• 10 Braces-Friendly Holiday Treats

    With your child now wearing braces, they need to do things differently than they used to. One difference is what they can eat and, with the holidays coming up, they may be worried that they can’t enjoy any treats. Have no fear! We’ve got 10 really fun treats that are super easy to enjoy and which will maintain their orthodontic care.

    chocolate milkshakes in glass on wooden table

    1. Soft Sugar Cookies

    Whether you buy them or make them together, soft sugar cookies can be a great holiday treat. They won’t damage braces, and they have just enough sweet and soft goodness to make the acceptable yummy treat list!

    2. Hot Cocoa

    This is a great treat for any time the temperature drops, and it’s so easy to make. Just put two tablespoons of cocoa powder in a pot with two cups of milk, mix, and bring to a boil. Add honey to sweeten and, instead of a candy cane, add a dash of peppermint extract.

    3. Soft Candy

    You already know that people with braces have to steer clear of hard and sticky candies—but that doesn’t mean they can’t have other types of candy! Solid chocolate will melt in their mouth, as will soft butter candies.

    4. Pudding

    Pudding is a delicious way to enjoy the holidays. There’s a flavor for everyone, and they come in convenient small packages so that your child can enjoy them in moderation. You can also make your own at home.

    5. Cheesecake

    Cheesecake is a rich and sweet way to enjoy the holidays. Plain cheesecake without sticky or nutty toppings is best, but you can also remove these toppings before eating.

    6. Baked Apple

    Did your family orthodontist advise against eating apples when wearing braces? All you have to do is slice them and put them on a buttered baking sheet. Sprinkle with nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar, then bake for just over an hour.

    7. Ice Cream

    Ice cream is a great treat for the holidays or any time. Here again, you can make your own or buy it. Banana ice cream is really easy; just freeze bananas, then put them in a blender until smooth. Pop into the freezer for a few hours, and voila! Surprisingly sweet and healthy ice cream.

    8. Frozen Fruit Smoothie

    Many fruits just get sweeter when they’re frozen, and a smoothie can help your child enjoy even hard fruits while getting a kick of natural sugar. Pineapples, seedless grapes, and mangoes all get deliciously sweet when they’ve been frozen. So, blend away!

    9. Fudge

    bowl of potato chips

    Just like cheesecake, fudge is a rich and sweet treat. There are plenty of nut-free varieties you can enjoy with your family while gathered around the Christmas tree.

    10. Chips

    Popcorn is a great holiday treat, but those kernels can be hard on braces. Potato chips are a great alternative; they give a salty crunch that’s not too hard.

    Looking for the closest orthodontist? Look no further; with several locations in Maryland, we’re always close to you. Claim your complimentary consultation today: 443-603-3448.

  • The Dangers of DIY Braces

    There are many misconceptions surrounding adult orthodontic treatment. Many people think orthodontic care is painful or will be too expensive. While it’s true that some treatment options can be an investment, most orthodontists are concerned with giving patients healthy, beautiful smiles. So, many offer payment plans or other options to work with your budget.

    Unfortunately, these misconceptions still exist, and they’re leading people to take part in a popular trend: DIY braces.

    Homemade DIY items seem to be all the rage these days, especially online. Yet, when it comes to the health and safety of your teeth, there are some serious risks to consider if you’re just trying to avoid going to the orthodontist or paying a big bill.

    Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of DIY braces and why you should always see a family orthodontist for any type of braces treatment.

    man's jaw model with braces

    What Are DIY Braces?

    As you might have expected, DIY braces are aligners that are typically delivered right to your door. Most “kits” include rubber bands that you put on your teeth to pull them together and straighten them. Some people have even suggested they closed their “gap-tooth grin” in just over a month with DIY braces.

    However, because they are really nothing more than bands that go around your teeth, there could be some serious risks to consider.

    Risking Your Oral Health

    So, what are some of the potential problems associated with DIY braces?

    First, there’s more to orthodontic treatment than just getting straight teeth. While we do want you to have a beautiful smile, your oral health is important, too. When an orthodontist looks at your teeth during an initial consultation for braces, they’ll be able to see if you have any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

    For example, x-rays are extremely important before getting braces because they give the orthodontist an idea of what’s going on with your teeth, even when you can’t see certain things on the surface. X-rays can reveal if there might be more shifting, if a tooth is impacted, etc. All of these play a part in a treatment plan for straightening your teeth. When you order a DIY solution online, you don’t get that extra care, and you don’t know what you might be dealing with beneath the surface.

    Potential Hazards of At-Home Braces

    Because you aren’t getting the expert treatment and advice from an orthodontist, some of the potential hazards you could face with DIY braces include:

    ● Damage to your teeth and gums
    ● Infection
    ● Pain
    ● Tooth loss

    If any of these issues do occur, you’ll need to go to an orthodontist to fix them. Because they are quite serious, you’ll probably end up spending more money than you would have on braces to begin with.

    group of young happy african american women

    Should I Try DIY Braces?

    We can’t recommend using DIY braces when there are so many options for straightening your teeth today. There is something to fit your needs, your wants, and your budget. If you do decide to go the DIY route, we recommend at least coming in for a consultation first, to learn more about your teeth and what type of orthodontic treatment they need.

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we treat all of our patients like family, and we want what’s best for you and your smile! If you have questions about braces or other orthodontic treatment, feel free to contact us today.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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  • 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.

  • Smile Care! Before, During, and After Invisalign

    Ever wondered what was required to wear Invisalign to help straighten your teeth and give you a great looking smile? Here at Labbe Family Orthodontics, we are pleased to provide you with an overview of before, during, and after treatment care using Invisalign.

    The first thing you need to do is schedule a consultation. Invisalign treatment requires a personal commitment to achieving your smile goals. Don’t worry. If you decide Invisalign is not right for you, we do offer other orthodontic treatment options to help straighten your teeth.

    During your initial consultation, we will discuss what your objectives are, any potential orthodontic pre-care you need to address, and other such aspects. If you decide Invisalign is right for you, we will develop a treatment plan and do some other pre-treatment processes.

    We invite you to continue reading the following infographic to see what other before care is needed, as well as during and after Invisalign care.

    Afterward, if you want to learn more about Invisalign or want to schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics directly—because life is better with a smile!

    Before, During and After Invisalign Infographic

    Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

  • Tips and Tricks on How NOT to Forget Your Retainer

    Retainers are important pieces of hardware people often wear following braces treatment. After orthodontic braces treatment , teeth moved into new positions may not be stable. A retainer prevents relapse or teeth moving back into their original places. This is an important phase of treatment, but many people forget their retainers.

    Labbe Family Orthodontics is a top orthodontist. We try to make all stages of treatment as comfortable as possible and answer the all-important question: “How long should retainers be worn after braces?” A retainer may be fixed or removable; the length of time it’s worn and how often one needs it depends on an orthodontist’s recommendations.

    You’ll always know when your retainer is in. However, it’s really not hard to forget it. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure you wear it as much as possible:

    • Choose one place to keep your retainer. If you know it is on your nightstand, for example, you’ll be reminded to put it in and be less likely to misplace it.
    • Clean it when you brush your teeth. It’s more tempting not to wear a dirty or smelly retainer, so follow your orthodontist’s advice for keeping it hygienic.
    • Keep reminders around the house. A post-it note where you’re likely to look every day helps, but you can also remind yourself by email or a cell phone calendar.
    • Accept reminders from others. Your parents, spouse, siblings, or roommates may be more than happy to keep you on your toes.
    • Write down your orthodontic treatment instructions. This not only helps you remember the fine details but provides a place to look for reminders.

    Always Remember Your Retainer
    Always Remember Your Retainer

    We’re committed to treating patients as if they were family. Our team is also intent on helping people not lose their retainers, as they’re part of a significant investment in restoring one’s smile. The best place, of course, is in your mouth. Keep them in a box when not worn; otherwise, there’s a greater risk of losing your retainer.

    Also, follow a schedule for cleaning it. According to Colgate.com , a removable retainer is easily cleaned by soaking it in vinegar or water or using denture cleaning tablets in water. Daily brushing and flossing are important, as are regular visits to the dentist. You can even clean a retainer with a toothbrush and toothpaste, running it under the tap.

    How Long Do You Wear a Retainer After Braces?
    The retention plan varies with the patient. You may need a retainer for a week or six months full time, and then at night, but some people require it for a few years. You can usually take the retainer out when eating or playing contact sports, and when brushing your teeth.

    Remember: “Life Is Better with a Smile”
    woman smiling with doctor

    Our slogan reflects the truth. A retainer protects your investment and smile, as it retains the perfection that braces have afforded. For more information on our orthodontic services, browse our website and call (410) 267-7300 to schedule an appointment today.