• 5 Tips When Choosing Dental Insurance for Orthodontic Treatment

    When choosing a dental insurance plan for yourself or your family, these tips will help you plan for current and future orthodontic treatment and help defray the out-of-pocket costs. Your family orthodontist may also offer discount plans and financing to help make sure your family is full of bright smiles.

    Let’s look at the best ways to make sure your dental insurance plan is providing the most value for your money:

    5 Tips for Choosing the Right Dental Insurance for Your Family

    dental plan benefits dentist medical healthcare concept

    There are many types of dental insurance with varying deductibles, premiums, and levels of coverage. By choosing insurance that covers orthodontia, you can manage costs in a more predictable way while providing the right treatment at the right time for growing children.

    As you compare plans:

    1. Determine the Types of Services You May Need

    The more family members you have, the more likely someone will need braces for their teeth or special services like implants. Sports enthusiasts may need mouth guards, seniors may need dentures or bridges, and everyone in your family needs preventative care to keep their mouths healthy.

    2. Identify Which Plans Are Available in Your Area

    Your employer will have options to offer in your specific area which may include:

    • Free choice insurance, which pays a specific amount no matter which provider you use. These plans allow you to choose your own doctor.
    • HMOs and PMOs usually have specific dentists and orthodontists from which you may need to choose from.
    • Dental or orthodontic discount plans might also be available directly from your favorite dentist or orthodontist.

    3. Find Out Which Plans Offer the Coverage Your Family Needs

    Dig deeper into the plans available to you, with an eye for coverage of the services you know your family might need. The types of dental coverage available usually include:

    • Preventative care. Also called routine care, this typically covers checkups, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and sealants. Root canals and routine gum care are sometimes covered.
    • Emergency care. This option provides some dental coverage for cracked or broken teeth, tooth extraction, accident injuries, and oral surgery.
    • Complex care. This is the category where you will find orthodontic treatment It also covers dentures for seniors and bridges, usually at about 50% of the cost. If your family is likely to need these services, getting half off for a slightly higher premium might mean great cost savings down the road.

    4. Find the Plan That Includes the Providers You Want

    We all have preferences when it comes to which dentist, doctor, or orthodontist we visit. If you and your family have a relationship for a fun orthodontic team like ours at Labbe Family Orthodontics, you want to make sure that your chosen dental insurance plan will work with our office in payment of claims.

    To access your preferred orthodontic specialists, check with your HR representative to see which plan would cover their services. Ask your orthodontist which insurance companies they work with already for a smooth transition.

    5. Compare the Real Costs of Each Plan

    patients consulting the dentist at dental clinic

    Insurance policies can be confusing, so it is helpful to figure out what your annual family cost would be with each option. Consider these factors as you tally up the numbers:

    • Monthly premium
    • Deductible
    • Maximum annual limit (by individual or family or both)
    • Waiting periods before coverage begins

    Providing Affordable Smiles with Friendly Faces

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we work with the widest range of insurance options available in the Maryland region, and we offer flexible financing and payments. When you make the choice to add orthodontic coverage to your dental insurance plan, don’t just search for an “orthodontist near me.” Make sure we are on the list of approved providers to keep your kids smiling without worrying about your budget!

  • Cleaning and Maintaining Your Teeth with Braces

    Wearing braces can be challenging, especially when trying to keep your teeth clean. Fortunately, once you know a few simple tips, you can keep your teeth looking healthy and neat until your braces come off.

    Brushing and flossing can be more difficult, but the main thing to remember is you need to clean the food out of your braces. That means you’ll need to take your time and be thorough. You’ll also want to remember to take the elastics and other removable parts off your teeth beforehand.

    In addition, you should also make sure to cut back on some foods while you’re wearing braces. Your teeth are more susceptible to cavities while wearing braces, so you shouldn’t eat a lot of sweets and other sugary foods. You’ll also want to avoid starchy foods and chewy foods since they can stick to your braces and cause cavities.

    The hardest part about cleaning and maintaining your teeth while wearing braces is developing these new habits, but, once you’ve practiced it for a few days, it will be second nature. To find out more about keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces, please read the following infographic.

    Cleaning and Maintaining Your Teeth with Braces Infographic

  • How to Care for Swollen Gums After Orthodontic Treatment

    Our gums are soft tissues which cradle and surround our teeth, providing nutrients and protection. When the gums become swollen after orthodontic treatment, this is usually a protective response of the immune system to irritation and pressure.

    Because gums also become swollen as a result of gingivitis or infection, it is important to understand how to treat your swollen gums and report any signs of trouble to your orthodontist. Protecting your oral health is always our first priority!

     

    young asian woman looking at her teeth in the mirror

    What Causes Swollen Gums?

    There are many reasons that your gums might become swollen, even if you do not have braces for your teeth. By changing habits, most of these common causes can be avoided:

    • Choosing the wrong toothbrush. Manual or electric, choose a brush with soft, rounded, nylon bristles. Avoid those labeled medium or hard, as these damage enamel and irritate the gums.
    • Brushing too hard. While brushing often is a great habit, your technique is important too. Use gentle motions in a circular pattern, which massages and cleans. Avoid aggressive back and forth or up and down patterns.
    • Flossing too fast. Especially if you have youth or adult invisible braces, flossing keeps food particles from being trapped between teeth and is essential to preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Be gentle in your flossing technique, working into tight spaces by following the curve of each tooth.
    • New orthodontic appliances. Braces and aligners used to straighten teeth put pressure on the gums as well. These soft tissues must adjust to allow the teeth to move and could be rubbed by a retainer, band, or aligner tray. They will adjust to these pressures but need time to do so.

     

    Spotting the Signs of Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

    It is worth mentioning that another cause of swollen gums is periodontal disease. Because you are visiting with your orthodontist on a regular basis for braces adjustment or Invisalign treatment, it is unlikely that you have serious gum disease. However, more than ¾ of Americans over 35 will deal with gum disease at some point.1

    Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and is caused by a minor bacterial infection. Gingivitis is often caused by trapped food particles, and it may cause swollen gums around the problem spot. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing will usually remove the irritant, allowing the gums to heal.

    joyful girl gesturing her beaming white healthy teeth

     

    Caring for Swollen Gums After Orthodontic Services

    There are many things you can do at home to reduce discomfort and soothe your irritated gums. Follow these tips for a fast return to normal:

    • Brushing frequently but gently with a soft toothbrush to remove bacteria and any trapped particles.
    • Flossing at least once a day or after every meal and clean under the gumline, removing particles, plaque, and bacteria that your toothbrush cannot reach.
    • Rinsing with a recommended mouthwash after flossing removes what your flossing and brushing have loosened. Medicated rinses actively kill bacteria and speed healing.
    • Cold liquids reduce swelling and an ice pack can work with over the counter pain-relievers to eliminate discomfort during an adjustment to new orthodontic devices.
    • Rinsing the mouth with a mild, warm saltwater solution can help speed healing of rubbing irritations and discourage bacterial growth.
    • Disinfecting toothbrushes and removable appliances with rinses or UV light can help keep your gums healthy and give you peace of mind about the cleanliness of your dental hygiene tools.

     

    Happy Healthy Smiles Start with Great Gums

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we want your whole mouth to be healthy, and pain-free gums are part of your happy smile. Contact our team of orthodontic specialists in Annapolis, Crofton/Gambrills, Bowie, or Greenbelt today to enhance your healthy gumline, improve your smile, and have fun while you visit with us.

    Source:

    1. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gum-problem-basics-sore-swollen-and-bleeding-gums#2-4

  • 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.

    Source:

    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.

    Curing

    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.