Neal Smiles Orthodontics Blog Page

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Helpful Tips For Flossing Around Braces


FLOSSING IS CRUCIAL for dental health even when we don’t have braces, but it’s especially important when we do.

Not flossing can prolong orthodontic treatment by leading to unhealthy gums, which can actually grow over the brackets if they get bad enough. You could also end up with permanent white spots caused by enamel decalcification around your brackets, which will make getting your braces off far less exciting than it should have been.

Reaching Those Hard-To-Reach Spaces


As important as it is to floss around your braces, we know it’s tricky. Luckily for you, there are many braces-friendly options for interdental hygiene. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes–also called proxy brushes–are an excellent option if you have a hard time getting the floss around your braces, but it’s still a good idea to give your teeth some good traditional flossing. These little gadgets look like pipe cleaners for your teeth. They fit between and around brackets, scraping away any remnants of food and plaque as they go, and they can even fit between teeth!


Flossing when you have braces can be time consuming and difficult, especially if you haven’t had much practice. Threaders will save you a lot of trouble. Just loop the floss through the threader and poke the end of the threader up between two brackets. From there, flossing is easy! Just keep moving around to the rest of your teeth.

Platypus Flosser

Floss picks (those little fork-like sticks with floss strung across the end) have made flossing quick and easy for many people, but they don’t help if you have braces, because the ends are too broad to fit between brackets. Luckily, you can just use platypus flossers instead! These flossers are specifically tailored to braces. One of the plastic ends is very flat, and the handle also works as a proxy brush, so you get two braces-friendly floss tools in one!

Water Flossers

A water flosser may be the most attractive interdental cleaning option for anyone with braces, because all you have to do is point the spout between your teeth and let it blast the plaque away with massaging pulses of water.

A Good Orthodontic Outcome Is A Team Effort!

Our job is to move your teeth into place so that you can have a straight smile and a healthy bite, but it’s your job to keep your teeth clean during that process, which is just as important. Good oral hygiene will help you get your braces off on schedule and ensure that your teeth look great when the braces are gone!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Can I Play An Instrument With Braces?


GETTING BRACES CAN BE VERY EXCITING! The promise of a beautiful, straight and healthy smile at the end of orthodontic treatment is more than worth the minor aches and pains that go along with achieving it.
We understand, however, that you may have some more in-depth questions about undergoing treatment depending on your unique circumstances or lifestyle choices. This is especially true of people who play musical instruments such as the flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone or other brass and woodwind instruments. We hope to answer some of your questions today!

Play An Instrument? Here’s What To Expect

Overall, we can say that there is no reason getting braces should keep you from playing the musical instrument of your choice. There will, however, be an adjustment period when you get your braces on, as well as when you get them off.
The adjustment period will vary from person to person and will differ depending on the instrument you play. Woodwinds, especially those with reeds like the saxophone and clarinet, are generally easier to get used to playing with braces, while brass instruments, like the trumpet and french horn, prove to be more difficult.
There are two things that should help you as you get used to playing your instrument with your new braces: using orthodontic wax and adjusting your embouchure. Put orthodontic wax on each bracket to protect your lips while playing.
As for adjusting your embouchure, we’re no music experts! But from what we’ve been told by patients who have had braces and play instruments, loosening your embouchure–or the way you apply your mouth to the mouthpiece of your instrument–can help make sure there isn’t so much pressure. We recommend working closely with your music teachers during the initial adjustment period so you can adjust your embouchure as needed and be comfortable while playing. And who knows… this experience may even help you become a better musician!

Take Care Of Your New Braces

We know how well you take care of your musical instrument. You clean it frequently and treat it with care and respect so that you can perform your best come concert or recital time. The same care is necessary for your braces and your teeth!
Brush your teeth morning and night and after meals. Don’t forget to floss at least once a day and avoid eating hard foods or candies that could break a bracket. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions and you’ll end up with that gorgeous, straight smile you’ve been waiting for!
Watch the video below for more tips on keeping your braces clean

Let’s Discuss Your Options
We know getting braces can be difficult, and even more so if you play a woodwind or brass instrument! We also understand that every person is unique. Come into our office and we can discuss all of your options such as other types of braces, like invisible aligners, or ways that our other patients have learned to deal with traditional braces while playing an instrument. It is our goal to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible!

Your smile deserves the very best. Thank you for trusting our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user ACE Foundation used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Friday, February 3, 2017

February Is Children’s Dental (and Orthodontic) Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings. In honor of Children’s Dental (and Orthodontic) Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental and orthodontic health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.
  6. Schedule their FIRST orthodontic evaluation at the age of 7: To evaluate each child's growth and development to determine if early interceptive treatment is needed.


    Help Us Spread The Word!

    Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental and orthodontic health, don’t hesitate to ask us!
    The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.