• 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!

  • Fun Ways to Count Down to the Date You’re Done with Orthodontic Treatments!

    young girl ready for celebration

    There’s nothing more exciting than knowing you’re about to get your braces off. Whether it’s been months, or even years, chances are you’re close to the finish line and that perfect smile is shining through.

    Here are some fun ways you can count down to the date when you’re braces-free:

    Use an App

    These days, there’s an app for everything. Downloading a countdown app to keep track of the days until your braces come off is a fun and interesting way to keep tabs on your progress. Certain apps may also allow you to set the countdown as your mobile background or create a countdown banner that you can add to your social media profile.

    Create a Selfie Journal

    Taking selfies is a great way to see steady changes and track improvements in your smile. By keeping a journal of pictures, you can easily look back and see just how much your smile has changed.

    Because you may not see progress as quickly as you want, taking photos will also help you stay motivated, especially as you see your teeth start to align and straighten.

    And if any of your friends have teen braces, let them join in on the fun as well!

    Treat Yourself

    Wearing braces for months (or even years) is a huge achievement! When you reach those special milestones, make sure to treat yourself to something nice. Whether it’s a pedicure, a new outfit, or maybe even a braces-friendly sweet treat, you’ve earned it.

    By celebrating milestones, your orthodontic journey will go by much quicker, and give you a date to look forward to!

    A Caring Kids Orthodontist Office

    At Labbe Family Orthodontics, we treat our patients like family – especially when it comes to  orthodontics for children. For many younger kids and teenagers, the idea of having braces can be a little nerve-racking. At our orthodontics offices, we put a little fun into wearing teen braces by encouraging our patients to use a countdown, celebrate milestones, and treat themselves to make the process is a little more enjoyable.

    If you’re looking for a pediatric orthodontist in your area, look no further than Labbe Family Orthodontics. We specialize in braces for children, ceramic braces, and other teeth straightening services to give you the smile of your dreams.

    Call our office today at (410) 267-7300 to schedule an appointment.

  • How to Wear Braces and Still Be an Awesome Musician

    boy playing trumpet with braces

    Braces are daunting for any teenager, but they can be even more frightening for trumpeters, flute players, clarinet players, and other musicians. How can you play great music with a mouth full of metal? Won’t it hurt? Won’t it ruin the sound? Turns out, making great music with braces isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. All you need is the right attitude, a few adjustments, and a good children’s orthodontist .

    How to Protect Your Mouth

    If you plan to play an instrument like the flute or trumpet, you can plan ahead and choose the type of braces that will fit your lifestyle. The best option is Invisalign since you can remove them whenever you need to play. Although slightly more expensive than traditional braces, serious musicians might find that they’re worth every penny.

    What if you have traditional metal braces for children and teens? For a little while, you might experience pain. In rare cases, holding your mouth in the wrong position and putting too much pressure can cause permanent damage. To protect the inside of your mouth, you can get a gel or plastic insert that fits snugly over the braces and acts as a cushion.

    No matter what, stay in close contact with a pediatric orthodontist. It’s important for anyone with braces to make regular checkups and cleanings, but it’s even more important for musicians. Tell your doctor about the fact that you play an instrument, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or inquire about products that can help.

    How to Play Great Music

    You might notice, in the first few weeks after getting braces, that they destroy your tone quality and your ability to hold a note. Don’t worry. All you need to do is make a few adjustments.

    Common fixes include using more breath and pursing your lips in order to create a cushion of muscle (instead of air) between your teeth and the mouthpiece. On the bright side, learning how to expand your breath may improve your endurance, which will make you a better player over the long run.

    How difficult it will be to return to normal depends largely on what instrument you play. Brass instruments such as the trumpet and the French horn tend to pose the greatest challenges, while the clarinet and saxes are relatively easy to master. The flute, oboe, and bassoon may take some getting used to, but they shouldn’t pose too many problems.

    Little Girl Playing The Flute

    Quick note: Before picking up your instrument, ask your music instructor how you should adjust your playing to improve the sound and reduce the risk of injury. You can also do your own research. Some online courses (and even YouTube videos ) talk about braces and instruments.

    The Musical Life and Orthodontic Care for Children

    Many teenagers get braces at some point in their lives. Many of them play instruments that require the use of their mouth. Don’t be discouraged. Playing music with braces may not be easy, but, then again, making music isn’t easy. It takes a little ingenuity and a lot of perseverance.

    Fortunately, there’s nothing insurmountable about this particular obstacle. Pass the test, and you may end up becoming a better, more competent player capable of tackling even greater musical challenges. As long as you have the help of a friendly, knowledgeable orthodontist, you can take the worry out of playing an instrument.

    Want to know where to find the best orthodontist in Maryland? It’s easy. Visit Labbe Family Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.

  • 3 Ways to Get Affordable Orthodontic Treatment

    When it comes to orthodontic care, getting any kind of treatment—whether it be braces, invisible aligners, or retainers—can get pretty pricey. For families or individuals with a limited or inflexible budget, it may be the reason why they don’t seek treatment in the first place. However, there are numerous ways you can get the treatment you need at a quality family orthodontics , without busting your budget.

    Woman Smile Orthodontic Clear Braces Teeth

    1. Create a Savings Plan

    While this option may seem quite obvious, many people often feel that getting orthodontic treatment is a luxury or an added bonus to regular dental care, rather than a necessity. This is an unfortunate misconception about orthodontics, because while regular dentist appointments are essential, the structure of your teeth is just as important.

    As a result of this misconception, not many people save for orthodontic treatment, and as such, orthodontic care may feel out of reach or nearly impossible. The solution is changing the mentality surrounding orthodontic treatment and thinking of it as a long-term investment—much like saving for a house or car. While going to the orthodontist can be a larger expense in your budget, it is a worthwhile and beneficial investment. Not to mention that many orthodontic practices offer an additional discount for upfront payment.

    Orthodontic care goes beyond having perfectly straight teeth and a pretty smile. There are several additional benefits of getting orthodontic treatment .

    Benefits of Orthodontic Care

    1. Prevention of tooth decay and periodontal disease
    2. Increased functionality of jaw muscles
    3. Reduced headaches and neck, shoulder, and back pain due to a strained jaw
    4. Straightened teeth help maintain bone support
    5. Easier cleaning experience
    6. Increased confidence and self-esteem

    dentist showing a patient her teeth x-ray

    2. Ask About Payment Plans

    It is common for many orthodontic offices to offer payment plans for patients who may not have health insurance. These payment plans offer flexible and affordable payment options which are a lot more cost-efficient than standard credit options. Additionally, orthodontic treatment is usually completed in no less than a year, so payment plans will usually offer 0% interest for financing.

    3. Take Advantage of Healthcare Credit Programs

    For those who cannot afford dental insurance, another viable option for funding orthodontic care is a healthcare credit program, such as CareCredit, a specialized healthcare financing credit card. Additionally, you can get assistance from financing programs such as Springstone, which specializes in patient financing for healthcare services such as dental treatment and offers low starting interest rates. Both options are accepted by Labbe Family Orthodontics.

    To find out more information about affordable orthodontic treatment, or to schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontic specialists, contact Labbe Family Orthodontics at (443) 603-3448 . And remember— life is better with a smile!

  • Orthodontic Patients: What to Pack (& Eat) on Vacation

    Summer is just right around the corner, and that means vacations for a large number of families and adults. If you are one of the millions of people who wear braces or use Invisalign, you will want to know how to care for your braces or aligners while you are enjoying your vacation away from home.

    Before you head out the door and start your vacation, you need to make sure you have packed the right essentials. Some of the more common items to pack for your orthodontic care include:

    • Toothpaste
    • Toothbrush
    • Dental Floss
    • Retainer Case
    • Aligners Case

    While you are on vacation, you may be tempted by many of summer’s numerous treats and foods. It is important to remember that just because you are on vacation, your orthodontic treatment is not.

    You should still refrain from eating things you would skip at home because they could cause problems with your braces or aligners. Yet this does not mean you cannot enjoy other things like ice cream, fresh soft fruits, burgers, or pizza!

    To find out what other essentials you should pack for orthodontic care while on vacation, foods you can enjoy, foods you should skip, and tips for sticking to your orthodontic care routine, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

    Afterward, if you have further questions about caring for your braces or Invisalign aligners while on vacation, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics, where “Life Is Better with a Smile!”

    Vacation Eating With Braces

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  • Q&A: Do Sports and Braces Mix?

    grils wearing braces during sports

    Question: Can you wear braces during sports? It’s a common question, asked by parents and kids all over the country who wonder if they can hit the field or run onto the court with their new braces.

    Answer: The short answer is yes. You can absolutely wear braces while playing sports, as long as you take the necessary precautions. What does that mean? How do you do it? Here are a few more common questions, along with some helpful answers.

    Q: What are the necessary precautions?

    A: At the very least, you’ll need a mouth guard, which prevents your teeth from scraping against or even biting your lip while also protecting your braces from damage.

    Q: Can you play soccer with braces?

    A: Yes, as well as football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, water polo, tennis, rugby, boxing, and even Frisbee, as long as you have basic protection for your mouth.

    Q: Can you wear a normal mouth guard with braces?

    A: No. If you wear braces, you’ll need a special orthodontic mouth guard for braces. Your typical sports mouth guard is made of hard plastic. An orthodontic mouth guard or braces mouth guard, on the other hand, is composed of silicone and tends to be much larger so that it can fit over brackets and wires.

    Q: Can you play sports right after getting braces ?

    A: Yes, as long as you wear a mouth guard.

    Q: Are mouth guards required?

    A: Check with your school or league. Some require mouth guards. Others don’t. In either case, you’ll want to wear one every time you practice or play a game. That’s the only way to protect your lips, gums, teeth, and braces.

    girls playing soccer with braces

    Q: What happens if you don’t wear a mouth guard?

    A: You may cut your lips, cheeks, and gums. You also risk broken brackets, loose wires, chipped teeth, or even fractured tooth roots.

    Q: How do you clean a mouth guard?

    A: In the same way you would clean clear braces or a retainer, by using a toothbrush and soap and/or by soaking it in an anti-microbial solution. It’s important that you clean your mouth guard every day or after every use in order to sanitize it.

    Q: What is a “boil-and-bite mouth guard”?

    A: It’s simple: You boil the mouth guard in water, and then bite into it to mold it to your teeth. These type mouthguards are not recommended to use while wearing braces. The “molding” process can bend or break the wires/brackets – Plus, you may get the indention of the form of your teeth with braces; but you won’t get the mouthguard to conform to all the detail of the braces and teeth.

    Q: Can you use a boil-and-bite mouth guard with braces?

    A: Orthodontists don’t recommend wearing this style of mouthguard. They may be cheaper, but, the risk far outweighs any benefit.

    Q: Is there a better alternative to boil-and-bite mouth guards?

    A: Yes. You can get a custom mouth guard from an orthodontist, which is made of better materials and fitted to your teeth using more precise, more state-of-the-art technology.

    Q: What should I do if I get injured while playing sports?

    A: If the injury is serious, you might want to see a doctor or even visit an urgent care facility to make sure you don’t need stitches or antibacterial treatment. No matter the severity of the injury, you’ll want to visit our orthodontics offices in Annapolis, Crofton/Gambrills, Bowie, and Greenbelt. We can survey the damage, help treat the wounds, and fix any broken appliances.

  • The Lowdown on Braces and Bad Breath

    Wearing braces to give you a great-looking smile requires adjusting your oral care habits to keep your teeth clean and prevent bad breath. Bad breath can occur when there are food particles left trapped in between the brackets and wires.

    As this food breaks down, it creates bacteria. These bacteria are part of what causes bad breath. In addition, when bacteria combine with new food particles, they can create tooth-decaying acid. The acid will slowly erode the enamel layer of the teeth.

    Furthermore, besides bad breath and tooth decay, bad oral care habits can cause you to experience other types of problems. To find out what these are, the Dos and Don’ts of what types of food to eat with braces, and proper oral care methods, we invite you to continue reviewing and reading the following infographic.

    Afterward, if you have further questions about how to care for your teeth with braces or need help addressing a bad breath problem, please feel free to contact Labbe Family Orthodontics today, where we believe “Life Is Better with a Smile!”

    The Lowdown on Braces and Bad Breath Infographic

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  • 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

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  • 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.

  • 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.

    brush with paste

    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.

    Orthodontic care

    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.