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  • How Mouthguards Affect Orthodontic Health

    Dental injuries are very common and can occur during recreational and leisure activities, as well as when participating in a sport. The best way to protect the teeth from injury is to wear a mouthguard. This device benefits your orthodontic health in many ways.


    Protects and Prevents Injury

    A mouthguard is a device used in orthodontics to prevent injury to your teeth. It does this by absorbing energy from various types of impacts that can break or chip them. This device can also prevent injury to the rest of your mouth, which can occur as a result of an impact. These include cut cheeks, teeth, lips, and gums.

    The energy of an impact can be enough to break the jaw, but the shock-absorbing power of a mouthguard can help prevent this. If you wear braces, a mouthguard can protect them as well as your teeth and mouth from damage and breakage.

    Not Just for Sports

    A mouthguard can be ideal if you have sleep apnea or bruxism (grinding the teeth). The device pulls your lower jaw forward, which keeps your airway open. If you grind your teeth, once again the guard comes to the rescue by absorbing the force of teeth grinding while providing a barrier between your teeth that prevents them from injuring one another.

    A Proper Fit Is Essential

    Dentist wearing white gloves helping girl to put mouth guard

    You can find ready-to-wear mouthguards in many stores, which can offer some protection to the teeth and mouth. However, one size won’t work for every person. An ill-fitting mouthguard can make it difficult to breathe and talk, not to mention offer virtually no protection for your teeth. Unfortunately, these types of guards usually offer no option to adjust them.

    Another option is to check out the “boil and bite” guards that are typically found at your local sporting goods store. Overall, these products can fit better than their above counterparts. This is because you can boil them to soften the material, place them in your mouth, and adjust the fit with your fingers and tongue.

    The best-fitting mouthguards are those which are custom-made for you. When made exactly for your mouth, custom mouthguards will not only offer the highest degree of protection for your teeth, mouth, and jaw, but they also won’t interfere with breathing or talking. As well, a custom-made mouthguard is adjustable.

    Getting a Custom Mouthguard

    The best person to see about getting a custom-made mouthguard is an orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in correcting the position of your teeth, which ultimately improves your oral health.

    They create your mouthguard from an impression of your teeth by having you bite into soft material. A mold is then made from this impression. It may be that you only need a guard for your top teeth, but many people wear guards on their top and bottom teeth.

    Looking for a mouthguard? Search for “orthodontist near me” and choose Labbe Family Orthodontics. With Labbe, you’re always treated like family. Call us today and discover why life is better with a smile: 443-603-3448.

  • 5 Tips When Choosing Dental Insurance for Orthodontic Treatment

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

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

    5 Tips for Choosing the Right Dental Insurance for Your Family

    dental plan benefits dentist medical healthcare concept

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

    As you compare plans:

    1. Determine the Types of Services You May Need

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

    2. Identify Which Plans Are Available in Your Area

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

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

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

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

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

    4. Find the Plan That Includes the Providers You Want

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

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

    5. Compare the Real Costs of Each Plan

    patients consulting the dentist at dental clinic

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

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

    Providing Affordable Smiles with Friendly Faces

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

  • Tips and Tricks to Manage Orthodontic Pain

    Most people will do anything to get out of going to their orthodontist. However, only rarely does a healthy, beautiful smile happen all on its own. More often than not, you need to help to give you that million-dollar look— which means you do have to visit the experts.

    Sadly, some discomfort can occur after an orthodontic appliance fitting and, to many people, especially children, this pain—or even the anticipation of that pain—will prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to having great teeth. It can cause them to skip appointments, to not wear their appliances at the right time, or to neglect their oral hygiene entirely, making orthodontic intervention less effective than it could be.

    That’s why pain management is so important to us at Labbe Family Orthodontics. We want you and your children to have the very best teeth you could have. We want our patients to be informed, so they know exactly what to expect before, during, and after procedures. We want you to look forward to visiting us.

    For some simple and effective ways to manage pain after an appliance fitting, read our infographic guide below. To put your smile in the hands of people who really care, call Labbe Family Orthodontics on (443) 603-3448 today.

    Tips and Tricks to Manage Orthodontic Pain Infographic

    Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

  • Navigating Orthodontic Wax: Dos and Don’ts

    During early orthodontic care when the new braces for your teeth are first applied, you may have some minor discomfort caused by the new appliances rubbing on the soft tissues of your mouth. Until you get used to your braces, there is no need to worry and frown. Life is better with a smile, and you can use orthodontic wax for immediate pain relief!

    Dental wax is available from orthodontic specialists and at pharmacies, and it is designed to cover sharp or rough edges that might be causing irritation. This substance is soft, non-toxic, and easy to use whenever you need it. If your braces are damaged or become suddenly more painful, reach out to our office for advice, but, for minor irritation and temporary relief, dental wax is a perfect solution.

    girl with braces in her teeth smiling

    What Is Orthodontic Wax?

    Dental or orthodontic wax is specially designed to relieve pain caused by orthodontic treatment. It creates a barrier which prevents further irritation and allows time for the mouth to heal. It is easy to apply and remove, and is inexpensive to purchase. All in all, it is one of the best treatment options for children and adults who are adjusting to their braces.

    What Is Dental Wax for Braces Made From?

    All formulations of orthodontic wax include natural, non-toxic waxes. Some may contain a percentage of carnauba or beeswax, or might have an added flavoring. Most contain paraffin and are tasteless. They are designed to be firm at room temperature and pliable at body temperature. Wax is completely safe if swallowed in small quantities.

    How to Apply Orthodontic Wax for Braces

    To protect your healthy teeth and gums, follow these steps to apply dental wax to your braces:

    • Begin by washing your hands and brushing your teeth where you will apply the wax.
    • Break off a piece of wax the size of a small pea and roll it between your fingers until it is pliable.
    • When the wax is a soft ball, flatten it slightly and press it over the point of irritation.
    • Remove it using your fingers or by brushing it off with a toothbrush.

    Dos and Don’ts When Using Orthodontic Wax

    For good oral health, it is important to continue with your recommended brushing and flossing routine while you are using dental wax on your braces. These dos and don’ts will help:

    Do: Replace the wax as needed.
    Don’t: Reuse the wax or keep a single piece in place for more than two days.

    Do: Eat soft foods and drink liquids with the wax in place.
    Don’t: Keep wax in place if food becomes stuck to it.

    Do: Keep the wax in place overnight.
    Don’t: Worry if you swallow it while sleeping or eating.

    Do: Contact your orthodontist if the pain persists or comes on suddenly.
    Don’t: Try to fix, bend, or repair wires or brackets by yourself.

    boy with braces in his teeth smiling

    Smoothing the Way to a Superb Smile

    Making your transition to a better smile smooth and pain-free is important to us at Labbe Family Orthodontics. While some discomfort is normal with early orthodontic care, these specialized dental waxes offer immediate relief until your mouth becomes accustomed to your new braces.

    At our family orthodontics practice, we truly treat you like one of our family. We do everything possible to make the process pleasant, enjoyable, and exciting. Smoothing the path to your perfect smile starts with a caring, compassionate team that is committed to your healthy and happy future. Give us a call today and let us make you feel comfortable!

  • How Effective Are Braces at Fixing an Overbite?

  • Using Mouthwash and Floss with Orthodontic Appliances

    Braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances are there to help you, but they do put you at risk for various oral health issues. That’s why, in addition to brushing properly, it’s important to use both mouthwash and floss. Orthodontic braces treatment will only be successful if you follow these oral hygiene practices.

    Oral hygiene with braces is important because gingivitis, or gum disease, can occur. If too much plaque builds up, your gums will become irritated and infected. Decalcification of tooth enamel is another possibility. Plaque builds up when you eat, while acids produced by eating and drinking also help to decalcify tooth enamel, leaving white spots on teeth. Brushing your teeth is important but is not enough.

    Touohpaste and Toothbrush


    A mouth rinse after you brush and floss is a good idea. There are many over-the-counter and prescription products. These can reduce irritation caused by your orthodontic treatment and can alleviate gum inflammation. A good mouthwash can remove biofilm. If it contains fluoride, even better, but don’t rinse immediately after brushing because that will eliminate the concentrated fluoride in toothpaste before it has a chance to work.

    After a fluoride rinse, wait 30 minutes to eat or drink. Also, it helps to choose a different time to use a mouthwash. Wait until after lunch or a time it’s easy to remember. There are also different kinds, including desensitizing, cosmetic, whitening, and anti-plaque mouthwash, depending on your needs.


    Dental floss helps remove plaque and food between teeth. Regular flossing has other benefits as well, such as reducing bad breath and gum disease. If you have braces, flossing may be a challenge.

    • Floss before you brush your teeth.
    • Use waxed floss that won’t catch and shred.
    • Take about 18 inches of dental floss.
    • Thread it under the wire and pass it between your teeth.
    • Gently move up and down, remove it, and repeat with the next pair of teeth.
    • Use about 8-10 up and down strokes between each tooth.

    Getting the floss under the wire can be tough. A floss threader can make this much easier. Ask your orthodontist for other options that can make flossing with braces simpler.

    For the best results, floss before brushing. The debris you remove may still be on or near your teeth and gums. Brushing will remove it.

    Woman Smiling with Clear Braces

    Get the Most Out of Your Orthodontic Care

    Your orthodontic services professional may also recommend other techniques. A manual toothbrush may do fine, but remember to brush around every bracket and any other piece of hardware. Another option is a sonic toothbrush, but it should be used along with flossing to make sure all the plaque is removed. When brushing, remove bands and elastics and clean round all brackets and wires, moving from top to bottom. Make sure you reach every part of each tooth.

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, everyone is treated like family. With us, you have a local orthodontist specializing in all types of orthodontic services in Annapolis, Gambrills, Bowie, and Greenbelt, Maryland. Call us at 443-603-3448 today to schedule an appointment.

  • Shifting Teeth Can Change Your Smile over Time


    If you start to notice your teeth shifting positions over time, you’re not alone. Changes in teeth alignment are common and happen for any number of reasons, ranging from sleep position to age. Though the causes may vary, you don’t need to be alarmed. A qualified orthodontist can help you find the best method to straighten your teeth.

    Shifting Under Pressure

    People often cause teeth to shift by applying consistent gentle pressure over a long period of time. Many do not even realize they’re doing it. Sleeping on your stomach with your face in a pillow applies enough pressure to nudge teeth out of position. The changes may be gradual enough that, one day, you notice a slight overlap that wasn’t there before.

    Resting your face on your hand, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding are other habits that can cause enough pressure to move teeth. Becoming aware of the habit that’s causing your teeth to change positions can help you identify ways to prevent further movement. Fall asleep on your back at night and maintain good posture during the day so you don’t rest your face in your hands. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding may require the help of an orthodontist, but you can take steps to prevent further changes.

    Changes in Position After Orthodontic Work

    Consistent pressure isn’t the only reason your teeth might be shifting. If you’ve had orthodontic work in the past and didn’t wear retainers correctly or long enough, you may notice shifting teeth. Like other alignment issues, you have options like Invisalign, ceramic braces, clear braces, or traditional braces.

    While many people think the wisdom teeth cause this type of overcrowding, research suggests that wisdom teeth and overcrowding are not related. Dr. Jay Friedman , who conducted a study on third molars, states “Third molars do not possess sufficient force to move other teeth. They cannot cause crowding and overlapping of the incisors.”

    Mesial Drift


    Mesial drift is the term used to describe the gradual shift of the teeth toward the center of the face. Theories abound as to why this age-related change occurs. Some believe it’s a survival mechanism that dates back to when people only lived to the age of 40 years old. In this case, the teeth needed to move in toward the face to replace teeth that had fallen out from use or decay. With longer life expectancies and better dental care, this is rarely a problem today.

    Most people notice overcrowding of the lower front teeth the most, but mesial drift takes place in the upper teeth as well. Overcrowded teeth, whether from mesial drift, pressure, or lack of care after orthodontic work, are at higher risk for periodontal disease and cavities.

    A Smile That Makes You Proud

    It doesn’t matter whether the changes in your smile stem from age or habits; they can be fixed. At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we treat you like family. We want to work with you to meet your goals while helping you find the right treatment for your lifestyle. Call us today at 443-603-3448 to set up an appointment.



  • 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!

  • Do You Have TMJ/TMD? Here’s How to Tell


    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
    • Arthritis
    • 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
    • Dizziness

    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!



  • Local Orthodontist Uses Cutting-Edge Gadgets to Create Winning Smiles

    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.

    Local Orthodontist Uses Cutting-Edge Gadgets

    “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.

    Create Winning Smiles

    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.