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How to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth in Braces

blog-featured-image-sweet-tooth-with-bracesYou’re in between meals and craving something sweet, but you just started orthodontic treatment and know that many of your favorite foods should now be avoided. Is there anything sweet you can eat? The short answer is yes! Orthodontists Dr. John A. Gerling and Dr. Joseph Ryan are here to explain the truth about sugar and how to satisfy your sweet tooth without damaging your braces.

The Truth About Sugar

Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and is off-limits during orthodontic treatment to keep the teeth healthy and strong. Whether you’re in braces or not, it is important to note that candy made of lots of sugar should always be avoided, especially during orthodontic treatment. Failure to do so could mean more dental work after your braces come off.

There is a common misconception that the type of sugar that you consume makes a difference in the overall effect on the teeth. This idea is false – texture and concentration matter immensely. The stickier the candy the more minutes it sits on your teeth the more likely the teeth are to decay or decal off, causing permanent stains. If eating a high sugar content food, the faster they are cleaned off the teeth by saliva, water or a toothbrush, the less risk there is. Once braces are on, sugar has many places to hide and the longer it’s left to sit on the teeth and braces, the more damage it causes.Read More

Elastics for Braces, Explained.

blog-featured-image-elastics-for-bracesWhether you’ve had orthodontic treatment or not, you’ve seen people wearing elastics or rubber bands as part of the process. But do you know what they’re used for? To help give you a better idea of why rubber bands are used with metal or clear braces, we’ll explain what they are, why they’re used, and how to take care of them during treatment.

What are Rubber Bands?

In short, rubber bands are used to help move your teeth along the archwire to aid in tooth movement for your particular treatment plan. There are many different ways to wear rubber bands and how long you wear them is determined by your orthodontist. Dr. John A. Gerling and Dr. Joseph Ryan of the McAllen Orthodontic Group will instruct you on exactly how to wear your rubber bands and when and how often to change them based on your personalized treatment plan. Since your rubber bands lose their elasticity with use, patients are normally instructed to replace them at least once a day, especially after eating and brushing.Read More

How to Keep Your Invisalign Aligners Clean

blog-feature-image-Keeping-Invisalign-Aligners-CleanYou’ve gotten your clear aligners and it’s time to begin your journey to a healthier, straight smile with Invisalign. Just as your oral hygiene routine would change with braces, you will need to adopt a new routine with Invisalign. This includes stocking up on a few more hygiene products and supplies to maintain your new lifestyle. To make things easier, we’ve listed all the things you’ll need to keep your Invisalign clear aligners clean.

Get Another Toothbrush

Dr. John A. Gerling DDS MSD and Dr. Joseph Ryan at McAllen Orthodontic Group recommend that you have two toothbrushes: one for your teeth and one for your Invisalign clear aligners. This is due to the fact that your Invisalign aligners do not need the same tough bristles used to scrub teeth clean. A softer bristled toothbrush is all you will need to clean the aligners as to not damage them. Having two different toothbrushes also reduces the risk of staining the aligners with leftover food particles from brushing your teeth. Read More

Wisdom Teeth After Braces, Explained

blog-featured-image-wisdom-teeth-after-bracesYou’ve been patiently waiting for your orthodontic treatment to come to an end and your braces to come off. You followed all the oral hygiene instructions during and after treatment, but now your wisdom teeth are starting to come in. Will they ruin your new smile?

At McAllen Orthodontic Group, we get this question a lot and rightfully so. With the typical timeline for orthodontic treatment being between about 18 and 36 months, we understand that it would be very disappointing for all that hard work to go to waste. In some very rare cases, the eruption of wisdom teeth can shift the teeth and ruin past orthodontic treatment, but again, this is rare. This is why it is important to maintain a relationship with an orthodontist, like Dr. John A. Gerling or Dr. Joseph Ryan, even after treatment has ended. Once your wisdom teeth do come in, it can be determined if they need to be removed or not. Read More

What to Expect in Your First Week With Braces

girl smiling in bracesYou’re getting your braces put on for the first time and you’re not sure what to expect. One thing is for sure; your oral hygiene practices will definitely change. To help prepare you for what’s in store and make the most of your orthodontic treatment, we at McAllen Orthodontic Group explain what you can expect from your first week in braces:

Placement Day

On the day your braces are put on, the process should be relatively painless. In the hours following placement, you may notice that it will take you longer than usual to finish meals as you get used to wearing and chewing with braces. Stick to softer foods (like soups, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, shakes, etc.) for the first few days while your teeth and mouth adjust. You may also experience slight discomfort or soreness as the teeth begin to move.Read More

Do Your Gums Bleed When Flossing?

woman holding side of faceIt’s the start of a new day and you’re going through the motions of your morning routine. As you begin flossing, you notice your gums start to bleed in some areas. Is this normal?

While bleeding gums from flossing does not mean your mouth isn’t clean, it can be a sign that you aren’t flossing enough. According to Colgate, “It’s fairly common for gums to bleed when you first begin flossing between teeth, and as long as the bleeding stops quickly, it’s not usually considered a problem.” In other words, continue to floss daily and the bleeding should stop over time.

Causes of Bleeding Gums

Several factors can cause gums to bleed. To help narrow down why you may be experiencing bleeding gums, consider the following reasons:Read More