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Rubber Bands and Your Smile

December 23, 2015

Many people don’t realize the importance of the small rubber bands that work to straighten your smile throughout treatment. Though they are small, both ligatures and inter-arch elastics are key players in aligning your jaw and straightening teeth. Ligatures are the small elastics that are placed around each bracket and hold your arch wire in place. You can choose to make these ligatures almost any color and they work to push or pull teeth in a certain direction.

Rubber bands (inter-arch elastics) are somewhat larger and work to align your jaw by applying pressure to reduce an under or overbite. While your ligatures work to move teeth along your gum line, rubber bands pull your jaw forward or backward to align your jaw for a more comfortable bite. Brackets with hooks are used on the side of your mouth so you can hook your rubber bands to correct any malocclusion that exceeds the acceptable measurement.

Wearing your rubber bands as advised by your orthodontist is extremely important for keeping your treatment on schedule. Though they may cause discomfort initially, wearing them as often as advised will only make them more comfortable. If you have any questions about your orthodontic appliances or treatment, simply ask at your next appointment or give us a call to learn more.

Surviving Holiday Eating with Braces

December 16, 2015

With the holiday season upon us, so are the dinner parties, sweets, and celebratory snack foods. Whether your favorite part of the holiday meals is the pot roast or stuffing, there’s something for everyone to look forward to. If you have braces this winter, you may find an extra challenge from tempting treats that could damage your braces. Though you may not be bobbing for apples or munching on caramel corn this year, there’s still plenty of holiday treats to enjoy! Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to help your braces survive the holiday season:

Good to go:

  • Ham, turkey, pot roast
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Jello
  • Cheesecake
  • Green bean casserole
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin pie (no crust!)
  • Hot chocolate

Not this year:

  • Candy canes
  • Hard cookies
  • Pecan pie
  • Toffee
  • Peanut brittle
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Hard pretzels
  • Meat on the bone
  • Caramel apples
  • Corn on the cob

Even with braces, there are plenty of sweets for you to enjoy this winter! To prevent tooth decay, remember to brush extra and keep up on your flossing – especially after sugary and sticky meals. From your Jacksonville orthodontist, we hope you have a happy (and delicious) holiday season!

What to Expect at Your First Visit

December 9, 2015

If it’s time for you to begin orthodontic treatment, you may be nervous about the process and road ahead. As your Jacksonville orthodontist, we want you to rest easy knowing that orthodontics is one of the best investments you can make for the overall dental and wellbeing of you or your children. To get started at the time of your initial visit, please provide the following information:

  • A completed health history form
  • Your insurance information
  • Any recent x-rays from your general dentist

If you don’t have a panoramic radiograph from your general dentist, our office will take one to be thoroughly reviewed to determine your best course of treatment. If orthodontic treatment is recommended, one of our staff members will discuss our flexible payment options, fees, and appointment schedules with you to get started. After your initial exam, a complete diagnostic record will be compiled to include photographs of your face and teeth, necessary x-rays, impressions or an iTero scan, and bite registrations. You can complete your diagnostics during your initial exam if you choose.

After your diagnostic records have been compiled and analyzed, you’ll meet for your consultation with the orthodontist. Here you will be able to discuss treatment options designed specifically for your case and ask any questions you may have about your orthodontic treatment plan.

Beginning your orthodontic treatment and your road to a healthier and more confident smile doesn’t need to be complicated. At Ortega Orthodontics, we’re here to help you along every step of the way. Give us a call to schedule your first appointment today!

3 Tools to Keep Your Braces Clean

November 25, 2015

Maintaining proper oral hygiene throughout the course of your orthodontic treatment is extremely important for the health of your teeth. The last thing you want is to is damage your teeth because of poor oral hygiene. At Ortega Orthodontics, we want you to be proud of your healthy and clean smile. Here are some tools that can help you maintain your oral hygiene  throughout your treatment:

Interdental toothbrush: When trying to clean in between your teeth this is a great tool for getting pieces of food out of your braces.

Antibacterial mouthwash: Rinsing with mouthwash can reduce inflammation in your gums and cheeks and may help with possible irritation from your braces.

Waterpik: Many patients find that using a Waterpik helps keep their appliances clean.

Braces can make it difficult to clean your teeth during treatment, which is why there are tools to help. Remember, these tools are here as a supplement to regular brushing and flossing, not as a replacement! You may find that your braces make it harder to get plaque off your teeth, but brushing and flossing after each meal is important for preventing tooth decay, plaque buildup, and gum disease. If you have questions about how to keep your teeth in tip top shape, give us a call.

What’s the Deal with Decalcification?

September 23, 2015

Proper oral hygiene is a huge part of orthodontic treatment. Keeping up with brushing and flossing, following the rules for what foods to eat, and regular dental check-ups all play a big role in a healthy smile when the braces come off. Wearing braces can make it more challenging to keep up with your regular oral hygiene habits, but taking the extra time to make sure those chompers are clean is the best way to avoid problems with decalcification, an issue that can go hand-in-hand with braces if the proper care isn’t taken.

Tooth decalcification is an early stage of tooth decay in which teeth lose calcium. Decalcification occurs from a build-up of plaque on the surface of teeth from poor oral hygiene, and unfortunately braces can sometimes lead to this issue since it’s difficult to clean the surface of teeth beneath brackets. Decalcification causes white spots to appear on the teeth from acidic bacteria that damages enamel and wears down calcium, and though it can typically be reversed, it can lead to irreversible damage if not properly cared for.

Braces don’t have to be a hassle, as your Jacksonville orthodontist, we’re here to help you keep your teeth healthy throughout your entire treatment. If you’re concerned about damage to your teeth, give us a call, we’d be happy to talk with you about how to properly care for your braces and how to keep up great oral hygiene habits.

The Origins of Orthodontia

June 4, 2015

You know that braces straighten teeth, correct bites and help align the jaw but did you know that the science of orthodontia dates back to Hippocrates? That’s right there’s a history behind those brackets and wires. If you really want to appreciate your treatment plan, check out this – very – brief history of orthodontia.

Ancient Times — Aulus Corneilus Celsus recorded the first treatment of crooked teeth by, “finger pressure.” Remains of Ancient Romans have been found, teeth bound with gold wire. Some mummies have even been discovered with metal bands wrapped around their teeth. Historians believe they closed tooth gaps with a cord made of animal intestines.

18th Century – Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist, is credited with inventing orthodontia in his book, “The Surgeon Dentist.” His device was an iron arch called a, “Bandeau,” essentially an early palate expander. His successor, Louis Bourdet, perfected the, “Bandeau,” and began extracting teeth to assuage crowding.

19th Century – in 1819 Orthodontia became a science with the dawn of the wire crib. Several dentists began creating instruments that, in effect, laid the groundwork for modern braces. In 1843 gum elastics came on the scene and followed up by rubber bands in 1850. And, finally in 1880 a dentist named J.N. Farrar was the first orthodontist to suggest that using mild force over a period of time was the best way to correct crooked teeth.

20th Century – In 1901, the first school of orthodontics and the American Society of Orthodontia were founded. And, classification systems for the crookedness of teeth were put into place. The practice took off from there, and allowed for orthodontia to become a bon a fide science.

Today –Patients can choose from traditional, clear, and lingual braces. You don’t even need metal to straighten your smile or correct bite thanks to Invisalign. And, as technology advances the possibilities of orthodontics are limitless.

Orthodontia has sure come a long way from, “Finger pressure,” “Bandeaus” and animal intestines holding teeth together. It makes us all grateful we’ve got choices and Tylenol.





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