• Clean and Clear: Maintaining Oral Hygiene with Invisalign

    The popularity of adult clear braces continues to grow, and these amazing aligners allow easy removal for eating. Taking care of your teeth and practicing good oral hygiene during Invisalign treatment will give you beautiful results and a healthy smile.

    Let’s cover the orthodontist recommended cleaning procedures, daily habits to practice, and what you should carry with you to maintain good hygiene with Invisalign.

    beautiful smiling woman using a toothbrush

    How to Care for Your Invisalign Aligners

    As your clear braces work to straighten teeth, they must be very tight-fitting and will develop a film on both the inside and outside surfaces. They should be cleaned several times a day to prevent yellowing and odor.

    Here’s how to do the best job getting your aligners clean:

    • Brush the trays whenever you brush your teeth.
    • Wash them with clear antibacterial hand soap and rinse thoroughly as needed.
    • Always clean, or at least rinse, your aligners before storing them in the case.
    • Soak your aligners once daily in denture cleaner or Invisalign cleaning crystals.
    • Only replace your aligner onto freshly brushed and flossed teeth.

    Daily Habits for Maintaining Good Hygiene with Invisalign

    Your clear braces will fit right into your active lifestyle if you keep just a few things in mind:

    Stop wearing lip gloss or lipstick, which can adhere to the aligners and interfere with their grip on the teeth. Colored lip products can stain the aligners or be trapped against a tooth and cause discoloration. Clear lip balm can be used for dry or chapped lips.
    Brush and floss after eating meals and snacks or drinking anything other than water. This step is an essential part of using adult invisible braces, and you should plan on brushing much more often than you might have before. Food particles trapped between teeth and inside the aligner won’t be washed out by normal saliva and tongue movements.
    Avoid hot drinks that cause stains, such as coffee and black tea. The combination of heat and strong colors can stain your aligners over time, just as they stain teeth. By holding the liquid against your teeth, the tendency to stain is increased. If you do enjoy a coffee, remove your aligner, then clean your teeth before replacing it.
    Ask your Invisalign orthodontist about your unique hobbies, activities, and lifestyle. With the goal in mind of wearing your aligners at least 22 hours per day, making sure that you know how to care for your braces and the teeth inside them under any scenario will keep you involved in sports or travel without worries.

    couple brushing teeth in the bathroom together

    What Things Should You Carry to Take Care of Invisalign Aligners?

    You will find it much easier to keep up with your hygiene habits if you have the right tools handy when the time comes. Some of the best items to carry with you at school, work, or when traveling are:

    • Floss picks or small dental floss to remove food stuck between teeth
    • Orthodontic wax to cover any uncomfortable edges
    • Invisalign chewies, which help seat the tray properly and can relieve discomfort
    • Aligner retrieval tools, which can help remove and replace the aligner if you have difficulty doing it by hand or when a tray is new
    • Cleansing products, sprays, or towelette wipes, which will allow you to spray or wipe down the aligners when rinsing is not practical
    • A discreet zipper case or kit to keep these essential items handy at all times

    Finding Family-Friendly Orthodontic Treatment First

    Choosing clear braces for your teeth starts with finding an orthodontist and team that you trust. At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we bring you the latest braces and treatment options in a fun and pleasant place to be. Contact us to schedule a visit at one of our four locations and get clear answers to all your questions!

  • How Gaps Between Teeth Are Corrected

    Gaps between your teeth—also called diastemas—can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes they’re baby teeth trying to fill adult-sized gaps, sometimes the teeth can be pushed apart from an overbite or tongue movement, and sometimes the jaw is simply a little too big for all the teeth.

    Whatever the reason is, it’s important to know that having a diastema is incredibly common and, in almost all cases, no cause for alarm. The only problem that a gap might cause is in leaving the gum exposed to sharp foods like potato chips, or the annoyance of getting food stuck in there.

    With a gap-toothed look popularized by a number of models over the last few years, many people are realizing that you don’t need to have a perfectly full mouth to be beautiful—but, if you’re still not confident with your smile or you are concerned about the potential for gum damage, there are a few different ways we can fix that gap.

    Like to know how it works? Keep reading this infographic to find out more—and, remember, if you have any questions, you can visit us for a complimentary consultation session! Just call (443) 603-3448, and our friendly staff will help you book an appointment.

    How Gaps Between Teeth Are Corrected Infographic

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  • When Should You Start Considering Orthodontic Treatment?

    Each patient and smile is different, and children’s teeth go through many phases as they grow. Consulting with a pediatric orthodontist early on can help you plan for the future and take the right steps at exactly the right time to help your child grow into a healthy, beautiful smile.

    There are many great options when it comes to braces for kids. Let’s talk about how early to schedule the first orthodontist visit, what the initial visit will be like, and the options available for your children’s treatment.

    At What Age Should Your Child Visit the Orthodontist?

    The recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists is that children should have their first appointment at age seven. Certainly, if your dentist recommends a visit sooner or if you have specific concerns, you can visit a children’s orthodontist even earlier.

    litile boy show myofunctional trainer

    Why Is An Early Visit Important?

    Straightening teeth is a science of gentle pressure and guidance. By visiting early and building a relationship with an orthodontist, your child gains these advantages:

    • Identifying jaw growth issues and treating emerging teeth for the best possible results.
    • Preventing more serious problems and more complex treatment in adulthood with early intervention.
    • Having time to correct oral habits like night thumb sucking before they impact permanent teeth and jaw growth, reducing the need for realignment later.
    • Reducing the risk of injury if the front teeth protrude, as well as reducing teasing and enhancing confidence.
    • Improving developing speech and reducing lisps by helping the lips meet correctly.

    What to Expect at a Family Orthodontics Visit

    Your first visit to an orthodontist’s office will help you decide if this is the right place for your family. The closest orthodontist might be the most convenient, but the relationship that your family builds with the right team of specialists can last through generations!

    The purpose of a first appointment should be to meet your team of specialists and discuss your expectations and goals. The initial consultation procedure generally takes about one to two hours.

    • Supportive and friendly staff members will gather your family history and basic information.
    • Your orthodontist will perform a visual and gentle examination of the teeth and gums.
    • X-rays and photographs will be taken to identify hidden problems and document the starting point of treatment
    • Your orthodontist will explain any issues that might need treatment or may find that everything is great as it is.
    • You will get clear recommendations about what treatments might be beneficial and how soon they should start.
    • You will receive an estimate of treatment costs and get help understanding your insurance coverage.
    • If you wish, you might also discuss the payment plans and financing options available.

    little funny girl with retainer and toothbrush

    Moving Forward with a Family-Focused Team

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we will help you choose a treatment plan that is timely, gentle, and affordable because we know life is better with a smile! We offer traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners, almost invisible ceramic braces, and more.

    With a fun, family-focused environment, the best children’s orthodontist for your Maryland family is right here! At our conveniently located offices in Annapolis, Gambrills, Bowie, and Greenbelt, the smiles start with your first visit and last a lifetime. We would love to meet you and your children at any age, so contact us now for that important first appointment.

  • When the Aligners Arrive: Day 1 of Invisalign® Treatment

    The day you start your Invisalign® treatment is an exciting one. It marks the start of a step-by-step process toward an even greater smile, using one of the best invisible braces on the market. As with any change, it will take a little time to adjust, but you will soon be a pro at wearing, cleaning, and removing your new aligners.

    woman wearing orthodontic silicone trainer

    You may experience some minor pain and gum irritation on day one of wearing your clear aligners, but your mouth will soon become accustomed to them. The process of teeth straightening involves putting gentle but constant pressure on the teeth to be moved, so some soreness is possible when a new tray is used.

    What can you do to make your first few days with Invisalign® more comfortable?

    Use Dental Wax for Irritating Edges

    Dental wax may come from your orthodontist, and it can even be ordered online. This soft and safe substance is designed to cover wires and brackets for traditional braces, but it works well on any edge that feels sharp. Replace the wax daily, or as needed when you clean your aligner.

    Practice Chewing

    Eat soft foods or liquids if your teeth are sore from the guiding pressure of the aligner.

    Biting and chewing exercises improve circulation, massage the gums, and serve as a natural pain reliever. Using Styrofoam “chewies” from the aligner starter kit, you can do these exercises several times a day to ensure that your aligners are fully seated.

    Inserting and Removing Your Aligners

    You will be shown how to insert and remove the aligners, but, especially with a brand new and tight-fitting tray, it can be a little tricky until you get used to it.

    These tips may help as you learn how to handle your new Invisalign® treatment:

    Inserting an Invisalign® Aligner

    • Gently push the aligners over your front teeth.
    • Use your fingertips to push the back of the tray up on both sides.
    • Snap the aligner in place on both back molars at once.
    • Avoid “biting” the aligner into position.

    Removing an Invisalign® Aligner

    • Start with a fingertip on the inside of your back molars.
    • Gently pull the aligner away from your back teeth.
    • Slowly work forward with your fingers to free the tray from each tooth until it comes away easily.

    How Should I Care for My Aligner?

    You should follow these simple rules to care for your Invisalign®:

    • Remove the aligners to eat or to drink anything but water.
    • Brush your teeth and the aligner before putting it back in.
    • Wear your aligners 20-22 hours per day.

    woman putting invisalign aligner tray into her mouth

    What Other Things Will I Notice?

    You might notice that your speech is affected at first, making it difficult to say certain words or causing a slight lisp. This is normal and will disappear quickly with practice.

    A Clear Focus on Your Smile

    Finding the best orthodontist available helps make the process of improving your smile fun and easy. At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we treat you like one of our family. We bring happy faces to all ages with orthodontics focused on an enjoyable patient experience. Schedule an appointment today at one of our convenient locations in Annapolis, Bowie, Greenbelt or Crofton, MD.

  • Tips and Tricks to Manage Orthodontic Pain

    Most people will do anything to get out of going to their orthodontist. However, only rarely does a healthy, beautiful smile happen all on its own. More often than not, you need to help to give you that million-dollar look— which means you do have to visit the experts.

    Sadly, some discomfort can occur after an orthodontic appliance fitting and, to many people, especially children, this pain—or even the anticipation of that pain—will prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to having great teeth. It can cause them to skip appointments, to not wear their appliances at the right time, or to neglect their oral hygiene entirely, making orthodontic intervention less effective than it could be.

    That’s why pain management is so important to us at Labbe Family Orthodontics. We want you and your children to have the very best teeth you could have. We want our patients to be informed, so they know exactly what to expect before, during, and after procedures. We want you to look forward to visiting us.

    For some simple and effective ways to manage pain after an appliance fitting, read our infographic guide below. To put your smile in the hands of people who really care, call Labbe Family Orthodontics on (443) 603-3448 today.

    Tips and Tricks to Manage Orthodontic Pain Infographic

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  • Seeing Inside: How Custom Invisalign Aligners Are Made

    Invisalign braces are a series of customized plastic aligners that fit snugly on your teeth and slowly move them into alignment. For many patients, this clear and removable alternative to metal braces offers a more comfortable solution for orthodontic treatment.

    Invisalign and other brands of invisible braces improve patient confidence, have no wires to tighten or cause irritation, and can be removed for eating, drinking, or special moments. Brushing and flossing are easy, and the results can be amazing!

    woman wearing orthodontic silicone trainer

    How are these clear aligners made, and what is the process for getting Invisalign braces?

    How Are Custom Invisalign Aligners Manufactured?

    Align Technology manufactures Invisalign products. Introduced in the U.S. in 1999, these clear orthodontic aligners are manufactured using an advanced 3D printing process. The company’s manufacturing facility ships as many as 80,000 custom aligners per day.1

    How Is Your Individual Set of Invisalign Braces Created?

    Your own set of custom made clear orthodontic aligners is created as part of the treatment plan your orthodontist creates to help you achieve your best smile. You should always obtain your aligners from an orthodontic office by this process:

    1. A consultation and evaluation by an orthodontist to determine if Invisalign is a good option for your teeth straightening. Dentist offices and mail order services do not have the expertise to guide your orthodontic treatment.
    2. Gathering all the necessary scans and detailed information to plan the full treatment, including x-rays, photographs, and bite impressions. This information is shared with the Invisalign technicians.
    3. A 3-D rendering of your teeth is created, along with a computer model of how each tooth will shift to its desired position. Your orthodontist office will work with the technicians until the planned course of treatment is fully detailed.
    4. The full set of invisible aligners are manufactured by an advanced 3D printing process, and the set is shipped to your orthodontist’s office, usually in 3-4 weeks.
    5. When your aligners arrive at our office, you will be notified and come in to receive them, along with specific wearing instructions. The office will check that the first aligner fits properly and show you how to remove and care for them.
    6. Wear the aligners as your orthodontist directs, usually about two weeks for each one. Regular checkups will help ensure that your teeth are moving as expected and that there are no additional adjustments or refinements needed.
    7. You will need to wear a thicker retainer type of tray after treatment, especially at night to maintain that new straighter smile.

    young woman with braces dental checkup

    Be Clear About These Details of the Process

    These tips and pointers will help you have the right expectations about clear aligners:

    • They are a fast option for some patients. An adult with invisible braces should expect about 12 months of treatment time, with visible results in about 2-3 months.
    • Consistently wearing the aligner is crucial to good results. Teeth straightening requires almost constant, gentle pressure to move teeth effectively.
    • Brushing and flossing your teeth is easier than with metal braces but must be done each time the aligner is removed. The aligner itself also should be cleaned before it is put back in place on those nice, clean teeth.

    Get a Clear Picture of Your Future Smile

    When it comes to finding the right team for your orthodontic services, at Labbe Family Orthodontics we can show you that life is better with a smile! For more than 40 years, we have been bringing the best and brightest advancements to families in Maryland, and we can’t wait to meet you and yours. Schedule an appointment today to take advantage of all the latest treatments in a fun and family-friendly environment.


    1. https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works/how-custom-aligners-are-made

  • A Look into How Orthodontic Bonding Works

    Getting braces for your teeth is a popular way to correct many kinds of orthodontic problems. Metal brackets attached to each tooth are connected by wires with tension that straighten your teeth—but how does your orthodontist make sure those brackets stay on? It’s the interesting process of orthodontic bonding. Let’s take a closer look.

    Types of Bonding

    There are two main types of orthodontic bonding: direct and indirect. Direct bonding involves correctly attaching and positioning metal brackets right onto your teeth the first time. Indirect bonding is when the orthodontist first uses a plaster model of your teeth to position the brackets, and then transfers them to your actual teeth.

    closeup smile with clear braces

    Preparing the Teeth

    Braces can’t work unless your brackets stay where they are. To make sure that happens, the surface of your teeth have to be completely dry. This ensures that the bond between your tooth’s surface and the metal bracket will be strong enough to keep brackets where they are in the long-term. Cotton rolls, saliva ejectors, cheek retractors, and lip expanders are all tools that your orthodontist uses to keep teeth dry for the next stage.

    Next, the orthodontist will etch your teeth using an acidic etching agent. Etching will make your tooth’s enamel rough so that the bonding agent will have a better hold, but don’t worry—the roughening of the enamel is microscopic. Now that your teeth are prepared, it’s time to attach the brackets.

    Bonding Systems

    There are two types of bonding systems available to attach brackets to your teeth: no mix and two-paste mix.

    No Mix

    The no mix system consists of a liquid primer and paste. The primer is placed on the etched surface of the tooth and on the base of the bracket. The paste is then applied to the bracket base, and the bracket placed onto the tooth.

    Two-Paste Mix

    In the two-paste mix system, two bonding resin liquids are mixed and applied to etched tooth enamel, and two pastes are mixed and applied to the base of the metal bracket before placing it onto the tooth.


    Once the brackets are placed on your teeth with the one or two mix bonding systems, that bond has to be hardened or cured with a curing lamp. Your orthodontist will use either a halogen or an LED curing lamp, placing it as close as possible to your metal brackets. The higher the intensity of the light, the less time it will take to harden the bonding agent. After that, wires are placed between each bracket, and you’re good to go.

    litle girl with braces sitting in dentist chair

    Ready for Braces? We Can Help

    If a loved one or you are ready to get braces, Labbe Family Orthodontics offers affordable orthodontic treatment for all ages. No matter which of our locations in Maryland you choose, you’ll always be treated like family. Life is better with a smile; call us at (410) 267-7300 to schedule your consultation with one of our orthodontic specialists today.

  • Before Braces and Beyond: Types of Orthodontic Appliances

    Adults, children, and teenagers have a wide range of different types of orthodontic appliances they can use to give them a beautiful-looking smile. Determining which appliances are best for you will depend on your own individual orthodontic needs.

    After an initial consultation and assessment, a customized care and treatment plan will be created to address your specific concerns and help you achieve the desired results. Your options for orthodontic appliances could include one or more of the following:

    • Separators
    • Expanders
    • Space Maintainers
    • Herbst Appliance
    • Braces
    • Rubber Bands
    • Headgear
    • Tongue Spurs
    • Positioners
    • Retainers
    • Splints

    Each of these appliances will help your child or teenager obtain an outstanding smile while addressing any concerns you have about the development of their teeth. You can also achieve an award-winning smile by using many of the same orthodontic appliances.

    To learn more about the different types of orthodontic appliances and how they are used, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

    Afterward, if you have further questions or want to schedule a consultation appointment for yourself or your child, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics, where “Life is better with a smile.” We offer a fun, family-friendly experience in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

    Types of Orthodontic Appliances Infographic

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  • Navigating Orthodontic Wax: Dos and Don’ts

    During early orthodontic care when the new braces for your teeth are first applied, you may have some minor discomfort caused by the new appliances rubbing on the soft tissues of your mouth. Until you get used to your braces, there is no need to worry and frown. Life is better with a smile, and you can use orthodontic wax for immediate pain relief!

    Dental wax is available from orthodontic specialists and at pharmacies, and it is designed to cover sharp or rough edges that might be causing irritation. This substance is soft, non-toxic, and easy to use whenever you need it. If your braces are damaged or become suddenly more painful, reach out to our office for advice, but, for minor irritation and temporary relief, dental wax is a perfect solution.

    girl with braces in her teeth smiling

    What Is Orthodontic Wax?

    Dental or orthodontic wax is specially designed to relieve pain caused by orthodontic treatment. It creates a barrier which prevents further irritation and allows time for the mouth to heal. It is easy to apply and remove, and is inexpensive to purchase. All in all, it is one of the best treatment options for children and adults who are adjusting to their braces.

    What Is Dental Wax for Braces Made From?

    All formulations of orthodontic wax include natural, non-toxic waxes. Some may contain a percentage of carnauba or beeswax, or might have an added flavoring. Most contain paraffin and are tasteless. They are designed to be firm at room temperature and pliable at body temperature. Wax is completely safe if swallowed in small quantities.

    How to Apply Orthodontic Wax for Braces

    To protect your healthy teeth and gums, follow these steps to apply dental wax to your braces:

    • Begin by washing your hands and brushing your teeth where you will apply the wax.
    • Break off a piece of wax the size of a small pea and roll it between your fingers until it is pliable.
    • When the wax is a soft ball, flatten it slightly and press it over the point of irritation.
    • Remove it using your fingers or by brushing it off with a toothbrush.

    Dos and Don’ts When Using Orthodontic Wax

    For good oral health, it is important to continue with your recommended brushing and flossing routine while you are using dental wax on your braces. These dos and don’ts will help:

    Do: Replace the wax as needed.
    Don’t: Reuse the wax or keep a single piece in place for more than two days.

    Do: Eat soft foods and drink liquids with the wax in place.
    Don’t: Keep wax in place if food becomes stuck to it.

    Do: Keep the wax in place overnight.
    Don’t: Worry if you swallow it while sleeping or eating.

    Do: Contact your orthodontist if the pain persists or comes on suddenly.
    Don’t: Try to fix, bend, or repair wires or brackets by yourself.

    boy with braces in his teeth smiling

    Smoothing the Way to a Superb Smile

    Making your transition to a better smile smooth and pain-free is important to us at Labbe Family Orthodontics. While some discomfort is normal with early orthodontic care, these specialized dental waxes offer immediate relief until your mouth becomes accustomed to your new braces.

    At our family orthodontics practice, we truly treat you like one of our family. We do everything possible to make the process pleasant, enjoyable, and exciting. Smoothing the path to your perfect smile starts with a caring, compassionate team that is committed to your healthy and happy future. Give us a call today and let us make you feel comfortable!

  • From Overbite to Underbite – A Closer Look at Malocclusion

    Do you have a malocclusion? If it sounds scary, don’t be alarmed. All a malocclusion means is that your teeth are not properly aligned.

    How can you tell if you have a malocclusion? There are several signs, including biting your tongue and inner cheeks, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, or developing speech issues like a lisp.

    There’s no one single cause of a malocclusion. If you suspect you have one, the best thing to do is visit an orthodontist. He or she will take dental x-rays and determine whether or not you have a Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 malocclusion.

    If you do have a malocclusion, the orthodontist will determine the best treatment for you based on your age, medical history, and overall health, among other things. Braces are the most well-known treatment, but you could get your teeth capped or reshaped. Your orthodontist might even suggest surgery to reshape your jaw.

    A malocclusion can potentially cause several problems in your mouth, but it’s not hard for an orthodontist to diagnose and start treating one. For more information about malocclusions, read the following infographic

    A Closer Look at Malocclusion Infographic

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