• 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.


    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.


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

  • A Look into How Orthodontic Bonding Works

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

    Types of Bonding

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

    closeup smile with clear braces

    Preparing the Teeth

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

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

    Bonding Systems

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

    No Mix

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

    Two-Paste Mix

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


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

    litle girl with braces sitting in dentist chair

    Ready for Braces? We Can Help

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

  • Before Braces and Beyond: Types of Orthodontic Appliances

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Types of Orthodontic Appliances Infographic

    Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

  • 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.

  • Braces: A Positive Change for Children

    When is the right time to get braces? Children and teens who learn that they need braces may have all sorts of reactions. They might be in a hurry to get started on a better smile or they may worry about their appearance or being teased.

    Braces for children have advanced far beyond what we as parents remember. Knowing the right answers to their questions will help you to reassure your child that braces are the right choice, right now. Let’s cover some of the best braces for children and how to help your child make the transition.

    How Soon Is Too Soon?


    There is no braces age limit, but many times we are asked, “what is the best age to get braces?” There are many helpful treatments that can begin at age 6 or 7. At these early stages the focus is on jaw alignment, development problems, and reducing the need for more invasive procedures later.

    By dealing with any growing issues early, these phase 1 braces set the stage for how the permanent teeth develop. If you or your dentist believe orthodontic treatment might be helpful, it’s never too soon to start laying the foundation for the best possible smile.

    Affordable and Almost Invisible

    There have been recent improvements in orthodontics that minimize the visibility of braces. Braces for teeth that are still developing must be carefully selected, so not every type may be available to your child.

    Types of Braces

    • Traditional metal braces. Teeth are fitted with metal brackets with wires between them.
    • Ceramic braces. The brackets and sometimes the wires themselves are of a tooth-colored ceramic material.
    • Invisalign®. Clear plastic forms that move teeth into place over time, without brackets.

    How Much Do Braces Cost?

    With insurance and without, braces are an investment in the future. Costs will range from $3,000 to $7,000 for most patients,1 but insurance and financing are available to help.

    Show Your Support

    A great support system will keep the fun and optimism in this transformational experience. Creating your child’s ideal smile should be supported by the whole family. Plan for meals that will be easy for everyone to enjoy when your child has treatments scheduled.

    Allow your child to express the natural discomfort of braces on teeth and let your orthodontist know if there is anything wrong. Rather than letting them hide their braces or faces, tell them how much you like their smile in braces!


    Worries about teasing should be talked about in the open. Remember that letting orthodontic issues go on untreated might also result in teasing, and encourage your child or teen to be confident and accepting of themselves. Taking positive steps to improve your health and appearance is not something to be made fun of, it is something to be admired.

    Family Makes It Fun

    Life is better with a smile! A fun environment with encouragement and support will help your child or teen feel good about themselves and their braces. At Labbe Family Orthodontics we treat you like family, and we can’t wait to help you and your loved ones with the best orthodontic care at the right time.

    If you are looking for the best orthodontist for your child, or braces for your teeth, our team is ready to guide you to the best options for your most beautiful smile. We even offer flexible financing including a 0% option and we accept most insurance. Reach out today and find out more!


    1. https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/orthodontics-advantage/

  • Before, During, and After Invisalign: How to Care for Your Smile

    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.

    Before Treatment Processes

    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!