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  • Why in the World Do Teeth Grow in Crooked?

    Most people wish they were born with perfectly straight teeth. Sadly, few are. The majority of people have some form of overcrowding or misalignment, and most of them have visited their nearest orthodontist to improve the look of their smile.

    woman smiling white teeth

    But, why? What causes crooked teeth in adults? Can you prevent adult teeth from developing misalignments? Are crooked teeth genetic? Here are a few basic facts about oral health and some tips on how to prevent crooked teeth.


    Having crooked teeth runs in families. That’s because genetics can affect:

    The size of the jaw: If people have small jaws, their teeth will compete for space inside the mouth. As a result, they begin to overlap, resulting in noticeably crooked teeth. If the jaw is too large, the teeth may not fill the entire mouth. The resulting gaps can cause teeth to shift position.

    The size of the teeth: Some teeth are bigger than others. Those born with oversized teeth may experience greater crowding while those with smaller teeth may notice gaps in their mouth.

    The number of teeth: The average adult has 28 teeth, but some have as many as 32, depending on whether the wisdom teeth are present. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth erupting can overcrowd the mouth and move the teeth alignment – one of the main reasons dentists and orthodontists encourage wisdom teeth removal.

    Bright Smile Tip!

    People can’t change their genes, but they can visit an orthodontist, who can come up with strategies for clearing space, closing gaps, and aligning teeth. The most common method for correcting overcrowding is to straighten adult teeth with braces.

    Premature Loss of Baby Teeth

    Babies get their first teeth between the ages of six months and one year. Called primary teeth, they’re space holders for the bigger, permanent set of teeth that will grow in when a child is about three years old.

    If a primary tooth falls out early, either because of injury, decay, or natural loss, the other teeth may shift in order to fill the empty space. When the permanent tooth does replace the baby tooth, it may move from its normal position and grow in crooked.

    Bright Smile Tip!

    If a primary tooth falls out early, an orthodontist can insert a device called a space maintainer, which fills the spot left by the lost tooth to ensure that the permanent tooth grows in with proper alignment.

    In some cases, it’s best to wait until the permanent teeth replace the baby teeth and then rely on braces to fix the problem. Either way, it’s good for parents to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist as early as possible, preferably before all of their child’s permanent teeth develop, or, at the very least, before they fall out.

    Bad Habits

    Genes and luck account for most cases of crooked teeth, but behavior is also to blame. If children suck their thumbs, breathe through their mouths, grind their teeth, or press their tongues against their mouths, they may move their teeth out of alignment.

    Bright Smile Tip!

    On the bright side, it’s fairly easy to correct the bad habits that lead to crooked teeth. It’s important to avoid bad habits while the adult teeth are growing in. They haven’t yet settled into position, which makes them more susceptible to pressure.

    Life Is Better with a Smile!

    mature couple spending time together

    Preventing and correcting crooked teeth takes time and a good plan, but, with the help of a great orthodontist, it’s easy to do.

    The best orthodontists not only use the latest tools and techniques, they take the time to examine each patient carefully. They want to know why someone’s teeth are misaligned and how they’re likely to develop over time.

    As soon as the orthodontist identifies the underlying causes, he or she can create a personalized strategy that addresses a patient’s specific problems, whether that includes traditional braces, Invisalign, retainers, or space maintainers.

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we go a step further. We treat each of our patients like family. Schedule an appointment today to find out why so many people leave our office flashing a great big, beautiful smile!

  • Your Perfect Smile on the Best Day of Your Life: Can You Straighten Your Teeth Before Your Wedding?

    If you have recently become engaged, best wishes from our team! At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we treat our patients like our family, and, of course, we want to help you look your best on your special day and treasure your wedding photos and video for years to come.

    If you have always wished for straighter teeth and have some concerns about smiling your widest for those photos, there is almost certainly time to improve the appearance of your smile with the wide variety of choices for teeth straightening available. Your Invisalign orthodontist can recommend the fastest options available to accomplish amazing results before you walk down the aisle.

    joyful girl sitting under a tree

    It Is Not Too Late to Straighten Your Teeth

    Of those wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances in the United States, 20% are adults.1 You may not have noticed this growing trend because orthodontic technology has improved to the point that adult braces and teeth-straightening aligners are almost barely noticeable.

    Teeth Straightening Choices for Brides to Be

    There are a variety of choices which are less noticeable than traditional metal braces, and very effective for adults. Based on your unique needs, your local orthodontist might recommend:


    These virtually invisible trays straighten your teeth without permanent orthodontic hardware like brackets or wires. Invisalign works quickly and allows your natural teeth to shine through.

    Ceramic Braces

    If Invisalign is not the right choice, ceramic braces may be the answer. They utilize clear or tooth-colored materials to blend in with the natural color of your teeth.

    Is There Enough Time Before the Wedding to Straighten Your Teeth?

    If your engagement will be six months or longer, there is time to make a noticeable difference in your smile. Most engagements allow a little more time—12 to 18 months will allow adequate time to complete most treatments before the big day. The type of braces an orthodontist chooses will depend on the time you have available.

    This Is Not the Time to Do It Yourself

    There is a recent fad being promoted by social media of using a variety of at-home methods to straighten your own teeth. A consumer alert has been issued warning of the “substantial risk for irreparable damage” these techniques present.2 The practice of dental orthodontics should be left to the experts. You should only straighten your teeth under professional supervision.

    Beautiful Brides with Braces

    woman smiling in front of man wearing eyeglasses

    Maybe your wedding is coming up sooner than your orthodontic treatment can be completed, but the appearance of braces in your wedding photos can be minimized. Alert your orthodontist, who will adjust your treatment plan with that goal in mind. Transitioning to the Invisalign option will allow you to temporarily remove your braces for the wedding.

    Orthodontic Care for Special Occasions and Everyday Health

    Family orthodontics involves more than just straightening teeth. The benefits of correcting crowded or overlapping teeth and bite issues (malocclusions) include preventing decay and gum disease, reducing pain, and improving swallowing or speech difficulties.

    If you are interested in an evaluation by one of our Invisalign orthodontists for your wedding day or your everyday smile, call for a free consultation now. With offices in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton/Gambrills, and Greenbelt, whether we are the closest orthodontist or not, we promise a family-friendly experience and a lifetime of healthy smiles!



  • Clearly Stronger: Ceramic Braces Are an Appealing Approach

    Ceramic braces have advanced significantly in the few decades they have been in use. This approach offers similar results to metal braces, with a more visually appealing appearance. Using clear or tooth-colored brackets allows the same bite-correcting power as traditional braces with less visible metal.

    Of the more than four million people currently wearing braces in the United States,1 many are choosing this option. The best orthodontist for your family will base his or her recommendation on the issues to be corrected, the age of the patient, and individual preferences or needs.

    Being confident you are taking advantage of the most advanced orthodontic treatments available will make you smile wider—and life is better with a smile! Ceramic braces are available at all of our Labbe Family Orthodontics locations, so let’s explore this exciting option.

    girl in glasses and braces

    What Are Ceramic Braces?

    These braces have brackets and wires just like traditional braces, but they make use of modern materials to allow them to blend in with your smile. The brackets are clear or colored to match your teeth, allowing ceramic braces with white wire to become almost invisible.

    This technology corrects more severe bite alignment issues than Invisalign or other clear tray methods, taking advantage of the firmly affixed brackets and guiding wires to achieve amazing results. Ceramic braces may also be used on just the front-facing top teeth, in combination with metal braces on the less visible lower and back teeth.

    Will Ceramic Braces Become Discolored or Stained?

    There are a number of ceramic braces reviews which mention an issue with staining. The earliest types of ceramic braces did tend to stain, but improvements to the technology have greatly reduced this concern. With proper care, staining should not be an issue.

    Are Ceramic Braces the Best Choice for You?

    After a free consultation, our orthodontists will guide you in choosing the best braces for your individual needs. When considering ceramic braces vs. metal, these may be the key factors:

    Age. Ceramic braces are most often recommended for teens and adults.
    Involvement in sports. Metal braces are still the pinnacle of durability, and they may be recommended for those engaging in contact sports.
    Mouth sensitivity. Some patients report more irritation from metal braces, while others report the same issue with ceramic. Individual sensitivities may guide the decision.
    Cost. Ceramic braces are somewhat more expensive than traditional metal braces.
    Degree of correction needed. While ceramic braces are almost as strong as their steel counterparts, metal might be required to correct certain conditions.

    There are very few disadvantages of ceramic braces vs. metal, and both work by the same principles, allowing effective correction of most orthodontic issues. The increased cosmetic appeal of ceramic braces may be the deciding factor.

    group of women holding flower bouquet

    More Clear Advantages from Labbe Family Orthodontics

    When you come by and visit at one of our four Maryland locations, you can trust us to treat you like family. We strive to make your visit pleasant and fun, and we offer accelerated treatment plans that feature ceramic braces and other smile-enhancing solutions.

    With offices in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton/Gambrills, and Greenbelt, we might be the nearest orthodontist, as well as the best! Call today to set up your free consultation, learn more about your options, and start sharing your best smile sooner than you may think.



  • More Invisible Power: Invisalign Attachments Reach More Patients

    The versatility of invisible braces, provided and installed by an Invisalign orthodontist, continues to grow in popularity, allowing more patients to achieve a straighter smile without permanent orthodontic hardware. With the use of attachments, buttons, and elastic, a broader range of conditions can be corrected using this popular Invisalign system.

    An evaluation by one of our expert orthodontists will reveal if you are a candidate for the use of attachments, setting you on the path to a healthy smile and proper bite alignment. To better understand the use of these tools, let’s define the terminology and explore the benefits of combining attachment technology with the Invisalign retainer system.

    smiling girl wearing black framed eyeglasses

    What Are Invisalign Attachments?

    As part of your treatment plan, small dots of dental bonding material may be applied to the surface of your teeth using a template. These attachments fit securely into the Invisalign aligner trays and keep certain teeth stationary or provide a leverage point for movement.

    Your plan might also make use of Invisalign buttons, which provide a place to attach elastics. These buttons are small plastic or metal brackets which serve as anchor and leverage points to increase tooth moving power.

    There is no drilling involved and, after treatment, the buttons can be removed, and the attachments can be cleanly polished off. All attachments are of tooth-colored material to maintain the almost invisible quality of Invisalign braces.

    Who Needs Attachments?

    Certain types of reparative movement are difficult to attain with aligners alone. By adding attachments, more patients can take advantage of their orthodontist’s Invisalign technology. Using the attachments to grip a tooth firmly, more serious malocclusions can be corrected.

    This combination of methods not only creates straighter teeth, but allows for better bite alignment, and ultimately a more beautiful smile. Consistently wearing your retainer for the recommended amount of time after treatment will be key in maintaining long-term results. Consistency and commitment are especially important when choosing Invisalign for teens.

    Are Invisalign Buttons and Attachments Noticeable?

    Because the attachments are made of material designed to match your natural tooth color, they blend into your smile seamlessly. Similarly, buttons are not likely to be set on front teeth and are thus barely noticeable in your smile.

    What Extra Care Is Needed?

    Remove Regularly. The attachments will purposefully improve the fit of the aligner, causing it to fit more snugly. This means they will require more effort to remove. A special tool may be needed to pop off the aligner.

    Brush Well. The buttons and attachments unfortunately provide a place for food to lodge, and hot liquids like tea might stain the attachments. Take extra care when brushing your teeth before replacing your retainer.

    Wear Consistently. The importance of adhering to the recommended wearing times cannot be overstated. Having the ability to remove your aligner is a plus for many, but also enhances the possibility of leaving it behind or forgetting to put it back in.

    group of boys taking a selfie

    Invisalign Treatment with Labbe Family Orthodontics

    Our dedicated teams in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, and Greenbelt are highly skilled Invisalign orthodontists who can bring the latest in attachment technology to your treatment plan. Even if you’ve been told in the past that Invisalign is not for you, schedule a consultation with us and let us find the right solution for your smile.

    We take pride in providing you and your family with the best possible experience in orthodontic care. Life is better with a smile! Give us a call or fill in our contact form today to feel the difference for yourself.