March 9, 2023 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What foods to avoid with braces

Braces are a great way to improve your smile or fix alignment issues. Getting used to the brackets and wires on your teeth can take a while, and you’ll also have to make small changes to your diet.   

Hard, tough or sticky foods can damage the wires of your braces and be difficult to clean off. Here’s what foods you can eat and what you should avoid after getting orthodontics:   

Foods to avoid while wearing braces  

If you have traditional metal braces, there are some foods you shouldn’t eat. Avoiding these foods will prevent damage to the brackets and wires on your braces.   

Chewy foods: A lot of snacks or processed foods fit into this category. Processed sugary snacks like fruit roll-ups and lollies such as hard licorice can easily get stuck all over the brackets and wires of your braces. Eating too many chewy sugary foods can lead to an increase in plaque on your teeth.  

Crunchy foods: Foods such as popcorn, corn chips and nuts are notorious for getting stuck in between braces. They are hard to dislodge even after a good brush. 

Sticky foods: Sticky foods such as bubble gum and toffees or caramels can easily pull at the brackets and wires of your braces. Chewing gum is particularly hard to remove once it gets stuck. 

Hard foods: Hard foods like ice, boiled lollies, hard biscuits, or crackers can break the brackets off your teeth. 

Overly soft foods: Very soft or overly processed foods like white bread can turn into a sticky paste that coats your braces and requires brushing to remove.  

While this may sound like a lot of foods to avoid, most of the foods in these categories are found in the snack food isles and are highly processed. Reducing the amount of junk food you eat while you have braces will help your overall oral health. Soft drinks and sugary foods can get lodged between teeth or stick to the brackets of your braces and lead to an increase in plaque.  

Braces require more cleaning than regular teeth, which means plaque may linger for longer in the mouth. The acids found in plaque attack the surface of your tooth, leading to tooth decay and cavities. 

Foods to eat sparingly while wearing braces 

Coffee and tea: The tannins in coffee and tea can discolour your braces and teeth. Try to limit the number of caffeinated beverages you drink. 

Orange juice and citric foods. Because citric fruits and their juice are very acidic, they are very high in sugar. It’s best to either drink and eat these foods sparingly and drink a glass of water alongside your fruit or fruit juice. This will help to wash away the fruit acid from around your teeth and braces. 

Foods that stain or use colouring: Foods that stain or use food colouring can stain your braces, especially if you have clear braces. Try and avoid curries that use saffron or contain heavy spices that might stain.  

Foods to eat while wearing braces 

Some foods are great for eating when you have braces. Not only are these foods easy to eat and healthy, but they are also great for when your teeth are feeling more sensitive. 

Yoghurt. Fruit yoghurt and Greek yoghurt is full of protein, easy to eat, and easy to wash away. 

Cheese. Most cheese is soft and won’t get stuck between brackets or break your braces. 

Mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are nutritious and easy to eat. 

Pasta. Noodle dishes are soft enough to eat without turning into a sticky paste in the mouth. 

Fruit without pits. Bananas, seedless grapes, strawberries, and kiwifruit are easy to eat and usually won’t get stuck between your braces. 

Tips for eating with braces 

After the first few months of wearing braces, you’ll naturally become more accustomed to avoiding certain foods. Most hard, sticky, chewy or very soft foods are uncomfortable to eat and can take a lot of cleaning to remove from between the brackets of your braces.  

In general, swapping processed snack foods for whole foods is a great idea. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and most meat off the bone is easy to eat for people with braces.  

Reduce the amount of processed or refined sugar you eat and drink. Food debris that contains sugar leads to an increase in cavity-causing plaque. 

Brush after every meal. It’s inevitable that food will get stuck between your braces. Brushing your teeth after you eat can help improve your oral health and prevent cavities. 

Cut food into smaller pieces. Crunchy vegetables or corn are easier to eat when they are cut into smaller pieces or removed from the cob.  

How to clean your braces between each meal 

Pack an extra toothbrush for when you are on the go. To make cleaning on the go easier, pack an extra toothbrush and toothpaste in your work or school bag so that you don’t have to remember to take your toothbrush with you each day. 

Clean your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can irritate your teeth and gums. When you have braces it’s important to clean thoroughly between your braces, the top of your teeth and your gums. 

Brush after every meal. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack. Brace wires can catch all sorts of food debris and brushing after each meal will help prevent plaque buildup. If you have eaten citric foods or juices, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. The acids in these foods can weaken tooth enamel if you brush straight away. 

Brush for two minutes. Make sure you get into every crevice and angle of your teeth. Spend thirty seconds on each part of your mouth, cleaning both the inner and outer sides of your teeth. Choosing a toothbrush with a narrow head can make it easier to brush between wires and get the back of your molars. 

Use a floss threader or water pick. A floss threader makes it easier to floss between teeth when you have braces. Alternatively, a water pick cleans by using a stream of water and is a fast, easy way to floss. 

Looking after your braces isn’t difficult. If you are interested in orthodontics, our specialist team will talk through how best to care for your braces. Book a consultation with the team at Gentle Dental today to find out if orthodontics is right for you.   

October 11, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Do I Need Braces? 7 Signs You May Need Orthodontics

Dentists and orthodontists recommend orthodontics for many reasons. While there are some obvious signs a person might need braces, such as crooked teeth, an overbite or an underbite, there are other less common indicators that you may need orthodontic treatment. Having straight teeth can not only improve your confidence; they are also much easier to clean and floss between. An aligned bite can also make chewing more comfortable and fix some speech impediments. If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘do I need braces?’ here are some signs you might.

1. Your teeth are crooked or crowded 

An obvious indicator that you need braces is if you have teeth that are crooked or crowded in your mouth. Crooked teeth can affect your self-confidence and make you feel embarrassed to smile. They are also harder to clean between which increases the risk of tooth decay. 

Crowding happens to teeth when there isn’t enough room in the mouth for all of the adult teeth to grow. Dental crowding is also caused by: 

  • having teeth that are larger than your jaw and don’t ‘fit’ correctly 
  • losing an adult tooth early and having another adult tooth move into the empty space 
  • wisdom teeth emerging and not having enough space to sit comfortably in the mouth 
  • over-retention of baby teeth which prevents adult teeth from growing  correctly 

2. You breathe through your mouth  

Our bodies are designed to breathe nasally. If you breathe through your mouth excessively, especially when you sleep, it could be because closing your mouth doesn’t feel comfortable. In a well-aligned mouth, the top row of teeth rests gently on the bottom row when the mouth is closed. For some, this doesn’t feel natural, which leads to breathing through the mouth rather than through the nose.  

Breathing through the mouth excessively can change the way your face looks as you develop from adolescence into adulthood. Mouth breathing can lead to dry lips, bad breath and other health issues.  

Fixing the alignment of your teeth will not only fix the way you breathe, it can also improve the appearance of the face. 

3. Your teeth don’t align properly 

Ideally, the top and bottom rows of your teeth should rest gently on one another when your mouth is closed. If you have an overbite your top row of teeth will protrude over the bottom row. If you have an underbite, the bottom teeth protrude out further than the upper teeth.  

Underbites can make it difficult to chew properly and may make closing your mouth feel uncomfortable. Many people choose to get their overbites fixed for aesthetic reasons. Overbites can lead to: 

  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Pain or discomfort when chewing 
  • Gum disease if bottom teeth aren’t brushed properly 
  • Speech problems 

4. You have a speech impediment 

Having crooked or misaligned teeth can cause speech issues such as lisping, whistling or a lateral lisp. The alignment of your teeth affects where the tongue is placed when speaking. Crooked teeth can disrupt your ability to correctly form certain words. Overcrowded teeth can make it hard for the tongue to move as freely while large gaps between teeth can cause whistling sounds, especially on ‘s’ sounds. 

When teeth are properly aligned, your tongue can produce the right sounds without obstruction. 

5. You have trouble chewing 

Misaligned teeth can cause problems with your jaw, making it harder to chew your food properly. If you experience clicking or pain in the jaw, you could also have problems with your temporomandibular (TMJ) joint. This joint connects the jawbone to your skull. Long term grinding of the teeth can also cause pain in the TMJ. 

Your dentist will be able to tell you whether or not braces can fix any problems with your jaw that make chewing difficult. For some people, braces won’t be enough. Instead, they may need jaw surgery to fix problems with their TMJ. 

6. You sucked your thumb past the age of five  

If you sucked your thumb as a child past the age of five, you may need orthodontics to correct your teeth. Sucking your thumb for long periods of time, especially in childhood when your adult teeth are emerging, can push the front teeth forward into an overbite.   

If your child is a thumb-sucker this doesn’t necessarily mean you should force them to stop. Most children grow out of the habit naturally. However, if your child is five or older there is a higher chance that their habit will change the way their teeth form and could lead to alignment issues. 

 7. You don’t like the look of your smile 

You don’t have to experience problems with your teeth to have orthodontics. Plenty of people get braces for aesthetic reasons. Whether you have a gap between some of your teeth or one or two crooked teeth, no matter how small the aesthetic ‘problem’ braces can be a great solution.  

Straight teeth can boost your confidence by fixing any issues that may stop you from wanting to smile. Straightening your teeth can also give a more harmonious look to the face and improve your jaw structure.  

Orthodontics at Gentle Dental 

At Gentle Dental we offer traditional braces, clear braces, lingual braces and Invisalign. Traditional braces are made from stainless steel to gently move your teeth into place. Clear braces are similar to traditional braces, but use ceramic brackets for a more discreet look. Lingual braces fit to the inside of the teeth and are better suited to adults than kids or teenagers. Invisalign are a great option for adults seeking orthodontic treatment. The trays are transparent, easy to use and are barely noticeable. 

No matter what type of braces you choose, we focus on providing a gentle touch when it comes to fitting your orthodontics. While many orthodontists will remove teeth in order to create room in the mouth to align the teeth, we try to avoid removing teeth wherever possible. 

If you are interested in orthodontics for you or your child, book a consultation with us today.  

December 6, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Braces 101: What to Expect When Getting Braces

The short space of time you will wear braces for is worth a lifetime of having a great smile and well-aligned teeth. To prepare yourself for getting braces, we’ve put together this blog post which covers everything you should know about your orthodontic journey.  

Before getting braces

Braces don’t just improve the look of your smile. Braces are often recommended by a dentist to correct teeth, jaw, and bite alignment issues and improve the oral health of your teeth.  

Before getting braces, there may be some dental work you need to have done first. This could include getting teeth removed so that your teeth are not impacting others during the straightening process.  

Your dentist should talk you through what dental work needs to be done before you get braces. At Gentle Dental, we aim to only remove teeth if it is absolutely necessary to the patient. 

Your dentist should also have a rough timeline for how long you will need to have braces for your teeth to shift into position. Most patients need to have braces for around 18-24 months. One of the benefits of having braces as a teenager is treatment is generally faster than in adults. If you have the option to get braces in your teens, we recommend doing so.  

What to expect at your orthodontics consultation

Your dentist will schedule an initial consultation to listen to your concerns and what you want to achieve by having orthodontic treatment. After the examination they should discuss their findings with you and recommend some options to correct the problem. At this stage, your dentist should discuss how much braces cost, length of braces treatment, and answer any questions you may have about the process.  

 At Gentle Dental, once the consultation process is complete, we take digital scans, photographs and x-rays of your teeth for diagnosis and treatment planning. 

What to expect while getting your braces on

Getting braces is a relatively painless experience. During the appointment your dentist glues brackets onto each tooth and places a wire along them to start gently straightening your teeth. Some metal braces allowed for colours to be included around the metal bracket on each tooth. Braces colours come in many shades and are a fun option for kids and teenagers. 

The process of getting braces is usually completed in an hour or less. You may feel some pressure on your teeth for the first few days after getting braces fitted.  

You will usually have consistent appointments throughout the next 18-24 months to check and tighten your braces. Your teeth may feel a little tender after each tightening appointment.  

What to expect while having braces

Braces are a commitment and it’s important that the patient follows the dentist’s instructions on teeth cleaning and care. Failure to follow proper orthodontic care could prolong the length of your treatment. 

You may need to adjust the foods you eat after getting braces. Very soft and very hard foods can be a problem, for different reasons: 

  • Soft foods – like white bread and popcorn – can easily get stuck in your braces and are hard to remove.  
  • Hard, or sticky foods – like toffee, jerky, chewing gum – can actually dislodge the metal brackets on your braces. 

Brushing your teeth is very important when you have braces. Food can easily become stuck in the brackets and wires of your teeth so it’s important that you brush thoroughly twice a day.  

Carrying a small toothbrush with you when you are out of the house is a good idea. This will help clean your teeth if you get food lodged between the braces while you are at school or work. 

What to expect while getting your braces removed

Congratulations on getting through your braces journey! When the day comes to get your braces removed you may find your teeth feel weird and slightly slimy. That’s usually just because you’re not used to the feeling of smooth teeth. You should get used to not having them on fairly quickly. 

  • Getting your braces removed is not a painful experience. Your dentist will use tools to remove the brackets from your teeth and buff off any glue that remains on the surface of your teeth. 
  • You may be given a post-treatment plan which involves using a mouthguard at night. Make sure you wear it every night as your teeth may still move in the years after your treatment. 
  • If you have a metal bar paced behind your teeth, take extra care to brush and floss behind it. There are special types of floss that can be inserted behind the teeth for a better flossing experience.  

Knowing what to expect before you get braces makes the experience easier. At Gentle Dental, we do gentle braces and use state-of-the-art technology to make the process as comfortable as possible. If you are interested in discussing orthodontics, book your appointment here. 

November 21, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Invisalign: Frequently asked questions

Invisalign can be a great alternative to braces especially for adults as their clear and removable aligners are far less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Invisalign works by using custom made aligners to move your teeth into place. These aligners are changed out every two weeks for a new set. These removable aligners are practically invisible and less conspicuous than braces.

Invisalign is the market leader in clear aligner braces. If you have been considering Invisalign here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign uses clear aligners that are customized and are robotically made to fit your teeth. At Gentle Dental we use 3D digital scanning technology to ensure the aligners fit perfectly. Our custom-made aligners are made in the US and are shipped to us for use.

Invisalign liners gently reposition your teeth into alignment by using a slightly tighter tray every two weeks. These trays can be removed to eat and can be easily cleaned.

How does Invisalign move your teeth?

Braces and Invisalign both work by putting pressure on the teeth to move them into the correct position. While traditional braces use wires and brackets to create pressure, Invisalign uses custom aligners that are just tight enough to pressure the teeth into moving.

This is why the aligning trays need to be changed every few weeks. Over time your teeth move enough to fit the new trays comfortably which means it’s now time to get a tighter tray to continue the alignment of the teeth.

Is Invisalign cheaper than braces?

No. Invisalign is not cheaper than traditional braces. Generally, the cost of Invisalign is determined by how many aligning trays you require. Invisalign can sometimes be twice as expensive as traditional braces. However, most people choose Invisalign for the look and feel of the treatment.

It’s not uncommon for people who have had braces in the past to re-correct their teeth with Invisalign. Invisalign can be a good option for people who are looking for a small correction to the alignment of their teeth and don’t have major misalignment issues.

What is better braces or Invisalign?

There is no major difference between the end result of your smile when choosing between braces or Invisalign. Braces can be a better option for teenagers and young adults as they are permanent, and some parents don’t want the added hassle of having to remind their children to wear their aligners.

Many adults choose Invisalign as they are transparent and they like that they are removable. However, Invisalign will work faster if the trays are worn consistently. Some people will find their Invisalign journey takes longer than expected because they aren’t wearing their aligners as much as they should. Consider whether you will wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time before committing to Invisalign.

Braces can also be a better option for severely misaligned or overlapping teeth. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether Invisalign is right for your smile.  Check out our blog post on the pros of cons of braces and Invisalign here for an in-depth comparison.

Is Invisalign bad for your teeth?

No, Invisalign is not bad for your teeth. In some cases, braces are a better option, or a combination of braces and Invisalign may be recommended.

Which is better: Smile Direct or Invisalign?

As highly qualified dentists we always recommend that you see a dentist in person for any teeth realignment procedures. Services like Smile Direct rely on the patient to keep track of their progress which means misalignment issues have a higher chance of occurring.

Furthermore, a dentist may sometimes recommend the removal of teeth to ensure that once you start your braces or Invisalign treatment, your teeth won’t become overcrowdedx in your mouth. Smile Direct may be a better option for small realignment issues.

If you are interested in exploring whether Invisalign is the right option for your smile, book in now to see one of our highly qualified dentists and we can talk you through a treatment plan.