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Can a Misaligned Bite Cause Headaches?

By Orthodontics

Have you been dealing with increasing headaches? The usual culprits might come to mind — stress, lack of sleep, maybe too much (or too little!) coffee. But what if we told you that a misaligned bite might be the cause? Yes, a misaligned bite, a type of malocclusion, can actually cause headaches.

If this sounds like you, read on as Dr. Anand Patel and The Brace Place team talk about this common problem.

The Connection Between a Bad Bite and Headaches

Misaligned teeth or dental arches can lead to all sorts of issues — and headaches are right up there on the list. Malocclusions such as underbites, cross bites, open bites, and overbites can cause jaw pain, muscle tension and head pain. But how exactly can misalignment cause headaches?

When your teeth don’t fit together well, your jaw can’t relax when your mouth is closed. In other words, with malocclusion, your jaw muscles are under constant stress. This strain on your jaw can lead to tension headaches, jaw pain, excessive or uneven wear on tooth enamel, or fractured teeth.

Your jaw and head are connected by a network of muscles, nerves, and joints. When you have a misaligned bite, your muscles must work overtime when bringing your teeth together, chewing, or even keeping your mouth closed. This extra strain can lead to muscle tension and headaches.

Here’s a list of the different types of malocclusion that can potentially cause headaches:

Overbite: You’re likely most familiar with this type of misalignment — an overbite is when your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth. Now, keep in mind that it’s normal to have a small overbite, but an excessive overbite can be problematic, causing extra wear on the front teeth, jaw pain, headache, and facial tension. A severe overbite is called a deep bite.

Underbite: Think of an underbite as the visual opposite of an overbite. It’s when the lower front teeth are on the outside of the upper front teeth when your mouth is closed. This orthodontic problem can cause jaw pain, TMJ dysfunction, difficulties with chewing, and even contribute to sleep apnea.

Overjet: This can be tricky for patients to recognize in the mirror and can be confused with an overbite. An overjet is only the upper front teeth sticking out in front of the lower front teeth. It’s sometimes called “buck teeth” or protruding teeth. This kind of malocclusion increases the risk of injury to the top front teeth and can cause pain in your jaw joints.

Crossbite: A crossbite is when the upper teeth sit on the inside of the lower teeth. You can have a front crossbite or back crossbite, depending on where it occurs in your mouth. In kids, this kind of bad bite can cause the jaws to develop asymmetrically; for both kids and adults, a crossbite can lead to jaw pain, TMJ dysfunction, and make chewing difficult.

Teeth Grinding and TMJ Headaches

Any of the above bad bites can also cause teeth grinding, which in turn can cause headaches. Also called bruxism, teeth grinding happens to both kids and adults, more commonly when you’re asleep. When you have a misaligned bite, sometimes grinding your teeth is a subconscious attempt at aligning your bite. Teeth grinding puts a lot of pressure and force on the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that connect your lower jaw to your head, leading to issues like TMJ dysfunction and headaches, jaw pain, and muscle tension in your neck, shoulders, or ears.

If you experience a teeth-grinding headache quite regularly, it’s a definite sign that you should contact us at The Brace Place for a free initial consultation.

Fixing Malocclusion and Saying Goodbye to Headaches

As your Tulsa and Claremore, OK orthodontist, Dr. Patel is an expert at assessing smiles, diagnosing patients’ orthodontic issues, and providing individualized braces or Invisalign® treatment. The goal? To help our patients achieve healthy, stunning, and pain-free smiles.

How does this smile transformation begin? At your first visit, Dr. Patel will examine your teeth, chat with you about your jaw pain or headache symptoms, and our team will take quick and comfortable X-rays if needed.

Dr. Patel will look for and ask about:

  • Misalignment of your jaws and teeth
  • Uneven wear on your teeth
  • Jaw pain or clicking
  • Difficulty chewing or biting

If we find that you have malocclusion like an overbite, for example, and have been suffering constant headaches, orthodontic treatment can go a long way in finally relieving your pain. Braces and clear aligners aren’t just tools for a beautiful smile — they’re your ticket to aligning teeth or a bad bite and leaving related headaches behind.

No More Malocclusion Headaches With Your Tulsa Orthodontist

If you think malocclusion is causing your headaches, The Brace Place team is here to help. Dr. Patel offers over 25 years of orthodontic expertise, paired with modern technology and personalized treatment.

Contact your Tulsa and Claremore, OK, orthodontist to start your journey toward a well-aligned, pain-free smile with modern braces or Invisalign clear aligners.

Orthodontics for Teens: 5 Things Parents Should Know

By Orthodontics

So, your teen could benefit from orthodontics. If it’s your first time navigating the world of orthodontic treatment, this news can feel a little overwhelming. That’s why Dr. Anand Patel and The Brace Place team want to help make the journey of teen orthodontics easy for you and your teen: let’s cover five things you need to know, from the best age to get braces to your appliance options.

1. See An Orthodontist Early

Let’s talk about timing. One of the first things you might wonder is when to see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that kids come in for a first orthodontic evaluation around age seven. Sound a bit early for when to see an orthodontist? Actually, it’s the perfect time for a first visit: at this age, kids have a mix of adult and baby teeth, so an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Patel can spot potential issues.

Now, an early visit doesn’t mean your child will walk out with braces. Most of the time, an early examination just kickstarts regular check-ins as your child grows. Dr. Patel will let you know when your child arrives at the best age to get braces or Invisalign for their unique case.

2. Early Orthodontics Can Make Teen Orthodontics Easier

But what if early intervention is suggested at your initial visit? Phase 1 orthodontics, or early interceptive treatment, may include an expander, space maintainer, or limited braces. Early treatment starts between ages 6-10 and helps guide jaw growth, correct bite problems, or ensure space for adult teeth to grow correctly. Benefits? Phase 1 orthodontics can:

  • Prevent more severe problems later on
  • Reduce the need for tooth extractions or surgery
  • Shorten treatment time in the teen years
  • Even eliminate the need for teen orthodontics!
  • Make braces or Invisalign Teen® easier and more affordable

3. Today’s Orthodontic Treatments for Teens are Discreet and Effective

Gone are the days when chunky metal braces were the only option for teen orthodontics. At The Brace Place, we offer two types of braces: sleek, modern metal braces with smaller brackets and thinner wires and clear ceramic braces that use nearly-invisible, tooth-colored brackets.

Teens can also choose the clear aligner system Invisalign Teen® at The Brace Place. A discreet alternative to braces, removable clear aligners are custom-made for your teen’s teeth. How is Invisalign Teen different from regular Invisalign®? Invisalign Teen includes special eruption tabs to accommodate erupting molars. Plus, your kid gets extra sets of aligners, just in case they lose a few in their shuffle between school, activities, home, and leisure time.

Our patients who have chosen Invisalign appreciate their near-invisibility, and, unlike braces, you don’t have to change how you eat (keep the popcorn coming!) because you take them out for eating, drinking anything other than water and cleaning your teeth.

4. Oral Hygiene is Super Important

Keeping teeth clean during orthodontic treatment is crucial whether you have Invisalign Teen, clear braces, or metal braces. Orthodontic work can trap food and plaque, so it’s essential for your teen to level up their oral hygiene, brushing and flossing even more diligently (and frequently!) than before.

Consider investing in an electric toothbrush or water flosser and adding mouthwash. And remember, with Invisalign, your teen has the added step of cleaning their clear aligner trays before putting them back in. A weekly deep clean is also not to be missed.

Good oral hygiene will keep your teen’s smile healthy throughout their treatment and prevent delays from addressing cavities or gum disease. As a bonus, A+ oral hygiene also means your teen will reveal a sparkling smile when the orthodontics come off!

5. It’s Not Just About Looks

Without a doubt, straight teeth are nice to look at and can boost self-confidence, but teen orthodontics is more than just cosmetic. A well-aligned bite has overall health benefits, making chewing and speaking efficient and even alleviating breathing issues. It can also prevent jaw problems and uneven wear on teeth. And properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the likelihood of cavities and gum disease. Simply put, orthodontic treatment for teens is a long-term investment in their oral health, not just a short-term aesthetic fix.

Teen Orthodontics With Your Expert Tulsa and Claremore, OK Orthodontist

Now that you’re up-to-speed on the top things you should know about teen orthodontics, what’s the next step? Make your first appointment at our Tulsa or Claremore office with Dr. Patel and our expert, friendly team at The Brace Place.

Whether your child needs Phase 1 orthodontics or it’s time for teen orthodontics with Invisalign Teen, clear braces, or traditional metal braces, our personalized, high-tech approach and wealth of experience means your teen will be flashing a healthy, confident smile that will last a lifetime.

The Dos and Don'ts of Cleaning Your Retainer

The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Retainer

By Orthodontics

You deserve a straight and healthy smile! So how does cleaning your retainer affect your oral health? Well, a retainer sits on your teeth for a long time — in fact, 8-10 hours when you’re sleeping!

So it’s not surprising that food debris, bacteria, and plaque can accumulate on your retainer. If your retainer plastic looks like it has a milky film, that’s plaque. What’s on your retainer can transfer onto your teeth and lead to tartar — the hardened form of plaque — as well as tooth decay and cavities.

The first step to a clean retainer? Learning how to clean a retainer properly to keep it free of sticky plaque and minimize your replacement time.

How to Clean Retainers

Check out these dos and don’ts for how to clean the Invisalign retainers and Essix retainers we offer at The Brace Place:

Do’s for Cleaning your Retainer

Clean retainers with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least once a day. For extra cleaning power, you can use mild, unscented, liquid dish soap too. Brush your retainer gently to remove plaque, bacteria and food bits and then rinse it off in lukewarm water. We recommend having a separate toothbrush that you use just for retainer cleaning. 

Do use cool or lukewarm water to rinse your retainer. You might think that hot water will get rid of bacteria better. However, really hot water can warp your retainer, causing it to lose its custom shape. And if your retainer doesn’t retain its fit, your teeth may not be getting the retention they need.

Do try a paste of water and baking soda. A paste of water and baking soda is a gentle yet effective everyday retainer cleaner. It kills odors, bacteria build-up, and plaque on your retainer without using chemicals. Make a mix of 50/50 water to baking soda — the mixture should be thick enough to stick to your retainer. Brush the paste inside and outside your retainer, then rinse off with cool or warm water. 

Make a fresh batch of baking soda/water paste every time you clean your retainer. That way, you minimize bacteria in the paste from the last time you dipped your toothbrush into it. 

Do soak your retainer in a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Make a 50/50 solution of warm water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. This solution helps take away yellowness in your retainer and kills bacteria, but it doesn’t remove plaque build-up. Ensure the plaque is gone by first brushing your retainer with the baking soda paste above. Soak your retainer in this solution for 30 minutes and rinse well with warm water before putting the retainer into your mouth. 

Or soak with water and vinegar. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide at home, you can use vinegar instead. Make a solution of 50% warm water and 50% white vinegar. Soak your retainer for 20 minutes and rinse well so you don’t taste the vinegar! 

Do use a premade retainer cleaner. Yes, you can find many ready-made retainer cleaners at the drugstore if you prefer not to make your own. We at The Brace Place understand that some patients like the convenience of a commercial product and feel more comfortable with it. 

So how do you clean retainers with a store-bought cleaner? Most, like Brite retainer cleaner, come in tablets; you simply drop one of these retainer cleaner tablets into water to activate its cleaning power. Submerge your retainer for the amount of time instructed. Retainer cleaner tablets result in clean-looking retainers, minimal to no odor, and no more bacteria. 

Not sure which one to use? Dr. Patel and the team at The Brace Place are happy to suggest which retainer cleaner tablets will work best for you.

Do drink lots of water. Water helps wash away food debris and sugars from your teeth and retainer. Food debris and sugars cause bacteria to increase and acids to weaken your tooth enamel. Weakened tooth enamel makes your teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. So long story short, water keeps oral bacteria at bay. Water also helps prevent dry mouth, which is linked to tooth decay.  And a dried-out retainer is more prone to damage and hardened plaque.

Do keep your retainer case clean. Bacteria can thrive in your retainer case just as much as on your retainer. Clean your case with mild dish soap once or twice a week, then wipe with a clean paper towel or cloth. You can also put your retainer case in the top rack of your dishwasher once a week (empty, not with your retainer in it).

Don’ts for Cleaning your Retainer

Don’t clean your retainer with disinfectant wipes. You know, like the kind you’d use to wipe counters and other surfaces. These wipes say they kill most bacteria, but it’s not the same kind as the bacteria on your retainer. Plus, the chemicals in these wipes will harm your teeth and leave an unpleasant taste on your retainer.

Don’t rinse or soak with hot water. As we mentioned earlier, hot or boiling water can warp your retainer. A retainer that has lost its original shape can change the positioning of your teeth, moving them into new misalignment or allowing your teeth to shift back towards their old spots. 

Don’t use mouthwash as a retainer cleaner. You might have noticed that the wall of mouthwashes at your local drugstore is quite colorful. As nice as it is to look at, the color in your favorite mouthwash can stain your retainer’s plastic, so don’t soak your retainer with mouthwash.

Don’t brush your retainer with toothpaste. Is this a surprising no-no for how to clean retainers? Perhaps, but we don’t suggest using toothpaste to refresh your retainer because toothpaste can be too abrasive on your retainer, scratching or dulling the plastic.

Don’t store it without a case. It’s worth the extra few seconds to place your retainer in its case. Leaving your retainer out on its own or even wrapped in a tissue or napkin can dry it out, and as we mentioned previously, a dry retainer is more prone to breakage and plaque.

Cleaning Permanent Retainers

At The Brace Place, we not only offer Essix and Invisalign removable retainers but permanent retainers, too. A permanent retainer doesn’t have the same cleaning do’s and don’ts as a removable one since it’s made of a thin wire bonded to the backs of your teeth. To ensure permanent retainers stay clear of plaque and food debris, pay extra special attention to brushing and flossing the backs of your teeth, similar to your diligence with braces

Caring for your Retainers with The Brace Place

If you have any questions about how to clean retainers or care for your teeth after braces or Invisalign, Dr. Patel and The Brace Place team are happy to help. We can find the right retainer for you and provide retainer cleaning instructions that suit your lifestyle. 

Contact us at our Tulsa, or Claremore OK office today! 

What Causes a Crossbite

What Causes a Crossbite?

By Uncategorized

If your child has a crossbite, or you’ve been diagnosed with this type of malocclusion (improper bite) yourself, you might be wondering what causes it. Is it genetic or something you can prevent? In this post, Claremore and Tulsa orthodontist Dr. Anand Patel will weigh in. 

But, First, What is a Crossbite?

A patient is said to have a crossbite if one or more of the top teeth sit inside of the bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. A crossbite can involve a single tooth or groups of teeth, and it can be dental (related to the teeth) or skeletal (related to the jaw).

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, there are two main types of crossbites:

  • Anterior crossbite (front crossbite): One or more of the front upper teeth bite inside of the lower teeth. 
  • Posterior crossbite (back crossbite): One or more of the back upper teeth bite inside of the lower teeth. 

What Causes a Crossbite?

Crossbite causes include:

  • Genetics

Often, a crossbite boils down to the genetic blueprint of your tooth and facial skeletal development. In fact, if one of your parents or grandparents has a crossbite, you’re more likely to suffer from this type of malocclusion.

When a crossbite is genetic, it tends to be the result of a mismatch between the upper and lower jaw (e.g., the upper jaw is underdeveloped in comparison to the lower jaw). However, it can also be from other traits, such as inheriting a small jaw from one parent and large teeth from the other. 

  • Tooth Eruption Problems

The delayed loss of baby teeth or the abnormal eruption of permanent teeth can also cause a crossbite. 

  • Oral Habits

Oral habits, including prolonged thumb sucking and pacifier use and tongue thrust (reverse swallowing pattern), may lead to a crossbite. These habits put pressure on the palate, or roof of the mouth, behind the top front teeth. Over time, the pressure can shift teeth out of place and even distort the upper jaw bone. 

  • Mouth Breathing

Things like enlarged tonsils and craniofacial abnormalities are tied to chronic mouth breathing. Chronic mouth breathing in kids impacts their dental and facial development, potentially creating orthodontic issues, such as a crossbite.

  • Injury

Less commonly, a jaw injury can cause skeletal misalignment, forcing the teeth into a crossbite position. 

  • Dental Work

An improperly designed and placed dental crown, bridge or implant can alter the bite. 

  • Online Aligners

People who undergo at-home clear aligner treatment also run the risk of developing malocclusion, such as a posterior or anterior crossbite. This is because this type of DIY treatment focuses solely on straightening the teeth. However, when you shift the teeth, the bite changes too. 

This highlights the importance of seeing a certified specialist in orthodontics like Dr. Patel for any type of orthodontic care. An orthodontist has the experience to create an effective, customized treatment plan that results in straight teeth and a stable, aligned bite. 

We’ve broken out the causes separately for ease of reading but the truth is, both genetic and environmental factors can be behind a crossbite. For example, inherited traits may predispose you to developing a crossbite while aggressive thumb-sucking then brings it out.

The Impact: Why Fix a Crossbite?

An untreated crossbite can lead to:

  • Permanent changes in facial structure if you compensate by shifting the jaw to one side
  • Difficulty keeping teeth clean, leading to tooth decay and gum disease
  • Jaw and TMJ pain
  • Problems with chewing
  • Enamel wear

How to Fix a Crossbite

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

Not all crossbites require early intervention. However, if the crossbite indicates an underlying issue with the jaw or it’s leading to lopsided jaw growth, phase 1 orthodontic treatment could be necessary. 

With this approach, Dr. Patel starts treatment when a patient still has some of their baby teeth, usually between ages 7 and 11. He uses an appliance, such as a palatal expander, to guide jaw growth. This creates enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly and ensures the upper and lower arches will come together correctly. 

When the phase 1 goals are achieved, Dr. Patel removes the appliance and the child enters a resting period. Once all of the permanent teeth are in, phase 2 treatment begins. During this phase, the patient wears braces or Invisalign® Teen to straighten the teeth and finetune the bite. 


Braces are effective for crossbite correction. In the case of a single-tooth crossbite, braces could work on their own. In other cases, they’re usually combined with auxiliaries like rubber bands to provide the connective force needed to align the bite while also straightening the teeth. 


Can Invisalign fix a crossbite? Yes, you may still be a candidate for Invisalign if you have a crossbite. Generally, if multiple teeth are involved, Dr. Patel will bond Invisalign attachments to the teeth to help the aligners achieve more complex tooth movements. He may also use rubber bands to correct the bite.

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Crossbite?

Treatment time depends on a number of factors, including whether the crossbite is dental or skeletal, how many te complexity of the case and how well you adhere to the treatment plan. 

Crossbite Correction in Tulsa and Claremore, OK

Now that you know what causes a crossbite, areeeth are involved, th you ready to explore treatment options for yourself or your child? Book a free consultation at The Brace Place. Our Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist Dr. Patel will develop an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan to help you get the beautiful, functional smile you deserve.

Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month

Five Ways to Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month

By Community

October is National Orthodontic Health Month, introduced by the American Association of Orthodontists to highlight the importance of orthodontics for a straight, healthy, and beautiful smile. That’s why as your award-winning, Tulsa, OK orthodontist, Dr. Anand Patel at The Brace Place wants to offer five ways to keep you and your kids’ oral and orthodontic health top of mind this month. 

  1. Hold Back A Little On The Halloween Haul

Since October is also Halloween season, candy is an expected and much anticipated part of the month. But it’s not always so great for oral health. Dr. Patel recommends enjoying treats in moderation and ensuring at least a swish of water if not brushing your teeth after indulging.

  1. Make An Orthodontic Appointment

If an initial visit to the orthodontist has been on the to-do list for a while, National Orthodontic Health Month is a great time for you to get it checked off. The Brace Place makes it easy, with free initial consultations at our bright and welcoming Tulsa and Claremore, OK orthodontic offices. Schedule your appointment today.

  1. Share A Smile On Social Media

Do you or your children have braces or clear aligners? Snap a smiley selfie and use the hashtag #NationalOrthodonticHealthMonth to join with others on the journey to a healthier, happier smile.

  1. Switch Up The Braces Elastics

Have you been sporting the same elastics colors since the beginning of your braces treatment? Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month by switching up the look of your braces. At The Brace Place, we offer modern metal and ceramic braces that you can personalized with your choice of elastics. This month, try orange, black, white, or a combination of these for a Halloween theme. 

  1. Put Together an Orthodontic Travel Kit

Pack a small dental and orthodontic to-go kit with oral health and braces or clear aligner essentials. It’s handy for keeping teeth clean throughout the day and for emergencies. A travel-sized toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and dental floss keep teeth and braces free of plaque and food debris wherever you go. Include orthodontic wax, a compact mirror, and tissues. Don’t forget a clear aligner storage case if using Invisalign® or your custom mouthguard if you play sports.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic Emergencies: The Top 7 Things to Do Right Away

By Blog, Orthodontics

While modern orthodontic appliances are comfortable and durable, they’re not immune to the occasional mishap. Whether you have a poking wire or sustain a dental injury while playing sports with braces, you might be wondering what the protocol is. The team at The Brace Place has you covered. Here are the top 7 things to do right away if you find yourself in the midst of a braces emergency:

1. Stay Calm

Take a deep breath. The truth is, true orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare. The majority of issues can actually be handled at home until you’re able to get to our Tulsa or Claremore orthodontic office

2. Assess the Situation

Is it a loose or broken braces bracket? Is a wire irritating your cheek? Are you experiencing discomfort because you have a piece of food stuck in your appliance? Figuring out exactly what the problem is will allow you to take the right course of action. 

Keep in mind, you should never feel severe braces pain or have any bleeding. If you do, it’s likely the result of a bigger issue like an injury or a dental infection, which brings us to our next step. 

3. Go to the ER for a True Emergency

If you’re having uncontrollable bleeding from your mouth or you suspect a concussion or fractured jaw after a blow to the face, go to the emergency room immediately. 

For signs of an oral infection (i.e., pain, fever, a pimple on the gums, a bad taste in the mouth, facial swelling, etc.) or a knocked out, displaced or fractured tooth, head to your general dentist as soon as possible. 

Oral infections can spread to the jaw and even other areas of the body, so getting treatment is key. As for a damaged tooth, the sooner you get emergency dental care, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. 

Once you’ve dealt with the more urgent concerns, call our office. We can repair your braces if needed to keep your treatment on track. 

4. Break Out Your Braces Wax

A loose or broken bracket on your braces can sometimes rub against the inside of your mouth. It can also leave you with excess wire. In this situation, having your braces kit on hand with some orthodontic relief wax will be super helpful. 

The wax acts as a buffer between your appliance and the soft tissues of your mouth. Plus, it’s great for holding a broken bracket in place and preventing it from spinning around on the wire. 

Before covering a loose bracket with wax, slide it back into its proper position. For a poking braces wire, it can be helpful to carefully push the wire out of the way and against the nearest tooth with the eraser end of a new pencil or a cotton swab first. 

Here’s how to use wax for braces:

  • Pull off a small piece of wax.
  • Roll it in between your fingers to warm it up. 
  • Flatten the wax against the part of your braces that’s bothering you.

Pro tip: For extra staying power, use a clean tissue or piece of gauze to dry the section of braces off prior to placing the wax. 

5. Try a Temporary Fix

Putting wax on your braces is often enough to keep you comfortable until you get to the orthodontist. However, if a poking braces wire is particularly bothersome and wax doesn’t help, you can clip it on your own. Using a pair of sterilized nail clippers, gently cut the wire close to the nearest tooth and then cover it with braces wax. 

6. Swish With Saltwater

Warm saltwater soothes irritation and reduces inflammation and bacteria. Mix ½ teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of warm water. Swish the saltwater around in your mouth for a few seconds and then spit it out. Continue until you finish the glass. You can repeat this as often as necessary. 

7. Call Your Orthodontist

After you have the immediate discomfort under control, contact our office. A friendly team member will let you know if you should come in for a repair appointment or if it’s something that can wait until your regularly scheduled visit. If you need guidance on using your braces wax or clipping a wire, call us first and we’ll walk you through it! 

Looking for an emergency orthodontist in Tulsa or Claremore?

Whether you’re a patient or you’re traveling in the area, reach out if you’re dealing with a braces emergency. Our orthodontist Dr. Anand Patel is always happy to help. Or, if you haven’t started treatment yet, book a complimentary consultation at The Brace Place today! 

Playing Sports With Braces or Invisalign

Playing Sports With Braces or Invisalign

By Orthodontics

Does your child play sports? If so, you might be wondering, “Can you play sports with braces or Invisalign?”  The team at The Brace Place is here to assure you that, yes, sports and orthodontics can go hand-in-hand. Here, your Tulsa and Claremore, OK, specialist in orthodontics, Dr. Patel, covers a few considerations for participating in sports while you have braces or Invisalign®.

Priority #1 – Protecting Your Mouth When Playing Sports with Braces

The American Association of Orthodontics conducted an independent survey about mouthguards and youth sports. While 99% of parents felt kids should wear a mouthguard when playing sports, 37% of respondents said their kids don’t ever wear one to protect their smiles. 

With sports and braces, your first concern is for the safety of the mouth. Oral trauma while playing sports like a ball to the face or collision with another player, can damage braces as well as teeth. The metal parts of braces can get pushed against the inside of your lips or other areas of your mouth and cause cuts and pain.

A braces mouthguard goes a long way in protecting teeth and your appliance. But if you do sustain a mouth injury — even with a mouthguard — see us right away so Dr. Patel can assess the damage to your teeth and orthodontics.

Damage to Braces or Injury to Teeth Can Affect Orthodontic Progress

Damaged or broken braces, or injured teeth can delay your teeth straightening. How? Damaged braces need time for repair or replacement, while injured teeth need fixing and healing before resuming your orthodontics treatment. These delays can change the progress your teeth have made toward your final smile; your orthodontist might need to adjust your treatment plan so your teeth can get back on track. Damaged braces or injured teeth also require extra costs you might not have expected.

Orthodontic Mouthguards and Traditional Mouthguards are Different

Before your child had braces, did you use a typical sports mouthguard? If so, you’ll want to know that a standard sports mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard are different. A non-orthodontic mouthguard typically doesn’t have the extra room needed to cover braces comfortably.

In contrast, an orthodontic mouthguard made especially for braces-wearers has the extra clearance needed to fit over brackets and wires. Plus, orthodontic mouthguards are made of softer material like silicon instead of hard plastic. This more flexible material both absorbs impact better and protects braces. Since braces treatment is unique from person to person, Dr. Patel suggests a custom braces mouthguard that fits your teeth and your teeth only. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) you can lower your risk of oral injury by almost twofold if you wear the right mouthguard.

Playing Sports with Invisalign Might Affect Your Wearing Time

So we’ve talked about braces and wearing a sports mouthguard, but what if you or your child is using Invisalign? Do you still wear a sports mouthguard with Invisalign? Simply put, no. Both Invisalign trays and a sports mouthguard fit tight to teeth, so you can’t wear them at the same time. If you’re transforming your smile with Invisalign clear aligners, you’ll have to take them out during sports and wear a regular mouthguard.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that you need to wear your Invisalign clear aligners for 22 hours a day to stay on track with your treatment plan. If you add up the hours your Invisalign is out for eating, cleaning your teeth, and sports, it could total more than a couple of hours a day. If so, braces might be a better option.

You Might Need to Change Your Custom Braces Mouthguard Several Times as Your Teeth Shift

Dr. Patel and The Brace Place team are here to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted efficiently and as comfortably as possible. So as your teeth shift positions towards your final smile, you might need to get a new custom mouthguard every few months to fit the new positions of your teeth as they change.

At The Brace Place, we offer custom mouthguards to take you through your orthodontics journey while playing sports. Whether you’re straightening teeth with braces or Invisalign, a custom orthodontic mouthguard includes Dr. Patel taking an impression of your teeth with our painless and quick iTero® digital scanner, then designing a mouthguard to fit precisely. 

Get Your Braces Mouthguard With Your Tulsa, OK Orthodontist

If you’ve got braces or Invisalign and a sports season is coming up, ensure you’re ready to protect that smile! Contact us for an appointment at our Tulsa or Claremore office about getting a custom-fit sports mouthguard.

Braces Kit

12 Supplies to Keep in Your Braces Kit

By Orthodontics

So you’ve recently started wearing braces or Invisalign and want to be on top of all things orthodontics wherever you go. The Brace Place team suggests packing a handy braces or Invisalign supplies kit with these 12 orthodontic supplies so you’re always prepared, whether you’re at school, work, or traveling.

  1. Dental Floss

First, a pro tip: floss first, then brush; it’s more effective than the other way around. Second, many patients at The Brace Place ask us what kind of floss they should use for braces. Dr. Patel suggests going with what’s most comfortable: traditional waxed floss, ribbon floss, Superfloss, or orthodontic flossers are all great in a to-go orthodontics supplies kit. 

  1. Floss Threader

New braces-wearers sometimes find flossing around braces with traditional or ribbon floss a little challenging at first; a floss threader can help: it’s a small tool with a large loop on one end and a tail that helps guide your floss through.

  1. Interdental Pick/Brush

The tiniest little toothbrush you’ve ever seen, an interdental brush looks like a toothpick with tiny bristles at one end. Use it to dislodge food stuck in your braces or for flossing between teeth.

  1. Travel Sized Toothbrush for Braces

By now, you’re likely well versed in the rule of brushing twice daily for two minutes every time. But with braces, you might find you brush more often; Dr. Anand Patel suggests you also brush after every meal and snack, whether you’re at home or away. So include a soft-bristled, travel-sized toothbrush in your to-go kit for keeping teeth and braces clean all day. Not sure of the best method for brushing with braces? Your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontic team is happy to show you best practices for brushing your teeth with your new braces. 

  1. Toothpaste for Braces

It’s common sense that toothpaste is necessary for maintaining clean, healthy teeth. But which toothpaste should you choose for brushing with braces when you’re on the go? Find a travel-sized fluoride toothpaste to pop into your orthodontic supplies kit, but be sure to skip any whitening ones, or you might end up with unevenly white teeth after your braces come off. 

Want to save space in your braces kit? Consider a pre-pasted, single-use toothbrush like these Wisps by Colgate. 

  1. Mini Mouthwash For Extra Bacteria Fighting Power

Braces or not, we all want to have fresh breath. Mouthwash offers an extra boost in getting rid of oral bacteria and bad breath. A swish of nearly any drugstore-brand mouthwash can help kill any lingering bad bacteria. The best mouthwashes for braces contain ingredients that aim to soothe sore gum tissue, reduce white spots, and contain fluoride.

  1. Wax for Braces Discomfort and Emergencies

Some patients new to braces experience oral discomfort from wires pressing against their tongue, the inside of their lips, or their cheeks. To help alleviate this pain and give your soft oral tissues a chance to recover, include wax for braces in your orthodontic supplies kit.

Pinch off a pea-sized amount and roll it into a slightly flattened ball. Press the wax onto the problem area and use your tongue to move it into place. To remove the wax, use the dental floss or interdental pick you’ve also packed in your orthodontic travel kit.

Wax for braces is also handy for braces emergencies — like if you have a broken bracket in your braces. You can use the wax to anchor the bracket until you can come in to see Dr. Patel.  

  1. Braces Mouthguard

Wearing a mouthguard that protects your braces and teeth when you’re playing sports is a must. The Brace Places offers custom sports mouthguards which ensure an exact and protective fit over your braces. You might need to get a few different mouthguards as your braces treatment progresses and your teeth shift positions.

  1. Compact Mirror

A small mirror is handy for seeing if you have any food debris caught in your braces and checking to see if your teeth are squeaky clean after you’ve cleaned them.

  1. Pain Reliever

Over-the-counter pain relief can help alleviate discomfort from new braces or after an adjustment. Make sure you have approval from your doctor. If you’re prepping a braces kit for your child or teen, ensure that you have the thumbs up from their school to include this medication in their belongings. 

  1. Tissue

From wiping wet fingers after applying wax for painful braces to cleaning up a bit of drool, toothpaste, or water after cleaning your teeth, travel pack tissue is an indispensable part of your travel orthodontic supplies.

  1. Invisalign Storage Case 

If you’re using Invisalign to straighten your smile instead of braces, add an Invisalign storage case to your orthodontic supplies kit. Always store your clear aligners in their case when you take them out to keep them clean, prevent damage, and keep you from misplacing them when you’re out and about.

Get More Tips for On-the-Go Braces Supplies

Have more questions about what to pack into a travel orthodontic supplies kit? Give us a shout or make an appointment to visit our Tulsa or Claremore office. Dr. Patel and The Brace Place team have the experience and knowledge to help you enjoy your orthodontic experience from start to finish and wherever you are.

Orthodontic Treatment

5 Reasons to Start Treatment at The Brace Place This Summer

By Orthodontics

When is the best time to start orthodontic treatment? Summer is often an ideal time to start braces or Invisalign, especially for kids. Why? Here, 5 reasons from The Brace Place team to consider:

1. You’ll be a pro by the time school starts again

Let’s be honest, getting braces or Invisalign® is an adjustment at first. Whether you’re thinking about teeth straightening for you or your child, it’s a fact that orthodontic treatment does change your daily life a little. Summer’s looser schedule gives you time to focus on building great new habits with your orthodontics without the pressure of other time commitments. Come fall, wearing braces or Invisalign will feel natural.

With braces, some foods — especially hard, crunchy, or gummy foods — can damage braces and it can take some trial and error to figure out your favorite braces-friendly foods. Plus, brushing with braces takes more diligence; you’ll need to level up your daily brushing and flossing to make sure plaque and food debris don’t stick to your braces and contribute to tooth decay.

And if you’re thinking about getting Invisalign? Unlike braces, you can continue your usual eating habits — since you take clear aligners out when you eat or drink anything other than water. But you do have to take extra time to clean your Invisalign trays every day and deep clean them twice a week, too.

2. You can take advantage of summertime cold treats to soothe discomfort

When you have braces or Invisalign, your teeth, gums, and jaw work hard to shift into their ideal positions. So it makes sense if you experience a little pain or discomfort at times. Cold treats like fresh fruit smoothies or ice cream go hand-in-hand with summer and are a great way to soothe oral discomfort from braces or Invisalign treatment.

3. Appointments won’t clash with your busy school year schedule

For busy families, scheduling during the school year is like fitting puzzle pieces together. Juggling after-school activities, work, and a myriad of health and well-being appointments can be a lot. That’s why starting braces or Invisalign in the more relaxed season of summer is a great idea — you can fit in your initial appointments without missing school, work, practices, or lessons.

4. Save with our limited-time offer: $500 off braces or Invisalign

Your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist is making orthodontics even more affordable this summer with $500 off your braces or Invisalign. Save on your out-of-pocket braces or Invisalign cost, plus, make it even easier with our flexible payment options.

5. Get all the info you need about getting braces or Invisalign at our summer Patient Appreciation event

Want to know more about the Invisalign process or what getting braces treatment is like? Come by The Brace Place offices on Monday, June 19 and Tuesday, June 20th from 1:00-3:00 pm. We’re holding a Patient Appreciation Event at our Tulsa and Claremore offices with free shaved ice treats from the KONA truck.

Tulsa Office: June 19, 2023, 1:00-3:00pm
Claremore Office: June 20, 2023, 1:00-3:00pm

With 25 years of straightening teeth as an orthodontic specialist, Dr. Patel is a smile expert. He and The Brace Place Team will be on hand to answer all your questions about orthodontic treatment with modern metal and ceramic braces, as well as Invisalign clear aligners.

Start your smile transformation this summer with The Brace Place

Can’t make it to our Patient Appreciation event? Get your braces or Invisalign questions answered at a free initial consultation instead. Contact us to schedule your summer appointment at our Tulsa or Claremore, OK office.

Online Clear Aligners vs. Invisalign

Straightening Your Teeth With Online Clear Aligners vs. Invisalign

By Blog

At first glance, online clear aligners look like they offer many benefits over clear aligner treatment with an orthodontist. But did you know that the risks and limitations of online clear aligners outweigh any perks?

Clear aligners vs Invisalign

You’ll find many differences between online clear aligners vs Invisalign with an orthodontist. Not to mention a few details that could make you think twice about whether online teeth straightening will effectively fix your orthodontic issues and fulfill your smile goals.

Dr. Patel and the team at The Brace Place want to lay out some food for thought so you can make the best choice for your teeth. In this post, we’ll talk about:

  • Overall costs and value
  • The diagnostics you get/don’t get
  • Insurance coverage
  • Treatment limitations
  • Length of treatment
  • Technology and materials used
  • Professional oversight or lack thereof

Overall costs and value

As mentioned earlier, one of the draws of online teeth straightening is the initial sticker price. Many direct-to-consumer packages have a lower up-front price than treatment from an orthodontist. But comparing online clear aligners vs Invisalign solely on pricing is like comparing apples to oranges. 

You see, the sticker price of at-home aligners doesn’t always include the price of things like:

  • X-rays
  • Diagnostic records
  • Extra impression kits
  • Extra aligners for refinements during treatment
  • Attachments or accessories
  • A retainer

With online clear aligners, you run the risk of surprise costs, with a total bill that ends up the same or more as treatment with an orthodontist. However, Invisalign with an orthodontist like Dr. Patel includes the cost of diagnostics, extra aligners for fine-tuning treatment, accessories, and the first set of retainers. You also get the invaluable professional oversight of an orthodontic specialist from beginning to end. At The Brace Place, you benefit from Dr. Patel’s 20+ years of orthodontic experience treating thousands of Invisalign and braces patients.

The diagnostics you get/don’t get

The first steps in getting online clear aligners are in your hands. What does this mean? Essentially, you’re in charge of your diagnostics — a critical step in ensuring your clear aligner treatment is accurate. 

Most DIY brands ask you to fill out a questionnaire or take your own teeth impressions. This is meant to take the place of a one-on-one chat with an orthodontist and professionally-conducted diagnostics. 

At The Brace Place, we use high-tech digital diagnostic equipment like the iTero scanner, which results in a more precise picture of your teeth than goopy impression molds you’d do at home. We also take digital x-rays to ensure we know the state of your teeth inside and out. X-rays are super important at the start of teeth straightening treatment for several reasons. Moving teeth involves shifting teeth within the jawbone, so it’s important to see teeth root and see how teeth currently sit below the gumline. X-rays also allow you and the orthodontist insight into any underlying oral health issues (cavities, gum disease) that could impede teeth straightening treatment.

Insurance coverage

It’s true that many insurance packages cover orthodontics, so your out-of-pocket costs are lower. But keep in mind that some insurance companies offer less coverage for treatment that an orthodontist or dentist doesn’t directly supervise. While some mail-order clear aligner treatments now include some virtual dentist oversight, your insurance provider might decline coverage or grant only a small portion due to online treatment’s history of customer complaints. 

If your insurance does happen to cover your online clear aligners, consider the added inconvenience of making the claim yourself — and sometimes only after paying for your entire treatment. The great thing about Invisalign with an orthodontist is that they handle your claims for you, directly billing your insurance provider so you don’t have to do any paperwork.

Also, keep in mind that when an online brand says they offer professional oversight, the supervision of a “dental expert” might not be the same as oversight from a credentialed dentist or orthodontist. Invisalign with Dr. Patel ensures certified professional oversight that qualifies when it comes to your insurance.

Treatment limitations with online clear aligners vs Invisalign

First, we should mention that the gold standard of clear aligners — Invisalign — isn’t available as a DIY treatment, only with a dentist or orthodontist. So if you want the most proven clear aligner treatment on the market for peace of mind, you won’t find that in a mail-order system.

Next, most online clear aligners only treat mild to moderate teeth alignment issues that don’t require complex tooth movements. You won’t qualify for online kits if you have larger gaps, severely misaligned crowding or twisting, buck teeth, or a severe overbite, underbite, or crossbite. These types of tooth and jaw movements need direct diagnosis, treatment planning, and supervision by an orthodontist for a successful outcome. Mail-order aligners also don’t offer treatment with attachments — accessories needed for jaw alignment and more complex tooth movements. 

One of the best benefits of Invisalign? In the hands of an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Patel, complex cases can result in amazing outcomes. Even serious issues that were only treatable with braces in years past. The cherry on top? Dr. Patel is a Gold+ Invisalign Provider, meaning he has extensive experience successfully treating patients with Invisalign.

Length of treatment

We understand that most people would prefer as short a treatment time as possible — who doesn’t want a stunning smile asap? Many online kits lean on this, advertising quicker treatment times than orthodontist-led treatment. Some online systems even say results in as little as 4-6 months. 

While this is enticing, remember that these online systems only treat mild to moderate issues which contributes to a shorter treatment time anyway. Top of mind when it comes to the length of your treatment? Everyone’s teeth are different. From their orthodontic issues to the health and strength of their teeth, no two sets of teeth are the same. Treatment time largely depends on individual oral factors that are best assessed and planned for by orthodontic consultation and oversight. 

Another caution against overly quick treatment times? The science of orthodontic treatment needs time for the breakdown and rebuilding of cells as teeth shift and secure into their new positions. Overly quick treatment time can force aggressive tooth movements that don’t allow your body to build and heal or lead to tooth and oral structure damage. Sometimes this damage needs repair or surgery by a professional. 

So when weighing online clear aligners vs Invisalign treatment times, we suggest prioritizing custom, longer treatment with a professional over fast results for the overall health of your teeth.

Technology and materials used

Mail order aligner systems might seem like the most innovative option because they’ve gained popularity in just the past few years. But when it comes to materials, most use generic plastic, not purpose-designed for straightening teeth. One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign is their patented SmartTrack™ material — specially designed for orthodontic aligners.

Many online clear aligners also rely on physical molds to get your teeth impressions. This method, especially in the hands of a non-dental professional, can be difficult to get right, requiring multiple tries and still produce aligner trays that don’t fit.

Modern dental and orthodontic offices like The Brace Place instead use digital impression tools and software for more accurate imaging and treatment planning. Your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist uses the latest proven, high-tech tools and techniques to ensure the most advanced treatment for our patients. For Invisalign, we use the iTero® digital scanner to get an accurate 3D picture of your teeth and help plan treatment that’s a perfect fit.

Experienced, Professional oversight — or lack thereof

Earlier, we mentioned that there might be a difference between “dental expert” oversight and certified orthodontist/dentist supervision in the eyes of your insurance provider. The same goes for your actual treatment and progress. With at-home treatment, the bulk of it is up to you, with some help from a dental expert, sometimes of unknown expertise. 

Treatment under a certified specialist in orthodontics is backed by professional knowledge of dental anatomy and years of experience in orthodontic procedures. What type of training does an orthodontist have? A certified orthodontic specialist like Dr. Patel has gone through undergraduate school, then dental school, then finally schooling to specialize in orthodontics. 

He is also board certified, which means he has successfully passed rigorous exams by the American Board of Orthodontists (ABO). To maintain his board certified status, Dr. Patel must also take a recertification exam every 10 years. The process to become board certified by the ABO takes 5-10 years and Dr. Patel is in an elite group of orthodontists — only 1 in 3 orthodontists is board certified.

Dr. Patel keeps his professional skills and knowledge up-to-date with his dedication to continuing studies. He is also a member of professional organizations, including the American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, Oklahoma Dental Association, Tulsa County Dental Society and Rogers County Dental Society. 

Are online clear aligners safe?

The American Association of Orthodontists warns consumers against using online clear aligners because of the potential damage to teeth and gums. Without direct supervision by an orthodontics specialist, it may take a long time for a customer to realize their aligners aren’t working or fitting correctly. And by then, serious or long-term damage to the teeth and gums might have started. 

Conversely, Invisalign treatment with an orthodontist comes with the safety of professional experience you can count on: from expertly diagnosing your orthodontic issues to creating a personalized treatment plan to checking in on your progress and fine tuning along the way. Online clear aligners don’t come with the same level of accountability toward your oral safety as treatment with an orthodontist.

Orthodontists straighten teeth safely, with results that fulfill a patient’s unique aesthetic and functional goals.

Getting Beautiful, Straight Teeth with Confidence in Tulsa and Claremore, OK

More informed about the differences between online clear aligners vs Invisalign? The award-winning Brace Place team is happy to answer any outstanding questions you may have at a free initial consultation.

Contact us to visit our Tulsa or Claremore office and get started on a smile transformation knowing you’ll get amazing results!