habit of trying to shift to the position they were in prior to braces if there is no longer anything holding them in place. Being diligent in wearing retainers right after will ensure that the teeth settle into the soft tissues in the mouth and their new position along the jaw. This keeps them from becoming easily misaligned again.

Centra Dental Will Ensure Your Teeth Remain Straight After Houston Braces

If you are nearing the end of your braces treatment, then please book an appointment with us so that we can determine the state of your teeth and recommend the appropriate retainers for your needs. We are passionate about embracing your smile and can’t wait for you to embrace yours.

At our South Houston family dentist office, we are often asked by our adult patients if they can benefit from Houston braces just as much as our younger patients do. The short answer is: yes. In fact, we highly encourage adults to wear dental braces if they have crooked teeth and/or a malocclusion, otherwise known as a “bad bite”.

Malocclusions Affect Kids and Adults Just the Same

There are different kinds of malocclusions, each with different dental braces treatments. If you had a malocclusion as a teenager, then chances are it did not go away when you became an adult. 

If you do not fix your bad bite, this will cause an array of dental health issues. This problems may include, but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Speech impairment
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty digesting

As adults, getting Invisalign Clear Aligners, ceramic braces, or metal braces will certainly correct these issues, though it may or may not take longer than it would for a child. Regardless, properly aligned teeth are vital, no matter how long it takes to achieve this.

Centra Dental in South Houston Offers Different Houston Braces Options for Different Adult Cases

Invisalign Clear Aligners

For adults with minor cases, Invisalign may be ideal because it is not only flexible in terms of wear and maintenance, but it is also the most subtle treatment we offer. This is great for adults who may not be pleased with the idea of wearing metal braces.

Ceramic Houston Braces

As an alternative treatment plan, adults with mildly to moderately bad bites may benefit from ceramic dental braces. This method is the next most subtle treatment option, since both the brackets and the archwire easily blend in with the color of your natural teeth. 

Metal Dental Braces

Metal braces are the least subtle treatment. However, they are lighter in weight and more comfortable than they used to be. Metal Houston braces work on all malocclusions, especially on the more severe cases. Our metal braces can move teeth vertically, align teeth that are higher than they should be, and also rotate the teeth. This sounds rather painful, but rest assured you will not feel any pain. You will only feel slight soreness whenever we tighten the wire, but this should not last long.

Centra Dental in South Houston Gives Adults Straight, Healthy Teeth

If you're an adult hoping to correct your bite, then please book an appointment with us. We will complete our orthodontic evaluation, address your concerns, and design the best treatment plan for you.

By now it’s no secret that Invisalign is a popular method for correcting a bad bite. Nowadays, more and more dentists are offering this in addition to traditional metal braces and ceramic Houston braces. If we offer all of these dental braces treatments, is Invisalign still the most effective option for your teenager?

The Difference Between Metal or Ceramic Braces and Invisalign

Metal braces have been the primary form of treatment for teeth and jaw alignment for many decades now. This is precisely why they are still trusted by many of our South Houston dentists’ patients today. Ceramic braces are very similar, but they differ in that they blend into the teeth more and while they are strong, they aren’t as strong as metal and can be fragile. Nevertheless, they are a very effective treatment for moderate malocclusions. 

When undergoing treatment with both metal or ceramic braces, our South Houston family dentist will regularly tighten the patient's wires to guide their teeth to the correct position. There is some initial discomfort, but it doesn't last long.

Invisalign, on the other hand, involves no wires. Invisalign Clear Aligners are much like clear plastic retainers that are made by completing a 3D scan of the patient's mouth. With our 3D scans, we are able to make different aligner trays that will gradually shift the teeth until they are straight. 

The Pros and Cons of Invisalign Treatment

The undisputed pro of Invisalign is that, because the aligner trays are clear, hardly anyone actually realizes that a patient is undergoing any treatment. This is perfect for the teenager who prefers a more subtle treatment and is a little self-conscious. Another factor that makes it so appealing is that your teenager can remove the trays for mealtimes. A third pro is that, compared to braces, there are much fewer consultations needed, since the aligners are already made.

When it comes to the downsides of Invisalign treatments, your teenager needs to be careful not to lose or misplace their clear aligners. Another downside that can be off-putting is that the ability to remove the aligners during meals means that the patient needs to be extremely disciplined, as Invisalign needs to be worn strictly for 20-22 hours a day. Patients also need to make sure that they thoroughly brush their teeth after each meal so they ensure no food particles put stress on the aligners, making it harder for the teeth to move where they need to. 

Visit Our South Houston Braces Dentist to See if Invisalign is the Best Treatment for Your Teen

If you think your teen may be a great candidate for Invisalign treatments, then please book an appointment with us. At this braces consultation, we will get a better understanding of what is the best treatment plan for your teen.