The American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents take their children to their local orthodontist for an initial assessment and visit by age seven.1 As a parent, you may be wondering why such a young age, and you would not be alone. You, yourself, may not have seen your orthodontist until you were a teenager.
Over the years, as technologies, treatments, and other advances in orthodontic care have developed, so, too, have the recommendations for checkups. By age seven, most children have started losing their baby teeth and have a good set of their adult teeth. In addition, your youngster should have developed his or her first set of molars.
Bringing your child in for an initial visit at this age allows the orthodontist to check several different vital areas of dental development, including:
- How the jaw bone is growing and developing.
- Whether there could be problems with the overcrowding of teeth.
- The bite of the teeth and whether there is a significant under-bite or over-bite.
- Whether there are any impacted or potentially missing teeth.
Another goal of this visit is to help get your children comfortable to the orthodontic office by introducing them to the staff, showing them different ways to improve their dental habits, and other such things to put them at ease.
At What Age Should Orthodontic Treatment Begin?
Most orthodontists want to wait until your children are a little older before starting their orthodontic treatments. However, if potential problems are evident during their initial visit at age seven, recommendations may be made on various treatments that can help guide the development of their teeth and avoid lengthy treatments later on.
Depending on how fast your children are developing molars and adult teeth, some form of treatment could begin as early as age eight, like with a removable orthodontic appliance, although, on average, most children do not get their braces or start Invisalign treatment until they are between eleven and fourteen.
Another factor that will determine what age is best to start treatment is the extent of their orthodontic problems. If they have crooked teeth, teeth with big gaps, or adult teeth growing at unusual angles out of the gums, then it can be better to begin treatment sooner instead of waiting until they are older, especially if they are overtly conscious about the look of their smile or are being picked on or teased by their peers.
What’s Next After the Initial Orthodontic Visit?
After the initial visit, your child’s orthodontist will make a recommendation when your child should return for a follow-up visit. If there are no pressing issues or problems, then the follow-up visit could be a year or two later. However, if there are concerns, bi-annual checkups could be beneficial so potential issues can be identified and addressed before they become major issues.
For further questions about orthodontics or to schedule an initial assessment for your child, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics at (443) 603-3448 today! We are known as the “FUN” orthodontist because we strive to make your visits relaxing, enjoyable, and memorable.
Getting the smile you deserve is possible with Invisalign if you have gaps in between teeth or crooked teeth. There are several things you need to do to determine whether Invisalign is right for you ahead of time. The best place to start is with a smile assessment at one of our family orthodontic office locations in Maryland.
Before Treatment Processes
During your smile assessment, your orthodontist will discuss your objectives. At this visit, a treatment plan will be created to fit your needs. It will outline an approximate timeframe to achieve your goals.
You will also have an impression of your teeth taken, either using conventional methods or using newer digital technologies. The impression will be used to create your custom aligners you will wear throughout your Invisalign treatment.
During Treatment Procedures
Once you start your Invisalign treatment, it is essential you follow your orthodontist’s recommendations and requirements for a successful outcome. Part of these requirements will include:
- Wearing your aligners around the clock with some exceptions, like when you eat, drink, or snack.
- Brushing and flossing your teeth after eating or drinking and before putting the aligners back in your mouth.
- Switching to a new set of aligners every two weeks during treatment.
- Remembering to save your old set of aligners in case of an accident.
- Remembering to clean your aligners using the appropriate methods, which your orthodontist will show you how to do.
- Not skipping any follow-up appointments during your treatment. These appointments help ensure your treatment is progressing correctly.
- Notifying your orthodontist if your current set of aligners gets damaged, lost, or broken.
- Not drinking alcohol or smoking while the aligners are in your mouth.
After Treatment Processes
Once you achieve the desired straightness level, there are some after-care processes you will want to follow to avoid your teeth regressing. You should visit your orthodontist as recommended to verify the teeth have remained in their proper positions.
In addition, your orthodontist will prescribe a retainer for you to wear to help keep your teeth in the desired location. The retainer may have to be worn for around the clock the first few months, just like your aligners. Later, you will only need to wear the retainer in the evening and while you sleep.
It is important to keep in mind that retainers will wear out and need to be replaced periodically. If you stop wearing your retainer, your teeth could slowly start to regress and move. As such, most people make wearing a retainer a part of their normal oral home care to maintain the beautiful smile they just worked so hard to achieve.
To learn more about Invisalign and to find out whether this treatment is right for you, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics at (443) 603-3448 today!
We treat our current and new patients like family and go above and beyond to make sure your visits are fun, relaxing, and memorable. We also offer a wide array of amenities to help pass the time, like free Wi-Fi, game rooms, coffee bar and refreshment area, photo booth props, patient rewards, and more!
Many people across the country visit their local orthodontist complaining of jaw pain, stiffness, and trouble opening their mouths. Here at our Maryland family orthodontic practice , we see it all the time. People often refer to it as “TMJ.”
In reality, it’s not one problem, but many different conditions. Collectively called temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJD), or simply temporomandibular disorders (TMD), these afflictions of the jaw and face can range from mildly annoying to seriously disruptive.
But What Is It?
The temporomandibular joints connect your lower jaw (the mandible) to the bone that’s located at the side of your head (the temporal bone). Together with your muscles, ligaments, and discs they help you open and close your mouth. Every time you speak, eat, or yawn, you’re using the TM joints.
TMJD or TMD occurs when the joints or surrounding structures fail to work properly. The result can range from jaw or facial pain to a “catching” or popping feeling, to limited range of motion and even locking of the jaw.
Who’s at Risk?
The National Institute of Health reports that between five and 10 percent of the population suffers from temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder. All told, the condition may affect up to 10 million Americans .
That being said, it doesn’t affect the population equally. According to the available statistics, women are more likely (up to two times more likely) to suffer from TMD than men. It’s also more common among younger people (those between the ages of 20 and 40).
What Causes TMD or TMJ?
As of yet, no one knows what causes jaw pain and dysfunction. Any number of underlying conditions may be responsible. These include:
- Displaced discs
- Dislocated jaw
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Stress that leads to muscle tightness
- Injury to the jaw, head, or neck
Although many people believe braces contribute to TMD, that’s most likely a myth. The truth is that no one knows the root cause. Since women tend to experience jaw and facial pain at a higher rate than men, researchers have even suggested that hormones might play a role.
What Are the Symptoms?
TMJ often causes:
- Pain or discomfort in the face, jaw, and/or neck
- Stiffness in the muscles of the jaw
- Locking of the jaws
- Limited motion in the jaw
- Painful popping or clicking when opening the mouth
- Bite misalignments
- Painful or difficult chewing
- Facial swelling
- Headaches, neck aches, or toothaches
- Earaches or hearing loss
How Do You Know if You Have TMD?
Your orthodontist will examine your TM joints and ask you if you’re experiencing any pain or tenderness in the area. Then he’ll test your jaw to see the range of motion and to listen for any locking or popping noises. Finally, your bite will be examined. In some cases, the orthodontist may order panoramic x-rays in order to uncover the root of the problem.
What Treatments Are Recommended?
In many cases, the problem disappears on its own after a short period of time. Others experience persistent pain and difficulty. Unfortunately, the temporomandibular joints are the most complicated joints in your body. They both hinge and slide. In addition, they’re made up of unique tissues. Combine that with the unknown origin of TMJ, and deciding on a course of treatment can be difficult.
To prevent any further damage, most doctors opt for a conservative approach. They often advise people to:
- Eat soft foods
- Apply ice packs
- Reduce stress
- Avoid large jaw movements
- Practice jaw exercises
Where Should You Go for Diagnosis and Treatment?
Whenever you’re dealing with a condition like TMJ, you should seek out the best orthodontist in your area. If you live in Maryland, be sure to visit Labbe Family Orthodontics . With offices in Annapolis, Crofton/Gambrills, Bowie, and Greenbelt, it’s easy to find an orthodontist near you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment, because life is better with a pain-free smile!
Have you ever thought about how smiling has a direct impact on your moods and those around you? Most people do not even realize that when they smile they are also exercising their facial muscles. Not to mention, smiling people seem more happy, relaxed, and approachable, compared to people with frowns on their faces!
In addition, there are many different types of smiles a person can use, depending on the situation and setting. For instance, when you are shopping, you might smile at the person near you, indicating a polite smile. On the other hand, your kids may do something embarrassing, so then you could elicit an embarrassed smile, along with slightly flushed red cheeks.
Here at Labbe Family Orthodontics, we believe life is better with a smile. To show you just how much this is true, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic which has 15 fascinating facts about smiling. Afterward, if you are in need of a smile makeover, do not hesitate to contact us directly to discover how our orthodontic services can give you the smile you deserve!Click below to embed this infographic into your website:
Dental health is key to a child’s wellbeing. From basic hygiene to kid’s orthodontic care , what they learn now will set them up for a lifetime of bright smiles, but how do you teach your children good oral habits without boring them?
Fortunately, kids love to learn new things, as long as they can have fun along the way. With that in mind, here are a few dental health activities for elementary students that make brushing and flossing an enjoyable affair.
The Family that Brushes Together, Smiles Together
If there’s one ironclad rule of parenting, it’s that kids pay more attention to what you do than what you say. That’s only natural since children learn by mimicking others. Take advantage of this natural curiosity by including your children in your daily brushing and flossing routine. Once or twice a week, prop them on a stool and show them how you take care of your pearly whites. They’ll learn something new while spending quality time with the ones they love!
Ready, Set, Go!
How long does it take to brush? According to the American Dental Association, you should be brushing for at least two minutes. Keeping track of time can be a dull affair unless you spice it up with some fun activities.
If you have more than one trainee in the house, hold a timed competition. Whoever stops brushing before two minutes is up forfeits the game. You can also get a colorful sand timer so the kids can have fun watching the minutes pass on their own.
Gold Stars for White Teeth
If you want to reinforce healthy habits, then reward good behavior. Grab a large wall calendar or make one yourself out of poster board. Give your kids a gold star every time they brush their teeth. Getting star points will get them excited about good hygiene. Consider giving a real reward at the end of the month if they collect enough gold stars.
Separate the Sad Foods from the Happy Foods
The foods we eat also affect the health of our teeth, gums, and mouth. Organize fun activities that help your children understand the difference between healthy foods and junk foods. For starters, try this simple food game, which is both fun and educational:
- Take two paper bags.
- Draw a “happy tooth” on one, and a “sad tooth” on the other.
- Now find some colorful food stickers, or grab food magazines and cut out pictures.
- Have your kids place mouth-friendly foods (vegetables, milk, fruits) into the “happy tooth” bag and not-so-friendly foods (sodas, candy, sticky foods) into the “sad tooth” bag.
Paint It White
If you’re the crafty type, then you’ll love this exercise, which will teach your kids the purpose of brushing:
- Draw several tooth shapes on some yellow construction paper, then cut them out.
- Now give your children some white paint and pretend it’s toothpaste.
- Encourage them to brush their yellow “teeth” and turn them pearly white.
As your kids have fun with paint, tell them that this is why people brush—to make their teeth white and beautiful again.
Visit a Children’s Orthodontist
Orthodontic care is just as important as basic hygiene when it comes to long-term dental health. According to experts, kids should see an orthodontist before the age of seven. If you’re looking for an office that as kid-friendly as it is medically renowned, then drop by Labbe Family Orthodontics in Maryland. We go out of our way to create a fun, family-friendly atmosphere that will have your kids looking forward to their next visit.
Contact our offices in Annapolis, Crofton, Bowie, and Greenbelt to make an appointment with a pediatric orthodontist—because life is better with a smile, and kids are happier when they’re having fun!
How do you find the best orthodontist for your family ? What should you look for in a doctor? In the staff? In the office? What qualities set the best apart from the rest? Use these tips to find an orthodontist in Maryland who will take care of you and your children.
Family and friends are your best resource. You know them and you trust them. Ask them who they recommend, and then ask them why they recommend that doctor. Was the orthodontist friendly? Competent? Did the doctor explain everything upfront? Now ask about the staff since they’re a big part of any experience. Did they go out of the way to help? Were they upfront about pricing?
At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we light up with pride every time one of our satisfied patients gives a glowing testimonial. With so many loyal patients, we can’t stop smiling around the clock.
At the very least, visit the orthodontist’s website to learn a bit more about the practice. How long have they been treating patients? Where did the doctor(s) go to school and do their training? What kind of insurance do they take? Finally, read some online reviews. They’ll never replace personal recommendations (you never know who’s on the other side of that computer), but they can still give you a sense of what to expect.
Experience is (nearly) everything. When given a choice between a novice and a seasoned veteran, always take the latter. How much experience is enough? Take Dr. Stephen Labbe as a measuring stick. One of the most experienced, most qualified orthodontists in the country, he served as a former staff member at Prince George’s Hospital, where he taught for ten years in the Dental Residency Program.
Now he brings his expertise to his Maryland practice. Currently among the top one percent of Invisalign providers in the nation, he continues to employ cutting-edge techniques to help his patients find their best smile.
Don’t neglect the convenience factor. Most likely, you’ll want an orthodontist that works nearby. Proximity means you won’t have to commute long distances or rush to make your appointments. That doesn’t mean you should always choose the closest orthodontist, but it does mean you should balance everything else on this list with accessibility. With four locations in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, and Greenbelt, Labbe Family Orthodontics makes it easy on everyone.
Will the office work with you when it comes to payments? Today, many families struggle to make ends meet, and orthodontic treatment can be a large investment. Payment plans ease the burden and allow families to enjoy the benefits of first-class care without the upfront costs. The staff at Labbe Family Orthodontics, for example, will always work with you to establish flexible financing options.
Inspect the Office
A clean office is a sign of a healthy practice. The first time you visit any orthodontist’s office, look around. Do you mind spending considerable time there? Is it hygienic? Is it comfortable? Is the waiting room big enough?
At Labbe Family Orthodontics, you’ll love our clean, comfortable office and they offer a refreshment area to make your stay as comfortable as possible. As soon as you step into our office, you’ll know you’re in good hands.
Make a Consultation Appointment
Labbe Family Orthodontics provides all new patients with a complimentary consultation. That first appointment is your chance to evaluate our practice. No strings attached. No money owed. We know you’ll love the care you receive.
Come see for yourself what sets us apart from the rest of the pack. Schedule your free consultation appointment today.
Why is flossing so important, exactly? Even if you brush your teeth four times a day, there are some areas that brush bristles simply cannot reach. The areas between the teeth, for example, generally go untouched by standard brushing. These hidden areas require flossing to remove plaque and help clear any food debris that may be stuck there (which could otherwise encourage bacterial growth). Without flossing, areas of your teeth essentially go uncleaned, which could be a risk factor for tooth and gum disease.
The Potentially Serious Repercussions of Not Flossing
If you don’t regularly floss between each of your teeth, small bits of food can become food sources for harmful bacteria that can rot your teeth and cause gum disease. The following are just a few of the possible issues you may be at risk of developing should you regularly fail to floss:
- Bleeding gums due to gingivitis or periodontitis
- Chronic bad breath (as food particles rot)
- Yellow, orange, or brown teeth
- Tooth cavities
- Rotting and loss of teeth
- Build-up of tartar (hardened plaque)
In severe cases, a patient who fails to keep his or her teeth properly cleaned and flossed can lose his or her entire smile, leading to a need for specialized orthodontic care and, ultimately, dentures or implants. Of course, inflamed gums and teeth that are rotten or have developed cavities often cause a great deal of pain.
How to Floss Properly (and Get in the Habit)
The best way to protect your mouth from serious tooth decay, gum disease and pain is to get into a habit of taking care of your teeth right now. No matter how old you are, you never grow out of the need for good oral hygiene!
To floss your teeth properly, get yourself a piece of floss about a foot and a half in length. Wrap the ends around your two middle fingers, then hold a short length of the floss with your thumbs and forefingers as you would normally.
When your grip on the floss is comfortable, gently guide it into the spaces between your teeth without letting it snap harshly against your gums. Make sure to wrap the floss slightly up and around the top of the tooth so that you clean the space beneath the gums. As you move the floss along the sides of your teeth, rub it gently along the surfaces to loosen debris and buildup. When you’re finished, always throw your used floss away—never re-use it!
If you’re a parent, consider turning bedtime and/or morning flossing into a sort of “family event” where you all floss together and practice good technique. Not only will this set a good example for the little ones, it will also help you stay on track with your own oral health.
At Labbe Family Orthodontics, We Care About Your Teeth
Whether you’re a flossing champion or need a little more encouragement, the orthodontic specialists at Labbe Family Orthodontics will be happy to help you take care of your smile. Contact us today to make an appointment with an orthodontist at one of our four Maryland locations.
Few orthodontists are equipped with their own 3D printers. Even fewer manage to make fixing teeth a fun experience. At Labbe Family Orthodontics, you get the best of both worlds: great attitude and the latest technology.
“I have wanted to be an orthodontist since I was in 8th grade,” says Dr. Labbe. His youthful passion shows through every time a patient steps into his office.
Once a teacher and staff member at Prince George’s Hospital, Labbe now devotes his time to his local Maryland orthodontic practice, which serves both children and adults with the same level of buoyant enthusiasm.
Recognized as one of North America’s top 125 orthodontic practices by The Schulman Group, Labbe Family Orthodontics has grown impressively since its founding over four decades ago. It now boasts four locations around Maryland—in Annapolis, Crofton, Bowie, and Greenbelt.
If you really want to be impressed, though, step into any of one of Labbe’s four offices. There you’ll see all the latest gizmos, such as ITero scanners that send intra-oral scans directly to an in-house lab where a 3D printer is waiting to create high-quality models.
It’s that kind of dedication to state-of-the-art orthodontic care that makes Labbe one of the best orthodontists in the country and, also, one of the top one percent of Invisalign providers in the nation.
One thing is clear: Labbe and his staff may take great joy in their work, but they also take their smiles very seriously.
Whether you have braces, Invisalign or are currently braces-free, there’s a good chance you may not be brushing your teeth correctly. But don’t feel bad! Did you know that nearly 30% of Americans aren’t doing enough brushing and most people make mistakes when it comes to their daily oral care routine?
Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque and bacteria that can cause tooth decay. The right type of brushing can also help with stains that are caused by certain foods and beverages. If you want to enjoy a great smile and healthy teeth, it’s important to understand how to properly take care of your pearly whites.
Dr. Labbe and his team of expert orthodontists have six helpful tips on how to brush to avoid brushing improperly.
- You Never Replace Your Toothbrush – Over time, the bristles will lose their effectiveness to remove plaque and stains from your teeth. Dr. Labbe’s team recommends that you replace your toothbrush at least every six months. (BUT! If you notice that the bristles aren’t in tiptop shape replace it sooner, don’t delay!)
- You Brush Too Hard – Applying an excessive amount of pressure when you brush can cause more harm than good. (Uh oh!) You can scratch the enamel on the teeth and damage the gum tissue. If you notice your gums are sore or bleeding after brushing, you are probably using too much force. Make sure to be gentle and let our team know if the discomfort doesn’t decrease after you implement this tip!
- You Do Not Brush Long Enough – Most people don’t spend enough time when it comes to brushing their teeth. It’s not a race! You should brush each quadrant (upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right) and the tops of the teeth for about thirty seconds each. And don’t forget about your tongue and gums. (Here’s a fun challenge: Recite the alphabet in your head, while brushing, and once you get to Z (no cheating) you’re in the clear!)
- You Brush in the Same Pattern – If you always start brushing your teeth in the same spot, chances are those teeth are getting the most love! All teeth are created equal so make sure you vary your pattern of brushing to ensure all of your teeth are getting the attention they need.
- You Are Not Brushing Enough – Do you only brush when you wake up? Brushing only once a day in the morning can be damaging to your oral health. Remember to brush twice a day to get rid of food particles, plaque, or bacteria before you go to bed and when you’re getting ready for your day.
- You Are Using the Wrong Motions – Even though it may be what you’re used to, brushing back and forth is not as effective as you might think! This motion will only allow you to cover the surface of your teeth, but what about in-between? It’s better to brush in small circular movements no bigger than the size of each tooth. TIP: If you find it too difficult to make circular patterns with a regular toothbrush, try an electric one with a round rotating dental head.
For most people, brushing twice a day is just right! However, if you have braces or use Invisalign, your orthodontist may recommend you brush more often. And every time you do – make sure to refer to the tips and tricks above.
If you are concerned about how your teeth look, remember Labbe Family Orthodontics is here to help. We offer several different orthodontic solutions to help you achieve a beautiful smile! Call our office at (443) 603-3448 today to schedule a complimentary consultation appointment.
It’s a fact of life: Teeth change color. If you’re like countless people all over the world, you may have noticed your pearly whites taking on a yellow tint over the years or, perhaps, you’ve looked in the mirror and seen the tell-tale brown dots or white streaks—but why does it happen and is there anything orthodontic care can do about it?
The most common cause of discoloration is staining of the enamel, and the most common cause of staining is food and drink. The good news is that you can avoid these extrinsic, or surface, stains by watching what you put in your mouth. The bad news is that it’s hard to give up your favorite snacks and refreshments.
The most notorious culprits are:
- Tea: Tea is one of the worst offenders, possibly even worse than coffee. In addition to containing a lot of pigment-producing substances called chromogens, it’s also full of tannins, which help those chromogens attach to your tooth enamel.
- Coffee: You probably know coffee stains teeth, but did you know that adding cream and milk won’t do a thing to stop it? While it may turn your coffee white, it certainly won’t do the same for your teeth.
- Wine: Add a wealth of tannins to the naturally dark pigment of red wine, and it’s no wonder your teeth come away looking worse for the wear.
- Cola: Like all the other items on this list, cola is high in chromogens, which add a nice dark pigment to both the drink and your teeth.
- Fruits: Yes, even grapes and blueberries and pomegranates can stain your teeth. Acidic fruits also have a tendency to wear away tooth enamel, which doesn’t help the staining problem.
- Tobacco : Using tobacco in any form (smoked or chewed) is a sure way to lose the luster of your smile.
If you can’t avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth, you’ll have to go the extra mile and practice superior oral hygiene. That means brushing often (at least twice a day or, better yet, after eating and drinking), using mouthwash, and flossing once a day.
Whether or not you indulge in three cups of tea or grape juice per day, it’s a good idea to take care of your mouth. That’s because poor oral hygiene creates plaque and bacteria buildup, which is also a leading cause of tooth discoloration.
Some discoloration goes beneath the surface, affecting the enamel itself or even the underlying dentin.
- Medications: Certain antibiotics (namely tetracycline and doxycycline) can stain children’s teeth if they’re still developing. A number of commonly used medications, including some prescription-strength mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine, can cause discoloration in adults who use them. Even overexposure to fluoride can permanently affect the color of teeth.
- Radiation and Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs and radiation directed at the head can affect the teeth.
- Disease: High fevers in childhood can cause discoloration, as can jaundice or overall poor health.
- Age: As we age, the enamel on our teeth wears out and becomes thinner. That allows the natural yellow of your dentin to show through more clearly.
- Genetics: Unfortunately, some people are simply born with thinner enamel and, therefore, have more yellow-looking teeth.
Does Orthodontic Care Cause Tooth Discoloration?
There’s a widely-held but misguided belief that traditional braces cause tooth discoloration. The materials used in orthodontics (even traditional metal or ceramic braces) do not stain teeth. The only problem occurs when people fail to clean properly in those hard-to-reach places. As long as you listen to your local orthodontist and remain diligent about maintaining proper hygiene, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we work with each individual to improve their overall oral care while they’re undergoing treatment. That means educating patients about good hygiene practices and nipping problems in the bud before they have time to cause permanent problems like tooth discoloration. As a top orthodontist in Maryland, we’ll do everything we can to ensure that your smile is picture perfect. Take advantage of our online resources to learn more tips and tricks for taking care of your teeth.
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