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Your Ultimate Guide to Braces for Kids

November 1st, 2022

A young girl with blonde hair and glasses smiles to show off her stylish braces.

Seven years. That's the age children should be when they start visiting an orthodontist.

That probably seems a bit young to start thinking about braces. After all, we usually see Junior high kids with brackets and wires in their mouths. But starting early is all about prevention. An orthodontic consultation for kids as young as seven emphasizes function over form and providing a healthy space for adult teeth to erupt and develop and airway.  Think of it like a complimentary yearly check-up — a chance for your orthodontist to catch any underlying issues before they become serious problems.

Even though your child's smile isn't fully developed, your orthodontist can map out a long-term treatment plan to anticipate and get ahead of any challenges caused by overbites, crowded teeth, or alignment issues.  For many parents, this is surprising. After all, it's a screening by an actual orthodontist at no cost to the parent to help oversee development and prevent functional issues from growing unchecked.  Maybe your child is already older than seven years old and is overdue for their first orthodontic consultation.  Good news! It's never too late to get ahead of and prevent future issues!

Our Ultimate Guide to Braces for Kids will walk you through the entire process and fill you in on key details that will make your kid's smile that much brighter.

What are the 5 stages of braces?

The orthodontic process is rather straight-forward, consisting of various treatment options based on what's going on with your kid's teeth. Here's a brief overview of the five phases of braces (fixed appliance orthodontic treatment) so you — and your kids — will know what to expect.

Phase 1: The consultation

This is arguably the easiest part. Your kids' first visit will be relatively simple, with a dental and bite exam followed by a discussion about our shared orthodontic goals. You'll get all the information you need to prepare for any necessary treatment based on the exam results. This is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have and walk through the different options, like traditional kids braces vs. aligner therapy.

Phase 2: The procedure

The next step is getting the braces put on your kid's teeth. The great thing about this part is that it doesn't hurt — no needles, no drills, and no pain. But it does take time to properly prepare the patient, get each bracket positioned correctly, run the wires, and make sure everything is poised for efficiency and accuracy. Length varies, but we recommend blocking out one or two hours, depending on the type of braces your kid will wear.

Phase 3: The follow-ups

Before you leave the office after getting your kid's braces placed, you'll get a full rundown of care. Brushing and flossing are more important with braces, so understanding the proper technique is critical. We'll also discuss the foods that should be considered off-limits until the braces are removed:

  • Chewy candies
  • Popcorn
  • Chewing gum
  • Pretzels and other chips
  • Crackers

Many parents ask how long kids wear braces. The length of time depends on the issues you're trying to fix, but the average is about two years. Between placement and removal, you'll need to do regular visits for tightenings and adjustments.

Phase 4: The removal

Believe us when we say that the wait is absolutely worth it. If all goes well, and your kid's orthodontist has no pressing concerns, the de-banding appointment should come quickly. Removing braces or aligner attachments is painless but can take up to an hour, afterward revealing the stunning results.

Phase 5: The retainer 

For most kids, the use of a retainer will be necessary to ensure their teeth don't digress and slip back into their old positions. Your orthodontist will provide the retainer for you with instructions on use and care. Usually, retainers should be every night, cleaned regularly, and kept in a case when not in use.

Get braces for your kids at Bergen Orthodontics.

At Bergen Orthodontics, our board certified and ivy league trained orthodontists mix our years of experience with a patient-first approach to ensure you and your family have a great experience. Our braces for children are designed with the safest and most durable materials, so you get the results you're looking for.

Contact us for your kid's orthodontal care!

How Often Do You Have to Get Your Braces Tightened

October 11th, 2022

There's just something special about a stunning smile, isn't there? An old adage says a smile is worth a thousand words. This sounds like a silly saying that's been repeated so many times, it longer carries any meaning. But if recent studies are any indication, this is one proverb that's probably true. 

One study found that roughly 73% of Americans are more trusting of someone with a nice smile than nice clothes or cars. Another study found that our natural instinct for facial mimicry makes smiling contagious.

There are other potential benefits, too:

  • Higher self-esteem
  • Improved mood
  • Greater financial success
  • Less stress

So it makes sense that we'd go pretty far in pursuit of the perfect grin. And with braces fitted by a specialized orthodontist, a smile that dazzles isn't just a pipedream. 

But it isn't enough to go through the initial procedure without any follow-up. To get the best results, you need to get your braces tightened fairly regularly.  

Here's everything you need to know about braces tightening.  

How often do braces get tightened?

Braces tightening is critical to the success of your treatment. You'll probably notice that after the braces are set, the wires place significant pressure on your teeth. While this can be mildly painful, that discomfort means the braces are doing their job. Over the next few weeks, that pressure will likely decrease — the brackets might even loosen — so you'll need to get your braces tightened.

No two patients are exactly alike, so frequency here will vary. But as a general rule of thumb, most orthodontists recommend you get your braces tightened or adjusted every 4–10 weeks (about 2 and a half months at the latest). 

What happens if I don't tighten my braces?

Here's the thing about braces tightening: while there's a lot we can predict throughout the treatment, there are also a few question marks. Every mouth is different, which means that any set of teeth or gums may not always respond as expected. 

Chances are you'll wear braces for about two years, leaving a lot of room for change. At one point, your teeth might need additional pressure to keep your treatment on track. Or maybe you'll need to shift how that pressure is applied. There may not be any physical danger or health risks if you don't get your braces tightened, but the treatment will simply stop working without regular adjustments. 

The frequency also depends on the type of braces you wear. 

Braces Tightening at Bergen Orthodontics

At Bergen Orthodontics, we put our patients first by using only the best technology, treatments, and techniques. Some people might think getting braces is too much of a hassle or too painful, but we can assure you it’s nothing like what you imagine. If you're looking for ways to get a show-stopping smile that lights up a room, we can help. 

Visit us to find out how often you should get your braces tightened

How To Floss Your Teeth with Braces

September 22nd, 2022

A young woman smiling while she flosses with braces

Brushing and flossing your teeth with braces doesn’t need to be hard and, most importantly, it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. You’ll find that as you follow these tips every day, it will become easier and easier, and you’ll find a lot less discomfort when you floss.

We all know that you’re flossing your teeth (and brushing them) for the same reason that you’re getting braces: you want to have a winning smile. So it makes sense that if you’re already going to the trouble of doing the big thing–getting braces–then the little things like brushing and flossing your teeth should become second nature.

But what’s the best way to floss with braces?

Floss After Every Meal

Yes, we know that it seems like a pain that you have to floss after every meal–can’t it just be left this one time? But the truth is that flossing after every meal is extremely important to making sure that your braces do their job. Food can get stuck in your teeth when you don’t have braces, and it’s much more likely for food to get stuck when you do. So every time you eat, you need to floss.

Fortunately, there are special ways to get in between the teeth and into the braces. These are floss threaders or special orthodontic flosses. These flosses are different from traditional flossing.

With orthodontic floss, you thread the floss behind the braces brackets and wires, and then you grab the end and wrap it around your fingers (as you’d normally do with floss) and slide the floss between each set of teeth. This cleans between teeth to remove food that brushing your teeth can’t get to.

It may sound hard to have to go to this much trouble but trust us: once you get the hang of it after a few weeks, you’ll be a pro at flossing while wearing braces.

The Benefits of Flossing With Braces

The benefits of flossing while you have braces are much the same as the benefits of flossing without braces–only more pronounced. Dental floss cleans food debris from your teeth which can lead to cavities and to gum diseases, and all of that food debris is typically caught just in your teeth. Adding a whole new set of obstacles–all those wires–into the mix is just going to make it easier for food to get stuck and for dental problems to arise.

The good news is that if you use the right type of floss, it doesn’t take much more than a single piece of floss to clean your whole mouth in just a few minutes. Pulling the floss (typically waxed floss) with your index fingers will clear out most of the debris and lead to a boost in overall oral health.

Contact us

What Braces Alternatives Are Available?

August 14th, 2022

A woman holding clear aligners.

When you’re looking for orthodontic treatment but want an alternative to traditional metal braces, the good news is that there are a lot of other options to choose from. So, what treatment options are there? There are quite a few, and here are some of the most popular alternatives.

Retainers

A retainer is a removable dental device that is a great option instead of wearing braces. It can be used, in some cases, instead of braces for adults and children. While there are hard plastic and wire retainers for aligner treatments, transparent retainers are also available (these differ from invisible aligners, which we’ll discuss next).

Plastic Aligners

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are the most popular alternative to braces for adults in cosmetic dentistry. The benefits of clear aligners are that they are, for one, clear–they do not look immediately like you’re wearing anything. You can also remove them. This makes them a very attractive option for adults who want to avoid the look of metal wire braces, which are often perceived to be a children’s option. 

Clear aligners are also very good at straightening teeth. Straightening your teeth can solve any number of problems, even severe malocclusions. The clear aligners will be made from a mold of your teeth, and you will transition from one aligner to the next progressively as your teeth begin to move. Being virtually invisible, they are highly sought after by adults and teens alike. 

Veneers

Veneers come in a variety of makes and models, but the most lifelike are porcelain veneers. Veneers are not like braces, in that they do not actually adjust the position of your teeth. Instead, veneers are used to mask your existing teeth to make a smile that may have gaps, dips, or chips into a smile that looks picture perfect. 

There are generally two categories of veneers. In the first, the dentist removes a layer of tooth enamel from the tooth and applies the veneer with UV resin. In the second, the enamel is not removed. These are called No Prep Veneers. 

Accelerated Orthodontics

Accelerated orthodontics are a rapid way to make changes to the position of your teeth. Using a process called micro-osteoperforation, the jaw is weakened. This allows the teeth to move more rapidly than with traditional braces. 

Accelerated orthodontics refers to the entire process, which includes the micro-osteoperforation, as well as the retainer or clear aligners which will be used to guide the teeth into the proper position. These are typically considered a good option for people who want to move quickly in terms of straightening their teeth, but don’t want to simply use veneers. They also have good health benefits. 

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional metal wire braces, except, as the word “lingual” suggests, the wires and braces are on the inside of the teeth–the sides touching the tongue. This makes the braces just as useful as traditional braces, but they are invisible to anyone looking at your mouth. Lingual braces are commonly used by celebrities, but also by adults who don’t want to look like they’re using braces. 

Find Out The Best Alternative Braces

jersey choice dentist
Russell M. Sandman DMD, MS
500 Piermont Rd
Closter, NJ 07624
(201) 768-4121