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foods to avoid with braces

Braces Care 101: The Top Foods to Avoid with Braces

Is someone in your family joining the 4 million people in the U.S. who have braces? If so, you probably have plenty of questions, including which foods to avoid with braces.

You’ll get a lot of information on braces at your first orthodontist visit, including information on what not to eat. But understanding why those foods are off-limits is also important.

It can help keep things in perspective and make it easier to avoid them. You don’t want to damage the braces or slow down the process of correcting the teeth.

Keep the following list of foods to avoid with braces handy to help you pick the best meals and snacks for your braces-wearing family member.

Why There Are Foods to Avoid With Braces

Food restrictions while wearing braces help protect the braces themselves and the teeth. Many of the foods you can’t eat with braces can cause damage to the brackets, wires, and bands that help properly align the teeth.

At best, that damage requires a trip to the orthodontist for repairs, which wastes time and potentially money. If you don’t repair the loose or broken braces immediately, it could slow down the treatment or make it less effective. When the brackets aren’t attached properly to the teeth, they can’t move them the way they’re designed to work.

Other foods are uncomfortable to eat with braces, especially when the braces are new or after an adjustment. Kids may have pain associated with braces at those times, and the wrong types of food can make the pain worse.

Some things you can’t eat with braces are on the list because of the potential of getting stuck in the braces. It can be difficult to remove food when it gets jammed into the braces. If you don’t get it all out, it stays against the teeth, where it can cause decay.

Sugary Foods

Limiting sugary foods is a healthy move for everyone. It improves your overall health and your teeth. Bacteria feed on sugars and can lead to tooth decay.

Cut down on the amount of sugar-filled foods you eat while wearing braces. Don’t forget about sugary drinks, such as soda and juice, which can be just as damaging.

You can have some sugary foods, as long as they’re not hard and sticky. Just limit the consumption to keep your teeth as healthy as possible. Always brush your teeth well after eating sugary foods to remove the sugars right away.

Crunchy and Hard Foods

Anything with a hard, crunchy texture is potentially damaging to braces. This includes things like popcorn, hard chips, nuts, raw vegetables, hard candies, and hard cookies. Those foods can also hurt to chew with braces on the teeth.

That’s especially true right after you get braces or after you get them adjusted. Soft foods feel better at those times.

Crunchy and hard foods can loosen the brackets and bands on braces. They can also bend the wires.

Another problem with these types of foods is pieces getting stuck in the braces. That can be painful, and the pieces can be difficult to remove. If the pieces remain in the braces long term, they can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Look for alternatives to these items. Soft, puffed popcorn without hulls can satisfy a salty snack craving. Cooking vegetables to soften them makes them safer to eat.

Chewy Foods

Braces make it more difficult to gnaw on chewy foods, such as beef jerky, hard bread, chewy rolls, and bagels. Even thick pizza crust can be a little too chewy for braces. Trying to eat those chewy foods can also loosen the parts on the braces, which can force an unexpected trip to the orthodontist or make the braces less effective.

Food You Bite Into With Front Teeth

Does your braces-wearing family member love chicken wings and corn on the cob? Before serving up those favorites, consider how they affect braces.

Any food that requires you to bite into it with your front teeth can potentially cause damage to braces. It can cause the brackets on those teeth to come loose, or it could bend the wires. It’s also more challenging to bite into those foods with braces on the front teeth.

Instead of leaving those items off the menu, cut them up to eat them with a fork. You can cut meat such as chicken wings and ribs off the bone and cut corn off of the cob. Cut up whole apples, pears, and similar foods into pieces instead of biting directly into them.

Sticky Foods

Sticky foods aren’t great for teeth in general, but they’re especially bad for braces because of the potential for damage. Sticky pieces can also get stuck in the braces. If left there, they can increase the chances of decay.

Skip anything that’s overly sticky. Common food items in that category include taffy, caramels, gummy candy, licorice, and fruit roll-up snacks.

Chewing gum is another sticky item to avoid. It can get stuck in the braces, and it’s difficult to remove if that happens. Sugary gum adds the increased potential for decay.

Foods That Stain

Some foods and drinks have intense color and lead to stains on braces, especially the bands. Berries, beets, grape juice, and similar food items can cause stains. Acidic drinks can also cause stains on your braces.

The stains don’t hurt the effectiveness of the braces. But they can leave the mouth looking stained and less attractive.

Non-Food Items

Your child knows not to eat non-food items, but even chewing on them can cause damage to braces. If your child chews on fingernails, pens, pencils, or any other non-food item, work on breaking the habit to protect teeth and braces. Even chewing on ice cubes is a dangerous habit with braces.

Protect Your Braces

In no time, the foods to avoid with braces will become second nature to your family and you won’t have to refer to the list all the time. Think about the potential for damage to the braces and your teeth, and you can usually decide if something is safe to eat with braces.

Is your child ready for braces? Check out more information on orthodontic braces at our office. Then, give us a call to schedule your appointment.

invisalign trays

The Dos & Don’ts of How to Clean Invisalign Trays

If you’re using Invisalign, it’s important to properly clean your aligners every day to deliver the best possible results while also keeping your mouth healthy.

How Often Should I Clean My Invisalign Trays?

It is important to clean your Invisalign trays every time you brush your teeth. It only takes a few minutes to keep your aligners clean by using the following methods:

  • Soaking aligners in denture or retainer cleaning solution
  • Lightly brushing with toothpaste
  • Soaking in Invisalign brand cleaning crystals

How Do I Get Stains Out of Invisalign Trays?

At times your Invisalign aligners may have stains. This occurs if you drink a lot of coffee or tea or if you don’t clean them properly every day. If your aligners need to be cleaned thoroughly due to stains, try the following methods:

  • Fill a small bowl with half warm water and half hydrogen peroxide. Soak your Invisalign for a couple of hours or overnight if they’re “cloudy” to make them clear again
  • Lightly brush the trays with a toothbrush dipped in baking soda to remove stains and any buildup
  • Soak your trays in a half water/vinegar solution for about 30 minutes

Can I Use My Invisalign for Teeth Whitening?

Ask your dentist if you can add over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions to your Invisalign trays. Although it may not harm the aligners, teeth whitening solutions can make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods/beverages.

Can I Change My Invisalign Trays Early?

As you progress through your Invisalign treatment plan, your orthodontist will advise you during your regular checkups on how long you should wear your trays before moving on to the next set. The average time to wear a set of aligners is about two weeks. If you lose or break your aligners, call your orthodontist immediately to find out what to do. Your dentist may advise you to go to the next set or to use the previous set of aligners for a few days.

Can I Use Toothpaste to Clean My Invisalign?

Your orthodontist might suggest you soak your Invisalign in denture or retainer cleaner rather than use toothpaste. Some orthodontists advise that toothpaste is too abrasive and will scratch your aligners. However, some dentists recommend lightly brushing your aligners with toothpaste and rinsing well with cold water.

Why Do My Invisalign Turn Yellow?

Your Invisalign aligners may turn yellow due to:

  • Not brushing your teeth before putting your aligners in your mouth
  • Drinking coffee, tea, juice, wine, or colored sodas

If you can’t brush after each meal, rinse your mouth well before inserting your aligners to avoid yellowing of your trays.

Can I Use Mouthwash While Wearing Invisalign?

Mouthwashes may contain harsh ingredients that can damage your aligners. Also, many types of mouthwash contain artificial colors that will stain your normally clear trays.

For more information about Invisalign and the proper way to clean your trays, contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics in Richardson and Dallas, Texas. We provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment options to ensure that all your needs are met. Call today at 972-680-9882.

retainer for teeth

How Long Do I Have to Wear a Retainer?

What is a Retainer?

A retainer is a custom-made, removable or fixed appliance that helps teeth maintain their new position after braces have been removed.

What is a Retainer Used For?

A retainer is typically a removable device. Once you’ve had your braces removed, you will wear a retainer to gently hold your teeth in their position. It is essential to wear a retainer consistently since teeth will naturally attempt to shift back over time.

Unlike braces, a retainer does not always need to be worn constantly. Most patients will see the results they desire by wearing their retainer at night and between meals.

How Long Do You Wear a Retainer?

Majority of patients will wear a retainer for at least one full year.

In general, the more severe orthodontic correction, the longer you will need to wear a retainer. To determine exactly how long the retainer must be used, it is important to schedule follow up visits with your orthodontic specialist.

After a certain period of time, most patients switch to the use of a removable retainer. They will be advised to go on using the retainer indefinitely during the night. This is crucial for long-lasting results, since teeth shift naturally throughout a person’s entire life.

In general, a patient who discontinues the use of a retainer will not notice a change right away. Over the course of a few years, however, teeth will be much more likely to move closer to their original position. In some cases, this can damage or loosen them.

What Are the Different Types of Retainers?

There are three main types of retainers your orthodontist will choose from:

Bonded

Bonded retainers are put into place for a very long period of time. While it is not uncommon to wear them for years, some patients may require them for decades. Most of them are cemented to the back of teeth, which minimizes the change in aesthetic appearance from using them.

Removable

Removable retainers serve as a transitional step for many people who finish with their bonded retainers. The removable retainer is designed to adhere to the shape of your mouth.

Invisible

This type of retainer is made from clear plastic, which makes them the most discreet of the available options.

If orthodontic concerns are very minor, an active retainer may be used instead of braces. The active retainer is not designed to exactly adhere to the shape of your teeth. Instead, its structure allows your teeth to incrementally move to a more favorable position.

How Do You Care for a Retainer?

Once you begin wearing a retainer, maintain your daily regimen of brushing and flossing. See your dentist on a regular basis to check for cavities and ensure the area around the retainer stays clean.

For more information about retainers and which type of retainer would be best for your needs, contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics in Richardson and Dallas, Texas. We provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment options to ensure that all your needs are met. Call today for a consultation at 972-680-9882.

dentist vs orthodontist

Dentist vs. an Orthodontist: What the Differences Are

Both dentists and orthodontists dedicate their time to providing dental care, but there are differences. You can make better decisions by being aware of these key differences.

General Dentists

A general dentist diagnoses, treats, and manages overall dental health by providing a wide range of oral health services, such as check-ups, dental cleanings, X-rays, extractions, root canals, veneers, crowns, and fillings.

Dentists are not trained in braces or clear aligners, so most dentists refer anyone needing orthodontic treatment to an orthodontic specialist.

Orthodontist (Orthodontic Specialist)

An orthodontist specializes in realigning teeth and correcting overbites and underbites.
Orthodontists use corrective appliances to do so, such as Invisalign or other clear aligners, wires, braces, retainers, and other corrective appliances.

When Would You Need a Dentist or an Orthodontist?

Dentist

The better you take care of your teeth, the healthier you’ll be and you’ll also maintain a great smile. Regular visits to a dentist are essential to accomplishing these goals. Regular visits to your dentists help you keep your natural teeth longer by preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Orthodontist

You’ll need an orthodontist when you have crowded, missing, or extra teeth. You’ll also need an orthodontist if your jaw is misaligned, resulting in a bad bite. Your orthodontist will straighten your teeth by moving them using corrective appliances or retainers. Children and adults can see an orthodontist to improve their teeth’s appearance and bite.

Just like your family doctor works with medical specialists when needed, your general dentist works with orthodontists. Both dentists and orthodontists play a significant role in keeping your teeth healthy and attractive.

If you’re interested in learning more about orthodontic treatment for you or your child, contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics in Richardson and Dallas, TX. Dr. Crosby provides compassionate and comprehensive orthodontic evaluations and treatment options to ensure that all your child’s needs are met for a healthy and beautiful smile.

Dr. Crosby’s professional team works with you every step of the way, beginning with a complimentary consultation. To schedule your orthodontic consultation, give us a call today at 972-680-9882 or fill out the form on this page anytime.

woman holding invisalign retainer

Best Invisalign Provider in Texas

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an alternative to metal braces. Invisalign involves wearing a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that help shift your teeth into the proper position. While Invisalign isn’t totally invisible, it’s a transparent, functional and aesthetic option that realigns the teeth without the obvious appearance of conventional braces.

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?

Clear aligners have many benefits including:

  • Better Oral Hygiene: Conventional braces can’t be removed for teeth cleaning every day, but Invisalign aligners can. Better oral hygiene means fewer cavities and gum disease in the future. Once your teeth are straightened, you can easily get in between each tooth to floss and get rid of plaque and bacteria.
  • Speed: In many cases, Invisalign can be faster than conventional braces since they can straighten teeth as fast as a year.
  • Comfort: Since there are no wires or sharp corners that conventional braces have, Invisalign can be more comfortable.
  • Time: With Invisalign, you are able to make fewer orthodontic visits compared to conventional braces.
  • Teen Option: Invisalign Teen is an alternative treatment option for teenagers who want a subtle choice that effectively corrects cosmetic dental problems.

Both general dentists and orthodontists can prescribe Invisalign, but an orthodontist is a specialist with the training and experience in moving and adjusting teeth.

Services Dr. Doug Crosby Provides

Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics is a top go-to, Invisalign provider in Dallas, Texas and its surrounding areas.

We are a full-service orthodontics practice. Our additional treatment options include:

  • Two-phase treatment to address the unique needs of children
  • OrthoPulse – light accelerated orthodontics
  • Orthodontic surgeries
  • Early orthodontic treatments
  • Adult orthodontic treatments

It’s our goal to help you find the best treatment option for you or your child that brings out the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible. We give our patients the highest level of quality service through the delivery of excellent Orthodontic care.

If you want to learn more about Invisalign, contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics in Richardson and Dallas, Texas. We provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment options to ensure that all your needs are met. Our practice works with you every step of the way. To schedule your Invisalign consultation, give us a call at 972-680-9882 or fill out the form on this page anytime.

boy being examined by the dentist

What Happens During The First Orthodontist Visit

Orthodontists check for problems with jaw alignment and other issues that can require the use of braces or other appliances. When you or your kids need to see an orthodontist, you might be wondering what to expect at the first visit. Whether you have a visit coming up or need to make an appointment, keep the following in mind.

Staff Introductions

During your first visit, you’ll get to meet your orthodontist and staff members. Knowing who will be helping you can help ease any nervousness you have about your visit. If you are bringing your child in for an initial visit, you can talk to the orthodontist about any concerns you have and find out whether or not you will be allowed to stay in the room or stay in the waiting area during the examination.

Clinical Examination

Orthodontic visits typically begin with an examination to determine if there are any problems or issues that need orthodontic care. For example, you might have a problem with the way your jaw is aligned. Your orthodontist will physically examine your teeth and jaw. X-rays are also taken in order to provide orthodontists with more details on jaw development or alignment. After examining your teeth and jaw, your orthodontist will let you know if any problems have been found and what your treatment options are.

Teeth Impressions & Treatment

If your teeth or jaw show signs of misalignment or similar problems, your orthodontist will take tooth impressions. Your orthodontist uses these impressions to come up with the right treatment, such as braces or expanders. While going over your treatment plan, your orthodontist will provide you with detailed information on what to expect, how long you might need treatment for and what the estimated costs will be. You should also find out how often you will need to come in for visits while undergoing treatment. For example, you might need to come in from time to time for adjustments to braces. You’ll also meet with staff to discuss payment options and your insurance coverage.

Next Steps

If you need orthodontic treatment, you’ll typically end your first visit by setting up your next appointment. Keep in mind that you will need to see your orthodontists regularly throughout treatment. These visits are an important part of ensuring that your orthodontic treatment is working properly.

If you need to schedule an orthodontic evaluation, please contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics today.