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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. 

For some, getting braces is an exciting experience. Some kids can’t wait to have fun with changing the color of their Houston braces. Others can’t wait to see their brand new smiles. Some children start their treatment when they are younger, so they can’t wait to feel like one of the big kids. For other children, though, the mere idea of having braces is anxiety-inducing. Our South Houston family dentists want to assure you that, while your child’s fear and worry are normal, our dental braces are really nothing to fret over. Here are some things your child may like to know that may help them feel less scared.

Braces Are Really Common These Days

Years ago, not many children would get braces. Today, though, 4.5 million young children and teenagers undergo dental braces treatment. Braces serve more than just a cosmetic purpose–once the teeth are straight, children are much less at risk of getting cavities. By now, dental braces have become necessary in order to solve many problems that result from a malocclusion, otherwise known as a bad bite. 

Braces Are More Efficient When You’re a Kid

While adults can also get Houston braces, treatment is shorter and more efficient when it comes to children because they are still growing, which makes their jaw and teeth more moldable. Plus, the younger your child gets braces, the sooner they can show off their new smiles with confidence.

Braces Don’t Hurt

A common misconception about braces is that they hurt really badly. Rather than a painful, everlasting sensation, our South Houston dentist patients may feel some soreness when they first get their braces fitted, but this will gradually subside over the next few days. However, because everyone’s pain threshold is different, just know that the mild discomfort is nothing that over-the-counter painkillers and possibly an ice pack can't ease. 

We know that the idea of Houston braces “moving your child’s teeth” sounds scary, but this is done ever so gently and gradually. Kids don’t even notice or feel that their teeth are straightening until one day they wake up and see for themselves that their teeth are straighter. Additionally, today’s metal dental braces and ceramic dental braces are even lighter in weight than they used to be, so discomfort is much more minimal. We also offer Invisalign, which is as subtle as Houston braces treatment can get.

Come See Our South Houston Family Dentist When It's Time for Dental Braces

If you plan on getting your child fitted for Houston braces soon, please book an appointment. We will conduct our initial consultation, which will help us in developing their treatment plan. We will also further discuss any worries your child may have so they feel safe and positive when they get their braces for the first time.

Most people receive dental benefits through their employers, but it may be confusing to some. Here is all that you need to know about your dental insurance and the benefits that come with it.

Dental Insurance is a Necessary Expense

You cannot obtain dental insurance unless both you and your employer pay a substantial premium upfront. However, this premium is what gets you the many benefits you can take advantage of during the year. Without dental insurance and its benefits, you put your teeth at risk of severe damage and/or rot. Additionally, many of the earliest signs of illness and disease first appear in the mouth, so it's crucial that our family dentists see you regularly.

Dental Benefits Will Expire by the End of the Year

There is one condition, though. If you haven’t used your benefits before December 31st, then you will lose those benefits. Keep in mind that If you do not use them by the time the year is over, there is no carry-over, meaning you are unable to reserve multiple treatments for the next year when both your insurance and premium reset. 

How Do Your South Houston Dental Benefits Work?

Because the premium is paid upfront before you obtain dental insurance, the money invested is completely wasted if you don’t take the time to visit the dentist enough throughout the year. 

There are multiple kinds of dental insurance plans, each with their own benefits. Benefits are what we refer to as coverage offered by your insurance for different dental procedures and treatments, meaning your insurance will pay a portion of the services you seek from our South Houston dentist office. Most plans offer substantial or complete coverage for routine teeth cleanings every 6 months, which serves as the perfect incentive to get the preventative care you need to achieve the healthy smile you deserve. Other benefits may come in the form of coverage for root canals, x-rays, dental caps/crowns, and possibly dentures or dental bridges, since these are restorative procedures that protect the rest of your teeth.

Centra Dental in South Houston Wants Your Family to Have Healthy Smiles

Although it may seem early in the year, it’s never too early for your entire family to have healthy teeth. Now is a great time to start planning and scheduling necessary treatments with our South Houston family dentist. This way we can help ensure you get the most out of your allotted benefits early on, so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute during the busy holidays. Because we want you to take the best care of your teeth, we are in-network with several insurance plans, including Aetna, Cigna, Delta, Guardian, United, and much more. If you have an outstanding treatment or teeth cleaning, please book an appointment with us so we can see you before the end of the year.

Can your teeth be as clean when wearing dental braces as they are without them? Absolutely. In fact, when you undergo your Houston braces treatment, your teeth will likely be cleaner than you would have ever imagined. You may have known how to take care of your teeth prior to braces, but when wearing either metal braces, ceramic dental braces, or Invisalign, your routine will change. This is what our South Houston family dentists recommend to ensure your teeth remain in pristine condition.

Brush Your Teeth More Often

It is crucial that you brush your teeth more often when you are undergoing Houston braces treatment because the surfaces of your teeth are no longer fully exposed, thanks to the plastic aligners covering them or the metal or ceramic brackets glued to the surface of your teeth. Our South Houston dentists recommend that you carry a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste with you so that you can always have a toothbrush handy, even when you’re running errands or are at school or work. 

Rather than only brushing twice a day, we recommend that you first do a thorough oral rinse after each meal and then brush your teeth after each of them. Doing so ensures there is no food left between your teeth, protecting you against decay. We also recommend swishing a fluoridated, alcohol-free mouthwash before bed once your teeth are well-brushed. This will encourage stronger, healthier teeth while you undergo your Houston braces treatment. Yes, it may be extra work, but your teeth will thank you. 

Gently Floss Every Day

Nowadays there are several different kinds of floss that are dental braces-friendly available on the market. You must floss your teeth every night before bed, just like you did before your dental braces. While we understand it may be harder to floss with braces, flossing keeps your teeth squeaky clean and healthy. If you are unclear on how to floss effectively, please let us know. Our team of dentists will happily show you.

Visit Centra Dental in South Houston For Your Dental Check-Up Every Six Months

Much like how your dental cleanings are important when you don't have braces, they are even more important if you are currently undergoing braces treatment so that we can keep an eye on your progress and your health. If you are wearing Houston braces, please book an appointment today so that, together, we can give you the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

Invisalign Clear Aligners are quickly becoming the go-to alternative for certain patients who would prefer this method over metal or ceramic Houston braces, but many others still prefer to rely on traditional metal braces. Because of this, does that mean metal dental braces are better than Invisalign?

Metal Braces Compared to Invisalign Clear Aligners

Metal Braces

Metal Houston braces are the most traditional method for correcting a malocclusion. They are made up of brackets and wires and may involve rubber bands later in your treatment. Brackets are bonded to the teeth with a special dental-grade glue and then a wire is placed across the brackets in order to put pressure on the teeth so that they move toward their correct alignment, which we determine at your initial braces consultation.

Over the course of your treatment, our South Houston dentists will tighten your wires in order to continue to add subtle pressure, little by little. Eventually, you will have a beautiful, straight smile that you can feel confident in.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign is very different from traditional metal dental braces. First and foremost, Invisalign doesn’t utilize any wires or brackets. Instead, this Houston braces treatment utilizes clear plastic molded to your teeth in such a way that gradually improves their alignment. You will get a new set of clear plastic aligners every few weeks, each of which shifts your teeth a little more.

So, Do You Pick Metal Braces or Invisalign? Which is More Effective?

One isn’t necessarily more effective than the other. Both methods work, but they simply suit different patient cases.

Invisalign works best for those patients who have a mild malocclusion. Metal braces, on the other hand, are more versatile and work on virtually all kinds of cases–from mild and simple to severe and complex.

When it comes to maintenance, metal braces are easier to deal with because they are glued to your teeth, so you just need to make sure you brush and floss enough. With Invisalign Clear Aligners, though, you need to be careful to wear them as directed, remove them only when necessary, clean them properly, and make sure not to lose them. This extra level of discipline makes some of our South Houston patients more inclined to investing in metal braces instead.

Our South Houston Family Dentists at Centra Dental Will Help You Determine Which Orthodontic Appliance Works Best For You

With the varied options we offer for Houston braces treatment, we understand wanting to be sure of your investment regardless if you are an adult looking into braces or are doing some research for your kids. If braces are in the near future, please book an appointment with us. We will complete a consultation to help you determine if metal braces or Invisalign will work best for you.

Having braces must have felt like an eternity, but once you get them removed you will see just how worth it those two or three years were. However, for many years to come, you have to keep your teeth looking as beautiful as they did the day you got your braces removed. This will ensure that your investment was worth it and that you can properly enjoy your new smile. Here are ways our South Houston dentists recommend you take care of your teeth following the removal of your dental braces.

Wear Your Retainer

This is the most important thing you can–and must–do after you’ve completed your Houston braces treatment. None of our patients like to hear this, but upon completion of your treatment, you must wear another orthodontic appliance known as a dental retainer.

For adults who wore dental braces, their teeth will tend to shift back to their original position, causing their malocclusion to come back since there are no more wires or brackets to hold your teeth in place. For kids who wore braces, they still have some growing to do and so do their jaws, which means their teeth will also shift again. Retainers are designed to prevent this.

Our South Houston dentist often recommends our patients wear their retainers all day and night, except for when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to brush your teeth and floss, for about a year after they got their braces off. This extra time will ensure your teeth fully settle into the soft tissue in your mouth so they won’t shift again. Once the year is up, we may instruct you to wear your retainer at night time only.

Keep Up a Good Daily Cleaning Routine

Now that your teeth are straight, we’re certain you would like to show off your new smile more and more. To keep it looking pristine, we recommend the following:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also make sure to replace your brush every few months, once it looks frayed.
  • Floss every night to ensure nothing is stuck between your teeth. This will be even easier now that you don’t have any brackets or wires in the way.
  • Use a fluoridated mouthwash to offer extra protection against cavities while also strengthening your enamel and freshening your breath.
  • Clean your retainer every day before you put it on again when it’s time to go to bed. This will ensure that it is always clean and that there are no bacteria that will get stuck on or behind your teeth.

Centra Dental in South Houston Wants to Give You Your Best Smile

By wearing your retainer as directed, practicing exceptional dental hygiene every day, and coming in for your semiannual routine dental cleanings, you are on your way to a beautiful, healthy smile for life. Now that it’s a new year, please book an appointment with us so we can clean your teeth and answer any more questions you may have about dental care after Houston braces treatment.

Getting dental braces is very exciting, but it can also be daunting for some, especially with so many rumors and myths that are believed. Our South Houston dentists gathered some of the most common myths in order to offer our professional input and dispel these myths.

Myths and Facts Our South Houston Patients Should Be Aware Of

 

Myth #1: Your Braces Will Rust Over Time

While we understand why this might be a commonly held belief about braces since water and metal never mix, our Houston braces are made out of titanium, which is biocompatible and does not rust.

Myth #2: You Can’t Play An Instrument While Wearing Braces

This is a wide held worry amongst our teenaged patients who are in the school band or orchestra, especially if they intend on applying for scholarships to university. However, there is no need to worry. Although it may feel a bit awkward to play at first, it is still perfectly doable after adjusting and they will not inhibit your ability. 

Myth #3: After Braces, Your Teeth Will Be Straight Forever and You Don’t Have to Take Extra Precaution

It is true that braces will successfully straighten your teeth, but your teeth will only remain straight if you wear your retainer as directed by our Houston braces dentists. Not doing so will make it very easy for your teeth to shift back to their previous position.

Myth #4: Braces Won’t Work For Adults

While we do recommend children and teenagers get braces at a young age, adults also benefit from braces. Their treatment may take a bit longer, but braces are just as effective at straightening their teeth and giving them a healthy smile.

Myth #5: Playing Sports While Wearing Braces is Dangerous

Much like Myth #2, our teenaged patients who play sports and plan on applying for scholarships may worry about how dental braces will impact them. The good news is that student athletes can still play sports–they just need to make sure to wear a fitted mouthguard.

Myth #6: Rubber Bands Aren’t As Necessary as Dentists Make Them Seem

Unfortunately, many patients don’t see how rubber bands work, since they are so small and seemingly insignificant. However, they are a crucial part of your dental braces treatment, so it is imperative you wear them as directed, otherwise, your treatment will take longer.

Ready For Dental Braces? Schedule a Houston Braces Consultation

If you plan on getting dental braces soon, please book an appointment so we can conduct our initial consultation and develop a treatment plan. We look forward to further educating you and helping you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

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